Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition Roundup: Week 1

9th edition is coming, with Warhammer 40k set to be transformed. Starting this week, Games Workshop have been posting details of the new edition every day, with Twitch streams and Warhammer Community articles giving us a tantalising look into the new edition.

Following on from the 9th ed announcement stream on the 23rd of May, Games Workshop promised daily posts and updates on the new edition, starting from the 1st of June. They’ve certainly delivered, with a flurry of posts on all kinds of topics – new game modes, new art, new units, and of course a look at the brand new approach to Matched Play. We talked about the initial reveals when they first happened here, and we’ve been paying close attention to all the new reveals.

For reference, here’s a full list of articles published this week:

New 40k: The Game You Love… But Better
Rise of the Skorpekh Destroyer
Join the Crusade
Warhammer 40,000: Matched Play, Points, and an App!
The Art of #New40k
Taking Command of Your Points!
Four Sizes Fit All!

We also transcribed the Matched Play Twitch chat, which you can find here:

Matched Play

And here’s what we’ve learned from them. As usual, we’re only going to talk about what we either know definitively based on what has been revealed, and what can be deduced from those reveals conclusively.


  • 9th edition features an updated turn structure, with a new Command Phase that occurs before the Movement phase, in which players”muster strategic resources and use tactical abilities”
    • 9th also has explicit rules for dealing with “out of phase” actions, something we’ve addressed in Ruleshammer many times
  • The Command Phase allows you to play some stratagems (expect this to be the “at the beginning of the turn” kind of things) and also, at games of 2,000 points, your army regenerates 1CP if it’s battle-forged
  • The number of Command Points you start with is now allocated based on game size, e.g. at 2,000pts each player gets 12 starting CP

The new Command Points table. Credit: Warhammer Community

  • Detachments now cost CP instead of generating it – so no more triple Battalions just to get the most. For example, a Battalion costs 3 CP now. If your Warlord is in one of the “core” detachments – Patrol, Battalion, or Brigade – then you get the CP for that detachment refunded, making them essentially “free” to take.
  • The Battalion detachment (and potentially others) now limit Dedicated Transports to 1 per each INFANTRY unit taken, rather than just limiting them to 1 per each other choice in the detachment. Your transports now actually require you be taking units that can ride in them. This closes a pretty silly hole in the old system where you could take transports for monsters or for tanks bigger than the transport itself
  • Otherwise, Battalions are structured the same as before, with 2 mandatory HQs and 3 mandatory Troop choices.

  • Additionally, there is now a hard limit of detachments at each points level instead of the old “suggestions” – 1 for Combat Patrol, 2 for Incursion, 3 for Strike Force and 4 for Onslaught. The game sizes also have expected game lengths up to 1, 2, 3, or 4 hours, respectively
  • There is also a minimum size requirement for the board size, which also scales by game size. These are based on the Kill Team boards, so the measurements are a bit weird – 44″ x 30″ (two KT boards pushed together) at Combat Patrol/Incursion, 44″ x 60″ for Strike Force (4 boards), and 44″ x 90″ for Onslaught (6 boards).
    • If you were wondering if these new table sizes will affect tournaments in the ITC format, ITC head Reece Robbins has confirmed that the ITC will switch to the new recommended table sizes. In addition to being the table size 9th edition games were balanced around, this size makes it easier to accommodate more players in a tournament space, helping events that were already selling out include more players.


  • There are more universal stratagems, including the new Cut Them Down Stratagem, which costs 1 CP and allows a unit to deal mortal wounds to an enemy unit that Falls Back from them.

    The new Cut Them Down stratagem. Credit: Warhammer Community
  • Units can now make “actions,” such as planting a flag on an objective – see the Matched Play section below for more details on this.
  • A new Warhammer 40,000 app is coming! Per Warhammer Community:

On the same day that the Warhammer 40,000 pre-orders go live, a new app will be launched alongside it, providing several cool features to help you, including a full matched play army builder. The new app will do a number of things to assist players with their games, but one of the most useful will be the ability to build army lists using the updated points values and Detachments. We’ll have more on the Warhammer 40,000 app soon, so watch this space!

Matched Play

  • There’s different “packs” of missions for each game size – 3 for Combat Patrol, 6 each for Incursion and Strike Force, and then another 3 for Onslaught. Stu confirmed on stream that more packs are expected to be released as a set, so look out for that in Chapter Approved, we guess.
  • Missions now have primary and secondary objectives, similar to the NOVA and ITC formats.
  • Primary missions are on the mission description, for example the Four Pillars mission (shown below) allows you to score 5 victory points at the end of your Command phase for holding 1 objective, 2 objectives, and more objectives than your opponent. You can’t score these on your first turn. The mission also has a fixed deployment – in Four Pillars, it’s table quarters.
    • For those wondering about progressive scoring on objectives, this is essentially beginning of turn scoring for objectives, similar to what the NOVA format uses, rather than end-of-turn, which ITC uses.
  • There’s multiple categories of Secondary Objectives – Five “standard” categories:
    • Purge the Enemy – which includes the Assassinate objective, which scores you 3 points per enemy CHARACTER killed
    • No Mercy, No Respite – which includes the Thin Their Ranks objective, which scores you points for the number of models you kill
    • Battlefield Supremacy – which includes the Engage on All Fronts objective, which scores you points for having units in multiple table quarters
    • Warpcraft – includes the Mental Interrogation objective, which scores you points for completing an action that appears to be casting a WC 4 psychic power
    • Shadow Operations – includes the Investigate Sites objective, which scores you points when an Infantry unit in your army completes the Investigate Site action (we suspect this may be like the Engineers objective in the NOVA/ITC packs).
  • You can only pick one Secondary Objective from each category – so no stacking up the 3 most efficient killing secondaries and ignoring objective scoring.
  • Each primary mission has an additional secondary you can choose instead of one of the regular ones, such as the “Siphon Power” secondary for Four Pillars
  • Victory points from each element are capped, so you can score max 15 points from each secondary you pick.
  • There are additional faction-specific secondary objectives on the way.
  • Points costs are changing, and are generally going up – the examples are a Space Marine Intercessor will cost 20 pts and a Chaos Cultist will cost 6pts

The new Four Pillars mission. Credit: Warhammer Community

Narrative Play and Crusade

  • There’s a new play mode for Narrative Play called Crusade. We covered a lot of this last week, when there was more info given on it.
  • Crusade campaigns allow units to gain new wargear, abilities, and injuries
    • Injuries reduce a unit’s effectiveness – Walking Wounded was shown as an example, which reduces a unit’s Move characteristic by 1″ and gives it -1 to Advance and Charge rolls.
    • Wargear can include all kinds of crazy stuff, like ancient xenotech – Xenotech Digital Lasers were shown in the preview.
  • Crusade armies have supply limits which grow as your campaign progresses.You start by picking an Order of battle from one of the seven superfactions – Imperium, Chaos, Aeldari, Orks, Necrons, T’au, and Tyranids – and start with 50 power as your Supply limit. This is what you draw your army from.
    • As Crusades go on, armies accrue “RP”. One use for this resource is increasing the supply limit. The example shown was 1 RP to increase your Crusade’s supply limit by 5 power (this has historically been about 100 points, as 1 Power ~ 20 points)
  • Crusade is designed such that you could play someone else’s Crusade army outside of a given campaign, just meeting up and playing.
  • Codexes will have additional content for Crusade specific to their factions.


The Art Still Whips Ass

We got a look at some great new art from the 9th edition rulebook. It’s appropriately 40k – properly grim and miserable. Here’s just one example, check out the rest on the article linked above:

Credit: Warhammer Community


Necron players got a closer look at the new Skorpekh Destroyer. Mostly this focused on the rad new models, but we also learned about that gigantic sword – it’s a hyperphase reap-blade, a melee weapon giving S+2, AP-4, and damage 3. Nasty! The expanded image also showed off that there’s another, smaller kind of weapon on the way – we’re excited to find out more.

The new Skorpekh Destroyers. Credit: Warhammer Community

Our Thoughts

That’s a lot of changes, and it’s only week one. This is shaping up to be way more than the “8.5th Edition” some were speculating we’d see when rumors of a new edition first started swirling. This is a major overhaul!

First, let’s talk about the good: The thing that has really shone through in a lot of the posts this week, and especially so if you’ve been paying attention to the Twitch streams, is that the new edition seems to have been designed very thoughtfully. Stu talks intelligently about the changes they’ve made and why they made them, and the rules snippets we’ve seen definitely seem a league above what was normal in 8th edition – much clearer, more systematic and overall just better thought through. I don’t want to say that it’s unexpected from Games Workshop, but it definitely feels like the rules design is more assured.

The new missions seem like they take a lot of the best of what obviously inspired them – the NOVA and ITC formats – and make it a little more GW in execution, partly because GW have a lot more freedom to mess around with the core rules to create things like actions which the ITC, for obvious reasons, mostly didn’t do. The secondaries also seem to be much more varied and imaginative than what we saw from NOVA and the ITC, which is exciting to think about as well. Objectives based around Psykers performing rituals or interrogating an enemy’s mind seems like the perfect intersection of competitive and narrative play.

Fixed CP for points sizes and extra detachments costing CP rather than awarding it also seems like a step in the right direction. Some players are understandably spooked – if you’ve been playing a triple Battalion Ork list for a while and 8th is now suggesting you might not even want to pick more than one Battalion, that’s a huge change to playstyle. Hopefully as we learn more it becomes a little less of an issue for those players and the armies can be adapted to the new format.

Touching on the less great point, the board size change is a big open question. Yeah it says “minimum” and you can just play on 6×4, but both the LVO and Adepticon have already confirmed that they’re intending to use the new minimum size, and where the super-major events go, most others follow – nobody wants to be practicing on a 6×4 board and then turn up to one of the biggest events of the year and get hosed because they’re used to playing in the wrong space. We’re not wholly convinced the change is about great game design so much as it’s based around the size of a KT board, which itself is dictated by the size of a standard GW box, but it’s a question that can only really be answered by live play and hopefully we’ll turn out to be wrong and it’s fine.

Other than that, a positive first week of 9th edition reveals, and we’re looking forward to more.


Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.