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Warhammer 40K: Five Core Rules GW Needs To Fix

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Aug 24 2023
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Take a look at some of the most important Warhammer 40K  10th Edition core rules that really need an overhaul – and fast!

Warhammer 10th Edition is a couple of months old and it’s in a wobbly state. While there are a lot of good ideas in 10th, and some genuine improvements it also has got some major issues. The game is quite unbalanced, with several armies being far superior to others. There are also just a lot of things that need to be clarified or FAQ’d in the game. Mostly people have been focusing on the armies and how they are broken or not. Fixing the armies is, of course, important. But I also think there are a few fundamental issues with the core rules that are hamstringing the game. So today, I want to look at some of those issues and why GW should give them a second look.

Battle Shock

GW has struggled with getting morale right for a while now. On the face of it Battle Shock seemed like an interesting way to address it. However, a few months in, its not really working out. The issues with battle shock are twofold. It’s too easy to avoid, and it doesn’t do enough. It’s actually  fairly difficult for a lot of units to get battle shocked in 10th. You have to be pretty shot up and fail a test that’s not all that hard to pass. While in theory, a unit could take tests every turn of the game the truth is you don’t see units staying at half strength for turns on end. They normally get killed off fairly quickly.

On top of that… even if you do fail a lot of the time its just not a big deal. The penalties for failing Battle Shock are pretty low.  Unlike prior editions you don’t lose models or the option to fight. All that happens is it’s harder for that unit to grab objectives and use stratagems. Both of these downsides have ways around them. Moreover, if you’re just a unit sitting around and shooting and not trying to hold an objective then failing Battle Shock means nothing to you. Morale should be a big part of any tabletop wargame game and it’s just not in 10th Edition.


I’ve talked about this one before so check out that article for more details. The key idea here is that some of the ways modifiers work lead to some pretty silly, in my mind, interactions. In particular, this has to do with rules that set something to 0 getting modified to end up above 0. This for instance allows some units to mitigate the downsides of being Battle Shocked. It also allows you to deal damage past abilities that reduce damage to 0. I really think GW should take a good look at this and re-work the system – to minimize abusive combos.


Devastating Wounds

Guilty as charged!

This is another one of those rules that comes from a good idea, and ended up being an unbalancing issue. Having some weapons be able to do special powerful critical hits is absolutely a cool idea. However, the way it is used now is just too powerful. Mortal Wounds are not only super deadly, but they also spill over. This makes high damage guns with Devastating Wounds (looking at you Wraightknight) good at killing everything in the game. In addition, not every army has equal access to them. Some armies, like Eldar, have a lot of ways of getting them, while others have almost none. Pretty much the whole playerbase agrees this is a rule that needs looking at.


While the new army building/detachment rules are pretty freeform they also have some issues. If anything, they are too freeform, leading to players just always taking the best of everything. This has hurt choice and unit diversity. In particular, 10th Edition is seeing a lack of battleline units, those that should be the core of an army. With a few notable exceptions, a ton of armies in the game aren’t taking Battleline units AT ALL. Eldar, the bogeyman of current 40K are pretty much ignoring them altogether.


Look at a lot of their winning lists, like this one, and you’ll see no Battleline units at all. A few might take a single unit. You can see Necron and Daemon lists running blocks of Lychguard and tons of Big Daemons and skimping on Battleline. You can see this with a lot of armies. Marines, a core army, also are seeing a ton of lists taking little to no Battleline and others are following that pattern.


This is another rule that pretty much everyone agrees is an issue. I won’t go into too much detail here as its been talked to death. Basically having different two sets of LoS rules in the game – is non-optimal. Letting the most powerful units in the game, Knights etc., just kind of break the rules to be better is bad and not fun.

Let us know which core rules you think need to be fixed, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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