Warhammer 40,000 News Data Slate: The BIG FAQ 3 Review Part 2
Hello and welcome back to the Kitchen! We’re now going to take a deep dive into some of the key changes to the codexes in the Big FAQ 3. I got about halfway through this and realised “This is taking forever, and I’m on holiday dammit!” so what was a two parter is now going to be split into a third part. This should have been expected, it is me rambling afterall.
For ease of cross reference I’ll do these in the order they are presented on the Warhammer Community FAQ page, and remember anything drastically big will be glossed over if it was spoken about in-depth during Part 1 of this Big FAQ review.
I’ll be summarising some of the changes I think are important or at least the most impactful (they’re all online ladies and gents, you can find them, I believe in you!), and then giving a brief impression on their place in the current meta, for whatever my non-event winning opinion is worth.
But before that, two things to touch on from the previous article…
Exploding Transports and Shooting when it’s not Shooting
Some are concerned that being unable to charge the turn their transport is destroyed defeats the point of having units inside. Well fear not as 8th is very clear on the distinction between a Round and Turn, where a Round is made up of two player Turns. In essence, this means if your Transport is destroyed in your opponent’s turn, you can still charge in your turn, as it’s a new turn. The rule is literally to do as described, and stop charging when a Transport was destroyed in the same player turn – don’t worry, you can still charge after your opponent has destroyed it in their normal sequence – The only things I can think of that can destroy a transport in your turn is the Chaos Marines Punishing Volley Stratagem, intentional self destruction via overcharging a Plasma-esque weapon, and the aforementioned Overwatch – two of these are down to the player’s own choices, and Volley can be mitigated or otherwise worked around. You have nothing to really worry about if you weren’t using oddities to play.
The second issue raised was in regards to acting out of sequence, i.e “as if it were your X Phase”. I initially didn’t cover this as I thought it was pretty self explanatory, but I understand some of the issues raised from it on further reading, namely the interaction with things like Dark Reapers, Vindicares and T’au Vectored Thrusters. Dark Reapers have a specific FAQ stating Inescapable Accuracy doesn’t apply in Overwatch, as does the Faultless Aim rule for Vindicares. The Thrusters however, at present RAW, will work on Overwatch. Is this intended? Personally I don’t believe so, rather it was more for things like auras or abilities for rerolls or range increases and the like. However, I would just check with your opponent or TO beforehand if it will be played that way, and as always send (constructive!) comments to the GW FAQ team.
So wasting no more time, let’s look at the first batch of codexes.
Send in the clowns!
Harlequins got a big boost with the reversion on their Flip Belts to enable them to move over models in the charge phase again, however note they are still unable to Pile In or Consolidate over models the same as everyone else (I make a point of it here due the Masque of the Midnight Sorrow having the 6″ Consolidate move). There are a few minor tweaks and clarifications to some rules and stratagems, however as far as I can tell these are mostly a tidying of the rules rather than something that will generally see a significant impact on play.
The Belt change alone is a significant boost to the Harlequins, as it will allow them to ignore, or at least circumvent a lot of screening that may be done that would otherwise severely hamper their combat punch. Will it change what you see in a Harlequins army much competitively? Well they’re still pricey for a pretty fragile body, and will continue to have some particularly tough match ups. The “safer bet” will still be Fusion Troupes with Soaring Spite in my opinion, however with the changes to allied Doom-seers, the Guardians of the Black Library may have to rethink some of their tactics, but with limited models and a high price tag, I think they will remain as they are- fun to play and stunning to see, but definitely requiring a massive amount of thinking and careful play.
You’re in the Guard now son!
The Astra Militarum did not receive much in the way of specific changes, with most of the impact on them coming from the core updates to CP regeneration already in effect, as well as some slight changes to other Imperial factions that affect their overall gameplay when it comes to Allies. For their specific changes, again there have been a few minor tweaks and adjustments, though two primary ones stand out. The first revolving around Move! Move! Move!, which now prevents a unit being targeted by the Order if they Fell Back this turn, which is only fair to prevent units from zooming halfway across the board away from combat (Guardsmen are already somehow one of the fastest units in the game, there’s got to be some limitations). The second big-ish change is to the Grav Chute drop on Valkyries, now preventing them from moving further after disembarkation, again a change that seems only fair considering you could tie up units of your enemy turn one with almost a guarantee (19.9″ move +3″ disembark + move + charge). It’s still very doable, but not always practically a sure thing, and can have some counterplay with good screening.
The Guard as a whole were roughly unaffected by their FAQ, barring the cases mentioned above, however Guard with Allies or used as Loyal 32 definitely were weakened. The removal of regenerating CP on pre battery round Stratagems has hit the classic Grand Strategist/Kurov’s Aquila combo even more so than before, and the changes to Knights and Assassins has also hit their allied power. The change to Fly and equivalents will also have an impact due to the need to screen with far more skill and finesse against certain armies. A line of infantry will no longer protect those vital support characters and vehicles. However the Astra Militarum are still a very good army and a strong contender for one of the higher tier armies, due to their cheapness, board control and punishing firepower. Soups suffered a little but also won’t be going anywhere, they will just need to be played a little better than a blunt instrument now.
It’s all for the Greater Good
The T’au are similar to the Guard in that they generally went through their own FAQ with some minor rules clarifications and few big things. The change to the Kauyon ability via Master of War now lets you pick and choose units to be affected. Personally I don’t like this change as you had to actually plan around it and now it’s a bit too “easy” to use, but given that lots of people and events had different interpretations of how it worked, at least it’s clarified now, though at the sake of a powerful improvement to the ability. The other issue is a massive point of contention with myself and many people at the moment, to the point of requiring a paragraph all to itself, and that’s the FAQ regarding Volley Fire.
This is, in my opinion, is a glaring typo and furthermore not RAW. Whoever answered the question, did so 100% correctly – on the basis of this exact wording of the question itself. However the rule for Volley Fire explicitly states that when you are making a Shooting attack at half range, you make an extra shot. Note the qualifier here, you must be within half range to get the extra shot. If you aren’t within half range, you don’t get it. “But Chef the FAQ says I do, that’s literally RAW!”, That Guy cries from behind his 18 boxes of newly bought Fire Warriors. Sorry That Guy, an FAQ is not an Errata. It is meant to clear things up, or to give an idea of how the rule should work in practice when there’s ambiguity. It doesn’t change the rule or the wording of a rule, that’s what an Errata does. Let me put it to you another way in the form of a theoretical FAQ:
Q: “Can I reroll successful hit or wound rolls for units in range of Roboute Guillimans XIII Primarch ability?”
Well by the logic of the FAQ for Volley Fire, if this question were to be asked and answered in such a way, then technically any unit in range of Bobby G could reroll successful hits or wounds, as we’ve not mentioned the qualifier of them being Ultramarines here. But that’s silly, right? Obviously only Ultramarines in range get to use the aura. So why is that different to being in half range for Volley Fire? In short, it’s not. It’s poorly worded and conflicting the actual rule, so I suspect it’ll get changed soon, so I’d refrain from double tapping at long range with your Fire Warriors just yet.
Regardless, T’au have remained in a strong spot amongst the Xenos armies, the changes to other armies having helped them in some aspects, though like many armies that rely on powerful but squishy support characters, screening is going to be a skill that will need revisiting in the wake of the Fly changes. Overall T’au will remain strong players in competitive play, however more than perhaps other armies they are a little more dependent on the missions or format being played – a castle just doesn’t work in many game types anymore, so some out the box thinking may be required.
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Armies of the Mechanicum did not receive much in the way of changes with either the core rules or their specific updates, outside of changes to their common allies. Mainly there was some clarifications on order of operations and infrequent interactions, but otherwise no hefty or game altering changes.
As the Mechanicus armies have no Fly units themselves, the changes for them are primarily defensive ones, such as more careful screening required for their big damage dealing units. The AdMech are still in a solid spot, riding the waves of their massive update received in CA19 and while some of the changes will of course impact them for the negative (Knight allies for example), overall the updates are probably a wash for them in terms of upsides and downsides.
Marines, we are leaving!
Marines of pretty much all varieties are pretty similar to each other in the changes received, and again, it’s the main core changes that I feel have the most impact (are you noticing a trend here?) with the finalised Bolter Discipline giving them a modicum of better anti-infantry output, and Fly changes helping certain armies more than others. Given there’s a lot of overlap with standard Marines we’ll talk about them first, then go into the specific armies.
Overall it’s things like clarifications on Killshot only affecting Predator Datasheets and not Baal or FW types, no double tapping with the Armorium Cherub and various Mortal Wound Stratagems. Casualties not counting as Modifiers for ATSKNF in relation to the reroll/modifier rule, and a tweak to the Drop Pod to allow you to decide to deploy with doors down for a bigger footprint, or up to block LoS. These are mostly things that were either being played that way anyway, or removing what essentially amounted to a cute trick due to odd wording interactions. None of them I believe will have a huge impact on Marines and how they fare in game, although the Drop Pod change is intriguing as it does give them a huge footprint for your opponent’s to work around, but I’m sceptical if it will justify their usage.
Deathwatch have seen a fairly significant change with Bolter Discipline no longer interacting with Special Issue Ammunition, which does quite drastically affect their offensive output. However this is honestly a good change, as the sheer overlapping power of the two rules was a tad too much at times. Deathwatch are still potent, but now more reasonable for their cost. A few minor issues are resolved in the rest of their FAQ, mostly to adjust rulings to the main rules updates.
Grey Knights benefit more than most Marine armies as a result of the Fly/Interceptor change and Bolter Discipline, as well as getting the much needed clarifications on re-deploying with Gate of Infinity or Personal Teleporters. However alongside a few tidying ups to rules, they also received changes to their “main” gimmick of a 2++ save via Heed the Prognosticars. Whilst I understand the frustration, it brings this in line with most other similar abilities and Stratagems.
Blood Angels are similar to the Grey Knights in that they more than the other Chapters benefited greatly from the Fly changes due to their access to some potent Jump Pack units, as well as their redeploy abilities. Other changes are in line with standard marines.
The Space Wolves and Dark Angels received no major specific changes, but again will benefit from the overall changes in the core mechanics, although given their predisposition towards land based units such as Wulfen or Ravenwing, they may not see as much a benefit as the other specialised armies. Note should be given to Bolter Discipline in the hands of Dark Angels however, which compliments with Grim Resolve very nicely.
Marines as a whole still suffer on the defensive side of things, and even with the changes to certain nasty Soups and combos, they will still be fairly middle of the road against some armies. Indeed the sheer fact that there has been no change to Chapter Tactics and equivalents, and as mentioned the removal of Bolter Discipline from most vehicles, says to me we are unlikely to see that changed in the future, which does put them at a disadvantage when compared to some armies having their Traits across the board. That’s not to say they cannot work, and indeed played well they can certainly cause upsets (Oz guy with Pure GK whose name eludes me), however the changes are just not quite enough to put them on the same overall playing field as some of the other, objectively stronger armies, and so whilst they will still be seen due to their popularity, it will take a very good general indeed to do well with them.
Spooky Metal Skeletons
The Necrons benefit quite significantly from the Fly changes as they do have access to a large number of Flying units, and being able to bypass screens makes some of them even stronger than before. Even those that don’t really want to do combat such as Destroyers can utilise the functionality to tie up a weaker unit that thought it was safe. A few specific changes were made with regards to setting units up on the Tomb World, i.e in Monoliths or Night Scythes, namely that are off the board for Tactical Reserves purposes, though the Emergency Invasion Beams Stratagem does allow them to ignore this. There was also an odd change with their Quantum Deflection Stratagem now able to allow Damage 1 weapon to be ignored if rolled low enough, despite this contradicting the Designer’s Commentary on modifying dice rolls below 1.
The changes have generally helped out the Necrons, from Fly and to Knights especially (Necrons were in my opinion struggling to deal with vehicles already due to lack of reliable anti-tank), although the Aircraft ruling may alter how some people will be using Doom Scythes since they cannot block as efficiently anymore. However Necrons still suffer from being defensively quite weak, or at least easy to circumvent, as well as not having vast amounts of offensive power in some scenarios. The changes have helped as mentioned, but I personally don’t see them being enough to do much better than they currently do.
Gosh that’s a lot of armies
So that’s the first 11 codexes very briefly discussed! There will be a bunch of stuff I’ve perhaps missed or maybe not considered, so feel free to correct me in the comments below. Next time we’ll finish the remaining 11(?) codexes, as well as talking about Soup, and how the overall state of the game might be.
If you have a list with some unique tactics, a Tactica or hobby article that you feel would make an interesting read, or maybe you just want to give Chef a topic to rant about? Send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might see your topic discussed in a future article!