We finally have the last piece of the puzzle: As promised, Games Workshop dropped the Q3 balance dataslate today, filling in the trifecta of new tournament rules with the Nephilim GT Missions pack and the first digital points update. So what changed this time around, and what does it mean for competitive play? In this article we’ll cover all of the details and how they fit in with the points and mission changes.
The Sisters get no changes, though they benefit from several points decreases per yesterday’s release.
Scions unambiguously get Hammer of the Emperor, VEHICLES get Armour of Contempt, and TITANIC vehicles have a 2+ save.
Leman Russ with a 2+ against AP-1 attacks: they’re good. You’re still not going to take a lot of them, but the Demolisher Tank Commanders you were already running just got slightly better. This functionally doesn’t matter for the full payload Manticores you are also already taking, because if those are taking damage you have already lost (so, in most games, by turn 3).
As usual, we advocate for Big Tanks here, and a Baneblade with a 2+ and AoC that costs no CP to include in Nephilim is suddenly not looking like a disastrously bad pick. It would be cool.
Nothing for the Custodians, who keep the changes they had in the last slate.
If your army contains any HIVE TYRANT models, one of them must be your Warlord.
What it means: Up until now, Warlords have been relatively simple to choose and hide and their impact has been relatively small. With this update, if you’re fielding a HIVE TYRANT you have to choose one of them, which makes targeting your Warlord slightly easier. This wouldn’t necessarily be a huge deal except…
Synaptic Imperative is now linked to the existence of the player’s Warlord on the table.
What it means: If your Warlord is withheld in reserve/deep strike or dead, you cannot make a Synaptic Imperative selection for the battle round. This is a huge deal, as Synaptic Imperatives up to now have basically been a powerful “gimme” and this forces the player to make some interesting choices. It’s not game-breaking by any stretch, but players will need to be more cagey with their Warlord and spend some time grabbing cover and/or have Tyrant Guard pulling bodyguard duty. This potentially incentivizes no HIVE TYRANT models on the table, which would be a huge change-up from the current meta, or lists adjusting to include Tyrant Guard that skipped them previously. Either way, it’s definitely important to remember your opponent is going to be gunning for your lead bug.
The Tyranid player Adaptive trait must be selected pre-game.
What it means: The whole point of Adaptive traits was to let you… adapt. Now you can’t, and any decision you want to make has to be on your list. Basically they just removed the mechanic, so that’s great news for a codex that’s a month old.
Ad Mech got some buffs in the Addition By Subtraction sense. Ironstriders and Dragoons no longer lose CORE. Clandestine Infiltration and Acquisition At Any Cost lost their usage restrictions. The CP cost changes for Enriched Rounds has been reverted, but the part about only triggering on an unmodified 5+ remains.
Mechanicus have been paying for the sins they committed on codex launch for a while now, and their win rate has concomitantly plummeted, so it’s nice to see GW do the “right” thing and roll some of that back. It’s a sign of how quickly and sharply the meta shifts that an army which deserved the insane nerfs it caught just a few months ago now needs buffs to compete, and we applaud GW for recognizing it, as much as we’d still like to see these mechanical weirdos eat dirt forever.
Pendulin: Another change that got reverted is Galvanic Volley Fire is now back to its original form: spend 2CP to upgrade Galvanic Rifles from Heavy 2 to Rapid Fire 2 for a phase. With a Manipulus in tow, buffing Galvanic Rifle’s range and AP, getting within 18” of a unit of Skitarii Rangers means a hail of bullets coming at you.
Ironstriders and Dragoons gaining back CORE is big for the faction. I’m not going to list all the things that come with it – I did that once, and I gave up correcting the list when it hit about 40 changes. I certainly would have preferred Kataphrons gaining CORE, but I’ll take what I can get. Will it be enough to put Admech back at top tables? Doubtfully, but it gives back some of the “endless bag of tools for you to mix-and-match” flavor that the codex had at launch.
Corrode: No changes. Give my Talos CORE back, you cowards.
Boon: Craftworlds received four adjustments to their traits and stratagems. The first and most hotly anticipated was the adjustment to Hail of Doom, which became an “all-consuming” trait and thus may no longer be paired with additional traits like Masterful Shots. The second change concerns the Eldritch Storm stratagem; you now need line of sight with the Farseer doing the action, and although “any” Farseer from your army can do the psychic action there’s now no additional benefit for doing so – you just get more bites at getting it to work at all. It also works on a 4+ now rather than 2+ against non-characters. Truly this goes from hero to zero.
Third is a limitation on Fire and Fade which now becomes a one-time-use stratagem. The final change is to the Matchless Agility stratagem which instead of being a flat 6″ becomes a reroll on the Battle Focus roll.
I think this wraps a string of consecutive hits to Craftworlds that is going to really see them reeling. They’re more expensive, less manouevreable, less killy; opponents won’t mourn them, but it looks like Craftworlds are going to be sliding down the standings.
Nothing Changed. Dark Angels are fine. Pfew.
GREGNOTE: Hell yeah.
Gunumnote: Hell yeah.
Greg: Nothing Changed.
Broadsides have now lost CORE, gained 10 points, and seen Smart Missiles become functionally useless between the nerfs to indirect fire generally and Mont’Ka specifically, and the addition of Armour of Contempt. It’s probably time to box them up and take your Triple Riptides out of storage. As much as Broadsides were inarguably Too Good when the codex released, they might have gotten taken down a peg too far, and are Not Great anymore.
This one is a mixed bag. Tau didn’t need buffs, and should still be fine even after the points hikes, due to having a good spread of Nephilim secondaries. The changes to Engage benefit them, as well as Aerospace Targeting Relays finishing on the player turn for FIRE WARRIOR units.
Chaos Space Marines
Iron Warriors appear to get pre-codex errata to their legion trait. We suspect this means their trait was akin to Salamanders, reducing the AP of incoming attacks with AP-1 or AP-2. The replacement – no longer being able to re-roll wound rolls against them – is an undoubtedly powerful ability and we’re excited to see how it shakes out with the new book
No changes were made from the previous Balance Dataslate.
What it means: Nothing. Keep being gross, Blightlords and Deathshroud Terminators.
Overlord Wings isn’t around, so it’s up to Pyschomancer Gunum to dive in here! Let’s look at what changed:
No Nobles; No Masters – for the purposes of Command Protocols, NOBLE has been replaced with the keyword NECRON CHARACTER, giving you a lot more flexibility in applying these across the table. This is important because as well as this Necrons also gained:
Command Protocols: Now, you will be able to pick a single Command Protocol, one that was not assigned to any of your game turns, to be active during the entire game. For example, if you are playing Nephrek, you could choose to get the +1” Move and Do Actions and Shoot protocol at all times. Great buff overall, as it now makes protocols feel like a lord is transmitting a constant program, making edits to it while the battle progresses. This is going to give Necron players some real feeling of customization as they pick which protocol best fits their army to be online all the time. Maybe you’re a +1” move guy, or maybe you want to have Living Metal heal 2, every turn, forever. Pretty sick.
Next, and this is the big one, with what we can only describe as a choice that has truly wild consequences: Add the CORE keyword to all Necron Vehicle Datasheets.
But what does this mean, Pyschomancer Gunum? Well, let me tell you. It means that The Silent King, the Doomsday Ark, the Ghost Ark, and every Forgeworld vehicle from the Pylon to the Seraptek Heavy Construct, now can benefit from a wide variety of abilities.
The Silent King’s Menhirs can be resurrected. Doomsday Arks can hit on 2s. You can give things +1S via Disruption Fields. It means Szeras and Zahndrak can buff almost everything in the codex. +1BS Ghost Arks? Sure! +1T Silent King? Why not!
I could go on but experimentation is half the fun with this. Find the CORE in your heart and let it speak to you. Oh, and the Silent King benefits from his own auras. This does miss Doomstalkers, which is a darn shame. Being able to do actions with a Pylon, though. Seems neat. I cannot state how huge this buff is.
Non-Pyscho Gunum edit: Please, GW, fix this. I realize the Silent King was intentional but this is maybe, possibly, a bit much for the interactions for the book. I’m still gonna use it. But please. At least make Doomstalkers VEHICLES, too.
The Clowns had a rough go as they ate some nerfs. The Luck of the Laughing God ability table should not be used. Instead, regardless of the size of the battle, you begin the round with zero (0) Luck re-rolls. You can only increase your luck by rolling on the Luck of the Laughing God. This keeps the Luck Rerolls a little under control, but still allows the Clown player to gamble big, so that’s fine.
Light also takes a hit, being moved out to 18″ range from 12. Dark Saedath doesn’t escape either, by being brought in line with one of the old Masques of the past. Instead of automatically fighting on death when a Dark Saedath unit is killed in combat, they now deal a Mortal Wound to the enemy that killed them, on a 4+ up, to a maximum of six. This is a significant nerf to Dark. Huge.
Orks got a little buff, actually. Maybe more than a little. First off, it looks like Orks were able to pay for the sins of the Rukkatrukk and can now take 3 models of each of their fun buggies, in any combination of units, instead of one big unit only. Witness Me! And all that, as well as making Kustom Jobs an option again.
Next, and the big change, is they made a Waagh actually feel like a right proppa’ Waagh, innit. How it works is pretty straightfoward: there are still two stages to it, one being Call Da Waagh! and the second being Get Stuck In!
Call Da Waagh!
■ Orks Core and Orks Character units from your army are eligible to declare a charge even if they Advanced this turn.
■ Add 1 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of Orks models from your army.
■ Orks models from your army have a 5+ invulnerable save.
Get Stuck In!
■ Add 1 to the Strength and Attacks characteristics of Orks models from your army.
■ Orks models from your army have a 6+ invulnerable save.
This gives your Orks a neat durability buff under Waaagh!, helping them actually reach their target – or stick around once they’ve hit it.
Sir Not Appearing in this Dataslate: Genestealer Cults and Chaos Daemons
To go with their complete lack of points changes, GSC and Daemons get nothing at all in this dataslate. Hopefully that Daemon codex is coming soon.
What’s Next: The Big Competitive Round Table
That wraps up our look at the dataslate impacts but as always we’ve got more to say. Stay tuned on Monday for part 2 of our Nephilim Competitive Round Table, where we’ll get into some detail about who’s going to crush it in the new season of competitive play and who’s going to be left on the outside. Then after that we’ll be releasing a new series of Faction Focus articles, as well as updates to some of our more venerable Start Competing articles, so stay tuned for those too.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at email@example.com.