GW: Datasheet Comparison: 40K vs AoS

Games Workshop is trying to make 40k Datasheets more useful to players – how do they stack-up to their AoS counterparts?

If you missed the big teaser today, Games Workshop showed off the new style Datasheets for Rubric Marines. It’s a big shift away from the unit stats we’re all used to but they aren’t that different. The two biggest changes are 1) No more USRs and 2) Power Level, not Points on the sheet (but there will be points). But just looking at the sheet there were some big similarities to the Age of Sigmar Warscrolls so lets take a look!

Now, because there are no Rubric Marines in AoS, I chose a unit that wasn’t a daemon unit, but was still Tzeentchy at the same time – Tzaangors!

Download the sheet for yourself HERE

Compare that to the Rubric Marines sheet:

The Stats

I wanted to include the weapon stats in there as well just for comparison sake. Looking at the unit stats, the layout of the AoS Tzaangors takes up a much smaller footprint and still manages to convey the same information. They also have less weapons/stats to list over-all. But the similarities are there. Now, mechanically, 40k is going to be a tad more complex with Str vs Toughness charts for everything. And the Attacks characteristic is based on the unit, not the weapon. Still, it’s pretty clear the new 40k statsline is a hyrbid of the older version and AoS.

The Options


Both sheets have all the options listed for the unit. Functionally, they convey the same information, but I like the way the AoS version does it. Personally, I would have put the Weapon options directly under the Statlines in the 40k version. That way you have all the relevant unit/weapon stats in one block at the top and then all their wargear and options below that. Regardless, both sheets list unit minimums, requirements for upgrades (“Two in every Five” or “One in Ten” etc.) and relevant info about the unit leader. The 40k version also lists the new Power Level ratings.

I like the 40k version because things are a bit more defined, but I appreciate the AoS versions “get to the point” style. But they both manage to convey a lot of info in a small foot print.

The Abilities

I really, really love this aspect of the datasheets. Having the unit special rules on the datasheet makes things a lot easier for new players and for vets. New players can see all the rules for the unit on the sheet (or in the publication in case of “Death to the False Emperor”). Vets will appreciate being able to quickly glance at the rules of their armies and other armies that they don’t normally play. That’s HUGE and big time saver.

These are all good things in my book because you get quickly reference the rules on a single page and you can get back to playing. You don’t need to pull out a different book or books to reference some random unit rule – it’s all right there on the page. Now, because it’s 40k, there is a lot more info going on compared to it’s AoS cousin, but they share the same DNA.

The Keywords

The Keywords in 40k are clearly a theme borrowed from AoS. What’s curious (because we don’t know how it will work yet) is that in 40k, units will get two sets of Keywords. In AoS, all the keywords are combined into one. Why the distinction? Faction Keywords are used when determining detachments and can impact things like command dice or other in-game effects. We’ll have to wait a tad longer to see how that pans out.

The AoS version is shorter and more concise. However, AoS doesn’t have things like the Command Points in the game. Functionally, they do similar things, but mechanically they serve some different purposes. But yet again, one clearly inspired the other.

What’s Missing?

Neither one has points on the sheet. We know those are coming at a later date. If I had to put money on it, for 40k, expect the points in the same publication but in a different section. The 40k units also have the Power Levels which is something AoS certainly could have used at launch.

Overall, these new 40k Datasheets have taken the AoS model and just injected some more granularity. I think they are more fiddly than the AoS versions, but they have to be due to the rules in 40k appearing a tad more complex. Is the extra stuff necessary? Yes. Will that extra complexity make the game better? We’ll see!

Personally, I think when the General’s Handbook came out with points, AoS was “fixed” – it became a really simple and (dare I say) elegant game system. I’ve made my feelings known about this already. It seems like GW has taken the AoS formula and added in some tweaks and complexity for 40k. How will this pan out? I’m not a fortune teller or from the future, but it’s looking pretty good to me so far. One thing is for sure, I’m pumped for 8th Edition 40k!


Do you like these changes to the Datasheets? Is there anything “missing” besides points? Should the 40k sheets have been more or less like their AoS counterparts? What changes would you have made? Let us know in the comments below!

  • gordonshumway

    From a graphic/UX standpoint I really think they could have done better. Obviously AoS is simpler so the sheets are a little sleeker. But I think the 40k ones just look waaay too clunky for the excellent art dept GW has on hand.

    • Haighus

      It’s funny cos I was looking at the two and thinking I much prefer the 40k one because it looks much more inkeeping with the style of 40k. It has the feel of the older Codices, which were more grimdark in their aesthetics. That may just be me though.

      I can see this being something produced by an admistratum scribe as a way of assessing units basically. I don’t think it looks terribly clunky either. Maybe it is because I am used to the style of rules in 40k productions, but I actually find the AoS one more confusing with the lack of clearly defined sections and blocks of text. I like the table layout of the 40k one.

    • grim

      GW really lacks in the salary department to afford good designers…

    • kriegsnet

      No padding on the top left icons is driving me insane.

      • KingAceNumber1

        I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out, but yeah, now it’s getting to me too.

        • AircoolUK

          Damnit… me to now :/

      • spla5hmummy

        It’s not just you 🙂

      • Hrudian

        The chamfered edge left to the Keywords is making me nervous.

      • zemlod

        how about aligning the icons to the title, with a little space to the left as well…

    • It’s bad enough that I’m considering redesigning it for when I make unit cards and I don’t know anything about graphic design

    • TenDM

      I’m expecting that over time the default layout will be phased out in favour of faction specific ones.
      Personally I like the simple layout. It’ll print well.

  • Brian

    Not a fan. I like the idea, but the rules are organized by (the now defunct) USRs rather than what they do. I have to scan the entire sheet to get all the rules for saves, for instance, since there are two special rules (one of which is in the same paragraph of as a moving-and-shooting rule rather than being matched with the other saves rule).

    Organizing by topic or using color or icons to code to aid quickly scanning the sheet for the relevant info would be a huge boost.

    • gordonshumway

      Yeah, the more I stare at it the more it looks like a rush job to me. Unfinished almost.

      • Verikus

        I think that over the next 2 years, if they continue embracing Tzeench and going with change, we will see an evolution in how these sheets are presented.

        I think that with 40k they hit the “DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NOW” button and that’s why there are more parallels to AoS than we would have thought.

        • Brian

          I’m thinking it’s a need to be seen honoring the “old ways” and not “sigmaring” things too much. 40k has had a consistent look-and-feel since Rogue Trader, and that monochrome stat line is very much a part of it.

      • Rushed? Perhaps, but this is most likely one of the ‘generic’ army book sheets, so all of them have been made to be the same, hooray for bland design to get the books done quickly. We just may see something a lot more detailed and compelling once the armies start receiving their proper books.

        Or just redesign it yourself for reference cards like I probably will. Reference cards would be the easiest way for me to learn the new rules and changed stats. After some of us have been through every edition, you tend to accidentally mix the rules up in games. 😉

  • orionburn

    I wish they would incorporate the stat “wheel” like AoS has on their sheets. With having to learn movement stats for everything it’s a nice, bright, and easy way to spot the stats. I don’t think the data sheets are bad (assuming this is the final design), but they definitely aren’t as polished as the AoS ones. Not an easy task with the amount of info they have to cram in.

    • Scatter 667

      the wheel works for 4 stats but would not for nine, which r unit dependent not like aos weapon dependent. and a wheel with 9 numbers wouldnt work. so i guess a table is the better choice

      • orionburn

        I know they can’t get everything in, but just the basics – M, S, T, Sv, and Ld would be a nice touch. Thing is after a few games most of that will be second nature like it is now.

        • Scatter 667

          You are right, it would be easier to get started, but as you say, most will learn it quickly and than we all would still be stuck with the wheel and additional stat line. i think longterm it is just easier to handle the line than a hybrid of wheel and line. And as shown for the morkanaut:

          they left space on the right side of the stat line for the degredation table, which is nice, so everything needed is on the top of the sheet;-)

        • Xodis

          How would they add the movement stat when a “Sgt” and the troops have a different movement? Thats….just odd lol

          • Melchior

            Once the unit is dead, the sgt can move 6, not so different from now where if on the the sorcerer is left he’s not affected by slow & purposeful. Also, this could get the sgt in on a charge where the unit is initially out of range.

          • Drew_Da_Destroya

            The Sarge can move 6″ even when the group is alive right now, he just has to end his movement within 2″ (presumably) of another squaddie. It’s how it works with the weird Deathwatch groups that have Infantry, Jump Infantry, Bikers, and Terminators all mixed together.

          • Verikus

            This doesn’t affect CC because those numbers are flat, right?

    • Tiernoc

      Honestly the stat ‘wheel’ was the aspect from the AoS warscrolls that I liked the LEAST, and I’m glad that (for the reasons Scatter 667 wrote) they didn’t go with a ‘wheel’ style. The good ol’ statline is here to stay!

      • Randy Randalman

        The wheel is brilliant for AoS because there are only 4 stats to worry about. It wouldn’t work for the 9 stats a unit has in 40k.

  • I want to know how this will all pan out.

    • dave long island

      No spoilers in life. Ya just gotta wait n see like the rest of us…

  • Scatter 667

    i like it! it looks like a battlescribe roster with all the necessary info on one page! not 5 like troop page in codex, entry in the profile list, weapon entries everywhere and special rules in codex and main rule book plus special wargear sections. I think this will speed things up and the universal rules like Death to the false emperor will be easyly rememberd and found in the faction book too. It is more crowded than aos, but than again 40k is much more complex on the troops and gear side than aos, so this has to be represented. And it has more stats, both for weapons and for units.

    • Keith Wilson

      GW’s supposed army building tool for 8th is what i am really interested to see.

      • Scatter 667

        im actually not a fan of the aos app. You have to pay for it monthly and you have to by the stuff twice, physical book and in-app purchase to use it. I might just rather stick to battlescribe…

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      if they had redesigned 40K unit entries like this years ago some of the game length issues would have bee solved at a stroke. I reckon people spend 15 minutes or more per game looking up stuff with the current layout.

  • orionburn

    Looking at it again it almost looks like the layout was designed with the intent to be printed on a card. Would be a pretty large card mind you, but I can see GW doing it as an add-on item to sell like the 7th edition data cards for all the armies.

    Maybe we’ll get some $150 reading glasses with the g-dub logo on the sides…lol

    • Melchior

      they’ve already done this (print on a card, though I’m sure the glasses are coming) with some AOS factions.

    • Tiernoc

      I was commenting on another thread, but I’d love to see GW sell the dataslates printed out on 8 1/2 x 11″ paperboard, near to cost (so as not to discourage players to buy more when they get updated / FAQd).

      • Randy Randalman

        They could be much smaller if they columned the information and did it front/back; like Arena Rex or WarmaHordes. It wouldn’t have to be hilariously large cards that way.

        • Scatter 667

          I dont know why people would like to pay double or tripple for the same stuff! if they release the pdfs, you can edit them and print them on card. If not you can copy them from the book to card and you r good to go! If you want you can also redesign and make your own custom cards for game reference. Thats most likely what im going to do or just stick to battlescribe rosters or the GW app equivalent if its out, which is an army list and reference data sheet at the same time.

  • dave long island

    So people are complaining about how the datasheets look? Pfffttt… Buncha fancy Nancies… lol

    • Hussein Alobaidi

      I know its sad, not “oh nice some more information about the game and what that could mean for the new addition”.

      I think people just enjoy complaining.

      PS: Loving the distinction between patron gods and chapter, the fact they are labelled as heretic astartes and under the umbrella term chaos.

      • dave long island

        Right on. Totes true. I think complaining gives peeps something to do in between applying thin even coats… lol. 🙂

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    I dont really mind these, I always thought the AoS warscrolls looked like utter crap and am glad they are not going that route. This looks more like they popped a page out of the codex.

  • MechBattler

    Huh. Wonder what role the Power Level rating plays….