9th Edition: What We Know (So Far)
What follows here is what we either know definitively or can deduce with comfortable levels of certainty from what has been revealed. The bulk of this comes from Tuesday’s Q&A session and the transcript we made of that, while other bits come from Saturday’s big reveal, plus a few things that have shown up on message boards (comments from Reece) or in leaked images.
- Terrain rules have been overhauled, with every piece of terrain on the board given specific tags that provide different rules.
- One example is the Obscured tag – a piece of terrain with this blocks all LOS that passes over the base of the terrain piece.
- The use of tags means terrain is more abstracted than 8th; true LOS no longer applies in all situations.
- Games to have a “define terrain” step where players specify what each piece of terrain is and what tags it has
- Games Workshop will provide examples showing an appropriate level of terrain that the game is balanced around.
- Terrain will have a major impact and become a “third player” that affects the game. “Terrain will matter beyond just blocking LOS.”
- Ruins, buildings, bunkers, and swamps have all been mentioned.
- More tools to be able to interact with the terrain in different ways.
- “Gamey” things like a Carnifex not being able to reach targets higher up will be addressed.
Core Rules Changes
- The fundamental turn system will not change. 9th Edition is not an overhaul, it is an update to 8th.
- Power Level will still be available, but will be updated over time to ensure balance.
- Still keeping Open, Narrative, and Matched play modes.
- Vehicles and Monsters will be able to shoot while in melee.
- New core stratagems, some aimed at hordes and close combat armies
- Everyone always hits on (unmodified) 6s
- Modifiers locked to +/- 1
- Random shot weapons are staying
- “Blast” is being added to existing weapons via a big table in the core book.
- The Morale phase will be more impactful, and more things interact with it (though light on the detail).
- New combat attrition mechanic (no details yet)
- All Forgeworld rules will now be handled by Games Workshop rules team. All part of “the same ecosystem”.
- Flyers will change significantly. Planes are intended to be fun to fly and shoot at. Can leave the board and return, will interact differently than ground units. Less “gamey” interactions like blocking movement.
- Mortal wounds unchanged.
- Overwatch and Falling Back will both see changes.
- New core Stratagems will give all armies a boost and make it more rewarding to get into assault.
- CP will be spent to do things like putting units into reserves and having them outflank (arriving from another table edge)
- As the game progresses units will be able to come onto the battlefield closer and closer to the enemy, representing maneuvers off the table.
- Intent is to provide a benefit to mid-range shooting and melee armies.
- Command points based on four army sizes. Smallest is 500 points / 25 PL (Combat Patrol). Other scales are Onslaught, Strike Force, and Incursion.
- Intent is to build upon the idea that CP are to be spent as a General would, providing a strategic as well as tactical benefit.
- Emphasis on more thoughtful decisions.
- CP can be spent to add additional factions (soup), change deployment (reserves), as well as the usual Stratagems.
- Note: Because 8th edition codexes will still be legal in 9th, this means that rules like Raiding Party (Dark Eldar) and Knight Detachments (Imperial Knights, Chaos Knights) will either still generate additional CP or will need errata on day 1 to bring them in line with the new rules.
- No longer forced to take blocks of units you don’t like because you “have” to.
- No more CP batteries or detachment-derived CP bonuses.
- Detachments still exist, but we don’t know what they will do.
- Additional detachments will cost you CP, meaning adding more factions through additional detachments is going to be taxed.
- This may leave some flexibility on souping “within” a detachment via keywords like ADEPTUS ASTARTES or NURGLE
There’s a new starter box in the works that apparently has Space Marines vs. Necrons. The Dark Imperium boxed set is being retired soon.
- All Space Marine chapters will be able to use all of the new Marines.
- Deathwatch will get a major update “pretty soon” after 9th drops.
- Old Space Marines are still supported.
- Astartes chainswords will have a different statline than regular chainswords.
- New units including new Primaris bikes, melee units (assault Intercessors and a new unit that sport swords and shields), some kind of gravis units with melta weapons, and a “Justicar” which looks like a Chaplain with a giant sword.
- The new Primaris bike unit are called Primaris Outriders
- New primaris lieutenant to be released, this one holding a shield and volkite pistol
- Necrons getting a new codex, will be among the first of 9th edition
- Necrons getting an entirely new model range, with updates to all of the old kits. Already spotted: New Warriors, Destroyer, Monolith, Scarabs
- There’s a new weapon option for Necron Warriors
- The Silent King is coming back, with new model that’s massive
- One of the models we’ve seen in a preview image is likely to be a new C’Tan
- Tons of all-new units, including the Skorpekh Lord and Canoptek Plasmacyte
- Death Korps will be put in line with the rest of Astra Militarum.
- FW Indexes getting a full rewrite
- Some units/models will be added to Legends in the future, but in small bits, not a big update like we got last time
New Game Mode: Crusades
- Crusades are a massive narrative feature that will encompass a wide variety of scales and options.
- Capable of handling everything from a single player to a 50-player weekend event like the NOVA Narrative.
- Way to capture all of the epic stories that happen with units and models over the course of gameplay.
- You can inter a character in a Dreadnought.
- Even in defeat you can get bonuses like Requisition Points.
- Will be balanced so that players can use a Crusade army against anyone they wish.
- Core rulebook will include “nuts and bolts” of Crusade system that will then be expanded on by codices.
- Faction-specific Crusades written around core fluff, such as Thousand Sons looking for artifacts or Dark Angels looking for Fallen.
- Can start a Combat Patrol and steadily increase in size, spending Requisition Points to grow army.
- Different missions will reflect different sizes, for example a Combat Patrol will get a specific mission dedicated to them.
- Specific missions can provide a particular benefit, like assassinating a target may make a unit better once they become a Veteran.
- We’ve seen Agenda cards that reflect specific goals in games of Crusade – these help you earn more XP by accomplishing specific goals in-game, such as killing a character.
- New codexes are being worked on
- New codexes will take the “best of” PA content, but may not transfer everything.
- Rules in boxes initially
- Extra Crusade rules in codexes
- More units moving to legends over time, but it sounded like very slowly
- Core rules are “slightly more” than the 8 pages of 8th edition, with lots of examples.
- Appendix will be provided to handle edge cases.
- Missions intended to more specifically target their game modes.
- Competitive play is about balance and player agency.
- Narrative is aimed to be immersive.
Related: Missions developed with input from both Reece and Mike, and the ITC plans to adopt them – this means a “unified ruleset”
- Per Reece: “If you are a regular tournament player, the new missions will be familiar to you”
- Astartes chainswords are better than other chainswords, apparently have better AP, are larger and therefore both cooler and gooder
- Coda note: this is the best release GW has ever done. Finally they have realised that swords are the best weapons. All they need to do is slap some jump packs on them sword and shield duders and we will be gold.
- The body of an Imperial Guardsman used as a bludgeon has been confirmed to have less AP than an Astartes chainsword.