After a choppy 2020 Christmas period, in which Games Workshop’s (GW) planned release schedule was thrown out of whack by the UK’s second nationwide Covid lockdown, the rollout of new army rulebooks for Warhammer 40,000 9th edition is now getting back on track.
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. Players of each of these armies were all bursting to see their favourite faction brought up to date from the moment the new 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”.
Jubilant news, then, that 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. The long-awaited Death Guard codex went up for pre-order on January 16 and shipped out on January 23. And, on January 24, GW announced the Dark Angels Codex Supplement, which was fully released on February 6.
These are 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.
Also worth remembering: on the inside back cover of each of these new Codexes you’ll find a code to unlock the 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.
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
GW revealed, in its Warhammer Fest day five livestream on May 7, that the 9th edition Orks codex is indeed coming soon.
The stream also confirmed, however, that the quickest way to get hold of the new Orks rulebook would be to buy its new Beast Snagga Orks army set, which will come bundled with the codex inside – a la the Lumineth Realmlords army set for Warhammer Age of Sigmar. The standalone book’s release won’t come until “a short time later”, according the stream’s accompanying Warhammer Community post.
No release date has been given for either the army box or the standalone codex.
ADEPTA SORORITAS CODEX RELEASE DATE
GW announced, with a bombastic reveal video in its Warhammer Fest 2021 day two livestream, on May 4, that the 9th Edition Adepta Sororitas codex would also be coming soon. No specific release date, of course, but we’ll update this as soon as we get one.
The front cover bears an artwork of one of the new Celestian Sacresants, armed with a mace and shield.
In the initial codex reveal video – which showcased a whole lot of already revealed, but not yet released, Sisters of Battle models – we also got our first look at a major new character model for the Adepta Sororitas: High Abbess Morvenn Vahl, in a rather splendid gold-plated version of the recently revealed Paragon Warsuit.
One of the High Lords of Terra – the Imperium’s highest political authorities in the 41st millennium, Vahl was described by Eddie Eccles on-stream as “a top tier character… almost on par with the Primarchs” who “synergises well with whatever you’ve got in your Sisters of Battle army”.
The codex will include full rules for all the new Sisters of Battle units, as well as updated rules for the existing range of models and wargear – plus GW says there’s an extended Crusade rules section here. The stream also teased new rules to do with prayers and hymns – and suggested the new codex would allow a much wider strategic variety among Adepta Sororitas armies.
We also got confirmation that the core Miracle Dice mechanic has received some tweaks – but remains fundamentally the same.
ADEPTUS MECHANICUS CODEX RELEASE DATE
Games Workshop announced, in its Faith and Damnation preview stream on March 20, that the 9th edition AdMech codex would be coming soon.
So far all we’ve seen is the cover art above – but the book will feature datasheets for all the new models added to the Adeptus Mechanicus’ army roster since their last codex, plus all the new standard ingredients – including some technology-hunting Crusade rules. There is not yet an official release timescale.
With the temporary pause in GW pre-order releases now over, we’d expect to see the 9th Edition Adeptus Mechanicus codex release in mid-to-late May.
Day two of the Warhammer Fest livestreams, on May 4, saw presenters Adam Troke and Eddie Eccles confirm that the new Adeptus Mechanicus codex – and attendant kits – had indeed been delayed from schedule, but the release was now imminent.
WHICH CODEXES ARE COMING NEXT?
Warhammer Community showed a teaser video on Warhammer Fest day five, May 7, with the slogan “fire and magic”, which very clearly shows warriors from the Grey Knights and the Thousand Sons in combat. Presenters Eddie Eccles and Adam Troke hinted the factions featured in the teaser would be receiving “some new rules” very soon, and strongly indicated that meant their codexes were the next on the slate.
GW has suggested a Grey Knights v. Thousand Sons battlebox is coming
The accompanying written post went further, suggesting a Grey Knights vs. Thousand Sons battle-box was on the way. It’s not clear whether the codexes are expected at the same time as that boxed set – or whether they’ll perhaps be bundled in, as GW has decided to do with the Orks book. We’ll keep you informed.
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?
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 Necron army works 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
- Grey Knights
- Imperial Knights
- T’au Empire
- Thousand Sons
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.