Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition

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Officially announced on May 23rd 2020 and released (kind of) on July 25th, 2020, Warhammer 40,000 9th edition is the up and coming new batch of everyone's favourite plastic crack addiction (with a price hike on whole bunch of models to correspond with the increased point costs in the succeeding month; thanks GW). It comes with a new logo, but is also the departure from the corny 80's aesthetic. Fare thee well, old friend...

Lore wise, 9th shifts the angle from Imperium vs Chaos to Imperium vs Xenos. The Necrons specifically. Why this shift in focus? Well, while officially unconfirmed, the Necron's Silent King (the OG Necrontyr leader) "NOPE's!" back into the the galaxy after encountering the Tyranids and the resulting bone-rattling has got the Imperium well and truly spooked. What better way to show of the dramatic shift in power than with a new set of rules?

Well not a completely new set of rules; don't fix what ain't broken. Thanks to the drip-feed of updates and leaks to tide us over during COVID-19 still going on, we can tell 9th seems less like a complete re-write of the rules and more of a 8th edition 2.0 (or a D&D 3.5 edition). Pete Foley (book and box game designer) says:

"The new edition works seamlessly with all existing codices and Psychic Awakening books, which is particularly important as we still have three more Psychic Awakening books to go! They were all written with the new rules in mind, so you can explore these dark new events knowing all your existing rules will work when the new edition finally arrives."

It’s half-truth bullshit though.

Major Updates[edit]

It's unlikely that any significant changes will occur to the fundamentals of 8th ed.'s playstyle I.E. We're not going to see any changes to how shooting works, how wounding works, or what a model's profile consists of (wounds, strength, etc). However, here's what we know from the teaser video and several articles from Warhammer Community, and oh boy are there some tasty changes:

  • New Crusade mode, a new workup for narrative games, which gives experience points, battle honours (buffs), battle scars (debuffs) and new rules for the army. The core rulebook will have the Crusade system, and future codexes will each have their own additions, such as a Blood Angels character falling to the Black Rage as a result of a game.
  • Command point overhaul - rather than being generated by detachments, both players get a set amount based on the points level of the game you're playing. Taking more detachments actually costs you CP this time around (representing the political and tactical resources which must be used to acquire reinforcements), so it's better to take one big detachment instead of many small ones (especially since there's a cap on the number of detachments you can take, based on the size of the game). Additionally, being Battle-Forged gives you a single CP at the start of each Command Phase so you'll never run completely dry of CP.
    • Of course, there are some ways to avoid the detachment costs. The core detachments (i.e. Patrol, Battalion, or Brigade), for example, refund their cost if the Warlord is in one. The Super-Heavy Detachment can as well if you play one of the Knight flavours.
  • Four recommended game sizes are provided, based on the points costs of each army as usual: Combat Patrol (up to 500 points), Incursion (501-1000 points), Strike Force (1001-2000 points), and Onslaught (2001-3000 points). It was originally implied this was both sides combined, but a recent Warhammer Community article states the opposite, so who knows. EDIT: Going by the currently-in-Beta "Warhammer 40,000: The App", those are points per army. Source: I'm currently using said App, having bit into the Free First Month bait.
  • Tanks and monsters can shoot in combat. Holy crap, that is a hell of a change. Land Raider Redeemer players are crying tears of joy while lascan Predators beat the shit out of TEQ vehiclelockers. They say you can shoot enemies at at point blank range in the video, but regardless expect more vehicle spam in the future (IG eat your heart out...).
    • What this means is that Tanks and Monsters gain the Big Guns Never Tire rule which allows them to shoot within 1" of them if enemy units are in that distance, however they can't attack anything outside of 1" unless those units are destroyed and they get a -1 to hit with Heavy weapons. Rejoice 'Nids! Your Dakkafexes are now less useless in melee.
    • Heavy weapons have a slight rework, now only Infantry suffer from the hit penalty if they moved.
  • Reworked terrain. One of the more vague reveals, but it is said to be reworked for easier defending, sneaking around, and charging over terrain features. Hopefully this means no more stabbing through walls because technically you're an inch away from your opponent.
    • Apparently this is exactly what it means. They want the battlefield to feel like the third player in a game, each piece of terrain feeling fun and being interesting, with woods functioning differently to a bunker, a swamp, a ruin, etc.
    • Terrain is now divided into 4 categories: Hills, Obstacles, Area Terrain, and Buildings.
      • Hills are just part of the terrain, so they can block LoS in theory if you're on either side of one but that's it.
      • Obstacles are your barricade etc. giving standard +1 cover against ranged weapons to Infantry, Beast and Swarms
    • Terrain pieces have traits you ascribe to them when setting up the board with your opponent; examples include Light Cover (+1 save against ranged weapons), Heavy Cover (+1 save in melee unless the attacking model charged), Dense Cover (If the terrain is at least 3" high, ranged attacks suffer a -1 to hit though it unless the target is an Aircraft or has over 18 wounds), Obscuring (If the terrain is over 5" tall, models can't see through it or over it unless they're Aircraft or have over 18 wounds), Scalable, Breachable, Unstable, Defensible (Occupying unit can either hit Overwatch on a 5+ or be unable to fire overwatch but gain +1 to hit in melee), Exposed Position.
  • Balanced the scales of battle. Again, not a lot to work with as to what exactly that means, but hopefully it means tactical lists at larger ranges of points, instead of the normal 2000 we see everywhere.
    • This is partly referring to the fact that each mission is now designed specifically for one of the recommended game sizes, so you won't be playing a mission that had a 1000pt army in mind with a 500pt army.
    • This also involves the cost adjustments of models altogether: virtually everything has gotten a higher points cost, making it more viable to bring in fewer models. This is especially important since there are now four different levels of game to consider.
  • Reserves have been changed. Now units can outflank (hi space furries) which costs 1CP per 10PL. The turn number changes where they can come in from (no coming in on turn 1; 6" from a battlefield edge but not the enemy edge or in their deployment zone on turn 2; 6" from a battlefield edge but not the enemy edge on turn 3 onward).
  • Explosive weapons deal maximum hits to hordes. Not a lot to say here that you can't interpret for yourself. Very cool (Oh fuck the Deathstrike will be disgusting).
    • Sort of. There is a new weapon type, "Blast" (the 9th edition rulebook will have an appendix telling us which guns are now Blast). These weapons always deal a minimum number of hits when dealing with randomized attacks (So when firing on a unit with 6-10 models, you deal at least 3 attacks). When firing at a unit with 11+ models, then it deals the maximum number of attacks. That said, it can never be fired in melee even if they also have the Pistol type. Oh, well- those dreams of dropping Deathstrikes on charging Hormagaunts were fun while they lasted, but would it really be a good idea to fire one at point blank range?
  • Aircraft changes. Supposedly capable of ignoring models and making return trips, but again, we have to wait and see.
    • Aircraft can enter strategic reserves when they move off the battlefield, but rather than coming on within 6" of a board edge they can now DS in 9" from enemy models, facing any direction.
    • Other models now interact with aircraft sensibly, able to move within 1", over them and their bases, can move/advance even if within 1" of an Aircraft (and vice versa).
  • Close combat is getting a lot of benefits, addressing the shooting dominance in 8e's metagame.
    • Overwatch has now become one of the 7 core Stratagems. This means that it can only be used once per turn, costs 1 CP to trigger, and it only works on unmodified 6s. Gone is the absolute dominance of Overwatch-dependent armies like Dark Angels, as they absolutely will take casualties while knocking out one charging enemy (unless they get something to give them an alternative way to Overwatch, see below).
      • There will however be other ways of accessing Overwatch. For example, T'au can fire Overwatch with multiple units 8th edition style, there's a Battle Honour in Crusade that gives re-rolls on Morale and a free Overwatch on an unmodified 5 or 6, etc.
    • They're fixing little things like, a Hive Tyrant being unable to attack a model in CC because they're 2 steps up in a ruin while the HT is on the ground floor.
    • A second Stratagem, "Desperate Breakout", allows you to easily break out of combat with 2 CP. This allows a unit to roll 1d6 for each model in it - every 1 is a casualty. After seeing who makes it out, it then allows the unit to fall back. However, any models that still remain within engagement range of the enemy will count as more casualties.
  • Hit and wound modifiers are now capped to a maximum of +1 or -1. Goodbye Eldar flyer spam. You won't be missed.
    • Modifiers can still cancel each other out, though. So in theory while a -2 to hit would only act as a -1 on its own, it would cancel out a +1 modifier to retain the -1 to hit.
  • The morale phase has been reworked a little to be less "all or nothing". A failed morale check automatically causes one model to flee and forces all other models in that unit to do a Combat Attrition check: Roll d6 for each model in the unit, -1 to the roll if it's under half strength. For each 1, a model flees.
  • A Command Phase is now taking place at the top of the turn. From what we know, this is going to be where you decide to throw in your Stratagems as well as generating new CP if your army's Battle-Forged.
  • Secondary Objectives that can be achieved alongside the main ones, which can are selected by each player. Objectives now give a maximum of 15 VP for each objective, so alpha striking isn't necessarily going to make victory certain anymore.
  • 7 core stratagems instead of 3, as mentioned above. They haven't confirmed it 100% yet, but assumedly the original 3 (command re-roll, insane bravery and counter-defensive) will remain. Then there's Fire Overwatch (duh), Cut Them Down (sweeping advance 2.0), Desperate Breakout (fuck your bubblewrap), and Emergency Disembarkation (get out of a transport without exploding, but models die on a 1 or 2 instead of just 1).
  • Tightened up unit coherency rules. Every model has to be within 2" horizontally and 5" vertically of at least one other model in the unit, and in units with 6 or more models they need to be in range of at least TWO other models. As part of the morale phase, there is also a check to perform for any models that have fallen out of coherency, removing them.
  • Also we're getting official digital rule support in the form of an app. It only took an entire edition, but it's here! On top of that, physical copies of the codices now come with codes to their digital versions. You have to pay a monthly subscription to use the app though. Typical GeeDubs.
  • All Space Marines, including Chaos, get 2 wounds minimum. Holy shit.
  • All those tasty buff auras are going to get some serious nerfs. Some units are now gaining the CORE keyword, which makes them the sole beneficiaries of any buffs that a hero of their faction (such as Vanguard Lieutenants boosting Vanguard troops) may provide. This comes with some serious takeaways: most vehicles (and likely monsters) will no longer be able to benefit from these buffs, though something like Dreadnoughts or Iyanden Wraithlords might be an exception. Second, and likely more powerful, is that characters will no longer be able to benefit from auras given by either themselves or any fellow characters. While it's yet to be seen just how far these limits run, rest assured that some really soupy builds will get thrown out.
  • Dawn of war "like" edition: as seen first in the Space Marine codex, there can only be one QG per type usually (ex: one chaplain, one apothecary, one techmarine but 2 lieutenants); Chaos warbands can only have one chaos lord but multiple sorcerers available (as seen in the Death Guard Codex), lots of upgrades for the characters and the troops, "fewer relics" but more usable, characters in the elite slots more viable via "grouping them", fewer units but more powerful across the board. I hope this won't transform into Dawn of Eldar...

The official FAQ answers a couple of notable questions (and a lot of PR chaff). Notably:

  • Your codices will all still work, but expect new ones to come out with adjustments and new rules for Crusade.
    • First to get their codices are the Necrons and Space Marines, with the Space Marine codex becoming the "core" codex for all chapters, with all first founding chapters (including Blood Angels, Dark Angels and Space Wolves) and Deathwatch getting their own supplements, except the Grey Knights. Kinda overdue, to be honest.
  • Psychic Awakening books all still (mostly) work, except in those odd cases where unit ignores to hit penalties with certain stratagems, abilities, etc. (Except now it has been confirmed that if your faction's 9th Ed. codex comes out, your PA book is now obsolete. So all that 'keep your books' schtick? Yeah...)
  • Forge World indexes have been compiled into one single Compendium that holds all the datasheets for the entire Forge World Range. It's also been handled by the regular Codex rule writers, so while a lot of the more unique rules and abilities many FW units had have been either removed or reworked, everything is a lot more streamlined. Any non-exclusive standard weapon or equipment options many FW units have access to require players to refer to their respective Codex entries for their rules. While that's a touch less convenient, it does help reduce potential confusion as updated Codexes and FAQs alter weapon profiles change over the course of the edition. As a final touch, the Death Korps of Krieg received their own special rules (of debatable quality).
    • The bad news, many FW units have been squatted to Warhammer Legends. The entire Renegades and Heretics line and what remained of the Corsairs are completely removed while the DKoK lost a significant number of their unique units and loadout options. Most of the other factions lost a few units here and there as well. At the very least, though most of the units that were moved to Legends are no longer in production or supported for official tournament play, they at least have rules for casual use so players with those models aren't completely screwed.
  • Expect point changes to a lot of units with the new rules coming in. In what way is uncertain, but tanks and explosive weapon-bearing models are prime candidates. And as mentioned earlier, the vast majority of units will cost more points in order to make smaller armies more viable.
  • Chapter Approved will remain, though it's now split into the "Munitorum Field Manual" (for all the adjusted points costs and other errata) and the "Grand Tournament" (for extra missions, objectives, and tournament rules).
  • To note: the FAQ says you can still ‘use your army in the new edition’. Yes, you can still use your INDIVIDUAL models but the Death Guard codex has created a scary precedent: VERY strict limits on what you can take in each unit now. That squad of Blightlord Termies with all combi-plasmas? Illegal now. That unit of all melee Plague Marines? Illegal. Seems GW is moving towards a policy of ‘what is in the box is your unit loadout’ as well as ‘milk competitive players until they’re dry’.
  • Yes new models.
    • If you're a Necron player, expect some cool shit (more than the Silent King and new warriors, which look great by the way).
    • Primaris Space Marines finally get Assault versions of Intercessors who wield Astartes Chainswords (Chainswords with -1 AP), Lieutenants being shown with a NEO-Volkite Pistol ( 15" S5 D2 Pistol 2 that deals a mortal wound for each unmodded 6 to-wound roll), Bladeguard Veterans, and most of all: Primaris Outriders, Primaris Space Marines on bikes. In general it seems that Primaris are getting more toys, especially toys that finally give them assault options.
    • Outside of the Indomitus set, Primaris Space Marines also get a Firestrike Servo-Turret (Stationary turret that can have either twin-linked accelerator Autocannons or Las-talons), Primaris Techmarines, a biker Chaplain, and the Invader ATV (A large ATV mounted with a heavy weapon that's basically the Outrider equivalent to the Attack Bikes. Just imagine a Primaris version of Ork Warbuggy.) They're also getting the Hammerfall Bunker, a Fortification with a big missile launcher and side-mounted Heavy Bolters/Heavy Flamers, and the Gladiator, the Primaris version of the Predator on the Impulsor chassis, and comes with 3 loadouts, short and long range anti-armour, and anti-infantry.
    • Necrons are also set to receive at least five new models not included in the box. These are the Canoptek Doomstalker (A more beefy, attack-oriented reanimator armed with a massive Doomsday Blaster and twin auxillary gauss flayers); the Lokhust Heavy Destroyer (A revamped Heavy Destroyer fitted with advanced optics and armed with either a Gauss Destructor or Enmitic Exterminator); a new C'Tan shard now confirmed to be Mag'ladroth, the Void Dragon; and an updated Monolith with two weapon options for its corner guns: the traditional Gauss Flux Arcs, and something that looks similar to the Doom Scythe's Death Ray in miniature form; plus the Convergence of Dominion, a stunning set of 3 models that form a Fortification that seems to have weapons called Transdimensional Abductors. Oh, and of course there's the Silent King himself.
    • The other factions are also slated for some new models, SoB get a the Palatine (Lieutenant-tier HQ), Dark Eldar a new Lelith Hesperax, and a Mechanicus, an Ork and a Death Guard model (referred to as the "Lord of Virulence").

Box Sets[edit]

  • The Dark Imperium boxed set went out of production soon with the new focus of 9th, so if you wanted (different) space marines and death guard, you had your chance...
    • Because once it finished, there was a new boxed set called "Indomitus". As with everything else, it's set to be Marines vs. Necrons. (N.B. it's a limited edition "launch" set. Expect new starter sets later on)
      • Marine Models: Sword+Shield Captain, new Chaplain, Lieutenant with neo-volkite pistol+shield, Judiciar (A sort of loyalist Master of Executions that carries some kind of relic that messes with time) Bladeguard Veterans and Ancient (Primaris Sword+Board vets), Eradicators (Gravis-armored Primaris with Melta Rifles- probably an improved Meltagun - - yup, basically a multi-melta with Assault rather than Heavy rule), Assault Intercessors, Outriders.
      • Necron Models: New Overlord with a Hyperphase Glaive and Tachyon Arrow, a Royal Warden (Lieutenant-tier Immortal from what it seems with a relic Gauss Blaster), Plasmancer (Cryptek specializations are returning! YES!), Cryptothralls (Disposable mob units with special benefits when near a Cryptek), Skorpekh Lord, Skorpekh Destroyers, Plasmacyte (A walking energy emitter for Skorpekhs), Canoptek Reanimator (Seemingly able to resurrect things), Scarabs, and 20 new Warriors.
    • Regular boxed set confirmed, basically a lite version of Indomitus. Command Edition features the Captain, 5 Intercessors, 3 outriders, the Overlord, 10 Necron Warriors, 3 Scarabs and 3 Skorpekh Destroyers; Elite Edition is the same but it's missing the full rule book and the plastic scenery; Recruit Edition is the Lieutenant, 5 Intercessors, the Royal Warden, 10 Warriors and 3 Scarabs.
  • 2021 gives the new release of "Piety and Pain", showing Sisters of Battle vs Dark Eldar. The new Lelith and SoB Palatine that were teased at the beginning of 9E are going to finally arrive here alongside some more new Dark Eldar Kits. It's unlikely where this will line up with the Codex release for the Commorrites, but it should at least be a good showcase for the Succubus Cult units.


  • Necrons: Adds the Szarekhan Dynasty along with rules for custom Dynasties, Command Protocols, and features for Crusade. Cryptek specializations are making a comeback, and they can take special relics on top of the faction's basic relics.
  • Space Marines: Adds Crusade features and consolidates rules introduced in Psychic Awakening (e.g. upgrading a Chaplain to a Master of Sanctity now costs points instead of requiring a Stratagem). Also of note is that in the first time in a very long time (if ever), all space marine chapters have been made to remain at a standard by merging the various first founding chapters who had variant armies into just supplements.
    • Blood Angels: Includes all the unique bloody units (alongside a big buff for Death Company Intercessors) as well as providing new benefits for marking your HQs to the Death Company. Oh, and there's some stuff for the Flesh Tearers as well since they were there.
    • Dark Angels: Includes all the unique secret-y units as well as providing a means to make any Monowing army viable. Deathwing in particular are now almost as tanky as the Death Guard.
    • Space Wolves: Includes all the unique wolfy units (including a new Reiver variant) as well as merging the sagas into mini-objectives that are tied to Warlord traits.
    • Deathwatch: Now as an add-on to the Space Marine codex, the Deathwatch saw a lot of changes, two of the most important being the massive reworking nerf to the Special Issue Ammunition, the changes for kill team formation and the addition to a ton of units from the regular SM codex that they couldn't take before for some reason.
  • Death Guard: It's uncertain how much this will be tied to the main CSM codex, as there's no solid release date for the core CSM. Includes rules for contagions (debuff auras in a new wrapper) that your army can now spread around, as well as a rework on how your forces are tanky.
  • Dark Eldar: Consolidates the massive rework made by Psychic Awakening by integrating the custom factions and obsessions.
  • Adepta Sororitas: Somewhat to be expected after seeing all the new stuff 9E teased for the Sisters. So far, the new units are slated to be the ever-memeable Paragon Warsuit (including a unique character), the Palatine, a sister carrying a special banner (a unique character with a potential for a generic version too), and the Predator Castigator battletank.
  • Adeptus Mechanicus: Possibly, somewhere down the line. Sadly, the Book of Rust was not going to provide much aside from the gifts provided to Forge World Metalica.
  • Chaos Space Marines: Another hotly-anticipated codex, especially due to the massive treatment given to their loyalist brethren. The second Warzone Charadon book is looking to give a special means to run CSM and daemons in a single army, which is any chaosfag's wet dream come true.

Fluff Updates[edit]


  • The Indomitus Crusade introduced last edition got retconned slightly. You know how Bobby G called it over after the Raukos Rift? That was rewritten (including new releases of the Dark Imperium novels) into being merely the end of phase 1 of the crusade, and several other stages ongoing. Its other effects are still completely ongoing.
    • It should be noted that this wasn't entirely new, as Psychic Awakening: Pariah was also set during the crusade - which would be weird to set some years in the past without any repercussions spreading while the rest of that series' events were playing out.


  • Typhus decides to get off his lazy ass and tries to conquer a forge world in the Charadon sector, Metalica to be exact. In response, both the forge-world's armed forces as well as the knightly House Raven have rallied to repel the invasion at all costs.
    • Book 2 not only sees the imperium get some reinforcements (including Abbess Movenn Vahl), but Be'lakor also reveals that he has his grubby mitts as well with an army of heretics and daemons.


Basic Rules

Here's the FAQ for Codex changes