Balance Dataslate Review January 2023 | Tabletop Tactics State of Play

Avatar The Chef January 5, 202370  45 70 Likes

Balance Dataslate Review: January 2023


Balance Dataslate Jan 2023

Balance Dataslate: Be careful what you wish for edition

Well.

You wanted it to do something.

It’s time for another Balance Dataslate, and this one is probably the biggest one yet in terms of changes. As with all Balance Dataslates, this latest one is the version in use as it replaces the previous one, and you can absolutely choose to ignore it- if you’re playing non-Matched Play games. 

Now you’ve got to remember this is used in conjunction with the latest Munitorum Field Manual for points (see HERE for our comparison breakdown), as well as the Arks of Omen GT Mission Pack (Be sure to check out the Secondary breakdown HERE), so make sure you account for those when reading through these, as I’m not touching on them in too much detail here, if at all.  

So, grab a hot drink, or something stronger, cos you might need it…

Armour of Contempt

Gone.

No ifs ands or buts. Kaput. Finished. Laid to rest. Sent to the Black Ships. Offered up to the Dark Gods. Failed to cross the Rubicon. 

This is a massive change in survivability for many armies, whilst upping the killing power of several others by proxy. Whilst a contentious rule, regardless of how you felt about it, it was pretty vital for keeping MEQs around, and so will cause big waves for sure. The common complaints about the ineffectiveness of AP1 Weapons by all those people that forget armies other than Space Marines exist can finally stop at least. 

Note this also means that Salamanders, Iron Warriors and Valorous Heart revert to their Codex versions, so back to AP reduction and no more Wound preroll prevention. Obviously. See literally the 4th sentence in this article about how this replaces all the previous stuff, and so anything not in here, no longer applies.

Is this a good thing? I’m not convinced, as the game is still hugely killy, and now nearly half the field will be a lot more susceptible to the sheer amount of AP in the game. This is tempered somewhat by the other changes in here and in terms of points, but the initial gut feeling is this will probably neuter most, if not all Power Armoured armies and remove all but the most hyper efficient from the meta. On the flipside the game will be quicker as there’s less maths and more stuff will just die or not be allowed saves. So that’s cool?  

Aircraft

In addition to the limits based on game size (so a max of 2 in Strike Force missions), all AIRCRAFT now have to start the game in Strategic Reserves, though remember in Arks of Omen Missions they won’t cost you CP at least. In addition, bombs and other abilities can’t be used when you fly off the board anymore. This limits the output of Aircraft quite a bit, making them have zero impact on Turn 1, and unable to use bomb style abilities until Turn 3 at the earliest. Whilst nice to stop those fringe lists that can nuke units with bombs Turn 1 with no counterplay, this is overall a pretty hefty nerf to those units, and could see Aircraft drop off quite a bit in use. 

Indirect Fire Weapons

This remains as is, making sure that weapons which ignore Line of Sight aren’t as dominant as they used to be.

The line about Guard not being affected by this is gone, so they do suffer the -1 BS and the +1 Sv penalties.

If you honestly thought it was going to be kept, then I also have a bridge to sell you. 

Bodyguard

It’s the same. Good.

Chaos Daemons

Chaos Daemons

Flamers now no longer auto-hit with their Flickering Flames. An odd change, but it does neuter their output by about 1/3rd, as well as making them susceptible to modifiers, and not effectively impossible to charge through Overwatch. Pure Tzeentch armies can still get them effectively autohitting with Warp Storm buffs and a Lord of Change or Prince nearby, but that of course requires significant investment.

The Designer’s Note also needs calling out, specifically saying that yes, you do need to roll to Hit, now that the rule that says you automatically hit has been removed. This should go without saying, but man it says a lot that it was felt necessary to include this. 

Space Marines

So you lost Armour of Contempt, though you did get cheaper in the Munitorum Field Manual (the jury’s out on if it’s an equivalent exchange).

You do get two other little boosts though, the first of which makes Combat Doctrines essentially the same as their 8th incarnation. For those joining us in 9th, Doctrines now don’t have a ‘must’ rider on changing. So you can stay in Devastator Doctrine all game if you like. Get to Tactical Doctrine and like the extra boons you get there? Stay in it in Turn 4 and beyond if it pleases you. A nice little boost to the shooty Marines, and as we all know, what the game needed was more AP, on more guns, more of the time.

In addition, all your Troops make Objectives you control at the end of your Command Phase remain under your control even when you move away, letting you put a bit more pressure and output elsewhere in the game without needing to babysit a home or out of reach Objective. It’s fine, especially since your Troops aren’t generally the best anyways, but having any incentive to run Troops in Arks of Omen is nice.  

These buffs are neat, offering a bit more viability to ranged Marines, as well as some options for Objective play, but the real telling point will be if the points drops and changes to other armies are enough to account for losing Armour of Contempt.

Space Marines
Death Guard

 Death Guard

No changes, but the loss of Armour of Contempt will of course sting quite a bit. Your points changes are reasonable enough, though hardly earthshaking, so it’s a bitter pill to swallow in terms of overall survivability, especially given they were already in a bit of a rough spot.

Drukhari

The Agile Hunters custom Obsession is now back to a 4” Mv. Which is a change I suppose. No other changes here, but the adjustments to other armies should help out by proxy.

Drukhari
Aeldari

Harlequins

Ready for a big ol’ bag of mixedness here?

To start with, the changes to Luck of the Laughing God, the Light Saedath and the Dark Saedath are still here. For those keeping track at home that means you still can only get Luck Rerolls by rolling for them, Light only works vs attacks 18”+ away and doesn’t let your units inside TRANSPORTS count as Remaining Stationary, and Dark only do a single Mortal on a 4+ when dying.

Fine.

They’ve also removed the changes to the Mirror Architect Pivotal Role and the Favour of Cegorach Warlord Trait. So the aura of being 6” further away is back, as is the hyper shredding Harvester of Torment. These did get some points hikes, but still, that’s a big return of effectiveness for the Seer and Jester.

Buuuuut…everyone has their Invulnerable Save reduced by 1, including via Stratagems etc.

Ooof.

Yeah, that’s a significant drop in overall survivability, making you much more susceptible to high rate of fire, as well as not being nearly as tanky vs big hitting attacks either. You still hit like trucks and are insanely fast, but the clowns will need to be a bit more cagey in picking battles and utilising terrain to get to places unscathed. You’re still very good at that, but you will not last nearly as long once your task is done. 

Asuryani

Pretty much remains the same, with the only difference being the removal of the “once per game” limit on Fire and Fade, which is fine given the cost. Remember Arks of Omen is quite a bit more lenient in army building, so you’ll generally have more CP to play with without needing to worry about pesky things like Troops or “making your army look like an army”.

Aeldari
Chaos Space Marines

Chaos Space Marines

Creations of Bile now only fight on death on a 4+, and count as having 1 Wound remaining when they do so (for things like VEHICLES). A pretty significant debuff, being no longer automatic means that efficient trading (my favourite term of all time, I’m so glad it’s part of 40k nomenclature now…) is much less likely, though still potent indeed on things like Possessed.

There’s no other changes. So you can have your removal of Armour of Contempt and slight points adjustments and deal with it, I guess. We might see a drop off in CSM as a result of these combined overall changes and no real gain compared to other factions, but time will tell.

Adeptus Mechanicus

So with the advent of the previous reversion of all changes, you’re now back in the Slate, but only with positive changes now. At last, Cawl decided his KATAPHRONS are CORE, giving them access to some actual buffs and abilities. 

Oh and then anything that has Bionics, gets it improved to a 5++. 

So that’s a thing. 

Everyone worried about losing the Skitarii Veteran Cohort, fear not, as you have the Invulnerable part baked in at no extra cost anymore, and also applied to the Kataphrons and Chickens as well (and Servitors, but who cares), and can mix in the CULT units more freely. You lose the other stuff sure, but whatever, you’ve basically saved about 120+pts just on your basic Infantry.

So now add that to the Armour of Contempt removal, points drops in the Munitorum Field Manual that effectively puts you back to the Codex state,  some extra points drops on top of that, and more survivability on units that didn’t have it before…AdMech are back in a big and scary way. 

It’s release day AdMech, but cheaper and better, outside of Plane spam.

Yay?

Adeptus Mechanicus
Tyranids

Tyranids

Tyranids continue to have their previous changes (so a TYRANT has to be your WARLORD, your WARLORD has to be on the board to get Imperatives, you have to have the Adaptive part of your rules written on your list, Leviathan nerfs, and Reaper of Obliterax capping at 3 Mortals), and have two new ones to add in as well. Hope you’re keeping up.

The first is that now Overrun can only be used on CORE units now, so the age of hit and running Tyrants and other big gribblies is gone. They’ll just have to stay where they are if they kill their foe.

The second is that Spore Mines and Mucolids made by Biovores, Harpies and Sporocysts are no longer free, so you’ll need to spend Reinforcement Points on them. This is helpfully explained by the Designer’s Note, cos clearly someone, somewhere, will still argue that they’re free despite the entire sentence saying they’re free is removed you’reliterallytheworst. This removes a little bit of utility from them, as you’re no longer able to spread out free move blockers and chip damage pieces, not without being under the points limit at least (which is probably not worth it given the increases they got).

These are relatively minor changes that will only impact certain lists and scenarios, but welcome ones to remove some frustrating mechanics nonetheless. 

Adepta Sororitas

With the removal of Armour of Contempt, Valorous Heart reverts to its previous version in the Codex. You keep the Miracle Dice generation at the start of each turn still, which is good.

Adepta Sororitas
Necrons

Necrons

The only change here is the ObSekh Dynasty is dead…sort of. You can no longer combine it (Eternal Conquerors, specifically) with any of the Circumstances of Awakening, so no more pregame move on armywide ObSec, to use the standard example. This is good for the game, don’t get me wrong, cos it’s super boring to play with and against. 

However…

With the fairly ineffectual points changes, this could result in a hit to playing the missions, as with the early edition blues running rampant through their datasheets and rules, it was pretty much the only way to really compete with the newer books. 

Realistically though, it just means most people will pivot to the Nihilakh Dynasty so they still have “Oops All ObSekh”, but with the side bonus of the AP1 reduction in your Deployment Zone and their Stratagem. A downgrade compared to the pregame move of course, but as I say, it makes the army build only sort of dead.

On the flipside the Armour of Contempt removal does help your hitting power somewhat, but that’s not really useful against non Marines.

Adeptus Custodes

FINALLY get Objective Secured back on their CORE INFANTRY, so whilst you won’t be able to use your Characters to steal an Objective, this might make the Terminators and friends vaguely viable. The “once per game” limits have also been removed from Esteemed Amalgam, Emperor’s Auspice and Martial Discretion Stratagems, which is fine I suppose.

Adeptus Custodes
Orks

Orks

No changes. You’re fine it seems lol.

I mean again, the removal of Armour of Contempt helps you a bit, but it helps others just the same, who also got more buffs…

Some Stratagem cost reduction would have been nice, given how meh they generally are. 

T’au Empire

No changes.

Well, you’re a tiny bit costly on Suits, but Armour of Contempt is gone, so you can enjoy watching your opponents just not rolling Saves again.

Tau
Astra Militarum

Astra Militarum

You got a new Codex. You’re safe from the nerfbat.

For now.

Just know I will advocate for Kasrkin and Regimental Tactics, especially on Tanks, to be toned down until it happens. My patience is short and my influence mediocre. 

Grey Knights

Chef’s Note – When I was writing this article, I had to come back after I finished as I completely forgot to mention the Grey Knights. Which is very appropriate given GW did too.

Nothing for you. No sticky Objectives like your non magic counterparts, nor easier ways to manipulate your “Doctrines”. Yeah you got cheaper somewhat, and will be better vs Power Armour to a degree, but you still suffer from being just a bit weird in design, and have lost some defences to boot. 

Grey Knights
Thousand Sons

Thousand Sons

No updates here, and losing Armour of Contempt makes a chunky dent to your survivability, alongside the changes to Flamers hitting your output, for those of you that can’t help but soup. With minimal points changes, you’ll benefit from the flipside of the Armour of Contempt removal by making your Inferno guns much better in the pseudo mirror match, but with all your Mortal Wounds that wasn’t always a concern. We’ll see how they settle.

Imperial & Chaos Knights

No changes here, but as noted almost ad nauseum at this stage, they benefit from the AoC removal quite a bit. They seem reasonable in terms of WR at the moment however, so we’ll see how the changes elsewhere impact them by proxy.

Imperial Knights
Chaos Knights
Leagues of Votann

Leagues of Votann

No changes, frustratingly. Yeah yeah, “BuT ChEF theY’Re FiNe, ThEY’Re OnLy WiNNing 60%+ gAmEs, jUSt doN’t TakE FuN LisTs aGAinST THeM!”. 

Yeah, no. No that’s not a good take.

They’re still hyper efficient, and you get a lot of bang for your buck despite their additional points increases. And remember we’re entering an era where Armour of Contempt is gone, other heavy hitter armies have received nerfs too, and you’ve got greater flexibility in the army building stage.

Truly their WR will be balanced in the face of such overwhelming odds…

Judgement Tokens need to drop off when used ala Markerlights, or at least be harder to generate- not being given to units that dare to do Actions or stand near Objectives would be a start.

Genestealer Cults

I honestly don’t know what GSC did to be ignored for so long. Maybe it’s part of a masterminded scheme for a glorious Day of Ascension? Regardless, with some overall meh points tweaks and no direct changes, they’re relying on the other factions’ changes to be sufficient to let them claw up the rankings. 

No, their 50%ish WR with like 2 people playing them with very specific lists doesn’t mean they’re in a good spot. They really need some help at least with not being reliant on Stratagems in an age of reduced CP, and some boosts to synergy with Crossfire and Melee.

Genestealer Cults

And so we finish another Dataslate

Well, another Dataslate, and another round of me wondering how this all means and what this leaves us…wait.

So, the removal of Armour of Contempt, in case you couldn’t tell what with how often it was mentioned, both directly and indirectly affects pretty much every Faction, and is the big takeaway from this Dataslate. Pretty much every army has received a semblance of an offensive boost by virtue of it going, so I won’t repeat it again (and again…and again…). The impact of the MFM and GT Missions, whilst not really explored too much in here, will also of course have an effect on the meta at large when combined with these changes, so we’ll need to see how all three of these elements settle. 

In terms of the Factions themselves, Space Marines get some cute boosts which probably won’t help them overall compared to what they lost, whilst their Chaotic cousins receive nothing in kind for being essentially the same statlines whilst also now often being more expensive, and the same defensive reduction. I don’t subscribe to the “GW hates Chaos” rhetoric (seriously, if they hated them, why would they sell them at all? Don’t be silly.), but I understand why it might feel that way at times.

Sisters, Grey Knights, Thousand Sons and Death Guard are in a similar boat, the loss of Armour of Contempt likely going to be felt in the Win Rate as the weeks tick by. Genestealer Cults might get more varied lists, but will be totally reliant on other factions suffering rather than themselves getting a boost, which is both a good indication of how generally balanced their book is, and how bad it is to be a balanced army in 40k.

Custodes might see some list variety again with ObSec Infantry an actual option once more, whilst Asuryani and Drukhari are unlikely to change massively in playstyle. Orks receiving no changes is… a choice, but I suppose there’s only so much they can be attempted to be polished. 

Necrons and Daemons had two crutches kicked out from them, so they will probably dip a little, though they have workarounds, and also benefit from others being reduced in effectiveness. 

Harlequins should still do well in theory, though with their 50/50 chance of surviving a hit now reduced to only 1 in 3, they could be in greater danger of earlier tablings in certain match ups. Tyranids didn’t receive massive rules overhauls, just quality of life changes for their opponents, but their points hikes could be their death knell. 

With brand new Codexes, I wasn’t expecting any changes to either Guard or Votann, but I feel like they’ll be the new bullies in the playground, especially as they enter an era with substantial nerfs to the other big hitters, and able to make a mockery of anything with Power Armour. The same goes for AdMech, who whilst they needed help for sure, are now pretty much back to the way they were, but with better stats and synergies on many units, which just feels unnecessary. Likewise, the T’au emerge basically unscathed barring some minimal points changes, offset by the greater freedom in army builds in Arks of Omen. I expect these four will be the big nasties to watch out for going forward. 

This Dataslate will definitely shake up the meta, but I’m not convinced it’s for an overall healthier or more balanced one, instead merely shifting around who’s vying for the top whilst everyone else shuffles their feet around near the bottom in the hopes they don’t play against the big boys in a tournament setting, so they can have actual fun in a game.

Cos you know, it’s a game and we should all be having fun.

Not being a community that clearly needs Designer’s Notes to tell you that removing a sentence of rules means you indeed can no longer benefit from said sentence of rules.

Seriously. 

👨‍🍳

Balance Dataslate Review: January 2023


Balance Dataslate: Be careful what you wish for edition

Well.

You wanted it to do something.

It’s time for another Balance Dataslate, and this one is probably the biggest one yet in terms of changes. As with all Balance Dataslates, this latest one is the version in use as it replaces the previous one, and you can absolutely choose to ignore it- if you’re playing non-Matched Play games. 

Now you’ve got to remember this is used in conjunction with the latest Munitorum Field Manual for points (see HERE for our comparison breakdown), as well as the Arks of Omen GT Mission Pack (Be sure to check out the Secondary breakdown HERE), so make sure you account for those when reading through these, as I’m not touching on them in too much detail here, if at all.  

So, grab a hot drink, or something stronger, cos you might need it…

Armour of Contempt

Gone.

No ifs ands or buts. Kaput. Finished. Laid to rest. Sent to the Black Ships. Offered up to the Dark Gods. Failed to cross the Rubicon. 

This is a massive change in survivability for many armies, whilst upping the killing power of several others by proxy. Whilst a contentious rule, regardless of how you felt about it, it was pretty vital for keeping MEQs around, and so will cause big waves for sure. The common complaints about the ineffectiveness of AP1 Weapons by all those people that forget armies other than Space Marines exist can finally stop at least. 

Note this also means that Salamanders, Iron Warriors and Valorous Heart revert to their Codex versions, so back to AP reduction and no more Wound preroll prevention. Obviously. See literally the 4th sentence in this article about how this replaces all the previous stuff, and so anything not in here, no longer applies.

Is this a good thing? I’m not convinced, as the game is still hugely killy, and now nearly half the field will be a lot more susceptible to the sheer amount of AP in the game. This is tempered somewhat by the other changes in here and in terms of points, but the initial gut feeling is this will probably neuter most, if not all Power Armoured armies and remove all but the most hyper efficient from the meta. On the flipside the game will be quicker as there’s less maths and more stuff will just die or not be allowed saves. So that’s cool?  

Aircraft

In addition to the limits based on game size (so a max of 2 in Strike Force missions), all AIRCRAFT now have to start the game in Strategic Reserves, though remember in Arks of Omen Missions they won’t cost you CP at least. In addition, bombs and other abilities can’t be used when you fly off the board anymore. This limits the output of Aircraft quite a bit, making them have zero impact on Turn 1, and unable to use bomb style abilities until Turn 3 at the earliest. Whilst nice to stop those fringe lists that can nuke units with bombs Turn 1 with no counterplay, this is overall a pretty hefty nerf to those units, and could see Aircraft drop off quite a bit in use. 

Indirect Fire Weapons

This remains as is, making sure that weapons which ignore Line of Sight aren’t as dominant as they used to be.

The line about Guard not being affected by this is gone, so they do suffer the -1 BS and the +1 Sv penalties.

If you honestly thought it was going to be kept, then I also have a bridge to sell you. 

Bodyguard

It’s the same. Good.

 

Chaos Daemons

Flamers now no longer auto-hit with their Flickering Flames. An odd change, but it does neuter their output by about 1/3rd, as well as making them susceptible to modifiers, and not effectively impossible to charge through Overwatch. Pure Tzeentch armies can still get them effectively autohitting with Warp Storm buffs and a Lord of Change or Prince nearby, but that of course requires significant investment.

The Designer’s Note also needs calling out, specifically saying that yes, you do need to roll to Hit, now that the rule that says you automatically hit has been removed. This should go without saying, but man it says a lot that it was felt necessary to include this. 

 

Space Marines

So you lost Armour of Contempt, though you did get cheaper in the Munitorum Field Manual (the jury’s out on if it’s an equivalent exchange).

You do get two other little boosts though, the first of which makes Combat Doctrines essentially the same as their 8th incarnation. For those joining us in 9th, Doctrines now don’t have a ‘must’ rider on changing. So you can stay in Devastator Doctrine all game if you like. Get to Tactical Doctrine and like the extra boons you get there? Stay in it in Turn 4 and beyond if it pleases you. A nice little boost to the shooty Marines, and as we all know, what the game needed was more AP, on more guns, more of the time.

In addition, all your Troops make Objectives you control at the end of your Command Phase remain under your control even when you move away, letting you put a bit more pressure and output elsewhere in the game without needing to babysit a home or out of reach Objective. It’s fine, especially since your Troops aren’t generally the best anyways, but having any incentive to run Troops in Arks of Omen is nice.  

These buffs are neat, offering a bit more viability to ranged Marines, as well as some options for Objective play, but the real telling point will be if the points drops and changes to other armies are enough to account for losing Armour of Contempt.

 

Death Guard

No changes, but the loss of Armour of Contempt will of course sting quite a bit. Your points changes are reasonable enough, though hardly earthshaking, so it’s a bitter pill to swallow in terms of overall survivability, especially given they were already in a bit of a rough spot.

 

Drukhari

The Agile Hunters custom Obsession is now back to a 4” Mv. Which is a change I suppose. No other changes here, but the adjustments to other armies should help out by proxy.

 

Harlequins

Ready for a big ol’ bag of mixedness here?

To start with, the changes to Luck of the Laughing God, the Light Saedath and the Dark Saedath are still here. For those keeping track at home that means you still can only get Luck Rerolls by rolling for them, Light only works vs attacks 18”+ away and doesn’t let your units inside TRANSPORTS count as Remaining Stationary, and Dark only do a single Mortal on a 4+ when dying.

Fine.

They’ve also removed the changes to the Mirror Architect Pivotal Role and the Favour of Cegorach Warlord Trait. So the aura of being 6” further away is back, as is the hyper shredding Harvester of Torment. These did get some points hikes, but still, that’s a big return of effectiveness for the Seer and Jester.

Buuuuut…everyone has their Invulnerable Save reduced by 1, including via Stratagems etc.

Ooof.

Yeah, that’s a significant drop in overall survivability, making you much more susceptible to high rate of fire, as well as not being nearly as tanky vs big hitting attacks either. You still hit like trucks and are insanely fast, but the clowns will need to be a bit more cagey in picking battles and utilising terrain to get to places unscathed. You’re still very good at that, but you will not last nearly as long once your task is done. 

 

Asuryani

Pretty much remains the same, with the only difference being the removal of the “once per game” limit on Fire and Fade, which is fine given the cost. Remember Arks of Omen is quite a bit more lenient in army building, so you’ll generally have more CP to play with without needing to worry about pesky things like Troops or “making your army look like an army”.

 

Chaos Space Marines

Creations of Bile now only fight on death on a 4+, and count as having 1 Wound remaining when they do so (for things like VEHICLES). A pretty significant debuff, being no longer automatic means that efficient trading (my favourite term of all time, I’m so glad it’s part of 40k nomenclature now…) is much less likely, though still potent indeed on things like Possessed.

There’s no other changes. So you can have your removal of Armour of Contempt and slight points adjustments and deal with it, I guess. We might see a drop off in CSM as a result of these combined overall changes and no real gain compared to other factions, but time will tell.

 

Adeptus Mechanicus

So with the advent of the previous reversion of all changes, you’re now back in the Slate, but only with positive changes now. At last, Cawl decided his KATAPHRONS are CORE, giving them access to some actual buffs and abilities. 

Oh and then anything that has Bionics, gets it improved to a 5++. 

So that’s a thing. 

Everyone worried about losing the Skitarii Veteran Cohort, fear not, as you have the Invulnerable part baked in at no extra cost anymore, and also applied to the Kataphrons and Chickens as well (and Servitors, but who cares), and can mix in the CULT units more freely. You lose the other stuff sure, but whatever, you’ve basically saved about 120+pts just on your basic Infantry.

So now add that to the Armour of Contempt removal, points drops in the Munitorum Field Manual that effectively puts you back to the Codex state,  some extra points drops on top of that, and more survivability on units that didn’t have it before…AdMech are back in a big and scary way. 

It’s release day AdMech, but cheaper and better, outside of Plane spam.

Yay?

 

Tyranids

Tyranids continue to have their previous changes (so a TYRANT has to be your WARLORD, your WARLORD has to be on the board to get Imperatives, you have to have the Adaptive part of your rules written on your list, Leviathan nerfs, and Reaper of Obliterax capping at 3 Mortals), and have two new ones to add in as well. Hope you’re keeping up.

The first is that now Overrun can only be used on CORE units now, so the age of hit and running Tyrants and other big gribblies is gone. They’ll just have to stay where they are if they kill their foe.

The second is that Spore Mines and Mucolids made by Biovores, Harpies and Sporocysts are no longer free, so you’ll need to spend Reinforcement Points on them. This is helpfully explained by the Designer’s Note, cos clearly someone, somewhere, will still argue that they’re free despite the entire sentence saying they’re free is removed you’reliterallytheworst. This removes a little bit of utility from them, as you’re no longer able to spread out free move blockers and chip damage pieces, not without being under the points limit at least (which is probably not worth it given the increases they got).

These are relatively minor changes that will only impact certain lists and scenarios, but welcome ones to remove some frustrating mechanics nonetheless. 

 

Adepta Sororitas

With the removal of Armour of Contempt, Valorous Heart reverts to its previous version in the Codex. You keep the Miracle Dice generation at the start of each turn still, which is good.

 

Necrons

The only change here is the ObSekh Dynasty is dead…sort of. You can no longer combine it (Eternal Conquerors, specifically) with any of the Circumstances of Awakening, so no more pregame move on armywide ObSec, to use the standard example. This is good for the game, don’t get me wrong, cos it’s super boring to play with and against. 

However…

With the fairly ineffectual points changes, this could result in a hit to playing the missions, as with the early edition blues running rampant through their datasheets and rules, it was pretty much the only way to really compete with the newer books. 

Realistically though, it just means most people will pivot to the Nihilakh Dynasty so they still have “Oops All ObSekh”, but with the side bonus of the AP1 reduction in your Deployment Zone and their Stratagem. A downgrade compared to the pregame move of course, but as I say, it makes the army build only sort of dead.

On the flipside the Armour of Contempt removal does help your hitting power somewhat, but that’s not really useful against non Marines.

 

Adeptus Custodes

FINALLY get Objective Secured back on their CORE INFANTRY, so whilst you won’t be able to use your Characters to steal an Objective, this might make the Terminators and friends vaguely viable. The “once per game” limits have also been removed from Esteemed Amalgam, Emperor’s Auspice and Martial Discretion Stratagems, which is fine I suppose.

 

Orks

No changes. You’re fine it seems lol.

I mean again, the removal of Armour of Contempt helps you a bit, but it helps others just the same, who also got more buffs…

Some Stratagem cost reduction would have been nice, given how meh they generally are. 

 

T’au Empire

No changes.

Well, you’re a tiny bit costly on Suits, but Armour of Contempt is gone, so you can enjoy watching your opponents just not rolling Saves again.

 

Astra Militarum

You got a new Codex. You’re safe from the nerfbat.

For now.

Just know I will advocate for Kasrkin and Regimental Tactics, especially on Tanks, to be toned down until it happens. My patience is short and my influence mediocre. 

 

Grey Knights

Chef’s Note – When I was writing this article, I had to come back after I finished as I completely forgot to mention the Grey Knights. Which is very appropriate given GW did too.

Nothing for you. No sticky Objectives like your non magic counterparts, nor easier ways to manipulate your “Doctrines”. Yeah you got cheaper somewhat, and will be better vs Power Armour to a degree, but you still suffer from being just a bit weird in design, and have lost some defences to boot. 

 

Thousand Sons

No updates here, and losing Armour of Contempt makes a chunky dent to your survivability, alongside the changes to Flamers hitting your output, for those of you that can’t help but soup. With minimal points changes, you’ll benefit from the flipside of the Armour of Contempt removal by making your Inferno guns much better in the pseudo mirror match, but with all your Mortal Wounds that wasn’t always a concern. We’ll see how they settle.

 

Imperial & Chaos Knights

No changes here, but as noted almost ad nauseum at this stage, they benefit from the AoC removal quite a bit. They seem reasonable in terms of WR at the moment however, so we’ll see how the changes elsewhere impact them by proxy.

 

Leagues of Votann

No changes, frustratingly. Yeah yeah, “BuT ChEF theY’Re FiNe, ThEY’Re OnLy WiNNing 60%+ gAmEs, jUSt doN’t TakE FuN LisTs aGAinST THeM!”. 

Yeah, no. No that’s not a good take.

They’re still hyper efficient, and you get a lot of bang for your buck despite their additional points increases. And remember we’re entering an era where Armour of Contempt is gone, other heavy hitter armies have received nerfs too, and you’ve got greater flexibility in the army building stage.

Truly their WR will be balanced in the face of such overwhelming odds…

Judgement Tokens need to drop off when used ala Markerlights, or at least be harder to generate- not being given to units that dare to do Actions or stand near Objectives would be a start.

 

Genestealer Cults

I honestly don’t know what GSC did to be ignored for so long. Maybe it’s part of a masterminded scheme for a glorious Day of Ascension? Regardless, with some overall meh points tweaks and no direct changes, they’re relying on the other factions’ changes to be sufficient to let them claw up the rankings. 

No, their 50%ish WR with like 2 people playing them with very specific lists doesn’t mean they’re in a good spot. They really need some help at least with not being reliant on Stratagems in an age of reduced CP, and some boosts to synergy with Crossfire and Melee.

 

And so we finish another Dataslate

Well, another Dataslate, and another round of me wondering how this all means and what this leaves us…wait.

So, the removal of Armour of Contempt, in case you couldn’t tell what with how often it was mentioned, both directly and indirectly affects pretty much every Faction, and is the big takeaway from this Dataslate. Pretty much every army has received a semblance of an offensive boost by virtue of it going, so I won’t repeat it again (and again…and again…). The impact of the MFM and GT Missions, whilst not really explored too much in here, will also of course have an effect on the meta at large when combined with these changes, so we’ll need to see how all three of these elements settle. 

In terms of the Factions themselves, Space Marines get some cute boosts which probably won’t help them overall compared to what they lost, whilst their Chaotic cousins receive nothing in kind for being essentially the same statlines whilst also now often being more expensive, and the same defensive reduction. I don’t subscribe to the “GW hates Chaos” rhetoric (seriously, if they hated them, why would they sell them at all? Don’t be silly.), but I understand why it might feel that way at times.

Sisters, Grey Knights, Thousand Sons and Death Guard are in a similar boat, the loss of Armour of Contempt likely going to be felt in the Win Rate as the weeks tick by. Genestealer Cults might get more varied lists, but will be totally reliant on other factions suffering rather than themselves getting a boost, which is both a good indication of how generally balanced their book is, and how bad it is to be a balanced army in 40k.

Custodes might see some list variety again with ObSec Infantry an actual option once more, whilst Asuryani and Drukhari are unlikely to change massively in playstyle. Orks receiving no changes is… a choice, but I suppose there’s only so much they can be attempted to be polished. 

Necrons and Daemons had two crutches kicked out from them, so they will probably dip a little, though they have workarounds, and also benefit from others being reduced in effectiveness. 

Harlequins should still do well in theory, though with their 50/50 chance of surviving a hit now reduced to only 1 in 3, they could be in greater danger of earlier tablings in certain match ups. Tyranids didn’t receive massive rules overhauls, just quality of life changes for their opponents, but their points hikes could be their death knell. 

With brand new Codexes, I wasn’t expecting any changes to either Guard or Votann, but I feel like they’ll be the new bullies in the playground, especially as they enter an era with substantial nerfs to the other big hitters, and able to make a mockery of anything with Power Armour. The same goes for AdMech, who whilst they needed help for sure, are now pretty much back to the way they were, but with better stats and synergies on many units, which just feels unnecessary. Likewise, the T’au emerge basically unscathed barring some minimal points changes, offset by the greater freedom in army builds in Arks of Omen. I expect these four will be the big nasties to watch out for going forward. 

This Dataslate will definitely shake up the meta, but I’m not convinced it’s for an overall healthier or more balanced one, instead merely shifting around who’s vying for the top whilst everyone else shuffles their feet around near the bottom in the hopes they don’t play against the big boys in a tournament setting, so they can have actual fun in a game.

Cos you know, it’s a game and we should all be having fun.

Not being a community that clearly needs Designer’s Notes to tell you that removing a sentence of rules means you indeed can no longer benefit from said sentence of rules.

Seriously. 

👨‍🍳



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The Canadian Shadowseer
The Canadian Shadowseer
14 days ago

For the harlies that save change pretty much makes my army useless on the field. I don’t have voidweaver spam to spam, so I will just be evapourated on the first turn of enemy return fire, even more so than before. Shelving them.

Dillon Gardner
Dillon Gardner
16 days ago

I still think that a great solution to the LoV judgement tokens would be to have flavorful effects based on your instead of the hyper-efficient wound rolling that you get currently. Like if you are the melee oriented faction (Kronus Hegemony I believe) then have your three token effects be centered around getting into and excelling in melee combat. Like have the first token grant something like an additional +1 to charge against the unit with the judgement token, then scale up from there as more tokens are generated. Then if you make a custom League, you could mix and… Read more »

Last edited 16 days ago by Dillon Gardner
Elliott Lansdown-Bridge
Lifetime Member
Elliott Lansdown-Bridge
19 days ago

tone down the ability for us to get Tokens, but frankly think the WR stats speak for themselves. Votann not broken just over-tuned and now more balanced. It seems like a sensible move to me

Elliott Lansdown-Bridge
Lifetime Member
Elliott Lansdown-Bridge
19 days ago

As long as Votann keep the toys I am content

Dean Brereton
Dean Brereton
20 days ago

Chef, do you think for LOV a simple removal of the being able to re-roll wounds for void armour then the judgment tokens for objective/actions would have really balanced them out? rather just putting something up by 10 points etc. feels the rules are the issue not the points.

Joerg Kuehling
Joerg Kuehling
20 days ago

Yeah, good ‘ol Orks are foine 😂

james beaumont
james beaumont
20 days ago

I feel deathwatch have come out pretty well, especially with the troops sticky rule, i dont understand why they have increased points to vet bikers and reduced outriders to the same points but.. i mean i’ll just take outriders! AOC, yeah its a shame, but to make the game more simple to play for more people i’m happy to lose that, especially when storm shields cost nothing anymore!

Henry Lubka
Henry Lubka
21 days ago

Couple thoughts I had: -Leagues of Votann points changes make no sense aside from the champion and Thunderkyn because none of them come close to addressing the main problems with the Faction. Hernkyn Pioneers staying the same but Grimnyrs going up blows my mind. Don’t forget that they still have Void Armour. -Grey Knights and Chaos Marines of all varieties not getting sticky objectives feels so spiteful, as does the points nerf to chaos terminators. -The new list of restricted units for Brood Brothers makes me think that the AM codex designers actually forgot that Brood Brothers were a thing… Read more »

Terry Thorley
Lodge Member
Terry Thorley
21 days ago

Yay super human Space Marines that will die to a tiggle again :/

Crazyshak48
Crazyshak48
21 days ago

Ah, there’s the sodium content I was expecting from a Dataslate release!
I am a bit disappointed with the Necrons changes. The nerfs to Obsekh and secondaries don’t bother me too much (I prefer to play Szarekhan in Tempest games), but they didn’t address any of the issues with the army. I guess we’ll see what 10th brings in the summer, but until then I guess I’m losing half my army every time the Votaan and Guard sneeze.
On the upside, I like the Custodes changes and love Allarus Terminators, so I’m even more excited to build my Christmas box!

Sterling Kuepfer
Sterling Kuepfer
21 days ago

I personally hated AoC as a rule, it was clunky and a pain to use and play against. However, it was extremely necessary and without it all the Marine armies are just going to die. Most got point reductions yes (other than sisters for some reason) but none feel like nearly enough to compensate for the loss of AoC. I know that GW doesn’t like changing to much at once but removing the crutch from a bunch of armies who were slightly above mid-tier at best without giving them proper compensation just feels bad. Hopefully after playing a few games… Read more »

Kal Spriggs
Kal Spriggs
21 days ago

Thanks, Chef. I feel the game has become so abstract and so bent on “balance” and as you said “efficient trading” that it has migrated from playing a game to gaming the game system. It’s the kind of thing you see with Magic the Gathering, which is a tremendously efficient money-making system and has a huge active competitive player base, but is all about rules combos and not anything resembling lore and story-based gaming. On a completely different vein, I feel that to adequately cover the difference between a humble guardsman and a space marine, they would need to go… Read more »

Robert Covelli
Lifetime Member
Robert Covelli
21 days ago

What are people’s thought on if they kept armour of contempt, but only for Space Marine troop choices? Just a thought experiment.

Rusty Iron Warrior
Lifetime Member
Rusty Iron Warrior
21 days ago

But Chef, can’t GW hate Chaos but love money more? 🤣

Joking aside, as someone who started collecting again during 9th, there does seem to be some ‘favouritism’ towards loyalists where they get beneficial rules or keywords but the chaos versions do not. Although the differences might be minor, it just seems unnecessary resulting in “GW hates Chaos”.

More importantly, thanks for the incredibly useful state of play documents, they’re both useful and entertaining!

Corruption
Lifetime Member
Corruption
21 days ago

Thanks Chef! Your level of salt/sarcasm matches my own and I couldn’t agree more on your takes.
Would have liked to see Quins retain the 4++ and just get some points increases. Also if AdMech and Custodes get CORE back on their units, why not the same for Talos/Cronos with a small points hike to compensate? My pure Covens army will likely remain on the shelf for a while longer…. and the less said about the state of Grey Knights the better 🙁

Benji92
Lodge Member
Benji92
21 days ago

My Iron warriors feel a lot less durable now which makes me sad as that was the one thing we really had going for us

daniel hunt
daniel hunt
21 days ago

I hope the new single detachment and removal of AoC are a trend of GW simplifying things somewhat in the run up to 10th. I’ve noticed when playing casually with friends that the game has become very bloated in terms of both playing a list building, so a bit of a tone down of that would be good. Next they just need to address the super killy nature of the game a bit.

Kyle Roach-Smith
Kyle Roach-Smith
21 days ago

Ill say my piece on craftworlds/harlequins. The harlequin changes were disappointing. Two literal takebacks, BUT with more points cost which means they’ve effectively added back broken synergies whilst also nerfing them… Congrats. Mirror architect in some ways reverts the other change to light as well so takebacks everywhere. Craftworlds NEED help in my opinion. They just feel underwhelming to play. Not as much as Gene Stealer Cults for example but they could use some help. However, this is more of a points reduction fix in my opinion rather than tampering with abilities so let me take a look at those… Read more »

Last edited 21 days ago by Kyle Roach-Smith
Matthew Biro
Lodge Member
Matthew Biro
21 days ago

I don’t want to come across as salty but why only give marines sticky objectives? I don’t get it 😅 It feels like a change that should be applied to all or a lot of factions, not just marines, especially when you factor in the points drops as context

Tenshura
Tenshura
21 days ago

Well I’m gutted with the Harleys changes. Some tricks back (with the appropriate costs…) in exchange to now dying to anything and everything, when primary scoring is as important as ever. Something I haven’t seen many people touch upon: this change is absolute death for newer players. New Harlequins are unforgiving to mistakes; it’s going to be a massive disincentive for people to learn to play an already very niche army.

S̷̛̲͈̖̣͎͖̥͕͈̥̟̠͠c̸̠̩̼͚̺̘̙͕̲̀̕͜͡ͅr̵͈͇̳͎͕̠̼͈͇͓̳͔̫̖̬̺͜ͅa͢͜҉̗̬̠̤̬̗̟̥͇͕̳̟̦̗̘̕ͅp͡͏̟̬̞̹̜̮̹͍̯͕ć͢͏̧̯͇̰̩͚̳͜o͖̜͉̜͙̺̦̤̥̦̪̤̬̥͎͇͝͠d̷̫̰̰͇̱̖͙̯̞̤͟͟e̦͕̤͓̠̻̗̣̻͢ ̷҉̺͉̰͔͉̟̝̮ ̹̜̦͙͉͓̮̫̗͟͢
Lodge Member
S̷̛̲͈̖̣͎͖̥͕͈̥̟̠͠c̸̠̩̼͚̺̘̙͕̲̀̕͜͡ͅr̵͈͇̳͎͕̠̼͈͇͓̳͔̫̖̬̺͜ͅa͢͜҉̗̬̠̤̬̗̟̥͇͕̳̟̦̗̘̕ͅp͡͏̟̬̞̹̜̮̹͍̯͕ć͢͏̧̯͇̰̩͚̳͜o͖̜͉̜͙̺̦̤̥̦̪̤̬̥͎͇͝͠d̷̫̰̰͇̱̖͙̯̞̤͟͟e̦͕̤͓̠̻̗̣̻͢ ̷҉̺͉̰͔͉̟̝̮ ̹̜̦͙͉͓̮̫̗͟͢
21 days ago

Thanks for the write up, and I love the new icons!

Viktor
Lodge Member
Viktor
21 days ago

Who likes that you don’t need troops anymore?

Liam Hartley-wright
Lodge Member
Liam Hartley-wright
21 days ago

ye agreed about AOC, it did my head in having to math’s it out every time you shot something. it completely took the fun out of the game. Not sure how you make Death Guard better, maybe keep the -1D and add back in the +5 FNP. That way we still wither to rate of fire but at least we’re more survivable. Thematic

Martin - TT Historian
Lodge Member
Martin - TT Historian
21 days ago

My patience is short and my influence mediocre. 
Well Chef, we still like you – so there is that I guess?

Archmike
Lodge Warrior Member
Archmike
21 days ago

Well that’s significantly helped me choose my “New Year, New Army” army. Not all that bothered about the changes to flyers as I planned to keep my Valks full of Scions in reserve anyway.

Never actually got to have a game with AoC and my sisters are Valourous Heart so it’s unlikely I’ll notice thst either.

TLDR: I’m alright Jack! Ner ner ne-ner ner :p

Cheers for the write up Chef! ^_^

Robert Walker
Robert Walker
21 days ago

AOC was annoying in the maths it required but absolutely needed, very sad to see it go.

Codex creep in this addition has been terrible and everything is far too powerful.

Yann
Lodge Member
Yann
21 days ago

Thankyou 🙂

Dean Brereton
Dean Brereton
21 days ago

I personally think removing AOC and putting the doctrines back is just primarily giving Iron Hands a buff then maybe Salamanders/Ultramarines however, if new supplements are due buffs could be on the way, still early days though.

Ben Webster
Lodge Member
Ben Webster
21 days ago

Great article Chef, thanks!
As a DG player though I’m gonna miss AoC. I read on a comment on reddit which I’ll steal here which is DG were slow but tanky and now they’re just slow

Winter Wizard
Winter Wizard
21 days ago

Oh i love Chef so much! hahaha

That Guy
That Guy
21 days ago

Thanks for the break down its good to know how other factions I dont have are faring too. keep up the great work

Modulus
Lodge Warrior Member
Modulus
21 days ago

Good work, Chef – thank you 🙂

TrueNeutralMatt
TrueNeutralMatt
21 days ago

CSM didn;t even get to mess with their ‘doctorines’ thats a little sad but I haven;t have much time with the new codex yet so I have no idea if it really matters

Charles Roesner
Charles Roesner
21 days ago

Bit disappointing that AoC is just gone across the board and Votann still has their baked in version. They could easily re-work the rule or just need AP across the board. So it’s going to make Votann even more difficult to deal with.

daniel schmitt
daniel schmitt
21 days ago

Hey GW remember that army you released called GSC that’s basically been unplayable since release because you keep forgetting it exists?

WoodsRunning
WoodsRunning
21 days ago

Looks like there’ll be a lot of Flamers going cheap on ebay.

Tomasz Stoły
Lodge Member
Tomasz Stoły
21 days ago

I love the little boost to my Stealers of Jeans! AoC being gone is like a christmas present to me in general, even as a sister player. I despised this stupid, band aid mechanic that only slowed down the games…
On the other hadn change to the fliers make valkyries for my guard unusable, to not mention pure scions lists…

Ian-icebeard
Lodge Member
Ian-icebeard
21 days ago

GW hates aircraft 😂 pointless putting wulfen in a stormwolf now as they wont be able to get out until turn 3. Marines will die easy again and be back to being one of the weakest armies. It did slow down play using AoC but it was very welcome in my opinion just to make marines survivable.

steveo311t
steveo311t
21 days ago

Disappointing

Brett Pettitt
Lodge Member
Brett Pettitt
21 days ago

I think with AoC gone, things will change massively. Maybe have it put on certain units – Terminators? (I remember the 3+ on 2d6 days,) might make certain things more balanced. However – Votann. Now I have ‘little’ hate for Squats, I do enjoy the aesthetics of the army (I dislike the land fortress wheels though,) I agree they need something. They hit like a freight train and with AoC gone they are just going to hit harder. I actually think points changes here will be pointless – loose the AoC bonus to void Armour and limit Judgement Tokens to… Read more »

Luke Harding
Luke Harding
21 days ago

Finally Grey Knights warlord trait ignores Beard’s beloved “Demon Save” as it always should have been! AoC being gone will make taking on Death Guard slightly less painful for my Grey Knights but I’m gonna lose more of them in return. I’m glad its gone though, less admin in shooting and combat is always good