Space Marines Rules Update – February 2020

Balance has been restored to the force!

Hey everyone, here’s the new Space Marine FAQ/balancing act. I know these always come with some controversy but I think the vast majority of us will agree this was needed. Marine dominance has been having an adverse effect on the overall game for a while now, with event attendance suffering for many events due to players feeling that they simply didn’t stand a chance vs. Marines.

If you just got your brand new, cutting edge meta Marine list painted? I sincerely feel for you, that is always a frustrating experience. However, take heart in the fact that now your list will still function, and really well, but that your community of fellow hobbyists will be more engaged and having more fun. A massive thanks to GW for having the wherewithal to take this important step to balancing the game for the greater enjoyment of the community as a whole.


This article was originally published on the Warhammer-community site.

We all know how awesome Space Marines are, but it appears that they’ve been dominating the battlefields of the 41st Millennium a little too readily. With that in mind, the Warhammer 40,000 rules team have been looking for a way to redress the balance.

To introduce the official updates that are being applied to a selection of key publications to address this issue, we’ll hand over to the Warhammer 40,000 team’s senior rules writer, Robin Cruddace…

Robin: With the release of Codex: Space Marines (and its various Codex Supplements and Psychic Awakening updates) several months ago, we have been paying close attention to how Space Marine armies have been played with by the community and how well they are faring at tournaments around the globe. 

We have gathered enough data by now, and received enough of your feedback, to convince us that the Angels of Death are now one of, if not the, best-performing armies in Warhammer 40,000 at present. While we are glad that the Emperor’s chosen warriors are faring better than they were before their latest codex, it would appear that as players get more experience with this army, tailoring their lists to take advantage of certain rules, and unveiling all the various tricks and tactics hidden within these books, they are now starting to overperform. As a result, we feel it is necessary to make some changes to the Space Marines’ rules to ensure that they remain a fun army to play against, as well as with. This is not something we do lightly, but we feel it is necessary in order to help maintain the balance of the wider Warhammer 40,000 gaming experience.

Thanks, Robin! If you’re looking to attend the various Warhammer 40,000 tournaments taking place at this year’s AdeptiCon, it’s worth bearing in mind that these updates will be implemented at the event.* Here’s Jason Lippert (Tournament Organiser and Head Judge for the Warhammer 40,000 events at AdeptiCon) to make things official…

Jason: At the end of the day, 40K tournaments, no matter how large or prestigious or competitive, are about providing an opportunity for players to spend time with friends old and new, divine the state of their luck as revealed by their dice, and most importantly: to have fun. As Tournament Organizer of 40K events at AdeptiCon, providing a fun experience is foremost on my mind. After good sportsmanship, nothing promotes fun more than balance within the game. And so I am excited to tell you that AdeptiCon will fully implement the adjustments in the Space Marines February 2020 update.

Taken as a whole, these changes undeniably and significantly level the playing field in competitive 40K, revitalize the health of the meta, and keep the idea of having fun where it belongs: front and centre.

Thanks, Jason! All of the official rules updates can be found via the download button below, so give it a click and have a read of all the changes and additional Designer’s Commentary now.

* It’s important to mention, however, that for the Warhammer 40,000 Throne of Skulls events taking place at Warhammer World this weekend, these updates will not be implemented due to the event being so close. If you require any more information, please contact the Warhammer World Events team on

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Agent X
Agent X
2 years ago

We Space Wolves didn’t even get to experience these doctrines so uh…no big deal?

Seems like a fair tone down to me.

What did catch my eye was the justification to nerf raven guard and centurions for bypassing the “builtin weakness”

Assault Centurions – warriors in mobile warsuits closer to the stature of a Dreadnought than an infantryman – have been designed and costed with their low speed in mind, but this Warlord Trait essentially overcomes the Centurion’s builtin weakness. We feel this combination is too easy to utilise for its devastating effectiveness. As such, we are preventing
Centurions from being able to be so stealthy

Does this set a precedent for other tricks to be specifically nerfed?

My space wolves can outflank aggressors who have low mobility and lack of transports as part of their design.

White scars and successors can use encirclement (basically outflank with no keyword limit) and send a leviathan to outflank.

I’m sure there are countless other examples…have we entered the next phase of rule balance where we have to expressly forbid combos on specific units because the keyword structure just isn’t good enough?

2 years ago
Reply to  Agent X

The difference is that raven guard cents could start outside their deployment zone and effectively move twice and half by turn one.

2 years ago
Reply to  Agent X

Aren’t assault centurions basically undercosted though from an offence standpoint because they can’t use it with crappy movement?
I think its fair to say this doesn’t necessarily set a precedent and is in the same vein as stopping dreadnoughts from having heroic sacrifices to save thematically.
I. E. It’s dumb for someone take a bullet for a walking tank and it’s dumb for a slow exosuit to be sneaky 😊
I know thematic arguments can go in every direction, but my point is just I wouldn’t take this as the new state of things

2 years ago

The fact the tremor shells wasn’t nerfed despite the fact that it single-handedly removes a bunch of cool units from competitive is silly.

2 years ago
Reply to  rvd1ofakind

Since the model is so hard to find, maybe they just weren’t able to get hold of one to test it ?

Paul Winters
Paul Winters
2 years ago
Reply to  Ohlmann

Considering how many TFC were at LVO, hard to find might be relative? Both of my SM opponents had them.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x