NewHammer 40k: Morale


The following comes from the Warhammer-Community page.

In the 41st Millennium, morale plays a vital role.

Battles can be won and lost by the brave actions of a few stubborn defenders, or defeat caused by the panicked flight of key elements of an enemy force.

Morale has always been a part of Warhammer 40,000. In the past edition though, it did often seem that in a lot of games it could be largely ignored – so many units were immune to its various effects. Where it did apply though, you had to take a lot of tests – it was conceivable that a unit might have to take over half a dozen Leadership tests in a turn, which had the effect of bogging down the game.


The new Morale phase is simple, and only happens once per player turn, at the end of all your other phases. It will apply to almost every unit, and represents warriors fleeing the battlefield, dying from the psychic feedback shockwaves of their allies, or retreating with injured or fallen brethren. There will be very few units indeed that will not feel its effects.

The mechanics are simple – any units that suffered casualties in a turn must take a Morale test at the end of it. You just roll a D6, add the number of models from the unit that have been slain, and if the number is bigger than the unit’s Leadership, the unit loses the difference in additional models.

That’s it! No units falling back, no regroup tests – all that is gone.

You can see straight away, this will be pretty brutal and mean units that suffer high casualties in a turn stand to lose a lot more come the Morale phase if they roll poorly. Conversely, single-model units (like many vehicles) won’t have to test; as they are units of one, there are no other models in their squad to lose.


There are a few things that can help you out in this phase. A Chaos Dark Apostle, for example, allows all nearby units from the same Legion to use his Leadership. Or, you can use some units to make your opponent’s tests more difficult – the Hemlock Wraithfighter, as an example, decreases the Leadership of enemy units by 1 if they are within 12″ (which equates to one additional lost model on every failed test).

So, that’s morale.

We’ve run through all the phases of the game now. Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at some new background and lore in the new Warhammer 40,000, and then on Friday, we’ll take a look at Battle-forged armies.

What do you all think?


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25 Responses to “NewHammer 40k: Morale”

  1. Avatar
    Cephalobeard May 3, 2017 7:08 am #

    Very interesting. Makes me hope I can zip around with heralds smiting things and causing little morale tests all other the place.

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    EPanther May 3, 2017 7:13 am #

    Not sure I like it – if you lose a bunch of tac marines from a squad, you are punished by losing more….it’s not really equitable imho.

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      Threllen May 3, 2017 7:41 am #

      How is it not equitable? Marines have a good leadership at 7 and, because they’re more expensive and tougher than a lot of units, they don’t lose as many casualties. Losing a couple marines is significant.

      You could lose 10 guardsmen in a turn and then you’re guaranteed to probably lose another 10 just from morale…

    • Avatar
      Desc440 May 3, 2017 10:49 am #

      MSU Marines is going to be even more prevalent, I think.

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    Beau May 3, 2017 7:19 am #

    This makes me wonder if I can just take aos rules, apply the rules gw has posted about 8th, and start play 8th right now. I’ll just use all Marines and dreads!

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    gvcolor May 3, 2017 7:31 am #

    7e is a cluster, bring it!

    I’m most interested to see if GW clamped down hard on Force Org, tight Matched Play definitions, and Narrative Play rules that actually allow you to play better balanced/ FUN games? Less chance for “friends” to List Tailor on you?

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    Ytook May 3, 2017 7:39 am #

    I know everyone is probably sick of hearing this but you’ve got to bear in mind that seemingly in 8th like in AoS, special rules come more from individual unit rules and army synergies, so Space Marines might be like Stormcast where they can reduce the impact of moral through using their commander hero properly and the like, or certain units will have abilities like on the roll of a 1 no models flee regardless of the final result like Freeguild get from their banners.

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    Threllen May 3, 2017 7:44 am #

    I like it. Just hope they keep with their promise that most units are affected by the system so half the armies in the game don’t make it trivial while the other half get destroyed.

    Bring on the close combat… can’t wait to watch two sides bloody each other up and then both get wiped by morale checks.

    • Avatar
      David Hayden May 3, 2017 8:38 am #

      Agreed! I like it a lot. How it works and only having to do it once per turn.

      It does seem like a pretty big buff for MSU in high leadership armies. But I’m okay if so.

      However, I do not want to see ATSKNF shenanigans that effectively ignore the rule. Like, sure everyone is effected. Space Marines, though, roll 42 dice and choose the lowest one for their Morale test.

      • Avatar
        Threllen May 3, 2017 9:05 am #

        Yeah, I think it’s pretty fair because the number of deaths scales to the number of people in a squad. If you’re playing MSU you’re not likely to lose too many guys to morale but if you only have a 5-man unit and you lose 2 to shooting and 1 to morale that’s still a significant chunk of your unit. Conversely, large units will be more likely to lose models to morale if they suffer casualties but they’ve got the bodies to make up for it. Plus if I have a 20 man squad of guys and lose 4, I’d much rather lose a couple more to morale than have that cause a leadership test that could make the other 16 run away (potentially for good).

        And, yeah I hope when they say “almost all models are affected” they really mean “significantly affected.” Not *kinda, sorta affected but not really.* I would be fine with them re-doing ATSKNF to just ignore negative modifiers to leadership or something to that effect because that wouldn’t totally trivialize the effects but it would build them some buffer.

        • Avatar
          David Hayden May 3, 2017 11:13 am #

          I’d like to ATSKNF represented as a good leadership score and that’s it. But I fear it will be something like space marines get a re-roll on a failed morale check.

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          David Hayden May 3, 2017 11:14 am #

          And yes, not running away is a big buff for large units. And if large units work like they do in AoS, with a leadership bonus for every ten, even better.

  7. Avatar
    Shas'Itsa Mari'o May 3, 2017 7:45 am #

    My Riptides and Ghostkeels are cheering! Glad this makes monstrous creatures effectively fearless for the new tests. I’m all in favor of it

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 3, 2017 7:58 am #

      They aren’t effected by moral as individuals but like monsters in AoS they’ll be getting worse as they take wounds now, so don’t cheer too loudly 😉

      • Avatar
        Shas'Itsa Mari'o May 3, 2017 8:32 am #

        That’s a price i’m willing to accept for not getting swept in CC anymore. Can’t tell you how many times I lost by 1 wound and rolled a 9…

        Overall I’m super happy with the changes, even ones like that which slightly nerf my guys.

        • Avatar
          Ytook May 3, 2017 8:35 am #

          Yup agreed, much better way of doing it. It’s nice playing against monster armies and knowing the wounds your putting on are actually mattering even if you don’t kill them to. Hopefully a Tau heavy suit list won’t be quite as disliked 🙂

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            Shas'Itsa Mari'o May 3, 2017 12:11 pm

            Oh most definitely! I’m hoping this gives me good cause to bust out more of my Crisis Suits and Fire Warriors.

            Actually all the vehicles too if I think about it… maybe Vespid even… oh the insanity!

  8. Avatar
    fluger May 3, 2017 8:15 am #

    I’m interested to see how things like Mob Rule or ATSKNF work in 8th ed.

    Killing 10 Orks with shooting isn’t all that hard and then if they have a low leadership they’d just melt off the board. I like the mechanic in principle, just seems potentially problematic.

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 3, 2017 8:33 am #

      In AoS all units get +1 bravery (leadership equivalent) for every 10 models in the unit, that could easily be the same or unique to horde units, and all generals can use one command ability per turn, heroes have their own unique command abilities but all can choose to instead choose one friendly unit in 12 inches to auto pass the morale check.

      Low bravery armies have ways to help built into their armies as well, like buffing characters or abilities.

      • Avatar
        gvcolor May 3, 2017 1:05 pm #

        With insight from playing AoS, it’s a bit funny reading peoples questions and comments on some other forums, because the perspective is purely from 40K and 7e rules – lol.

        You can bet Orks are gonna get some boosts when bumping up to 20 or 30… in a unit. And a nearby HQ/Commander will put additional buffs on said unit.

  9. Avatar
    gvcolor May 3, 2017 8:31 am #

    I’d love to see saving rolls nerfed… Fine, have your 2+ save on an HQ, but re-rollable saves at no better then 5+ game-WIDE – things need to do die.

    • Avatar
      Ytook May 3, 2017 8:39 am #

      With save modifiers and mortal wounds I’d say things dieing is a guarantee. In AoS games both armies are almost always bloodied, even winners lose most of their armies in a game 😛

      (Really should just change my name to “Well, in AoS…”)

      • Avatar
        gvcolor May 3, 2017 9:00 am #

        I’m all for the reduced abilities as wounds are taken – making the big guys tough but able to be pulled down!

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    Quinn May 3, 2017 9:56 am #

    Another boost for Terminators and the like who could not do sweeping advances, at least now they will have a greater impact in the morale phase theoretically.

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    marandamir May 3, 2017 12:00 pm #

    I’d laugh if mob rule for orks 5th edition codex came back into play. The unit’s leadership value is equal to orks in the unit 😛 with no 10 cap on leadership anymore a 30 man boyz unit that lost 12 models would still auto pass a morale check as they’d have 18 leadership 😛

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