Warhammer 40K 10th Edition Mission Structure Revealed

Games Workshop is changing up the missions and objectives for Warhammer 40,000: 10th Edition. It’s about to get interesting.

Missions and their objectives in games of Warhammer 40,000 are what help keep your games fresh and exciting. Your army might excel at blasting the enemy but can they win missions? Sometimes those are the same thing but that’s not always the case. GW knows this and they are changing the structure of the missions in 10th edition by adding some new options this go around.

There Is Only War

via Warhammer Community

“As you’d expect for a new edition, missions have changed in Warhammer 40,000. In fact, there’s just one in the Core Rules – entitled Only War, this is a perfectly balanced pitched battle in which two players fight for control of four objective markers, which they’ve taken it in turns to place. 

These objectives are scattered across a battlefield of 44″x60″ at Strike Force (1,000 points) and Incursion size (2,000 points), or 44″x90″ for an Onslaught game (3,000+ points). With both players deployed on the short edges, It’s the perfect theatre for a thrilling battle.”

So let’s break that down a bit. In Warhammer 40,000: 10th for the missions:

  • There is only one in the Core Rules: Only War
  • Only War has four objectives placed by the players across the battlefield
  • Both players deploy on the short edges

Now, this again is just for the Core Rules. I’d expect to see more mission setups introduced later. This is also not the only customization, it’s just the “primary” mission. Now we get to the Mission Deck.

The Mission Deck

So this one is going to take a bit of explaining as it’s really what changes the game up and keeps the missions fresh and different.

Essentially, the secondary missions are when you’re going to see a ton of variety. Even within those you’ve got options between Grand Tournament style or Tempest of War style missions. Let’s get into each of these options and break them down a bit further. Each one of these sections is it’s own mini-deck to draw cards from.

Deployment – This section is pretty self explanatory. You’ll draw one card from this part of the Missions Deck to discover how you’re deploying on the battlefield.

Mission Rule – This section is also a shared card and explains any special rules in effect for the mission.

Primary Mission – This card is the final “shared” card that is drawn. While you might have those four objective markers down this card will explain how you actually score Victory Points (VPs) for this mission.

Before we get to the next cards, how about some examples?

In the above example Sweep and Clear is the Mission Rule and it’s basically “once you take an objective you keep it unless your opponent takes it from you.” Pretty clear cut there. The Primary Mission is Take and Hold which has specific timing on how you score. I like the changes to the fifth round scoring! Again, these are shared between both players and all this info is out in the open.

Mission: Surprise!

Now let’s move on to the last two sections from the Mission Deck: Secondary Mission and Gambit.

“Once they’ve set up the battlefield and determined who’s the Attacker or Defender – but before actually deploying their armies – players select and reveal their Secondary Missions. These are personal goals they’re trying to achieve, like Assassination or Deploy Teleport Homer, which will allow them to score additional VP.”

For Secondary Missions each player starts the game with two Secondary Missions they can score. This is where the player choice comes in as they get to decide if they want to pull Fixed Missions or Tactical Missions. Fixed Missions remain in play the entire game and are “predictable and reliable” while Tactical Missions change after you complete them. Every time you complete a Tactical Mission you’ll score them and then randomly draw a replacement.

Again, both players get to choose which missions they draw and can choose different options. These are revealed to the other player as well so you know how both players are attempting to score their Secondary Missions.

And that brings us to Gambits, the new “innovation for the new edition.”

“Primary Mission not going as planned? There’s still hope – a daring Gambit may be your ace in the hole. At the end of the third battle round, either or both players may choose to play a Gambit card, chosen in secret from two identical decks.”


Okay so how do these Gambits work? Either or both players can opt to activate one of their two Gambit card at the end of the third battle round. This card replaces your current Primary Mission (for that player). They can no longer score the VPs from the original Primary Mission and must now attempt to complete their Gambit.

These Gambits are high-risk, high-reward plays and, as the name implies, are indeed Gambits. They can net you a game-swinging amount of points…if you can pull off this “hail-mary” of a play.

“This set includes three different Gambits – one of which is randomly discarded before you make your choice – allowing you to keep your opponent guessing. Of course, you can also reveal the Proceed as Planned card, in which case you continue with your original Primary Mission. You might even bluff your opponent into panicking and taking on a Gambit themselves…”

I think this is probably going to be the most divisive of the changes. I certainly think that Tournaments and Tournament Organizers are going to opinions about this one.

10th Edition Mission Structure Initial Impressions

There are certainly some interesting ideas in here. There’s also some pretty big red-flags to me. That could be because this is a new system that’s changing the old way of doing things or it could be my gut telling me intuitively that something else is off. For example I’m actually not a huge fan of the short side deployments at all. From a logistical standpoint that makes playing games in a tournament with lots of tables end-to-end rather annoying. Now, the deployment cards might mitigate that aspect but, for me, that’s a “hey waitaminute” moment.

To be fair, we don’t have the decks or all the info — there’s a lot of unknowns and these are just high level concepts. I’m willing to give the new structure a chance. I want to see it in action before I join the mob with a pitchfork. I guess we’re going to get a lot more info this weekend at Warhammer Fest 2023 so maybe my fear will vanish then.


What do you think of the new Mission Changes? Any “red-flags” pop up for you?


Writer, Editor, Texas Native, and Austinite for 15+ years, Adam covers all things Tabletop Gaming. Which includes Warhammer 40,000, Age of Sigmar, D&D, Board Games and everything else that involves dice, boards, cards and a table.
A hobbyist, player, and collector of miniatures and games, Adam’s current obsession are his Death Armies for Age of Sigmar, his Blood Angels and Tyranids for 40k, and his ever growing Arkham Horror: The Card Game Collection.

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