The Death of Overwatch in 40k 9th Edition


Let us lament the passing of Overwatch as we knew it. Its death at the hands of 9th Edition is a good thing for Melee. Overwatch in 9th Edition will no longer be a standard action that units can do just for the heck of it. The TLDR highlights in Red come with caveats. Remember the 9th Terrain Rules for a New Edition? We now know what the Defensible does. Overwatch was one of our Top 5 Changes to 9th Edition as well.

Overwatch in 9th Edition

Big Red Box 1 Overwatch in 9th Edition

Big Red Box 1 states that all units that can fire overwatch can do so. The big change with overwatch here is the 1st “can” part. Not every unit can fire overwatch in matched play. The restriction will limit the Fire Overwatch stratagem to one use of that charge phase.  This makes the Big Guns Never Tire ability that much more important. Consider how fewer of your vehicles will get to gun down charging models. This will leave several Stratagems questioning if they will work for overwatch by themselves. Will you need to combine them with Fire Overwatch as well. Think Staunch Allies a stratagem for House Hawkshroud to fire overwatch as if they were the target of the charge and Heroically Intervene.  The other “Can” Models will include units with the Cool-Headed Ability which makes Big Red Box 3 somewhat of a lie. 

Big Red Box 2

No overwatch for models within 1” straightforward and caveat free. The Steel Behemoth Ability of certain Super Heavy Vehicles had to be changed in errata to specifically prevent this. Several other units have weapons that can fire while within 1” of a model but now they can no longer fire overwatch because of this rule change. The death of overwatch for an Engaged Astraeus is a good thing. That unit never had its Steel Behemoth ability changed. 

Cool-headed overwatch in 9th edition

Big Red Box 3

Attacks only hit on an unmodified 6. That is mostly true but the Cool-headed ability states you hit on an unmodified roll of a 5+. In Our 9th Terrain Rules Preview, Defensible was mentioned but we now know what it does.  Abilities may still affect overwatch but we don’t know which ones. The Mordian Guard might get to use their Regiment trait. For the Greater Good and Tau Sept are in question. 

Terrain affects Overwatch in 9th edition

Defensible provides a bonus to Infantry only. If you decided not to Hold Steady overwatch on an unmodified 5+, the other option is Set to Defend.  A +1 to hit when you didn’t have range weapons in the first place is great. Especially on a unit like Daemonettes with Quicksilver Swiftness to Fight First in Combat. 

Death of Overwatch
Look Out Sir didn’t make the TLDR highlights for Overwatch

Look out Sir or Ma’am or however, that gribbly monster chooses to identify doesn’t work in overwatch in 9th edition. Now units of 1 or 2 just don’t have the will and motivation to Look Out for characters anymore but this is a big change from 9th. Too bad Victrix Guard, bodyguards who won’t take a bullet for you.  No longer can a character Stand out in the open with a small squad of scouts hiding halfway up the board out of the line of sight somehow protecting that character. 

Worried about the changes to Overwatch in 9th Edition? The Changes to Charge rolls will discourage some multi charges, especially against a unit much further away than the rest. It’s a New Edition and a new way to have fun. Happy Wargaming.

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