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Warhammer 40K: Why 10th Edition Should Keep Toughness

5 Minute Read
Feb 9 2023

Should the classic Warhammer 40K stat stay in the game? There’s only one answer for Toughness.

Warhammer 40,000 10th Edition is coming. Sometime. We don’t have any solid confirmation for it yet, but a 10th edition is inevitable. The signs seem to point towards the new edition coming sooner, rather than later. Maybe as soon as this summer. Anytime we have, or might have, a new edition coming up, the rumors start to fly like crazy. So today let’s take a look at one major rumor that’s been going around.

Getting Rid of Toughness?


This rumor has been floating around recently all over the internet. Versions can be found on YouTube, Reddit and various forums and groups. The rumor is that 10th Edition will do away with the Toughness stat. Players will roll to hit, and if the target is hit they are also wounded and would only get a save. An additional version of this rumor also going around is that some “heavy” units, like vehicles and Terminators would keep Toughness and you will still need to roll to wound them. If this rumor is true, it would be a major 40K change.

More Streamlined Than Age of Sigmar

On the face of things, this seems similar to how Age of Sigmar works. That game system also got rid of toughness as a stat. Online a lot of people are comparing this possible change to AoS. However, the rumor as presented is rather different from AoS. In AoS you roll to hit, then wound, and then get a save. While the wound roll is based on the attacker’s weapon, and not on a comparison versus the target’s toughness, it is still there. A complete AoS attack step requires 3 rolls, Hit, Wound and Save. This rumor, as presented, would seem suggest 40K is, in many instances at least, cutting out the wound roll entirely. An attack would be a two-step process: Hit and Save. This is both more streamlined and worse that AoS.

Why 40K Needs Toughness

In my opinion, I think getting rid of toughness, and in particular, the To-wound roll, would be a huge mistake. The 3-roll system allows 40K to have a lot of granularity and to represent a really massive and varied setting. Granularity is important in a game and 40K already struggles with it a lot. Now other games do work with only a hit/save, or some other two or one roll system. However the vast majority of these games are not tied to a single d6 based system.


40K, however is built on using a single d6 to resolve most interactions, in particular attacks. This provides a whole lot less granularity and options compared to games that use a d8, d10, d20 or 2d6. Some other games use custom dice. All of these give a lot more variety for an interaction and allow for less rolls. However the D6 vastly limits what 40K can represent with a single roll interaction, and how it can make weapons and units distinct. It limits the stats a lot and the outcomes. In order to gain that granularity back, something that really makes 40K, 40K, it needs a 3-roll system.

Sci-Fi Vs Fantasy

I also think toughness is pretty important simply because of what 40K is. It’s a massively huge and diverse sci-fi game. There is a ton of tech and stuff in it. A game like, say AoS, can get away with more generic stats because the things in it are mostly the same. At a very base level, most models and units in AoS are guys (or gals). They are made of flesh and/or bone (and sometimes magic acting like flesh and blood). They use a sword, or spear, or bow, or something pretty similar to that. Sure, you’ve got magic and some odd stuff, but it’s all mostly of a kind.

Sci-fi and 40K, on the other hand are vastly different. You’ve got your flesh and blood beings, but also your people made out of metal. You’ve got tanks and biological constructs made by eating stars. You’ve got missiles and lasers, and self-contained suns. And you’ve got magic on top of all of that. I can buy that a guy with a sword is about equally good at wounding an Orruk as he is at wounding an Elf. I can’t buy that a Lasgun is equally good at wounding Grots and Imperial Knights (or even Space Marines, based on which theory you pick).


Overall I think getting rid of toughness would be a mistake. I think getting rid of the wound-step is an even bigger mistake. Of course, if 10th is coming this summer, it’s likely already written. If that’s true, we will just have to deal with any changes, good or bad, that come our way.

Let us know what you think about these rumors, down in the comments!

Author: Abe Apfel
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