What's up folks! With the whirlwind of reports coming out about Warhammer 40k's upcoming reboot, I wanted to put together a compilation of what we know so far - I'll make an effort to keep this updated as we learn more, but mostly it should be a resource for keeping track of what's already out there.
As repeated below, there is a free basic rules PDF, the "Warhammer 40,000 Battle Primer"
- Format & General Changes
- Points & List Building
- Psychic Phase
- Faction Specifics (Spotlights)
- Final Thoughts
Ready? Good. Let's rock!
At it's most basic, 8th Edition promises to take the best of 7th Edition with considerable streamlining, then sprinkle in elements from older editions and some of the proven winners from Age of Sigmar's rules. The major emphasis is on games being faster and more balanced, in theory. The biggest changes to Saves and Shooting and streamlining phases will go a long way towards this, but players may suddenly find their games going really fast.
Personally, I'm excited from what I've heard. I jumped ship from 40k to Age of Sigmar, and the major reasons why have all be specifically called out by the designers as things 8th changes. Since 40k is my first love, I'm particularly eager to see it re-worked, and am pretty likely to jump right back into that ship :)
I think the biggest thing for me is that EVERY SINGLE UNIT, for EVERY ARMY is getting a complete update AT THE SAME TIME. That's big. Super big. No more waiting a full edition for your time to shine, or getting a Codex that's immediately outdated when a new 40k edition drops two months later - I don't know how we've put up with that for so long :P
The Fluff is advancing too! That's a big one, we know Guiliman is has created a new breed of Space Marines, and launched a new Indomitus Crusade as well as begun the Ultima Founding, reinforcing existing Chapters with Primaris Marines and creating whole new Chapters. There's also more information on the Warzone: Damocles. The Eye of Terror has also split wide open to engulf Cadia, splitting the galaxy in half, divided by the Cicatrix Maledictum. Among other things, that split has cut whole swathes of the Imperium from the Astronomicon - including the Blood Angels homeworld of Baal...
And the Eldar, or Aeldari, have brought their God of the Dead into waking, if only partly so far.
Fluff interlude: the information we have on Primaris Marines leaves the door open for them to have the genetic quirks of their Chapter - such as the Blood Angels' flaw - and specifically mentions that they may not be more resistant to the Warp, leaving the door open for Traitor Primaris Marines:
"These Chapter’s still trace their genetic lineage back to the gene-seed of the First Founding, and scions of all nine loyalists Legions emerged from the vaults beneath the red planet. They benefit from three additional organs and larger size, but it still remains to be seen if Cawl was able to successfully stabilise any of the known genetic deviations or impart any additional resistance to the effects of Chaos."
Also, custom scenarios and game types (my favorite part of 5th Edition) are coming back in the main rules. Cities of Death and Stronghold Assault in particular have been spotted, but I'm also quietly hoping for Planetstrike!
Format & General Changes:
There is a free basic rules PDF, the "Warhammer 40,000 Battle Primer"
From a format perspective, we're being promised a cheaper base rulebook (now confirmed, $60 hardback), easy access to the basic rules with regular updates. Units' rules will now be on Datasheets, like Warscrolls in Sigmar - which I'm all for. See below for a full example of a Datasheet.
Notice on those Datasheets that the Initiative stat is gone. Now combat's alternate with units that Charged swinging first, then everyone else swinging, but combat alternates between players, with the player whose turn it is choosing who swings first.
Let's break down the datasheet a bit -
You have all the rules for the unit in one place: Weapon profiles, To-Hit, To-Wound, Toughness, Wounds, Attack(s), Leadership, Save, and Special Rules. It also has Keywords added, which (we know from Sigmar) are used as reference for other units' Special Rules. Some things will only target Chaos units, or Psykers, or even specifically Rubric Marines.
These new 40k Datasheets are slightly more complex than Sigmar, in that they've added a second line for "Faction Keywords" as well as just "Keywords"
Also check out some other examples such as a general breakdown here, and some general info on a few types of Marines. Two-Wound Terminators?
Now, let's break down the big differences. First a Unique Move statistic - units now move as far as their Datasheet allows, rather than all Infantry moving 6" or all Bikes moving 12", etc. This is cool, because it's going to make a ton of units feel more unique than they have in the past. That said, in general we're going to see units getting slower - as with these Rubric Marines - but some units (such as probably Howling Banshees) will get faster.
But, in the ongoing trend of making units "feel" different, note the All is Dust rule. Against most weapons in the game, the now slow-moving Rubric Marines will now have a 2+ Save, especially powerful against things with no AP, and will stand out as far more durable that most other Troops in the game. I could use some clarification on whether or not that applies to their Invulnerable Save as well...
Then, there are Universal To-Hit stats. Rubric Marines always hit on a 3+ in Shooting, but also always hit on a 3+ in Combat, regardless of the skill of their opponent.
Also note the Flamer weapons - Templates are gone, now those weapons automatically hit their target and inflict D6 hits. This gives them a similar effect to what they used to have, but they're potentially far more dangerous against single models.
Finally, let's look at AP. AP now modifies Saves, so an AP -1 will turn a 4+ Save into a 5+ Save. This is functionally similar to what they used to be, but now Saves will be WAY less reliable. A 2+ Save in particular, against even fairly basic weapons will now be a 3+ or worse.
It's not entirely consistent, but in general re-tooled weapons follow the pattern that what was AP4 is now AP -1. Anything that was AP5 or worse generally now has no AP value, and most AP3 weapons are now AP -2. Note though that the humble Power Sword is rocking an AP -3, which will wreck a Terminator's face :P
Continuing the trend of most units getting more fragile, here's the new to-Wound chart:
The basics are the same, but most of the ratings are expanded, with the 5+ and 6+ ranges being MUCH larger. Now nearly any weapon in the game can hurt anything. Even a Guardsmen blob *can* bring down a Land Raider.
Probably won't, but they can!
This makes every weapon in the game effectively a 7th ed. Gauss weapon.
New new To-Wound chart also comes with a basic guideline, that should make it much easier to remember in-game-
Weapon Strength more than Target's Toughness: 3+
Weapon Strength equal to Target's Toughness: 4+
Weapon Strength less than Target's Toughness: 5+
Weapon Strength half (or less) Target's Toughness: 6+
We've also been told that Universal Rules (such as Tank Hunter or Infiltrate) are out. Units have their own unique rules on their Datasheets, adding in a little more complexity, but removing that mid-game rulebook shuffle when you both ask "What does that one rule do again... ?"
Mortal Wounds have been lifted directly from Sigmar, now especially powerful weapons and abilities will cause Wounds that can't be saved against. Even Invulnerable Saves are ignored, keeping the trend of making 8th Edition games much faster by making everything in the game far more fragile.
Here's another change: No Scatter. That's for weapons that used to be Template weapons, but also includes Deep Strike and any kind of summoning - we can assume they're getting rid of Scatter Dice, so there won't be any randomized placement (Source, near the end)
Points & List Building:
Points are staying. There are three "ways to play," just like Sigmar. The first being Open Play, where you can use whatever you want (duh). The second being Narrative Play which focuses more on story than points, but there is a simplified points - or "Power Points" - system for this. The third and final one is Matched Play, with a points system that is as balanced as they could get it, and is more or less the same as the current standard for 40k in 7th.
Here's some detail on "Choosing an Army" from Warhammer Community.
"Battle Forged" is still the defining term for a Fluffy or as-intended Army, and gives benefits similar to how it does in 7th. Detachments are now the default Force Organization "Chart," providing guidelines for how much you can field in what combinations, with various bonuses for "fluffier" options, ala not min-max lists. These bonuses include a new thing called Stratagems, which you get separate Command Points for, and you earn more points for more Narrative/more complex Detachments. So, for example, the Detachment that forces you to take Tactical Marines as 3/4 of your army is going to give you far more Stratagem points than, say, your buddy's Detachment of four Daemon Princes.
Also, any Battle Forged army starts with 3 Command Points, before any bonuses or penalties are applied.
Here are some examples of Detachments we've seen so far:
Note the Command Benefits, that the smaller, simpler Detachment (which need only be 1 Troop and 1 HQ) grants no Benefits, while the larger, more complex one below will be the majority of an Army, but grants 9 Command Points.
Some Special Characters are also famed for being expert tacticians and leaders, and these Characters grant additional Stratagem points as a benefit of fielding them, Bjorn the Fell-Handed being the highlighted one.
Here's the first basic table we've seen:
They're actually going to be a fairly significant benefit, if limited, and no doubt we'll see some very dramatic high-cost, maybe even limited-use Stratagems come into the game at some point (heh). In Matched Play there are some limitations. The major limitation is that you can't use the same Stratagem more than once in any single Phase - only getting one Command Re-Roll per Fight (Combat) Phase, for example.
What's kind of cool about these is that you spend them during the game. So it's a pool you can pull from, without having to commit to what you're going to use before the game starts.
The Codexes that are being released now also use Faction-specific Stratagems as a way to make each army feel more unique, which is a cool way to add-in flexible Universal Rules that reflect the character of an army in how they play. Some examples of these can be seen in Warhammer Community's Legion Focus and Chapter Focus Articles.
Missions have been re-worked. We have confirmation that the old missions will be returning - six Eternal War and six Maelstrom of War Missions.
One part that will affect them, there are now 6 Deployment Maps, and for the Maelstrom missions, there's a new Maelstrom Objective Deck (and we can assume there will be unique ones for Factions again as well).
One of the biggest issues with Maelstrom Objectives was getting stuck with bad ones just sitting in your hand preventing you from scoring, they've added a Strategem specifically for discarding and replacing Objectives, in games where you used Command Points. Not a terrible idea, but we'll have to play to see how much the changes actually fix.
They've added a new Mission, intended to be the baseline introductory Mission for any play type:
Those sound fun :)
Lastly, here's one of those new Deployment Maps:
And some new Strategems specifically for Narrative Play (note they're different options for Attacker/Defender):
- No Scatter, at all, units arrive where you place them
- Units must be placed more than 9" away from any enemy models
- Units are placed at the start of any of your player turns, you choose when
- Any unit may Charge on the same turn it arrives
Tactical Reserves is now a blanket term for Deep Strike, Infiltrate, Outflank, Summoning and simply holding units back. These are largely similar to how they functioned before, but with some key changes. Here's one example-
The Trygon and Trygon Prime is/are one of my favorite units in the game, hands-down. That they're underused in play in 7th is a darn shame, but this single rule should be enough to get them back on the table for two major changes. First, the Trygon can be deployed with another unit that uses its tunnel *on the turn that it arrives.* That's big. But second is bigger still: the Trygon can Charge the turn it arrives. This is a Sigmar thing too, the 9" Deployment limitation does seriously limit your Deployment options, but having the chance to attempt a Charge on arrival is a HUGE change. This should make things like Raveners, or anything that can re-roll Charges or Run and Charge in the same turn positively devastating.
Here are some additional clarifications on Reserves in general:
So officially no Null Deployment. Some armies may be able to get around this rule, but with 8th being far more restrictive than 7th, I wouldn't bet on it. Also, that anything not on the table by the end of Round 3 is a fairly brutal change. Gotta get those units in ASAP! That actually is harsher than even Sigmar.
*The recent FAQ also excluded Flyers from counting against this number. So if all you have left on the table is Flyers, you lose at the end of that turn
Here's the quick and dirty:
Any Player may choose to Deploy Reserves at the start of any of their turns. Units that don't come in from a table edge may be placed anywhere on the table more than 9" from an Enemy unit. Units that arrive from Reserves may Shoot, Run, or Charge (and use applicable unique rules) on the turn they arrive.
Very nice changes, that also offset the "dead by turn 3 rule," so just don't forget to deploy your Reserves.
The big news here is two-fold - Units/Models will have unique Move distances, and some big units will get slower as they take damage. While that will have dramatic impact on how the game is played, functionally, this seems largely unchanged.
Running is now part of Movement, where you simply roll a d6 and add it to your total when "Advancing." This is different for some units, with things like Flyers and Jetbikes adding 2d6" or a flat 6" or 20" (etc) when they Advance.
You still can't Shoot after Advancing (unless your rules state otherwise, such as Asuryani Battle Focus)
Also, in the Movement Phase, your units may "Fall Back," out of Combat just by moving away from Enemy units, ending more than 1" from Enemy Units. Units that do this can't Advance, Shoot, or Charge in the same turn - but your other units can shoot the unit you just pulled out of Combat from.
That's huge, now being "Locked in Combat" is a much more fluid state. That said, some units (like Wyches) who can force a unit to stay in Combat with them.
**Units that can Fly can still shoot after Falling Back.
Flyers still have Minimum Move distances, but will also have unique Move characteristics to better represent the difference between faster and slower Flyers.
The Psychic Phase has been re-worked. While I enjoyed seeing Psykers get their heyday in 7th Edition, it 's gotten out of hand with later releases. I'm particularly frustrated by the Librarius Conclave, which is up there among the Top 5 Most Abused Formations of 7th.
Now, instead of Mastery Level, Psykers will be able to cast as many powers as their Datasheet states, and they'll have to use 2d6 to beat the Warp Charge Value of a Power. Enemy Pyskers within 24" will have the chance to Deny the Witch (exactly like Spells in Sigmar, but with longer range) - by rolling 2d6 and trying to beat the Caster's result.
Perils of the Warp triggers on a double 1 or double 6, causing the Psyker to suffer D3 Mortal Wounds. If this kills the Psyker, every unit within 6" must also take D3 Mortal Wounds and the power they last tried to cast (that caused the Perils) automatically fails on the double 1 or if they are killed by Perils.
Every Psyker will have their own flavorful powers from their Faction, in addition to knowing this one Universal power:
Similar to what it was before, and we see an example where succeeding beyond what you needed grants additional benefits, which is cool :)
Since Mortal Wounds ignore Invulnerable Saves, this makes even the most basic Psyker a very nasty opponent against small units or single models. However, this power is limited in that you can only cast it at the closest visible unit.
**All Grey Knights Infantry (as Psykers) know the modified Rites of Banishment version instead of Smite, which is only 12" range and causes 1 Mortal Wound instead of D3
...Although it cause an automatic 3 Mortal Wounds against Daemons, so that's nasty.
In Matched Play, any given Psychic Power (except Smite or Rites of Banishment) may only be cast once per Player Turn, not once per Psyker per Player Turn.
There seems to be no limit to when and where Psykers can Cast or Deny, even if they're in-combat, have Advanced or Fell Back in that turn.
Moving and shooting a Heavy Weapon now incurs a -1 to-hit, for everything from Infantry to Vehicles. Also, no shooting into, or out of, Close Combat. You also can't shoot if there's an enemy unit within 1" of your unit (since that counts you as in Combat) except with Pistols.
Also, you can Charge after firing any weapon - big change.
*The Heavy Weapon to-hit penalty even applies to Flyers and other units with a minimum move (that have to move), but their base BS is increased to offset this in most Flyers' stat lines.
All weapons are now Assault weapons, there aren't types that cause a unit to not be able to Charge after firing them. Assault Weapons now can be fired after Advancing, but at a -1 to-hit penalty.
Here's a huge change: All Units can now split-fire (declare before rolling of course). That's big, it means adaptable units won't be shoehorned into a single Role per turn, losing the benefit of being adaptable.
The rules also state that a Model with multiple weapons can shoot all of them (nice! Great for Autarchs) and target different enemies with each weapon.
Twin-Linked now means fires double the shots (total number of shots shown in the weapon profile is already doubled). Hurricane Bolters are now silly, twin-Linked Assault Cannons utterly devastating, and Bright Lance Wave Serpents hit with Guide now vastly more dangerous. Orks will now need TWO buckets of dice.
This is a particularly dramatic change with the new variable Damage that weapons can do, so a TL Lascannon in 7th could do 1 Wound (or Instant Death a single model, or get a Penetrating Hit on a Vehicle, etc). In 8th, a TL Lascannon can do as much as *12* Damage to a single target, while dropping the target's Save by 4. It probably won't, but every time one shoots at you, keep that in mind.
Pistols can be fired even while in Combat, but still in the Shooting Phase. Also if a model is firing multiple weapons, it must choose all Pistols or all other weapons, not both.
Grenades also work the same. If a unit fires, and they have Grenades, one model in the unit may throw a Grenade instead of firing any other weapon. Grenades are better though, with beefier profiles and more damage output, especially melta bombs.
Rapid-Fire Weapons are the same, firing an extra shot if you're firing at below half-range
Combi-Weapons now can be fired either as one gun of whichever two they're loaded with, or as *both* simultaneously at -1 to-hit. Chaos Terminators suddenly gained one hell of a punch in shooting.
Also note in the chart above the changes to the Melta rule, making it do comparable damage to a Lascannon, but much more reliably at close range.
Grav has been changed:
Note that this is with the Grav-Amp included. My biggest problem with Grav previously was how easy it was to get re-rolls to-hit, and the plentiful re-rolls to-Wound negated the difficulty of getting Wounds against horde/bad Save units. These changes make the weapon slightly less terrifying, and far worse against 2+ Saves and tougher units (since it now has a Strength characteristic rather than straight Wounding vs. Save). So, Tyranids and MCs rejoice!
Any way you look at it, this is a huge nerf. This was probably needed because no one was taking other weapon options when Grav was on the menu, but it still hurts.
Sniper weapons are still around, now allowing the firer to target a Character even if they're not the closest model.
Templates are gone, with Blast and Flamer weapons now getting a variable number of hits instead. This saves a lot of time and arguments in-game, and functionally will be similar, except they'll be far more dangerous to smaller units and single models. Also, they will no longer Scatter - making BS a factor again, but meaning it's less likely you'll outright miss and impossible to hit your own units.
While I will miss the hilarity of nuking my own unit of Dark Reapers with a bad scatter, this will also streamline gameplay considerably and cut down a lot of fights and rules debates. It also, if I'm not mistaken, means Blast weapons now work in Overwatch.
Overwatch functions as before, with defending units hitting on 6+, but also units that aren't locked in Combat may fire Overwatch as many times as they're charged. T'au Fire Warriors FTW!
Cover is dramatically different. Now, instead of gaining a separate Cover Save, Cover instead modifies your Armor by +1 - so, for example, Eldar Guardians in a Crater (assuming they still have a 5+ Base Save) will now have a 4+.
The biggest change there though is that it's still modified by weapons' AP as a single Save, so an AP -2 Weapon will still make that 4+ a 6+. This is a very positive change in my opinion. While Cover is an important tool in the game, 7th is dominated by units running around the table with a 2+ re-rollable Cover save that few things in the game can modify. If you're charging a Lascannon gunline, you should be in danger and rightly scared of it. And, you shouldn't be shooting a fistful of Missiles at something only to have all your shots stopped by a tree.
There is a benefit too though. Against weaker, more common weapons a Save-modifier is quite a bit better than the classic Cover Save. What Marine doesn't want a 2+ Save against Ork Shootas, rather than a 4 or 5+ Cover Save?
Also, Cover will have Types that will only affect certain kinds of units. The above-mentioned Crater example will only provide a benefit to units with the Infantry keyword, while something like a Forest will be more universal.
Unlike in Sigmar, Cover has no benefit in the Fight sub-phase.
Charging is essentially unchanged, with a 2d6" roll to determine whether or not a Charging unit reaches their target. But now you have to get within 1" of base-to-base for a successful Charge, making it a 13" Charge range, with one free inch.
Units also can't move within 1" of an Enemy Unit they aren't already in Combat with, or that weren't declared as a target of their Charge, except for Pile-In moves, but you are free to declare multiple units as the target of your Charge without penalty.
Changes to Close Combat Weapons mostly fall in line with other changes. That is, weapons are more unique in terms of having different, strengths, and AP modification, but also they now do variable Wounds, which makes some options that used to be sub-par have different qualities that now make them more viable compared with some of the more devastating options.
As mentioned above: No shooting into, or out of, Close Combat. That's a big difference from Sigmar, and absolutely the correct one. One thing we have seen though is that Pistols are actually fired in Combat (in the Shooting Phase), so that Plasma Pistol is now much more dangerous than the +1 Attack it used to be - and there's finally a reason for that Autarch or Harlequin to take that expensive Fusion Pistol.
One of the more dramatic changes is one I've already mentioned earlier, that all units have a set to-hit in Combat, no matter who or what they're fighting. That takes an entire, fairly complex, chart out of the game and saves a lot of looking up and is one less thing for new players to memorize.
Speaking of, we actually have quite a few basic weapons leaked-
No, Chainswords don't have any AP. For cryin' out loud, just let it be! But, where they do shine, is getting an additional attack. For the most basic units, this could be double their base number of attacks, which is nothing to sneeze at.
Wielding multiple Close Combat weapons no longer grants extra Attacks, so that extra Attack is a bigger bonus than it may at first appear.
The Power Fist is quite different, with the same Strength bonus, but now boasting extra damage, AND not necessarily striking last (!) the awkwardness of a sparking metal cinderblock on the end of someone's hand now represented as a to-hit penalty, which makes more sense in the end I think.
Note that AP -3 is slightly worse than the old AP2, in that units with a 2+ will be getting a 5+ Save still, and even 3+ turns to a 6+ rather than outright having no save at all.
Oho! Here's a cool chart! The humble Power Sword is now a pretty devastating weapon, especially if you have any way to boost the wielder's Strength. But even if not, AP -3 is a devastating blow against any opponent.
Here's a big change: ALL Transports are now Assault Vehicles, and units may act normally, including Charge the same turn they disembarked, although they count has having Moved even if they don't move further.
Also, Overwatch is still definitely a stated part of the game, and seems to function exactly as before with one change: as long as the unit isn't locked in Combat, any unit may for Overwatch multiple times. So don't bet on that Burna Boyz unit running out of Promethium after you feed them your Cultists.
Morale is getting Sigmarized. That is, many more units will be affected by it in 8th than previous Editions. Here's the new version:
Once per Player Turn (nice), at the end of the Turn, every Unit that suffered casualties must roll a D6 + # of Models lost, then subtract the unit's Leadership stat. If you have a positive number at the end, that many Models are removed from the unit.
So, your 10-man Marine unit lost 3 Models in Shooting. You roll a 6 (ouch), and add 3, then subtract your Leadership of 8.
6 + 3 = 9,
9 - 8 = 1
One more Marine model is removed from play.
This is simplified and streamlined, and is meant to represent everything from Strategic Withdrawal, to a squad member leaving to tend the wounded, to a Cultist fleeing the field screaming. It's a big boost to units with lower Leadership, since they won't be outright Swept in Combat if they fail Leadership, and hurts combat bruisers, because even if they win Combat, they can still lose Models to Morale.
Functionally though, it will act similarly. A unit with 30 models but Leadership 6 that takes a beating in Combat is going to flee the field much more quickly than a smaller, tougher, braver unit.
Characters can no longer be placed in Units - that's straight out of Sigmar. Your Leaders and Champions will now be going solo, making them more mobile and flexible, but also much more fragile. Since 40k is a much more shooting-oriented game though, the vulnerability of Characters has been mitigated a bit by the rule that Characters with less than 10 Wounds can only be fired at if they are the "Closest enemy model." So, careful maneuvering and positioning is going to be big for keeping them alive.
Heroic Intervention is a new rule for Characters. If your Character is within 3" of an enemy unit after enemy units have completed their charges, even if the weren't directly Charged, they are able to pile-in up to 3" as long as that get's them closer to the Enemy Unit. That's kind of neat, and gives players a bit more flexibility in that positioning, allowing them to insulate Characters from fire without getting them too far removed from Combat.
Challenges are gone. Since Characters run solo now anyway, their rules purpose is gone, and you can still have your Heroes go toe-to-toe in epic death duels anyway :)
The Vehicle Damage Table is gone.
Vehicles now have a Toughness value and Wounds. This is a HUGE change. Not only does it make it easier to damage them, but they also in some ways become more durable. Where some vehicles could only take three Glancing Hits or a singe Penetrating Hit, now they'll likely be rocking 8-10 Wounds instead. Dedicated anti-Tank weapons such as Lascannons will still drop them super fast, but most weapons will have an easier time doing damage, but it will take more time to finish them off.
One of the bigger changes too is that all vehicles now get a Save, most of them pretty good Saves. The T7 and 8 Wounds a basic Dreadnought looks pretty good, but throw in that it also has a 3+ Save and it gets quite a bit scarier against most weapons.
Vehicles can also now Charge, like any other unit, and be Locked in Combat and have a Strength, to-hit, and Attacks like any other unit. While this does make them somewhat less unique in-game, it also makes the game much more approachable, and it will make games go faster - both things I think are more important than keeping things like Facings and AV.
This is easy to see in some of the above references, with the Marines dump having basic rules for a Dreadnought, and the Faction Focus: Imperial Knights having quite a bit of detail on... Well, Imperial Knights!
One thing to note, is that Moving and firing Heavy Weapons now incurs a -1 Penalty to hit even for Vehicles. It's not quite a Snap Shot, so it's less of a penalty, but it's going to hurt on some vehicles (sorry, Orks!)
Another major change to Vehicles is the Explodes! rule. Most vehicles I've looked at have it, but I'm not sure all do. The rule reads that once the model is reduced to 0 Wounds, roll a D6. On a 6, the model Explodes, and every unit (friend and foe) within 6" suffers D3 Mortal Wounds.
This seemed like a small change, but having played games with it now, it's big for several reasons: - First, Vehicles can Charge now, so they're a lot more likely to be in the middle of things when they're wrecked.
- Second, that radius is always 6", no more rolling to see how far the explosion goes.
- Third, it happens on a 6+ no matter how the Vehicle is wrecked, so it's considerably more common to make those rolls.
- Fourth, and most dramatically, these are Mortal Wounds, and with a D3 roll, each unit is guaranteed to take at least one without a normal or Invulnerable save. That's a huge difference - especially since you can lose the full 3 Models and get pushed into a bad Morale Check, snowballing into devastating losses.
Most Transports are now (we're told) faster, and they're more durable with the addition of Wounds and Saves.
Here's a big change though: Units now Disembark at the *start* of the Movement Phase, but can Move, Shoot, and Charge normally in that turn. That's big. So now all Transports are Assault Vehicles - sort of. While this is a big boon, tactically it also means that enemy units get a turn to move away from your scary Embarked units while you ready your assault.
And here's another change: Transports may now carry multiple units, up to their total capacity.
Ready for some craziness? Check out this Harlequin Starweaver:
Now consider this: Since Transports, as Vehicles with the new rules, can also Charge alongside their passengers, armies like Harlequins are suddenly carting double the Wounds, and double the number of units that can Charge and get others in Combat. Also, since it's T5, this Starweaver is as tough as a low-level Monstrous Creature, and swings very hard for a Vehicle.
But the caption on the excerpt above gives us several other tidbits as well. First, Open Topped vehicles allow their passengers to fire without penalty out of them after a normal move. So this sucker is trucking 16" in a move, and then the passengers can shoot. Furthermore, since they're armed with Pistols, the Harlequins on a Starweaver can shoot a unit it's in Combat with, even if they're not in Combat themselves.
Now apply that same logic to a Battlewagon loaded to the gills with Slugga Boyz.
Vehicles can also fire Overwatch
Stomp is different - see this excerpt from the Faction Focus: Imperial Knights -
"Now called Titanic Feet, these are still fearsome weapons, but do not simply remove models from play. And if kicking and stomping models isn’t enough, you’ve always got your trusty reaper chainsword or thunderstrike gauntlet to fall back on, both of which do an automatic 6 damage per successful attack. Ouch. The thunderstrike gauntlet also has the ability to chuck a destroyed Monster or Vehicle at another enemy unit within 9″ to do D3 mortal wounds on a 4+. Splat!"
Here's a snapshot from the Wraithknight Datasheet:
If I'm reading that correctly, if you use your Titanic Feet with a Wraithknight, which has four Attacks, you will instead roll 12 dice when attacking. AP -2 and D3 Wounds is a whole lot different from instant removal or Mortal Wounds, so it's a volume weapon now, which makes a lot of sense.
The biggest change is that most will no longer get unique rules, they'll get Datasheets and Stats to match their big scary nature, while having rules that fit better with the general rules of the game. Generally these are treated as "exra large units" or "big stuff."
Superheavies and Gargantuans now will be similar to Imperial Knights - something in the range of 20 Wounds, with Saves, and losing BS/WS and Move as they take more and more damage. These are good changes, making them still incredibly potent, but more in-line with the rest of the game, and less all-or-nothing, in that hurting them matters (no more 1-Wound remaining Wraithknights rocketing across the board like nothing is wrong)
We've gotten specific looks at several individual armies, here's the list-
*Update: these are still coming out, and faster than I can keep up, but here are several major post-Codex ones worth checking out - Legion Focus and Chapter Focus Articles.
Imperial Guard! I mean, Astra Militarum! The Guard are no slouches in 7th, you could argue that they're doing just fine, but in the interest of updating all factions at once, the proud Guard are also getting updating to match everyone else. If not in valor or raw strength, then in walls of steel and flashlights!
But seriously, that new to-Wound chart and the changes to Vehicles make Guardsmen blobs - especially loaded with Orders - now an absolute nightmare to face. Re-roll to-Wound vs. an Imperial Knight, and you may actually kill it now (!!)
Bullygryns, Rough Riders, Heavy Weapons Teams, and Scout Sentinels are all referenced as getting major love in 8th.
Chaos Daemons are coming back in a big way. A lot of the announcements we've had have hinted that Chaos is going to be pushed back up to their rightful status as THE big bad of 8th, and while CSM are likely to get most of the love, Daemons have gotten some too!
One big tweak though: Pink Horrors. If you want your Pink Horrors to split into Blue- and then Brimstone Horrors, you will need to have the Reinforcement Points saved to do so. That's cool because it makes them less crazy good at holding Objectives, and saves Tzeentch players quite a bit of cheddar should they choose not to get the models for splitting ;)
Some of the nastier Daemon combos - ScreamerStar most notably - will be gone. Mortal Wounds and the general changes to the game will make that just not a thing anymore. Instead, many Daemon units get tweaks and buffs to make them stand on their own better, while the super-combos are removed.
One big note here: Slaanesh has gotten some love! Daemonettes are showcased, but it's just proof that Daemons will have FOUR gods to reasonably use on the table, not just one or two.
Chaos Space Marines are, as I said earlier, THE big bad in 8th. The big focus here is that there will actually be reasons to take CHAOS SPACE MARINES in CSM armies. One of the biggest head scratchers of the last two Editions was that normal CSM (marked or not) have been terrible. Time to fix that!
In addition, Havocs and Daemon Engines are mentioned, as well as Abaddon the Armless himself. I personally am particularly curious to see new rules for Defilers, another of my top 5 favorite Models!
We have a focus; Death Guard now, it most of it refers to the sheer toughness of the Death Guard - most of them have Disgustingly Resilient, which is functionally like Feel No Pain was and exactly like Death saves work in Sigmar: 5+ to Ignore an Unsaved Wound.
(Update - even the Foetid Plague Drone in the new Starter box gets Disgustingly Resilient, on top of its 5++ and 10 Wounds).
But hey! We even got models for Plague Zombies, now called Poxwalkers. Not only are they resilient, but they completely ignore Morale (nasty!) and when they kill an enemy Infantry model, they can add a model to their own unit. Oh, and Typhus gives them +1 Strength and +1 Toughness while he's in play. Not bad for 6pts each ;)
There's also a highlight to Death Guard's Psychic Powers, one of which makes enemies suffer -1 to-hit against one of your Friendly Nurgle units, and their ranged weapons. The signature special gun of Death Guard Marines units being a very nasty 24", Assault 2, S6, AP -2, D3 Damage. Yikes!
Eldar (Aeldari). This focus comes right out of the gate and says what we're all thinking: Eldar played on top tables use the same handful over units ad nauseum, while the rest of the excellent options on the shelf gather dust. Reece, the author of this article, is a long-time Eldar (and Foot-dar, even) fanboy, so he is all ready to re-balance the Eldar. The classics are there: Battle Focus, the signature Psychic Powers, etc. But, added in, are things like an all-Ranger army (!) or Phoenix Lords, a "Fixed" Avatar of Khaine, and much-buffed Striking Scorpions (one of my absolute favorites) that now do Mortal Wounds in Close Combat (!!)
I truly hope this is the end of the reign of Scatterbikes. Those have been terrible for the game since they came out, and I also hope those ranged D-weapons were tweaked to be, still potent, but not as ridiculous.
Eldar also get a significant buff from the changes to Transports, now they any Transport is an Assault Vehicle, they actually have viable delivery options for their Close Combat units which, up to now, were seriously hamstrung. Storm Guardians anyone?
Eldar Harlequins - while we haven't had a Faction focus as yet, the changes to Vehicles, Transports, Pistols, and Combat, plus unique Move Characteristics, have already had a HUGE impact on the dancing space-elf clowns. Not only do their Neuro Shredders and Fusion Pistols now work in combat, but now their Transports effectively double the number of units that have that can Charge and tie up enemies in Combat.
Dark Eldar (Drukhari). Unlike the Eldar and T'au, the Dark Eldar have fallen tragically out of favor for quite some time. This is ultimately a shame since so many people collect and love their DE, and Frankie (who wrote this Faction Focus and is one of the major Playtesters of 8th) is one of their most ardent supporters. As such, this spotlight hits all the high notes. The first unit he mentions is my single favorite model in the game: the Dark Eldar Raider.
The reference to Vehicles having Saves is big here, and it's noted that DE vehicles now have a 5+ Invulnerable Save against Shooting by default, which is also big. They also ignore the penalty to firing Heavy Weapons after moving, which is nice! There's also a nod that Passengers can fire normally after an Open-topped vehicle makes a normal move, which is also great for DE.
A HUGE win for DE is that re-tooled To-Wound chart, meaning now those Poisoned weapons do actually have a chance to hurt just about anything in the game. Also the Dark Lance is now a frightful S8, AP -4, and D6 Damage, while even the "lowly" Disintegrator Cannon is S6, AP -3, and 2 Damage. Huge buff. Warriors toting Dark Lances are going to be vastly more dangerous than they were.
Also mentioned are Wyches, the current shelf-hogs of 7th, having significantly boosted damage output, and gaining back their 4+ Invulnerable Save while in Close Combat. They also have a special rule that makes it much harder for units they're engaged with to Retreat, which is a big boost - not only keeping squishy units in combat, but also protecting the Wyches themselves from getting shot!
Genestealer Cults were the most recent Faction added to 40k, and as such a lot of how their rules were written already reflect some of the changes in 8th. Their focus on Assault and tricky Deployment is still more or less the same, although a little more effective now that all units can Charge out of Reserves. They also get a huge benefit from Vehicles being able to Charge, especially with the rules for their signature Goliath Rockgrinder, which now gets 6+D3 S8, AP -3, D3 Damage hits on the Charge. Youch.
They also gain all the benefits already granted to T-shirt saves (more weapons in the game will allow them), and Genestealers now have a stock 5+ Invulnerable Save.
One big mention here is also that making Cult Astra Militarum armies is streamlined - they're Traitor Guard, of course, but they're allowed to Ally with Genestealer Cults more easily than before, which will make for much more functional and fluffy Cult armies.
Imperial Knights are different beasts entirely. With a Toughness and Wounds stat now (and a Save, can't forget that!) and an insane 24 Wounds, they're hulking monstrosities, but not the way they were. They're both more and less fragile, now able to be hurt by almost any weapon in the game, but rocking T8 with enough Wounds and a Save (3+ no less) to mitigate it. Also, their firepower is ludicrously devastating.
Here's a basic profile of one:
Note that as a Knight takes damage, they get slower and less accurate, although they don't lose raw damage potential. This goes a long way to balance the changes, in that they can't be one-shot and take a long time to kill, but as they're damaged they get less effective, so the enemy army wailing on them gets some benefit to weakening them, rather than just outright killing them.
A huge change here is the Ion Shield. Now it's a flat 5+ Invulnerable Save, regardless of facing. This ("which Armor Facing am I hitting?") was undoubtedly one of the biggest NERD RAGE debates of 7th, and it's a welcome removal.
Orks have gotten a Faction Focus now - but without that, the changes to Twin-Linked weapons and Transports (being tougher, able to Charge, all being Assault Vehicles, etc) are huge, huge, huge for the Mean Green Tide. Also, as an army already used to not getting Saves, the changes to make Weapons more deadly can only benefit the Greenskins. And let's not forget the new Morale system. That crappy Leadership is still going to see a lot of Orks go down, but they're not going to see a 20-man blob Swept by 5 Marines anymore.
The Faction Focus assures us that their Save will be more valuable, since AP5 and AP6 weapons (which are very common) now are AP -0. Plus, Big Meks provide a 5+ Invulnerable Bubble, and Painboys give nearby units a 6+ Save vs. Unsaved Wounds. And they stack. That's lovely!
The big love also is that they can stack Morale buffs, have the ability to Advance (Run) and Charge in the same turn, plus re-roll Charges, making them very hard to avoid/keep out of Combat.
The Weapons changes we've seen all benefit the Orks impressively.
Sisters of Battle, or Adeptus Sororitas we have it on reliable authority are sticking around, and are a big part of the update in 8th. With the recent release of Sisters of Silence and Saint Celestine, that's no surprise! Can it be that the long wait is over??
Space Marines have gotten their Faction Focus now, and the very first mention is that right now they're run almost exclusively on competitive tables as either SuperFriends Deathstars or Battle Companies. The long and short of it is that Battle Companies may not be "as efficient," and a lot of work has been done to do away with Deathstars (see earlier sections). The emphasis here is that Space Marines have a ton of options, and good options, to build from, and many different builds and combinations should be equally potent. There are nods here to Predators (a lesser used unit/model), as well as Grandpappy Smurf, Guiliman, who gets a 3+ Invul and comes back to life on a 4+ the first time he dies. The final nod is to Dreadnoughts, which many players love, but didn't fare well in 7th Edition. It remains to be seen how well they do in 8th, but we're being promised that they're quite a bit better than they were.
The changes to Grav are highlighted here again as well.
Space Marines (Primaris) get a little more time in the sun too. Again, these guys can be their own Chapter/army, or they can be sprinkled into any Space Marine army. There seems to be particular emphasis on making these guys more dangerous in Shooting and a little bit tougher than ordinary Space Marines. While they are very cool, I hope some effort has been made to make sure they're not just outright better than normal Marines. I.e., I hope they're as noticeably more expensive on Points as they are more powerful. So far they're T5 with better guns (the 18" Assault 3 Rend -1 Pistols on the Jump versions stand out) and one more Attack than your average, but even those small modifications really matter in-game.
T'au Empire. Quite possibly the most abused/overused Faction in 7th Edition, and most hated by new players for being remarkably un-fun to play against, T'au are getting a re-work. Big changes seem to be that they have the Fly keyword all over, allowing them to Fall Back and still shoot - both Fluffy and obnoxious. It also sounds like their firepower may be getting beefed up, although the one reference to Markerlights is that a single Markerlight allows one unit to re-roll 1's in shooting. That's a major nerf, and is probably healthy for the game as a whole. While T'au will still be devastating, we can at least hope their terrible BS will actually matter for once :P
Also, in the broader trend, since survivability has been reduced across the board, and Assaulting is much easier, T'au should see a marked decrease in their own durability - which was my least favorite thing about them in the past (I rarely kill a Riptide now :P)
Tyranids have been seriously suffering in 7th, and the designers and playtesters of 8th are well aware of the problem. For starters, check out the re-tooled Swarmlord:
Not too shabby! A 9" base Move makes him actually quite quick, and that's an insane number of Attacks. While he won't get the benefit of having fewer than 9 Wounds, he does almost certainly benefit from Tyrant Guard somehow, and definitely hits like a ton of bricks.
He also brings us our first Command Ability (something lifted from Sigmar) - he can let a friendly Tyranid Unit move twice per turn. Including himself. What was that about delivery options?
Genestealers also get their moment to shine, with a beefed up Move of 8", and a flat 5+ Invulnerable Save, and they gain a bonus to-hit from a Broodlord, giving them a 2+ to-hit in Combat (!).
And don't forget, units can now Charge when they arrive from Reserves!
Remember how Synapse worked? Now it provides Immunity to Morale, which in 8th is a huge, huge benefit. We already saw the Trygon's changed rule, these others stack on to make Tyranids obviously a much-changed faction.
Did someone say Pyrovore... ?
*See above for Genestealer Cults
This is everything I wanted and more. Deathstars gone, Factions all balanced at once, Vehicles tweaked, huge numbers of fiddly charts and rules removed, and - above all - it's going to be WAY faster. Seeing as how 40k is my first love, nearly everything I've seen has convinced me in no uncertain terms that I will be (gradually) making the jump back over to 40k once 8th hits and settles in. I already have a very small force, but two Troops units and it's legal to field as a Battle Forged army for very small games.