9th Edition Imperial Armour Compendium: The Goonhammer Review

Forge World formed a key part of competitive play in 8th Edition, offering a wide range of additional options for some factions alongside some very cool models for players who wanted to try something different. The impact was, shall we say, uneven – plenty of choices were fine, but there were frequent issues with Forge World units having unintended interactions with newly released rules, and a few choices that were just a bit over-pushed that tended to be over-represented. We’ve seen a bit of that thus far in 9th, with hangover 8th Edition rules throwing up a few very powerful choices in the Edition transition, while other units are complete trash at their Chapter Approved costs.

Luckily the new Imperial Armour Compendium is here to solve both those problems, and GW have been kind enough to send us a copy. This book is absolutely stacked with content, and up front we have to be clear – we are not going to go through every single datasheet line by line, as there’s far too many for us to possibly do that. Instead, we’ve lasered in on our areas of expertise and pulled out what we think the winners, losers and other notable changes are for each faction, aiming to give you the lowdown on the things that matter most. We’ll be following up further on some factions over the next few weeks, so make sure you keep an eye out for those if you’ve got a particular set of units in mind.

On to the review!


There’s a clear set of principles running through all the changes in this book, which are generally very healthy for the game but might make owners of a few units a bit sad. At a high level, you generally see:

  • Simplification. Many of the weird, fiddly abilities units used to have are gone, replaced by either streamlined versions or baked in to weapon profiles. In addition, marginally different variants of units have largely been removed.
  • Less extreme divergences from mainline units. Things like Contemptor and Leviathan Dreadnoughts have profiles and damage outputs much more in-line with their mainline equivalents. This is the bit that’s going to make some people sad but is probably going to be a relief going forward. Forge World units that overperformed with force multiplier effects, either because they bundled too much into a single package or had weaponry that operated on a different balance plane than everything else tended to be the main culprits for dodgy/overpowered interactions. Adding to this, a lot of options now have specially named versions of their weapons to remove the old problem of updates elsewhere automatically knocking on.
  • Point cuts. The good news, and a compensation for the previous change in some cases, is that there are a lot of discounts in this book, both keeping some of the units that take a stat nerf useful and giving a lot of the options that used to be clearly costed as narrative only a cost that’s actually broadly reasonable for their capabilities, opening up a lot of options for more casual tournaments. It’s clear that GW took the time to go through almost every option and assign it a cost that made it at least functional, and that’s very much appreciated!

With that out the way, on to the factions.

Space Marines

There are two wide-reaching rules for marines. First up is the Martial Legacy special rule. Generally, this replaces the old Relic rule – now each time you include a unit with this rule in a detachment the Command Cost of that detachment is increased by 1. It’s much easier now to drop in a single thing without needing to fill out an additional slot, but you’re less likely to be taking multiple.

The second rule isn’t really a rule – it’s a set of recommended traits and parent chapters for various Forgeworld created chapters. It’s unfortunate that these are just presented as a recommendation, as they effectively mean nothing and people will continue to play with whatever rules they want. The 5 included chapters are as follows:

Red Scorpions – Ultramarines with Inheritors of the Primarch.

Minotaurs – Imperial Fists with Duellists and Stalwart chapter tactics.

Blood Ravens – Ultramarines with Stalwart and Knowledge is Power.

Astral Claws – Ultramarines with Rapid Assault and Hungry for Battle.

Carcharodons – Raven Guard with Stealthy and Whirlwind of Rage.

In addition to being recommendations and not rules, they’re just kinda boring.

While we’re going to dig into the highlights and lowlights of individual units below, our overall impression is that there was a significant smoothing over of the entire book. In the past, there were a few standout units that could be found in almost any army (looking at you contemptors and leviathans), and a lot of units that were just nowhere near usable. This iteration of the rules really gets rid of that, and while there are still good or bad units there’s a lot less room between them.

Named Characters

11 named characters, most of which you’ve never heard of cover the above 5 chapters + the Salamanders. Similar to named characters in any other book, Forgeworld has mandated a specific warlord trait for them, unfortunately that trait is Inspiring Leader from the core rulebook, so you’ll never actually want to make one of these characters your warlord.


Hecaton Aiakos is the clear winner here. He might be an Elite or an HQ (listed differently in the points values vs his datasheet), but either way he’s clearly worth taking. A WS/BS 2+ contemptor dread, he’s a 9 wound character, has a 4+ invulnerable save, and can do a few mortal wounds when he completes a charge. He’s armed with a heavy plasma cannon and dreadnought close combat weapon, and only costs 20 points more than an equivalently armed relic contemptor. As a bonus, he doesn’t have Martial Legacy, so won’t be costing you a CP to field.


Imperial Fists converted Carab Culln Leviathan Dreadnought
Imperial Fists converted Carab Culln Leviathan Dreadnought. Credit: Jack Hunter

Carab Culln takes most of the generic leviathan nerfs (see below), and also loses out on both his feel no pain aura and most of the interest from the death-hold special rule – it no longer lets you hit for mortal wounds and simply lets the heavy bolter fire with no penalty at units in engagement range. He is still the only leviathan remaining with WS and BS 2+, but even at his new lower points cost doesn’t offer much.

Bray’arth Ashmantle keeps his strength 8, but drops from toughness 9 all the way to toughness 7. His feel no pain drops from a 4+ down to a 5+, and his dreadfire heavy flamers lose a point of damage (though they do increase their range up to 12”). A bright point is his dreadfire claw switching from damage D6 to damage 4, but without the absurd durability he used to have, and without the choice of warlord traits, he’s not bringing much to the table.


Across the board most special rules have moved from being specifically written out on datasheets to referencing back to Codex: Space Marines. Though this does make it a little bit harder to read in the book, any future FAQ updates can be made in just one place, rather than risking some FW unit missing the change.


Terrax-pattern Termite Assault Drill
Terrax-pattern Termite Assault Drill
-Credit: Pendulin

Terrax-Pattern Termite. Already very good, the Terrax picks up several buffs that cement it as the premiere way to transport firstborn marines. Offensively, the melta cutter increased from d3 shots to 5 shots and picked up the new melta rules, and the termite drill loses the complicated mortal wound thing in exchange for a straight damage increase – d3+3 against most targets, and a colossal d3+6 against vehicles. Defensively, it gained 4 wounds – so toughness 8, 14 wounds, and a 3+ save. Transporting 12 models, you can bring in a full 10 man squad with character support, all while having tons of firepower – for a mere 180 points (or 190 with the even better Volkite side-weapons).

Wings: Seriously, this thing is off the charts good now, to the point where I wonder if the melta shots change is a typo – this seems to out-compete most main battle tanks, never mind transports.

Imperial Fists Deimos Vindicator Laser Destroyer
Imperial Fists Deimos Vindicator Laser Destroyer. Credit: Jack Hunter

Vindicator Laser Destroyer. A vindicator: cool. With a big laser: cooler. It got both cheaper and bump in firepower, making it an interesting option for someone who wants to go in on vehicles. The laser volley cannon defaults to being a better lascannon – three shots at D3+3 damage. It can also be overcharged, increasing strength and AP, as well as a jump to straight 6 damage, with the overcharge only potentially doing damage if you did not Remain Stationary. Much better than the past, where overcharge always did damage and staying still merely let you shoot volley fire twice.

Blood Angels Sicaran Omega
Blood Angels Sicaran Omega. Credit: Jack Hunter

Sicaran Omega. This tank was utter garbage ever since it released, being essentially a bunch of plasma guns that could overheat to have fewer shots. It’s much more interesting now – with 6 shots in either standard or supercharge, at strength 8, ap-3, and 2 damage in standard mode, bumping up to strength 9 and damage 3 when supercharged. Sicarans in general also bumped up to a 2+ save, making them surprisingly durable, and took a substantial points cut.


Relic Comtemptor Dread with Cyclone Missile Launcher and Volkites by Craig "MasterSlowPoke" Sniffen

Relic Contemptor Dreadnought. None of these losers should be at all surprising to anyone keeping an eye on what was showing up in competitive lists. Our two favorite dreads have decided to take a little break from carrying marine lists. If you’re familiar with the Codex: Space Marines relic contemptor datasheet you’re already familiar with this one – the only difference is new weapon options. It retains the CORE keyword, and if you arm it with a kheres assault cannon or multimelta and dreadnought close combat weapon it costs the same as the codex version (well, and an extra 1 CP cost….). It did pick up the ability to use the previously 30k exclusive Twin Volkite Culverin, a heavy 8 volkite gun. Cool, but nothing particularly good. Unless you’re set on bringing fancy weapon options, stick with the codex version.

Hellforged Leviathan Dreadnought
Hellforged Leviathan Dreadnought. Credits: That Gobbo

Leviathan Dreadnought. The big thicc dreadnought is somewhat more svelte now – it’s dropped from toughness 8 to toughness 7, and from WS/BS 2+ down to 3+ on both. Atomantic Shielding matches the contemptor, so only a 5+ invulnerable save rather than 4+, combining for an overall substantial drop in durability. There are some changes in weapons as well – stormcannon arrays trade 2 shots for an extra 12” range, melta lances gain blast but swap from 2d3 to d6 shots, and the grav-flux bombard doubles in shots and has a more standard grav weapon statline. As a bonus, leviathans can now take nipple volkite, rather than just heavy flamers. The melee weapons got a substantial shakeup too, the leviathan no longer loses attacks for taking guns, and instead always has at least 4 attacks – each siege claw gives an additional attack with that weapon, and the siege drill does 2d3 damage against most targets, or 6 damage against vehicles. All told, the leviathan takes a substantial hit to both offense and defense, balanced out by dropping all the way down to a base 220 points, and only up to 240 with the common double storm cannon loadout.

Whirlwind Scorpius. After all those words about the leviathan changes, this is a breath of fresh air. It lost the ability to shoot twice. That’s it. Weapon profiles and the stat line stayed exactly the same, it’s just firing half as many shots. It doesn’t cost half as many points – it’s dropped from 235 points down to 170.

Lords of War



Imperial Fists Astraeus Super-heavy Tank
Imperial Fists Astraeus Super-heavy Tank. Credit: Jack Hunter

Astraeus! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. After how nice and cheap and usable this was at the end of 8th, it still feels expensive as all hell. But usable. Definitely usable. To start with, it’s bumped up to 30 wounds. Void shields have also been completely redesigned and are no longer a confusing degrading not-invulnerable save. Each void shield is a 3 wound pool that has to be eaten through before the vehicle itself takes any damage, and that pool can’t overflow – so if a lascannon hits for 6 damage the void shield will absorb 3 damage, and the other 3 will just vanish. They also, while alive, provide a 5+ invulnerable save. An Astraeus has 2 void shields, so it has a nice little buffer before it starts taking damage. If one of the shields takes damage but isn’t destroyed, it’ll regenerate at the beginning of your command phase, which is cute but is unlikely to regularly happen in practice as most decent alpha strikes will go through both of the shields.

While the main gun remained essentially the same, both types of sponsons got a shakeup. Las-rippers bump up to 36” range, strength 9, and D6 damage, so they’re very nearly a twin lascannon, and the plasma eradicator trades a point of strength to upgrade from d3 to d6 shots, gain blast, and pick up a point of damage. Both options are now a pretty substantial firepower boost.

While not as inexpensive as it was at the end of 8th, if you can afford the 3 CP for a superheavy auxiliary detachment it’s totally usable.

Imperial Fists Fellblade
Imperial Fists Fellblade. Credit: Jack Hunter

Falchion/Fellblade As an unapologetic lover of all forms of BIG TANKs, I had to take a look at these too. They’re still not amazing – they dropped from being toughness 9 down to toughness 8, though picked up a bit of improvement in their guns. What’s awesome is that they dropped from costing 900-1000 points down to only 600, so can actually be used (if you can stomach spending 3 CP for a superheavy auxiliary detachment and an additional 1 CP for Martial Legacy).


None of them….and all of them. All of the big tanks are surprisingly usable for their points and could easily be seen in an army – if not for that 3 CP tax to take a superheavy auxiliary. In an edition that prioritizes having bodies to take objectives and keep your opponent off theirs, spending several hundred points on a single tank that’s going to have trouble moving around is already a tough sell, and adding a big additional CP cost is a tough pill to swallow.

Astra Militarum

Credit: BuffaloChicken

The Astra Militarum were the OG beneficiaries of Forge World units, and they retain a prodigious range, though some of their options have been archived off as part of this update (mostly very similar variants on existing units). The Death Korps also get a Regimental Doctrine and datasheets for their unique Death Rider models.

Death Korps

The Regimental Doctrine for Krieg was shown off on Warcom and is kind of eh – not really lighting up the world.

The good news, however, is that all the various flavours of Death Rider actually might, they’re good with strong Serberys Raider energy to them. The basic and command squad variants go up to three wounds a pop with a 5+ FNP for 15pts each, and get slightly improved in melee from their previous incarnation, with their mounts getting a point of AP on their attacks. The command squads are obviously the more desireable option, since they get an extra attack with no extra cost, and the good news is that you don’t have to include a Commander to be able to take them any more – each Commander just lets you take one without using a slot. Fast, durable-ish units that are OK in melee is absolutely something the guard range is badly missing for 9th, so it does feel like a Krieg Vanguard or Outrider to use some of these is a genuinely plausible option. All of them can outflank, too – even better.

Engineers are less exciting – they lose their weird super shotguns and are basically kind of boring. If you’re going Krieg, it’s because you love the models or want to declare cavalry charges!


There’s a bunch of stuff here that gets decent discounts or modest changes that make them a  bit more usable without pushing them over into true winners


Right out the gate, the Carnodon gets a minor discount and some extra wounds – nothing exciting, but nothing to sniff at either. The Cyclops also gets a minor discount out of the gate, and hilariously gains the ability to ride in transports (though can’t shoot on the turn it gets out, which limits the utility). All flavours of Malcador also go down a lot in cost, and while it probably doesn’t make them competitive, like a lot of things it stops them being as hateful to use. The Infernus puicks up a big functional improvement too, with its Inferno gun going up to 3d6 shots!

Medusas of all flavours get a more functional boost – some go up in cost slightly, but the damage on their big gun increases to d6, obviously very nice and much more scary to be up against when they’re well hidden.

Finally, the Hades Breaching Drill looks kind of great now – it’s been detached from the mandatory tag-along veterans, so you can take them as a separate squad as desired, and its melee attacks have been charged up, both getting d3+3 instead of d3 and being flat D3 against most targets and flat D6 against vehicles. Since Veterans have a real use case at the moment, this seems honestly fantastic. Someone at Forge World really loves drills.


Thunderers go down quite a bit in points, but lose Grinding Advance. Realistically, though they’re cheap you probably still want Leman Russes over them, since they get double the shots most of the time and can take Orders. They could be OK spammed with Gunnery Experts. The Valdor Tank Hunter is in a similar boar where it got a decent discount, but lost some oomph in exchange, and doesn’t really end up as a desireable package overall.

Trojans are the other huge loss. They no longer give hit re-rolls, instead repairing a vehicle and reloading any once-per-battle weapons. While the dream of reloading a Deathstrike is there, and re-upping hunter-killer missiles not totally irrelevant, we all know what this was used for – re-rolls on a Baneblade – and it doesn’t do that any more.

Lords of War

Realistically, the story is the same across the board here – these all get minor cost reductions and some get boosts to their weapons, making them all a bit more exciting to use, but probably not enough to overcome the limitations of their slot. The Stormblade and Praetor stand out a bit as both get a signifcant bump to their main guns, with the Stormblade going up a point of damage and the Praetor getting an extra D6 shots on the firetstorm mode. That probably still isn’t pushing them to the top tables.


Custodes Telemon Dreadnought
Custodes Telemon Dreadnought. Credit: CrabStuffedMushrooms

Shane: The Golden Boys come out mostly on top, which considering half of their unit choices are coming from this book, is quite important. There isn’t any massive rules changes, but some minor adjustments and a few buffs/discounts scattered around (or in the case of Venatari, a minor change with a HUGE impact).


Custodian Guard with Adrasite/Pyrithite Spears [CORE] : Pyrithite spears got the new melta rule of half range equals D6+2 damage, but also went up by 5 points, so a slight nerf overall. Adrasite Spears remain unchanged (and mostly garbage anyway).

Sagittarum Guard [CORE] : Same points, but apparently the bolter half of their gun was a heavy bolter, because now it is 2 damage. Nice buff, and considering they are my favorite troop unit, I am certainly not complaining.


Aquilon Custodians [CORE] : Fists and bolter is 5 points cheaper!?!?! A welcome an unexpected change, in addition to the fact that the Solerite Gauntlet is now flat 2 damage (fuck you D3 damage). The Firepike is now 15″ range, so a 3″ boost which is neat. Also the Adrathic option is slightly cheaper, so basically everything about Aquilon got better, except for the claw.

Galatus Dreadnought [CORE]: Down to 9 wounds from 10, but now doesn’t degrade. Also gained the -1D taken Dread ability we have seen the Marine Dreads get, got an extra base attack (reasons), and got 5 points cheaper. The “flamer” shooting profile is up to 12″ now, like most of the flamer archetype weapons. A nice little boost overall.

Achillus Dreadnought [CORE]: Got the main changes from the Galatus, 9 wounds, -1D taken, extra attack. The Dreadspear melee attack is now 3+D3 damage, vs D6 minimum 3, which is a nice boost, but it does lose Impaling Lunge so no more chance at mortals on the charge. Also the shooting attack on the spear is up to flat 3 damage, from D3 damage.

Fast Attack

Agamatus Custodians [CORE]: No weapon or stat changes, but the base chassis is 5 points cheaper which is swell. The Las Pulsar is a whole 20 points cheaper!?!?!?! So if you were debating trying it before, it is certainly more tempting now (but still D3 damage, ugh).

Venatari Custodians[ CORE]: Woo buddy, am I excited. The unit cost now is the same regardless of weapons (which makes pistol/buckler 5 points cheaper) AND both weapon load outs got a buff. The Venatari Spear is now flat 2 damage (fuck you D3 damage) and grants an extra attack. Even with that though, I still think pistol/buckler is going to be an auto include, because now a Venatari equipped with a buckler has a 2+ armor save. Wait, WHAT!?! Someone out there was listening, because this was always the fix it needed. So yeah, 2+ save, and 5 points cheaper for what you probably were already doing with this unit. BIG bonus.

Pallas Grav-Attack: Lost the -2 to charge grav ability, but is 10 points cheaper. Kept the FLY keyword, otherwise unchanged.

Heavy Support

Telemon Heavy Dreadnought: Besides the Plasma flamer bumping up to 12″ range, the stats/weapons are unchanged (still T8 baby, WOOOOOOOO). The double shooting Spiculus if you didn’t move ability moved to the weapon, so functionally the same, and gained the dread -1D ability. Notice it also isn’t CORE, so maybe no rerolls for you in the future. Also the only weapon that costs points now is the Arachnus Storm Cannon (which costs the same as before effectively), so every other weapon load out is cheaper now, which is cool.

Caladius Grav-Tank: Lost the -2 to charge grav ability, kept fly. Otherwise unchanged.

Dedicated Transport

Coronus Grav-Carrier: 15 points cheaper, lost -2 to charge and kept fly (like the other grav vehicles). Also randomly lost 1 point in base strength characteristic, not that is was any good in melee anyway. Nice that it is cheaper, but otherwise /shrug.


Orion Assault Dropship: Other than it has less attacks when degraded, entirely unchanged, same points etc.

Ares Gunship: ARES-GATE continues, with a 20 point increase, and the attack changes from the Orion. The only other change is to the bombs, which is drastically different. Now it can be done every turn (which is a pretty nice change), pick a spot on the board that it moved over, and every unit within 6″ takes D3 mortals on a 4+ (-1 to the roll for non vehicle/monster characters). So this makes the bombs way better against an MSU style list that huddles up as it moves around (see MARINES), but makes them much worse vs hordes. Depending on how the meta moves, this could help or hinder the Ares.


Venatari, Dreads, and Aquilon come out looking pretty damn good with the new FW book. All of them got boosts and points drops. 2+ save Venatari, wtfffffffffff.


Grav tanks and the Ares. Losing the grav rule hurts, especially against potential reserve charges. The Ares getting a points increase, and being potentially worse vs hordes could be a big deal in the long run. Time will tell.

Imperial Knights

Loyalist Knight Atrapos
Loyalist Knight Atrapos. Credit: Jack Hunter

If you’re a user of these it’s worth scanning through and checking for the addition of Blast on their guns – Knights missed out on the first pass of FAQs due to not being in the main indexes.


Acastus Knights drop to the point where you could squeeze one into a list a bit more reasonably, and gain some boosts to their guns in the form of Blast, but still really struggle to compete with Castellans.

The Magaera and Styrix both get a boost, with their siege claws gaining a sweep attack that’s straight up better than stomping feet, being flat damage three and otherwise identical. That’s seriously spicy, and since neither goes up in cost on that build and some of their guns get marginally better, these are a much more appealing option.


Other Cerastus-Knights are all only 12″ movement at top bracket now, which isn’t a huge thing, but it is still a nerf. Additionally they are now only 26 wounds instead of 27 (including the Lancer). Effectively this is the second movement nerf of the Cerastus variant (because reasons). On the plus side, almost all of them saw points drops, except the Castigator.

Grav Pulsar Moirax now only deal 3 damage vs 3+ save, as opposed to the 4 damage is was before. Not a huge change, but really impactful vs some targets. Additionally all the Moirax went down to 12″ movement like the Cerastus, again because reasons. At least they are 10 points cheaper now for every build except double claws (which stayed the same).


These certainly exist, and you can use them. However, we’re concerned that if we don’t make this statement Condit will kill us: Just play Titanicus instead.


Legio Xestobiax Reaver Titan
Legio Xestobiax Reaver Titan. Credit: Jack Hunter

All the titans are winners. They overly complicated old void shield rules have disappeared, now using the new rules we talked about for the Astraeus. Each titan has a different number of void shields, from warhounds with 2 up to warlords with 8. They all picked up a substantial number of wounds, with a warhound now having 50 wounds and a warlord 120, but dropped in toughness, with the warlord the only titan at T9. Weapons were all simplified, with the Macro weapon type no longer existing, and the Blast ability added where needed.


All the titans are losers (except the warhound). Any weapons that Forgeworld doesn’t currently make in 28mm are gone, so goodbye to reaver chainfists and carapace weapons that aren’t the apocalypse missile launcher and warlord carapace weapons that aren’t apocalypse launchers or laser blasters.

The Rest of the Imperium

Grey Knights get a variant of the Land Raider which has psycannons on it, for some reason with a different profile than seen on normal ones. Is that a hint of changes to come? Unsure, but in the meantime it is very much still a Land Raider, with all the problems that entails.

The Inquisition retain only their two Named Characters. Unfortunately, both of these get hit hard by being forced to take the Inspiring Leader warlord trait. Solomon Lok never really saw play anyway, but Hector Rex was a popular choice because of how high you could juice him when you added a trait. He’s still a respectable choice, as in trade-off for no longer getting to be a non-sensically good psyker he got stat boosts – better weapon skill, an extra wound and mortal wound resistance on his shield. He did also get what’s probably a downgrade in being declared a Terminator, but if you were planning on warping him in anyway it’s much of a muchness. He’s still got two casts and denies and is still way nastier/tougher in a fight than most equivalents, so may still be the one of the better inquisition options.

Finally, AdMech get the same incredibly busted improvements to the Termite as everyone else, and keep their two Secutarii datasheets. which get a few tweaks but don’t change massively.


Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Rob: Surprise! I’m here to talk about CHAOS! Moreso than almost any other faction, Chaos Space Marines have leaned on Forge World units to stay competitive in days gone by. While recently they haven’t needed them quite as much, there were certainly times when Hellforged Deredeos and Leviathans were big business, and I’ve run a Kytan Ravager on more than one occasion. Let’s look at how things shake out.

Chaos Space Marines

OK, there are three major things to note here. The first is that the units in the Chaos Space Marine section reference the <LEGION> keyword, and where they do, they tell you to refer to Codex: Chaos Space Marines. This means that until we see an FAQ or errata saying otherwise, these units are off-limits to Thousand Sons and Death Guard. For their part, Death Guard get their own section with a single unit immediately following, so there’s a good chance this is intentional and not just an error. If so, that sucks – Drills at least were something I’d have liked to see stick around in Death Guard armies, and the loss of them is a major blow to a lot of current competitive builds. RIP.

The second thing to note is that this section includes a single new Stratagem: The Smokescreen Stratagem from Codex: Space Marines makes an appearance here, allowing units with the relevant keyword (mostly tanks) to pop smoke when shot at for 1 CP instead of having that ability for free in a more proactive use way. This tradeoff is whatever right now; nothing you really want to take has Smokescreen.

The third big change is the inclusion of the Martial Legacy rule. Whereas before Chaos players could laugh at loyalists forced to play around unit restrictions thanks to the Relic rule, now we’re in the exact same boat as loyalists, in that many of the units that you might take from this book now cost you 1 CP to add to a detachment. This is incredibly bad; for some units it’ll just limit to your ability to include multiples but more than likely it’ll just make some units unplayably bad, since they’re likely to be overcosted before you include the CP. If there are units that I think are still worth it, I’ll note them below.

Note that all of these datasheets are considered to have the Hateful Assault rule since they “have all rules that apply to all Chaos Space Marines datasheets,” but it’s not listed on the datasheets here themselves, making it one of the more roundabout ways of doing this.

And now for the biggest gut punch: None of the Dreadnoughts listed here have the HELBRUTE keyword, meaning that until an FAQ corrects this, they don’t get legion traits. Yep! And add to that the fact that they now cost us CP and the same amount of points as the loyalist versions despite losing out on Legion Traits and Combat Doctrines and you’ve got a recipe for one salty Rob. Thanks, guys.


Alright let’s start with the cool stuff that only Chaos Space Marines get, instead of the things we share with loyalists.

  • Decimators get some of the biggest changes here, going from being an 8-wound model to a 12-wound one and getting a degrading profile for the trouble. They keep their 5 base attacks, but now degrade in Movement, starting at 9″ (instead of 10″), and dropping to 5″ with WS and BS of 5+. That’s not great! As (some) compensation, the Decimator has also gotten cheaper – it’s now 160 points with any of its loadouts save the Soul Burner Petard, where each one will add another 10 points to its cost. That’s pretty good! What about the weapons? Well, the Decimator’s guns have also changed. The butcher cannon is mostly worse – it’s S7 but AP-2 now, and no longer has any kind of special rules for reducing Ld on targets it kills. The C-Beam Cannon has gotten a complete overhaul – it now has three firing profiles, none of which require you to stand still. They all have blast and Heavy D3, and at 0-24″ you’ll shot at S6, AP-1 2 damage and increase that by +1 S, +1 AP, and +1 damage at 24-48″ and 48-72″. This is also worse on the whole, since it’s going to kill fewer things in hordes and is weaker at more than 24″ away. The storm laser and Hellflamer are unchanged, but Siege Claws are much nastier, now hitting at Sx2 instead of S+2. So fundamentally I think Decimators are a little worse, despite being cheaper and being a bit better with dual Claws. The extra wounds don’t quite make up for the degrading profile, but the 5+ invulnerable save and the ability to heal one wound per turn may still net out to make this an OK unit.
  • Dreadclaw Drop Pods may be the real winners of this update. The Dreadclaw is now 15 points cheaper – 115 points – and while it is sadly a Fast Attack choice and not a Dedicated Transport, it now has the Drop Pod Assault rule. That’s right, Chaos Space Marines now have a way to put a unit of models into reserves, then drop them on the table on turn 1. HALLELUJAH BROTHERS AND SISTERS. The Dreadclaw otherwise makes out very well; it drops to 9 wounds (whatever), but keeps its 4+ WS and 4 Attacks and its blade struts have improved to be Sx2 AP-4 3 damage weapons, meaning the Drop pod can zoom around and do a nasty 5 Attacks on the charge that hit at S12. Gone as well is the pistol form of Thermal Jets – now the drop pod can pick a unit it moved over in the movement phase and roll a D6; on a 2-5 that unit takes D3 mortals and on a 6 it takes D6. This is, all around, a MASSIVE set of upgrades that immediately make the Dreadclaw worth consideration in my opinion. It’s on the level of the Terrax in terms of being a valuable transport that can show up, deliver a unit (10 models, with the option for jump, obliterators, or terminators, or 1 Contemptor or Helbrute), but still stick around and be an incredibly nasty threat to enemy units after it does. I suspect these are gonna see some play. Note: There does currently seem to be a mistake in the drop pod assault wording here, as currently it’s missing the bit that lets the units immediately get out when it drops. Since it’s otherwise the same as other instances of the ability and has the same name, that’s almost certainly getting fixed in an FAQ
  • The Hell Blade is still around and loses its Helstorm cannons for a pair of twin autocannons. These have better range and offer 8 shots instead of 4, but trade out AP and damage and the ability to do mortal wounds. They’re S7 instead of S6 though. On the whole, it’s probably a neutral change and the Hell Blade keeps its 5+ invulnerable save. Inexplicably however, it loses Preternatural Manouevrability, which let it pivot twice when moving, for Supersonic, which prevents it from turning at all after the initial pivot. It also gets +1 wound and drops to 135 points, down from 150 if you were taking the Helstorm cannons. That’s a decent drop, and the Hell Blade may be decent enough to consider if you want to chase Engage on All Fronts.
  • The Hell Blade’s meatier cousin, the Hell Talon drops from 260 to 210 points with its weapons, though it trades its Helstorm cannon for a single Autocannon. Again, mostly an OK trade. The Hell Talon also gets the Supersonic rule and keeps its degrading profile, though now its BS can degrade all the way to 5+. It also trades its bombs for an ability called Infernal bomb, which lets you drop bombs on a unit as you pass over them once per game for a chance to do mortal wounds. Overall the Hell Talon seems to be bringing less to the table than the Hell Blade and so I don’t see much room for it even at a reduced cost.
  • The Blood Slaughterer drops down to a non-degrading 9W profile, which means it always gets to operate with 5 Attacks and 7 Strength now, as well as a 10″ move. You still get to pick between the harpoon or a second blade, and taking two blades gives you +1 attack. The harpoon is a little nastier now, as it halves movement on any target hit until the start of your next Shooting phase in addition to giving you +2 to charge rolls against that unit. The really good news is that this guy dropped 40 points in cost, and is now much more worth consideration as a buddy for something like a Lord Discordant. They also bump their BS up to 3+, so the harpoon isn’t such a bad deal, especially if you can get them that +1 bonus.
  • The Greater Blight Drone comes back, also with a new 9W, non-degrading profile, a 3+ WS,, +1 Attack, and the Disgustingly Resilient rule, making it significantly better despite the lower number of wounds (and statistically, 9W with a 5+ DR roll is better than having 12 wounds anyways) and the loss of regeneration. Its weapons have been tweaked: The Bile Maw now hits automatically and is an Assault D6 weapon with a S7 AP-1 1 damage profile that re-rolls wound rolls of 1. The Blightreaper Cannon is now 1 damage instead of 2. And the Plague Probe is 1 damage instead of D3. On the whole, these are somewhat brutal nerfs; losing multiple damage weapons is a big deal. HOWEVER, the drone also dropped by more than half the points, to 125 points per model, making this a fine trade-off and kind of a steal. As an added bonus, Death Guard Greater Blight Drones get the Nurgle’s Gift rule in Codex Death Guard (the 7″ aura that causes mortal wounds) and can be part of a Plague Company, at no additional cost, and their weapons gain the Plague Weapon keyword.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Alright, onto the shared units, I guess. Remember that these Dreadnoughts don’t currently get Legion Traits, since they aren’t INFANTRY, BIKERS, HELBRUTES, or CHARACTERS.

  • The Chaos Contemptor is back, and like its loyalist counterpart, it has a 3+ WS and BS now, though it no longer has a degrading profile and 9W base. It does pick up the Duty Eternal rule as Relentless Hatred (yay!), as well as the Martial Legacy rule (Boo!). It also loses the Hellfire Reactor, and now only has a standard 5+ invulnerable save, and it loses the extra attack for having two melee weapons (double boo!). The ranged weapons seem slightly better, though the list of names has changed to reflect the loyalist option and what the guns actually are, so your “Ectoplasma blaster” is back to being a Graviton blaster. On the whole I think this is a slight improvement, or possibly a side-grade. It’s also inexplicably costed the same as the loyalist version, as are all of these dreadnoughts.
  • The Chaos Leviathan gets the same tweaks as its loyalist counterpart, dropping to T7 and WS/BS 3+ with a 5+ invulnerable save. The butcher cannon array has been replaced with the storm cannon, which offers 1 less point of strength and no penalties to Leadership. You won’t lose attacks anymore for taking guns, and the siege claws give you extra attacks each, plus the drill can wreck vehicles. It’s also cheaper, down to a base cost of 220 points, which will go up to 240 if you take the storm cannons or 260 if you give it double melta lances. The melta lances are admittedly, a pretty interesting weapon now, though the grav-flux bombard is likely better for taking out most targets, and more efficiently costed.
  • The Chaos Deredeo Dreadnought sees similar tweaks, now costing 1 CP thanks to Martial Legacy while becoming worse at shooting. It also loses the butcher cannon arrays in favor of a weaker, S7 AP-2 D2 Anvillus battery, and it loses the greater havoc launcher, which is now just the Aiolos missile launcher and can’t shoot at targets it can’t see.
  • I was happy to see the Chaos Fire Raptor come down in cost from 450 points base to 340 before you take the quad heavy bolters or twin lascannons. No longer sporting a reaper autocannon profile, the flyer’s base Twin hellforged autocannons now fire at 48″ Heavy 4 S7 AP-1 2 damage, making them significantly better despite the reduced shots, and the upgrade to Quad Heavy bolters is worth considering. The flyer also comes with 2 twin Hellstrike launchers that have a nice Heavy 2 S8 AP-3 3 damage profile and against other AIRCRAFT they do +1 damage and D3+3 damage. The Fire Raptor also now has 2 more wounds to work with, giving it 18. The downside is that it can now degrade to a 5+ BS and it has that pesky Martial Legacy rule, but overall this is still better.
  • As we mentioned above, the Terrax-Pattern Termite got even better, despite its 180-point cost. Already very good, the Terrax picked up several buffs – the Melta Cutter is now 5 shots and does more damage as a melta weapon, and the Drill end now just does more damage instead of having a recurring roll for mortal wounds. Also it gained 4 more wounds.


The Dreadclaw Drop Pod and the Chaos Terrax Pattern Termite are the big winners here, both being nasty threats that help deliver Chaos Space Marines to the battlefield in interesting ways. I think they’ll kind of fight with each other for the same role, but both have their advantages. Greater Blight Drones are also way better, especially in Death Guard, despite losing the damage on their weapons. At 125 points per model, they’re almost a steal and I could very easily see them getting play in an outrider with lots of Myphitic Blight-Haulers.


The Dreadnoughts really eat shit here. Putting aside the insult that they cost the same as their loyalist counterparts, lacking the HELBRUTE keyword is a big problem and the added CP cost to bring them makes them more of a liability than anything.


Lords of War

The Lords of War are all kind of losers by virtue of there being no real way to slot them into an army now that the Supreme Command detachment has changed. it’ll rarely be worth it to spend 3 CP to take one.

Let’s start with my beautiful special explodey boy, the Kytan Ravager. The bad news is, the Kytan went up 10 points. The good news is, it gained 4 wounds. The bad news is, it now degrades in much more boring fashion, losing Movement, WS, and BS (dropping to 5+), but it doesn’t lose any Attacks or Strength, so at least there’s that. The Gatling Cannon is unchanged, and the Cleaver’s Slash profile gets a helpful boost moving to 2 damage from D3. Otherwise it keeps its 5+ invulnerable save, regeneration, and the ability to move over enemy models. On the whole, the Kytan is better as a unit, but still worse than it was in 8th edition because it’s a Lord of War and in 9th edition those are terrible if they can’t be your Supreme Commander.

Then there’s the Greater Brass Scorpion, which dropped 75 points while going up to 28 wounds It now also degrades in WS and BS, and so will always have 6 attacks to whiff with as it loses accuracy. The Hellcrusher claws have added a sweep mode for clearing out smaller units – very helpful – and the Scorpion cannon now fires 15 S5 1 damage shots instead of 10 S6 2 damage shots. the Soulshatter Bombard is just a Demolisher Cannon now, and the Hellmaw Flame cannons are Assault and have a 12″ range. Ultimately, it’s a stronger unit, but it’s still a Lord of War.

Next, what if you want an incredibly stupid super-sized Lord of War drop pod? The Kharybdis Assault Claw might be for you. This works similarly to the Dreadclaw, but can carry up to 20 INFANTRY models instead, and mounts the equivalent of 10 missile launchers for some reason. It also has a much more sturdy defensive profile, and an improved version of the thermal jets rule for stuff it flies over. Having to use a Lord of War slot on this is, obviously, kind of terrible, but it’s also extremely hilarious, and has been pushed hard enough cost wise to make it at least fun to use.

The rest are what they are. The tanks are OK but they’re still Lords of War and while they may come across as somewhat usable, the CP cost to take them just isn’t worth it.


I mean most of them are better. But…


…they’re still Lords of War.

Also, R.I.P. All of the Forge World Chaos Space Marine characters, including the Chaos Hellwright, on and off his Dark Abeyant. I’ll have to use my converted tech priest as a Warpsmith I guess.

Death Guard and Thousand Sons

The Death Guard get the Blight Drone, which is pretty cool, but nothing else. That makes them kind of losers overall. The Thousand Sons appear to get nothing, which sucks.



Uraka, Cor’Bax, and Mamon return, as well as some of the really big greater daemons.


Enh… the smaller daemon princes here seem OK but not great. Cor’bax isn’t bad, but he’s not exciting, either.


The big greater daemon models are still neat, but you aren’t really going to field them. These rules are better than what we used to have, and their costs do sit in a more realistic range than before, but paying 3 CP to take a greater daemon with no exalted abilities is weak sauce. If any of them have game it’s probably Scabeiathrax, who benefits from having a whole bunch of nasty offensive options while being durable for their new cost.

Also RIP Samus, who has been consigned to the Legendary dustbin of history.


Chaos Knights

Cerastus Knight-Castigator
Cerastus Knight-Castigator. Credit: That Gobbo

Shane: No major rules changes, mostly sweeping points drops.


Acastus Knights! Both Acastus variants saw a massive 100 points drop.

Cerastus-Knight Lancer saw not only a 20 points drop, but also gained a souped up melee attack profile for when it charges. Also it still moves 14″, see the Loser section.

The Magaera and Styrix both get a boost, with their siege claws gaining a sweep attack that’s straight up better than stomping feet, being flat damage three and otherwise identical. That’s seriously spicy, and since neither goes up in cost on that build and some of their guns get marginally better, these are a much more appealing option, especially as Iconoclasts.


Other Cerastus-Knights are all only 12″ movement at top bracket now, which isn’t a huge thing, but it is still a nerf. Additionally they are now only 26 wounds instead of 27 (including the Lancer). Effectively this is the second movement nerf of the Cerastus variant (because reasons). On the plus side, almost all of them saw points drops, except the Castigator.

Grav Pulsar Moirax now only deal 3 damage vs 3+ save, as opposed to the 4 damage is was before. Not a huge change, but really impactful vs some targets. Additionally all the Moirax went down to 12″ movement like the Cerastus, again because reasons. At least they are 10 points cheaper now for every build except double claws (which stayed the same).

Chaos Titans

Much the same as their imperial counterparts!


Wings: It’s Xenos time, and as the chief elf-liker/army understander, I’m taking the wheel from here, starting with Craftworlds.

All of these units follow the standard rules for their factions.


Credit: Wings


Out the gate as our first winner we have the Hornet, because all the reasons they used to be good have pretty much stayed the same or improved. The Hornet Pulse Laser has gone down in power a little (sidegrading to S7 but only two shots), but that build is correspondingly much cheaper, dropping to 90pts instead of 115pts. On top of that, the -1 to hit these is now just always on, rather than only when they advance. The other builds haven’t gone down as much as the HPL build, but with every build getting cheaper and a buff being applied to a unit that was already playable makes these the clearest, standout winner here.

Next up, I’m a bit more tentative on this but I think Shadow Spectres end up more attractive as a general pick than they used to be. Their weapons have been massively simplified, now having either an 18″ Assault d6 Blast mode that’s S5 AP-1 OR a 24″ Assault 1 S6 AP-3 D3 shot. On top of that, they got 1pt cheaper each, and got built in deep strike, and I think the latter point combined with the fact that their new big shots are perfect Gravis killers, especially under Expert Crafters, makes these worth a look. Fundamentally, you spend 130pts on a unit and they have a very strong chance of popping out of DS and immediately picking up 100pts+ of Gravis models. Given they can go after hordes very effectively as well, I think these have been priced pretty close to right. Their Phoenix Lord, Irrylith, is less exciting, mostly just being a damage dealer, but isn’t awfully statted for what he is, certainly looking more appealing than, say, Fuegan.

The Lynx also gets a substantial simplification and a cost reduction, and probably ends up more practical out of it. I don’t think it really fills a role Craftworlds need, but it can sit at extreme range and pick up targets pretty decently I guess?

The Skathach Wraithknight also gets a surprisingly huge amount of improvement, honestly shifting it straight to being much more worth considering than the regular one. The premium it pays for having built-in deep strike is massively lower than it used to be, and being able to deploy from the webway removes the worry about it getting punked straight off the board. The deathshroud cannons have also been augmented with Blast on both modes, and the big shots have also gone to flat damage two, while the inferno lance gains the new melta rule and is going to be able to deploy that straight out of deep strike. The deathshroud build feels like the play, and the fact that this loadout is over 120pts cheaper than in CA is kind of mind boggling. It probably still doesn’t cross the line to being actually good, but I’m certainly looking at the arms of my largest robot son contemplatively. In Lords of War land the Cobra and Scorpion also both got respectable point cuts and are better than they used to be, but probably still don’t have a serious role in lists.

Finally, the dark horse that I am hoping doesn’t turn out to go anywhere – of the units in this book with “titan” in their name, the Revenant Titan is probably closest to being decent in a Strike Force game. This is because it is “only” 1500pts, leaving you enough leftovers to put something in your list to contest objectives, and its statline is a wild ride. While it only has 32W, it’s got T9, a built in 4++ against shooting and the right keywords for Lightning Fast, making it extremely non-trivial to kill at range, especially if you stick Fortune on it as well. Any turn you get to play with it is extremely stupid – it has a casual 30″ move so can essentially teleport around the battlefield with impunity, its weaponry and melee threat are dangerous and broadly applicable, and to cap it all off it’s a MONSTER rather than a VEHICLE, shutting down some armies’ answers to it. Ultimately, it does still get hard-countered by some flavours of hordes, and any game played with it is going to be a knife edge of making sure you don’t get charged by a melee killing machine, but in a similar way to the Tau’nar in 8th I can see people picking it up and running it to 3-2 finishes or the occasional 4-1.

The Massive Sidegrade

I had emotionally prepared myself for this, but it looks like I will, in fact, be needing to change the paint scheme on my Wraithseer before putting it on a tournament table even once, as they have completely changed – but at least not necessarily to the point of being unusable. The key difference is that they’re no longer HQs or Characters, so extremely stupid combos involving relics and warlord traits are banished to the shadow realm. They now sit in the Heavy Support slot, and thus need to shine on their own merits. The good news is they might do OK at that – up front, they are now a real psyker, getting access to smite and knowing one power from the Rune of Battle discipline. Being able to drop in a caster from this discipline without having to use an HQ slot on a Warlock is something that can plausibly come up. It also helps that the statline is still fine – they’ve gone to 9W rather than 12, but are at least non-degrading, and get the always-on ability to ignore AP-1, a nice extra upside. The free Wraithcannon option vanishes into the mists, but the spear gets a damage bump (to d3+3) and the ability to take a D-Cannon remains. The points have gone up a little, but taking everything together I think there’s still a unit here, just sitting in a very different role than we used to see. Also, if you really want something dead in melee you can choose to swap out Smite for Witch Strike and just absolutely go to town on them.


Kind of “everything else”. The Warp Hunter is still way too expensive for how fragile it is, while the Nightwing gets a weird makeover from “undercosted cheap option” to trying to be a heavier flyer, and there just isn’t a slot for what it’s doing. The Phantom Titan is also a loser – obviously it’s not playable in Strike Force games, but even if you find yourself wanting to spend 3000pts on Titans in a game you’re better taking two Revenants, as they’re vastly more efficient. Finally, the Wasp Assault Walker is just gone, which is a blow to some configurations of Expert Crafter go-wide builds, as you lose the option of essentially taking three more deep-strike War Walkers.


Drukhari only have two options, and they’re both kind of fine. The Reaper has been dialed back a bit from its absurdly pushed position in Chapter Approved, going up a few points and being standardised to the Raider profile, but it keeps the ability to be Covens so can still abuse Dark Technomancers to your heart’s content, with the “big” profile of the main gun even getting a damage boost. Meanwhile, the Tantalus gets a huge price cut in exchange for trading out the weird warlord no one cared about and is also pretty strong as Covens. Still probably not durable enough for how hard it is to hide and the cost, but much, much closer to something you want.



Innocuous but also undeniably winners we have Tetras, which trade out their “one shot, three tokens” markerlight for a markerlight that just has heavy 3, while going down 5pts each to boot. Definitely seem fine here, as you reduce the variance risk a lot. Remoras are also easy winner, because they get two seeker missiles for free, more wounds, and are always in cover – just huge boosts all round with no cost increase.

Of the various suits, the R’varna feels like the big winner. It changes a reasonable amount – the weapon goes to D2 rather than D3 but the Nova charge mode is now just a flat 9 shots per fun (so 18 total), it goes up to S7 when you Nova it, and the whole package has come down a cool 110pts. At that point, slap an ATS on it and the main guns are straight up better heavy burst cannons on a chassis that’s tougher than a Riptide, so while you do trade off a bit of flexibility, it’s at least a usable option. Hazards also seem OK – they get a substantial point cut in exchange for losing a single wound and that’s probably a net positive, just about.


Unfortunately for Tau players, the Y’vahra finally gets knifed in the back, fulfilling a long-held vendetta festering in the hearts of many players who ran up against them in early 8th when they were actually good. Like the R’varna, they do get a massive point cut, but here it comes with correspondingly massive decrease in capabilities. Most notably, the damage of both modes of the flamer has gone down to one, and the other gun has lost AP and the ability to deal MWs to vehicles, and there’s really nothing else here that’s going to make up for that.

The big fliers all get slammed to BS4+ without much changes in their prices, and that’s a pretty bad look for them. Sadly, the loss of the OG FW index habit of just slapping BS2+ on everything big hits Tau among the hardest.

Last for this section, the Ta’unar almost certainly works out as a loser. It does get cheaper, dropping to 1000pts, but the BATTLESUIT keyword is nowhere to be found on its datasheet, leaving without its primary means of defending itself. It does still have an incredibly silly amount of firepower, some guns even getting better than before, but it also drops to BS3+, and I think honestly the dream is probably dead. It had a good run.


Seraptek Construct
Seraptek Construct. Credit: Kamichi


The Necron Tomb Stalker and Tomb Sentinel both get big point cuts and some marginal melee weapon improvements, and while they lose a point of BS/WS, realistically any list that uses them is going to be leveraging their ability to drop in next to a Technomancer with a control node anyway, so that’s easily mitigated. The Sentinel has historically been the better unit, but the Stalker is now so cheap that I actually might give it the nod as the superior option just as a throwaway push unit. Acanthrites also get a decent point cut to pay back their loss of BS, and definitely end up as a better unit out of it, even if I struggle to see myself ever taking them over more Skorpekh.


Out of the other units, the Tesseract Ark also got cheaper (especially if you swap the cannots to particle beamers) but it’s tough to say if it truly ends up as a winner because of the change to Quantum Shielding, which is definitely a major downgrade on it. It gets a 4++ to compensate, but I’m not sure that gets it back over the line into lists with all the cool new options to compete with.


Sadly, the Seraptek construct is a loser, getting toned down in power on pretty much every axis and then going up in points.I’ve got nothing here – this model is awesome and deserved better.


Credit: Greg “Greggles” Hess

Most Ork vehicles that are tank-style, along with Mega and Meka dreads, gain the Ramshackle rule from Trukks, giving them a chance to reduce incoming damage to 1 on a roll of a 6. The Kannonwagon and Kustom Stompa are the two that miss out, but it’s nice for the rest.


First up, the Warboss on Warbike revs his motorcycle and pulls a sick wheely straight out of legends prison – mostly. The one sting in the tail here is that he’s returned with the Speedwaaagh! ability rather than regular Waaagh!, meaning that you need an alternative boss if you want to buff up infantry. Given how good Ghaz is that isn’t a massive ask, and this guy importantly can still take Da Killa Klaw, has the right keyword to be Da Biggest Boss if you aren’t packing Ghaz, and has gained a point of toughness (T7!) as well. Fundamentally, the ability to build yourself an incredibly deadly melee missile at a cut-down price is restored, so I guess enjoy that! Riding back into battle behind him are Nobz on Warbikes, and these aren’t really priced to move but having the option is strictly better than now.

The Meka-Dread and Mega-Dread both get quite a lot cheaper and that definitely works in their favour – they don’t have as many weird and wonderful options, but their defensive profile is just way more proportionate to their price if you feel like taking them.

The Kustom Stompa gets its cost brought more in line with a standard one, which is a relief, and its Stompa lifta-droppa gets an absurd boost, going to 4d3 shots instead of 2d6, rolling 3d6 against T to wound and now doing d3+3 damage at AP-4 instead of just a single mortal. Since you can double gun these, you definitely want to take this variant if you’re planning on doing silly things with Visions in the Smoke, it’s vastly better than the mainline one for that role.

Finally, for winners, the Kill Tank looks surprisingly pushed at its new price, coming down 100pts for the bursta cannon build and a mighty 155 for the giga-shoota build. At that point, given their defensive profile and the fact that they can just flatten stuff in melee, I think there’s a plausible argument for trying three of these as a silly gimmick build. That’s especially true because…


GW noticed that the Gargantuan Squiggoth had no business being as cheap as it was, and have substantially hiked the price. It gets a few compensatory improvements, but nothing that makes up for the scale of increase on a unit where the appeal was how cheap slamming three on the table was.


Credit: BuffaloChicken


The Malanthrope wins because it gets to continue to exist, and is even slightly improved in exchange for a 15pt increase. Most notably, its aura now has a 6″ radius, making it even easier to use it to shield your forces. If you’d asked us to pick units that were at real risk of just getting nuked from orbit in a re-write this would have been high on the list, so it getting to keep doing its thing, only even better, is a huge relief for nid players.

Sky Slasher Swarms also get a bump – their stats and costs are unchanged, but they get built in deep strike. Pure upside is the best kind of upside.

Moving over to cool giant monsters, the Dimachaeron gets an astounding glow-up. It’s tougher, it’s way meaner on the offence, it starts with its 5++ and grows a 5+++ as well if it devours something and only pays an extra 20pts for the privilege. An all around good time here, and a genuinely nasty wrecking ball for Tyranid players. Both Hierodule builds get massive discounts too (and sit in the Heavy Support slot), and the Scythed option ends up in a pretty similar spot to the Dimachaeron, though I’d probably give that monstrosity the not because of its invuln and mobility tricks (though to be fair if you have a slot free to put Dermic Symbiosis on the Hierodule it’s probably better). The Barbed is a pricier beast, but has some mean guns and a 2+ save, making it a spicy Greater Daemon tier hitter.

Finally, in terms of really big mean things, the Hierophant is an actual unit you can kind of take now, down to 850pts instead of its previous, comical 2K price tag. I absolutely do not think doing so is a good idea for your army, but it’s in a similar spot to a few other things now where it probably is roughly costed right for what it can do, it’s just that factors of the mission design still keep it non-competitive.


Really only Stone-Crusher Carnifexes here – they can’t be taken as broods any more and went up a bit in cost when they probably didn’t need to. Boo.

Next: Some Deeper Dives

Look, there’s a ton of content to cover here and we’ve barely scratched the surface. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be diving much deeper into these new rules and how they shake things up for each faction – and make no mistake, they shake things up in some pretty big ways. So stay tuned for those articles and in the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.