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“Core Units” A New Keyword for Warhammer 40,000

The Codex Show inundated us with kits and previews of Codex Space Marines and Codex Necrons rules. However, in all the excitement only a few sharp-eyed viewers noticed a new keyword, Core, in the Heavy Intercessor Squad Datasheeet. Our hosts for The Codex Show hadn’t emntioned it, so we were left hanging. Just what are Core units and how does the keyword trigger?

Heavy Intercessors with Core Unit Keyword circles
Core, trying to slip under the auspex!

Warhammer Community came to the rescue with an article covering Core Units. In short, units that are central to a forces fighting doctrine gain the Core keyword. While this often will mean Troops, it is not limited to them. For example, Elite units, such as Necron Lycheguard and Space Marine Terminator squads will have the Core keyword. Likewise, Fast Attack units may gain the Core keyword. Examples include Space Marine Bike Squads and Necron Tomb Blades. Depending on the Codex, even vehicles will receive a Core keyword.

At the same time, many of the most powerful aura abilities are redefined to only affect units with the Core keyword. For instance, the Rites of Battle found on Space Marine Captains reads;

Example of aura ability with Core Unit

Consequently, you won’t see many Captains in the backfield escorting artillery, instead they’ll lead their battle brothers closer to the front.

Additionally, Characters cross-buffing each other becomes a thing of the past as they will lack the Core keyword. That 2+ WS will have to suffice. However, it still makes sense to put them in close proximity so they both buff Core Units.

At the moment, only with the release of a new Codex will units gain the Core keyword and aura abilities shift. Codices released relatively recently will still be able to exploit cross buffing and camping in the rear. Enjoy it while it lasts!

In October, we’ll have the full list of Core keyworded units in Codex Space Marines and Codex Necrons. With the release of the supplements for Blood Angels, Space Wolves, and Death Watch later in the year, we’ll see how using Core differentiates Imperial chapters. It should also hold some clues as to what we’ll see in other Imperial organizations. Codex Death Guard, Astartes, even if heretics, should use Core in the same general way. However with Xenos Codex releases next year, we’ll begin to see broader applications of the Core keyword.

What’s your wishlist for Core? I expect Core to crop up on Astra Militarum Leman Russ Tanks. I want to see it on Sentinels, but I have a horrible soft spot for those walkers. Until later, stay well and keep playing games.

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