Although 9th Edition is, in many ways, very similar to 8th, there are also a lot of important differences that can trip you up. Some of them are very small, but others can be quite large- so from my experience with the new edition so far, here are ten things you should keep an eye out for when playing games in the new edition.
1. Characters are only immune to being targeted if they are within 3″ of a vehicle/monster or a unit of 3+ models, and also not the closest unit. (p.219)
A lot of people have gotten used to playing 8E, or only started the game during 8E, that is one is going to come to a rude shock to them- but in earlier editions of the game, characters weren’t invulnerable and unshootable so long as one other unit remained on the table. And now the pendulum has swung back and characters are a lot more vulnerable again- if you only leave one unit in range to protect them, especially if it’s a 5man squad, expect your characters to get killed a lot.
2. When you use the Command Reroll stratagem, you must reroll all dice that are part of that roll. (p.255)
This may not seem like a big deal, but it can really change the math on making charges out of reserves or casting a psychic power. Those are the most likely times you would roll multiple dice for a single roll, but note also there are other cases- for example, when shooting a Melta weapon at a target within half range, or firing a weapon such as an Earthshaker Cannon that rolls more than one die to determine its number of shots. For better or for worse, you reroll all dice that are part of that roll now.
3. You can’t take actions if you advanced, and if you take an action you can’t use auras while the action is under way. (p.258)
Actions are gonna throw a lot of people for a loop because they’re something that is actually completely new to the game, but I think these two clauses are gonna be the ones that trip the most people up. Regardless of what other special rules you have, you can’t take actions after advancing- which means unless your unit is very fast, you probably aren’t going to get to take any actions on the first turn of the game. Similarly, all your auras shut off when you start taking an action, and don’t turn back on until you finish it or fail it- and I think a lot of people are gonna be rerolling 1s when they shouldn’t be as a result.
4. When charging, models with Fly still cannot move within engagement range of enemy units unless they were declared as targets of the charge. (p.224)
This one may get FAQed at a later date, although as of right now it still is true- Fly keyword gives you special permission to move over models and ignore their engagement range in the movement phase, but in the charge phase it only lets you move over them- you still can’t get into engagement range of anything you didn’t charge, at any point during your movement. No more leaping over screens to charge a tank behind them with a Smash Captain!
5. Units that aren’t Infantry, Beasts, or Swarms cannot benefit from cover from terrain, even if they are partially obscured by it. (p.260)
I actually struggled with this one a bit myself because it’s rather counter-intuitive, but the rulebook does not list any way for units that aren’t Infantry, Beasts, or Swarms to gain the benefits of cover. Special rules and abilities can do it (e.g. Chapter Tactics) and those other units can still benefit from Obscuring or Dense terrain, but as of the new edition cover is not a thing that vehicles, bikes, and other unit types can easily get.
6. Once a model from a unit begins taking saves, you must continue rolling saves for that model until it dies or the phase ends (p.221)
Typically this won’t be a big deal, but for units with mixed saves (especially different invulnerable saves) it can matter quite a lot. No more swapping between models with Storm Shields and those without on a whim!
7. Units standing on a Dense or Obscuring terrain feature can ignore that rule when attacking from it. (p.)
This gonna feel weird to anyone used to playing by the ITC’s “bottom floor windows” rule, but it should quickly become pretty intuitive. Obscuring terrain blocks you from shooting through it, but not into or out of it- so if your tank can get a tread onto that ruin, it can shoot through it normally. Dense terrain, on the other hand, works slightly differently- it penalizes all shooting through it or into it, but not out of it. If you wanna bypass the penalty, you will have to, once again, dip your toe into that forest. 9E really does reward playing into midfield quite heavily.
8. When fighting with “fights first” units (such as chargers), the player whose turn it is picks the first unit. When fighting with other units (such as ongoing combats), the opposing player picks first. (p.363)
This one messed me up a bit at first, because the sequence is different for the various “fight first” units than it is for everything else. Since “fight first” abilities are relatively rare in the game (and generally haven’t had a lot of value, though that may change somewhat) you generally will only need to remember the latter part- namely, that the non-active player gets to choose the first unit to fight during ongoing combats. This makes a Heroic Intervention into a nearby unit quite powerful, and likewise a unit that charged on its owners’ turn will get to fight before its opponents again on the following turn, potentially leading to some very lopsided results.
9. Which units are placed into transports and which units go into reserves must be decided before any units are deployed (and strategic reserve decisions are made secretly.) (p.281)
One of the big tricks you could pull to manipulate your drop count last edition was hiding things inside transports, which is no longer an option- you are locked into those choices by the time deployment decisions are made. Similarly, you cannot use “phantom” drops of putting units into reserves to force an opponent to deploy ahead of you, as this decision also occurs prior to the deployment process. The fact that strategic reserves are chosen secretly is an interesting twist on things, since it can create something of a cat-and-mouse situation for some matchups where both players have potentially-vulnerable units they want to protect from an alpha strike.
10. Hill cannot be attacked. (p. ∞ )
You wish to attempt it, but nothing can prepare you for the truth of Hill.
Hill stares at you without eyes. You feel cold sweat running down your back. Fear grips your heart.
Hill is here; Hill is beyond your comprehension.
Is Hill god? No, it is something more.
Hill cannot be attacked.
H I L L C A N N O T B E A T T A C K E D .
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