Warhammer 40,000: Matched Play, Points, and an App!

Hey everyone, g-dubs gives us a closer look at the new matched play missions and some of the app features!

A new edition offers the perfect opportunity not only to improve a game’s core rules but also to reevaluate other areas of the game and make adjustments. To redress the balance of Warhammer 40,000 in line with the updates to the game itself, some significant changes have been made to matched play battles. To fill us in on all the changes, here’s Mike Brandt – one of our esteemed Warhammer 40,000 playtesters and now officially our global events guru – to explain…


Mike: Hey everyone! Today I’ll be discussing some key matched play changes coming to Warhammer 40,000 – missions and point values. Let’s dive right in!

Matched Play Missions

A lot of work went into making the new missions the best ever. The Warhammer 40,000 rules team drew on all the feedback from the wider gaming community, playtesters and event organisers to ensure that each mission offers a fun, challenging experience with a fair chance of success for each player. There are two key elements I look for in a mission:

  • Does it tell a cool story? After all, Warhammer 40,000 should be an immersive experience with gorgeous armies and scenic tables!
  • Does it increase the odds of a close, fair, exciting game experience? The mission should not decide it for you – nor should a bad matchup guarantee a loss.

The new matched play missions exemplify these principles in abundance. What’s more, there are a LOT of missions! They all share certain common elements while presenting unique challenges – it’s hard to build ‘one list to win them all’. Each mission utilises bespoke deployment zones and primary objectives according to the number of points being used, creating a sensible story and intentional balance. For example, Incursion missions are used for games of 1000 points per side, while Strike Force missions cater for 2000-point battles. Yet even though the missions each share a primary objective, the secondary objectives are asymmetrical, and are actually chosen by the players themselves. The primary represents the shared story on the battlefield, while the secondaries represent your army’s theme and help balance tough matchups.

Are you running a sneaky Raven Guard army? Choose secondaries that score victory points for planting homing beacons or infiltrating the enemy’s deployment zones. World Eaters? Focus on secondaries that reward reaping skulls for Khorne, not standing on objectives! This enables an overall mission that makes sense for your army’s theme but also improves balance. Not equipped to kill those Paladins? Choose secondaries focused on manoeuvre. Are the Paladins yours, but frustratingly can’t be everywhere at once? Focus on destroying your opponent’s army or completing a psychic ritual.

There are a number of categories of secondary objectives you may choose from pre-game, but you can’t select more than one from any given category. Take a look at some examples from the standard categories available to all players (don’t worry, we’ll see faction-specific ones in the future).

The new edition also adds actions to Warhammer 40,000. Traditionally, your models could either stand near objectives or shoot/punch. No longer! Now you can perform rituals, plant homing beacons, raise banners on key objectives and more. This creates dynamic moments where you may need to decide between firing at the enemy or bravely accomplishing a mission.

Another new feature is a cap on victory points you can earn from each mission element. This makes for closer, more exciting games. In the past, a slower-starting army or one without a strong ‘alpha strike’ risked falling irrevocably behind their opponent. Every mission condition can only be scored a certain number of times, giving players the opportunity to catch up if their opponent runs out of gas after capping. This creates a wider variety of great stories, photo finishes, and viable armies. An example of one of the new Eternal War missions can be seen here, including several sneak peeks of these concepts in place…

The community may see familiar principles in these missions, but a host of refinements and new innovations herald an exciting future. We may also see broader adoption of a common set of exciting, balanced, narratively fulfilling missions at events around the world – something the community’s desired for years!

Points Values

Finally, as part of developing the new edition, points values were reviewed and have been adjusted UP across every faction. This may sound odd at first, but it yields several benefits. Firstly, games will play faster with, generally speaking, smaller armies on either side. This also makes starting a fresh army for the new edition a more accessible, quicker experience. It also means there’s room for more granularity when establishing how powerful one unit or ability is compared to another, and a global points reset ensures everyone starts in the same place on Day 1, with no established meta or ‘best army’. Here are a couple of examples so you can see what to expect.

Thanks, Mike, and welcome to the team! That’s a lot to look forward to for fans of matched play. But there’s more – we can also reveal a bit about the new app that we’ve been developing to help make your Warhammer 40,000 gaming experience more accessible than ever before!

New Edition, New App!

On the same day that the Warhammer 40,000 pre-orders go live, a new app will be launched alongside it, providing several cool features to help you, including a full matched play army builder. The new app will do a number of things to assist players with their games, but one of the most useful will be the ability to build army lists using the updated points values and Detachments. We’ll have more on the Warhammer 40,000 app soon, so watch this space!


What do you think about all the changes to matched play that Mike’s described? Are you excited about the upcoming app? Let us know what you’re looking forward to most on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page.

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

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15 Responses to “Warhammer 40,000: Matched Play, Points, and an App!”

  1. Avatar
    red3_standingby June 3, 2020 7:56 am #

    upset this looks good. what’re we going to complain about until the edition comes out?

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 3, 2020 8:08 am #

      Oh, I am sure people will think of something, lol

      • Avatar
        Paul Winters June 3, 2020 8:19 am #

        How about GW writes deployment maps into a math puzzle?

        That doesn’t look like a 6×4 board they previewed.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy June 3, 2020 11:10 pm #

          It… is? The deployment here is exactly like one of the current 8th Edition ones (Seek and Destroy, I believe?), with the additional measurements being for where to place objectives.

          • Avatar
            Zweischneid June 4, 2020 12:47 am
            #

            Assuming the little squares are 1″ (as it is with the arrows) and the picture is to scale, what is shown is a 60″ by 44″ battlefield.

            But it’s probably either a way to show mission set up independent of the outer dimensions (as, at least in 8th, 6’x4′ is technically just an optional event recommendation, not a hard and fast matched-play rule) or simply a bad graphic design.

  2. Avatar
    DaRoyalKing June 3, 2020 8:34 am #

    If the point increases for all models then is the 2k “Strike Force” still that standard level of play or is the new tournament game at 3k. I know Warmachine doubled their point system in order to make it easier to adjust points to help balance the game. Is GW doing the same here?

    • Avatar
      Zweischneid June 3, 2020 8:54 am #

      GW’s Standard has been 1750 for most of 8th.

      Them going up to 2000 seems to fit with Intercessors going up around 17%

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 3, 2020 3:15 pm #

      2k is the norm for tournament play. It’s a reduction in models to speed things up.

  3. Avatar
    Nick Wenker June 3, 2020 9:54 am #

    The new missions look amazing, can’t wait. That said, unless somehow the community decides to jump to 2500 or 3000 point games as a result, I admit I am pretty bummed about this change. I really enjoyed the points costs getting lowered and having more diversity in the amount and variety of models in my army and my opponent’s army.

    I appreciate that they want to make the game faster but I was really hoping they could do that through rules changes rather than just be forcing people to bring less models.

    I am also skeptical that they will get the granularity right, if the Cultist versus Intercessor comparison is anything to go by….those changes seem really off, at least for 8th, to the detriment of the Chaos player.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy June 3, 2020 11:12 pm #

      Lowering the number of models on the table speeds up games and makes things more accessible to new players. If you want to bring all your toys, there’s always 3000pt games and Apocalypse

      The point comparisons are pretty closely scaled to where the costs of the units are now, with both of them increasing about 50%.

      • Avatar
        Zweischneid June 4, 2020 12:32 am #

        Um, Cultist go up 50%, Intercessors go up only 17%.

        If I have one worry, it’s GW being too meek with increasing points on big models and too enthusiastic on increasing points on low-point models, because the absolute values “look” more impressive on the former.

        Cultists going from 4 to 6 should be the equivalent (barring no other balance adjustments) of Riptides going up by around 140 points, Knight Crusader going up 200+ points, etc…

        But I am doubtful this is what we’ll see.

  4. Avatar
    NinetyNineNo June 3, 2020 10:01 am #

    ITC missions but incorporated into the core rules? Sign me up. Those CP totals seem a tad low, is Battleforged 3CP bonus still a thing? And the faction-specific secondaries look like they have potential, though I hope it’s not just “get VPs for doing what you already were doing” like TS getting secondaries for successfully casting powers or something.

    • Reecius
      Reecius June 3, 2020 3:18 pm #

      There is more to the CP equation than what you’re seeing but generally the average is higher but the max is lower.

  5. Avatar
    Nathan June 3, 2020 6:49 pm #

    I noticed the mission does not have any end of battle round scoring. I also note that the deployment type appears fixed, as in for four pillars we’re always in table quarters.

    End of battle round scoring always helped tipped back against the turn 1 advantage, is GW’s missions using something else to leverage against this? And is the deployment map thing simply a product of a simplified display (ie they just put an available deployment map up to show how objectives might look), or is it actually going to be fixed deployments? If both of those things are as shown, that would take away basically all of the defender advantage the ITC pack has worked hard to provide to counteract first turn advantage.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy June 3, 2020 11:13 pm #

      Some of the secondaries are end of battle scoring, and presumably some of the other missions will feature endgame scoring instead of progressive.

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