We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Deathstrikes now a mortal threat

Games Workshop's latest Astra Militarum codex preview reveals lethal new Deathstrike missile rules dealing up to 16 mortal wounds per target unit

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Deathstrike Missile Launchers will be a much more reliable weapon of mass destruction in the 9th edition Imperial Guard codex, Games Workshop has revealed.

GW’s latest codex preview, published via its Warhammer Community site on Wednesday, shows the unit’s Godspear Warhead profile can deal between eight and 16 mortal wounds to every unit within a six-inch-diameter target zone. It comes alongside the news that Astra Militarum Commissars can now buff units with unique Prefectus Orders.

GW says the Deathstrike has at least two other profiles in the new Astra Militarum codex – “One blankets a wide area in searing plasma, while the other creates a persistent bubble of gravitational pain” – and, crucially, you’ll get to choose which missiles to arm your units with after you’ve seen which units are in your opponent’s army.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Deathstrike missile rules - Games Workshop image showing the new rules for the Godspear Warhead

By comparison, the 8th edition Deathstrike had one standard ranged weapon profile, which effectively dealt 3d6 (3-18) mortal wounds to a target unit, then got a 50% chance to deal d3 mortal wounds to other units within six inches.

Aimed at a close cluster of three enemy units, with a perfect roll of three sixes, the new Godspear Warhead profile will deal 16 mortal wounds to each unit – a total of 48, more than twice as many mortal wounds as the old missile could dole out at full whack.

On a weaker roll of three twos, it’ll now deal eight mortals to all three targets; the old one would have dealt just three to its target unit and, on average, two to one of the bystanders.

There’s more math to be done here, but, overall, this is going to be a much more reliably destructive multi-target weapon in 9th edition.

Warhammer 40k Astra Militarum Deathstrike missile rules - Games Workshop image showing three Deathstrike Missile Launcher vehicle models

There’s also an important change to how the Deathstrike Missile actually works in-game.

According to GW’s Wednesday preview, instead of the missile firing and impacting during your shooting phase – like most weapons – you’ll now place a Deathstrike marker on your target point, to mark where the missile will hit on your next turn.

If the targeted enemies have scarpered by the time you get to your turn, you can retarget the marker somewhere else and delay the launch by another turn, says GW – apparently indefinitely. It means the weapon could be very effective for denying opponents access to key objectives or battlefield areas, funnelling them into killzones, and other such shenanigans.

You can find the latest news on rules and book releases in our guide to Warhammer 40k codex release dates.

Cross-eyed from all this ballistic talk? Catch yourself up with our Astra Militarum army guide, or even our guides on how to play Warhammer 40k, the Imperium of Man, and more.