9th Edition Information

Hi folks. Since last weekend’s reveal of the new edition of 40k, we’ve seen various news emerge on the changes we could see going into the new edition. Today I’m going to explore some of these ideas. Note, this is just my take on what GW has revealed so far!

Like any speculation, take everything with a generous pinch of salt.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the more interesting potential new game mechanics.

Stacking to hit modifiers:

Capping hit modifiers is the first change that immediately jumps out at me. As a T’au player, this is pretty good news. A shooting army with mediocre ballistic skills is drastically limited when opponents start stacking hit modifiers.

The person with whom I most often play 40k plays Drukhari, which means that he has access to the lightning fast reactions stratagem. This stratagem puts a -1 to hit modifier on one unit for the shooting phase in which it is used. Furthermore, plenty of Drukhari units have a native -1 hit modifier, meaning that for the first couple of turns of the game I was almost always shooting at -2 to hit. Dropping a Markerlight on the target would help, of course, but re-rolling 1s can only get you so far.

As a defensive strategy, then, it was a pretty good one. But in the brave new world of 9th edition 40k, I’ll be capped at -1 to hit.

I mentioned above that this is good news for T’au players, and it obviously is, but I’m more than a little skeptical: does capping modifiers to +/- 1 go too far? Would this rule have been better capped at +/- 2? This is a tricky one.

I’ve no doubt that -3 to hit modifiers should be removed entirely. That is where I would draw the line. Entirely negating a unit’s shooting output is not fun, and it has been the cause of a lot of feel-bads over the course of 8th edition.

But armies that we would somewhat pejoratively describe as “glass hammers” need some way to mitigate incoming firepower. For example, many Drukhari lists would take a real hit if their native negative hit modifiers were removed. The Venom is a pretty strong contender for the best transport in the game at the moment — and if not the best then certainly top three — and one of the reasons for this is the native -1.

It’s more than that, however. Drukhari players can force opponents to expend more resources than they would’ve liked in order to destroy a Venom if the Drukhari player stacks a second -1 modifier with the lightning fast reactions stratagem. This was a strong strategy, and it forced good opponents to carefully consider how to best engage the Dark Kin in their shooting phase.

Capping modifiers at +/- 1 removes these considerations from the game.

However, I’ve no doubt that the designers of 9th would have considered these cases. I’m sure there’s a good reason in the context of 9th as a whole to cap modifiers at +/- 1 instead of +/- 2. It’s too soon to tell whether this change will turn out to be a positive one.

New terrain rules:

We certainly know that we’re getting more terrain rules. Many people in the community have said it over the past week: this will be a welcome and long-awaited addition to the game. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of 8th was the sparse terrain rules. The ITC tournament pack is the global standard for competitive play, and it provides additional rules for terrain in order to add more line-of-sight blocking elements to the game. I think that this was an essential change for tournament-level 40k. Almost none of the terrain available at Games Workshop blocks line-of-sight entirely, and in a game that relies on true line-of-sight to determine visibility, this was a problem.

Moving to a terrain system that can incorporate high-level tournament play as well as beer-n-pretzels 40k will be a great move.

Practically speaking, what can we expect? We know that all terrain features on the board will have specific tags that confer different rules depending on the tag. For example, the obscured tag will completely block line-of-sight across the terrain piece. This is the only tag that we’ve heard about at the time of writing, but we could reasonably infer that there will be a variety of tags that confer a variety of benefits and drawbacks.

The game will move in a slightly more abstract direction, then. While your model might be able to see you opponent’s tank across the battlefield, intervening terrain will dictate whether you’ll be able to shoot at it.

Like any change, this will come with benefits and burdens. In the latest Signals from the Frontline episode, Reece mentions that when teaching kids how to play 40k, the true line-of-sight mechanic was particularly useful, and it’s easy to see why. If your bad-ass super soldier can see the lurking alien beast, he can blast him! It was as simple as that.

Way back when in the distant past of 4th edition, I remember the manager of my local GW store complaining — in a jovial fashion, to be fair — that his Tactical Squad could see those Genestealers. “They’re right there. Why can’t I shoot them!?” No doubt they were a couple of inches into a forest or some such thing, rendering them impervious to bolter fire. You get the point. A more abstract system brings its own issues to deal with.

Command Points:

What else can we expect? Command points are getting a refresh. As James Workshop said last week: “less soup and more super soldiers.” Say goodbye to the Loyal 32 and the Rusty 17, then. I’ve read a variety of rumors on this point, so yet more salt is required here, but one of the more compelling involves paying for detachments from a pool of pre-generated command points.

For example, your army might start with, say, 20 command points. Taking a battalion detachment costs four command points; taking a vanguard detachment costs five command points; taking a detachment from a different codex costs eight command points; and so on. The numbers there are entirely arbitrary, but you get the idea.

From what I’ve read and heard so far, I think this could be an excellent change to the game. Not only will it give my beloved Battlesuit boys some extra command points to play with, but it will also make it more feasible to play themed lists without sacrificing command points. At the moment, for example, I play classic triptide T’au, but if it were feasible, I would move to an all-Battlesuit Farsight Enclaves list (Farsight did nothing wrong). By the sounds of things, 9th edition will provide some handy tools to do so.

9th ed Lists:

Finally, I want to mention something that isn’t related to the new rules of the 9th edition but will nonetheless have a significant impact on our lists in the new edition. The rules design for Forge World will now fall under the same team that designs the regular rules. I’m particularly excited for this change. There are a bunch of great Forge World models that just aren’t worth taking because of out-dated rules. I’m sure your faction has a handful — the T’au certainly do.

Making the design team responsible for these rules will bring them in line with the latest ruleset, and, with any luck, will provide interesting alternatives to regular codex units that are appropriately pointed and have solid rules.

I imagine that over the next week or so GW will begin to preview some of the actual rules themselves, so keep an eye on the Frontline Gaming network for commentary and analysis. It’s a great time to be in the hobby.

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



About Rhys Jenkins

Software developer, T'au player.

20 Responses to “9th Edition Information”

  1. Ohlmann June 1, 2020 1:43 am #

    I think moving from “real line of sight” isn’t really being more “abstract”, because I feel it’s just as abstract to imagine a tank can shoot through two windows to nail something on the other side of a building than imagining that same tank being unable to get a clear shot.

    (plus, realistically, the distance in the battlefield isn’t at the same scale as the minis, because else the super advanced tau weaponry would be put to shame in term of range by medieval slingers, which is silly)

    Real line of sight have the advantage of familiarity and intuitiveness, but I feel that it’s just as abstract and strange.

    • Reecius June 1, 2020 6:16 am #

      Fair enough. I think it is easier to learn true LoS although it does lead to unfun situations.

  2. Rob Butcher June 1, 2020 2:36 am #

    We’re still on #newedition and awaiting a name.

    Terrain => try looking at the rules in Chapter Approved 2017-19 and Urban Conquest to get a better picture of what rules might become globally. Those are the ones many of us have been using anyway NOT itc;

    Drukari ? how many play this faction ? how many play this detachment as Ynarri ? That seems to be more likely and is certainly the route GW have ben going down for two years. The stacking of negative modifiers was a pain and often meant some units couldn’t even fire. That rule needed changing. One further answer in the Q&A was that now 6s would always hit!!

    itc as a global standard ? 10k sent their results in 2017-18, 15k in 2018-19. Most of those games weren’t played under itc. It’s also interesting that NOVA are running future events in USA not itc. Changing rules to suit poorly built terrain is never satisfactory.

    Command points – GW were clear that taking detachments from different Codexes would cost CPs – so soup becomes expensive rather than being beneficial. No mention was made of battalions costing CPs/points (the latter is in AoS).

    The first TWITCH broadcast about #newedition is at 14:30 BST today. It will be interesting to see what is teased.

    • Ohlmann June 1, 2020 3:33 am #

      If “many” mean “2”, then you’re about right. But there’s a reason for which almost everybody go for ITC over thoses one.

      • Reecius June 1, 2020 6:25 am #

        According to Rob, who according to Rob, has all of the inside scoop, pretty much everyone he knows, that knows anything, didn’t in fact play ITC because in the 2017.5 season only 10k people submitted scores to the ITC but he has it on good authority that they were not in fact, playing ITC, but actually playing the game exactly the way he thinks the game should be played. Look it up on the dark web, bruh.

    • Reecius June 1, 2020 6:23 am #

      Rob, lol, if you are going to try and take a position of authoritative knowledge at the very least do some basic research. There were 14k 40k ITC players last season alone. Just 40k. You keep putting up the wrong numbers, like, every single time you bring it up, lol. You’re incorrectly siting results from years ago as if it was current, and it wasn’t even accurate for the year you quote, lol. And most of the games weren’t played under ITC? Haha, ok, if you say so I guess.

      And NOVA are running future events in the USA? No, they are not. GW is working in tandem with the community. Mike took the job and stepped away from NOVA and the new format is neither ITC nor NOVA, it is a new animal. And bully for you, it will say GW on it so you can sanctimoniously proclaim that it is the CORRECT way to play the game. Yaaaaay for Rob!

      Anyway, you’re free to hold whatever opinion you want but please stop posting these nonsense stats and opinions presented as facts. Just do me a solid and at least get accurate informaiton before spouting off, lol.

    • Jace June 2, 2020 2:47 am #

      Just watched a video on the Warhammer community page and it was called “9th” a couple times (they even mentioned “8th” as well!) you’re all good now 👍

  3. Caine June 1, 2020 5:03 am #

    Reserving judgment, and fingers crossed for possibly very positive changes. I think having pre-determined terrain rules eliminates necessary guess-work and disputes during the game. I was always a fan of ‘area terrain’ in older mission packets and editions. I know people say you should work terrain out before the game, and I agree, but that sort of clarity/uniformity without needing a gentlemen’s discussion, in any aspect of the game is the purpose of rules in the first place.

    With better terrain rules I suspect Shadowswords and long-range firepower in general will be hit hard. Something like dark eldar, moving very fast between terrain pieces, might be very good, all else being equal. At the same time, revising reserves could mitigate any over correction in the terrain mechanic (and also shooting out of combat for tanks). In previous editions, armor facings and guessing at 50% coverage caused disputes (just like templates, it’s fine among friends, not so much for the tension level in tournaments). I’ll take the criticism that it sometimes leads to absurd results like a shadowsword having line of sight with only just the very tip of the barrel showing from behind a building.

    The +1/-1 max mechanic is probably a good move. It always hurts to see your favorite/current units be thrown into obsolescence, but some armies were struggling. And, as with every edition it costs money (yes, sad face). But, 8th edition dramatically reduced un-killable armies (with a few exceptions like Iron hands and a certain large knight) leading to more interaction among players and general balance. The criticism is that 8th might be too ‘killy’ for some. I’ll take that over 7th edition. It’s one thing to say I built a poorly designed army, or didn’t play to the mission… it’s another thing entirely to say that at no point would I have stood any chance whatsoever, with any possible combination from my codex. Frequent FAQ/Errata are also a key piece of keeping this game healthy, as many problems get corrected (if sometimes unnecessary, as with Ogryns, overlooked as with Forge-world, or over corrected as with Conscript squads).

    So, I’d like it if every army had at least one competitive option. New rules and models is a good thing. Maybe my Krieg army finally comes off the shelf. Hopefully we continue to get updates as we lead up to release here in July-ish?

  4. DaRoyalKing June 1, 2020 9:23 am #

    Frontline, how involved were you with 9th edition? Would you say your involvement was as much as 8th edition? I just can’t trust GW to write rules without community members such as your team helping.

    What GW did by using the help of leading tournament organizers to go from 7th to 8th was one of the main reasons for their success (IMO). I just hope their ego hasn’t grown to say we don’t need outside help anymore.

    • Reecius June 1, 2020 10:24 am #

      The testing group is a big part of things, yeah. ANd the devs at GW are incredibly low ego with these things, come at it with an admirable degree of humility and open mindedness. They want the same thing we want: 40k to be as good as it can be.

      • KingAceNumber1 June 1, 2020 12:16 pm #

        Out of curiosity, have you found an appreciable difference between the GW team’s enthusiasm to include you in the development cycle between 8th and 9th ed? Seems like yall had a lot more influence this time around.

        • Reecius June 1, 2020 12:44 pm #

          The first go around in the beginning was a learning experience for sure. But having worked together for years now there’s a degree of trust and mutual respect. Just like any group of people that works together over time, you know?

      • Luke June 1, 2020 3:00 pm #

        Given that this article was largely focused on Tau, I’ll come at it from this angle…

        Are people to blame FLG for the Triptide/Drone travesties that happen? Have you (FLG, not necessarily you in particular) tried to reduce the hyper-specific lists that dominate the game, even outside of tournaments, with the absolute cheese-mongering combos and broken RAW interpretations? Because that’s the focus of your website, and if you have the ear of GW then am I right in placing at least a portion of blame at your feet?

        I played Tau: I don’t any more because the only way to use them is by maximising Riptides, Drones and Commanders. Any other model in the entire army is useless beyond belief. So whose fault is that?

        • Reecius June 1, 2020 3:34 pm #

          I will never escape this T’au stigma to my dying day, lol. Also, Frontline is not “about” finding broken combos in the game or whatever. Perhaps that is your perception of it and it is certainly something we talk about but Frontline Gaming is and always has been about building the gaming community up. I think that should be evident to anyone that takes more than a surface level look at our actions. Everything has been us putting our money where our mouth is and trying our hardest to get more people playing the game and staying excited about it over time.

          I wouldn’t frame it in the way you are. Trying to place blame on anyone in the complex process of putting out a codex is honestly wasted effort and approaching the issue from the wrong angle. I mean, the obvious point is: who wants to have that type of discussion? How is that going to be productive? And even if I were to say, you got me! It was me! I did all of it! So what? Would that change or solve anything? I gave critical feedback on T’au as did all of the playtesters but no one single person or even group of people (unless you take the entire dev team, GW as a whole and the playtesting team as a collective to be one group) is “to blame.”

          I understand your frustration, T’au are pretty boring right now with their popular build. I doubt as you hyperbolically put it, is the “only” way to play them, there are probably other builds in there that simply haven’t gained popularity. Remember, something is the best way, or only way to do something until it isn’t. All it takes is one creative person to break the mold with an army and then all of a sudden their idea goes from obscurity to commonly held wisdom.

          But short answer: it’s no one’s fault.

          Making a codex is so incredibly complex, far more so than I thought it was and going into playtesting I already understood more about how things were done than most. After playtesting and seeing how many moving parts there are, it’s far more nuanced than you’d think. The end result of a group effort left you feeling flat. That sucks, but trying to find someone to casts stones at is a waste of time. Instead, offer up ideas to GW on their FB page, perhaps talk to playtesters you know in a polite way, and offer up suggestions for things you think could make them better in your opinion. Try and get support from other T’au players to get a consensus on things you’d really like to see happen to make positive changes. That’s a productive use of your energy and one that will likely produce real world results. Wagging your finger in someone’s face and telling them you blame them for something you don’t approve of in this context will likely produce no to negative results. I understand why you are frustrated but I honestly think you should reframe how you look at the issue as you’ll be happier for it and may actually end up getting where you want to be =)

          • Jace June 2, 2020 12:34 am

            Winning response if ever there was one, go you

          • JimV June 2, 2020 8:59 am

            Man you have way too much patience for these people Reece.

  5. Casey H June 2, 2020 2:50 pm #

    Just build, paint and play a tau army. On twitch. A lot. Otherwise, you’ll have blueys jumping up and down on your coffin.

    Many, many decades in the future, of course.

    So, 4e’s possibly abstract rules returning? Does that mean all that felt in drawers will come back? Naw, seriously, I’m excited for new terrain rules, meaning newer terrain, and maybe a chance for some of my home-hobbied terrain to be playable.

    I have ‘eldar’ terrain that fits that one dude’s description of ‘tall, skinny spires’ or such.

    Reece, tau paint scheme: 80s taupe, mauve & gold. Turquoise for the tau letter markings.

    -Casey H

    • Reecius June 3, 2020 8:08 am #

      I did get a T’au army and Frankie took it, lol!

      • Jace June 3, 2020 3:45 pm #

        He probably wanted a challenge after you personally nerfed them

        • Reecius June 3, 2020 5:06 pm #

          Lol, myscheme is coming together at last!, muahaha!

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