Devastatingly Simplified, our Public 10th Edition Beta Test

by | Jun 8, 2023

You may have heard that Games Workshop is releasing the newest edition of Warhammer 40,000 in the next few weeks. Judging from a lot of reactions, the freakout has begun! This is typical for every edition, but even more so with the 10th edition as we are experiencing quite the reset, causing many people to lose their collective minds. While the core rules are not really that groundbreaking compared to 8th, it has always been the actual faction rules that cause the most drama. Games Workshop has made it a marketing point to claim that this edition is “Simplified Not Simple.”

Certainly, Games Workshop is not making it simple for players to be happy with what they are seeing. This issue has come to the forefront recently, thanks to an event making the bold announcement to ban an entire faction from their event unless Games Workshop addresses the issue in their FAQs. Here is the statement below for context…

Now, I don’t want to speculate, but for the sake of simplification, assume the TOs don’t have access to advanced rules or points, so they are making this decision based on what everyone has had access to so far when it comes to unit rules. I also don’t want to argue the merits of this decision, whether it’s right or wrong. You can come to your own conclusions about that.

Anyway, the specific issue with Eldar is the ability to combine the “strands of fate” rules with devastating wounds. This combination can cause massive amounts of mortal wounds from various Eldar units (D-Cannons, Wraithguard). Since we currently don’t have a mortal wound cap in place for 10th edition, you can see the problem this might cause.

This isn’t new when it comes to new editions; it’s the unintended consequence of Games Workshop not fully understanding how interactions can break the game. We had a similar situation with the release of Leagues of Votann, where Games Workshop even had the poor digital team post a hostage video due to the rules team’s mistakes.

If you go further back to a similar situation at the launch of 8th edition, GW had to quickly change how missions and flyers worked to prevent a general uprising. So, this is nothing new. However, what is new is an event preemptively addressing Games Workshop, knowing we have a pattern of terrible balance behavior.

Similar to 8th edition, it’s clear that we are in the beta test phase of 10th edition, with the global player pool now serving as the testers. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the game designers to not know how their own game works, especially with access to some of the best players as playtesters. The excuses are running out quickly.

If you review the Bugeater announcement, you’ll notice that the event is hedging and putting GW on blast because, they know the vast majority of players don’t know the entire landscape of what Warhammer 10th edition will actually look like. It’s possible that every faction has something completely broken, resulting in a “balanced” game. Additionally, with Games Workshop smartly transitioning many things to digital, they can easily correct any mistakes without us even realizing. So, don’t be surprised if the digital GT pack adds additional rules to limit the output of Devastating Wounds.

Regardless of this specific problem, assume 10th edition will be filled with terrible combos that we can’t currently foresee. What is unfortunate is that we, the players, have to be the ones to fix it and make Games Workshop acknowledge that it needs fixing. No game system is perfect, but the number of times we have to go through this same process with Games Workshop is mind-boggling and something we shouldn’t have to deal with every edition release and, in many cases, every codex or faction release.

I suppose, at the very least, we should be happy that Games Workshop these days actually listens to the community and reacts fairly promptly, even if it feels like we the community are a bunch of unpaid rules team interns for the entire company. No matter what stay calm and voice your opinion because you never know who might be listening.