Breaking News: Warhammer 40k Balance Update and New Rules!

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This new Warhammer Balance Update and New rules is all about balancing out competitive play. If you’ve been keeping up with our Winning Lists page and posts you’ll notice a very common theme among the top lists week after week.

Games Workshop has announced a huge new balance update that will tip the scales back towards neutral and try to keep matched play fair for all. As they said in their update post

Warhammer 40,000 is a game with a lot of moving parts. New codexes, campaign books, White Dwarf articles, and more are released all the time, all of which have an effect on balance and the meta. Nevertheless, the rules team are committed to ensuring the game stays fun for everyone, no matter what army they play. This is especially important in matched play, where the principle of fairness is key to the format – not least because it’s where so many players meet for a game for the first time, in clubs and at tournaments.

Starting today Game Workshop has released a balance update, now known as the “Balance Dataslate” that will be released every three months. The big idea is to keep the competitive landscape fresh and those at the top of the pile on their toes. Let’s jump right into a few of the highlights of the update!

New Rules for Flyers

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Not every faction in the game can even field Flyers, but aircraft-heavy armies have been on the rise – and have even begun to dominate recent tournaments. Warhammer 40,000 is certainly not intended to be a game controlled by duelling planes (we already have one of those in Aeronautica Imperialis!), so the rules team has made a change to ensure that aircraft have more of a support role rather than acting as a spearhead.

As such, there’s now a cap on the number of Aircraft units you can field in a matched play army – between one and three, depending on the size of the game you’re playing.

The Night’s Team Review on Aircraft:

At 2,000 Points the GT problem of 3, 4, 6 aircraft is now limited to just two aircraft at 2,000 points. This limits the amount of flyers and will change the game at GTs significantly limiting the amount of air vehicles folks are able to use at the table. We’ve seen several winners of super majors running overwhelming flyers against their opponents.

New Buggies Rules

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To combat the growing trend of ‘spamming’ multiple Buggies of the same kind, the rules team have now set a limit of one of each Buggy unit (which can, of course, include up to three models). This means, for example, that you can field a maximum of three Rukkatrukk Squigbuggies in your army – which, in fairness, should be more than enough to cater for anyone’s mobile-squig-firepower needs!

The Night’s Team on Buggie’s Changes:

You can now only take one buggie at a time. Previously we saw 7, 8, 9 Squig Buggies across the board. Instead of changing the speed wall we’ll see 3 of a kind of buggies working their way to make waaaaaagggghhh on their opponents. If you haven’t played against this list, unless you had a lot of two up armor saves you just got tabled. This should significantly change that!

Adeptus Mechanicus and Drukhari Points Change!

While we don’t expect most quarterly balance updates to affect points values, in this instance the rules team has decided to officially release the upcoming Adeptus Mechanicus and Drukhari points changes from the Chapter Approved 2022 pack early. These two factions have been dominating the Warhammer 40,000 meta for some time now, so these points adjustments are being brought forward to help to rein in their dominance.

Night’s Team on Admech Changes

The Marshall has had his points increased and the basic infantry squad war gear ignores cover. And the means to give orders across the table, the Enhanced Data tether, both went up five points to 10 points each! The fact of the matter is that at 5 points it was an auto include. At 10 points now you have to think “Which one will I include?”. This is another way to limit how many models are actually on the board. There are a lot of 10 point increases on Admech that are similar and will force you to make a similar decision.

Unfortunately, they also increased the points for the Iron Strider. The Iron Strider already lost the core keyword and it probably didn’t need that kind of a nerf, especially when you look at how it’s done competitively lately. Most Iron Strider lists had gone down to 3, maybe 4, in their lists versus their hay-day when you could run 10 or even 12.

Night’s Team on Drukhari

The Succubus could kill any unit in the game when all of her hits do mortal wounds and even when she doesn’t do damage she can still do damage anyways by doing a whole other hit. They increased the point cost of the succubus as well as the raiders. Raiders may only have a toughness of 6 and a 5 up save, but the fact of the matter is they could move so fast and hop over things they were oppressive. You’ll now see that you have to pay much more for these units.

Necrons Changes

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Necrons see a host of their units gain the Core keyword, so they can benefit from numerous synergies and aura abilities that were previously unavailable to them. It also makes a huge impact on the variety of effective units that you can field. Flayed OnesCanoptek units, and Destroyers in particular get a big boost from this.

Night’s Team on Necrons’ Changes

All Necron units that were given Core, on top of having built in rerolls, but there are also now certain buffs that only go with Core. The Reanimator could only bring back core units, and a lot of units have been changed to be included in the core units, meaning that tons of units can now be brought back. Many units that have been added to Core still come with a hefty price tag, but at least you can bring them back now!

Astra Militarum Changes

For the Astra Militarum, the bellowing of their officers is set to have a greater impact on the battlefield thanks to a handy boost to their orders, while their mainline battle tanks are now more durable thanks to an improved Save characteristic, meaning it will be significantly harder to silence the biggest guns of the Imperial Guard.

Night’s Team on Guard Changes:

Previously, you would give an order from one infantry officer to an infantry unit. Depending on how many units you had you could do various orders around the board. You could only give two orders with your company commander, but if you didn’t have the correct units nearby you were out of luck.

Now, the company commander can order the infantry squad and if it’s near the special weapons squad they all benefit from the same order! These aren’t specialist orders, these are just the standard orders.

The bigger change, however, is that the Leman Russ Tank Commander can now deliver orders to any regiment vehicle units. And, these aren’t limited to specific basic orders. That matters because, there is a Cadian tank order that is reroll number of shots and you can now take any number of tanks and have them blast out their maximum number of shots!

Another cool example is giving orders to units that need line of site to shoot. Previously, they had to move forward and then take their shot and be left vulnerable. With this new rule those units can move forward, shoot, and then be ordered to move back, thus not being exposed!

Leman Russ Tanks all got an armor point increase. They were supposed to be one of the toughest tanks in the game and this change helps them get back towards that ideal.

Chaos Space Marine Changes

The Chaos Space Marines are nothing if not angry at the universe and everything in it. The fact that they now have the opportunity to generate additional attacks against ANY opponent (not just Imperium units), perfectly captures their hateful nature while offering them a welcome buff in melee.

Imperial Knights Changes

Meanwhile, Knights now count as multiple models when contesting objectives, while Armigers in all-Knight armies gain Objective Secured. This will have a HUGE impact in matched play, as claiming both primary and secondary objectives is ultimately how you win – though blasting, immolating, and squishing the enemy with your giant war machines while you do it certainly helps…

Night’s Team on Knight’s Changes:

When Knights were trying to hold an objective with your 400+ point Knight they could easily have an objective stolen right from underneath them by small units. This new rule change says that a Knight counts as 5 units. If it’s a Titanic Unit it’s now worth 10 units! This will drastically help the Knight’s stay in the game by holding objectives.

Big Changes Afoot in the Competitive Warhammer 40k World

You can read all of the balance update changes in depth over on Games Workshop’s website.

What do you think of these changes?

What do you think this is going to do to match play with regular updates?

Let us know in the comments below!

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