Games Workshop dropped a new Balance Dataslate for the Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen matched play season, as a free PDF attached to a Warhammer Community article, on Thursday. The PDF adjusts the rules for most of the Warhammer 40k factions, so it’s a significant document for all competitive 40k players.
The Balance Dataslate for the last matched play season, Warzone Nephilim, has been in effect since June last year. The new Dataslate replaces it completely. The Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen season should last for the first half of 2023.
According to the WarCom article, the Balance Dataslate is designed to work alongside adjusted points values supplied in the updated Munitorum Field Manual, also available in the WarCom article, and the soon-to-be-released Arks of Omen grand tournament mission pack. Here are the noteworthy changes for all the Warhammer 40k factions.
Universal matched play rules in the Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate
The number of Aircraft models you can field is still limited by the size of game you’re playing. Aircraft must now begin the game in reserve, and can’t use any movement phase abilities (like dropping bombs) in a turn that they leave the battlefield.
As in last season, models using Indirect Fire Weapons still suffer a penalty of -1 to hit and grant the target +1 to armour saves when targeting units they can’t see. There’s now no exception to this rule for Astra Militarum.
As in last season, the Balance Dataslate adjusts how Bodyguard Abilities work.
Astra Militarum Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
As the recipients of a brand new Codex, there’s absolutely nothing in the Balance Dataslate for the Astra Militarum. If you played last season, remember that you’re losing Armour of Contempt on your vehicles, and you now use the same rules for Indirect Fire as everyone else.
Space Marines Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Combat Doctrines have been slightly amended: there’s now no obligation to move out of a Combat Doctrine in a particular battle round. If you want, you can stay in the Devastator Doctrine for the whole game. You can still only move onto the Tactical Doctrine in battle round two. In practise, this takes Combat Doctrines back to how they worked in 8th edition.
An objective claimed by Adeptus Astartes troops remains under your control until your opponent gains control of it. Apparently, when marines take a point, it stays taken.
Space Marines lose Armour of Contempt, and last season’s errata to the Salamanders Chapter trait – which existed mostly because of the changes caused by the Armour of Contempt rule – has been removed.
Adeptus Mechanicus Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Adeptus Mechanicus get a major buff. The previous seasons’ nerfs to Forgeworld Lucius’ dogma and the Enriched Rounds stratagem have been removed, so these are back to the power levels they had in the Codex.
Kataphron Breachers and Destroyers now gain the Core keyword, while the Bionics ability of Skitarii and servitors has been upgraded to grant a 5+ invulnerable save.
Adepta Sororitas Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
As in last season, Sisters of Battle gain one miracle dice at the start of each turn. Like Space Marines, they lose Armour of Contempt from last season. The errata to the Order of the Valorous Heart’s Stoic Endurance conviction has gone, which makes sense, as the errata mostly existed because of the Armour of Contempt rule.
Adeptus Custodes Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
All Adeptus Custodes Core infantry, as well as Sisters of Silence troops, gain the Objective Secured ability – the difference from last season is that your Terminators are now Objective Secured.
The once-per-game restrictions on the Esteemed Amalgam, Emperor’s Auspice and Martial Discretion Stratagems that were present last season have gone, but as in the last season, you’re still restricted to using Arcane Genetic Alchemy and Emperor’s Auspice Stratagems on Infantry – so no jetbikes.
Grey Knights Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The Grey Knights lose Armour of Contempt from last season, but are otherwise unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.
Chaos Daemons Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Flamers of Tzeentch now need to roll to hit with their flickering flames weapons, but otherwise Chaos Daemons are unaffected by the Arks of Omen season.
Chaos Space Marines Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Creations of Bile have been tweaked, so that there’s now only a 50% chance of a model destroyed in melee being able to fight before it is removed. Chaos Space Marines as a whole lose Armour of Contempt from last season.
Death Guard Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Thousand Sons Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Thousand Sons no longer have Armour of Contempt from last season, but are otherwise unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.
Harlequins Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
Harlequins have taken the nerfbat hard. Every Harlequin’s invulnerable save is now worse by one. The errata to the Dark Saedath characterisation remains in place, and you can still only gain Luck re-rolls by making a Luck of the Laughing God roll.
The errata to the Mirror Architect Pivotal Role and Favour of Cegorach Warlord trait have gone. The errata to the Light Saedeth characterisation remains in place, making to-hit rolls of 1-3 against the Harlequin from more than 18” away automatically miss, but now comes with the ability to shoot as if stationery after moving or advancing, provided the unit isn’t in a transport.
Drukhari Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The nerfs to Haemonculi Covens remain in effect: Talos and Cronos aren’t Core units, liquifier guns cannot be enhanced by the Dark Technomancers obsession, and the Artists of the Flesh obsession still only reduces damage from attacks of Strength seven or lower. However, the errata to the Agile Hunters ability has been removed, a slight loosening of the screws for the Drukhari.
Asuryani Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The Fire and Fade Stratagem is no longer limited to once per battle, but otherwise the Eldar have the same errata as they did last season – the Eldritch Storm and Matchless Agility Stratagems are tweaked compared to the Codex, and the Hail of Doom far-flung Craftworld Attribute can’t be selected alongside any others.
Orks Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The same Balance Dataslate effects are in place for Orks as last season – Ork armies are limited to three buggies of any kind, and The Waaagh! still provides a bonus to Strength and invulnerable saves.
Necrons Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The changes to Necrons Command Protocols rules and the new units with the Core keyword remain the same as they were in last season. There’s a small tweak to the Ancient Dynasties rule that mean armies following the Vassal Kingdom or Eternal Conquerors Dynastic Codes can’t select an additional code from the Circumstances of Awakening list.
T’au Empire Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The same Balance Dataslate patches are in effect for the T’au Empire this season as last season; Broadsides aren’t Core units, the movement debuffs from Repulsor Impact Field and Photon Grenades Stratagems aren’t cumulative with any other effects, the nerf to Mont’ka that removes its AP bonus is still in place, and the Farsight Enclaves free markerlight effect is still limited to attacks made within nine inches, rather than 12″ as in the Codex.
Tyranids Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
All of last season’s Balance Dataslate patches remain in effect for Tyranids – if you have a Hive Tyrant it’s got to be the Warlord, if you want to swap out the Adaptive element of your Hive Fleet adaptation you need to do so during list-building, and you’ll still lose all your Synaptic Imperative buffs if your Warlord is killed. And there are more nerfs on top of it.
Hive fleet Leviathan’s adaptation Synaptic Control now only gives Synapse Monster units immunity to wound rolls of 1-3, so Zoanthropes and Tyranid Primes are out of luck. The Reaper of Obliterax relic is now capped at causing three mortal wounds, reducing its ability to act as a blender. The Overrun stratagem is restricted to just Core units, slowing down your monsters somewhat. Spore Mines you create during the game will now cost you reinforcement points – no more freebies from your Biovores, Harpies, or Sporocysts.
Genestealer Cults Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes
The Genestealer Cults get off scot free – there’s nothing in the balance dataslate affecting them.