Ninth's been out on the streets for a hot minute. Hopefully everyone's had a chance to play with it - pretty sure there've been some tournaments out there already, for those that have been lucky enough to be in a position to attend them. The world's bit crazy and Nurgle-y these days.
Objectives - and holding them
So, if you've read any of the missions, watched battle reports, or, y'know, played - this matters. You should be aiming to hold as many objectives as possible. You do this by slapping durable troops on them at the beginning of the turn, and living for a turn. You want to grab 10-15 points a turn.
You take objectives from someone else by murdering troops on them, and/or slapping more bodies with Objective Secured on said objective. Now, killing is well and good, and most armies have ways of killing things.
What's this mean? If you have durable troops, or durable models that can throw down in close, you're in good shape. If not? You're not in a great position right now. Considering that 2/3 to 3/4 of your points in a game are coming from these, it's kind of important.
Short version - I hope you have durable troops and lots of firepower, if not both. I also hope you have a decent number of units. I see this HOPEFULLY changing as more codices come out and/or point values get tweaked.
Command Re-Roll Tweak
Not gonna lie - this is one of the sleeper hits of a change in 9th. There are a LOT of things that got changed by this. On the face it, it looks like there are a lot of things you can re-roll - hits, wounds, damage rolls, saves, advances, charges, psychic tests, deny the witch tests, or the number of tests.
There are a lot of things you're not re-rolling, though. Most codices have a strategem like "Deny the witch on a 4+" (Hey, black templar, Iron Hands, World Eaters...). In 8th, you realistically had a 75% chance of that working - drop a CP, roll 1d6, and then maybe drop a command point re-roll. Also, Necrons have a neat little "My character reanimates on a 4+" which can be a 100-150pt swing.
Well, now that's back to a flat dice roll. Look, these are probably still worth the gamble. However, they're not nearly as reliable as they used to be.
Short version - THIS is bigger than you think it is and WILL surprise you more than once or twice.
Command Point Regeneration
You'll get one back a turn in matched play, and a number of armies can bring a way to get another one back on a 5+ or so. If you bring only one detachment, you can have somewhere between 17-22 command points in a game. 22 is gonna be some crazy luck on 5+ rolls though.
What does this mean? Bringing another detachment for a couple CP isn't that big a deal. Similarly, spending a CP or two on another relic and/or another warlord trait isn't a bad thing unless you really were going to burn all 12 CP in two turns on breaking the other army's back.
Short version - Don't worry about burning a couple in the build phase. If you can bring a way to get more back without losing a crazy important relic, think about it.
Game Length - Fixed at Five Turns
In 8th, if you weren't playing for a fixed amount of time in, say, a tournament, you could go for 5-7 turns. Now you have five turns and then you're done. You have four turns to score the primary take-and-hold objectives.
Short Version - you know game length now, and how/when you're going to have to score.
You can get a lot of points off primaries - but it won't be enough to win. So, secondary objectives matter. Next up - man, there are some options. Don't panic.
Look at your army list and look at the secondary objectives. This is going to tell you if you can discard some of them out of hand. I'd recommend doing this first. Battlefield Supremacy, Shadow Operations, and Warpcraft all depend on your build.
Battlefield Supremacy cares about deep striking, speed, and/or outflanking from reserves. If you can do these, consider Linebreaker and/or Engage on All Fronts. Domination is great too if you have plenty of troops.
Shadow Operations is for people with lots of infantry units. You're gonna be performing Actions, which take a unit offline for a turn and involve not being assaulted or shot off the objective. If this isn't you, consider skipping it.
Warpcraft - did you bring psykers? If not, skip 2/3 of this. If the enemy brought psykers, consider this for Abhor the Pskyer.
That brings us to Purge the Enemy and No Mercy, No Respite - these depend on the other side's composition.
Purge The Enemy is pretty much about killing specific stuff. You're either killing characters (the more, the better), killing Titanic Models, or killing the Warlord. Note that the Warlord one is low-value (only 6pts).
No Mercy, No Respite is more about killing regular guys. Thin Their Ranks is all about nailing hordes - every ten infantry you kill is a point, and everyone 10+ wound model is 10 points. Pretty simple. Attrition is for durable armies - 4pts a turn if you kill more than them, so if you're elite and they're not, think about it. First Strike is a thinking man's objective - if you can off a unit in turn one, 5 points. It's 8 total if you kill more than they do in turn one.
Note also that all the scenarios have a bespoke secondary objective as well. It's worth thinking about if none of the other objectives look good.
Short version - secondaries aren't that bad if you think about them. Build to hold objectives, then think from there.
Honestly, I like the new terrain rules. They're pretty decent once you think about them and read them a couple times, and reasonably sensible. As much as I like the idea of true LOS, this trims down some arguments, and I'm all about that life. It's an adjustment worth making.
Max +1/-1 Modifier
There are definitely some armies that took a hit on this - Alpha Legion and Aeldari fliers come to mind. There are also going to be some interesting interactions on this, like infantry moving and shooting heavy weapons into dense cover and only taking a -1 to hit, after taking a pair of -1 to hit penalties.
I am generally enjoying 9th. However, I've got concerns about some armies out of the gate - some armies are going to struggle with objectives. I'm worried about regular Chaos Marines, for example - cultists and baseline Chaos marines are so-so at best for durability and lethality.
You don't HAVE to bring any troops in this edition, but you can also watch a dozen terminators stare blankly at a single tactical marine on an objective - who can then be the difference between a guy scoring 10 and 15 VP in a turn, because ObSec.
Fingers crossed that we see some point tweaks and get some neat stuff in the new codices.