Warhammer 40k 9th Edition Round-up, Week 3

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

Since their announcement stream, Games Workshop has been doing daily posts and videos on the new edition and the changes it will bring. We’ve been covering off on some of these during the week with some of the big updates around Terrain and Vehicles, and while we’ve repeated some of those articles here, we’ve also added new notes tying things together so if you already read those once, there’s some new notes and content in there that you might find insightful.

There was only one major 9th preview article this week covering rules, Overwatch Overhaul, but Warhammer Community also did a series of faction focus articles talking about how certain factions play in 9th edition. These have been sprinkled with additional teasers and notes about the new edition for eagle-eyed readers and we’ll cover those too below.

Faction Focus Articles This week:

You can also check out last week’s round-up here.


Look Out, Sir

One of the biggest changes so far was shown off in the Adepta Sororitas Faction Focus article, Look Out, Sir is the new rule that governs targeting characters in 9th edition. Your Characters with 9 or fewer wounds can still be protected from ranged fire, but the requirements for that are much more stringent:

Gone are the days of being able to sit in the middle of table and able to use the protection of a unit of Scouts on the other side of the table yet closer to the enemy. Now you’ll need to keep your targetable characters within 3″ of a friendly vehicle, monster, or unit with 3+ models. This also shuts down indrect fire at characters who happen to be the closest if they aren’t also in line of sight. It’s a huge change and has the ripple effect of making screening/bodyguard units more important – an opponent can much more easily pick off the models and units protecting a character to make them targetable now.

Note: The one big omission here is for units with the BATTLESUIT keyword that aren’t also MONSTERS. That could be a problem for T’au, where smaller units of Crisis suits or Broadsides may not provide protection from targeting.



Overwatch is now a universal Stratagem. Note that these are now referred to as Core Stratagems.

Credit: Warhammer Community

This has a few major consequences! The first is that Overwatch costs CP to use, making it a much more expensive action to undertake, and something you’ll often just not bother with if the best-case scenario is just dealing an extra wound or two. The second is that it limits you to using Overwatch once per Charge phase, meaning that if you’ve got multiple chargers you can cleverly work out your actions to prevent an opponent from using the Stratagem.

Overwatch still happens before the charge roll is made and still requires you to roll a 6 to hit, irrespective of modifiers and can’t be used if you’re already in Engagement Range with an enemy unit.

Credit: Warhammer Community

Stream Notes:

  • Some units have bonuses to hit with Overwatch.
  • Some units have Overwatch as part of their Datasheet or other options. This lets them fire Overwatch “for free.”
    • An example given for this on Warhammer Community was the Cool-Headed Crusade ability, which lets a unit fire Overwatch when charged and hit on a 5 or 6.
  • T’au ability. “Still better at Overwatching than everybody else.”
  • Ultramarines have an Overwatch Stratagem.
  • Certain rules and conditions enable a unit to fire Overwatch but not every unit can do it.
  • In 8th Edition Overwatch never had a downside so there was a lot of dice rolling for no outcome. That’s no longer the case. In 9th they wanted to speed up the game, eliminate rules that provided minimal benefit for the expenditure of time, provide a benefit to melee armies, and force players to make decisions.
  • Stu black explained that when reviewing the rules they pushed two major questions:
    1. “Where can we add choices that matter?”
    2. “Where can we remove things that don’t?”

Notes: This is something that melee-focused armies are salivating over. It makes charging from the open much more viable, particularly with units of squishier units like Bloodletters or Daemonettes. It also hammers home the utility of flamers – you are much more likely to use the Stratagem if you know you’re getting full hits rather than just one per six shots.


Charging Multiple Units

Those of you salivating over the idea of declaring a ton of multi-charges now that Overwatch is a Stratagem may want to tamp down that enthusiasm. A cheeky comment at the end of the Adepta Sororitas Faction Focus revealed that in 9th edition, if you charge multiple units, your charge only succeeds if you roll sufficiently high to reach every unit you declared as a target of your charge. So you won’t be able to just declare a charge everything within 12″ in order to make sure you can fight everything if you end up in contact with it now that Overwatch won’t stop you. This also makes Heroic Interventions much more deadly.


Defensible Terrain

We saw Defensible listed as a Terrain Keyword in last week’s update on terrain, but didn’t have any clarification into what that meant. Now we know that it provides bonuses to units that occupy it. Remember that in 9th Edition you and your opponent will agree on what traits each terrain piece will have at the start of the game; this trait is intended for things like ruins or bunkers or other features where models can dig in and prepare for an assault.

Credit: Warhammer Community

Defensible terrain gives INFANTRY units the option of either Holding Steady or Setting to Defend.

  • Hold Steady: Doesn’t provide Overwatch, simply improves it if you fire it through the Stratagem or another ability.
  • Set to Defend: You can’t fire Overwatch but you get +1 to hit rolls in the next Fight phase.

This was given on the stream as another example of making the battlefield more dynamic and interesting.

What we still don’t know: We still don’t know when you make this choice; if it happens when you first enter the terrain, or it’s a decision that is made when a charge is declared. The latter seems more likely, but the timing will matter. It may also be an Action, so maybe you have to give up shooting or something for it.

Callbacks and Interactions: We know that GW intends Ruins to be defensible terrain, thanks to the terrain article we saw last week. Also remember that this has some interesting interactions with the Heavy Cover trait. Models don’t get the benefit of Heavy Cover against an opponent that charged, which puts the pressure on enemies to take the initiative. On the other hand if you’re in Defensible Heavy Cover terrain and your opponent is not, you have more of a benefit to sit back and force them to come to you, or take an aggressive posture and charge them first.

Credit: Warhammer Community


Additional Notes from the Faction Focus Articles

As we noted above, GW dropped a few things in this week’s Faction Focus articles on how 9th edition rules will change as well. We’ll cover those here:

  • A note in the Death Guard Faction Focus suggests that in 9th, in the Fight phase after charging units have fought, the player who isn’t taking their turn gets to choose the first non-charging unit to fight with. This is a major departure from 8th edition and suddenly makes “Always Fight first” abilities significantly more useful.
  • A note in the Orks Faction Focus says there’s a way for terrain to give your entire unit -1 to be hit. This is something we speculated on earlier in the Terrain rules, and was confirmed this week on stream when they talked about the Dense Cover Terrain Trait.
  • Another note suggests that Ork flyers that move off the battlefield may come back with new bombs, similar to the old “re-arm and refuel” rules in 7th edition 40k. This is speculative right now, but worth watching out for now that flyers will be able to leave the table and come back.
  • The new Primaris bikes are called Outriders. They have a rule that gives them +2 attacks on the charge, making them total melee monsters with 6 attacks each on the charge. The new ATV is called the Invader ATV. Outriders will be available to White Scars and Dark Angels, according to the article.

  • The big War-of-the-Worlds looking Necron unit is a Canoptek Reanimator. It’s a repair unit and it modifies Reanimation Protocols rolls with its Nano-Scarab Reanimation Beam. However this happens in the Command phase, and works until the next turn, suggesting that the rules for Reanimation Protocols have changed significantly in 9th edition. Something to keep an eye on. We’ve also seen images of what looks like this same kit with a Doomsday Ark gun on it, so there may be a gun version to look out for as well, likely a dual kit.
  • There’s a new Primaris Lieutenant in the Indomitus box, and he has a Volkite Pistol.
  • Necron Warriors can take a Gauss Reaper, which is the shorter-barreled gun we’ve seen them with:

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