Wednesday 18 April 2018

Warhammer 40k April FAQ- Initial Thoughts

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. 

Smite Spam

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. 

Targeting Characters
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. 

Command Points

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. 

Ignoring Wounds
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. 

Soup Armies
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? 
A: Yes.

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. 


  1. Going to be curious to see how the meta shifts now.

    1. Yeah, it's already made my Dark Angels GT list illegal thanks to the points increase of the Dark Talon. Going to have to change up the army.

    2. That is part of the reason for a "living" system now. Every so often we will get these changes and it shakes up what people play (and buy, technically), and as I keep saying, it's designed to keep things fresh and stop the same old lists constantly being played. For my mind, it's a good thing.

  2. nice review

    here are my comments

    1. Smite: I think the rule changes are correct for the balance of the game taking in to account other changes. GK and TS will be not too bad as they have a toned-down version of Smite anyway. Smite is still restricted by having to go against the closest unit and only a range of 18”. Maybe additional “better” powers so people want to cast them rather than smite will also help in the future.
    2. Character targeting: same with me. I don’t think it has ever come up in a game I played
    3. Command Points: A sensible change to the this. I would go a step further and suggest for vanguard, spearhead and outrider that they get increased to 2CPs. Further faction specific rules could be added to this. Such as if an outrider detachment is made up of only ? Then you get an extra CP or 2. Additionally I also thing that the battalion needs to have at least 2 of either elite/fast attack or heavy support as a mandatory choice to stop some cheap CP grabbing with 3 scout squads and 2 lieutenants
    4. Ignoring wounds: agreed, sensible changes to have only 1 armour/inv save and then 1 wound save
    5. Rule of 3: only a recommendation but it will force people to at least play nice now! I still think some of the issue of spam are caused by the ITC and ETC missions (inc mixing males and eternal war) and if more events played the missions from the rule books rolled for randomly on the day then this may have made people to pick a balanced list. The only 2 lists in the last 10 years that I have played that would be affected by this was a white scars list with 4 bike squads and a 5th edition master of the forge list with 4 dreads (and 2 ironclads), both of which I can now put in other options, but would feel a little hard done by as they were hardly power list. (in saying that both did reasonable well at events)
    6. Soup: I’m a big fan of soup, but they didn’t have enough downsides. I think that they should be kept but that a soup detachment does not grant any CPs.
    7. Tactical reserves: I suppose this is going back to older editions where reserves didn’t turn up straight away. I think it is overall a good change and can still be very powerful. Possible more so for the player going second no as if your opponent advances too close you can still drop in your deployment zone and get them.
    8. FAQs: flakk + armoured cherub = great!
    Agreed with you overall all that the changes are good

    1. Thanks for the analysis!
      I think that extra command points will be a nice bonus for most armies. However, Guard just got even stronger as it is really easy for them to build a Brigade to farm those command point.

    2. 3) Part of the stated reason was that many Armies were ignoring Battalions and Brigades in favour of multiple Vanguard or Spearhead Detachments, so buffing those ones as well would defeat the point. It's still way too easy to throw in an IG Battalion as a CP battery, tho, especially if you're willing to put your Warlord Trait and free Relic there.

  3. Looking through the FAQ's last night my thoughts on these points are;
    1) I believe GK cast on 1D6 only and do only 1 or 2 mortal wounds, so it's less likely to go off anyway. On the whole I think this is a good change.
    2) the new character rule does make sense, but again, I haven't come up against a situation where this has affected my shooting
    3) I have mixed feelings about the new command points. For my BA army is makes a huge difference, but for my guard, I could already run a 14cp 1000pts list or a 17cp 1500pts list, not it's going to be 17 and 22 respectively. I think the the patrol detachment should have gained CP's.
    4)I agree with the new ignoring wounds rule, it's how it should have been all along
    5)the rule of 3 will cause problems for a couple of armies but my group has never used this table anyway and the only tournaments I go to probably won't either. In general though it sounds like a good move.
    6)soup armies didn't need to be gotten rid of but I think they should have lost there battle forged bonus and maybe something like stratagems, meaning you would have to give up a lot to get the benefits soup lists give.
    7) I think the reserves goes a bit to far, I would have gone for own table half rather than deployment zone, it still allows some aggressive tactics but not nearly as freely as before. The whole inclusion of power points is annoying and I have already seen a number of posts about how to play the system.
    8) yep, this is overpowered now, bit at least it's a one time use only thing.

    1. I forgot that Grey Knights were only 1D6 to cast, so that makes more sense and makes it a bit less powerful.

  4. I think the FAQ is good overall, with the exception of the increase in CP for battalions and brigades. In relative terms, it just increases the gap in CP between say guard and elite armies, and gives even more incentives to run guard CP batteries mixed with other imperium detachments. I guess that balances some of the shenanigans that other factions have access to (eg Eldar) but puts those who want to run pure armies at a disadvantage (sure they can spend more CP now in absolute sense)

    1. It does help elite armies get more command points, but as you say, those armies that can easily access them can now just get even more.

  5. Good review. I agree with your assessments.

  6. Mostly, I'm a fan. I definitely like both of the beta rules in their "official" forms. I have run an Army that almost entirely consisted of Characters (including multiple Culexus Assassins), and it was just disgusting. Definitely a needed change. Battle Bros and the "FNP" and Tide of Traitors nerfs are all good, too.

    The one I really have a problem with, you didn't even mention: The FAQ about Assaults in Ruins makes it much easier to end up with Units positioned in Ruins being completely impossible to Assault, by any means whatsoever. That one is absolutely going to get abused in competitive play.

    The Rule of Three annoys me a little because it makes the Linebreaker Bombardment and Killshot Stratagems even less reliable, but that's probably a price worth paying to cut down on Flyrant and Dark Reaper spam.

    The CP change for Battalions and Brigades is good for "pure" Armies, but makes IG/Renegades & Heretics CP Batteries even more of an issue. 180/170 Points for 5 CP and a bunch of ablative screening Units is a really, really good deal.

    I'm very interested to see how the changes to Reserves end up playing out. Even a lot of very good players are saying that all they can predict is that it will change the meta, but they have no idea how.

    1. Yeah, my Guard army has gotten a lot more powerful thanks to this. I really need to get them on the table in 8th edition. There are a strong army, but I've just not got round to fielding them yet.

  7. I think it will be good overall. The changes are, I Think, in the right direction and deals with people who play the meta and the rules rather than as a game.
    I think the reserves change isn't as mental as the internet probably is claiming. Especially with the more interesting shapes deployment zones in any case and it only applies for the first turn. So your alpha strike has to wait one turn... like it would have most of the time in the previous ed.. what a shame! I must immediately burn all my Terminators!! Haha


    1. You were running Terminators?!? There's your problem right there! ;)

  8. Nah. Just using them as an example. :P