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Winners and losers in the final 9E Warhammer 40k Balance Dataslate

Games Workshop has revealed the final Balance Dataslate for 9th edition Warhammer 40k - here’s everything that’s changing for your army

Warhammer 40k final 9th edition balance dataslate winners and losers - tyranid illustration by games workshop

Games Workshop dropped the final 9th edition Warhammer 40k Balance Dataslate as a free PDF via 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 current matched play season, Arks of Omen, launched in January alongside a Balance Dataslate. The new Dataslate replaces the previous one completely, though it continues to work alongside the Grand Tournament Arks of Omen mission pack.

The new Balance Dataslate will last until the launch of Warhammer 40k 10th edition – you can download it now from the WarCom website. But if you just want to know what’s different of your army, here are the noteworthy changes for all the Warhammer 40k factions.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate - art by Games Workshop of a fleet of space hulks and Chaos Space marine ships

Universal matched play rules in the final 9th edition 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.

As in last season, the Balance Dataslate adjusts how Bodyguard Abilities work.

Several Arks of Omen Secondary Objectives have been changed, but only one universal secondary objective: Abhor the Witch is now a Purge the Enemy objective, rather than Warpcraft.

Astra Militarum Final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Overcharged Las-cells Stratagem can now inflict a maximum of six mortal wounds per phase.

The ‘Finial of the Nemrodesh First’ relic has been reduced in power: when a core unit within its aura effect targets an enemy unit with a ranged attack, that unit can’t use any rules to ignore lost wounds, but will suffer from any negative to-hit modifiers.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen balance dataslate - photo by Games Workshop of blue armoured Ultramarines Space Marines defending a position from Tyranids

Space Marines final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

Combat Doctrines have the same amendment as in the last balance dataslate: there’s 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.

There’s now a cap on the number of victory points you can claim from the ‘Codex Warfare’ secondary objective: you can only gain a maximum of 5VP from this objective under each Doctrine. If you want all 15 points, you need to score kills under each Doctrine.

Dark Angels final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

Dark Angels get a single, sizeable whack from the nerf bat: Inner Circle models lose the ability that prevented them from being wounded on rolls of 1-3. Apparently the return of absentee dad Lion El Jonson has made them all go soft.

Deathwatch final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Deathwatch can now select any Combat Doctrine to be in effect in any round as many times as they want during a battle. Additionally, their unique ‘Cull Order’ secondary objective now grants 3VP per battlefield role they select if, at the end of the game, they’ve killed at least one enemy unit from that role, as well as 5VP per role they totally wipe out.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate Changes - photo by Games Workshop of robotic Necrons fighting cyborg Adeptus Mechanicus

Adeptus Mechanicus final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last Balance dataslate, Kataphron Breachers and Destroyers gain the Core keyword, while the Bionics ability of Skitarii and servitors has been upgraded to grant a 5+ invulnerable save.

Adepta Sororitas final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last dataslate, Sisters of Battle gain one miracle dice at the start of each turn.

Adeptus Custodes final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last dataslate, Adeptus Custodes Core infantry – including terminators – and Sisters of Silence Troops gain the Objective Secured ability

As in the last dataslate you’re restricted to using Arcane Genetic Alchemy and Emperor’s Auspice Stratagems on Infantry – so no jetbikes.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen balance dataslate - artwork by Complex Games of a group of Grey Knights daemon hunting space marines

Grey Knights final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Grey Knights are unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.

Imperial Knights final 9E Balance Dataslate Changes

The Imperial Knights are unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.

Chaos Daemons final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last Balance Dataslate, Flamers of Tzeentch need to roll to hit with their flickering flames weapons, but otherwise Chaos Daemons are unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.

Chaos Space Marines final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last Balance Dataslate Creations of Bile is tweaked from the Codex, so there’s now only a 50% chance of a model destroyed in melee being able to fight before it is removed.

Death Guard final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

As in the last Balance Dataslate, Death Guard Terminators have Objective Secured.

Thousand Sons final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

Thousand Sons are unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.

Chaos Knights final 9E Balance Dataslate Changes.

The Chaos Knights are unaffected by the Balance Dataslate.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate - photo by Games Workshop of Harlequins fighting Orks

Harlequins final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Harlequins were hit hard with the nerf bat in the previous Balance Dataslate – and all of those nerfs remain in place.  Every Harlequin’s invulnerable save is worse by one. Errata apply to the Dark Saedath and Light Saedath characterisations making them both less effective, and you can still only gain Luck re-rolls by making a Luck of the Laughing God roll.

Drukhari final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

Drukhari have been given a slight boost. The previous Balance Dataslate stripped the core keyword away from Talos and Cronos units, locking them out of faction buffs. That nerf is gone.

Other  nerfs remain in place: 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.

Asuryani final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Eldar have the same errata as they did in the last Balance Dataslate – 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.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen balance dataslate changes - artwork by Games Workshop of an Ork horde assaulting Death Korps of Krieg Imperial Guard

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 the last Balance Dataslate. As before there’s a tweak to the Ancient Dynasties rule that means 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

Broadside Battlesuits regain the Core keyword that they lost in the last Balance Dataslate, opening up more faction synnergy for them.

Otherwise, the same Balance Dataslate patches are in effect for the T’au Empire: 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.

Warhammer 40k Arks of Omen Balance Dataslate changes - artwork by Wizards of the Coast of a Tyranid Hive Tyrant, a four-armed alien monster

Tyranids final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The previous Balance Dataslate put some big restrictions on the Tyranids which the latest one has revoked. Synaptic Imperatives and Hive Fleet Adaptations once again work as they did in the Codex; your Synaptic Imperatives will survive the death of your Warlord, and you can use the Adaptive part of your Hive Fleet Adaptation after the start of the game.

Other changes remain in place from the previous Balance Dataslate. Hive fleet Leviathan’s adaptation Synaptic Control 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 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 cost you reinforcement points – so no freebies from your Biovores, Harpies, or Sporocysts.

Genestealer Cults final 9E Balance Dataslate changes

The Genestealer Cults see a big nerf to their ‘Broodswarm’ secondary objective: it’s no longer possible to score victory points for having more models on the table than your opponent, or for fulfilling all four criteria of having more models and more in your territory, your opponent’s, and no-man’s land. In effect this reduces the maximum VP you can score from this objective from five per turn down to just three.