Warhammer Warhammer 40k

Warhammer 40,000 – Ninth Edition

Last Saturday, Games Workshop announced a new edition of Warhammer 40,000. First, if you haven’t seen it yet, take a moment to watch the trailer that they put together for the new edition.

Games Workshop has been doing some great videos recently and it’s awesome to see the setting realized in a video like this. In addition to getting me excited for the new edition and the new miniatures that will be coming with it, the quality of their work makes me more excited for their upcoming animation projects like Hammer & Bolter and Angels of Death.

For the new edition, Games Workshop has said that existing codexes and the Psychic Awakening books will keep being relevant at least until they release new codexes. As for changes, they’ve released the following video highlighting nine changes for the new edition:

1 Streamlined & Polished

This is just table stakes for a new edition, so not particularly notable. It’d be really strange for Games Workshop to release a new edition and not claim that it was the best version of Warhammer 40,000.

2 Crusade

Crusade is a new narrative campaign system that is included in the new edition. It sounds both like it will include an escalation system to grow an army over time and a way to let effects of a battle influence the rest of the campaign. I’m hoping that this takes some cues from the campaign system in Kill Team to let units level up during the course of the game. Games Workshop has also mentioned that the 9th edition codexes will include new army-specific rules for Crusade too.

3 Command Points

How an army earns command points is being reworked. My impression from what’s been previewed is that they are moving away from earning them with detachments to address the reason why lots of armies included low-cost battalions of Astra Militarum or Adeptus Mechanicus rather than just being a single faction. This seems like a good change, and I’m looking forward to more details on how command points will actually be earned.

4 Tanks!

Tanks are going to get a boost by being able to shoot in melee including point-blank shooting. This is a great fluffy change that will help armies play in a more story-appropriate way. The biggest open question I have is whether this is going to apply to all Vehicles and Monsters or rely on some other keyword or rule.

5 Terrain

Terrain rules are being re-worked for the new edition. Eighth edition has very abstract and basic terrain, so it’ll be nice to have more interesting options here. I’m curious where the rules will end up.

6 Scaling

The preview claims that the new edition will be more balanced across a wide range of battle sizes. I’m curious if they are taking cues from Kill Team and Apocalypse with different activation models, but that seems unlikely if everything will be compatible with 8th edition datasheets, stratagems, and such.

7 Tactical Reserves

It sounds like all armies are going to have the option to hold units in reserve and then move them on from various board edges as the game progresses. Reserves and deep strike have changed a good amount during the lifetime of 8th edition to try to keep them balanced, so I’m curious how these rules will work. I do like the option as a means of protecting units from alpha strikes.

8 Blast Weapons!

When 8th edition was released, weapon templates went away and frag blasts and flamers switched to instead have a random number of shots. This was a good change to remove having to figure out how many models were under a template, but it sort of removed the niche for blast weapons and made them into just less reliable multi-shot guns. It sounds like there will now be a mechanic so that blasts will get to have their max number of shots against units with a lot of models. If I were to have made a wish list for a new edition, a change like this for blast weapons would have been high on it.

9 Aircraft

I’ve never been a big fan of aircraft in Warhammer 40,000 and don’t own any Flyer models. Part of the reason is that it felt silly to have futuristic jets operating at the game’s scale and constrained to a 4′ × 6′ rectangle. It sounds like aircraft will be able to fly off and back on to the board and pretty much ignore things on the ground, so maybe this edition will change my mind about Flyers.


Games Workshop has an FAQ posted about the new edition here, and this Tuesday there will be a streamed Q&A session on Twitch. I’m looking forward to learning more about the new edition leading up to its release and overall I’m excited for the new edition.

By Scott Boehmer

A game enthusiast and software engineer.

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