10th Edition Roundtable: Lessons Learned from Our Practice Games

10th Edition is releasing soon and we’ve got thoughts about it! In this roundtable discussion – the first of several – we’re talking about our thoughts on and reactions to the games we’ve played using the new rules. From stream games to games played among the GH crew, what have we learned about the edition and how it plays?

The Roundtable

  • Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
  • Rob “Vre’kais” Chilton
  • “Mild” Norman Greenberg
  • Mike Pestilens
  • “Primaris” Kevin Genson 
  • JONK
  • Liam “Corrode” Royle
  • James “One_Wing” Grover

Let’s start with first impressions. How does the game feel compared to 9th edition? Is it a radical departure or business as usual?

TheChirurgeon: It’s interesting – on the surface it looks and feels a lot like a game of 9th edition, especially if you played Tempest of War. The concepts are very similar, and a lot of the universal special rules are just renamed versions of older rules we had in 8th edition. And while the stats moved around and changed a bit, a lot of the same vibes are there. So it doesn’t feel like a radical departure when you sit down to play. That said, as you play you’ll start to notice a few things. The first is that vehicles are much, much tougher than you realize. Wounding vehicles on 5 or 6 with most guns is basically the norm, save for those insane one-shot anti-tank weapons designed to penetrate armor. I’ve seen Sisters players lament not being able to wound vehicles easily but wounding on a 5+ with full re-rolls to wound and AP-4 is pretty stellar in this edition. 

You’ll also notice that melee is a lot worse now. In addition to most melee weapons having worse AP and damage output, losing the half-inch rule on second rank fighting (models can fight if they are within Engagement range or in base-to-base contact with a model in base-to-base of an enemy), and the reduced movement options makes melee combat much less lethal and much less effective as a tactic. How someone played 9th edition and thought “we should make melee worse” is beyond me. 

The other thing that stands out to me is army building. This is another thing you won’t get a true feel for until you start playing but army building is both easier and harder than it used to be. It’s structurally much easier as you no longer have Byzantine rules to follow around force org charts and detachment CP, but harder in that free wargear and locked unit sizes really take away a lot of your ability to tweak. I’ve built several armies now only to find there was no good way to spend the last 50 points outside of Enhancements, and as a result had to go back to the drawing board.

Norman: Lots of the same with a few wrinkles. Vehicles feel tough now (I’ve been mostly playing with Chaos Knights). There’s so much that just outright wounds them on 6’s. CP is also at a premium, I think there will be many turns where you’ll be ending with 0. Speaking of CP, I’ve definitely felt more active during other player’s turns, looking for opportunities for overwatch and weighing that against needing an interrupt or other strats you can use in your opponent’s turn. As for things that are more the same than I was hoping, Battleshock doesn’t feel like the game changing mechanic we were hoping for, and the game is still plenty killy.

Liam: So far I’ve really enjoyed my games of 10th and I’m keen to play more. The missions are refreshing after the staleness of the 9th GT packs, and it’s really nice to have the reduced mental load in terms of how many Stratagems/relics/whatever need to be remembered. Some of that complexity has moved rather than being reduced, since rules are on unit cards now – but even then, a lot of the time that stuff is just “this Leader gives their unit LETHAL HITS” or whatever, which is easy to remember. It’s also nice that you and your opponent now have a common language for most of your rules – you can just tell them “this guy gives SUSTAINED HITS 1” and they know what that means, instead of having to explain the detail of your ability in case it works ever so slightly differently to other versions.

Vre’kais: It’s still 40k but it’s enough of a shake up to feel pretty different on the table. The Core Rules should feel familiar to most with the change to FLY and Terrain probably the most impactful in the majority of games. Every unit having an ability will take some getting used to, and take note of units with varying BS by weapon (these are mostly [HEAVY] weapons which end up on a similar hit roll to the unit if they remain stationary but there are some exceptions) as that’s an entirely new concept to keep track of.

Pendulin: There’s some good, some bad. I’m a huge fan of anything that makes the game more approachable from a casual perspective, so moving abilities onto data sheets is a big plus to me. So is collapsing some weapon profiles, and the weapon abilities system makes it so much easier to understand what a weapon does at a glance. I was initially against the idea of having characters lead other units, but seeing it in practice I think it’s actually a pretty fun mechanic. All good stuff.

However, I think in their haste to make things simpler, they unintentionally made some things harder to follow. Charging, piling in, and consolidating come to mind. At first glance, the rules for these seem nice and straightforward. “Oh, I have to move base to base? I’ll just slide my model until it’s touching and we’re done. Easy!” Except this creates a new mechanic that people can take advantage of, by carefully picking and choosing individual models to move in specific orders, to force/prevent base-to-base. There are also some hilarious scenarios where you want to succeed on a charge roll to tag an enemy, but not succeed by so much that you force your own unit to flee an objective.

And then there are some issues. Devastating Wounds is the big one for me, especially coupled with any form of Anti. The indexes are rife with examples of units that can deal an outright absurd number of mortal wounds every turn, and it offers basically no counterplay for your opponent. 

Another issue I have is Battle-shock – it really should do more. Some factions have abilities that trigger off battle-shock, dealing mortal wounds, adjusting OC, modifying hit rolls. Those are all great, but it’s disappointing that so many factions just don’t really interact with the mechanic. I feel like Battle-shock is a design space that 40k could really stand out with. Give every single faction a unique ability, buff, debuff, or mechanic that directly interacts with Battle-shock. It would be a great way of building faction identity, while also making mechanic more meaningful.

Mike P: The core rules are great, the missions are interesting, and units are more thematic than they have been in a long time. The term “less lethal” has become a joke because of a few Devastating Wounds combos that have gotten a disproportionate amount of attention online, but it is genuinely true that the game is less lethal on the whole. If the rules writers keep an open ear to community feedback and quickly address the most busted or most disappointing units, we are set for a really great edition of 40K. 

JONK:  Imagine 9th edition but without a meaningful combat phase. That’s tenth edition.

Also there’s battle-shock, which may or may not matter depending on your faction and has played zero role in any games I’ve played or seen played.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah I have yet to see Battle-shock come into play outside of doing negative damage to Goatboy’s Daemons in our stream game. That’s in part because it doesn’t start mattering until you’ve lost a bunch of models, and most units I’ve played with pass their tests on a 6+, so the chances they’ll fail are pretty low on a given turn. If a unit has to survive an entire game on 3-4 tests then yeah I could see it being a bigger deal but usually they just die.

Liam: The Battle-shock thing is so funny to me because it made a huge impact in the last game I played. Dante’s ability to force tests on stuff in the Fight phase was critical, because it prevented two units from using Stratagems – which completely changed the complexion of a combat with James’ Necrons, because he was unable to Counter-offensive. Later in the same game, we had a 15pt swing because my last remaining units both fell to Battle-shock in the last turn, preventing me from scoring two secondaries and some primary. It felt like a really big and meaningful thing, and an important part of the game.

Wings: I’ve had a huge amount of fun with my games so far. In some ways it’s felt less different than I was expecting despite there being lots of changes, which I think is probably a good thing – it’s still 40K. For me, I’ve actually found the single biggest difference is how I’m thinking about the table – both the armies I play have a lot of FLY, so I’ve been used to walls being kind of optional – no more. In addition, more positioning-based cover and enforced base-to-base during charges means you need to think a lot more about how the battlefield might interact with your plans, which I like (with some reservations I’ll get to later).

Which armies have you played with, and how do they feel on the table?

TheChirurgeon: So far I’ve played with Death Guard, Thousand Sons, and Chaos Space Marines. Death Guard felt anemic, but Thousand Sons and Chaos Space Marines felt great, though the latter less so in my game against Eldar. Dark Pacts are great and I want to run them all the time and building around Cabbalistic Rituals lets you do some really nasty combos. The Thousand Sons just do a lot of things well, and they’re a blast to play right now. They’re absolutely the army I’m going to be focusing on for the next few months, and I’m going to be bringing a Mutalith to a lot of games.

Norman: I’ve mostly been playing my Chaos Knights just to get a feel for how a vehicle skew list works in this brave new world of high toughness. The answer is, interesting but much the same. As I said, vehicles feel tough now but that’s only true until it’s not. In my practice game against Space Marines, my big knight was dead turn one before I could use him thanks to Oaths of Moment doing its thing. I think we’ll see this be true for other armies as well, you’ll have your ultra tough brick of deathwing knights that will be beyond reproach for some armies, but then deathwatch hellfire rounds will just pick em right up. Going back to the knights, one thing I was disappointed by was how rare it was for battleshock to come up while being the biggest battleshock faction. Things were usually either dead, or simply passed their tests. When it happened it felt huge but they didn’t happen all that often. That all said, the Knight Tyrant feels great at T13 and 2+ that can gain cover. The harpoon kills vehicles and monsters without issue, and having access to a strong flamer for overwatch is a big deal. 

Vre’kais: I’ve had one game with my Tau so far and they felt like Tau. For The Greater Good is high on demanding some synergy between units, picking out which ones can act unsupported vs the units you always want to be supporting. I did find the Drone “tokens” extremely cumbersome, I’m not sure it really helps signify much. I might carry on including Marker Drones on the board, just to remind me which units I’ve added that Keyword to but Shield Drones are a total waste of space.

Hammerheads are still awesome in my opinion!

Mike P: I’ve played 3 games with my Chaos Space Marines, and am confident we are going to let the galaxy burn this edition. Between the Dark Pacts, Marks, Profane Zeal, everything felt extremely consistent. It feels amazing when you shoot 4 Lascannon shots from your Nurgle Land Raider and end up with 7 hits because you rolled a bunch of 5’s and 6’s. Possessed are also blending everything (including Guilliman, Abaddon, and a Repulsor so far!) they have touched for me, albeit with some investment in support characters and CP. 

CP felt *extremely* tight however, especially since CSM have no access to CP refund mechanics and very limited access to CP generation mechanics. You won’t be able to use your buff or defensive stratagems as often as you expect. 

Pendulin: Admech, Admech Admech. It’s no secret that Adeptus Mechanicus feels terrible in 10th edition. They’re a shooting army with bad shooting. They’re an army with tricks up their sleeves in a tank top. They’re an army that can run into battle with surprising durability, except they left all their defensive buffs back in their 9th edition locker. And the detachment ability. Ooh, the detachment ability. It may as well read “sprinkle a couple mortal wounds on your opponent over the course of the game, unless being battle-shocked benefits them or is irrelevant, in which case they get to be battle-shocked instead. You’re welcome.”

JONK: I play Space Wolves almost exclusively and have since I started playing 40k at the start of 8th edition, including in my test games. Unfortunately right now Wolves have no feeling; they are Ultramarines that watched one too many episodes of Vikings. The Space Wolves’ specialty units were either removed or are shadows of their former selves and the nerfs to combat essentially take away the bite of what has historically been an elite combat army. This leaves  wolves – at least, the version that runs the units you’d like to run – sitting in a dumpster waiting to light the fire with their friends, the Death Guard (TheChirurgeon: I don’t know if they’re friends, but they do all hate Magnus, so that checks out). It is EXTREMELY frustrating to see this faction in the state it currently is in, everyone who plays this faction should not be quiet about it, this is just flat-out poor design.  

TheChirurgeon: Yeah, for as much as they billed the switch from chapters and legions to Detachments as “freeing up players to not have their rules tied to the color of their armor,” I think they’ve had the opposite effect here. Specifically that they’ve created a situation where those special armies don’t feel distinct or unique, in part because most of them rely on melee to stand out from regular Marines, and in part because you’re just going to gravitate to the strongest datasheets and combos available to all Marines every time you build an army. I think that’s fine when you don’t care about the subfactions, like for Great Cults, Hive Fleets, or Kabals, but much less fine when you’re talking about the likes of Space Marine Chapters/Legions, Craftworlds, or Ork Clans.

Liam: Aeldari, Marines, and then Blood Angels (with the Gladius Task Force rather than Sons). Unsurprisingly Aeldari felt insanely good with tools for every situation. Marines feel fine but in both cases I went quite heavy on melee stuff and yeah, what Rob said is true – Sanguinary Guard at 43ppm have zero baseline lethality boosts beyond their weapons’ actual stats, which are Fine. Meanwhile my Sternguard guns have 4 different rules. I think you still want a melee hammer or two because you do need to clear stuff off objectives and take them yourself, but my initial feeling is that this is very much a shooting-focused edition, which as has been said previously – if your takeaway from 9th is that what the game needed was weaker melee and better shooting, especially indirect shooting, I have questions about what game you were paying attention to.

Kevin: I played a game with Space Marines and Armiger Helverins against Shane’s Votann and won, which immediately makes this the best edition ever. The game plays like 40k, but expectations are going to be different. Vehicles are incredibly resilient, especially against melee. Two Redemptor Dreadnoughts barely killed a Hekaton Land Fortress over multiple rounds of melee. Plasma and melta really seem to suffer with their low strength, and rerolls with bonuses to wound are very powerful. Votann definitely feel like they need something, while Marines seem to be in this place where the infantry is vulnerable and the vehicles are tough. 

Wings: Necrons. Necrons Necrons Necrons. I realise I’m failing in my role as an elf appreciator, but I’ve been absolutely in love with the Necron Index since it was first placed into my greedy little hands, and have been tinkering with lists for them ever since. I think they’re the best set of rules Necrons have had since I got back in at the start of 8th, and stand out as one of the best written Indexes. Also, three years ago when we played our first games of 9th with Codexes, there was a definite sinking as Liam’s Marines kept rolling my poor skeletons despite them having some cool rules, but this time the boot has been on the other foot.

How do the new missions feel? Do they seem like a good fit for competitive play?

Norman: Somehow I managed to get Take and Hold (very boring straightforward objective control) in all the missions I played, but looking through them I think the missions will be interesting if tailored to events. Some of the combinations, if drawn randomly can just shut down certain armies. That all said, I’m not the biggest fan of the weirdo missions (Ritual and Servo Skulls specifically)  for competitive play, they’re a bit too out there.

TheChirurgeon: They’re a mixed bag. I like Tempest, and I think it’s a good idea to bring that in. I loathe the mission rules (the cards which add a specific rule for the game), and I’m generally not a fan of about half of the primary missions. Otherwise, they’re fine. Using tactical objectives makes it a bit harder to gauge how balanced some armies are, because you can just get completely screwed on secondary objectives. But it feels a lot less rote and a lot more interactive than 9th edition play, and that’s the big thing I care about.

Mike P: The new missions are a huge success. This can’t be understated. I’m very critical of some balance decisions for specific armies, but as a framework for playing interesting and competitive games of Warhammer, 10th Edition has absolutely knocked it out of the park. After playing the new missions, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back to the static 9th Edition style missions. Most importantly, the secondaries will punish you if your plan is to just sit on your side of the board and not interact with the opponent. Making people play Warhammer to win games of Warhammer is exactly the right idea. 

Liam: I really like the theory of them. The card deck is great, it’s nice that you can easily set up casual games with them that still feel like the GT games you’ll play – there is a huge segment of the ‘actually plays games’ crowd who aren’t much interested in grinding out two dozen GTs per year, but who do enjoy going to one or two local events or a single big supermajor like LGT just for the experience. Building the missions so that when they show up to those events they are already familiar with them instead of having to start learning about optimising secondaries. I need to try more of the primaries, because so far I’ve played Deploy Servo-skulls twice – and that is an awful mission which massively favours the player going first.

Wings: I like them a lot. I think the choice to try and create a hybrid of Tempest and fixed Secondaries was a risk, but that they’re done an excellent job with it on a first pass, and I’m super excited to get more games in. I think my main current complaint with them is that I like Gambits in theory, but in practice the implementation this time around is a miss. They’re the thing that I hope gets the biggest re-work in any future mission pack. I’m less bothered by the mission rules than some because it feels like there’s enough options that have a place in a competitive setting for TOs to work with.

Kevin: My biggest complaint is that it’s blatantly obvious that you will NEED a mission deck to play this edition. Hopefully GW gets them out for sale sooner rather than later. Or better yet why not digitize the product on an app? 


TheChirurgeon: I mean if you want an app that can do digital missions and score tracking for Warhammer 40k, might I recommend Tabletop Battles, the free app from noted website Goonhammer dot com? It is free and it already supports 10th edition and those rules are live in the beta versions right now. Thank you for setting me up for this promo.


Liam: Business Rob never rests.



Do you expect you’ll do fixed or tactical secondary objectives moving forward?

Mike P: Tactical. Creating chaos on the scoreboard and tabletop, and then navigating that chaos better than your opponent, will be key in 10th Edition. There is going to be significant skill expression in planning your gameplay around the random secondaries left in the deck. If it’s turn 4 and your opponent hasn’t drawn Assassinate yet, you’ll probably want to play cautiously with your Characters that turn because they are likely to draw it on the following turn. Like all gameplay elements that involve RNG, bad players will blame their wins or losses on what cards they drew. Good players will be able to account for that probability and make gameplans that put themselves in positions to take advantage of whatever happens. 

TheChirurgeon: Also Tactical. There’s a chance I run into the occasional army that has too many characters or vehicles and it’s worth taking Assassination/Bring it Down and something else, but I expect those situations to be rare. To Mike’s point, I plan on building around being able to move around the table and score/hold specific objectives when they come up. It’s just easier to make up ground that way as well. Also fixed is for cowards.

Norman: Tactical every day, see above.



Kevin: I think Tactical offers a better experience. I played Fixed but there’s a lot more depth and opportunity to Tactical. I also think Tactical is better for casual play, since you don’t have to think and just draw your cards.


Liam: Tactical. I think there’s narrow situations where you would want to play Fixed, but Tactical rewards you with more points, more potential CP, and more flexibility. Having made this prediction I’m sure Innes or someone is gonna show me a list that’s built to do nothing but score some Fixed objectives and rack up 100pts while I’m still figuring out how to deploy teleport homers or something.

Wings: Tactical, but I expect to see Fixed tried by Aeldari and Tyranids at minimum, and probably Sororitas too thanks to them having tonnes of 2-model units they can stick in reserves. I am concerned that some of the positional choices are too easy in combination, and some armies are well placed to try and force that. That said, I think there’s going to be a definite sliding scale of how much cool stuff you can still take while building for the Tactical option, and in that context the greater weighting towards Primary ends up quite important – if you’re maxing Secondaries every game but consistently falling behind on the Primary because of your list compromises, you’re going to cap out at the X-1 bracket.

What was the most surprising thing you learned from your practice games of 10th edition 40K?

Vre’kais: How frequently the AP0 in Save 3+ prevents cover is going to come up, we forgot that rule like 70% of the time and it’s not infrequent with the new AP levels at all! Terrain rules in general, I like them, but there are instances of a model getting the benefit of cover in fairly exposed locations that might not be obvious. One such instance I’ve seen is if one model in the attacking unit is not wholly within a Wood then their target gets the benefit of cover, regardless of its location.

Mike P: How often your large units will be able to get cover. It made a significant difference in how durable Vehicles and Monsters felt, and reminded me of the Armour Of Contempt days–for better and for worse. Keeping a sliver of your model behind ruins so your opponent can’t see all of your model will be very common on 10th Edition tables. 

TheChirurgeon: 2+ saves are incredibly, stupidly good. I mean, of course they already were, but when you combine them with cover it’s very reminiscent of the late days of Armour of Contempt in 9th, when you could just field units where everything would bounce off them. And that’s primarily because a lot fewer weapons have better than AP-2 now. AP-1 feels close to meaningless again as well because of how easy it is to get cover for almost everything in the game.

Also I played against the Avatar in an Eldar list and that’s where I learned that the new Fate Dice mechanic is just incredible bullshit.

Norman: Just gonna keep banging the toughness drum here. It’s trivially easy to gain cover and with so much more stuff getting access to it, armies with good saves are going to feel that much more tough.

Also fuck Oaths of Moment, all my homies hate Oaths of Moment.

Liam: Yeah, the cover thing. Partly I’m lucky that most of my games have been with Wings because he remembers this kind of thing, whereas I was just fully failing to give myself cover saves half the time because I haven’t changed my thinking from 9th. Also the core stratagems are really great and you’ll use them a lot, whereas they often felt quite niche in 9th.

Wings: Nthing the cover thing, but I’ll go so far as to say that I think it’s an actual design issue that’ll need a second look at some point. The Indexes have tonnes of stuff with AP-1, significantly more than previously (most guns lost a point of AP on average), and that’s suddenly back to being a bad number to be paying points for, similar to the Armour of Contempt era. It also massively benefits Knights and Marine armies, because save boosts are mathematically better the stronger your initial save was in terms of the percentage durability boost they represent. This was, as I understand it, a huge problem at the start of the latest AoS edition, because the equivalent of a Universal Stratagem for +1 to saves was introduced and caused some serious warping around high save units, and this looks like the same issue. On a more positive note, I was surprised to find that my Leaders weren’t as useless as I thought once they were on their own (after their Bodyguard experienced a tragic Oaths of Moment accident), especially nastier ones like an Overlord.

What do you think players are going to struggle with the most in games of 10th edition?

Vre’kais: Playing without the datacards in some physical format will just be painful, especially at first. With every unit having different abilities and some instances of the same weapon having different characteristics depending on the unit carrying them it will get confusing quickly. I think there’s a few aspects of terrain that will seem odd at first, complete reversals on how some parts of 9th’s terrain rules worked but I think they’re for the better. I never liked being able to nudge the track or engine of a tank partially into a ruin to be able to see out of said ruin, and that’s gone now, a model needs to be wholly within a terrain piece to “see out normally”.

Mike P: Not bringing enough units that play the mission very well, even if those units don’t mathhammer as well as flashier units. A lot of the scoring is tied to getting to certain places on the battlefield quickly. Even slow armies like Death Guard have some options to increase mobility. Make sure you keep your eye on playing the game well, not on having more models left on the table at the end of the game. 

TheChirurgeon: Coming to grips with the ineffectiveness of melee. It’s a hard pill to swallow if you’re used to closing the gap and finishing units off with melee and watching your units bounce off now is just brutal. Just generally if you’re not playing a sicko mortal wounds army the game is just much less lethal – and that takes a lot of getting used to. Also people are going to struggle with vehicles. Wounding vehicles on better than a 5+ is pretty rare and it’s going to make evaluating units and weapons difficult for some players.

Also while datacards are a better way to play, working with the GW app is a surprisingly good substitute.

JONK: That there seems to be no consistency in rules when it comes to what units do, for example: A chaplain on foot, a chaplain with a jump pack, a chaplain on bike and a primaris chaplain all have slightly different rules.  This trend continues across multiple different characters and units, this will lead to some errors in play and misunderstandings at the tables.  Rob already touched on the combat thing and how hard it will be to kill a vehicle (especially a knight). For those of us with really bad rules the biggest struggle will simply be staying motivated to show up.  

Norman: Breaking old habits. There’s a lot of things in the new edition that fly in the face of how players would play in 9th. For example, toeing into terrain was an easy way to get line of sight on a lot of the board in GW layouts of 9th, now toeing into terrain is only a detriment and should be avoided, either all in or all off. In addition to that, some army themes are completely remixed. DG players should not expect their terminators to be able to punch up as hard as they did or have their opponents tar pitted by their guys for as long as they used to without significant investment.  

Liam: A lot of people are gonna get real mad when they grab an objective by toeing an Intercessor or Guardian or something onto it and then their opponent trivially flips it, instead of being locked out by Objective Secured. It’s a small thing, but you form habits of good play, and now you’re a lot more incentivised to whole-ass units onto points rather than the minimum possible commitment.

Also Hellstorm Mikey has made a big fuss about the thing where you need to be wholly in terrain to see through it – which is another one of those habits you will need to break and won’t remember initially (and also possibly something that won’t last the whole edition, depending on how often people get in weird situations with it where e.g. you can’t actually get a unit into terrain to begin with).

Wings: Definitely terrain positioning, both for Cover and the line of sight issue Liam mentions above. For what it’s worth on the latter, I expect that to change before the Edition is out – I can see why they’ve done it but the actual impact is too weird and non-intuitive too often. A solution I’ve kicked around on our internal chat is to change the current rule so that models partially within a ruin can see through parts of that terrain that are <4″ tall, such that toeing onto the edge of a base doesn’t suddenly make walls vanish, but that if you can’t quite get your whole base in you’re not stopped from shooting at something you can obviously see. The other one is remembering that there’s now no model loss to morale – I definitely found myself logging units I’d knocked down to a single model as “maybe they’ll run” and nope, they won’t.

What’s your favorite thing about the new edition based on your games?

Mike P: I love that most units now do cool things from their datasheets instead of stratagems. You no longer have to spend 3 stratagems and 4 CP to make your unit do its Cool Thing. Now your units just do that Cool Thing without any investment. You also won’t be on the receiving end of as many hard-to-follow combos of stratagems and buff auras that result in you just picking up your unit. It’s also brilliant that identical units in different codices have different rules and points costs. It didn’t make sense that a Maulerfiend would be used identically by both Thousand Sons and CSM, so why did it previously have the exact same datasheet and points cost? This opens up much more room for interesting rules writing and balance decisions. These changes both get a big 10/10 rating from me. 

Vre’kais: Vehicles are tough again! Anyone that knows me well (or honestly has the misfortune to be reading my messages on discord for any length of time), knows I’m a bit of a Tau Gunship fan. They are all great in this edition. Then again I think that in every edition. I like the change to Big Guns Never Tire so that Vehicles and Monsters don’t need a fall back and shoot ability, they are able to function while the enemy stabs their ankles or tracks.

TheChirurgeon: I’ve really enjoyed playing with Magnus and Mortarion again. They’re big, fun models and it’s great to have an edition that makes them not just viable, but desirable to have on the table. Love to play with my big models, and I’m looking forward to fielding Angron. Also my Mutalith Vortex Beast. That thing fucks in 10th.

Norman: Big stuff is back baby! While some factions can definitely nuke towering models off the board, with the advent of cover and their ability to punch those models back, towering stuff is no longer a liability. Tempest is also the best way to play 9th and now I get to play it at events in 10th, its gonna rock.

Wings: Leaders, I am fully leader-pilled, and it was something I was initially apprehensive about when it was announced. I love the list tinkering opportunities they present, I love how they allow the designers to let rip with powerful abilities without worrying about them affecting half an army, I love how you can use them to change the character of a unit (for example – did you know that when Mephiston is in a unit of Assault Intercessors they’re monstrous now? I found this out), top stuff. Also a big fan of Universal Stratagems, and I think the (moderately common) Leader ability of “use a (sometimes specific) stratagem for free” is a really smart use of the design space.

Liam: Characters in units again is just way more intuitive. It’s also just nice to have a general rebalance and some re-thinking of how stuff is meant to work – which hasn’t always worked out for everyone (sorry, Ad Mech, Votann), but looking at Tor Garadon’s entry and thinking damn I actually want this guy on the table was very refreshing.

What’s not so great about it?

Vre’kais: Crisis and Broadsides are Vehicles now by Keyword, but not by toughness, or wounds. For Crisis especially the changes to FLY will hit them hard without the INFANTRY keyword to help with their mobility around terrain. Game wide though, I’m still not convinced on Wargear not costing any points, it makes writing a 2000 point list very difficult, it will make points changes far harder to adapt to (no dropping a model or a special weapon to get back under the limit) and if everyone agrees that there’s a best loadout for a unit, how on earth can they all be worth the same number of points?

Mike P: I just have to say this, as someone who started 40K with a Death Guard army that I lovingly painted up with single, thick, globbed-on coats of paint: Death Guard have an insipid, boring ruleset that has completely missed the mark on both flavor and crunch. The army on the tabletop just does not feel like how Death Guard should feel. Points cuts can fix the issue of Plague Marines costing too much. Points cuts can’t fix the issue of Plague Marines having a lower toughness than Gravis armor. I’m going to collectively ask the Death Guard community to relax a bit because some comments I’ve seen have crossed a line, but their general frustration is very valid. Death Guard suffer from the worst issue that one of the most thematic and flavorful armies in the game could suffer from… being absolutely boring. I’m going to assign Lords Of Silence as mandatory reading to whomever writes the next Death Guard codex. It’s one of the best novels that the Black Library has ever put out, and perfectly captures everything Death Guard players love about the army. 

TheChirurgeon: Death Guard got done incredibly dirty and it sucks. They need a complete overhaul/rewrite, not just points adjustments. Also the decision to shelve the entirety of Chaos Forge World options and the Horus Heresy units – many of which just got new plastic kits! – isn’t just insulting, it’s a bafflingly stupid business decision. Fire whatever stupid asshole thinks they shouldn’t sell more Contemptors or Leviathans. The Chaos army has a few legitimate holes which the modeling team hasn’t traditionally been willing to fill and Forge World was there to pick up some of the slack.

JONK:  This should come as no shock to anyone: The hopeless feeling of running a combat army in 10th. Also Battle-shock seems to be effectively pointless from what I can see.  


Norman: The external balance seems once again off. The factions that were done dirty were done VERY dirty and the factions that are fucked up are VERY fucked up. Playing into Space Marines vs playing into Admech was like playing two different games all together. Here’s hoping we get some good balance passes, but I think a lot of these things need more than just some point changes.

Wings: I’m more optimistic on balance – obviously it’s currently off, but by moving to fully digital points and the detachment system GW have given themselves far more levers to pull to fix it, so as long as they’re willing to do that things will shake out. The main thing I currently don’t like, going back to what I said earlier, is that there are non-intuitive interactions with terrain around cover and LoS that come up too often, in a way that I found was taking me out of the game a bit.

Liam: There’s definitely a few huge misses on indexes. I think James is right to an extent that digital points and rules makes things easier to correct – we’ve seen this already with the Deathwatch Stratagem which enraged everyone for about 18 hours, there’s things that were corrected between our review copies of indexes and the final versions (e.g. forgetting the keywords on Lelith/Urien to let them actually interact with the Detachment rule), and I’m hopeful that that trend will continue. However, while that mechanism is fine for simple issues – this unit is too good because of X, or too cheap, or too expensive – it isn’t gonna fix some of the indexes where the only real option looks to be tearing it up and starting over. The other possibility is just making stuff really cheap, but anyone who remembers some of the absurdly silly armies in late 8th doesn’t necessarily want things to be solved that way.

Are there any things that jump out as too strong or too weak to you, generally?

Vre’kais: Indirect would be fine if there weren’t so many units that just ignore the penalties it gives with their abilities. What’s the point in that? Also Overwatch in the Movement phase with anything that has Lethal Hits in high quantities. Shane ever so rudely eviscerated a poor squad of Tau Breachers in our test game with 10 models with D6 Blast weapons with Lethal Hits. Which into a unit of 11 models gets +2 shots PER MODEL. So it was 10x(D6+2) and he rolled 71!!! Which both hit AND wounded on 6s. Welp.

Mike P: Can we please stop letting Indirect Fire get out of control? As Vre’kais said, it’s wild how many Indirect Fire weapons come with the Heavy or Ignores Cover rules to cancel out the supposed Indirect Fire debuff. A baseline rule in the game should be that you’re not allowed to use any other weapon special rules while using the Indirect Fire special rule.

TheChirurgeon: Devastating Wounds is both too much and found too often on high-volume ranged attacks or paired with an [ANTI-] ability to make it mortal wounds on a 4+ or some such nonsense. They’ve already corrected some of their mistakes here with Deathwatch but there are others – such as with Eldar, where Fate dice make getting the 6 to wound trivial – which are ready to be huge pains in the ass. 

There’s also the toughness scaling system – I like it, it makes vehicles much better, but I’m not sure they’ve thought about the knock-on effects that’ll have and it’s pretty clear when you look at the Death Guard’s -1 Toughness aura, which now has no real value against bigger targets. 

JONK: The abundant source of re-rolls combined with devastating wounds that are tied to [Anti-X] are too strong. The poorly thought-out strength, AP and damage that combat weapons all come equipped with on the other hand makes melee combat too weak, even before you factor in nerfs to movement and engagement range.

Norman: As stated above, dev wounds and anti-X needs to be reigned in. I’m actually fine with it on self-contained platforms (heywire, harpoon, etc) where you can just raise the points as needed, but when you are able to combine it using strats and characters is where I think it’s a problem. Indirect also seems somewhat problematic, but I haven’t experienced it first hand.

Wings: Games Workshop need to install an extremely loud incorrect buzzer in their offices that sounds every time someone tries to make Indirect good.


Liam: Yeah it’s indirect. I just felt exhausted looking at Desolation Squads and seeing that their special rule was to ignore all the penalties of indirect fire – great stuff, this is game design for sure. Other than that, Eldar are just going to be A Problem.


Any final thoughts? What kinds of lists are you testing? What are you hoping to try out next?

Vre’kais: I think we’re in for a fun edition. I think that every time though. I think the terrain changes are good but also that they will take some getting used to.

I’m looking forward to playing lots of great games with lots of Tau Gunships!

Mike P: The better question is what kind of lists aren’t I testing! I plan to try Emperor’s Children style Noise Marine spam backed by transports and Possessed, a Black Legion style list built around a Terminator brick led by Abaddon, Night Lords style Raptor and Warp Talon spam, Iron Warriors style Obliterators and Daemon Engines, Chaos Knights led by a Tyrant with Daemon allies, mechanized Thousand Sons, traditional Thousand Sons led by Magnus. I’m having fun with this edition and plan to play as often as life allows until I’ve gotten a strong feel for every Chaos army. 

TheChirurgeon: 10th edition has some great core rules but so far the faction rules have really let it down. Too many factions feel rushed and broken or boring. I’m hopeful they’ll get it right in future Codex releases, but it’s tough to see this be the outcome after seeing the 10th edition rules. Right now I’m testing out Thousand Sons mostly, because I think they’re the most interesting of the Chaos armies I can field, though after Codex: Chaos Space Marines drops I”ll probably take another look at CSM instead. For some of these Indexes I think there’s a lot more interesting space to play and for others I see what they did with the base detachment and think there’s nowhere else to go worth exploring, or that they’ve eaten design space they should have left available.

JONK: Right now I’m essentially looking at worse versions of Ultramarines lists with indirect spam and trying to leverage any of the under-costed units available to marines in general. What will I try next? GSC most likely, as I’ve already got a fully painted army of those. This edition is already having me ask when 11th is showing up.  

Norman: Right now I’m just gonna try every possible permutation of the Chaos Knights index with a single Tyrant + dogs list and all dogs being next in line. I’m also painting up my new tyranids army and hope to have a good reserve of models to pull from when the book releases. I’m also looking forward to just getting my head around the tactical secondary life in a competitive context, lots of skills to learn there for sure.

Kevin: I just want to get some more Marines painted and start getting more games in. I also have my Tyranids but right now my focus is on rolling dice and seeing how long my Repulsor Executioner will last.


Wings: I’ve been slamming Necrons a lot, but I guess I should probably try out Aeldari soon. I’m heading to the US Open in Tacoma next month, so there’s very much a duel between heart (Necrons) and head (elf bullshit) going on right now regards what to take. I am certainly, all-round, vastly more excited to play 10th than I was for late 9th, and also looking forward to seeing what players come up with in Competitive Innovations.

Liam: Despite all the negatives we’ve highlighted above, I do feel revitalised to engage with 40k again. By the end of 9th I was bored to death with Drukhari but trying to learn what any other army did well enough to play it was just too much of a lift with my available free time. Now it’s much easier to flick through the index and grasp the essentials, and I’m keen to get a bunch of stuff on the table that hasn’t been out of the cabinet for a while.

That wraps up this roundtable but there will be more to come, including roundtable discussions on game balance and competitive play. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.