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Warhammer 40K: 9th Edition’s Most Controversial Changes

7 Minute Read
Jun 23 2020

Let’s talk about the major changes that have everyone riled up – and why.

The 9th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 is coming this July. It promises to revitalize the game and shake things up. While some people predicted that 9th would have few major changes, acting instead to clean up and consolidate the rules from 8th, this has quickly been proven false. It is true that 9th won’t be the major change that 8th was from 7th. The core of the game is staying the same, but we are going to see some real changes. Many of the newly announced changes promise to be great for the game, but others have people worried. Some of the announced changes are downright controversial. Today lets take a look at the major changes that have people worried.

Fixed Command Points

This was one of the earliest announced major changes and a lot of players are still on the fence about it. Now I think most players agreed that Command Points needed a looking at and could be improved, and plenty of us were happy to hear that they were going to get changed in 9th. In this case, it is not so much that a change was made, but how it’s being implemented. Fixed command points are a way to help balance the game to a degree and allow the smaller more “elite” armies to get more CP. In addition, the whole new system is a deterrent to soup lists, which a lot of players favor.

On the other hand, a lot of players are suddenly seeing that their armies will be getting a ton less CP. With some competitive armies used to starting a game with 18+ CP (before pre-game spending) they will suddenly see a big drop in that. Armies built around soup or multiple battalions, that used to get a ton of CP will suddenly find themselves on the opposite end of the spectrum getting, maybe 6 or less CP (before pre-game spending). While new editions often force people to rethink their armies, this one change seems to invalidate a huge number of 8th Edition builds and leaves common parts of armies, such as the Loyal 32, without a future.

Will you though? 

Ultimately, as with most changes, we will have to see how it plays out in the end. For players with single codex armies, this is likely a boon, for those with soup lists it is going to hurt them. Whether or not you like the change will depend, at least in part, on what kind of army you play. However you feel, there is no arguing that this change has split the community and gotten people riled up.


Overwatch Overhaul

40K players were left surprised and confused when GW announced Overwatch was going some changes. Sure rumors had been floating around about it for a while, and you could say it was needed, but why nerf Tracer and Mei, and why buff Hanzo? Where they really ruining the meta? Huh, what’s that? Oh, wrong Overwatch? Whoops, sorry guys.

Tracer was actually kicked out of LVO for slow play

Joking aside, we had been hearing that Overwatch was getting looked at in 9th, and that’s a good thing. Overwatch has always been a bit of a mixed bag in 40K, with many editions not even including it. In 8th the main complaint was that it added a lot of time and dice rolling to the game for, most of the time, little effect. For that reason I’m personally happy it’s gotten a change. As with the CP change, the question is was this the right change. Moving overwatch to a stratagem, especially combined with many armies, has less CP overall, which means it’s going to become a corner case situation. It’s gone from a core part of the game to an afterthought, that will have an effect sometimes. Indeed I suspect many armies will never use it.

The change has left players of assault armies happy, as it buffs them while shooting armies tend to be upset, and T’au players are downright despondent over their futures. It is a major blow to armies like T’au, as well as some units that made use of it a lot. Personally I’m not a fan of this change, it feels like it would have been better to just remove Overwatch all together. As it stands it is a corner case situation that adds some needless complexity to the game. A TON of rules interact with it right now and keeping it feels like it was done so that they wouldn’t have to rewrite all those rules. Now those rules will be next to useless, rather than just getting rewritten and having factions re-balanced. I also feel overwatch is a big trap for inexperienced, who, perhaps not knowing all the math, will end up wasting CP and opportunities, on poorly chosen overwatch shots and I’m not a fan of those kinds of stratagems. Overall this is another change that’s really got people conflicted.


Table Size Change

Unlike the prior two changes, this isn’t really something that “needed” changing. 40K has mainly been played on a 6×4 for most of its life span. Aside from special games, I don’t I’ve played it on any other size since at least 2000. Pretty much every event and game store have 6×4 tables and at this point its a standard. So the announcement that the table sizes would be getting smaller really took people by surprise and has them talking.

Now there are valid reasons for going to a smaller size. You can fit more tables at events. You need less terrain for a dense table. Smaller sizes generally mean the game will play faster. On the other hand arguments for larger tables also exist. Larger tables are better for larger model count armies. They allow for more maneuver and movement. Smaller tables may unfairly balance the game towards assault units, which can more easily get first turn charges. Ranges on weapons are already so long it’s hard to hide from them, and smaller tables will just make this worse.

Some tables will never get the chance to change

However the most controversial aspect of the change, and what people are most worried about is that fact that it requires a change to existing tables. Many players, and pretty much all events, clubs, and FLGS will have to make some sort of change to accommodate the new table sizes. Now, this worry may be a bit overblown. The new table size is a minimum size and its perfectly acceptable to keep playing on your 4×6. However a large part of the community likes to have some standardization in the game, and table size is one of them.

Time to get my hacksaw out I guess?


An army built to play on a 44″ x 60″ table may not function as well on a larger table. Having to discuss, and possibly argue about, table size pre-game is not something people want to worry about. As we’ve seen with ITC rules, what the major events do tends to affect how even local events and friendly games are played, having events with different sized tables could lead to confusion. Ultimately we will kind of have to see how the community reacts to this. It could be something that is largely rejected, with everyone sticking to 6×4, it could be something that never gets standardized and it could be something that is quickly adopted by all the big events. We know that Frontline has announced that their events, including the all-important LVO, are using the new minimum sizes while word of mouth says that the Warhammer World events, played on the official Realm of Battle board, will remain at 6×4. So far there doesn’t seem to be a ton of consensus out there and more then any other change this one has players torn and even upset.

Let us know what you think of these changes, down in the comments! 

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