Games Workshop released a new Warhammer 40k balance dataslate and updated Munitorum Field Manual on Tuesday January 30, bringing the latest tweaks to 10th edition and particularly to competitive play.
We’ve grouped the information in this article under headers for each Warhammer 40k faction to make it easier for you to find out what’s gone up, down, or sideways for your army. But there are some trends that stretch across armies which seem like targeted decisions to shape how Warhammer 40k plays, which we’ll cover first.
First, and perhaps most noticeable, is the total absence of any tweaks to the Adeptus Mechanicus and Necrons. Initial tournament results suggest the Necrons are overpowered and the Mechanicus are undercooked; fans hoping that this balance update would address the factions will be disappointed.
With both army books releasing just before Christmas, relatively few events to collect data from, and limited time to test any patches, GW may have chosen to hold off on updates rather than publish something half-baked.
Many units with the weapon ability Indirect Fire have gone up in points: the Manticore, Night Spinner, Whirlwind, Plague Burst Crawler, and Exorcist Launcher all see an uplift. Indirect Fire has had a big influence on 10th edition since it launched, particularly with the original wording of the Overwatch Stratagem; this adjustment puts a tax on units with that rule without reducing the effectiveness of the rule itself.
Many Kaiju units have come down in price. The most noticeable is the Tyrannofex, down almost 20%, while several Greater Daemons and most Knights have also seen drops of around 10%. Getting the points balance right for big units that provide plenty of firepower but put all of a player’s points in one basket is always tricky – this may not be the last time their points shift.
You can download the Balance Dataslate and Munitorum Field Manual from the Warhammer Community website.
Here are all the factions that have been buffed or nerfed in the January 2024 Warhammer 40k balance dataslate:
It’s a mixed picture for the Adepta Sororitas, as Morvenn Vahl, the Exorcist, and Arco Flagellants get points increases, while Dominions, Paragon Warsuits, Repentia, and Zephyrim drop. The Triumph of St. Katharine’s Ebon Chalice now allows a unit to perform up to two acts of faith per phase, not any number. The virtue of temperance at work, there.
You can find our full Adepta Sororitas guide here.
The nerf bat descends once again upon the Aeldari, the bogeyman faction at the start of 10th edition 40k. Wraithguard and Night Spinners both increase in points, yet it’s the rules updates that will have the most influence on the faction.
Aeldari armies now only generate six Fate dice at the start of a battle, a massive blow to an incredibly powerful ability. The Phantasm Stratagem, which was already nerfed in the first dataslate so that it could only target an infantry unit, no longer provides a guaranteed 7” move – it’s been dropped to D6”.
The Yncarne’s ability to teleport across the board whenever a unit is destroyed has been limited to once per turn rather than once per phase. The free reroll granted each turn by the Fate’s Messenger enhancement now only applies to the bearer, not to their unit. And the Wraithguard’s ‘War Construct’ ability, which allows them to return fire when shot, is now restricted to shooting back at the unit that shot them.
You can find our full Aeldari guide here.
The Adeptus Custodes get a sizeable buff in the latest balance update. Most infantry units are five points per model cheaper, while the Shield Captain on Dawn Eagle jetbike has a massive 40 point discount. The ‘Aegis of the Emperor’ detachment rule now provides a save against wounds inflicted by the Devastating Wounds weapon ability, as well as mortal wounds, a necessary update to account for how Devastating Wounds changed with the previous dataslate.
You can find our full Adeptus Custodes guide here.
The Astra Militarum are facing Departo Munitorum supply issues, as the cost of Manticore artillery vehicles has increased. The Guard has learnt some new tricks: Orders have been reworded so that a character can issue them after disembarking from a transport, not just during the Command phase. This should give some flexibility to guard armies and make a mechanised force more viable.
You can find our full Astra Militarum guide here.
Blood Angels get angrier, with a buff that now grants them +2 Strength on the turn they charge, not just +1. Pushing power fists up to S10, and chainswords up to S6, on the charge will push them over some important thresholds, equalling or beating the toughness on transports and light tanks, and doubling out the toughness on termagant hordes.
You can find our full Blood Angels guide here.
Points increases to Grimaldus, Helbrecht, and Crusader Squads suggest the Black Templars have taken some combat casualties and are a little fewer in number.
You can find our full Black Templars guide here.
Chaos Daemon hordes are about to get more numerous, as multiple units receive points discounts (though Nurglings and the Blue Scribes creep up a little). An adjustment to the Daemonic Pact rule for allying daemons into other armies requires you to take battleline daemons before taking non-battleline – possibly to stop players cramming in a couple of the now-cheaper greater daemons to every Warhammer 40k Chaos list.
You can find our full Chaos Daemons guide here.
There are no rules tweaks for the Chaos Knights, but plenty of points changes. The Autumn 2023 balance dataslate hit Towering units hard, limiting their line of sight through ruins and stopping them from using the Overwatch stratagem. Towering Chaos Knight units are now all cheaper, and there’s a minor points increase to War Dog Brigands, which have started to proliferate throughout their masters’ armies.
You can find our full Chaos Knights guide here.
Chaos Space Marines
Accursed Cultists, Chosen, Chaos Lords, Dark Commune, and Forgefiends all go up in points – the core of the Chaos Space Marines army that Mani Cheema piloted to victory at the Warhammer 40k world finals in November 2023 – as do Warp Talons and Obliterators.
The unkillable Accursed Cultists have been nerfed, with their Objective Control dropping to one and their ability to return models limited to just their controller’s command phase. The Profane Zeal Stratagem is now restricted to just units with the mark of Chaos Undivided, while the tenebrous Dark Obscuration stratagem has been curtailed – the unit affected can’t be targeted with shooting if it is 18” or more away from the shooter, not 12”.
You can find our full Chaos Space Marines guide here.
The Dark Angels points updates all relate to their index – a little odd, as the Dark Angels Codex is now in the hands of launch box set purchasers. These feel like very provisional updates – the Deathwing Command Squad and Land Speeder vengeance both get points cuts, but the units are disappearing from the army list as soon as the Codex is in general circulation.
You can find our full Dark Angels guide here.
No rules changes for the Death Guard, but basic Plague Marines and the Plague Burst Crawler both increase in points, while Bloat Drones, Typhus, the Lord of Virulence, and Deathshroud Terminators all get a little cheaper. Count the seven, plague brothers!
You can find our full Death Guard guide here.
The Drukhari are being pushed slightly towards melee: their melee units and transports get cheaper, while the Voidraven bomber gets a points bump. Spending a pain token from the Empowered Through Pain ability now grants additional armor penetration to melee attacks.
In a win for lore buffs, the Archon can now lead units of Incubi, the Archon’s mercenary bodyguard of choice.
The biggest uplift for the Drukhari is the surprise reveal of a brand-new Drukhari Detachment, the Skysplinter Assault, focused heavily on transports. Our best guess is that this is a preview of content in development for their Warhammer 40k Codex. Hopefully, we’ll get to see more of this type of thing soon!
You can find our full Drukhari guide here.
Purestrain Genestealers get cheaper – and that’s it for the Genestealer Cults.
You can find our full Genestealer Cults guide here.
Aside from a little points increase to the Brotherhood Librarian, the main point of interest is a tune up to the Grey Knights arsenal. The faction has suffered from a lack of serious vehicle and monster bashing equipment. The Nemesis Dreadknight’s Heavy Psycannon now ignores cover and has improved AP, while both its melee weapons are more accurate.
You can find our full Grey Knights guide here.
The Imperial Knights have similar points reductions to their Chaos counterparts. In addition, the Lay Low the Tyrant Oath – which allowed the player to reroll a result of “one” each time they attacked – now grants rerolls to any single die.
You can find our full Imperial Knights guide here.
Leagues of Votann
No rules changes for the Leagues of Votann, but a few noticeable points tweaks: Sagitaur, Brôkhyr Thunderkyn, and Einhyr Hearthguard all go up in cost.
You can find our full Leagues of Votann guide here.
Ork hordes are about to become bigger and more ramshackle. While there are points uplifts to Squighog Boyz, Nobz, and the humble Trukk, the main change has been lots of discounts; ten units get a points cut of at least 10%.
You can find our full Orks guide here.
Space Marines get an even mixture of points increases and points cuts. The largest is the points bump to the Whirlwind, part of a wider picture of Indirect Fire weapons being taxed. Scouts, Aggressors, Heavy and Assault Intercessors, Inceptors, Centurions, and the Redemptor Dreadnought are all up: basic Intercessors, Outriders, Infernus Squads, Sternguard Veterans, and Roboute Guilliman are down.
You can find our full Space Marines guide here.
Space Wolves can now claim completed Sagas at the end of any turn in which they fulfil the conditions, not just the end of the battle round, meaning they’ll see the benefit of their mighty deeds a lot sooner. The Space Wolves detachment was maligned when it was launched for providing no benefits until the controller met some conditions – it will at least be a little easier to claim those benefits now.
You can find our full Space Wolves guide here.
The T’au Empire sees a few little tweaks to point costs, with Commanders, Vespids, and Riptides getting cheaper, and Crisis Battlesuits going up.
You can find our full T’au Empire guide here.
There are lots of points tweaks for the Tyranids, with some very big discounts to Kaiju like the Tyrannofex, Toxicrene, and Screamer-Killer. While there are price bumps to the Neurolictor, Gargoyles, and Pyrovores, the Field Manual has more points cuts than increases – expect your local Tyranid horde to accumulate some extra biomass.
You can find our full Tyranids guide here.
The World Eaters get a meaningful slice from the nerf axe. The Khornate Daemon Prince’s Ward Save aura is now 5+ (improving to 4+ for units that already have a save), rather than a flat 4+. The Berzerker Glaive enhancement no longer grants additional attacks and strength on the charge, while the Favored of Khorne enhancement can only be used once per battle – but it at least gets a points cut.
World Eaters Forgefiends and the Lord of Skulls both get points cuts as well, but both regular and Exalted Eightbound go up in cost, as does Khârn the Betrayer and the World Eaters’ Master of Executions.
You can find our full World Eaters guide here.
It’s a healthy shakeup to the field, if not what Ad Mech players and Necrons opponents’ had hoped for. The core Wargamer team isn’t deep into competitive 40k at the moment – check out our Legions Imperialis review, and growing collection of Warhammer: The Old World faction guides, to see what’s caught our attention instead.