The planned release schedule for Games Workshop’s new Warhammer 40K 9th edition codexes has been repeatedly thrown out of whack – first, by the UK’s second nationwide covid lockdown in late 2020, and, thereafter, by an ongoing plague of printing and supply issues, to which GW has several times referred – with its customary coyness and penchant for in-universe references – as the work of the “fickle winds of fate” or the treacherous Chaos god, Tzeentch.
These faction books, called Codexes – and the slimmed-down ‘Codex Supplements’ for offshoots such as the Dark Angels Space Marine chapter – contain all the in-game rules, abilities and statistics to update each of the game’s 20-odd playable armies to fit the new 9th Edition ruleset. Naturally, therefore, as with previous new editions of the game, keen players of each of these armies were all bursting to see their favourite faction brought up to date, right from the moment 9th edition was announced in May 2020.
But the already-slow release cycle for these rulebooks was further delayed on December 4, when GW put the release of its new Death Guard codex on ice due to “unavoidable delays to crucial shipments”. After that book finally arrived in late January, GW has shied away from releasing any hard-and-fast timings for upcoming codexes, as the underlying production issues hampering its book releases appear to be affecting them still.
Nevertheless, Warhammer 40K codex releases are on the move again in 2021. Of course, Codex: Necrons and Codex: Space Marines were released before Christmas, along with the Codex Supplements for the Blood Angels, Deathwatch and Space Wolves.
On the inside back cover of each of these new Codexes you’ll find a code to unlock its digital version on the Warhammer 40K app. This is likely to become part and parcel of all your 40K games in the future, so, you know - take note.
Since then, we’ve had Death Guard in January, Dark Angels in February, Drukhari in March, and the Adeptus Mechanicus in late May. June brought us the Adepta Sororitas codex (revealed rather suddenly in a preview article on Sunday, May 30), and July provided the Orks as well – at least if you got it as part of their Beast Snagga army box, that is. Plus, though we’ve no timescale beyond “in the coming months”, we’ve got confirmation that Grey Knights and Thousand Sons are coming next.
For full details on all these books, when they’re coming, and what to expect, read on! They’re just the first few of many new Codex releases to look forward to this year, and we’ll be keeping this guide up to date with all the latest information as to what’s coming next, and when.
With that out of the way, here’s everything we know about the upcoming Warhammer 40K codex releases – and the key info on what’s already out.
UPCOMING 40K CODEX RELEASE DATES
ORKS CODEX RELEASE DATE
First revealed during a Warhammer Fest livestream in May earlier this year, the 9th edition Orks codex is already out in the wild, but yet to receive a standalone release.
The book was packaged in the Beast Snagga Orks army box – the introductory set for Warhammer 40k’s newest Ork faction – which hit pre-order on July 17. Those players who were able to nab a box are already flicking through the codex’s pages, but the rest of us will have to wait for the book’s standalone release later this year. An exact release date hasn’t yet been revealed.
Alien and proud: Our Warhammer 40k Xenos factions guide
So far, we know the codex will include updated rules for all Ork factions, not just the squig-obsessed Beast Snaggas. It’ll also introduce some big overhauls to Ork weapons, such as making ‘dakka’ a brand new weapon-type, rather than simply a hilarious, kick-ass ability.
A Warhammer Community post said the book will be along “soon” – so we shouldn’t be waiting too much longer.
Grey Knights and Thousand Sons Codex release dates
We first got word of the new Grey Knights and Thousand Sons codexes back in May, during a Warhammer Fest teaser video. Following more hints that “fire and magic” would be making its way to Warhammer 40k later this year, and an announcement that both codexes had been delayed, we’ve finally got confirmation of what’s in store.
Both the 9th edition Grey Knights and Thousand Sons codexes will release alongside their upcoming double-army battlebox, Hexfire: Supernatural Warfare in the 41st Millennium. Announced in a Warhammer Community post on July 26, the box of 29 minis contains a small force for each faction, and two brand new character miniatures to lead them: Castellan Crowe for the daemon-hunting Grey Knights, and the new Infernal Master character model for the Egyptian-loving warp wizards.
The Grey Knights and Thousand Sons codexes will release alongside the Hexfire battlebox
GW hasn’t yet revealed the Hexfire Battlebox release date, but we expect it to drop after Kill Team: Octarius – so late August or September. It’s likely we can look forward to a similar release date for the codexes.
As for content, we can expect the usual fancy new rules, updated points values, and powerful abilities, alongside some more tantalising features. The Thousand Sons’ new book will add an Infernal Master HQ choice – matching the new model that’s leading the blue, Egyptian-themed lads in the upcoming battlebox.
Hexfire looks to be quite the epic throwdown, so stay tuned to find out when it, and those lovely codexes, will go up for pre-order.
WHICH CODEXES ARE COMING NEXT?
Rumours always abound as to which factions will be next on GW’s hit-list, but we’re not betting the farm on anything else right now. When we know something truly solid – you’ll be the first to hear about it.
WHICH 40K CODEXES ARE OUT NOW?
ADEPTA SORORITAS CODEX RELEASE DATE
The Adepta Sororitas 9th edition codex went up for pre-order on June 5, before releasing a week later on June 12. You can grab yourself a copy from the GW webstore now.
The codex includes full rules for all the new Sisters of Battle units, as well as updates for its existing range of models and wargear. There’s an extended Crusade rules section, plenty of point tweaks, and new rules for using prayers and hymns. The whole book is designed to provide much wider strategic variety among Adepta Sororitas armies, which has been found wanting in recent years.
Box set: Our guide to Warhammer 40k Combat Patrol boxes
Chief among their new units is High Abbess Morvenn Vahl. The Sisters’ new centrepiece character model, Vahl is given a lot of attention in the updated codex, and has been designed to synergise with whatever you stick in your Sisters of Battle army.
And there’s a lot of units to choose from. Alongside the faction’s codex, GW also released the long-teased Paragon Warsuits, Celestian Sacresants (as shown on the codex’s front cover), and Dogmata, as well as faction-specific Battle dice and datacards.
ADEPTUS MECHANICUS CODEX RELEASE DATE
After its reveal in a May 16 Warhammer Community blog post, the 9th edition AdMech codex went up for pre-order on May 22, and was released on Saturday, May 29. You can order it from the GW webstore now.
The 120-page codex includes all the usual good stuff: full rules for the new AdMech units, updated datasheets for the army’s existing range of models, expanded lore, and bestiaries. There’s also a chunk dedicated to their technology-hunting Crusade rules.
DRUKHARI CODEX RELEASE DATE
Besides the bare essentials – inevitable points tweaks, new stratagems, rules for Crusade mode – the titbits we heard before the book’s release pointed to a fairly subtle upgrade. As is so often the case in Warhammer 40k, however, now that the new rules have been subjected to real-world play, 9th edition Drukhari have quickly become a top-tier competitive army, with multiple recent tournament wins.
Their pre-Christmas preview article established early on that the codex would offer “more attacks, higher damage, and lethal combat output across the board”. That promise has been borne out, and then some.
Only man: Read our Warhammer 40K Imperium factions guide
A few of the new rules came early, in the form of deliberate previews, and apparently leaked ‘spoilers’, including:
- Kabalite Warriors – the Drukhari’s stock infantry unit – now get two melee attacks instead of one.
- In fact, “most units in the army” are getting an extra attack, with examples given of Wyches, Hellions and Cronos Parasite Engines.
- The Kabalites’ Splinter Cannon – a heavy anti-infantry gun – now does two damage instead of one.
- It’s now easier to make lists with a mix of the Drukhari’s sub-factions: Kabals, Wych Cults and Haemonculus Covens.
The pre-order and full release dates for the Drukhari codex were originally announced in a Warhammer Community article on Sunday, March 14 – along with Piety and Pain, a double-army boxset featuring Drukhari and Sisters of Battle, which went to pre-order at the same time. The Drukhari also got their own Combat Patrol starter set – check out our Combat Patrols guide for more info.
The pattern followed previous releases, with GW doing its ‘big reveal’ of the new book one week before pre-orders go live on a Saturday evening, with the books hitting shelves (or, more accurately nowadays, doorsteps) the weekend after that.
This book is 120 pages long, with more than half of that real estate taken up with new rules, datasheets and points values – the rest being lore content and artworks depicting the Drukhari’s dark deeds and murky homes. You can also get custom Drukhari-themed player aid cards and dice alongside the book, if you’re so inclined.
DARK ANGELS CODEX RELEASE DATE
The Dark Angels Codex Supplement went live for pre-order on January 30 and released on February 6 – you can order it right now on the GW site.
The Dark Angels also get new datacards and a Combat Patrol Box
The Dark Angels supplement – the fourth such Space Marine chapter supplement to have been announced so far – features “bespoke datasheets, Warlord Traits, Relics, and a Psychic Discipline, as well as a suite of Crusade campaign rules that represent the sombre quest of the Unforgiven”, according to GW.
Alongside their new book, the Dark Angels also got the now-customary set of faction Datacards and – a mite more interestingly – their own Combat Patrol box, joining the Death Guard, Deathwatch, Blood Angels and Space Wolves in GW’s upgraded range of army starter boxes.
DEATH GUARD CODEX RELEASE DATE
The delayed new Death Guard codex (9th edition’s first rulebook released for a Chaos army) went up for pre-order on January 16 and was released on January 23.
Like the others, it’s full of army-specific datasheets, rules, and bespoke Crusade content for the Death Guard, the vile, disgustingly resilient sons of the dread Daemon Primarch Mortarion.
The Death Guard codex released alongside their new Lord of Virulence model
Death Guard players had to wait months longer than planned, but when the Codex did come, it came along with some extra goodies – primarily the long-teased and fundamentally foul Lord of Virulence model, and a Death Guard Combat Patrol starter box – the first of its kind for a Chaos army.
It also included some of the most interesting thematic rule-building GW has yet tried with its new Crusade campaign system, in the form of custom-concocted plagues for your Death Guard warband, each affecting nearby enemies in slightly different, yet equally revolting ways and developing in potency over successive games. It’s exceedingly yucky, but brilliant stuff.
Stay tuned for Wargamer’s full review of the new, even-more-disgusting Death Guard, coming soon.
BLOOD ANGELS CODEX RELEASE DATE
The Blood Angels Codex Supplement was released on December 5, 2020.
The supplement is full of the usual army-specific datasheets, rules, and bespoke Crusade content for the scarlet-clad sons of long-lost Sanguinius, the Angel, along with a good chunk of lore and background information on this popular chapter.
SPACE WOLVES CODEX RELEASE DATE
The 9th Edition Space Wolves Codex Supplement was released on October 31, 2020.
The supplement, like its siblings, provided army-specific datasheets, rules, and bespoke Crusade content for the Space Wolves chapter of Space Marines. It’s 88 pages long, and features additional lore for the Sons of Russ, a bestiary and unique ‘Sagas’ rules to form custom, ever-changing Warlord Traits for your Space Wolves commanders.
DEATHWATCH CODEX RELEASE DATE
The 9th Edition Deathwatch Codex Supplement was released, along with the Space Wolves, on October 31, 2020.
The Deathwatch supplement includes – you’ve guessed it – army-specific datasheets, rules, and bespoke Crusade content for the elite Chamber Militant of the Ordo Xenos, a.k.a. the silver-shouldered badasses of the Deathwatch.
It is 64 pages long, and includes juicy Deathwatch-specific lore content and special rules on mixing Kill Teams with different specialisations.
SPACE MARINES CODEX RELEASE DATE
The 9th Edition Codex: Space Marines was released on October 10, 2020, so it’s available now. There is also a special Collector’s Edition available, if you fancy it.
Codex: Space Marines contains heaps of lore for the first-founding chapters, as well as their more prominent successors. It is 208 pages in length, with 98 datasheets for new and existing units.
Get organised: Here’s our Warhammer 40K detachments guide
Space Marines were always going to be the longest book, with their 8,000,000 different units and bountiful sub-faction rules – but the 9th Edition codex is a seriously chonky tome, incorporating a whole raft of new rules from the Psychic Awakening series and the Adeptus Astartes’ own new Crusade rules.
NECRONS CODEX RELEASE DATE
The 9th Edition Codex: Necrons also launched on October 10, 2020 and is available now – with the option of a snazzy Collector’s Edition, too.
This is a smaller book than the Space Marines release, clocking in at only 120 pages. It’s still packed with new lore and, in general, represents a colossal and very exciting overhaul of how the Necrons work in battle.
There are 51 datasheets, including Szarekh, the Silent King
There are 51 datasheets, including rules for the magnificent new Szarekh, the Silent King model, as well as the Necrons’ numerous other glorious new models, all their new army rules, Crusade content and other nuts and bolts.
We’ll have more details in upcoming guides but, for now, you should get hyped about the Necrons’ new ‘Command Protocols’ mechanic. It’s a stone-cold brilliant addition to Necron army-building, which, alongside the newly fleshed-out Dynasty abilities, will add a touch of unpredictability to the round-by-round flow of a battle.
IMPERIAL ARMOUR COMPENDIUM
The 9th Edition Imperial Armour Compendium was released on October 30, 2020.
This was a stand-alone book release from GW’s specialist sister store, Forge World, to bring in-line a number of their special/limited edition miniatures with 9th Edition.
Adventure awaits! Read our Space Marine Adventures review
It’s got 233 updated datasheets for the Forge World models playable in Warhammer 40,000. It also includes a Regimental Doctrine for the Death Korps of Krieg and suggested Successor Tactics for five renowned Space Marine chapters that are too edgy to live in the main book.
As a side-note, GW has said that any model that does currently exist, but doesn’t have an entry in this book, will later be receiving a Warhammer Legends update at some point.
WHICH 40K CODEXES ARE WE STILL WAITING FOR?
Assuming all the same factions who got a full codex in 8th edition get one again this time around, the upcoming 40K Codexes we can expect to be revealed – but don’t have any solid info yet to mention, in full, above – are:
- Adeptus Custodes
- Astra Militarum
- Chaos Daemons
- Chaos Knights
- Chaos Space Marines
- Genestealer Cults
- Imperial Knights
- T’au Empire
Rest assured: we’ll keep this guide updated with all the latest information on Warhammer 40K 9th edition codex release dates, so you’ll know exactly when your army is getting its shiny new rules, abilities and lore.