Q3 2024 40K Balance Update – Imperium

This week Games Workshop dropped the largest single update we’ve ever seen to Warhammer 40,000 outside of an edition change. Through a number of FAQs and Errata, points changes, a new Dataslate, and a massive update to the Core Rules, they’ve overhauled the entire game, bringing us to what we at Goonhammer are calling “10.5 Edition.” There is a ton here to talk about and even more to take in, and we’ve split the content across a number of articles to make it easier to find what you’re looking for.

This is one of three articles covering the Q3 Balance Dataslate and Munitorum Field Manual – What changed, how each army was affected, and what that means for your games. Some armies got massive updates while others only saw some small tweaks. We’re just going to cover the high-level overview here, talking about lists of changes, winners, and losers.

This article is covering Imperium factions. You can find the others, plus our review of the Core Rules changes and Pariah Tournament Companion, at the following links:

For those armies which changed substantially, like Adeptus Mechanicus, Tyranids, or Chaos Daemons, we’ll also be updating their Faction and Detachment Focuses over the next few weeks.

It’s worth highlighting that a few units now have differently scaled costs depending on how large the squad is, usually where being able to take a single model was particularly handy for whatever reason, or if larger units scale differently in power.

Finally, before we dive in, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of these changes for review purposes.

Imperial Agents

All Imperium armies take a hit from CP tax abilities being normalised to work like Cypher’s Lord of Deceit ability, which weakens the Callidus Assassin considerably, as she’s not likely to be in the thick of it for a prolonged period.

Please be reassured that all the Xenos and Chaos players on staff are spamming “F” in chat. Respectfully. Yes.

There are no other changes to Imperial Agents, and the likely consequence of this is a slight uptick in the use of the Eversor, as he’s much cheaper and is an excellent early Action engine even in the more demanding world of Pariah thanks to the combination of Scouts 9” and Lone Operative.

Space Marines

Status: Big Losers on Ironstorm, mixed for everyone else.

Wings: The reckoning for Ironstorm Spearhead’s many crimes finally arrives, with major hits to its key suite of Enhancements, plus Stratagem and Points hits. Both Master of Machine War and Target Augury Web now pick a single target in your Command Phase instead of being auras, significantly reducing how overwhelming a stack of multiple tanks or Dreads will feel to play against. Both Enhancements do at least drop by 10pts, but it’s still a net nerf.

The Stormraven also catches a double tap; it goes up in points again (+20pts) and is probably the biggest loser from Mercy is Weakness jumping to 2CP. I’m not sure this entirely counts Ironstorm out as being “viable”, but it definitely boosts the relative stock of Gladius Task Force and Firestorm, particularly in light of some of the other changes.

Points changes aren’t limited to the Stormraven, and a trio of the best Marine hulls catch hits as well:

  • Gladiator Reaper +10pts
  • Gladiator Valiant +10pts
  • Land Raider Redeemer +25pts

Somewhat surprisingly, the Gladiator Lancer does not get an increase, despite arguably being the most heavily used of the three builds. 10pts increases on a few Gladiator hulls can generally be absorbed, but if you’ve been on a double Redeemer list, it might be back to the drawing board, and even the hike on one hits a lot of builds.

Luckily, it isn’t all bad news for Marines, as they get a couple of point drops, and a fantastic Balance Dataslate change:

  • Land Raider Crusader -10pts
  • Repulsor -10pts

The Crusader now being by far the cheapest Land Raider option at the point that they all get a stealth buff from the change to Tank Shock makes it more relevant as a list ingredient, and supports some more out-there melee strategies.

Meanwhile, by itself the Repulsor change would be nice but probably not do much, but here’s where the Dataslate change comes in:

  • Repulsor now has Transport Capacity 14
  • Impulsor now has Transport Capacity 7

This is extremely good, because it hits two key breakpoints – the Repulsor can now carry 6 Gravis bodies with a Character, while the Impulsor now fits six Bladeguard and a Leader of some kind.. The former is the bigger deal here – TC14 was one of the reasons that the Redeemer has been so ubiquitous. The flamers are extremely good too, but now being able to access that Transport capability at more than 100pts less is very tempting. It’s also particularly powerful if you’re using Eradicators with an Apothecary, as Emergency Combat Embarkation is a genuine nightmare for melee lists to handle (and it could sometimes let Aggressors dodge a fight they don’t want too).. The Impulsor change could also be big if you’re one of the Chapters with an Epic Hero who makes Bladeguard really sing, and I wouldn’t totally count out six with a Judiciar in some metagames.

Elsewhere, some general rules changes benefit Marines. Easy access to Captains makes the change on Stratagem discounts particularly good for Marines, and the biggest winner of all in that regard is Roboute Guilliman, who becomes an engine of tactical brilliance/free Armour of Contempts if you pick his Supreme Strategist option and gains the ability to burst through walls like a blue raspberry Kool Aid Man, making it far safer to stage him ready to unleash his (considerable) melee prowess. Don’t forget that Supreme Strategist does not overlap with the Captain Stratagem discount ability, so you can use both in one turn – maximum tactics.

Finally – other FAQs. Most of these seem like common sense (and some affect specific Chapters, so we’ll hit them in a sec), but there’s a nice clarification that the Hunter’s Instinct Enhancement from Stormlance Task Force does make you eligible for Rapid Ingress in the first battle round, which seems likely to cause some absolutely brutal stompings and then get reverted in the next update. I’m semi-serious on that – it seems odd that all the different versions of redeploy have been consolidated into one (which hits the Phobos Captain, but no one took them so I don’t especially care), but in this one instance the fact that the ability has different wording than almost any other gives it extra juice. Drop Pods, for example, are clarified to not be able to do this.

So, Marines. Ironstorm weaker, but a broadening of viable options for everyone else, and Bobby G might return to a Battlefield near you at long last.

Black Templars

Status: Losers

Wings: First up, the possibility of a Black Templars Librarian is finally put to bed. Any army containing any Black Templars units is now bound by their unit restrictions, so no Astartes Psykers and no regular variants of vehicles (which hurts even more now, as although the Templars Valiant and Reaper went up alongside the regular ones, the Repulsor didn’t come down). Definitely no more taking four Repulsor Executioners, so congratulations to Colin Kay on his promotion to the elite club of players who have had a bespoke, personal errata written just for them.

Templars were most commonly seen in the wild as Ironstorm, and were also big users of Land Raider Redeemers, so those changes to the core Marine book hurt the army a lot. They do get a lot of benefit from the increased Transport Capacity on Repulsors though, and both Firestorm and Righteous Crusader builds potentially have a few more options to play with now (though access to Sword Brethren meant they were mostly fine with 6-capacity Impulsors). You could also go fully on theme and just take a Crusader, though with cheaper Repulsors you might not bother. Not a great set of updates for Templars, but they were one of the best-performing Marine options going in to this, so there’s still going to be workable options.

Blood Angels

Status: Minor Winners

Wings: Blood Angels, specifically Sons of Sanguinius, are probably this dataslate’s winner of the “best faction to get no nerfs” award. They get no changes other than the ones to core Marines and so should thrive in the new environment, particularly as the units Marines tend to use for Secondaries don’t take any real hits from the changes to how Actions work.

Dark Angels

Status: Winners

Gunum: Dark Angels finally get some love for their failing detachments. Unforgiven Task Force and the Inner Circle Task Force have fundamental changes to their detachment rules. We also see a point increase that reflects a dataslate change, of which we only have two. No. The Lion is not one of them. First, let’s look at what went up.

  • Deathwing Knights went up to 235, an increase of 20.

That’s right, Deathwing Knights. Why did they go up when they are hardly seeing that much play? Well, it’s because we will probably start to see a lot of them, I think. The Deathwing Knights had a datasheet change to their two weapon options. First, the Mace of absolution gains 3 buffs. It goes to AP-2 instead of Ap-1, and gains Anti-Monster, Anti-Vehicle 4+. They were given better Bladeguard swords, now sitting at S6 -2 2D instead of 1D. Huge buffs that justify that price change. Taken in turn with some of the Detachment changes, these are incredibly welcome changes. Next, the Inner Circle Companions finally found out where the Bladeguard got their swords, gaining an attack on their sweep profile as well as going to AP-2. Five attacks per guy at Sustained hits 2 at S6 -2 1D I think makes this a real unit to check out.

The Unforgiven Task force gains a new ability in pair with its Battle-shock one. In our command phase, we can pick one unit from our army and give it +1 OC. Pretty great? Kinda bad? Regardless, it’s flavorful. There’s some use cases here, even using this on say, Outriders? And sacrificing them for some kind of primary play? I’m trying here.

Next, the Inner Circle Task Force gains a well deserved rework/buff? Instead of just choosing a single objective to be your Vowed Objective, which gives you +1 to wound for attacks against enemy units on it. As well as stratagem support. Its been split into two different options. Defensive Footing and Aggressive Push. This is chosen at the start of your movement phase, where you will pick  one of the two. If you choose Defensive Footing, you can pick one objective marker you control and make that your Vowed objective. If you pick Aggressive Push, you can select one or more markers you do not control to be your vowed objectives until your next movement phase. Whenever a Deathwing Infantry unit from your army attacks something on these objectives, you get +1 to wound.

I was really hoping to see this changed to be “Deathwing” to give a reason for Dreadnaughts or Land Raiders to gain the Deathwing keyword.

Regardless, this is a pretty substantial change for Deathwing enthusiasts. Being able to pick every single objective you don’t control, to maximise your shooting from Sternguard or Terminators, and your Melee from the newly buffed Deathwing Knights is pretty crazy. Our Strats really turn up to a new level with this as well, as we get some real options now.

Overall I think Dark Angel players will feel attracted to return to our detachments with these changes. It is a bit of a shame that Ravenwing didn’t gain anything and uh. Guys. The Lion? Please. Deathwing. Or Infantry. Ghazghkull Thraka is infantry. The Lion isn’t?

Curie: The Lion can go through walls now! (please give him back his damage 2 sweeps…) The changes to Deathwing Knights and Inner Circle Companions melee weapons is a surprise, but a welcome one. Maybe Ravenwing will be good next edition?

Gunum: I just want him to lead a unit of Companions or Company Heroes. Infantry would open the door for him to become a leader unit where he would start to see some play.

Curie: Ablative wounds on a primarch model? Perish the thought! Just give me back a scary melee threat!

Gunum: I’m over it. Keep reading. Get outta here.


Status: Minor Winners on Black Spear, but they somehow manage to be losers on Codex Marine builds.

Wings: Unlike the previous Dataslate, someone appears to have noticed that Deathwatch are the worst faction in the game, and handed them a small ration of point drops to compensate:

  • Watch Master -10pts
  • Veterans -10/20pts
  • Watch Captain Artemis -10pts

That’s nice I guess, though it’s baffling that in this update where costs can now scale differently based on size that there wasn’t a big update made to how Kill Teams are priced. For what it’s worth, Veterans are genuinely decent at that price, and I guess if you really squint you might be able to come up with some sort of Firestorm build that made good use of them alongside Repulsors? The Watch Master also does pretty well out of the change to Lord of Deceit given he wants to be in the thick of it.

None of this matters however, because Deathwatch get their army construction rules updated so that you’re always bound by them, not just for their Black Spear Task Force, and since in that case this means no Scouts, there continues to be no real reason you’d ever use them for a non-Black Spear build, and Black Spear is still desperately behind the power curve.

Space Wolves

Status: Slight Loser

Like Black Templars and Deathwatch, Space Wolves restrictions on which units you can include (no Apothecaries, Devastators or Tactical Marines) now apply to any army that takes any Space Wolves units, not just Champions of Russ.

TheChirurgeon: Space Wolves had seen a resurgence recently with the rise of “Wolf Jail” lists, lists running max counts of Thunderwolf Cavalry and Wulfen, which used the Stormlance Detachment’s Advance and Charge ability to close the gap as early as turn one, trapping opponents in their deployment zones (i.e. jail) with a massive tarpit of durable melee threats capable of smashing most targets. They were due for a bit of a nerf and got one, but there are some buffs here as well.

  • Wulfen have gone up in cost, 2 points per model. This means five will set you back 90 points.
  • Thunderwolf Cavalry have also gone up in cost, from 90 points for 3 to 100 points.
  • The Champions of Russ Detachment has changed, now Deeds Worthy of a Saga lets you pick a single Saga (except for Saga of Majesty) at the start of the first battle round to just be active for your army all game.

These are some big changes. Let’s start with the point hikes. If you were running a Wolf Jail list, this is bad news – It’s going to set you back anywhere between 50 and 100 points, and that’s a pretty rough deal. This compounds with the other big issue, which is that Wulfen and Fenrisian Wolves can no longer perform actions as OC 0 units. These changes combine to do a bit of a number on the Space Wolves, who might have to be the kind of army that tables you early and wins late in much lower-scoring games.

At least, that might be the case if not for the change to the Champions of Russ Detachment. This is a really big deal, and a change that I think finally makes the Detachment worth looking at instead of the Stormlance Task Force Detachment. Yes, losing perpetual Advance-and-Charge is big, but you have some other ways to get there – namely, the Relentless Assault Stratagem and Ragnar Blackmane’s ability. What you get in place of the Detachment are some very good Stratagems and the ability to give your entire army either Sustained Hits 1 or Feel No Pain 6+ from the jump, and you can use a Stratagem to activate Saga of Majesty as needed to let units like Fenrisian Wolves perform actions.

I don’t know if that’s enough to make up for what Wolves lost points-wise, but it gives them more options and makes the Sons of Russ Detachment much more viable as an option. Though it’s an option you have to build for – the Stormlance Task Force is really hard to beat given its wide-reaching utility.

Adepta Sororitas

Status: Judgment Day

TwoHorse: With perhaps the most powerful codex in all of 10th edition about to drop, the MFM is our first look at how Sisters will land in the meta. If you’re one of the 98% of the player base that doesn’t play Sisters but considering jumping on the bandwagon, I have good news: you’ll need fewer models to chase the meta. A lot fewer. If you’re one of the Sisters players absolutely crushing your friends in test games at 1800 points, it’s possible you have recently become a tactical genius, or I might have bad news: it could be the points.

In keeping with the massive boost to the Sisters power, they have also received a massive increase in points costs. It’s too early to say whether this is too much, but with 25-30% increases across the board, it’s definitely not too soft. Any concerns about Sisters running roughshod over the field should be quickly dispelled.

Sisters’ core units get the following changes:

  • The Triumph of St. Katherine goes up 50pts to 190pts. This is a reasonable change, and you can now pretend that taking the Triumph is a choice you carefully considered before windmill-slamming it into every list.
  • Morven Vahl goes up 15pts to 160. At this price you may actually consider dropping her, as in some lists her Paragon sidekicks don’t need the help.
  • Paragon Warsuits land at their book cost of 210, an increase of 40 to account for the significant boost to their output and modest boost to their durability
  • Support characters take big hits in line with their glow-up, with the Hospitaller up 15 to 50, Imagifier up 30 to 65, Ministorum Priest up 10 to 50. All of these except the Priest make sense.
  • Battle Sisters up 15 to 115. Increases to their utility from the codex primarily came from updates to the aforementioned support characters, so this is an unwelcome surprise and feels a bit gratuitous. Now at price-parity with Dominions, basic Sisters will depend on the mission pack to justify their inclusion.

Jump Pack Units change as follows:

  • Jump Pack Canoness debuts at 75pts
  • Zephyrim increase by 50% to 90/180
  • Seraphim increase by 15pts to 85pts/170
  • Saint Celestine increases by 25pts to 160

Flying units take a massive hit here, making their inclusion a more considered choice. Zephyrim in particular are no longer priced as flying action-monkeys, and using three of them as delivery vehicles for a trio of Jump Pack Canonesses is less of an obvious choice than it was if you were looking at book prices. Similarly, 18 points is a lot for a T3 1W model, so Zephyrim really need to hit something worthy of their weight to ensure they don’t trade down.

Melee threats are next:

  • Arco-Flagellants are given a discount for their suffering of 10pts to 45/150 for 3/10. Ironically these are now one of the lowest-cost ways to get 10 models of consequence, so we’ll likely still see lists running 3×10.
  • Sisters Repentia see a huge increase in price to pay for their simultaneous increases in both speed and output, now up to 90/180 from 55/110. Every detachment includes at least one way to boost their output even further, and they’ve been given a significant price premium to account for their god-killing power. This feels extreme, but when supported there is no unit in the game at equivalent points that they can’t kill, and no place on the board they can’t touch. The trouble of course is that there’s not an opposing infantry unit that can’t credibly threaten to kill them in one activation. GW has put more premium on the cannon than they’ve put a discount on the glass this time around. These will still see play, but they’re a build-around unit now rather than a slot-filler.
  • Celestian Sacresants up 3ppm to 75/150.
  • Mortifiers up 15ppm to 70/140
  • Penitent Engines up 20ppm to 75/150

The collective impact here is that melee trading is now at a premium. The Codex has ensured that every punch is a haymaker, and while that’s welcome in a meta defined by durable infantry and oops-all-tanks hull skew, it will leave melee-focused Sisters in a tight spot if the meta pivots to MSU go-wide builds, as there’s nothing here that wants to expose itself to kill a unit of Stormboyz or Assault Intercessors. Fortunately Sisters have some of the best combined-arms options around, so if your list is looking for a way to respond to early pieces, even the Penitent Host will want to consider a sprinkling of guns to preserve their heaviest hammers for the enemy’s biggest nails.

Tanks next:

  • Exorcists move another 10pts to 190. In combination with the indirect nerf in the dataslate, any dreams (or fears) of an Exorcist parking lot supported by an ignore-modifiers aura are probably dead. D6+2 AP-4 shots that ignore cover are still a real threat, so these may yet show up as part of a direct-fire mechanised plan.
  • Castigators increase 10pts to 150.

Finally for units, any other business:

  • Dominions up 5 to 115. The reactive move gives them utility, and price parity with Battle Sisters means they’re a real consideration if infantry is part of your plan.
  • Retributors up 20 to 125. 25pts is a lot for a T3 3+ body. These will probably continue to stay on the shelf, but it’s tricky to price a unit whose output ranges from “Delete Land-Raider” to “Do absolutely nothing”, since you won’t take it until you can afford multiples to smooth the variance.
  • Sisters Novitiate pay for their newfound infiltrate utility with an increase of 15 to 100.
  • Aestred Thurga and Agathae Dolan are up 30pts to 85pts, reflecting a reasonable fear of devastating wounds on ranged weapons. They may still have play with Sacresants fighting on death in Hallowed Martyrs, but Aestred’s first chance to trade memehood for sainthood is probably another dataslate away.
  • Daemonifuge up 15pts to 85

We also get some changes to Enhancements:

  • Bringers of Flame unchanged from book values.
  • Hallowed Martyrs unchanged from previous MFM values.
  • Army of Faith sees the Blade of St Ellynor up 5pts to 15.
  • Penitent Host sees a raft of changes from the Codex
    • Catechism of Divine Penitence up from 5 to 20
    • Psalm of Righteous Judgement up 10 to 30
    • Refrain of Enduring Faith up 15 to 25

Overall Sisters get fewer units, and that will change the way they play. Early Miracle dice will be at a premium with fewer trade pieces. Board control will be harder without throwaway units to stand in corners waiting for their turn to perform actions. Most importantly, almost every datasheet update in the Codex was a boost to lethality, while few were durability improvements (although there were a few key changes like Hospitallers and Sacresants that make durability-skew viable).

Aggression is the order of the day. A trading plan will still work into elite armies, because even at these new points Sisters can trade up into expensive units. But, that won’t work into everything; lists will have to be built with an answer to cheaper, more numerous enemies in mind. The codex has provided Sisters with lethality, and the MFM mandates that you use it. The new plan is now, as it ever was, just go fucking kill them. For the Emperor even, if you get off on that sort of thing.

Adeptus Custodes

Status: Big Winners

Falcon: After being hit with one of the most lacklustre codexes of 10th edition and seeing absolutely the biggest nerf from index to codex of any faction so far (unfortunately for you, Admech players, your stuff has always been bad, no need to make it a competition), the Adeptus Custodes see a pretty significant glow up between core rules changes, points adjustments, and a facelift to one of their detachments. While their ruleset remains boring and one-note, at least now it has gone back to being powerful. So what’s changed for the Ten Thousand? Let’s take a look:

First and foremost, Devastating Wounds being reverted to mortal wounds and no longer carrying damage over is a massive win for Custodes. We mentioned it multiple times in our review, in order for the current codex to stand up in the meta, it really needed to get the ability to ignore dev wounds back to stand a chance. With this change, the Talons of the Emperor and Shield Host detachments gain the extra layer of protection they needed as Arcane Genetic Alchemy, Null Aegis, and Empyric Severance all trigger off of devastating now. Not to mention Daughters of the Abyss for the Sisters of Silence.

In terms of points, the main Custodes line sees no changes other than the Castellan’s Mark going down to 20 points, but many of the Forgeworld units received impressive points drops. Aquillon Custodians and Agamatus bikes see their points dipped to match their Allarus and Dawneagle counterparts (65 and 75ppm respectively). While this may not make them instant picks, there is some meat on this bone as it should be noted that the Agamatus can still be taken in units of 6 vs the Dawneagle’s 3. On top of this, Custodian Guard with Pyrithite and Adrasite drop to 50 ppm, making them a little more appealing as a meta pick at only 5 more points per model than their stock weapon brethren.

The Telemon Heavy Dreadnought drops to 215 points which feels like a steal when you compare it to the Redemptor that is only 5 points less given it has the same stat line, similar profiles on all its weaponry but hits on 2s, and comes with a 4+ invulnerable save. Unfortunately, none of the Custodes detachments really synergize with the big guy, which is too bad because I love everything about them.

The Pallas goes down to 105 points, which now makes it a very appealing option as a fast attack vehicle to skirt behind enemy lines and pick up stragglers. With the nerf to the Callidus, I could see Custodes players pivot to tossing one or two of these in their lists instead if they’re willing to forgo the loss of Lone Op.

Last, but not least, Venatari see an eye-watering drop from 200 points per 3 models to 165. There is no world where you shouldn’t be slamming these beauties into your lists if you have access to them. It is an incredible steal for a jump pack unit with free rapid ingress and a custodian stat line. Of all the points changes, this is the one that feels like it might have been a tad too aggressive and I could see them going back up in the future.

Outside of Venatari, the great thing here is that the above changes means you now have more options when list-building as none of these Forgeworld options feel awful anymore and yet neither do they outstrip their core codex counterparts.

Finally, when it comes to Dataslate changes, the Auric Champions detachment has had their Assemblage of Might rule modified to give its +1 bonus to wound to every model in an Adeptus Custodes Character unit rather than just the characters themselves. This is an absolutely massive uptick in damage potential for the list and definitely makes it a more palatable option to put on the table, though it probably doesn’t outweigh the lack of mortal wound protection the other detachments provide.

Edit: In our excitement we also didn’t write down (but yes, we are aware) that Shield Host now gets to pick a super mode, which rules.

Overall these are some great buffs to an army that really needed them, and with many of the Custodes natural predators seeing some significant nerfs this might just be their time to return to the upper levels of competition.

Adeptus Mechanicus

Status: Big Winners

Curie: Happy half-robot noises ensued when I read these changes. The Adeptus Mechanicus received the biggest volume of changes in this dataslate – they take up nearly the entire first page of changes! Now let’s see if they’re as high in quality as they are in quantity…

Let’s start with the fundamentals here – their army rule, the Doctrina Imperatives, has been reworked extensively. The Protector Imperative still gives all of your ranged weapons HEAVY, but it also improves the Ballistic Skill of all ranged weapons by 1. In addition it makes Battleline units (or units with this ability within 6” of Adeptus Mechanicus Battleline units) minus one to hit in melee. Next we have the Conqueror Imperative, which still gives ranged weapons ASSAULT, but also improves the Weapon Skill of all melee weapons by 1. In addition, it gives Battleline units (or units with this ability within 6” of Adeptus Mechanicus Battleline units) an additional point of AP when making an attack (ranged or melee!).

Neither of these Imperatives have deployment zone restrictions as the old versions of them did, giving you some fantastic flexibility in the army.

From the army rule we then have a host of units gaining the Doctrina Imperatives ability – most notably both variants of Electro-priest now benefit from the army rule, as do all of the Tech-Priests and Belisarius Cawl. Speaking of Cawl, he can now move through ruins in the same manner as Infantry models could before, and he’s gained 2 inches of movement to help with this! Cawl has also seen his Mantra of Discipline ability augmented to give him the Battleline keyword in addition to the aura granting a bonus to battle-shock and leadership tests, allowing him to switch on all the Battleline-dependent buffs in the book..

The Ironstrider Ballistarii sees a reverse to the shot count change seen at the onset of the edition – it has been restored to the original number of shots (2 for the Twin Cognis Lascannon, 4 for the Twin Cognis Autocannon), losing TWIN-LINKED while keeping SUSTAINED HITS 1.

Both variants of Sicarian have seen buffs, with the Infiltrators gaining an additional attack on all their melee weapons, while the Ruststalkers have gained an additional attack and strength on all their melee weapons. Coupled with the updated Conqueror Imperative, Sicarian Ruststalkers look like quite the fun little skirmish unit now.

Skitarii Marshals got a change to their datasheet ability in the Ad Mech Errata, losing the ability to double up on stratagems and it being replaced with a once-per-game ability to un-battle-shock a friendly Skitarii unit within 6”.

The Skorpius Dunerider has finally gotten Firing Deck 2 – it seems that some Skitarii are in fact tall enough to see out of the open top of the model!

Skorpius Dunerider Illegally Carrying Sydonian Dragoon
The Sydonian Skatros, on the other hand, is still too tall to embark in the Skorpius Dunerider 🙁 Credit: Pendulin

Finally in datasheets we have updates to the Onager Dunecrawler, with nearly every main gun option seeing a substantial improvement. The Daedalus Missile Launcher doubles in shot count and gains a point of damage, the Eradication Beamer goes to 2d3 shots from d6, the Neutron Laser gains an additional shot and a point of damage, and finally the Twin Onager Phosphor Blaster triples its shot count from 4 to 12! The Onager also gets back its ability to walk over models and sections of ruins less than 4” in height.

Now for points – AdMech got substantial point increases in the MFM 1.11 update – which is a good thing. The combined adjustments to their army rule, datasheets, and the new mission rules focusing on Battleline units risked this army being a little too good. Your typical AdMech list isn’t going to look less horde-lite though, as Skitarii Vanguard are still a mere 90 points for 10 models, and Skitarii Rangers clocking in at 85 points for 10.

Here are the full point changes for AdMech:

  • Archaeopter Fusilave +10
  • Archaeopter Stratoraptor +15
  • Archaeopter Transvector +10
  • Corpuscarii Electro-Priests +10 for 5
  • Fulgurite Electro-Priests +15 for 5
  • Kastelan Robots +10 for 2
  • Kataphron Breachers +15 for 3
  • Onager Dunecrawler +30
  • Pteraxii Sterylizors +10 for 5
  • Serberys Sulphurhounds +5 for 3
  • Sicarian Ruststalkers +15 for 5
  • Skitarii Rangers +5 for 10
  • Skitarii Vanguard +10 for 10
  • Skorpius Disintegrator +5
  • Skorpius Dunerider +5
  • Sydonian Dragoons with Radium Jezzails +10
  • Sydonian Dragoons with Taser Lances +10
  • Tech-Priest Enginseer +15
  • Tech-Priest Manipulus +10

As for FAQ updates, the Adeptus Mechanicus codex remains the best written codex ever, and has no FAQ entries in its Errata / FAQ document (insert meme about this list is incomplete and you can help fill it out!).

So all in all what does this mean for Adeptus Mechanicus players? While clearly the rules changes present a massive upgrade to the army, slightly damped by points increases to keep things from getting too  out of hand. There’s a host of new ways to play the army, from aggro melee bricks of electro-priests (that now benefit from Doctrina Imperatives) to long range shooty castles of Ironstriders and Onagers, and plenty to be found in between. I’m partial to the electro-priest option, as you can do silly things like ramp up dakka priests up to AP-2 in half-range and then have actual AP on their melee when they swing the next turn.

Pendulin: I love everything about this. The changes in isolation are great, but they really are greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not just that this unit got better, or that ability got tweaked,  it’s more than that. The changes open doors for new ways of playing Admech, and there is now solid reason to dust off most, if not all, of these precious mechanical weirdos. This dataslate gives Admech a cohesive mechanic that really feels like Admech, distinct from any other faction.

It really ties the room together.

Astra Militarum

Status: Substantial internal rebalance, but probably losers unless you’ve got Dorns on deck.

Wings: The Astra Militarum get a bunch of changes here, not all of them necessarily bad, but the net impact is very negative for the current top builds – though some other options get pushed enough that there may be equivalently powerful new builds.

First up, Born Soldiers gets a fairly hefty rewrite. Instead of Lethal Hits when you are stationary, your REGIMENT units (Infantry and Sentinels) get Lethal Hits when shooting at visible enemy units that are not VEHICLES or MONSTERs. Meanwhile, SQUADRON units (Vehicles) get the same when they are shooting at visible enemy VEHICLEs/MONSTERs. This is bad news for indirect fire of all stripes, as it significantly reduces the ability to chip through heavy stuff, and the gains for most infantry are fairly marginal (though it does let Kasrkin terrorize enemy elite infantry even more). We have also seen the odd big Krieg unit out and about, and the increase in the amount of chip damage that a full 20-model squad threatens while on the move is not nothing.

Where this really helps is on direct fire tanks, especially the Rogal Dorn, which this update should bring to the fore. Not having to choose between mobility and punching up with the full suite of weapons is awesome, and these get a lot better, as do Tank Commanders and some Russ flavours. Kasrkin, Dorns and Armoured Sentinels also go down in points:

  • Kasrkin -10pts
  • Rogal Down -20pts
  • Armoured Sentinels -5pts/model

It’s pretty clear that there’s a drive to move Guard more towards those choices, as they’re one of the biggest victims of the Indirect Fire change (to hit on a maximum of a 4+). No more stacking an Order, Heavy and a Spotter to hit on 2s with a bunch of Basilisks. The non-Forge World Indirect stuff does at least come down in cost a little, and that probably puts Manticores back on top as the favoured choice, as their built in hit re-roll ability lets them partially mitigate the nerf in some matchups. These points changes are:

  • Basilisk -10pts
  • Field Ordnance -10pts
  • Deathstrike -15pts
  • Manticore -15pts

The Indirect update does also leave Guard with a Stratagem that’s kind of useless in Expert Bombardiers, plus a duff enhancement from Drill Commander. It feels like a miss that these weren’t updated.

Speaking of Stratagems, and explaining why Kasrkin and Sentinels could come down in points, the final hit to the Astra Militarum toolbox is the Balance Dataslate rule that respawn stratagems like Reinforcements can only be used once per game. This is a massive hit to the Militarum’s ability to endlessly cycle more Kasrkin or spotter Sentinels onto the table, and forces them to make tougher choices about what to include.

So yeah – rough for the current builds but this update pushes Dorns hard, and you could already make those do work, and backing them up with lots of Kasrkin in Chimeras still seems pretty great. In addition to this, deployment map changes and pivot rules help Guard superheavies a lot, making them far more consistently usable on tournament tables, and the Stormsword and Banesword are both extremely real units in any world where you can move them. I expect to see Guard re-tooled substantially, but I think there’s a decent chance of strong new builds emerging.

Grey Knights

Status: Loser

Shane: Grey Knights overall gets hit with nerfs from a few directions. Both Dreadknight variants went up, Crowe went up (Why?), the Stormraven went up, and the Redeemer went up (in solidarity with SM). On top of that, the Tank Shock change to using Toughness instead of Strength is nearly a 50% reduction in average damage for Dreadknights, which is kinda big. Haloed in Soulfire took a hit alongside all the “lone op” style strats, now only working 18″ out instead of 12″. Also Vortex of Doom now has to adhere to Lone Op like a normal shooting attack, so that’s 3 things out of the GK toolbox.

There is an upside though (thankfully), with the changes to CP cost reduction abilities, both the Grandmaster and Grandmaster Dreadknight get a big boost. With the lift on battle tactic only, the DK variant can finally reduce 2CP strats besides Radiant Strike (which is awesome, being able to Halo for 1CP or interrupt in the fight phase is great!). A Grandmaster in a terminator squad being able to use Mists for free is pretty hilarious.

So yeah, BLUF: nerf, but it isn’t all bad.

Imperial Knights

Status: Winners

TheChirurgeon: Imperial Knights on the whole make out a little better than Chaos Knights with this update, though in different ways. Whereas Chaos Knights benefit primarily from the changes to the Bring it Down secondary mission in Pariah Nexus, the changes to moving through terrain are a much bigger boon to Imperial Knights, who rely much more on TITANIC Knight options and lacked a Stratagem for moving through walls.

  • Super-Heavy Walkers can now move within Engagement Range of enemy models when moving, but can’t end their move in those positions.
  • The points cost on the Paladin dropped to 405.
  • Point drops on the Forge World knights – the Atropos (now 425), Lancer (430), and Styrix (430)
  • Point drops on Enhancements: Mysterious Guardian dropped 10 points to 25, while Revered Knight dropped 5 points, to 15

The Imperial Knights get a big boost out of this update, going beyond just “Armigers only give up 2 VP per model.” Being able to walk over enemy models makes it much harder to move block them, and being able to march big knights through terrain with only the threat of a Battle-shock result is a big deal, giving them a much-needed movement option which was previously only available to Chaos Knights via a Stratagem. These changes open things up a bit more for Imperial Knights, and I know more than a few Lancer owners who are going to be very happy to see that model drop in cost.

Norman: In addition to all the boosts Imperial Knights get from these changes, it’s notable that Canis Rex hasn’t gone up considering he’s in most lists and is often considered as an ally in other imperial lists. Expect to see the Lancer pop up in more lists and I will keep banging my “The Atrapos is good actually” drum until people respect it.

Wings: Canis Rex also benefits from the update to Stratagem discount rules, and I’d anticipate a reasonable number of builds sporting him and a bunch of Armigers so he can be using free Rotate Ion Shields all the time without your opponent having another big Knight to switch targets to.

Wrap Up

Even if you’re a dedicated follower of the Emperor (and only the version with the right number of arms) you might still want to check out the rest of today’s reviews – there are big changes all over the shop that you’ll want to know about before you next hit the tournament tables.

Have any questions or feedback? Have a change you really love or hate? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.comAnd if you’d like to support the site, get access to our Patreon and other exclusive content, or just view the site ad free, support us on Patreon.