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BREAKING NEWS!: (It's over 9000!!) 8th Edition 40K Power Levels Explained!

Today we get to see the follow up to the data sheet reveal, Power Levels and Points.

Power Levels:

Power levels are a much more woolly balance system than points. They deal with units as a whole, designed for quick pick-up-games or friendlies.

The example they give is for Tactical Marines, which have a Power Level of 5 for 5 Marines. This will include special/heavy weapon options or upgrades for the Veteran Sergeant (and perhaps the Veteranity of the Sergeant too!). Obviously you could just pick the most powerful upgrades (Gravcannons with a infinite shot combi-gravgun and powerfist on the Sergeant), but this would only be for non-competitive matches.

As always, if someone is doing that to you regularly, just don't play with that person.

This mirrors the Open-Play of Age of Sigmar (bring everything you've got!), but puts a far more rational limiting system on there to avoid wallet warriors buying 10 Wraithknights and suggesting a match against your Tyranid Start Collecting! force. Just like in Age of Sigmar, there will be some bespoke scenarios or instant-win conditions based on these Power Levels. This includes the ambush scenario below:

... where the lower Power Level army is always the defender with the simple goal of escape.

Whether this will be effective or not remains to be seen. It's certainly more supportive than "A force smaller than the opponent."

However, that's not good enough for tournaments. So we have Points.


As in Age of Sigmar (a phrase some people are growing tired of hearing about 8th Edition), points will not be included on the datasheet, but will be included "elsewhere in the same book."

Hold on.

In Age of Sigmar, the General's Handbook was something that would come out every year with updated points costs for things, and potentially tweaked scenarios and balances. This is a relatively easy thing to do. But if the poins for 40K are going to be included in the same book as the datasheet... why doesn't this invalidate the codex? Surely that page in the codex is now invalidated.

It's a minor gripe, but it seems like a weird fix to a problem they already have a solution for.

Either way, Points will now be used for Summoning Pools for factions that can do so (i.e. Chaos and... other Chaos).

Just like Deep Strike and Scout, this will become another non-standard deployment method, with forces being held in reserve to be unleashed later on in a battle. You set aside a certain number of points to be used to summon creatures.

What makes this distinct from Deep Strike and so forth, is that you can choose a unit to summon instead of being locked into a choice. Say you have 100 points set aside for summoning. With those points you can summon 100 points of Pink Horrors, or 100 points of Screamers of Tzeentch.

More flexible than other deployment methods, and a way of tweaking your army composition on the fly in tournaments.

Also, nifty buff for Thousand Son Rubric squads, who will be able to summon a Flamer unit right into the enemies face, or bring for a faster Screamer unit if they're on the wrong side of the map camping an objective.

Why do we need the two systems?

I have a student neophyte playing Dark Angels. In the last two matches I've played against him, he's tried to deploy a 10-man Dark Angel Tactical squad with Veteran Sergeant and melta-bombs, Plasma Canon and Plasma Gun for 75 points.

When I asked him to check his codex, he adds on the points of the upgrades, but forgets to pay for the extra 5 Marines.

This process of setting up the army is about 15 minutes of maths, in what should be a dice rolling frenzy of table-top carnage. The Power Level system is for these neophytes who just want to play games with their plastic soldiers, without having to argue over a 5 point difference in armies.

Speaking of which, this is also good for pick-up-games in shop. If someone wants to test out their tourney combo against a new player, they can easily give them a Power Level advantage. It is a much faster system than having to constantly look up upgrade costs, and keep track of everything.

Strictly necessary? Maybe not, but certainly a great way of merging filthy casuals and tourney freaks.

Anything else?

Remember the Rubrics from yesterday?

And the Tactical squads and wepaons from last week?

Those Tactical Marines are going to be 5 Power Levels for a 5 man squad. For a 10 man squad, that would be 9-10. The Same size for Rubrics would be about 14. At a quick glance, this looks more balanced than the near doubled cost or a basic Rubric compared to a Tact Marine, and in fact doubled cost for a 5-Rubricae squad versus equivalent Astartes.

What I'm saying here, is that things are looking up for the Sons of Magnus. Might need to get me a box of Rubricae this weekend!

Until next time!

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