The Goonhammer Nephilim Round Table, Part 2

Alright, gang – this is it: We finally have the (almost) complete picture of Nephilim. That is, we have:

So now it’s finally time to sit down with our competitive players – and a couple of our good friends from the Art of War and Warphammer – and discuss the impacts of all these updates, and how we see the competitive meta shaking out over the next 2-3 months.

The Round Table

  • Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones
  • James “One_Wing” Grover
  • James “Boon” Kelling
  • Richard Siegler from The Art of War
  • Mike Pestilens from Warphammer
  • Ridvan Martinez ‘Archon Skari’ from The Art of War

Q. Alright, once more with overall impressions: How do you feel about Nephilim now that we have the full picture?

Kelling: I think it’s great. The game was in a rough place with a lot of well represented factions creating the feeling of being Sysiphus trying to do the impossible if you weren’t using one of those factions. Overpowering factions, uninteractive missions, unfun mechanics – it wasn’t healthy. The update cuts back a lot of the glaring problems here and attempts to close the gap between the top and bottom of the factions – all great changes. Most importantly, GW is continuing to deliver on its promise to deliver quarterly updates and that is what I am most happy about.

Skari: I was at a tournament this weekend doing a live stream. Stanglehold was taken in almost every mission almost 100% of the time by almost 100% of all players. Now that we have the full picture of the missions and the points I am hopeful of a shakeup for what has been a bit of a stagnant meta for about 3 months. It seems that the new missions and secondaries will reward armies and players for playing a more interactive form of warhammer that encourages you, as the player, to get more involved and be more active in participating within the game itself. I feel positive about the changes, and I am excited to see what players from all over the world cook up to tackle the new season.

Siegler: I think the game needed a significant refresh since the long war of Drukhari and Admech dominance last year and then the even more powerful codexes of the first half of this year that took the meta by storm month after month.  The game involved quite a few uninteractive secondaries (To the Last, for instance) mechanics such as indirect fire, layers of defensive mechanics and rerolls, and damage so far above the original codexes that it created a very unfair and unfun play experience at many levels of the game.  The last two balance dataslates and the points update are steps in the right direction of bringing the struggling factions up in power level while toning down the worst abuses of the bleeding edge competitive armies.  I think there is still more work to be done within the internal balance of codexes, but this is the best external balance we have had in many moons.  The refresh on secondaries has also helped to liven up the game and make it feel like there are more options rather than a few obvious ones.

TheChirurgeon: Still feeling good about things – I was ready for a big shake-up and this second set of changes helps further crystallize some things that weren’t clear before. I still don’t love the CP spend for the first trait/relic, but having gotten the points/dataslate changes, I think they’ve managed to really shore things up among the game’s factions in a big way. I actually think Astra Militarum might be able to compete now. There are still some missing spots, though – Chaos Daemons just got completely screwed this time around and while they may have a book coming soon, it sucks to have to wait multiple months for any kind of help if you’re a Daemons player.

Wings: I think the complete picture looks positive – I don’t love all the changes, but I’m very happy that a refresh of this magnitude was attempted, and think there are lots of smart choices within it.


Q. How do you feel about the points changes? Did GW miss the mark or hit things about right?

Kelling: Both this question and the next I’m uncertain on – it’s hard to evaluate any one of the three changes (points, dataslate, missions) in isolation. I’ll reserve my thoughts here for more pointed questions later but I’m excited to track the event results over the next month.

Skari: Point changes are always something that fluctuates so it is hard to pinpoint exactly what is going to happen with the new values. However, I will say that the release of the points as a FREE document is one of the best moves that GamesWorkshop has done in a while for the game. This means that It should be , in theory, a lot easier to change the values if there is some crazy efficient unit (void weaver ahem) that pops into the meta. I am excited that they have changed a few things but I do think that they missed the mark on armies like AdMech where the changes are good but could have been tweaked a bit further. Also, as a drukhari player I must say that a wrack at 8points per model is… rather cheap. But hey! I’m running 110 of them.

Siegler: I am a massive fan of points changes being online, allowing them to escape the time lag of the full paper publication process.  However, I still think that by and large the points update does not accurately reflect what should have happened.  Tau and Tyranids were hit with massive changes, completely justified, while Craftworlds received minor points increases to several of their undercosted datasheets.  Struggling factions like Necrons and Death Guard receive a wide swath of changes that will massively help those armies and many of their awful datasheets were at least given a nod that they were overcosted.  What stands out is that for the most part units in factions like Daemons, Guard, Admech, and Space Marines that never see the tabletop or pale in comparison to similar units in other codexes did not receive any adjustments.  Cult Mechanicus received two minor buffs to Electro-priests, but Kataphrons?  The tanks?  What about all those marine vehicles languishing on hobby shelves?  Daemons who have very little going for them whatsoever?  

The Sisters changes make no sense whatsoever in the context of the massive buffs they received in the previous dataslate (Armour of Contempt and the Miracle Dice change) and their now best in the game slate of secondaries that will make the army one of the absolute best in the game.  They did not need points decreases to Seraphim or Zephyrim, two of their already strongest units that see play in every top list for the faction.  Immolators, on the other hand, completely deserve the decrease.  

One of these Chapter Approved should have really sat down and analyzed the internal balance of codexes and the external balance with other factions at the same time, but this still felt like it was not a priority for the most part.

TheChirurgeon: Digital points happened just in time – I cannot imagine having all the other changes here and then having to live through a points update that was written 6 months ago to make room for a print schedule. The new points update isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot of good changes that make sense. 

One of the things I’m a big fan of in particular are the changes to the Imperial guard, Plague Marines, and some marine options to make weapon options and upgrades free/baked into the unit costs. While I’ve never loved power ratings for units, I have felt for a while that most of the game’s upgrades and granularity just don’t matter enough to get point costs, and if you’re going to limit units strictly to what comes packed with them in the box, there’s a lot less risk in just letting them take upgrades free. I’d like to see more unit costs along those lines.

Wings: I think there are some factions this round where the points changes don’t properly reflect how intertwined Secondaries now are in the balance. Richard has already highlighted Sisters as a big offender on the buff side, and Adeptus Mechanicus standing out as an army where weak Secondaries mean they probably needed a bit more on points. That said, there’s reasonably good integration between points changes and updates in the Balance Dataslate, something that shows off the advantage of digital points. AdMech’s point changes (or lack thereof) certainly made a lot more sense once the Dataslate arrived, and same for Harlequins.

Q. What about the dataslate?

Pestilens: This is a great set of changes for the game overall, even if some details slipped through the cracks. Struggling and mid-tier factions like Orks were almost all buffed or left alone in the dataslate, while some of the game’s strongest factions received some fundamental changes that are going to bring them more in line with other armies. A particularly interesting note for me was Guard tanks receiving Armour Of Contempt. This will stack well with the improved 2+ armour save they received previously. Guard tanks are finally going to feel really, well, tanky, and it’s really great to see a struggling faction get some real attention even without a new codex. Guard’s partners in waiting for a codex, Daemons, were not so lucky. I was really hoping for a change like “All pre-game stratagems that upgrade a Daemonic Icon or Exalt a Greater Daemons are free” so they wouldn’t feel a disproportionate pinch from the Nephilim changes. 

Skari: Now, the balance slate is one of the best things that has been done for the game. As much as you might feel that AoC is very powerful, its incredible to see how an elegantly simple change added to the game can impact how a whole series of factions impact the game. Space Marines feel tough… like space marines should. So! The potential of the dataslate being awesome is there. It is also terrifying… if your faction is doing TOO well it can be the instrument of your demise. Look at the Orks going from Hero to Zero with a simple paragraph in one pdf document. However, I am encouraged by GW going back on some of the changes, especially to a faction like AdMech, let us see how that impacts the game. I still wish they have my beloved talos and cronos CORE back.

TheChirurgeon: I like the changes. When all we had were the points I was certain that Harlequins were going to dominate in Nephilim but having both together makes things a little more clear. I like the pre-emptive fix for Iron Warriors, and I’m very interested to see how the Astra Militarum do now – Scott Horras “Heresy” has already been testing some tank-heavy builds and they look pretty tasty. At the very least, Leman Russ Demolishers are very, very good now. Necrons also made out great, though I worry about some of the interactions in there.

Siegler: The dataslate is quite well done in my opinion.  It hit most of the highly abusive rules that the top armies relied on and toned them down to the point where they are no longer head and shoulders above the rest of the armies.  This dataslate is proof of how far GW has come in the last several months where they are willing to alter core rules of a faction in significant ways in the interests of matched play balance.  I would love to see a more thorough playtesting process where this is not needed, but with the dataslates there is now a safety net until a proper playtesting setup is developed that renders dataslates less necessary and less transformative in scope.

I am thrilled that Necrons were finally given attention because they had by far the worst army-wide rules in the game for the longest time and now the faction feels like it has actual synergies and rules that matter outside of Core+Silent King.

Wings: Big fan of most of it – I think the update to Command Protocols is one of the smartest rules updates GW has ever done, turning a terrible mechanic into an awesome one without re-writing the table of effects (which matters more for Command Protocols than most things because you are specifically encouraged to use the datacards as a prop). I am super hyped to get my Necrons on the table again. I also really like the Ork changes, and am encouraged to see that some of the nerfs AdMech took at the end of their reign of terror have been rolled back now they’re lagging behind, which is an important precedent to set.

In terms of the few things I don’t like, I’m really not a fan of the Necron CORE update for Vehicles, especially not that it applies to The Silent King and the Catacomb Command Barge. I think it’s possible you could have argued that the only way to ever “fix” Doomsday Arks and Annihilation Barges was to add CORE, so maybe they’re fine, but the risk of putting it on a gigantic centrepiece model creating some sort of unfun play pattern seems really high.

Q. How do you see army construction and player strategies changing in Nephilim? Will anything be significantly different?

Kelling: Yes. The obvious is the CP changes and all of the knock-on effects of it. First off, list construction will shift markedly as I mentioned in the first part of this round table towards more balanced lists. Gone are the days of seeing a lot of skew constructions around the Outrider, Spearhead, or Vanguard detachments, and to a lesser extent Patrol detachments. Thus construction of skewed lists will come with a very heavy trade-offs in terms of your CP allocation vs what datasheets you have access to. Battalions will be the overwhelming norm which will see 3 HQ limits and a minimum of 3 Troops requirements. The troop tax is a reality again but its a shared reality. Armies will be advantaged by an ability to gain additional CP before or during the game and you’ll likely see an increased reliance on these mechanics. 

Skari: The changes to the Command point structure and the changes to some of the more traditional secondaries that one could build into their list (to the last) are sure to impact list building. You , as a player, will have to separate relics and warlord traits and additional detachments as “must haves” or “nice to haves”. Some armies have a huge selection of great abilities and relics that can be game winning, or awesome combo stratagems that can break the opponents back in a single strike. These are less likely to be pulled off now, or have to be an integral part of the list building process. You are going to have to plan it more in advance now and prepare for the expenditure of command points over the course of the entire game. So, I can see battalions becoming a lot more prevalent. Personally, I will be cutting down a lot on my pre game CP expenditure so that I may have some more CP to play with in the early game to give me a tactical edge in the game. 

Siegler: This is the most significant update to the game in my opinion as it will fundamentally alter list construction and resource management.  I expect most lists to move towards single detachment if they require several warlord traits and relics or pre/early-game stratagems.  Or, if they do not, they will start at 1 or 0 command points and simply prioritize running the most efficient datasheets (Custodes).  I think a lot of redeploy and pre-game stratagems like placing units into strategic reserve will become increasingly rare as command point reliant alpha strikes are much harder to pull off.  I think armies will often sit at one command point on their turns 2-4 so that at the start of their opponents command phase they go back to 2cp for access to the counter offensive stratagem if needed. 

In terms of secondaries, I expect more armies to build in psychic secondaries if their faction specific ones are lackluster or there are only a few reliable secondaries to choose from the generic categories and they overlap with the good faction specific ones.  That third secondary choice is going to be crucial and a consistent secondary like psychic ritual will be nice to have access to when needed.  Without stranglehold, more armies will attempt to engage on all fronts which synergizes with Retrieve Nephilim data, perhaps encouraging the use of more units with native reserve abilities or the ability to redeploy mid-game

Wings: It’s going to be the biggest shift we’ve seen all Edition, which should make for a fun few weeks of columns as people test things out. Thanks to the higher average power level of Warlord Traits and Relics in 9th, buying at least one (and often two) of each extra has basically become the norm for most competitive lists, as the game-long power you get from that small expenditure tends to outstrip the cost. Now, however, if you want any CP to play with you’re going to need to cut back considerably, and the challenge is going to be identifying how many floating CP your army needs access to in the early game in certain circumstances.

I do think the impact on pre-game stratagems and Strategic Reserves might be a bit much here, as when making calculations of how many CP you need, it’s going to be challenging to justify holding back one you could spend on a juicy Trait for something you might want to do. For Strategic Reserves at least, I would have liked to see the table of costs shifted down by one, so that you got the first 9PL of Strategic Reserves for free. That would go a long way to keeping it a bigger part of the game.

TheChirurgeon: This is one of the most interesting aspects of the new update – I’ve been thinking for a while now about whether this simplifies the game in an interesting way or makes things more complicated. I think there’s an argument to be made that this makes the game a bit easier to understand, since factions are less likely to reach for generic secondaries and more likely to just have a set of faction secondaries they lock in to 90% of the time in a way that defines their playstyle. Yes, you could argue that this was already happening with Stranglehold/TTL/Banners, but those didn’t necessarily create distinct play patterns that were easy to remember in the same way something like Feeling Vectors or For the Dark Gods might.

Either way, I think players are going to focus hard on building to specific secondaries on a per-faction basis – even more than before – and while the Nephilim objectives are largely more interactive than the Nachmund set, we’ll still see armies focus on ways they can score without letting an opponent interrupt them.

I’ve also written at length about the way CP will change and mostly I think turn one splurges where players drop 4+ CP to mass offensive effects will just shift to turn two. Check out my Hammer of Math on the topic for more there.

Q. Who’s the biggest winner of these updates?

Kelling: I mean it has to be Necrons right? 



Skari: I know it sounds cheesy, but we the players are the biggest winners here. We are getting a more readily updated game system with solutions put in place with the aim of making our play experience be more fun and interactive. Also Necrons, holy moly did they get a glow up. 

TheChirurgeon: I absolutely love what this does for Death Guard. I actually worry there will be some unintended consequences, with Plague Marines slipping into Chaos Space Marine armies. I don’t know if they’re the biggest winner – that may be Necrons – but these changes should be enough to completely transform the faction. Also Ork players can finally shut the hell up about their poor middling faction and go back to annoying everyone by yelling “WAAAGH” at events with their new buffs.

Siegler:  It’s the Adepta Sororitas.  They were already an army that had play into the top armies, but not the raw power of broken mechanics.  Now with the top armies reigned in and Sisters receiving even more buffs in the form of outstanding secondary choices and points decreases they will be a force at the top of the meta.  Sisters are an army that benefits tremendously from the defensive power of armour of contempt, yet cares little about facing other armies with that rule as Retributors, Repentia and Zephyrim care little for ap reduction.

Wings: Heart says Necrons, head says Sisters.



Q. Who’s the biggest loser of these updates?

Kelling: Any of Craftworlds, Tau, or Tyranids. You can’t fall from such great heights and not be considered a biggest loser candidate. I am going to go ahead and say Craftworlds though – and I need to be very clear about this – it’s not an unmitigated disaster. However, there’s a few things here that I think combine to make this a troubling update. 

First, they are one of the few (only?) to receive major hits in all three stages of this release. In Nephilim they lost access to key secondaries while falling back on sub-par faction secondaries. I love the Webway Gate, and I think it can be a very good secondary under the right builds, however, it’s also a secondary that I just outright risk being automatically blanked on. Should I be unable to place the webway gate in a 6” band of the table, screened out, or otherwise foiled – I’ll just straight lose the 15 VP points. Scout the Enemy and Scry Futures require an opponent to be cooperative or risks putting you in a position you don’t want to be, and Wrath of Khaine leaves a lot to chance. It’s very hard to plan reliably on Craftworlds secondary scoring which puts them at a disadvantage vs factions which can reliably plan on secondary scoring.

Second, the points changes create a funneling effect. They were enacted as a sort of blanket change that universally impacted the list rather than targeted updates that sought to curb the more abusive elements. As a result, units which were already challenging to find a use for were further marginalized compared to the field while the units that were overtuned stayed overtuned relative to their alternatives.  As a result, list construction is narrowed and the book overall becomes a bit more unwieldy and inflexible. New list options consist of units that didn’t receive a points update but were previously determined to be underwhelming. It’s possible that Craftworlds were truly undercosted, but in my opinion it’s more that their fortunes were buoyed by two very specific interactions: Hail of Doom/Ulthwe and the mission secondaries. 

Which brings me to the final update. The dataslate fairly nerfed Hail of Doom by not allowing it to be paired with any additional traits, Eldritch Storm was given a pair of concrete boots and is never to be spoken of again, and unexpectedly two movement stratagems were given nerfs in Matchless Agility and Fire & Fade which will serve to limit some of the durability but also objective scoring capability of the Craftworlds. Neither one of these changes should be taken for granted as caught in the open Craftworld units whither quickly. 

Putting it all together I think a few things will happen. Players will realize that while Hail of Doom still outputs a lot of damage, it will struggle to consistently score and they’ll increasingly shift to Ulthwe which is both better at scoring and more durable (but also boring). Finally, I think anything not Ulthwe will fall off rapidly and players will see that the book is now much more one-dimensional than it previously felt. Somehow Baharroth escaped the inquisition, however, and even at 160 he’s a solid take. Again, I caution that it’s truly hard to assess the net impact of all the changes at once (especially as it relates to every other faction) but for all these other reasons I think Craftworlds are the biggest losers.

Skari: I think the largest fall will be for Tau. The average tau list was going well in the meta before the updates, but they were not overwhelming the meta like nids or eldar had been. However they are paying for the sins of their earlier exploits and the average tau list based on the suits and such, will be going up by 300+ points! So will they be able to stay afloat in the meta? Or shal they sink as the orks and admech before them.

TheChirurgeon: Chaos Daemons. Sure, they didn’t get any nerfs, but they went completely untouched here and they were arguably hurt more than any faction in the game by the Nephilim CP changes. Likewise I don’t think any Adeptus Mechanicus players are happy with how things have gone for their faction, and they’ve been one of the game’s worst armies since the December dataslate kicked their teeth in.

Siegler: Chaos Daemons for sure, but they must have a book on the way to receive such little attention while Guard continue to get help.  However, I also think Cult Mechanicus should have received some sort of buff either allowing those units to benefit from canticles and dogmas, or providing core to those units.  In terms of the top armies, Tyranids were hit in all 3 major updates–points increases, dataslate nerfs, and their faction specific secondaries are some of the worst in the game and will hurt their scoring ability with the loss of stranglehold and To the Last.  Will it be enough?  Probably, they should no longer sit clearly above the rest of the game at undisputed #1.

Pestilens: Daemo… okay, seems others have already made this point. So let’s say Craftworlds. Mission, points, and dataslate nerfs are a trifecta that no army wants to take at once. I just hope there are still enough Craftworlds players out there by the time the Daemons codex comes out so the Slaanesh Daemon units can have something tasty to feed on. 

Wings: Not much to add – I think I’d call it for Tyranids as the hardest hit any faction got, but there’s plenty of nuance that we’ll see play out in the new pack.


Q. Who’s the faction people are sleeping on that you think will make waves?

Pestilens: I don’t think most people realize just how much the combination of Nephilim, points changes, and dataslate updates will shake up the game. Throw out your previous ideas of faction tiers and start from scratch as you get more experience playing with or against certain armies. 

Imperial Guard are legitimately solid now, and will likely start to see some podiums. But Thousand Sons have to be my vote for the biggest sleeper faction. They’re ideally suited to adapt to the Nephilim changes. They have universal and easy access to in-game CP generation, they only started with one Battalion anyway, they received some small but appreciated points cuts, and they can come to the table with a strong and consistent Secondary plan in the new missions. 

Siegler: Admech.  The army has had a tough time the last couple of months, but this update reversed many of the original nerfs to the codex.  In particular, the return of CORE to Ironstriders is a massive deal with of all the rules the Ironstriders now interact with (ignore ap 1 and 2, count as in cover, fall back and shoot, exploding 6s to hit, reroll 1s to hit and wound, ignore modifiers, and many many more), which once again makes them a premier anti-tank unit.  Admech struggled massively against tough models post-nerf because it was essentially a command point extravaganza in order to take down a big T8 model.  Now, with legitimate anti-tank, the faction stands a chance against Knights, Tyranids big bugs, and durable armies in general.  Lascannon Ironstriders in Agripinaa can get to ap -4 in half range, which helps massively into armour of contempt (since most of the army is stuck at ap -1 or -2), especially those units with 2+sv models in cover.  

The Ruststalker and Serberys Raider units going down in points helps a small bit, but the reintroduction of Ironstriders will in my opinion give the faction a new lease on life.  Maybe not enough to surpass 50%, but I believe it will bring them close to it and not languishing at 32%.  The stratagem to autopass morale for 1cp having its nerfs reversed is also a big deal for Skitarii bricks in this command point economy created by Nephilim.

Admech secondaries did get worse by the loss of Stranglehold and the nerf to Eradication of the Flesh, but I believe the above changes will help Skitarii armies survive and win games in the post-Nephilim world.  Cult Mechanicus will continue to be sidelined though, as nothing in this update to the game helped make them an interesting and competitive choice compared to Skitarii.

TheChirurgeon: Dammit, Siegler. I just got done being like “Admech didn’t get enough help.” Why you gotta do me like that?


Siegler: Get Good my friend 🙂 



TheChirurgeon: I think we both know that I will not. 



Siegler: More seriously, I think this helps a very narrow list–the Skitarii Veteran Cohort Army of Renown–and not the Admech book as a whole which has a severe imbalance in its overall power level and quality of rules between Cult Mech and Skitarii.  Kataphrons and Cult Mech should have received a datasheet buff as proposed above.  So Admech will continue to be mono-dimensional in list design, but those lists will have much greater power and flexibility.

TheChirurgeon: Fair enough. I’m going to continue hoping that the Thousand Sons, who got some slight tweaks here, are still contenders but I suspect they mostly tread water while other factions improve around them and make their lot worse. I also think they’ll struggle from just eating shit against Sisters of Battle armies, and that’ll no longer be something you can afford to do. 

Skari: I’m going to jump in here and say GSC. Like honestly the only faction that keeps going under the radar, and is still FINE… also, have you read their faction secondaries? They are really easy to score.


Wings: Orks and Imperial Knights. Orks got some spicy buffs that work extremely well in the lists that were already the best choice for the faction. Meanwhile, Imperial Knights already had some lists that were showing serious promise, have a great selection of Secondaries, and tend to be disproportionately impacted by some factions being over-efficient, so nerfs to the top help them a lot.

Q. From a balance standpoint, how’s the 40k meta look right now? Are we in a good place?

Kelling: As good a place as we can be, I think, before the real test begins. I think for the first time in a while a lot of people see some hope in putting their army on the table and some new list ideas are flourishing. These are always the best times in 40k.

TheChirurgeon: I think we’re in a good place now but it’s hard to tell – there are a lot of changes here all happening at once and it makes it hard to evaluate how things are going to shake out. But that also makes it very exciting! I don’t think the Chaos Space Marines codex is particularly overpowered at first or second glance, but there’s enough in there that there’s bound to be something nasty in the interactions. And even with Sisters poised to break out, I’ll be surprised if they manage more than 60% win rates. Though I suspect that if they do, it’ll primarily be on the fact that at least two of their secondaries seem like free points. 

Skari: Well, with all these updates just being released, this is something that is “tbd” no need to jump to conclusions, let’s come back to this in 4 weeks, after the changes have been played and tested at events and more and then we can answer this.

Siegler:  I think the factions with 9th edition codexes will be as close as they have ever been in this edition with Nephilim.  Not to say they will all be 50%, but you can have a chance into most armies and skill will matter more than it has the past few months.  I’d like to see the next set of updates really fine-tune the internal balance of codexes so they each one has multiple playstyles and is not pigeon holded into one.  Each update we are getting closer and closer to a game that is both amazingly fun and thought-provoking while also being closer to balanced and fair.  Credit to Mike, Robin and the design team for making this a priority for the health of the game and the enjoyment of as many players as possible because a balanced game is good for everyone from top tier competitors to casual players just rolling dice on the kitchen table.  The sense of fairness and balance is only trumped by true balance, something that will always be a goal we are reaching for with the vigilance and care brought on by Chapter Approved and Balance dataslates.  We are closer now in 9th edition than ever before.

Wings: Agreed – the continued focus on lifting underperforming factions up is fantastic to see, and I’m excited to find out which factions that gives a new lease of life (or unlife) to.


Q. What are you planning to test or bring to your next event?

Kelling: Ulthwe with D-Scythes and Shroud Runners. I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited to put some Wraithguard units on the field – now if only GW would fix the datasheet interaction with D-Scythes. 


Pestilens: Everything and anything Chaos Space Marines. Of particular interest to me are hard-hitting Creations Of Bile units that are impossible for melee armies to trade with. Add a Master of Possessions, Lord Discordant, Legionaries, Venomcrawlers, and Terminators all together, and you’re going to get a very potent list brewing. 

Skari: Coteries of the Heamonculi. I’m loving the fall back and charge for free, special durability buffs and the ability to influence the game by taking away obsec for example. I also have a triple tantalus, double void raven bomber list that has 30 incubi in it, lets say that will be a special treat.

TheChirurgeon: It’s all Chaos Space Marines for me. Abaddon is one of the models I’m most proud of painting and I am hype as fuck to put him on the table again. Going to try some Black Legion nonsense with him and maybe Haarken and see if I can get something decent together by the time I go to the Lone Star Open. Then I’ll likely eat shit and slink back to Thousand Sons or Death Guard. I’ve got a lot of options right now and that’s pretty exciting, though if I want to go back to Death Guard I’ll need to finish painting a lot of cleavers, maces, and axes.

Siegler: I’ve loved the Silent King the entire edition since the Necron codex was released.  I am genuinely excited to play Necrons and be able to bring them to a tournament and compete without people asking if I am just memeing.  They are now a serious 9th edition army and they are led by the single coolest model in the game.  The cold gaze of the King reanimates into life as the tomb worlds awaken.

Wings: Also Necrons, but without the Silent King because a.) I’m feeling petulant about the CORE change and b.) He’s still only like 20% done on my painting table. I am hyped that C’tan got chunky point drops at last, and will certainly be working out which of those I can afford to squeeze in.

Q. Final Thoughts – are you excited or dreading Nephilim?

Kelling: Yeah I’m excited. I’ve hit a number of supermajors over the past few months and it just frankly wasn’t fun. The lack of variety and the bad mechanics or overpowering units just didn’t make for a great time. At least when Sisters are dominating the game I’ll feel like I’m still playing it.

Skari: Super excited! The next 6 months are going to be a blast. I am excited for what is going to come out of the changes, and hope to see some of the relegated D tier factions coming back to the mix! A varied meta is a healthy meta. 

Pestilens: It almost feels like we’re back in an Index period where no one has any idea what’s going on. And honestly? It’s a fun feeling. Let’s roll some dice and figure out where everyone is sitting in a month. 


TheChirurgeon: I love that feeling. It’s honestly exciting to think that it may take multiple months for people to figure out what’s good and bad in the meta, and unlike when we came into Indexhammer at the start of 8th, there’s a ton of variety and options for players to choose from right now, and different axes along which armies can theoretically compete. I’m very interested to see how much of an army’s performance will be due to secondary objective strength vs. datasheet strength vs. other stuff.


What’s Next

Next are the Faction Focus articles. We’ll be attempting to cover every faction in the game over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for those. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at

Want more insight from the best 40k players in the world? Check out the Art of War