Warhammer 40k Abilities are the capabilities that weapons and units have that make them distinctive and unique. Two guns might have the same profile, sharing Range Strength and Armour Penetration, but one might be a Blast Weapon that’s great at damaging hordes, while another is an Anti-Vehicle weapon that can easily damage tanks. Two similar units might have different battlefield roles because one can Deep Strike and the other can’t.
We’ve seen similar rules in the 40k Codex rulebooks for each army before now, but part Games Workshop’s efforts to make Warhammer 40k 10th edition simplified without being simplistic is to put these abilities into the game’s core rules. This standardised list is shared across all the Warhammer 40k factions.
Warhammer 40k Weapon Abilities
In the run up to 10th edition Warhammer 40k, Games Workshop the first set of new Warhammer 40k weapon abilities, via a Warhammer Community article posted on April 14. Rather than being defined by a single “type”, such as Heavy or Assault, and a textbox of special rules, weapons pull from a selection of standardised ‘Weapon Abilities’.
Weapon Abilities aren’t mutually exclusive; WarCom gives the example of Bolt-rifles, which are now both Heavy and Assault weapons (effectively granting them two different firing modes). This is a big change to the Weapon Types system that has been in effect since 3rd edition 40k, which granted each weapon just one type.
We’ve collated all the Weapon Abilities from that article, plus Weapon Abilities that have appeared in other WarCom previews.
Anti-keyword X+ abilities allow models to score Critical Wounds (that is, automatic wounds irrespective of the target’s Toughness) against vehicles on to wound rolls of X or higher. An Anti-vehicle 3+ weapon would wound vehicles on any to-wound roll of 3+. There will be other Anti-keyword abilities, though we don’t know what yet.
A unit that advances can still shoot with any Assault weapons it is carrying.
The Blast keyword appears on the Frag missile profile for the 10th edition Terminator’s cyclone missile launcher, and we learnt how it works during a demo game of 40k 10th edition: for every five models in the target unit, add one to the attack characteristic of the weapon. So a Blast D6 weapon would have D6+2 shots against a unit with ten to fourteen models.
Conversion weapons are more powerful at longer range: when firing at a target at least 12″ away, they inflict Critical Hits on hit rolls of 4+. Critical Hits don’t do anything in and of themselves, but they can trigger other abilities, such as Lethal Hits or Sustained Hits.
When a weapon with Devastating Wounds scores a Critical Wound (normally on a to-wound roll of six), the target suffers Mortal Wounds equal to the attacks damage, and the attack sequence ends. In effect, the attack ignores the target’s armour save and Invulnerable Save.
Normally when you declare melee attacks for a model you’ll select just one of the melee weapons it’s armed with. But you can use a weapon with Extra Attacks in addition. There’s no way to modify the number of attacks you make with such a weapon: if it has three Attacks and your model has an enhancement or other effect that grants the bearer additional attacks, they’re locked to three attacks.
An unlucky roll with a Hazardous weapon will kill the shooter, or inflict mortal wounds if a character or large model is firing, according to a WarCom article about psychic powers. If this works similar to Plasma weaponry from 9th edition, the Hazardous effect will be triggered on to-hit rolls of one.
Units that Remain Stationery get +1 to hit with Heavy Weapons they fire that turn. Note that ‘Remain Stationery’ is now bolded, indicating it’s a game term, which may mean it only applies in certain circumstances, not in all circumstances where the model hasn’t make a move (such as in the opponent’s turn).
WarCom revealed how Indirect Fire weapons work with the Sisters of Battle faction preview. You don’t need line of site to your target when firing an Indirect Fire weapon, but you suffer a -1 to hit penalty, and the target gains the Benefit of Cover. If you’ve been playing using the most recent Grand Tournament balance dataslate, you’ll already be used to this rule.
The Ignores Cover ability appears on the datasheet for the Shuriken Cannon, but WarCom hasn’t yet explained what it does. It’s safe to assume the weapon ignores any benefits of cover the target enjoys, whatever those are in 10th edition.
When you roll to hit with a Lethal Hits weapon and score a natural six (or otherwise score a Critical Hit), you don’t need to roll to wound, the attack wounds automatically.
So far, we’ve only seen the Linked Fire weapon ability on the Eldar Fire Prism datasheet, suggesting it’s a faction-specific ability. The Linked Fire ability allows one Fire Prism to draw line of sight and measure range to a target from another Fire Prism that it can see, effectively ‘relaying’ the shot through the friendly tank.
Melta X weapons do an additional X wounds against targets within half their weapon range: a Melta 2 weapon would do two extra wounds.
The Pistol Weapon Ability appears on the Termagant datasheet, but WarCom hasn’t explained what it does. In 9th edition 40k, Pistol weapons can be shot by a unit engaged in melee, targeting the unit(s) it’s engaging.
The Precision Weapon Ability appears on the Weirdboy datasheet for its ‘Eadbanger Psychic attack, but WarCom hasn’t explained what it does. ‘Eadbanger is a classic Weirdboy psychic power that allows the Ork shaman to burst the brain of an enemy character, so it’s likely this allows the attack to target characters even when they’re part of a unit or otherwise shielded.
Unlike previous editions of Warhammer 40k, 10th edition doesn’t have a separate Psychic phase. Instead, psykers will have additional abilities on their datasheet, including melee and ranged attacks with the Psychic Weapon Ability.
WarCom hasn’t yet explained if Psychic weapons have any innate abilities, but has revealed that the Space Marine terminator’s Psychic Hood ability grants it and any unit it joins Feel No Pain 4+ against Psychic attacks.
Rapid Fire X weapons fire X extra shots against targets within half range; a Rapid Fire 2 weapon would fire two extra shots at a target within half range.
A Sustained Hits X weapon inflicts an additional X hits on Critical Hit rolls: usually, this will be on to-hit rolls of six. A Sustained Hits 2 weapon would score two additional hits for every to-hit roll of six.
The Torrent Weapon Ability appears on the Heavy Flamer on the Terminator datasheet. Torrent weapons automatically hit.
Twin-Linked weapons can re-roll To Wound rolls.
Warhammer 40k Core Abilities
Core Abilities appear on unit datasheets, granting that unit a special ability. We’ve seen several in various previews from Warhammer Community.
Deep Strike appears on several revealed datasheets, but we don’t yet know if it functions exactly as it did in the previous edition.
When a unit with Deadly Demise X loses its last wound, roll D6. On a a six, the unit deals X mortal wounds to all units within range of the explosion.
A vehicle unit with Firing Deck X can make additional ranged attacks in the shooting phase using up to X weapons held by models embarked on the vehicle.
Leaders are character models that can join other squads during deployment. That squad becomes their bodyguard, protecting the leader from almost all attacks until the bodyguard has been destroyed.
Leaders are restricted to joining certain kinds of units, and usually, only one leader can join any squad. There are exceptions: the Primaris Lieutenant can join the same squad as a Captain.
Lone operatives can’t be targeted by enemies more than 12″ away.
Units with the Scouts X” ability get a free X” move after deployment.
Stealth appears on the datasheet for the Chaos Daemon prince Belakor the Dark Master but WarCom has yet to explain what it does.