On Monday, the new FAQ for Warhammer 40,000 dropped. There were some big changes to the game and some new proposed rules that should shake things up quite a bit. Here are my initial thoughts on what I think of the new rules and changes.
New Matched Play Rules
The previous Beta rules on Smite and character targeting have pretty much been made official now with only a few changes.
Personally, I didn't think the Beta rules went far enough when it came to Smite spam. Having played against this a few times, it was not a lot of fun to play against and really depressing when you faced it with certain armies.
Even when using the new Beta rules, it didn't seem to have much effect on the ability. Most games I played against it, my opponent was still rarely failing any psychic tests and still causing havoc with the power. Maybe that was just great rolling from my opponents, but it didn't really change much for me.
The one change I did like was that it was harder to get the D6 mortal wounds after casting Smite a few times. This has now changed and you have the potential to get this a number of times during the turn. Maybe the changes to army composition (more on this below) will help reduce Smite spam, but I still think it may be a problem against some armies, especially Grey Knights and Daemons who seem to have got an exemption from it.
I would like to see Smite go from Mortal wounds to automatic wounds, or some such system. Maybe it could ignore invulnerable saves or get -2 or -3 AP. I understand why the mortal wounds mechanic is in place, but it just seems to remove a lot of your ability to block it in the game. Not all armies have access to cheap screening units or FNP bubbles, making it really difficult to block Smite spam or mortal wounds spam with them.
I was ok with this rule change. There were horror stories of people using the Culexus Assassin to keep a bunch of characters or other Assassins safe that benefited the use of it. This rule has not had too much impact on my games, and when it has, it has often been beneficial to me.
This is a big one and a great change for me. Having access to 8 command points from a single Battalion is a huge boost, making it easier to get more command points without having to splash out on lots of units. Getting 15 command points from a Brigade is also awesome. It might make me take my White Scars Brigade more often, as the bonus command points will really benefit them.
I really like this change, as even a couple of extra command points is a big boost.
Saving throws that ignore wounds, often referred to as Feel No Pain rolls (even though the rule no longer exists), are now limited to only the best save.
I think this is a good change and makes warlord characters a bit more killable. Getting to roll up to 3 saves was a bit much for some of the stronger characters or units, making them really hard to deal with.
Datasheet Rule of Three
Again, I kind of like this rule. With the type of armies that I tend to field, I don't think this will have any impact on my forces at all. The only army it might affect is if I want to run an all Ravenwing force, though that is rarer now thanks to needing more command points in the army. Even then, I could just go for maximum Bike squads and combat squad them.
I think this is a nice way to deal with spam armies in the game. Flyrant Spam was not too much fun to go against, as well as Dark Reaper spam. It's not going to stop someone taking a lot of Scion units, but there are other changes that may mitigate this as well.
It won't affect Troops or transport vehicles, so you can still go crazy with Scouts or Tactical Squads.
Again, probably a good rule overall and one that is unlikely to affect me much, as I don't tend to play these types of army lists anyways.
Note, however, there is nothing to stop you taking different Detachments with different army keywords (e.g. a Space Marine Detachment and Astra Militarum Detachment in the same army), it just means you can mix different armies in the same detachment.
For me, Soup armies meant lots of different armies in the one army, not necessarily in the same detachment, so I'm not sure how much of an impact this will have.
Beta Tactical Reserves
This is a really interesting change and I'm not sure how this one will pan out. I think this will take several games with a number of reserves units to see how it will affect my army composition and playstyle.
Initially, I'm erring on this being a good change for my armies. Having a turn to react to your opponent's reserves before being pounced on will give most forces a bit of breathing room. I think this could hurt assault-orientated reserves armies a bit and may force a change in play styles or composition for these forces.
As it was, a lot of times, my White Scars reserves came in on later turns anyway, so it's not too big a deal. It's also nice that Genestealer Cults get an exemption, making them still a big threat in the early turns of the game.
Q: How do the Flakk Missile and Hellfire Shells Stratagems interact with an Armorium Cherub? Are you able to ‘reload’ the weapon and fire again with the benefit of the Stratagem?
This is a big boost for me. The ability to use the stratagem twice in a turn for only a single command point is fantastic.
Page 42 – Assault Squad, Wargear Options Change the first and second bullet points to read: ‘• The Space Marine Sergeant may replace his bolt pistol and chainsword with two items from the Melee Weapons and/or Pistols lists.’
This potentially allows you to take four Plasma Pistols in a single Assault Squad. Quite a nice boost for the unit and should increase their firepower for a small points cost.
I think the rules changes and FAQ changes will be good for the game overall. I'll be looking forward to trying them out in my games in the coming months.