The latest edition of Warhammer 40,000 brought forth a seismic shift in the gaming landscape in June, introducing a fresh era of streamlined rules and gameplay. With an exhaustive collection of Indexes covering over 2,000 datasheets, including rare and Forge World exclusives, alongside comprehensive army rules for all factions, it was a monumental overhaul of the beloved Warhammer 40k universe. However, with such a massive redesign came inevitable challenges in terms of game balance.
The Warhammer Studio recognized the importance of a balanced gaming experience and chose a deliberate approach over hasty adjustments. They opted to observe and gather data from a substantial number of games played at various levels before making significant changes. Now, the eagerly awaited Balance Dataslate has arrived, accompanied by an insightful interview with Warhammer 40,000 Studio Manager Stu, who sheds light on the reasoning behind these transformative changes.
Here are some key highlights from the Balance Dataslate:
- Devastating Wounds Reworked: Devastating Wounds no longer inflict mortal wounds; instead, they bypass armor and invulnerable saves. This change makes Devastating Wounds more situational, impacting the power of certain factions, such as the Aeldari. It means you can’t obliterate an infantry unit with an anti-tank weapon in a single shot just because you rolled a 6 to wound.
- Stratagem Restrictions: Harsher restrictions now apply to reusing and discounting Stratagems. Line of sight is required when activating the Overwatch Stratagem, ending the era of Indirect Fire Overwatch. Additionally, TITANIC units are now excluded from using this Stratagem. Furthermore, large models can no longer see over Ruins if a unit hides behind them, provided that the hiding unit remains stationary.
- Faction-Specific Changes: Many factions experience alterations to their Army Rules and Detachment abilities. Genestealer Cults are no longer infinite, with units now needing to make dice rolls to return, including BATTLELINE squads. Imperial Knights have been outperforming Chaos Knights, leading to Bondsman abilities benefiting only ARMIGER squires in Imperial Knights armies.
- Buffs and Caps: On the positive side, Death Guard gain a new aura ability that players can tailor to suit their opponents. Leagues of Votann receive a boost to Judgement tokens, and the Adeptus Mechanicus fortify the armor of their Skitarii foot soldiers. However, powerful units, including certain Adeptus Custodes and Space Marine Desolation Squads, now have their numbers capped.
- Points Adjustments: Numerous points changes have been introduced to fine-tune each faction’s power. This also impacts Codex Tyranids, which is available for pre-order and has seen some points updates. For the most up-to-date points values, players can refer to the Munitorum Field Manual and the Warhammer 40,000 App, which even includes a QR code for easy access to the latest points values online.
In summary, the launch of the Balance Dataslate marks a major step in the ongoing development of Warhammer 40,000. It shows that the folks at Warhammer Studio are dedicated to providing a fair and exciting gaming experience for players of all skill levels and factions. As you dive into the fresh rules and enhancements, the battlefield of the grimdark future holds the promise of being more exhilarating and equitable than ever.
Players and fans of every faction and at every level can download the Balance Dataslate and the Munitorum Field Manual above. Additionally, an update to the Rules Commentary provides answers to any obscure questions, with new editions highlighted in red for easy reference.