The April 2022 Balance Dataslate Revision and Rules Legality Update

Hello again, Dear Reader. You may recall that last week Games Workshop issued its second quarterly balance dataslate for Warhammer 40,000, significantly changing the game’s meta with a host of new rules and adjustments for multiple factions. We had some thoughts about the update, as well as a few lingering questions about some of its adjustments.

Fortunately, today GW released an updated version of the dataslate that resolves many of those issues and fixes some errors. Additionally, they also released a (long-overdue) document that details exactly which faction updates and books are currently considered legal or “up-to-date” for matched play.

The Balance Dataslate Update

If you’re wondering what changed, here’s the rundown:

  • Text was adjusted on the new Armour of Contempt rule to clarify that it does not apply to models with an effect that worsens or reduces the AP of incoming attacks. This was mostly done to shut up a bunch of pedants, but it’s good to have clarity.
  • Bodyguard Abilities were adjusted to have an exemption for HIVE TYRANT units, using the keyword instead of the unit name. Now Swarmlords and Winged Hive Tyrants can benefit. Good for them.
  • Astra Militarum gained some clarity around Militarum Tempestus units: These no longer break your army’s ability to benefit from the new Hammer of the Emperor rule, but they also don’t benefit from the rule, even in a mono-scions detachment. That’s bad news for Tempestus Scions, for which Taurox Primes seemed like the best unit to try Hammer of the Emperor on. This is not so great for Guard armies, who need all the help they can get.
  • The notes on Imperial Knights and Chaos Knights gaining Objective Secured from the December Dataslate were added back in. While the codexes for these seem to be right around the corner, it was a weird decision to remove those parts for a month or so while we wait. So Knights and Chaos Knights are back to their previous levels of viability. Or slightly less, until their codexes.

The Matched Play Rules Legality Update

Something we’ve needed for a Looooong time now was a legitimate cataloging of which of the game’s supplements and rules were currently legal for matched play. Finally, GW has published a document giving us that information in detail, along with guidelines for when those rules will be removed and no longer considered “up-to-date.” The big important thing here is that Codex Supplement: Leviathan, Hive Mind Synaptic Link, Appendix: Tyranids, and Army of Renown: Crusher Stampede are no longer legal for matched play. The rest of the Warzone campaign books are still legal, however.

The document also lists which Psychic Awakening rules are still valid, a list that you could probably guess is just “anything that still hasn’t gotten a 9th edition codex,” though several of these – like the Chaos Legions – have gotten repacked into Charadon Book II (Robnote: Although the doc says you can use either set of rules, there are a few minor, but important differences, in the updated rules in the Book of Fire).


And that’s it. It’s not a large update in terms of content, but there are some big consequences here. The first is that Tyranids will be much less of an overbearing problem than they could have been – though we still expect them to be dominant – and they’ll likely be a bit more varied in the lists they bring. The second is that Knights will still have some play until their new books.

On that note, the matched play legality update is one we’ve been waiting on since the Tyranids book was first previewed, so it’s good to have. One of the more interesting things about the document is that it now puts a January 2023 expiration date on Psychic Awakening and rules in War Zone campaign books, unless those rules have been superseded by a Codex. Whether that’s a planned expiry date or just when they plan to issue a new update is anyone’s guess.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at