9th Edition 40k

Hey guys. There is of course only one thing to talk about today: 9th edition 40k.

I’m going to begin by eating my words. Around a month ago I published an article discussing what 9th might look like, what changes we might expect, and when we could expect it. In that article, I wrote the following: “While development on new products will probably continue, the likelihood of GW actually releasing a product as important as a new edition of their flagship game is unlikely.”

Well, that turned out to be more than a little wrong.

This release is a big move for Games Workshop. If this new edition is released before, say, the end of June, GW will be releasing their flagship product in a global economy that will be just beginning to get back on its feet.

GW relies on its customers having a reasonable amount of disposable income in order to afford their products. If the UK economy begins to come back to life next month, it will be a good while before the UK returns to the strong employment levels that we had before the pandemic. This means that fewer of GW’s customers will have reliable, consistent disposable income.

However, GW did open up its online store at the end of last month, and from those sales figures, the bigwigs have probably predicted that even with the current state of the economy, we still want our toy soldiers.

Releasing 9th edition at this time is a risk. Let’s hope it pays off.

But let’s talk about the announcement itself.

Put simply, I think that GW knocked it out of the park. The opening cinematic was excellent. The portrayal of gauss weaponry as armor- and flesh-flaying death rays was particularly creepy. The battle sister praying her wounds away was very cool. And the Primaris Marines replete with long-awaited chainswords were the icing on the cake.

Moreover, we saw some great additions to the pseudo-dead ranks of the Necrons. The latest article on Warhammer Community goes into detail on some of the new releases for the Primaris Marines and the servants of the Silent King, as well as providing an image depicting what is presumably the entirety of the new Necron range. Needless to say, some of the models on display look absolutely fantastic.

What do we think of the new logo? I’m going to be honest: I’m not a fan. And as many people pointed out in the live Twitch chat on Saturday afternoon, the text itself wasn’t quite centered, with the ‘R’ on the right overflowing the box. This is a pretty minor oversight, all things considered, but you’d think that the graphics team would’ve cleaned it up. But hey, nobody’s perfect.

But the logo as a whole? To me, it looks a little too childish. There’s something that I can’t quite put my finger on, and overall I think it’s a step down from the classic.

So what do we know about the new edition so far? I’m sure you’ve all seen this cracking video with everyone’s favorite tabletop gaming mascot, James Workshop. If not, it’s a teaser of the new rules that we’ve got to look forward to in the new edition. Let’s go over a few of the more interesting items.

We’re getting more command points: “Expect less soup and more super soldiers.” Not only is that a great line, but it handily hits on something that a lot of players have been demanding for a good couple of years: have single-faction forces reward more command points. This would be a great incentive to avoid that tasty soup in favor of pure, single-faction warfare. Will such an incentive be enough to put an end to some of the more popular recipes that we’ve seen throughout 8th edition? I’m a little skeptical, but we’ll soon find out one way or the other.

Tanks can now shoot in combat. I think most of us knew that this one was coming. And it makes sense. It’s going to be tough for Harlequins player who will no longer be able to zip up the board and tag a couple or three Leman Russ tanks, and of course it’s going to be brilliant for Militarum players whose most powerful offensive asset just became more powerful.

And what’s more, it makes logical sense. Let’s be clear: I’m not advocating that 40k needs to make logical sense. In fact, one of the great aspects of 40k is its absurdity. The Exorcist tank, for example, is a church organ on wheels that fires rockets from the organ’s pipes. This is patently absurd, but it’s also cool as all hell. An Ork Grot sliding up to an Astra Militarum battle tank, hitting it on the treads a couple of times with a big Ork choppa and therefore entirely negating its ability to fire is also patently absurd, but it’s not at all cool. One of these things we should keep; the other we should remove.

The rules for terrain are also going to change. Again, this is something that we’ve all been going on about for a couple of years. The current terrain rules are too simple, so any additions to spice things up a bit are a good thing in my book. I would imagine that such changes may take us away from true line of sight rules to something a little more abstract, but that would be a small price to pay for interesting updates in this area. Indeed, we’re going to see particular bonuses for defending buildings, and we’ll be able to sneak up on our enemies using terrain to block line of sight. This is the one area that I’m particularly interested in. As as T’au player, we need to make sure those burst cannons keep on spinnin’.

It also looks as though we’ll be returning to reserves rules that allow units to enter play from a particular board edge. Previous editions of the game have employed similar rules, so this isn’t anything new as such, but, again, there’s plenty of scope for positive change in this area of the game.

And finally, GW mentioned something that we’ve all wanted for years. How can we go on lugging our numerous codex and rules books to games? How are they going to deal with edition bloat? Well, a dedicated 40k app would do just the trick. Having all of your faction’s rules on your phone is exactly what this game needs.

And what’s more, they put all of this together during a global pandemic. Let’s give credit where credit is due. Bravo, GW.

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



About Rhys Jenkins

Software developer, T'au player.

10 Responses to “9th Edition 40k”

  1. Avatar
    Rob Butcher May 24, 2020 11:59 pm #

    #newedition – not 9th, GW don’t number these editions they give them names to stop confusion. So “Dark ……”

    The biggest news was that there would be ONE SET of rules globally. That’s got to be welcomed.

    Command points / flyers / tanks / cover – all needed sorting.

    For the cover, look at the rules already in Chapter Approved from 2017 onwards and in “Urban”. Many of us have been using those anyway. I’d also expect a minimum standard for terrain at events, rather than changing rules to make up for polystrene L-shaped buildings or ruins with tops glued on.

    The “interpretation” (abuse) of the flyer rules helped folks in 2019 – second place at LVO and first at GW GT. That needed changing and what Stu Black said on Saturday was very sensible. Flyers overhead don’t affect troops on the ground in the 41st century. They certainly don’t restrict movement in the way they have done.

    I expect other similar abuses to be sorted. Jervis has also been driving AoS towards one unambiguous phrasing for each instruction. It was only a matter of time before this happened with 40k especially when GW doubled the size of the team to include an experienced rules designer and a member of the Events Team. (Running 60+ events a year makes them better than those running 1 or 2. Rules are consistent and if you’re not sure you ask the Designer who’s on call.)

    • Avatar
      Zweischneid May 25, 2020 3:01 am #

      Not sure how they would want to „enforce“ that „one set of rules“ for (competitive) 40K more or less than they did in 8th.

      People like houserules, and if a collection of houserules becomes popular beyond a single hobby garage, as it did with ITC, people will be split on whether they use them or not.

    • Reecius
      Reecius May 25, 2020 8:13 am #

      Rob, you have always been a vocal advocate for playing the game “by the book” or as you believe the game devs intended for it to be played from your perspective and you are not alone. I think everyone, myself included, wants to see the game played out of the book. I have never enjoyed being in a position to feel like we had to change things to make the game function for matched play. As I have said many times, I would have quit 40k back in 6th if we weren’t so invested into what we’ve built at Frontline Gaming with our store, our events, etc. We had to do something as events were dying off back then and that is when the ITC really took off as a reaction to rules that truly didn’t function in a matched play setting. So we ended up with a divergent set of rules that existed on top of the core game rules which was confusing and upset some people as it was unofficial, etc. but at the time it was sorely needed. And with time it worked so well that it grew and grew and grew to become a global system. However, it’s clear to everyone that it is better not to feel like you have to do this. I certainly don’t enjoy all the negativity that gets sent my way as a result of it, for example. I would be all too happy to put that behind me and just go back to playing and enjoying the game and trying to promote community growth which has always been what we’re about here at FLG. GW also wants the game to be tournament ready out of the books (as well as narrative ready, obviously), which is why they initiated this entire process to unify things, hired Mike, came out to events to learn how the game is enjoyed in a tournament setting, etc. and frankly I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s what makes sense for the future of the game and aligns completely with what we have wanted since day 1. Our goal remains what it has always been: to see more people playing the game, enjoying the game, coming to events, and staying excited about it over the years. That is far easier to do if we work together as a team with GW and the global community of ITC TOs and gamers than trying to do it on our own with our limited resources.

      As Zweischneid said, people can and will still houserule things which is fine, that’s a big part of what 40k is: being creative. But having a baseline for matched play that works for casual, narrative and tournament play and is used as widely as one can expect it to be is only a positive for the game as a whole, IMO. We will be able to achieve more, grow more and do more in that system as opposed to the bad old days when GW didn’t interact with the customers at all really, didn’t provide FAQs, all of the TOs were basically running different versions of the game, and there was no support for community organizers. Now, through lots of hard work and compromise, we have a new system that largely fixes all of those issues and I have to say, it is so satisfying to see it all coming together after working towards it for so long! All the parties involved (obviously, especially GW who plays the biggest part in it) aligning their goals and working to achieve it is really awesome. The future for 40k and especially matched play is very bright, IMO. The coming years will be very exciting!

      • Avatar
        Nick Wenker May 25, 2020 11:19 am #

        Congrats to Frankie and Reece and all the other TOs and playtesters who helped nudge GW in the right direction over many years so that we can have future rulesets that work well for everyone and will hopefully execute smoothly in a tournament setting without players needing to come up with big FAQs and houserules of their own just to have a well-functioning event.

        • Reecius
          Reecius May 25, 2020 11:56 am #

          That is the hope and thank you =) And huge thanks to GW for being willing to include us in our small way to make a contribution to a game we love so much.

      • Avatar
        Ghosar May 25, 2020 11:45 am #

        I hear your Reece, I went back in end of 4th ed, enjoyed 5th (like 90% of it ayway) a lot, but I would also have quit during 6th if I hadn’t owned 4 rather large armies, and felt way too invested to just up and leave.
        I kept hoping for somethin like 8th where GW would finally stop with the “We are a model company” crap. These were dark times, flyer spam, riptide spam, WK spam, thunderwolf spam, grav spam with free transports…

        Now we just wait for a few weeks, or a couple of months, and things get fixed, or at the very least get better. For example atm space marines and Tau feel to me a bit strong, but they can be countered and beaten.

        I really feel confident 9th will be better yet (even though i am kind of a horde player), if not when it comes out, a few months after that.

        • Reecius
          Reecius May 25, 2020 12:04 pm #

          Yeah, it is an iterative process. Things keep improving even with the occasional step backwards. But the big picture is to keep the momentum towards a bigger and better game and community of participants has always been the guiding principal and (quite obviously) has by and large been achieved. Like I was saying, some of what is planned for the future is really exciting stuff! I can’t wait to see it all unfold.

    • Avatar
      Jace May 25, 2020 6:04 pm #

      I feel like 9th edition makes perfect sense and is not remotely confusing.

  2. Avatar
    Draaen May 26, 2020 6:20 am #

    I always like an edition change. I enjoy working through all the changes. Especially when the new edition brings a bunch of cool models for necrons and some primaris bikers for my white scars.

    Excited to see how the rules are written. GW can be a bit of an optimistic cheerleader in their previews, as they should be, so some stuff they hype up can be lackluster and others they don’t mention much can be massive, especially for skewed lists.

  3. Avatar
    Ishagu May 27, 2020 3:34 am #

    I just hope that in matched play there are still good reasons to run detachment with troops, outside of simply obsec. We all know that you can get by when you simply run a collection of your faction’s most threatening units.

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