40K: The 5 Most Important Keywords In 8th Edition

We’re 7 months into 8th edition but the most important Keywords are already rising to the top – come see which ones made the cut!

The Keyword system has been an interesting change to 8th edition. It’s prevented a lot of the “Super-Friends” issues we’ve seen in other editions, but it’s also created new issues as folks debate on the difference between Keywords and Faction Keywords (if there is a difference). Regardless of how you feel on the subject, Keywords are here to stay. We’ve got through and picked out the 5 Most Important Keywords to have in the current state of the game. These are based on how useful they are, how important they are in terms of rules, and how many things can influence them. With that said lets dive in:

#5 Infantry

Keyword Infantry is on our list because there are TONS of abilities in the game that impact Infantry. Sometimes it’s combined with another keyword like Adeptus Astartes Infantry. But other abilities just affect Infantry. For many armies, Infantry can also be synonymous with “Troops” which means they have Objective Secured. But Infantry also gets singled out for enemy effects, too. That’s why it’s one of the most important keywords in the game!


#4 Character


Being a Character in 40k now has a lot of extra special rules to go along with it. Aside from just making you sound more important, it provides a ton of actual in game benefits like extra targeting restrictions, Heroic Interventions, and other rules shenanigans depending on your codex. In most cases it’s just better to be a Character than to not and because of how that impacts the actual rules on the tabletop, that’s why it’s on our list!

#3 Daemon

Holy Cow, did Daemon get awesome lately or what?! With the arrival of the Chaos Daemons Codex, being a Daemon just got a LOT better. From “Deepstriking” options, to extra abilities based on your patron chaos god, Daemons jumped up in fame. Especially when you start combining Daemon with things like Lord of War, Primarch, Titanic…It’s almost as good as the next one on our list…

#2 Imperium

You can’t make Imperial Soup with out the Imperium keyword! When you sign up with the defenders of humanity you get a MASSIVE support network that stretches across more codexes than any other faction. Seriously, the soup is strong with this one. Also there are lots of special abilities that only apply to Imperium options. That’s why it’s on our list!

#1 Fly

Fly is by far the most powerful keyword of all. It allows you hop around the board. You cannot be locked-down by speed-bump units, and you don’t lose any firepower when you fall back. Some of the best units in the game currently have Fly as part of their arsenal – coincidence? We think not! That is why Fly is the Most Important Keyword in the game!


Bonus: Dark Reapers

Having Dark Reapers means you can be taken as either Ynnari or Aledari…and I think you know what that means.


What do you think of our list? Agree? Disagree? What would your top 5 most important keywords be and why?

  • That Dark Reaper thing again, ah?

  • LordKrungharr

    Flyers can be locked down if they are in Hover Mode….or if Skarbrand is in range 🙂

    • Bigalmoney666

      when a flyer goes into hover, it doesn’t lose the fly keyword.

    • LankTank

      Actually if a flyer is not in hover and is being assaulted, and then fails the 3D6 Ld does that mean it would just crash?
      Imagine that, the pilots rage just makes them kamikaze into the foe! I would say they get an instant explosion roll

      • Lando G

        old rules there, 8th dont do LD like that

        • LankTank

          Is there really nothing about a flyer having to move it’s minimum distance or it is removed from play?

          • Valourousheart

            FLYERS (battle field role) do have to move a minimum distance. FLY (keyword) is something different.

          • LankTank

            Yeah,,,? I know a minimum move wouldn’t apply to anything with the fly keyword. Im specifying models known as flyers who have a minimum distance with no hover mode

          • Lando G

            well any flyer can drop into hover mode, so if it cant move its minimum distance you can just do that.

          • LankTank

            Not all have hover. Alot do but not all. Burna bomba for example

        • Marco Marantz

          Im pretty sure Lank is right…i thought it was explicitly stated re flyers in an early Chaos FAQ for Skarbrand – his auto pin ability now requires a 3D6 vs Ld roll with the new codex though.

          • Lando G

            You can also drop into hover mode, it will prevent you from dying

    • Valourousheart

      You are confusing the FLYER battle field role (think elites and troops) with the FLY keyword. Two very different things.

  • Deacon Ix

    When I read the headline I clicked it to make a sarcastic comment about the ‘Imperium’ Keyword – but the article beat me to it 🙁

  • I_am_Alpharius

    Pretty sure all keywords are, to one degree or another, important – I’m not particularly sure that rating one against another is eye opening in any way. But come on now, picking out INFANTRY and CHARACTER as “most important” is a lazy way to make a list; especially considering the amount of datasheets that have them!

  • Badruk

    How to name the 5 most common Keywords in the game and make an article with it!

  • Gamecock13

    Most important word in GWs vocabulary: Imperium.
    Word missing from GWs vocabulary: Xenos

    • LankTank

      Xenocide? Very commonly used in the Imperium

      • Gamecock13

        I don’t disagree.

    • Kabal1te

      A xenos keyword would not make a ton of sense. There doesn’t need to be one. What little effects like ordo xenos inquisitors have which work equally well against eldar, orks, tau, necrons, and tyranids simply state something like “when targeting a unit that does not have the imperium or chaos keywords…”

      • Gamecock13

        Your literal interpretation makes me sad. This was an inflammatory remark aimed at GW for demonstrating a clear bias towards imperium in lore, narrative, models, campaigns, and codex distribution.

        I’m sad I had to explain this, but there it is.

        • briandavion

          the narritive has always focused on the IoM this ain’t new

          • Gamecock13

            Who said it is new? I didnt say it was new. But even as a plot device…xenos are very much forgotten. All it is at this point is good space Marines versus bad space.marines…and oh yeah, other races are running around.

          • briandavion

            Sure but for the last however it’s been almost the oppisite with much of the narritive being very tyranid focused. etc. Chaos definatly needs some time to be re-eistablished as the big bad.

          • Gamecock13

            No it hasn’t. Tyranids have simply been a plot device for Imperium-based sorry telling. The story has always been Imperium. I’m fine with that. I’m ok with my Dark Eldar being a plot device…but GW marginalizes it’s consumer base by doing so…particularly with their approach of “hey! We are the NEW GW!” and providing it’s consumers with more opportunities to provide direct feedback (i.e. Facebook page).

          • briandavion

            I mean it’s been xenos vs IoM focused. the focus now seems to be moving somewhat to IoM vs Chaos. and with respect I don’t think it really does marginalize things… would a story written from the POV of a Tyranid really be a good idea. just for example? GW mostly tries to keep aliens alien.

    • Spacefrisian

      At least they arent slowly forgotten, unlike Slaanesh and or Battle Sisters.

      • Mathew G. Smith

        Or completely forgotten like Slaaneshi Battle Sisters. Poor Meriael Sabathiel…

    • briandavion

      Xenos are a whole host of differant factions Xenos soup would make zero sense

  • AEZ

    So which units/model combines most of these keywords?