We announced last week that we’d recently added data from Arks of Omen to 40kstats and with the wealth of new data – nearly 29 thousand games’ worth at the time of this writing – it felt like a good time to dig into the new stats at our disposal and start really looking at how things have changed in Arks. For those of you unaware, I’m Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones, and I’ll be subbing in for Primaris Kevin for the next couple of weeks talking about Arks data. So let’s dive in and see how things have changed and what it means for your games.
The New Generic Secondaries
First thing’s first: Arks changed the game’s basic secondaries, and while we didn’t lose any this time around, conditions were tweaked on a few, including scoring changes and some changes that award CP for doing things with a particular unit. The net result is that secondary scoring for these basic secondaries is generally up – 8.2 VP on average vs. 7.6 in Nephilim – driven primary by the shift for Behind Enemy Lines.
Pretty much on par with what we predicted, Behind Enemy Lines has become a staple of more than a few lists, particularly since it lives in the Battlefield Supremacy category. Thanks to the scoring tweaks it jumped from being picked 8% of the time to a whopping 20%, making it the second most selected generic secondary. It helps that it now averages more than almost every other secondary, at 9.8 VP.
The big loser here? Psychic Interrogation, which dropped an average of 2 VP per game and went from a pick in 16% of games to 4%, being mostly replaced by Warp Ritual, which doesn’t score any better but gets picked more often as it’s now a more reliable choice in most games. Rounding out Warpcraft is Abhor, which only went up a marginal amount in selection (mind the rounding quirks in the table), but appears to be scoring 2.3 VP more. This may be due to more lists dropping Psykers and gaining access to Abhor in key matchups, while the armies taking psykers may be taking more of them. Worth looking into more down the road.
Otherwise, the rest of these saw marginal shifts – Raise the Banners jumped again to 29%, underlining its status as a dependable must-take for many armies, and it’s just really difficult for Shadow Operations secondaries to be better than Banners without being broken.
With the generic secondaries out of the way it’s time to look at faction secondaries. And Spoiler: We’re not going to get to all of them this week. I’m going to cover the Imperium Factions today, then next week we’ll talk about Chaos and Xenos.
Let’s start with the Sororitas, because I’m going in alphabetical order. The Sororitas had an insanely strong suite of secondary objectives in Nephilim, giving them very good odds of routinely scoring 97 points per game and putting up 35+ point turn 5s if they were going second.
Post-Nephilim the scoring for Sisters has changed a bit, but not necessarily in the ways you might have expected. Defend the Shrine didn’t see any changes from Nephilim and was probably the most egregious of the Sororitas’ objectives, as a near inevitability on some missions going second, but here’s where we can see that faction changes making the Sororitas a bit less durable make it a bit harder to for them to reliably score full VP for it. That said, it still sees play in 92% of Sisters games and scores an average of 10.2 VP, one of the higher average scores for secondary objectives in Arks.
A Leap of Faith is the most interesting option here, where the change to the secondary mean it sees less play, but it’s still just as reliable in those games. Chalk this up to the strategy of taking a character with the Beacon of Faith Warlord Trait (which generates a Miracle Dice every round which only they can use), and hucking the extra miracle dice for VP. It’s not something every list will do, but the ones that do score very reliably. It’s still capped at 12, which makes that 9.2 average score even more impressive.
On the other hand the minor nerf to Sacred Grounds sees its effectiveness drop by 2 whole VP on average and makes it a much less enticing prospect, particularly when compared to the reliability of scoring 8-10 VP for Raise the Banners High on many maps.
Slay the Heretic was removed. No one took it anyways and it was terrible.
The Custodes didn’t see any changes to their secondary objectives in Arks but they did see some solid improvements in the army thanks to rollbacks on the balance dataslate. The change to Behind Enemy Lines also benefit them greatly, as both Dawneagle Jetbikes and teleporting Allarus Terminators (which are once again ObSec) are great options for scoring it and difficult to remove once they’re in your deployment zone.
Despite the faction improvements, there’s not much movement on Custodes secondary scoring – Custodes are scoring slightly more than they used to in Nephilim on average (+3), but doing so thanks to Behind Enemy Lines suddenly being a much more viable option.
The Mechanicus were some of the big winners of the Arks rules adjustments, with a variety of point buffs, rule buffs, CORE changes and massively improved secondaries. Despite this, they lost a little momentum with the removal of the Skitarii Veteran Cohort Army of Renown, which hampered their mobility a bit.
These are the most dramatic improvements of the season – every one of the Admech secondaries improved by at least 2 VP on average, more than making up for the loss of Uncharted Sequencing. As a result, Admech jumped up by nearly 10 VP per game in scoring on average. Here Accretion of Knowledge is the biggest winner, jumping to a pick in about half of Admech games and averaging 10.1 VP thanks to the secondary now only requiring VEHICLE targets by 8+ wounds. Parts of it are still a tricky to pull off but there are more opportunities to score it. Eradication of Flesh and Hidden Archeovault both got +1 VP scoring boosts, and the latter scores at the end of the turn now, making it a pick in 71% of games for Admech since most missions make it fairly easy to predict which objective an opponent will pick.
The Astra Militarum got a massive rules overhaul thanks to a new Codex right before Arks, and with that came changes to Boots on the Ground (which became even easier to score) and Inflexible Command (which also became easier to score). Special Orders was removed, while By Lasgun and Bayonet was left unchanged, presumably because Guard can just take other secondaries instead – it’s not as though the faction struggles to raise banners.
Thanks to changes making it easier to score and the new structure of Command Squads in the Astra Militarum codex, Inflexible Command has now become the game’s best, most reliable secondary objective. Players taking this secondary scored a staggering average of 13.1 VP per game, and that’s taking it in nearly 90% of games played. Boots on the Ground acts as a powerful second choice here, averaging 10.1 VP per game and seeing play in 74% of guard games.
The Imperial Knights already had one of the game’s best secondary scoring suites and got some improved support for secondaries like Grind Them Down and Behind Enemy Lines thanks to the interactions between Armigers and those secondary objectives.
Losing Duel was no big deal for the faction but interestingly knights are seeing slightly lower average scores for some of their secondary options – most notably Honour of the House and Yield No Ground. Knights got minimal changes in Nephilim but had their win rates drop from Nephilim to Arks, suggesting that the lower average VP values are more a result of the faction struggling against newly improved competition (read: Iron Hands Successors) moreso than anything having to do with the faction itself.
The Grey Knights needed some help and they got it in the form of some point drops and improvements to their secondaries, specifically Teleport Assault (which is now back to giving you 5 VP per round.
That extra VP makes a huge difference, elevating Teleport Assault to an average score of 10.7 VP and seeing play in 84% of Grey Knights games. Destroy the Daemon is now basically a freebie against Daemons, averaging 11.4 VP but of course only seeing play against Daemon-heavy lists.
Now we come to the biggest winners of the Arks update. On the surface, improvements to the Space Marines’ point costs and ruleset seem tempered by the removal of Armour of Contempt but the reality is that their secondary scoring changes and free wargear options have helped propel them in interesting new directions.
Oaths may have improved a bit (being in the middle of the table is now worth 2 VP again) and as a result is seeing play about twice as often, and with a significant improvement in VP scored. But the big winner here for marines is Codex Warfare, which sees play in 7% of games and improved by nearly 6 VP per game on average. It’s a must-take for factions which can sit in Devastator Doctrine all game, i.e. Iron Hands and Dark Angels, and anyone who’s played against it has seen how it can end up being a free 15 VP.
Speaking of Dark Angels, Stubborn Defiance didn’t change but Deathwing Terminators are just as resilient as ever when they’re holding storm shields. The secondary is currently seeing a little less play than before but is more effective when selected. Combine this with Codex Warfare and the option to take Oaths or Banners as your third option and it’s suddenly easy to see how Dark Angels have managed to quickly rise to the top of competitive play. Likewise for Iron Hands Successors, who can use Codex Warfare as their starting point as well.
Next Time: Chaos Factions
That wraps up our look at secondary scoring for the Imperium factions but join us next week when we look at the Chaos factions and how those secondary changes affect play. Until then if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.