Warhammer 40000 9th : Terrain rules review

Tags : terrain 9th warhammer 40000

Small thumb terraincover

Prepare to be Amazed because everything changed !

This part will be more gamy than the Book review.

Terrain in the 9th

The terrain rules are the big game changer of the 9th editions. No game in the 8 will resemble what is going to happen in the 9th Matched game. Off course everything here should be balanced by the mission forcing you to move out of cover ^^

Before starting I am amazed that the free rules online don't have terrain or cover rules (unless I missed them). It such a dick offer the free rules but the interaction with the "battlefield" is not included...Wtf is that?

Anyway, let's start this terrain review!

4 types of terrains

There are 4 types of terrains in the 9th editions. So all terrains, for now, must be part of one of these big family of terrains.
Certain models gain cover depending on the terrains types, note that having cover doesn't do anything ! but having cover is going to get you a bonus or malus depending on certain Keywords.

The 4 types are :

  • HILL




warhammer rumour


The hill is the first type of terrain described in the book. They can be free-standing or modelled into the battlefield itself.
They don't give you cover but can potentially break los if you are behind it.

This is los rule btw :

warhammer rumour

So in a nutshell the hill terrain doesn't do much, if the hill model is big enough you can break or gain some los but not much. Note you can decide to grant your hills with keywords as will see soon.


Obstacle includes barricade, walls, statues, debris, box, container ... this type of terrain regroup all the solid and limited in zone terrain. Models move over obstacle using normal rules (1" or less ignore the terrain or move over if more than 1").

warhammer rumour

So, can't attack obstacle, use normal rules for LOS and MOVE. Grant cover if you are within 3" of it and the shooter has to shoot through the obstacle.
But the cover bonus is limited to Infantry, Beast, Swarm. so Vehicles don't get cover! but nids TMC get to cover ! (cover still does nothing without keywords)

Area Terrain

I am happy to see Area terrain rules, for the last 15 years each rules book have been bouncing between obstacle and area we got both of them in the book so I hope it stay like this.
Area terrain represents a zone of terrain with a defined frontier, like woods, a swamp, craters....When you deploy such a terrain, players must agree on where the terrain start. Most of the time it's easy but with some ruins terrains, you may have to define the footprint to be 100%.

warhammer rumour

Like Obstacle area terrain uses normal rules for LOS and MOVE. Models receive benefits of cover while within. So you just need one "toe" in the terrain to get the benefit.
Again the benefit of Cover are limited to INFANTRY, BEAST, SWARM....So bye-bye cover for vehicles ^^


Buildings are paid in points by players and their rules are defined on their Datasheet.

warhammer rumour

Buildings are units, they can be attacked, you can't move through them and you use normal LOS rules.
We have no details yet but buildings should benefit from friendly aura if they have the right keyword?
but after reading this section it looks like You CAN'T move over a tau shield wall?

Still, we'll have to wait for online errata & the rules of all those buildings.

Now that we understand what are the 4 types of terrain let's get to Terrains Traits !!!

Terrains Traits

Each terrain not only has a type (hill, obstacle, area, building) but also have Traits. Each trait have specific keywords granting certain abilities.
There is no limit to the number of traits you can give a terrain. Both players have to agree on the traits before the battle.

    The trait list
  • Defensible

  • this is the first trait of the list, only apply to INFANTRY. This is the most interesting keywords as it allows to a new charge reaction in lieu of Fire Overwatch grating +1 to hit but if you choose to overwatch you hit on 5+.
    warhammer rumour

    Note the wording: +1 to hit for the melee reaction (so don't stack with your other modifier) but the overwatch is hit on 5+ so if you get a +1 to hit overwatch somewhere you can stack it. (as you know in the 9th you can't have more than +1 or -1 to a roll)

  • Defence Line
  • The intent is to be able to charge a unit behind a small wall even if you can't reach it.

    warhammer rumour

    There is a flaw with this rule as the charge target have to be within 1'' of the terrain. But you can be 1.1'' away from the defence line terrain, still get cover, and defensible benefit without allowing charge against you.

    Note it also applies to vehicle standing behind a defence line terrain ^^

  • Breachable
  • Pretty simple if the terrain has this keyword, like ruins, for example, Infantry, beast and swarm can move through it without losing movement. So Carniflex can walk through a ruin wall ^^ keep that in mind :D

    warhammer rumour

  • Difficult Ground
  • -2 speed applies to everyone but fly keywords! Wood is a difficult ground, craters as well, swamp could be too.

    warhammer rumour

  • Dense Cover
  • The name of this trait is badly chosen and bound to cause errors. Dense cover has nothing to do with being in cover (see types of cover) .
    That means it applies to Vehicles as well.

    warhammer rumour

    For example, Woods get the dense cover rule, so if you shoot at something inside the woods or if the shoot has to go through the wood you get -1 to hit.
    Doesn't apply to AIRCRAFT target (not a unit with the keywords fly) and with a wound of 18+

    So, no link to the cover rule just bad naming, I guess something like: harder to hit, hiding would have been clearer.

  • Unstable Position
  • Cant end the move on the terrain

    warhammer rumour

    Don't want to spend more time on this but, Fuel pipe are defence line and unstable. I am fearing some exploit where I can stand 1.1 " behind the pipe so you can charge/attack me from the other and can't finish moving on the terrain...

  • Exposed Position
  • Applies to box and container terrain, love this idea !!!

    warhammer rumour

  • Obscuring
  • Terrain Block Los if the target on the other side.

    warhammer rumour

    All ruins example have this trait (but not wood ?) it should really help cut the LOS line turn 1. Not apply to a vehicle as well while they are not AIRCRAFT or 18+ wounds.

  • Light & Heavy cover
  • warhammer rumour

    If you get to cover and the terrain has this trait you get +1 against melee or ranged depending on the trait.
    You NEED benefit of cover to claim this bonus (so only inf, swarm, beast) it's different from dense cover ^^

  • Scaleable
  • Perfect addition & huge boost to melee Beast. All ruins have Scaleable & Breachable, meaning that a Carniflex can easily wall through the wall and the floor to reach your devastator up there (with 5'' melee range vertically). It's great and going to fix a lot of exploits.
    Again tanks, while buffed by the rules, are getting excluded from a lot of terrain rules.
    Note that antigrav vehicle with the FLY keywords can still be deployed on the top of the ruins ^^

    warhammer rumour

  • Inspiring
  • warhammer rumour

    Great for adding interested to status and chaos icons ^^

TERRAIN example

Gw included examples of what trait should have certain terrains. They are only guideline so you can do what you want.

warhammer rumour

warhammer rumour

Battle field exemple

Gw included example of what a good and fair battlefield should be :

warhammer rumour

warhammer rumour


Time to conclude this review of the new terrains rules !!! It's the most ambitious change in the 9th editions. There are a lot of unanswered question for now but I find this system really elegant and in innovative (for GW). I think it's going to work very well and create a much more interesting battlefield than in the 8th !!

That's it for now, i'll add more review tonight.

Review also added to the Review mega thread here


created : about 11 hours ago

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The Sector Mechanicus

Tags : terrain awesome

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Howdy Guys and Girls - Sector Mechanicus, via miniwars (

Look awesome, can't wait to use it for some extra ZM terrain!

Lady Atia

created : over 3 years ago

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Shadow War: Armageddon - terrain and factions

Tags : shadow war armageddon terrain

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Howdy Guys and Girls - little bit more informations about SW:A via warhammer community.

Lady Atia

created : over 3 years ago

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