Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Armour Compendium – Forge World 40k 9th Edition Review
Today we see the new Imperial Armour Compendium up for pre order from Forge World! This mighty 224 page book collects together the rules for the majority of current Forge World kits that are available to buy over on the Forge World website (It doesn’t include any discontinued models – so keep that in mind if you have any older kits, these will receive separate Legends support over on Warhammer Community allowing you to use these in friendly games)
As someone who loves the Death Korps of Krieg and the Titan Legions, I was very excited to see this book and check out the profiles contained within! We were very lucky to receive a copy of Imperial Armour Compendium a little early from Games Workshop to review and share the content with you all!
We have a look through the book in our YouTube video, or keep scrolling to see our full written review as we did into the datasheets and changes, and investigate what goodies are within!
We also have full reviews of both Codex Supplement: Space Wolves and Codex Supplement: Deathwatch, both also up for preorder today!
Imperial Armour Compendium Review
Back at the launch of the 8th edition of Warhammer 40,000 we saw a series of volumes from Forge World collecting together all the rules for Forge World units in the new edition of the game. I think it is fair to say however that there was a wide gulf in the balance and efficiency of these units. Some had vastly over the top rules for their relatively cheap points levels, while others seemed far too expensive in points for their in-game performance. Even Forge World armies such as the Death Korps of Krieg ended up in a weird limbo where they could use some units from the Astra Militarum book, but not all in exchange for getting access to a couple of unique units. With the new edition of the game now out in the wild, Forge World have released a similar book this time containing the rules of nearly every unit they currently produce. Now yes, that nearly in the previous sentence is a little ominous as there are a couple of strange exceptions. I never expected discontinued units to get rules in this book, it’s an unfortunate truth that we are only ever really going to get current tournament ready rules for models that Games Workshop still produce, however I am a little surprised that some units that you can still buy on the Forge World website do not get rules in this book – that said, even with that small caveat there are an absolute truck load of units in this mighty tome! Just check out the contents page below!
You have to agree that is a massive amount of profiles available in the book! Now your mileage may vary if you only collect one army, but as I have multiple armies with a wide and varied range of Forge World models across them I much prefer having them all in the one book. In contrast to the previous Imperial Armour Index volumes, this book is hardback too – so will not only match the rest of your 9th Edition Codex collection, but also last a little longer in better condition! My trusty Index: Forces of the Astra Militarum was starting to look a little dog-eared by the end of the edition!
The book itself is split into 4 sections broadly following the split of the old Imperial Armour Indexes – Forces of the Adeptus Astartes, Forces of the Imperium, Forces of Chaos and Forces of Xenos. These headers then drill down further into the various factions within that bucket, detailing any specific rules or codex interactions, all the datasheets and then the points values collected together at the end of each faction in the much easier style seen in the other Codex releases for 9th edition! No longer will you have to flick back and forth to the very back to find your factions points!
Forces of the Adeptus Astartes
For the Space Marines we get a couple of new rules introduced – the main one that is going to effect most people’s list building is the introduction of the Martial Legacy ability. This ability is included on most relic units dawning from the Horus Heresy era – if a unit has this ability on it’s profile then the detachment it is taken in increases in cost by 1CP. This seems a way of restricting those rare units and make sure the battlefield isnt flooded by them – don’t forget that this will have an impact on your “free” detachment, as the warlord only refunds the initial CP cost of them!
The Imperial Armour books have also featured a few less well known successor chapters over the years, and Imperial Armour Compendium features suggested chapter tactics to best represent the way they fight – I love this and gives players a framework towards designing their chapter to best fit the lore and narrative of the army as reflected in Warhammer 40k literature! I hope this is something we see for other less known chapters in the future, even if it is in White Dwarf articles.
The Red Scorpions, Minotaurs, Blood Ravens, Astral Claws and Carcharodons are all represented here along with characters including Chapter Masters for you to lead your forces with. It’s great to see all these characters represented still, as a lot are from very old IA books. Combined with the contents of the new Space Marines Codex you will be able to carry the torch for these under represented armies!
On to the datasheets themselves we see a number of changes across the profiles, with the biggest change being weapons – a lot have had damage or number of attacks added in line with the changes seen in the Space Marine Codex, units have also been updated to reflect any rules changes from that book such as Duty Eternal being added to all Dreadnoughts making them a lot more survivable. We see quite a lot of points changes too, with a lot of the relic entries becoming cheaper across the board, with other units being adjusted upwards. This is a great change as I often felt some of the Forge World units had some very odd costings. The new Imperial Armour book has been written with the new books in mind and so costings across the board seem to be a lot better to reflect the power of those units.
We will be taking a look at some of these units in greater detail over the week once we have had a chance to crunch the numbers, but my initial reaction is positive here with some cool options for adding some fun units to bolster your Space Marine army.
The Grey Knights also get a couple of updated profiles with a renamed Land Raider Banisher, getting a small points discount and a Grey Knight specific Thunderhawk getting a massive discount in line with the new profile elsewhere in the book.
Forces of the Imperium
The Imperium section of the book is fairly chunky and contains a shed load of new profiles and rules! First and foremost are the Astra Militarum which also includes a new Regimental Doctrine for the Death Korps of Krieg.
This has changed somewhat from the previous incarnation, and arguably is a little worse for your foot slogging troops. Previously this rule made you immune to battleshock from ranged weapons, meaning that the enemy had to kill you to a man if you wanted to shoot the Krieg off an objective. Now it only ignores modifiers for Combat Attrition meaning it is still possible to force you off an objective from shooting. Thankfully they do also get a small benefit in the ability for a vehicle to fire on a 4+ when they are killed, making it a danger at times to take out Krieg vehicles, especially ones with nasty weapons!
We also get a nice two page spread telling the tale of the Death Korps of Krieg and the hellish world they herald from. This is a great introduction for people who may have missed out on the Siege of Vraks series and gives some brilliantly grimdark flavour to this most dark of regiments!
As to the profiles themselves, the Krieg have lost any units that still do not have models produced by Forge World – In addition to this, with the Death Korps now acting as a “supplement” to the core Astra Militarum book they simply use the base guardsman profiles for their troops – this is a shame as they Krieg did have the advantage of slightly better WS, however I do think this is for the better in balance, as this means that then we get a new 9th Edition Astra Militarum book we will simply be able to port over the surviving Krieg units directly into that new army with minimal issues! The Marshal still exists, but sadly without his Memento Mori, which is a shame as I felt that was a great upgrade. Death Rider Command Squadrons and Commanders have also survived, with the Death Rider Squadron also still existing, and with improved rules too!
I have been crying out for the Augmented Mount to be usable on any strength of attack, as previously this was locked to S4 and below only, which was a little situational.
One small complaint I have here is that it looks like the Force Org icons for the Command Squadron and the Squad are reversed with the command squad in fast in error! In the points section these are listed correctly however.
Combat Engineers have also had a rework with their shotguns becoming a lot less deadly, but getting a great rate of fire and the ability to pop up anywhere on the battlefield. Their Gas Bombs are still excellent and with the Grenadiers stratagem will be painful for anyone on the recovering end! In a move for anyone who loves the Mole Launcher too, the squad can now have this as an attachment too rather than having to replace squad members!
Across the rest of the Astra Militarum section we seem some great Quality of Life updates as well as weapon and profile updates that make for some fun changes to these units! All of the Artillery platforms and Mortars now do not count the crew as a separate unit, and you simply ignore them for the purposes of combat, they are just for show now! This is a much better way of the unit working and makes my life as a Krieg commander much easier in terms of having to previously try and fence off the crew to stop them getting charged!
The Trojan now has a fun rule that allows One Shot weapons to fire again – so, for example, you can use one to reload a Deathstrike allowing it to fire a second time! The Hades Breaching Drill can also finally carry Combat Engineers too, something that was overlooked in the previous index.
We also see some sneak peaks at what weapons may look like in a future Astra Militarum book with a Vanquisher cannon being listed as S16, AP -4, D9 with +1 to hit Vehicles and Monsters – I am suddenly very glad i went with rule of cool and armed my Krieg Leman Russ with a Vanquisher cannon! At the moment this profile only applies to the Macharius twin variant, however it would not surprise me to see that profile in the new AM book!
The Tarantula Battery also makes the move to a Fortification slot, making taking 3 units of these very tempting for some objective defence!
The Inquisition get a couple of updated profiles for Lok and Rex bringing these guys up to date!
The Custodians get the profiles that have previously available on the Forge World website, not massive updates for these outside of some points adjustments, but all the Dreadnoughts including the Telemon have been given the same rule as Astartes Dreads allowing them to reduce damage of incoming shots by 1! Units have also had the CORE keyword added, setting them up to be futureproofed for a future Custodes Codex.
The Adeptus Mechanicus get updated profiles for the Secutarii with rules keying off the new Titan Legion keyword that has been added for Titans. They also get the Termite added as a transport option, which also gives them an aggressive high strength close combat unit in the form of the drill itself!
The Imperial Knights get profiles for all Knight variants currently produced by Forge World including some much appreciated points cuts!
Titan Legions have had a massive boost in this book! Not only do we finally get a Titan Legions faction we can draw our army from, but we also get some massively reworked Titan profiles! Titans now have a stock 2+ save and many more wounds than they used to have, but had their toughness dropped a little. Void shields now work in a much different way – essentially while they are active you have a 5+ save, and each generator has 3 shield points – each time you fail a save you lose a shield point, any excess damage is wasted, meaning you want to try and force them down with low Damage weapons to get the most benefit – once a shield hits 0 points it collapses, but if you dont collapse it in a turn then it regains all its points in the command phase. Only once all shields are down can you start pumping damage into the Titan itself.
This seems a really fun way of making Titans useable in a normal game, and I’m looking forward to seeing how my titans fare as soon as we are able to film battles again!
Forces of Chaos
Similar to the Space Marines we get a lot of traitor variants added, along with a new stratagem “Smokescreen” added in order to replicte the ability that Space Marines currently get in their book, again future proofing this volume until the Chaos Space Marines book is updated! Likewise their Dreadnoughts also get the same damage reducing abilities to bring them inline! We see quite a few units get tweaked to remove degrading profiles too, such as on the Blood Slaughterer. A lot of the profiles have been tidied a little and they benefit greatly from this, as degrading profiles on low wound models like this was often a problem in the previous edition.
In the same way as Space Marines, the Traitors also have to spend an additional CP if they want to take a Martial Legacy unit
As with the Space Marines we see a number of points adjustments that bring both of these forces in line with each other.
The Death Guard also get a Greater Blight Drone with the Death Guard keyword, making this fully compatible with the Death Guard book and the Plague Companies rules.
Chaos Daemons get some welcome points adjustments, no longer have we got to have points values tied to the God’s holy numbers! This makes the Exalted Daemons much easier to take in a game, and I can’t wait to include them in lists again as they are some of my favourite models and deserve to be on the battlefield again!
Just like with their Imperial counterparts, we see updated profiles for every variant of Imperial Knight, giving the Chaos Knights access to a large pool of different chassis, these have also been tweaked in regards to points values in line with the Imperial versions!
This also applies to the Chaos Titan Legions too, who essentially get the same datasheets but with suitably chaotic keywords!
Forces of the Xenos
Like with the other forces, the Xenos factions also see some tweaks and adjustments to their datasheets, along with some points updates – We will be digging a little deeper into each of these factions later in the week in some more detail, but there’s some great changes across the board.
For the Eldar, the Revenant Titan getting a 4+ Inv save regardless of how far they move. The Hornet is also -1 to hit all the time without having to advance.
The Necrons get a new fortification in the form of the Sentry Pylons – these have made the move from the Heavy slot freeing up some precious Heavy choices for more Doomstalkers! The Night Shroud’s bomb is still one use only, which is a little disappointing but thankfully gets a small points cut.
We see some randomness removed in the Orks, especially with the Grot Tanks and Mega Tanks who now have a movement of 6+D6 rather than 2D6 making them a lot more reliable in regards to movement! The Gargantuan Squiggoth can also fall back and charge and even move over other units as it they were not there, something lacking in the current sheet making it easy to pin then down. The Kustom Stompa not only gets a decent points cut to 800 points, but also gets ome much improved weapons such as the Belly Gun now getting 3D6 shots!
Tau also do very well in the points department with the R’varna getting a big points cut, we also see a number of weapons tweaks too, with increased damage and strength here and there across the range, perhaps pointing at any future upcoming changes in a new book on the horizon.
Finally the Tyranids have units with some updates such as the awesome looking Dimachaeron which not only has more wounds and a base 5+ inv save, but can also gain a 5+ wound shrug too if it kills something with it’s Spine Maw! The Hierophant also gets a huge points drop to 850 points from it’s previous cost of 2000 – so hopefully we start to see more of these, as they are amazing models!
So what do I think of the new book? I reckon the Studio have done a great job here at bringing together all these profiles updated and tweaked for the new addition with baked in compatibility to their parent Codexes. It’s also a really well organised book making it much easier to use both during a game and while creating your list. Just like the other 40k Codexes it includes a code in the back of the book that unlocks these profiles in the Warhammer 40k app too giving you an easy way of accessing the content on the move.
There are a couple of grumbles about missing units that are still available that do not have profiles, and sadly a few formatting errors here in there with incorrect battlefield roles and power values, which is a little bit of a disappointment in a £40 book.
If you are a fan of Forge World models and want the chance to use them in your games of 40k then you really should pick this book up, and while I understand that for pure Tyranid players it may seem a shame you have to fork out for the entire book, for those who collect multiple armies it is great having all these profiles collected in one place!
Throughout the week we will be taking a look in more detail at some of the changes in profiles across the armies, along with taking a look at the Death Korps of Krieg to see if they can finally compete on the tabletop with these new rules, so make sure to stay tuned to the site!
Warhammer 40,000 Imperial Armour: Compendium is available now from Forge World for £40
Games Workshop provided Sprues & Brews a copy of this book for review purposes.