So Games Workshop’s Big FAQ 1 was released about a week ago and the reactions have ranged from jubilant to scornful and even included a few head scratches to boot. Now, before we dive into this to break down some of the new rules and proposed changes, it is important to note that games as complex as 40k are bound to change all the time to keep things fresh and working. As a result, the playing community should never assume that every new rule or feature is here to stay forever. After all, GW changes its mind and direction more than Tzeentch on a boat in the middle of a squall with a compass surrounded by magnets held by Cypher. With that said, we’ll press on:
The first big change is “Psychic Focus”. This really changes the game in a big way for psyker focused factions and lists. Save for smite, you can only cast a specific power ONCE PER TURN as opposed to ONCE PER PSYKER PER TURN. The only exception to this being smite which, like the beta rules released late in 2017, forces you to add 1 to the warp charge for EACH ATTEMPT. So make sure to keep track of your smites regardless on whether or not it goes off. Naturally this dulls the teeth of a few psyker heavy armies. Tired of your massed troops getting spammed by that Grey Knight player’s vortex of doom? Well this takes care of that!
But speaking of Grey Knights…
“Brotherhood of Psykers” and “Brotherhood of Sorcerers” which are exclusive to Grey Knights and Thousand Sons respectively, are immune to the new smite rule and can cast it without adding any penalties to the manifestation roll. So at least the armies that couldn’t afford the Psyker nerfing aren’t being hit too hard by it.
The next item GW covered was “Targeting Characters.” This is something that everyone should have already been doing, so we won’t spend much time on it. Essentially, characters can’t be blocked by other characters if one of them is closer than the other. However, characters still have to be the closest model if you still wanted to shoot at them. So bubble wrapping your VIPs is still a thing.
Next up was the proposed beta rules: “Tactical Reserves” and “Battle Brothers”. “Tactical Reserves” is going to really change the game for a lot of players. It seems that it was designed to help protect certain players against deep strike heavy alpha strike armies. Sorry Grey Knights, but under these rules you’re not only limited to half your army’s power level (power level has no been specified as “half your army”) but you can’t deep strike beyond your deployment zone turn 1. Additionally, any unit in reserves has to arrive on the tabletop by turn 3 or they are counted as destroyed. I think this is a solid change over all, as many players had been feeling that whoever had the first turn held too strong of an advantage too early on. By not allowing enemy deep strike capable units to arrive 9″ from your door step, the board is more open for mobility and targeting choices, you have significantly less threat of being charged on the first turn, which can really change a player’s calculus on the tabletop.
Now this “no placement beyond deployment zones on turn 1” thing doesn’t apply to everything. There are still special rules in place for units and some factions have a few tricks up their sleeve to get up the board quickly. Games Workshop’s Facebook page put this nugget up for all to see. Note that this makes Genestealer cult players a whole lot more unique than they used to be. Additionally, the FAQ also states that units that have the capability to deploy before turn 1 (like space marine scouts) can still be set up anywhere on the board that is also outside 9″ of your opponents deployment zone. So players still have some options in the early game when it comes to board control and zone denial.
Now “Battle Brothers” is going to have some big ramifications for tournament players who like serving their fellow competitors big ol’ bowls of soup, because GW has cracked down on what factions can fit into detachments. This matched play beta rule now reads as: “All of the units in each Detachment in your Battle-forged army must have at least one Faction keyword in common. In addition, this keyword cannot
be Chaos, Imperium, Aeldari, Ynnari or Tyranids, unless the Detachment in question is a Fortification Network. This has no effect on your
Army Faction.” In essence, you can still bring multiple factions to a match, but they’ll most likely be in their own separate detachments. The rule writers also tried to think ahead and added that models like the imperial assassins can be included in a seperate vanguard detachment, but won’t require an accompanying HQ unit (but also won’t give the usual command benefits.) They also made sure to include some related errata when it came to Eldar players building Ynnari lists, which is good for them because all they eat eat for every meal is Campbell’s .
Next comes possibly my only real complaint of the Big FAQ. The increase in command points for battalion and brigade detachments. Battalions are now 5 CP (up from 3) and Brigades are now 12 CP (up from 9). The justification for this was that elite style armies like the Custodes and Adeptus Astartes were really hindered by not having access to many command points by way of how expensive each model is points/Power Level wise. The idea here is that before, I was usually trying to build a battalion detachment out of scouts for the 3 points, and then trying to cram smaller detachments in my list that were worth an extra CP each…But now, having 5 command points to start with, I won’t feel as pressured to build shell battalions out of basic scouts and can create more thematic lists. While that seems nice, I feel that all this really does is turn the high model count armies like the Astra Militarum into bottomless command point machines that will amount to nigh infinite re-rolls or a never ending datacard smack down. Rather than give these players more CPs than a commissar can wave a laspistol at, it would have made more sense to simply add more points to having a battle forged army. Then the elite factions will still get more to opportunity to play with their stratagems but without the cost of also providing the horde style armies an actual avalanche of dice rolls.
Additionally, if you were intrigued by the new rules on soup we mentioned earlier, then you’ll be very interested to hear what they’ve done with spam! As part of their new “organized event guidelines”, GW released this handy chart to help cut down on players who bring only the models that do really well (we’re looking at you, Tau collectors). This will hopefully bring some variety back into people’s lists for tourneys. Nobody really wants to face down a parade’s worth of Leman Russes anyway.
Another thing the game makers have cleared up is making clear that models can’t have multiple saves. So you can’t stack an invulnerable save with a 6+ feel no pain ability and something like tenacious survivor. You get to use the best one available and ONLY ONE.
Lastly, some point changes, which we’ll just put here. Note that Rowboat Girlyman is now up to 400 points, which given how much ass he kicks on the board, is probably a fair move.
That is pretty much the long and short of it folks! Let us know what you think! Do you love the new rules? Hate them? Are there things you’d have done differently? Drop us a line and tell us about it!