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Warhammer 40K 10th Edition – What Has Changed?

Well, this has been quite the storm of information hasn’t it?

With the news Warhammer 40k 10th Edition dropping, we have been given an Emperor Class Titan’s worth of information about what is to come. 

With all the data to analyse, it’s pretty easy to get lost in what is happening. But fear not dear reader, we have been patiently waiting, collecting and studying facts like a Tech Priest Enginseer investigating an STC file, and we can now present to you all the essential information that you need to know what is going on with all this 10th Edition business in Warhammer 40k.

For ease of reading, this article will act almost like an FAQ so you can quickly find the details most relevant to you!

The feature image for Warhammer 40K 10th Edition changes overview

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Why are the rules changing in Warhammer 40k?

If you’ve played any games recently, especially as a new player, you may have an issue with remembering every unit ability, special faction rule, etc. This forces players to constantly reference their codexs and flick back and forth to find the relevant info they need. 

For many players, this is not fun. Especially when you have to take into consideration that not only do you have to learn the rules for your army, you also have to learn the rules for others if you want to work on counters and good tactics. 

These complications in rule remembering also causes players issues when trying to build an army.

Imagine you’re in your local hobby shop looking to buy an addition to your Astra Militarum army. Can you remember all the subtle differences between a Basilisk and a Manticore without having your codex on your lap? If you can, you may find that the Adeptus Ministorum would like to hire you for scribing.

Don’t worry about applying for the job, I’m sure they’ll find you in good time. So when the rules get too bloated in Warhammer 40k, a new edition comes around to fix everything. This time we get Warhammer 10th edition (and then the rule bloats process can start again).

How are the rules changing from 40k 9th edition to 10th edition?

The keyword that Games Workshop are using liberally is streamlining. They have gone through each rule with a fine tooth comb and identified rules that inject the game with unnecessary bloat and mechanics that could be changed to make things simpler while achieving the same result.

These changes are described as a complete overhaul of the current game, with changes to turn structure, morale, how terrain works, and a slew of other things in Warhammer 40k.

So how do these rule boffins plan to make these changes? We still don’t have all the details, but here is what we know so far.

New datacards in 40k

Data Card changes in 40k 10th Edition

First and foremost, each unit will now display their stats differently. While the data looks similar, you will notice the removal of some stats from the stat line, and the addition of something called objective control.

To put simply, objective control highlights how well a model can control an objective. When figuring out which unit has hold of a location, you would add up the total amount of OC points each side has – simple!

This makes for an interesting gameplay mechanic as well. Some strong elite models may have less OC than weaker units because their function is to attack a position and move on. Creating a clear purpose for each unit when it comes to what their role is on the battlefield. 

The astute of you will have noticed the lack of attacks, weapon skill, and ballistic skill on the profiles of the unit. Now these will be displayed on weapon profiles.

While this isn’t a huge change to how you would calculate attacking compared to the previous edition, it does allow the rule writers to tie specific weapons to their users. For example, a Khorne Berserker wielding a chain axe is probably going to hit harder and more often than a regular, run of the mill cultist. Again, this helps clarify what the function of the model and its unit is when compared to other units with similar load outs. It sort of reminds of other GW games…

Bringing back an almost old-school vibe, leadership has changed too. To pass a Battle-shock test, you will need to roll two dice and score higher than LD. Failing an LD check will make things like falling back or controlling an objective harder, which adds a nice tactical element to leadership.

Army List Changes in Warhammer 40k 10th Edition

Have a look at this image:



You’ll notice a few familiar words but there have been some decent changes. So, lets go at them one at a time. 

Battle Sizes refers to the number of points you will use in a game.

Incursion, Strike Force and Onslaught, each using 1,000 points, 2,000 points, and 3,000 points respectively. While 500 point armies are still useable in casual games, the 10th edition is said to be optimised for 1,000 point and above armies. 

One more thing to take into consideration is that Power Levels are done and dusted. All models and units are now exclusively points based.

The Army Roster is simply the piece of paper or digital format in which you write down what is in your army, so nothing too exciting there.

Select Faction is exactly what it says on the tin, choose which faction you want to build an army for. Though Games Workshop has said that it is assumed you will play a singular faction, in casual games it is possible to combine factions.

Select Detachment rules are where things start to get a little spicy. Each detachment will have different rules and stratagems tied to it. What is interesting about this is that these detachments are not tied to specific sub-factions, meaning that if you want to play your Salamanders chapter of Space Marines with different special rules, you can!

While on the topic of stratagems, these will be reduced in number to “a handful of the best ones” as well as a few universal ones. This should hopefully allow players to identify which stratagems best serve them mid-game without having to compare and contrast two pages worth of abilities.

Personally, I love this change as it will allow players to use their armies in different ways without having to spend hours painting armies different colours.

Picking models is pretty simple, all things considered.

You must have 1 character, a maximum of 1 epic hero, and you can only have 3 of each unit unless it has the BATTLELINE or DEDICATED TRANSPORT keywords (in which case you can have 6). In addition to this, each character can only have one enhancement, with 3 in total across your army. These enhancements must also all be different. 

The final part is Promote your Warlord. Much like before, you pick a character and they gain the WARLORD keyword, which we imagine will play much like how Warlord traits work now. Though, Games Workshop do emphasise that these traits, along with the detachment rules, will no longer require more than a couple of pages.

Universal Rules and Vehicle/Monster Profiles in 40k 10th Edition

In the 10th edition of Warhammer 40k, rules such as deep strike will now be universal to all armies. This is to keep things simple, as in the past having the same rule being referred to by different names could cause confusion and was certainly seen as unnecessary bloat by a fair number of players.

Further trimming the fat, Games Worhshop plan to take vehicle and monster profiles from three separate profiles into one singular profile, with rules explaining any negative effects suffered when wound thresholds are reached (a bit like Age of Sigmar really).

Combat Patrols in Warhammer 40k 10th Edition

Entirely new to 10th edition of 40k, Combat Patrols are a new game mode that are aimed at being beginner-friendly with simplified rules similar to skirmish games.

This mode will make use of the models you can purchase in the Combat Patrol boxes which will act as preset armies that should allow new players to get right into playing on the table top. 

These boxes are also said to be joined with a significant launch set for the 10th edition, focusing on the coming battles between the Space Marines and the Tyranids.

Though one question that may be on your mind, especially if you and your friends have purchased some Combat Patrols yourself is, how are these different army sets going to be balanced?

That’s a good question. Sadly Games Workshop are keeping their cards close to their chest on this one, but it is speculated that each box set may be given special rules or stratagems to help some of the smaller boxes (here’s looking at you Astra Militarum) go up against big boxes like the Adeptus Custodies.

What will happen to my Codex in Warhammer 40k 10th Edition?

It’s been a long while since a big shake up like this. If you have just recently made a big purchase on codexs, you’d not be wrong in having some concern as to what will happen in this regard. 

To put it bluntly, when 10th edition is released, all of the rules, data cards, and codexs from the previous generation will be obsolete. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but a pill that Games Workshop are trying to ease with a spoon full of sugar (we will discuss said sugar in a moment). Though it has to be said, when a big shift in rules like this occurs, there is no way around it. It is sadly the nature of 40K as GW are running it right now.

Games Workshop do clarify that the lore, short stories, and knowledge within these 9th edition codexs will still be relevant. So if you are a lore fiend, they will still have their uses. But, yeah.

So will you have to purchase a new set of codexs straight out of the gate? Not necessarily. All the datasheets for every single unit in the game will be available for a free download on launch – which is certainly a friendly touch, especially if you’re going to use the 10th edition as an excuse to explore a new faction. With all the data sheets available, you’ll be able to give each army a quick look over before committing to building it.

You will also be able to download the core rules and army rules for free!

So in theory, when 10th edition drops, you should be able to play a game without any additional cost to you. Though this may be a pain to individuals who prefer having physical copies of things (which would include me), packs of data cards will be available for purchase. These have been described as “inexpensive.” What that means in actual monetary cost, we will have to wait and see. If all else fails, you could simply print out the digital cards. And then the cycle will begin of releasing new books for all armies.

Will there be new models for 40k 10th Edition?

The short answer is yes. The long answers is yes times 100. With the new narrative threat posed by the Tyranids, it’s expected that plenty of xenos models will soon be seen across our table tops – as well as some love for the Space Marines (particularly the resizing of those poor, short terminator models).

In fact, it’s been said that the Tyranids will be given the largest unit overhaul in Warhammer history. Which is pretty exciting, especially when you take into consideration that they will also be adding new units and monsters to the Tyranid roster. Plenty of models have already been announced on the Games Workshop Community website, so be sure to keep your eye on that.

What is your opinion on these changes?

Well thank you for the consideration dear reader, I’m more than happy to tell you. 

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with these changes from a new player perspective. While I have played a good chunk of Warhammer 40k in my time, it is well known that I have the memory of Slugga Boy who has drank one too many grogs. Making things simple, streamlined and easier to reference will be a huge boon to players like me. 

I also love the changes to sub-factions and detachments. Being able to format a single army in different configurations with alternate rules will not only make games more diverse, but it will also benefit those players who lack the money to purchase multiple armies but want to experience different play-styles. 

The only thing I am hesitant about is that the streamlining may go too far and take away some of the special sauce and flavour that some factions bring to the table. But, I shall hold my breath until we have more details.

Speaking of details, we shall be keeping our eyes out for more information in the coming weeks and will bring you another deep dive into any changes that are reported to keep you informed!


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