The Goonhammer Review: The 10th Edition Munitorum Field Manual (Xenos)

Thanks to marines being bad for most of the edition, 9th edition made it a very good time to be a Xenos player – every single Xenos race got to spend some time at the top of the tournament standings and meta, save maybe Votann thanks to some smart pre-release nerfs from Games Workshop. Heading into 10th edition we’re poised to see some massive shake-ups, though some of these factions will remain on top.

In this article we’ll review the initial points release for the game’s Xenos factions, and talk about how they affect the army and building lists, and what they mean for each army’s power level.

Before we dive in, we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of the Munitorum Field Manual for review purposes.


Key Units

  • Haruspex is one of the most aggressively priced melee monsters in the game at 125pts.
  • The new mid-tier options from the Leviathan box (Von Ryan’s Leapers and Barbgaunts) both look pretty appealing, especially the Leapers.
  • Zoanthropes are going to be a staple to the extent where you could literally just take 18 and not hate it.
  • Horde infantry is pretty cheap, with Neurogaunts being tied with grots for the cheapest per-model price in the game.
  • The poor Screamer Killer has come in at a bit too steep a price.

Overall Impact

Wings: Tyranids get some very good stuff to work with here, though right now the very best options seem to wildly outclass the more modest ones, so lists could end up quite samey. Pretty good though, Zoanthropes are a fantastic anti-everything tool, You’ve got plenty of cheap options to flood the board, and lots of different price points for list tinkering. Plenty to like.


Key Units

  • Lokhust Destroyers (and the Heavies) are very attractively priced, making big units a major damage dealer and a standout option.
  • Buff characters like Crypteks and Royal Wardens are priced to move, so you can really tinker with your setup.
  • Illuminor Szeras is expensive-ish, but still whips.
  • C’tan also sport hefty price tags, but not so hefty that you’ll never take them given how tough they are, and multiple will be tough to deal with
  • The big chunky Monolith/Obelisk tier vehicles are very expensive, so not spammable, but you could consider one. Well, not the Obelisk, which sucks as is tradition, but the Monolith or Vault.
  • Warriors are not cheap – there’s still play in the hellish deathballs you can assemble with Cryptothralls and the right characters, but you need to be doing that for them to be worth it.
  • Melee units (excluding Lychguard) all feel a tad overcosted, and you probably want to focus on shooting or monster mashing initially.

Overall Impact

Wings: The MFM is great for Necrons overall – there’s one or two things you’d like to pay a little less for, but plenty that feel like bargains. You just get a lot of stuff in this army, potentially letting you overwhelm the killing capabilities of some lists, and fit in maybe one more big brick of cool toys than you’d expect. Melee units like Skorpekh and Wraiths  are the only exception, and probably get relegated initially, but may see some use just for counterpunch – they’re at least very durable too.

T’au Empire

Key Units

  • Free wargear is an absolute game changer for this army, beyond what it does for most others. Battlesuits in general, and Crises in particular, have so many dang options (weapons, support systems, drones). Not having to care about any of that crap is such a relief.
  • Ghostkeels at 170 are an absolute steal.
  • Breachers at 115 are a little bit of a reach, but if you add on a Fireblade for a rock-bottom 50 points, their shooting output gets so good that counterintuitively they’re a better deal at 165 than they are at 115.
  • All the commander battlesuits got cheaper, at the same time that any restrictions on taking them went away. Taking any of them on their own seems wasteful as a lot of their value is in their Leader abilities, so functionally there’s a limit in that you can only have 3 units of Crisis, or you can live your best life and take 10.
  • 110 points per model on Broadsides might be too much.
  • Small Stealth units at 75 for 3 models may seem expensive, but I think their Observer ability to let their Guided units re-roll 1s is well worth taking some.
  • All the Gunships feel competitively priced – maybe not optimal but certainly fieldable – at 160 for the Skyray and 145 for the Hammerhead. The Skyray especially as a model with the Markerlight keyword and some built in buffs to hitting of its own seems suited to be a unit that Observes more than it’s Guided. Getting Sustained Hits 2 on the Hammerhead Railgun is as hilarious as it sounds.

Overall Impact

Impossible to overstate what an epochal shift the move to universal free wargear and strictly per-model pricing is for Tau. Outside of some Deathwatch weirdos, no army in the game had their level of granularity and variation in unit points costs, and simply not having to deal with that anymore shakes up the math on a ton of options that weren’t worth it before. It was very easy – especially with 9th’s escalating points costs for duplicating weapons on the same model – to price a unit out of its usefulness unless you played stupid games with moving guns around, and that isn’t a problem anymore. Drones being wargear, and free, means there’s no reason not to max them out unless you run out of models (it remains to be seen how strictly the WYSIWYG set will take this).

A Fireblade-d and droned-up unit of Breacherfish is 260 points, and can leverage about half of the army’s rules – faction and detachment abilities, stratagems, and enhancements – all at once, with the mobility and damage output to bully your way onto almost any objective you want. Take three.

This is probably another edition where Triptide remains viable, if not optimal.

Leagues of Votann

Key Units

  • Einhyr Hearthguard points wayyyy down
  • Land Fortress points down
  • All characters points down a little
  • Sagitaur points basically unchanged
  • Hearthkyn Warriors effectively 13pts per model with free stuff, which is way high

Overall Impact

Shane: Well the good news is that almost every unit went down in cost. Einhyr Hearthguard received a a whopping 12 point per model decrease in points, which is HUGE. This helps the sting of being less wounds then terminators, simply because they are cheaper. Also the Land Fortress went down a lot, 65 point drop, moreso if you were taking Ion beamers. So if you were running Forts and Hearthguard already, you got some big points back. Uthar also saw a 45 point drop, but since he is still worse than a Kahl support wise, I doubt he sees play still. Some units base cost didn’t change at all, namely the generic Kahl (still 90 points), Hearthkyn Warriors (which is funny because technically their cost went up by 5 points if you ran a squad with no upgrades), and Hearthkyn Pioneers. Now if you include Pioneer and Warrior upgrade costs, these units will be slightly cheaper, but truly not significantly so. Hell I was running a Warrior unit with just a medic upgrade and nothing else, guess what costs the same points still, for a worse unit stat wise? Sigh. The Sagitaur saw a minor drop in points, which gets larger if you account for wanting to take the newly improved Beamer or Missiles. Effectively this unit got a slight buff rules/weapon wise, and BS decrease, for a points drop, which overall still looks like a win.

With the AP decreases game wide and changes to how cover benefits 3+ saves, the durability of 2+ armor has gone up overall. So when you factor in the much cheaper Hearthguard and Land Forts, I think this will be a staple of many builds.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Hearthguard STONKS!

This is roughly what I’m looking at list-wise:

  • Kahl x3
  • 10 HG
  • 10 HG
  • 5 HG
  • 3 Thunderkyn (grav)
  • 3 Thunderkyn (grav)
  • 3 Pioneers
  • 2 Land Forts


Key Units

  • The ‘umble Trukk is exceptionally cheap at 50pts.
  • All the buggies are pretty cheap too, making them very attractive once more.
  • Mozrog ain’t cheap, but is extremely worth it.
  • Deffkilla Wartrike with a squad of bikers seems low-key great.
  • Lots of Boyz and Grots seems like a great way to fill out a list.

Overall Impact

Wings: The pricing on Orks pulls you pretty solidly in one direction – lots of Trukk-riding infantry with buggies, bikes and Mozrog in support. You’ll definitely want to mix in at least some Beast Snaggas in order to get the terrifying killing power of Beastbosses, and there are a few other shooty Infantry units around that you might want to consider loading up for some drive-bys, including Flash Gitz being decently priced for the first time since what, the 8th Edition Index? There’s plausibly some play in going for bigger Infantry units too, but honestly I think Ork lists are going to end up looking quite similar to many of their incarnations over the last few years – absolutely masses of units that can get in your face quickly and will cause you serious problems when they do. My strong suspicion is that this is still going to be very effective, especially without No Prisoners as a punish for loading up on lots of Boyz.


Key Units

  • Oh no.
  • Oh no no no.

Overall Impact

Wings: Eldar are exceptionally good, with a whole host of aggressively priced options providing a massive depth of tinkering opportunities. It’s fair to say that a few things we were very worried about (notably Support Weapons and War Walkers) do come at a serious price (though they’re both still valid with their best guns, just probably not auto-takes in max quantities), stacking up a Phoenix Lord with a full unit of their Aspect is going to cost you, and Guardians are expensive enough that one squad to babysit an objective is probably your lot, but outside that? There’s an astounding array of aggressively costed options, and people are going to be trying to work out the best way to squeeze the most optimised lists out of this for weeks. If I had to pick the three most eye-catching price tags, it’s probably Wraithguard at 155, Wave Serpents at 120 and Fire Prisms at 125, all incredible at those costs, but really that’s true of almost everything here. I guess Shining Spears, Wraithlords and the planes are the losers this edition? And that might genuinely be it? Illic Nightspear and Fuegen are both standout units. They have literally never been good in the six years I’ve been playing this game seriously. That’s what we’re dealing with here. Also, the best enhancement (Fate’s Messenger) is joint cheapest.

Wait, I guess the Webway Gate is hilariously overpriced. That’s something.


Key Units

  • 95 point Ravagers say hey
  • Cronos at 50 points for sweet Pain Token regen
  • Talos down at 90 look good value for their punch
  • Drazhar and Lelith amp up units for 105 each
  • Entire army looks points friendly and good to fill the board with
  • Wych Cult and Wracks look a bit too expensive in an artillery world.

Overall Impact

Lowest of Men: That Dark Lance beta-strike I was talking up in the Index overview looks real nice with so many cheap Ravagers (95) and Raiders (90) on offer. Kabalites are priced for their guns (120) but once you’ve taken the good bits and shoved them in Raiders you’ve got very effective and punchy boats that you can slap rerolls on. The Cronos is a delightful buff piece at 50 and one or two feels super easy to squeeze in. Drazhar and Lelith (both 105) can make their respective bodyguard units sing and really don’t set you back too much for the privilege.

The whole army feels down and dirty and you will have plenty on the board. Scourge are an interesting one as they’re certainly very pricy for five wounds (120 points), and I’m still curious to see if Overwatch and the like makes these a risky buy. Shredder Scourge feel like the losers as a result of the flat points cost, but Dark Lance Scourge can stay out of range of overwatch and offer built-in fire and fading alongside a host of other Dark Lance vehicles, and at that point you have to say that a very punchy shooting build looks extremely viable. Wyches at 110 feels like a bit of a joke given the lack of options here and the fact that a non-Lelith unit is Strength 3, but 110 is more than fine for a unit buffed up by what she offers. If I wasn’t so resigned to mass artillery being a thing the built in guns on Wracks (130 for ten) might well go a distance, but it’s hard to see it doing so when being on foot will be so very perilous. Hellions at 110 for five have the same problem- as punchy as they are, they’ll just die so quickly to indirect that the price point feels a bit outrageous.

Genestealer Cults

Key Units

  • Neophytes bring neverending recycling nonsense for a mere 160 for 20
  • Aberrants are pricy but premium at 330 for 10
  • Characters are cheap and cheerful across the board
  • Purestrains cost a lot more for their output now at 180 for ten
  • The Patriarch may finally be appropriately priced at a mere 85
  • Cheap guard Indirect makes Brood Brothers very appealing

Overall Impact

Lowest of Men: Once you factor in the recycling of units via Cult Ambush, these points look to me to be pretty damn generous. Many units still cost roughly what they did before with added shenanigans available. Aberrants get a massive glow up (330 for ten but much much better now) and their attendant characters (Biophagus at 50 and Abominant at 75) make the unit sing for not that much more investment.With baked in hand flamers Acolytes and Metamorphs do feel pricy for their wounds (75 and 80 respectively) but you get the flamers and hey, they can COME BACK. Purestrains pay a lot for that forward deploy but a squad with the Patriarch in costs 265 total and can cause all kinds of mayhem.

The Vehicles are both more expensive now than they were (Rockgrinder, 155, Truck 110), and it’s hard not to hold these up against all the stuff you know you have a chance of getting more uses out of and seeing them as a bit less good, but the solidity and punch they offer might well prove important in an artillery world. Jackals are 160 for ten which feels solid and the Alphus adds additional jank for a mere 60 points- they’re barely more expensive than present even with the leader factored in. Figuring out exactly how many characters is too many will take awhile, but there just feels like so much space to experiment and try tooled out glory units safe in the knowledge that your rank and file is simply never going to run out as long as you can find space for Cult Ambush tokens. Lists that eventually (or even immediately) default to JUST running the guaranteed regenerating stuff will be pretty joyless, but may well have too much stuff to be dealt with via reasonable means. Things might get a little crazy up in GSC land…

Wrap Up

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