Warhammer 40K 7th Edition: List Building

List BuildingPerhaps the largest grand sweeping change in Warhammer 40K 7th edition is scoring units. Virtually everything is a scoring unit now. I think it’s a great change and has a very large impact on approaching list building for 7th edition. You no longer need to load up on Troop choices to grab objectives. They are the best for the job because of the Objective Secured rule but they aren’t your only options now.

I’ll be chatting about Chaos Space Marines as an example but the topic is applicable to every army out there. I’m just using Chaos as an example.

New Choices for Scoring Units

As a Chaos Space Marines player this change to scoring units opens up cult units once again. I don’t often take a Lord and it’s even more rare for me to take a special character. As a result I don’t often have the option to include cult units as Troops. Most of the cult units are really only worth it if they are scoring unit and now they are exactly that. There’s no longer that need to pay the HQ tax to take your cult units as scoring units, they are naturally.

This change also opens up some other options that may have been less ideal. Chaos Terminators for example are worth a consideration now. They have never been terrible but rarely do they make it into my lists because I’m spending my points on Spawn, a Maulerfiend, a Heldrake, etc. Now though, for not a lot of points, I can get a 5-man Terminator squad that’s a scoring unit. Hell, it could be a 3-man scoring unit. It’s moves from the realm of distraction and potential annoyance to your opponent to an actual threat.

Troop Unit Choices

Along with this is the actual Troop choices and the considerations there. You can get away with smaller units and less units of Troops now. I feel you still need a strong core of Troops in 7th edition because of Objective Secured. That being said, I have been playing lately with one less Troop choice and one of those choices has been a 5-man Chaos Space Marines squad in a Rhino instead of my typical 10-man. It’s been working out for me as well. With dedicated transports taking on the role of the squad it was bought for it allows for an MSU approach to the game. If you’re close to two objectives then you can disembark onto one objective with the squad and send the transport for the other.

The Good Get Better

This change also makes units that were good before even better. As an example, I love my Chaos Spawn. They’re cheap, fast, durable and hit hard. They’re pretty much an auto-include in any list I build. Now that my Spawn are a scoring unit they’ve gone from a great unit to an awesome unit.


The change to scoring units overall just opens up a lot of possibilities with the game that did not exist prior. As players we now have more tactical flexibility and that’s great. It really changes the approach to the game and breathes a little more life into it.

How has the scoring unit change impacted your list building? Are you taking an MSU approach now, fielding units you gave up on long ago or just business as usual?

  • TheRhino

    Not sure yet. I have to wait til the standard format for tournaments at the shop pan out. If Maelstrom missions become standard, I might fall back onto my bike army.

    • I’m curious how a biker list works out now. Without the always on feature of jink I see it being a bit more difficult. It’s what has kept my bikes off the table so far anyway. I’m not running a biker list though so lack the redundancy you have.

      • TheRhino

        The thing to remember is that Marine Bikes are still Space Marines. T5 is unchanged, as is the 3+ armor save. The requirement to declare a Jink isn’t a huge detractor, but the Snap Fire thing is. However, every Marine bike still has twin-linked bolters to fall back on.
        It does make White Scars chapter tactics an absolute MUST for a bike army now. You could get away with any of the others and still be successful, but I think that’s no longer the case. They automatically pass all Dangerous Terrain tests, so you can use terrain to your advantage, and S5 Hammer of Wrath hits. Then there’s that whole +1 to Jink saves thing…White Scars can keep their 3+ save against most anything, and it only costs them some shooting. When you combine that with the Hit and Run rule, you can Jink against concentrated AP3 fire, and still slam into the bad guys in melee after snap firing your weapons in your own turn. You likely won’t kill a ton, but it’s a haven from shooting. You then roll to H&R out of combat at the end of the enemy turn.
        I think the change will force me away from plasma on my bike squads, and toward grav. Snap firing plasma is tough, as you have an equal chance of overheating as you do hitting something. Fine for overwatch, not so much for the Shooting phase.

        • True. I’m also thinking about special weapons as well. You have twin-linked bolters but if you’re carrying metaguns then obviously you’re probably tank hunting and snap firing melta sucks. However, I suppose that’s where hit & run comes in. As you said, dive into assault, hit & run out and then go back for that tank. I’d agree that White Scars seems a must now. Too bad Chaos doesn’t have that option ;) On my Orks it won’t much matter much. It’s either BS2 with twin-linked guns or BS1 with twin-linked guns.

          • Ork bikers currently get a 4+ cover save without jink so it’s a non issue for them. Who knows what they’ll have in the new codex though. Even if they lose their free cover save they don’t lose as much from snap fire, as you pointed out.

            As for marine/chaos bikers you could run them in pairs. Screen the special weapon unit with a cheaper unit. If the opponent fires at the closer unit they can jink, if they fire at the special weapon unit they get cover saves from the cheaper unit. It’s not as good as a jink but it is better than nothing and still lets you fire at full effectiveness.

            • TheRhino

              My guess is that Smoke Cloud will be changed or removed.

          • TheRhino

            Honestly, meltaguns on regular bike squads always sucked due to range. If you’re inside 6″ with a bike unit, you’re getting smashed or tarpitted in melee next turn, without fail. I much prefer Attack Bike squadrons for tank hunting with multimeltas. You want cruel? A trio of MM attack bikes, with Scout and first turn. Want crueler? Two or three units of that type. Marines can also add or swap those for Deep Striking Landspeeders with multimeltas, and IIRC, you can have TWO multimeltas on a landspeeder.

            • These are the things I miss when playing Chaos :(

  • I haven’t really adjusted my list for 7th edition, though I have only played one game. I do like the new scoring rules though. Objective Secured gives troops an edge against other options but now you don’t have to sacrifice as much to make sure you have enough scoring units. As you said it makes a lot of units more viable now because non-troops can earn their keep through mobility even if they have lack-luster damage output and support capability.

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