Just when we thought we were done rushing to bang out content about 9th edition, Games Workshop dropped another bombshell on us with the release of their 9th edition Warhammer 40,000 FAQs. More than a hundred pages of releases covering every faction, bringing them in-line with 9th edition wording, and making some tweaks. There’s an absolute ton to cover and if you find the idea of going through it to be daunting, well we agree! That’s why we shackled all of our Goonhammer staff to their desks and forced them to work on this massive updates post that covers all of the major updates with some light commentary.
We’re giving cliff’s notes here, so if you want the full wording and all the detail be sure to head over to Warhammer Community for the FAQs themselves. And we’ll be covering the changes and their impact in more detail in our Faction Focus posts, starting this week.
OK, let’s dive in.
- Rules referencing 1” now refer to Engagement Range instead, i.e. “set this model up within 6” of the unit and more than Engagement Range from any enemy models”
- Abilities that allowed a unit to ignore the penalties for moving and shooting heavy weapons such as Power of the Machine Spirit and Tri-tracked have been removed/deleted.
- Abilities that allowed targeting characters that weren’t the closest visible models now instruct you to ignore the Look Out Sir rule. Actually a little bit of meat to this change – previously snipers would ignore rules like the Cryptothrall’s Protectors aura or the effects of the Death Guard Cloud of Flies Stratagem; however these rules now prevent the targeting of a character.
- Open-topped vehicles have been changed to amend the following to models inside: “‘When they do so, all restrictions and modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its embarked models.’. In addition, they gained this line: ‘While this transport is within Engagement Range of any enemy units, embarked units cannot shoot, except with any Pistols they are equipped with.’
- Psychic Powers that have the same name are considered to be the same power, regardless of rules text. This is referenced in the FAQs for Codex: Daemons, Death Guard, and Chaos Space Marines.
- Some weapons that gained the Blast rule got notes in their faction FAQs referencing this. Mostly Vindicators.
- Modifiers to hit or wound of more than +1 are still around; these are considered prior to the final modifier value. That is, if you had a rule that gave you +2 to hit and the enemy model had one that gave -1, your final to hit modifier is +1.
- Many abilities that gave you +1 to your armor save now give you +1 to your saving throw instead. This helps avoid the “2+ invulnerable save” issue that would occur if you ended up with a 1+ save.
- Several units with FLY-like abilities, such as Necron Canoptek Wraiths, have received updated abilities that allow them to move horizontally through models and terrain as long as they don’t end up on another model while making a Normal Move, Advance, Fall Back or Charge. As worded, these don’t work – they don’t let you ignore engagement range (though will while falling back because that’s an intrinsic part of doing so), so while you could move through an enemy model if you reached them, you can never get within an inch in the first place. This is something that GW needs to fix.
What’s Not Here
There are several things still missing from this that we’ve been waiting on. The big ones are FAQs and Errata for Saga of the Beast, Engine War, War of the Spider, and Pariah. So if you’re still waiting to know if Ulrik can chant litanies, you’ll unfortunately need to keep waiting.
The other notable one is that Thousand Sons and Grey Knights didn’t gain an exemption to the escalating cost of Smite. Them avoiding it before was baked into the specific wording of Psychic Focus as it was added in 8th, and now it’s a core rule they need some sort of faction ability for it again.
Changes by Faction
Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle)
The Adepta Sororitas get a major change that brings them in line with 9th edition – the big one being that the Triumph of St. Katherine counts as a 9W model for the purposes of interacting with terrain.
- In a rule we were all kind of asking for, the Triumph of St. Katherine has received errata stating that it counts as 9W not 18W for the purposes of terrain traits. This is a huge adjustment that ensures the unit may actually be usable in 9th edition.
- Mortifiers’ Blaze of Agony no longer allows you to fire Heavy Flamers as Pistol D6, which makes sense given that being in combat you can still fire the heavy flamers just fine.
- The Battle Sanctum has been defined as an Area Terrain feature with the Breachable, Heavy Cover, Light Cover, and Scalable traits.
- Devout Serenity now auto-passes Combat Attrition tests.
Adeptus Astartes / Space Marines (Codex + Faith & Fury + Supplements)
These changes are spread over several documents, so we’re covering them here where they’ve been broken out. Many Space Marine units got slight wording adjustments to bring them in line with 9th edition terminology and rules – snipers now ignore the Look Out, Sir rule for example, and rules refer specifically to Engagement Range. Chaplain Litanies have not been moved to the Command Phase (yet), leaving the Indomitus Chaplain as the “odd man out” in that sense while other Chaplains chant their litanies at the start of the battle round.
Nothing changed in the Iron Hands or Salamanders supplements, and the Raven Guard FAQ exclusively has new wording referring to ignoring the Look Out, Sir rule.
Edge of Silence
The really big changes here make it clear that wargear and weapons/equipment rules that appear in Edge of Silence do not apply to other units outside the book, and change the wording on new storm shields to avoid the “2+ invulnerable save problem” that the previou rule created by improving a unit’s save to 1+ (the current rule now gives the bearer +1 to their saving throws instead).
- Primaris Lieutenant, Other Wargear, storm shield, Abilities Change this to read: ‘The bearer has a 4+ invulnerable save. In addition, add 1 to armour saving throws made for the bearer.’
- Edge of Silence book clarification for wargear changes: “Please also note that while some weapons and other items of wargear (e.g. storm shields) appear in other places with slightly different rules, the rules for them that appear in Edge of Silence should not apply to other units – you should continue to use the rules as printed in your current Codex for the time being.”
Codex: Space Marines
- The Land Speeder Storm joins the rest of Open-topped vehicles in that the movement of the vehicle affects the shooting of models within and embarked models can only shoot pistols while the vehicle is within Engagement range of enemy units.
- The Indomitable Successor Chapter Tactic now has you auto-pass Combat Attrition tests.
- The Big Guns Never Tire Stratagem no longer exists.
- White Scars can now advance without penalty for any Chapter Tactic models, not just bikes. A minor bonus.
- Master of Snares won’t work on models with a minimum move characteristic.
- The Calm Under Fire Warlord trait has been tweaked so that you don’t incur a -1 penalty to hit rolls after you make a Fall Back move.
- Defensive Focus now allows you to fire Overwatch without using the Stratagem and the units that do so cannot fire Overwatch again in that phase, so you can’t double-dip using this and the Fire Overwatch Stratagem.
- If you kill the vehicle that Sergeant Chronus commands, you don’t score any objectives related to slaying the Warlord until you kill the Chronus model that’s set up afterward.
- Captain Lysander’s Icon of Obstinancy now lets friendly IMPERIAL FISTS models within 6” automatically pass Combat Attrition tests.
- The wording on the Architect of War Warlord trait has been updated to give +1 to armour saving throws against ranged attacks with an AP of -1, helping avoid save issues. The same has been done for the Bolster Defences Stratagem.
Faith and Fury
There’s only one notable change in Faith & Fury that doesn’t fall within our targeting/general updates, and that’s for the Black Templars:
- Devout Push can affect a unit that isn’t within Engagement range of any enemy units. This is pretty silly, and is guaranteed to only have silly consequences.
There are a few substantive changes to Custodes, with the funniest being the change to Power of the Machine spirit, which makes the Vengeance of the Machine Spirit rule nearly worthless.
- Trajann Valoris’ Moment Shackles previously let you refund up to d3 CP after using a stratagem once per game. This has been updated to making the next stratagem used cost 0 CP. This has two implications. First, this is no longer random which means you’ll always get the max CP back. Second, because this doesn’t gain you CP you can stack this with other effects that generate CP to actually come out ahead. This is a significant buff to an already strong model and makes Stooping Dive and Vexilla Teleport Homer even better.
- Power of the Machine Spirit has been deleted from Custodes vehicles. This was already noted above but has special meaning for Custodes thanks to the new Vengeance of the Machine Spirit Stratagem from War of the Spider, which allows a vehicle with the Power of the Machine Spirit rule to auto explode or shoot or fight one more time. Because this rule has been deleted from the relevant datasheets, the Stratagem is now nearly worthless. I say “nearly” because it still works on the Calladius, which hasn’t received errata or an updated datasheet yet.
- Auric Shackles also loses the extra VP gain, but that looks like it’s just removing a vestigial effect that doesn’t work with the new missions.
Admech take a big hit in the FAQ with the change to some of their weapons:
- All 6+ to score additional hits verbiage on weapons has changed to unmodified 6s. This means exploding on 4+ taser goads or Electrostatic gauntlets are a thing of the past. It’s not as bad as it could be, given that stacking multiple modifiers was just removed, but it still hurts.
- Questor Mechanicus Knights get the same upgraded language as other knights, allowing them to move over models with Normal Moves and Advancing.
- Rage of the Machines allows a vehicle to ignore penalties for Advancing and firing an Assault Weapon or a cognis weapon.
Just a couple of changes to cover here:
- Valhallan’s Grim Demeanor has been changed to affect Combat Attrition tests (since Morale tests can no longer cause a unit to lose more than one model).
- Tallarn’s Swift As The Wind now allows vehicles with this Regimental Doctrine to treat its Heavy weapons as Assault when they Advance.
Blood Angels (Codex + Blood of Baal)
Blood Angels get all of the standard Space Marine adjustments we’ve already detailed, such as the modifications to armour saving throws, ignoring Look Out, Sir, and Open-topped transports. There is one notable exception from Blood of Baal, however:
- Librarians in Phobos Armour know Smite and can pick to have two powers from the Obscuration Discipline or two powers from the Sanguinary Discipline, opening up their options and bringing them in line with standard marines and Dark Angels.
There isn’t much to say about Chaos Daemons, who are really waiting on errata and FAQ updates from the Engine War supplement.
- A unit that is “completely within” 7” of any Feculent Gnarlmaws gets the benefits of cover from them, and that benefit is the benefit of Light Cover as outlined in the 9th edition Core Rule Book, i.e. +1 to armour saving throws. Also, you get an extra +1 to armour saving throws against ranged attacks allocated to models in these units.
- Be’lakor can only have the Inspiring Leader Warlord Trait from the Warhammer 40,000 Core Rule Book.
Chaos Knights get the same buff Imperial Knights got, plus they retain their CP rule for Lances so you can run mono-knight armies with 12 CP.
- Like with their Imperial counterparts, Despoilers, Tyrants, Desecrators, and Rampagers can now walk over other models (ignoring Engagement Range) in a Normal Move, Advance, or Fall Back as long as it ends its move outside of Engagement Range, not just in Fall Back moves as before. This is a significant good change that increases the mobility of these big units.
- If your Warlord has the CHAOS KNIGHTS keyword, then CHAOS KNIGHTS Super-heavy detachments gain the following benefits: “Select one of the following: +3 CP if your Warlord is part of this Detachment or +6 CP if your Warlord is part of this Detachment and has the TITANIC keyword.” This is something we theorized a while ago as the way for Chaos Knights to get around the costs of a Super-Heavy detachment and helps ensure that mono-knight armies will have the CP they need to compete.
Chaos Space Marines (Codex + Vigilus Ablaze)
Prayers to the Dark Gods haven’t been changed to happen in the Command Phase, so they’re still happening at the start of the battle round. This is good news for Dark Apostles hoping to chant Benediction of Darkness before being shot at. Dark Disciples also got an adjustment to their Followers ability, but note that this change was only documented in the Vigilus Ablaze FAQ.
- The Warptime psychic power can no longer target AIRCRAFT.
- If a Helbrute uses the Fire Frenzy Stratagem and the nearest visible enemy is subject to the Look Out, Sir Rule while another enemy is closer but not visible, you target the closest visible target that isn’t protected by the Look Out, Sir rule.
- You can re-summon named Daemon characters who have been killed earlier in the battle, provided you pay reinforcement points for them.
- Dark Disciples’ Followers ability was updated – Models can’t target a <LEGION> Dark Disciples unit with ranged weapons while that unit is within 3” of friendly <LEGION> Dark Apostle units, unless they’re visible and the closest enemy unit to the firing model, and ignore CHARACTER models with 9 or fewer wounds when determining if the target is the closest enemy unit. This expands their range from 2” to 3”, though note that the range on the Relic of Corruption ability that gives a Dark Apostle +1 to chanting prayer rolls still has a range of 2”.
- The Unstoppable Assault Stratagem still gives you a +2 to hit, it’s just that the final modifier can only be +1. So if you used it to attack a model that give you -1 to hit, your final modifier is +1.
- Saim-hann bikes can now advance and shoot heavy weapons as assault weapons. Not sure the -1 penalty makes this any good but it does add mobility for Vypers I guess.
- Crystal Targeting Matrix similarly allows vehicles to advance and then treat heavy weapons as assault. Compared to 8th this effectively means vehicles can move further and still shoot, so it’s a solid change.
- Battle Focus doesn’t get an FAQ that it probably needs – in 8th it let you use Pistols and Grenades after advancing, but this falls through the cracks of the exact wording of how you choose units to shoot in the new edition. This needs to be looked at.
Dark Angels (Codex and Psychic Awakening + Vigilus)
The vast majority of the Dark Angels changes are actually in the Ritual of the Damned FAQ, and are straight copies of what Codex: Space Marines got – so light stratagem/ability trimming and some standardized language around Look Out, Sir and Engagement Range.
- The Master of Mobility warlord trait from Ritual of the Damned lets anything within 6” of your warlord Advance and treat Heavy as Assault (and also not take the -1 from Advancing). So have fun stacking speeders around Sammael or a Talonmaster and ripping around at 20”+ with a 4++ and hitting on 3s, I guess. This is incredibly good and worth building around.
- Units with Grim Resolve auto-pass Combat Attrition tests, which is an elegant way of making it work exactly the same way it did before – you still lose the one model to failing the Morale test, but you can’t lose any more than that. Still worthless on single-model units, but that’s not new.
- The Swiftstrike Stratagem from Vigilus Defiant can no longer affect Aircraft.
Death Guard get some minor tweaks to their Codex 0 the most notable is the clarification on Cloud of Flies that will protect you from Snipers, but missing from this are any errata/clarifications to the new rules from War of the Spider, so you’re still out of luck if you want to have Warlord Traits or relics from a plague company different to your Warlord’s.
- Miasma of Pestilence from Codex: Death Guard is treated the same as the power of the same name from Codex: Daemons
- If you add Poxwalkers to a unit with the Curse of the Walking Pox or The Dead Walk Again rules and doing so would bring them above starting strength, you have to pay reinforcement points for them.
- A character receiving the benefit of Cloud of Flies cannot be targeted by a unit with an ability that would otherwise allow it to ignore the Look Out, Sir! Rule.
Several changes to Deathwatch, with the big ones being movement-related.
- Veterans that include a Vanguard Veteran can now move horizontally through models and terrain features when doing a Normal Move, Advancing, Falling Back, or making a charge move, so long as they don’t finish a move on top of another model or its base. See our note at the beginning on this rule and Engagement Range.
- Intercessors get the same rule when they include an Inceptor.
- Synaptic Severance has been updated to allow you to ignore the Look Out, Sir rule when targeting a SYNAPSE unit.
- Overkill is now used when a Necrons unit within 12” of a Deathwatch unit uses its Reanimation Protocols ability.
Drukhari get a lot of changes by volume, but the vast majority cover two cases. The first is the standard sniper change, the second is that all the weapons and relics that previously had “super poison” and wounded on a 4+ with +2 to wound now just wound on a flat 2+ – an obvious but sensible change.
- Hunt from the Shadows and the Cult of the Cursed Blade get pretty standard changes to bring them in line with 9th.
- The only mildly irksome one is that the FAQ still includes the Open Topped wording of “When they do so, any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers”. This still causes weird issues with things that apply positive modifiers to the transport that wouldn’t normally be available to the passengers.
- Oh, also, Fire and Fade allows you to move an Asuryani unit after shooting. This is clearly a copy paste error, hopefully it gets a quick fix.
Not a huge amount here – largely things get updated to match 9th edition, with just one change with a potential wider implication.
- Cult Ambush gets the standard FAQ update it needs whenever the general rules for reserves change to make it clear that units set up under Ambush Markers aren’t Reserves or Reinforcements.
- They Came From Below gets a similar update, but mercifully they leave the restriction on not coming in later than turn three in.
- Brood Brothers get a change so that rather than halving command benefits, you now cannot gain any command benefits from them. There aren’t any immediately obvious ways to achieve this as stands anyway, but it’s good future proofing.
- The Hivecult and the Rusted Claw get changes to their Cult Creeds.
- The Hivecult now halve the number of models they lose to attrition, rounding down. That’s pretty useful – while you’ll lose the standard first model to morale, if after that you’ve only got a single model remaining you actually straight up can’t lose it – helpful if it’s on an objective
- The Rusted Claw get a replacement for the move and shoot for heavy part of their trait, allowing models that advance to treat pistols and rapid fire weapons as assault.
This needs more explaining because it’s actually wildly good. All Jackals come with an autopistol stock, and you can take an additional autopistol and shotgun as your weapon choices (shotgun/knife was the usual choice before). Because the pistols outright become assault when you advance, that lets them fire the two pistols and a shotgun, so end up with four S3 12” shots per model, which even at their increased cost is extremely good, especially with their PA strat. This goes a massive way to offsetting the point hit they took, at least for Rusted Claw, and keeps them worthwhile in that Creed specifically. Just remember you have to advance to turn on Kelermorph mode!
Finally (outside some standard sniper changes) the interesting one is the change to the Cult Reinforcements Q&A. This appears to answer a question I’ve (Wings) been wondering about since reading the new core rules, which is whether you can chain models out when adding them into an existing unit, or they still have to be in coherency with models that were there when you started the ability. It could have gone either way, because the general changes to coherency make it harder for hordes to tendril out, but this seems to indicate that the intent is still that you set up within coherency of models already there.
Nothing substantial here; Land Raiders and Stormravens lose Power of the Machine Spirit, while Personal Teleporters have revised language that allows them to move horizontally through enemy units and terrain features when making a Normal Move, Advancing, Falling Back, or making a charge move as long as they don’t end up on top of an enemy base. See our notes about this in the General changes section.
Harlequins’ ability to not-fly has been changed; it’s more akin to turning your harlequins into the “Kool-aid man” allowing them to ignore ANYTHING horizontally (except for engagement range whoops!) – see our notes on this in the General Changes section. Unless they’re a Solitaire making a blitz move in which case this ability does not activate because GW are forgetful like that. Or, as Wings put it, “once you’ve defined some move types that a lot of rules key off, inventing new move types is an incredibly bad idea.”
The big one here is that Questoris and Dominus knights can now walk over other models in a Normal Move, Advance, or Fall Back, not just in Fall Back as before. This is a significant and good change that increases the mobility of these big units.
- The Sacristian Forgeshrine becomes an Area Terrain feature after it is deployed with the Scaleable, Breachable, Dense Cover, and Defensible traits. Being Dense gives it some interesting considerations.
- Knight Lances retain the ability to modify Super-Heavy Detachments to give you +3 CP if your Warlord is in the detachment or +6 if your Warlord is in the Detachment and is TITANIC.
A few minor changes here, mostly bringing things in-line with 9th edition wording.
- Canoptek Wraiths’ Wraith Form ability has been updated to allow Wraiths making a Normal Move, Advancing, Falling Back, or making a charge move to move horizontally through models and terrain features until that move is finished. See our notes about these abilities in the general changes section. But note that this also removes their ability to Fall Back and shoot or charge in the same turn, nerfing them significantly.
- The Monolith loses the Floating Fortress rule and models that are set up with the Eternity Gate must be out of Engagement range. They still count as having disembarked.
- The Emergency Invasion Beam can now be used to set up units in the first battle round regardless of mission rules.
- Units set up with Eternity Gate and Invasion Beams on their tomb worlds count as Reinforcements for the purposes of mission rules.
Orks see several changes, including one we’d speculated would happen prior to 9th – abilities that set or change a model’s WS or BS rather than conferring a bonus to get around the fact that just giving a +1 or -1 to hit would be a major nerf.
- Deff Rolla changed to read “‘Each time an attack is made with this weapon, the bearer has a WS characteristic of 2+ for that attack.’” (It previously added +3 to hit roll which would of course not work correctly in 9th). This
- Shokkjump Dragstas, Grot Gunners, and Targetin’ Squigs changed to “each time this model makes an attack with its kustom shok rifle, this model has a BS characteristic of 3+”.
- Morka/Gorkanauts lost the ability to Fall Back and shoot in the same turn (and they are not TITANIC).
- Keepin’ Order has been changed to: ‘While a <Clan> unit is within 3″ of any friendly <Clan> units with this ability, each time a model would flee that unit as a result of a failed Morale or Combat Attrition test, roll one D6: on a 6, that model does not flee.’ ((Now affects Combat Attrition))
Nothing noteworthy for Space Wolves; we’re still waiting on Saga of the Beast to get an FAQ with the real meat for the faction. Otherwise they’ve got the same updated language as other Space Marine chapters.
Most of the T’au changes involve Tidewall fortifications, which is good for this writer because I don’t care about Tidewalls, so this will be easy.
- The Target Lock support system is now “Advance and fire Assault weapons without a -1 penalty to hit, and Advance and fire heavy/rapid fire weapons with a -1 penalty to hit.” This is better than it would have been, because the old version wouldn’t have done anything for Heavies in 9th, and it doesn’t change for the other gun types.
- The Ghostkeel’s stacking -1s to hit are confirmed not to do anything special, other than be able to balance out a +1 to still be a -1. OK.
- For The Greater Good is codified in here as It’s Free Overwatch, which is really dang good y’all.
- Saviour Protocols remain unchanged. Get mad, stay mad.
- A lot of changes to standardize language around Engagement Range and Look Out Sir, but nothing unexpected.
Thousand Sons (Codex + Psychic Awakening)
There are a lot of adjustments about setting up Chaos Spawn from abilities that transform the enemy into one, reminding you how common those worthless riders are. Now Spawn have to be set up outside Engagement range instead of more than 1” away from enemy units. They still cost reinforcement points (23). The really welcome changes here come from Ritual of the Damned, which opens up <CULT> Warlord Traits to characters who aren’t your Warlord and <CULT> Sorcerous Arcana to armies led by Magnus the Red.
- Warptime can’t be used on Aircraft.
- If you control a CHARACTER with Treason of Tzeentch and it’s within Engagement range of enemy units in the Fight phase, they have to fight that character.
- In Ritual of the Damned, the Warlord Traits section has been changed – now any Thousand Sons <CULT> Character can gain the relevant <CULT> Warlord trait instead of a Codex Warlord Trait. Previously this was only available to your Warlord and specifically the <CULT> they were chosen from. Now extra traits given to other Characters can include the Cult traits even if they’re in a cult different to your warlord.
- Sorcerous Arcana has been amended to include armies led by Magnus the Red, so now taking him as your warlord doesn’t lock you out of taking Sorcerous Arcana. Which is a good change given that taking Magnus in a Supreme Command now locks him in as your Warlord.
- Guided by Whispers can be used by a model that can’t fire overwatch due to not having a ranged weapon, line of sight, or being out of range as long as another rule wouldn’t prevent them from being able to fire Overwatch (such as being within Engagement range of an enemy or affected by another rule that prevents Overwatch). It’s still a bit unclear whether you can use this ability without paying the 1 CP to use the Fire Overwatch Stratagem, but this seems to indicate that you can use the ability even if you don’t use the Stratagem.
Tyranids (Codex + Blood of Baal)
A few changes to Tyranids here. Toxicrenes and Sporocysts get adjustments to fit 9th edition wording, Old One Eye gets some additional protection, and Digestive Denial now has a very specific use that makes it a little stronger since as Tyranids you’ll absolutely want to remove Heavy Cover from a terrain feature you’ll be assaulting.
- Old One Eye gets a rule preventing it from being targeted within 3” of other Friendly <HIVE FLEET> Carnifex models.
- The Lictor’s and Deathleaper’s Chameleonic Skin abilities give them +1 to its armour saving throws, preventing potential issues with modifying saves.
- The Digestive Denial Stratagem now removes the Light Cover and Heavy Cover traits from an Area Terrain feature.
- Morphic Sinews now lets MONSTER models ignore the penalty to hit rolls incurred for firing at enemy units within Engagement Range, and they don’t suffer a penalty to hit for firing Assault weapons in a turn in which they Advanced.
That wraps up our summary and take of what’s in the new FAQs. Stay tuned this week and next as we drill down even further to write faction focus articles covering the major shake-ups for each army and how these rules affect them in 9th edition. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com. Or if you’re a patron, head on over to our Discord to ask us about the new rules and points values.