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Warhammer 40K: The New Strategic Reserves

4 Minute Read
Jun 24 2020

We’ve been hearing a lot about Strategic Reserves for the new edition – but what exactly are they and how will they work? Games Workshop has a new primer so check it out!

The new Strategic Reserves are perhaps the biggest change to the core rules. So getting familiar with them and understanding how to use them correctly is going to be important. Thankfully, GW is laying this one out pretty clearly.

via Warhammer Community

Strategic Reserves

“The Strategic Reserves rules are designed for use by Battle-forged armies and represent the tactical advantages that a well-organised force will enjoy not only on the battlefield but in the wider theatre of war. They give YOU total command over your strategy, offering you the chance to divide your forces, outmanoeuvre your opponent and hold back reinforcements, just as battlefield leaders have done for countless generations! If used with sufficient cunning, Strategic Reserves have the potential to give you a massive advantage over your opponent by outflanking them or bringing overwhelming force to bear and blunting their attacks – as you’re about to see.”

Strategic Reserves are going to be based off the Power Level of the units using them and will cost Command Points to do so. That’s a pretty big change! It also adds a lot of flexibility to your forces at the same time. “What about units that can already ‘Deepstrike’ or Ambush?” – That’s a good question. Thankfully, GW has thought of that:

“It’s worth pointing out at this stage that, if your units have abilities that enable them to set up somewhere other than the battlefield (such as a teleportarium chamber for the Teleport Strike ability of Terminators or when using the Cult Ambush ability of the Genestealer Cults), the Strategic Reserves rules don’t apply to them.”

Another thing about Strategic Reserves is that they cannot arrive on the battlefield until the second battle round at the earliest. This might sound familiar to veteran players out there. Just keep that in mind when you’re trying to protect your forces via the Strategic Reserves option.


There is another side to that coin, however. The longer you keep a unit in Strategic Reserve, the further they can advance when they come on to the battlefield!

Having a unit wait until battle round 3+ means they can pop out on in the enemies deployment zone and could pull off a charge, too! If you use the right unit that has some bonus to charge rolls/re-rolls to charge this could be devastating to your enemies backfield units.

One last nasty trick with Strategic Reserves. If the enemy happens to get deep into your deployment zone you can punish them pretty harshly with a reserve unit:

“Strategic Reserves units can’t normally be set up within 9″ of any enemy models, but if you set them up within 1″ of your own battlefield edge, they can be set up within this distance – and even within the 1″ Engagement Range of enemy models! If they do so, they count as having made a charge move, and your opponent will be unable to fire Overwatch against them!”

This also means that your opponents cannot box out a unit in Strategic Reserve from coming onto the battlefield by blocking all the board edges with their own models. Your own battlefield edge is always a viable option for those units – so keep that in your back pocket!



It’s been mentioned in previous articles that Aircraft will be able to leave the battlefield and re-enter via the Strategic Reserve rules. They will be using the same rules as above with the exception that they won’t have to pay Command Points when they are returning to combat airspace. So that’s a bonus.


What do you think of the new Strategic Reserves rules? Command Points to Outflank for any unit? Sounds like a game changer…

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