Games Worksop has revealed changes to Warhammer 40k matched play coming in the Arks of Omen season, via a preview on the Warhammer Community website. A December 22 article shows off content from the upcoming Arks of Omen Grand Tournament Mission Pack, including an incredibly flexible new detachment for list building.
The Arks of Omen detachment is much, much more open than any existing detachment. The player must pick a battlefield role, such as “Troops” or “Elites”, and take three units from that slot. They also need to take one HQ choice, unless they’re fielding Imperial Knights or Chaos Knights. Beyond that, they have incredible flexibility to pick units they like for the detachment. According to the WarCom article, the Arks of Omen detachment should make it easier than any existing Warhammer 40k detachment to build the army you want without “depleting your precious CP reserves.”
The detachment itself doesn’t cost any CP to field. The article notes that “there will be a couple of specific additional rules to it to allow for unusual armies like Drukhari and Dark Angels forces”. This detachment alone should have a massive impact on matched play when the Arks of Omen Grand Tournament mission pack releases – GW hasn’t given an exact date, but expect it in January or early February if this year’s matched play seasons opens the same time as the Nachmund season in 2022.
One benefit the article doesn’t mention for some armies is that Lords of War units can be chosen as part of the Arks of Omen detachment. Not only does this save on CP, compared to including them in an auxiliary detachment, it will make them part of a Battle Forged detachment, granting them their faction’s Detachment Abilities. This could seriously improve the combat effectiveness of Astra Militarum super-heavy tanks, T’au Stormsurge battlesuits, Ork Stompas, or Eldar Wraithknights.
Key character units in all the Warhammer 40k factions are limited to one per detachment, like Space Marine Captains or T’au Crisis Suit Commanders. WarCom revealed a new Stratagem, Heroic Support, which allows you to field one extra model with this restriction in an Arks of Omen detachment for a single CP.
The article reveals that forces in an Arks of Omen detachment can be joined by Allied detachments, again costing no CP. GW hasn’t fully explained the restrictions around this, but provides some examples of the kind of allies your force can call upon.
Armies from an Imperium faction can take an Agents of the Imperium detachment, an Imperial Knight Freeblade, or a Leagues of Votann patrol detachment. Genestealer cults can take Brood Brothers patrol, Auxiliary Support or Super-heavy Auxiliary Allied Detachments. Thousand Sons can take Daemons of Tzeentch patrol detachments for their allies. We don’t yet know how these will interact with Detachment Abilities, which usually require the whole army be drawn from a single faction.
Some features of the last matched play season will remain. You must still pay command points to unlock Relics and Warlord Traits, and the article says that “fortifications are easier to deploy, the CP regain is the same, and Dedicated Transports must start with a unit inside them”.
This season does look like it will let the CP flow a little more freely: the article reveals that you won’t have to pay any CP to put units into Strategic Reserves.
GW promises updated missions and other changes to the mission pack. In an embedded video, Warhammer 40k studio head Stuart Black says that faction secondary objectives have been overhauled to create a more level playing field, and “everyone now gets three to pick from”. The article promises “huge collection of new and revised Secondary Objectives”, as well as distinct secondaries for the named Space Marine chapters and Chaos Space Marine legions.
The Salamanders gain the “Promethean Creed” secondary: the player selects an objective outside their deployment zone, and scores victory points for holding it, when their units survive holding that objective, or their unit holding that objective destroys an enemy unit. Emperor’s Children gain the “Adorn the Canvas Eclectic” secondary, which can score up to four victory points per turn for martial feats such as holding more objectives, destroying enemies with shooting or melee attacks, or when an Emperor’s Children character kills an enemy character.
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