Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary – Everything New in the January Rules Commentary

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Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary – Everything New in the January Rules Commentary

The Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary is aimed to answer some of the tougher questions in the game, and with the Balance Update, we finally have more answers.

The Warhammer 40k January Balance Update dropped on Tuesday, rewriting the meta with huge buffs to Custodes, nerfs to Aeldari, a brand new Drukhari Detachment and heaps of points changes! On a quieter note, it also added some much-needed explanations to the Rules Commentary, the document aiming to give answers to questions the Core Rules or the Indexes/Codices do not.

As with every balance update, the Rules Commentary also changed – here are all of the most important changes.

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary – Everything You Need to Know

Abilities of the Same Name Can Now Stack (Under Some Circumstances)

Something that wasn’t clear before was if that abilities that give bonuses could stack. With the Commentary update, they can, provided they don’t give a “named” buff or debuff, such as the Leagues of Votann Cthonian Beserks Subterranean Explosives. But abilities like the Chaos Daemons Rendmaster on Blood Throne’s Blood Throne ability do, and can give +1 AP, Damage and Attacks multiple times with some setup and more than one Rendmasters. This change will be bigger than first anticipated, so be prepared for some big combos in the next few months!

The Charge Bonus is Now Defined

The Charge Bonus is something that came up with the Stratagem Heroic Intervention: this Strat lets you countercharge, but don’t give the Charge Bonus. While you could make it out of the Core Rules that this would be the Fights First Charging gives, it’s now defined – anything else you’d get for charging you get when Heroically Intervening, you just don’t get Fight First.

Control of Objective Markers Transfer at the end of Phases and Turns, Disregarding Objective Secured

Objective Markers can be taken from the other player if you have more OC on the point as they do, but some abilities stickied them until the end of the turn. That’s no longer the case, so Death Guard and other Sticky Objective units in various factions now have to be a bit more careful leaving their Objectives unattended.

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary

Counts as Having Made a Normal Move Doesn’t Trigger Abilities that Care about Movement

Reserve units count as having made a normal move, but they don’t actually move – it’s just to solidify they can’t move further. However, because they didn’t strictly made a Normal Move, they don’t trigger abilities and Stratagems that care about that like Mists of Deimos for Grey Knights or Squad Tactics for Space Marines.

Units That Disembark From a Reserve Unit Can’t Cheat 3”

One tactic with Land Raiders was that you’ leave them out in Reserves, bring them in, then Disembarking your models 3” from them, essentially getting a 6” Charge from Reserves. That won’t work anymore, as the Disembarking models now also need to be 9” away from all enemy units.

Fight on Death Units now Die Before Hitting Back

Models that Fight on Death now Count as Death before Fighting Back, so they activate abilities such as the Sisters of Battle Detachment Rule for +1 to Hit and +1 to Wound if the Criteria is met, or any abilities similar that care about models dying.

One Shot Abilities Can’t Be Used with Firing Deck

This is more of a nerf than a simple Rules explanation, as the weapons that have the One Shot keyword now can’t be shot out from Vehicles – so no more rockets from Rhinos!

You Can Redeploy and Use Other Abilities

If you have an ability like Infiltrators that let you deploy in a special way, AND you can redeploy, you can redeploy with the special rules – which is a great buff to Vanguard Tyranids!

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary

You Can Only Split Units Once

Even though these abilities were usually worded in a way that would make it self-explanatory, the Rules Commentary now clears it all up: if you can divide bigger units into smaller ones, you can only do it once with each unit, so no subdivisions for Votann and Drukhari.

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary

Ignoring All Modifiers Now Do, In Fact, Ignore All Modifiers

While this was also pretty straightforward, abilities such as the Leagues of Votann’s Grim Demeanour Enhancement and Mortarion’s Aura now ignore every and all modifier for every characteristic for models and their weapons – except the Save modified by AP. This is the biggest change of the Rules Commentary, as it makes Necron C’tan among other things much less scary for armies that have access to abilities like this.

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary

Command Re-roll Now Has a Target

There was an argument that as the Command Re-roll didn’t have a target specified that it could be used on Battle-shocked units. Now it has a target – the unit from your army that you want to re-roll a test for – so Battle-shock can’t be averted anymore.

While most of these changes were obvious if you thought about how the rules are intended, intention is easy to mistake, so it’s good that they have been defined. The January Balance Slate has been welcomed with some slight criticism but overall positive responses – we can’t wait to see how it shapes Warhammer 40k!

Warhammer 40k Rules Commentary – Everything New in the January Rules Commentary
Bence Loksa
Bence "Atreus" Loksa is a freelance journalist and League of Legends shoutcaster, covering all things esports and gaming, also yelling loudly at big plays happening on the Summoner's Rift. While his main focus is Riot Games' hit MOBA, he also dabbles in Call of Duty, VALORANT, and as of recent, the tabletop wargame Warhammer 40,000 - where he looks to make some grudges with his Leagues of Votann army.