Codex Space Marines – The Goonhammer Review – Bonus: The FAQ

Just as we thought we were done with Marines for a few weeks, GW have released the two week FAQ for the new book. This largely clears up most of the ambiguities, but also makes a few slightly surprising rulings, so we thought it was worth one one last trip unto the breach to cover what’s been changed and what it means.

You can find the new FAQs on the Warhammer Community FAQ page, and access the previous parts of our review by following the links below:

Part 1: Army Rules and faction traits
Part 2: Units
Part 3: Powers, Warlord Traits, and Stratagems
Part 4: Forge World

Ultramarines Review
White Scars Review

The FAQ is split into four parts (one for each book and then one covering other publications) so we’ll basically follow through on that, but first we’ll quickly look at a couple of things that have caused internet slap fights which we think are still “outstanding”.

The Missing Clarifications

There are two big ones here:

  • How many times does a Whirlwind Scorpius shoot if you use Suppression Fire on it?
  • Can a Vanguard Veteran take two Chainswords?

There are some tangentially similar rulings in there that will inevitably re-trigger hostilities across competitive Facebook and Reddit as both sides claim validation, but both still fail to be 100% clear. We’re pretty clear that our stance on the Vanguard Veterans question is “yes”, but goodness only knows on the Scorpius. Luckily we’re only a month out from the September FAQ, so we get another swing at these pretty soon. Or don’t, if they take away dual chainswords.

Wings Note: It was funny in my head.

Now, on to the interesting stuff!

Codex Space Marines

Drop Pods

Credit: Jonathon Reynolds

Drop pods no longer ignore the part of the Tactical Reserves rule that requires you to be on the battlefield by turn 3 or be destroyed. This is a healthy change, as being able to hold units risk free until very late in the battle can be borderline game-breaking in some mission setups, including some popular tournament formats.

The fact that this was the only clarification here means that you apparently are supposed to be able to deploy more than 50% of your army in deep strike as long as they’re in pods. That theoretically opens up the prospect of doing a full null deployment, but because doing so locks you out from a lot of the best units in the army we probably won’t see that tearing up the top tables any time soon.


Vindicare Assassin in jungle temple
Vindicare Assassin by Corrode

Adding an assassin via Operative Requisition Sanctioned does turn off doctrines

This one was a surprise – we were correct in saying that this was how it worked RAW, but had assumed it was a mistake. Apparently when a drugged-up murderer in a skintight bodysuit starts butchering Orks it puts Marines right off their game.

Stratagems From the Old Codex

You definitely can’t use any of these any more. This was what we were expecting – as we covered at the time, this pretty much only really sucks for Predators.

Stratagems & Other Marines

Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard
Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard. Credit: Jack Hunter

One of the silliest internet blowups was caused by a small but militant faction arguing that taking a Space Marines detachment let you unlock the stratagems for use on other Adeptus Astartes codices like Blood Angels and Deathwatch. This seemed pretty far-fetched, and Games Workshop have kindly clarified that when they say “cannot make use of any of the rules in this section” they do actually mean that.


Units that disembark after these move can still move after that. This looked like it was probably how it was supposed to work, but it’s good to get it clarified. This makes these already great units better. Now release the kit, GW, people are dying.

Auspex Scan

They’ve remembered to add the “from reinforcements” rider that this was obviously supposed to have, and clarified that no you obviously can’t do this during deployment.

Extra Hits

Rainbow Warriors Primaris Infiltrators
Rainbow Warriors Primaris Infiltrators. Credit: MasterSlowPoke

This is a weird one – they’ve made the call that any ability that gives extra hits for a six also has those additional hits count as being from a roll of a six. Several of us could swear they’ve called this the other way somewhere previously, but we now don’t seem to be able to find it.

This is most relevant for Infiltrators, making them a little bit better in armies with the bolter discipline-style Chapter Tactic, as it gives them more auto-wounds.

Vox Espiritum

Errataed to max out at 9″, so no 15″ anti-deep strike bubbles from a Phobos Captain. Probably for the best.

Indomitus Crusaders

Wins some and loses some. You can’t use the (cheaper) versions of the Stratagems that migrated to the main codex, which is a hit if you wanted a lot of 10-man Veteran Intercessor squads as the cost of this version didn’t scale. However, Grey Shield, which was always one of the big attractions of this, has been updated to let you pick any one of the 8 mainline Chapter Tactics and confirmed to get the new versions, which is a huge buff.

More powerful options is always good, and the most notable improvement is probably access to the Crimson Fists tactic. The most common use before was to become Raven Guard for a turn against a shooty army – now if you’re up against a horde pressure army you can instead turn your bolt rifle Intercessors into Crimson Fists, pop “Rapid Fire” and mow down a bazillion Orks. This is also a very good one on bolter Inceptors.

Overall, there’s a pretty decent chance this is still worth it in some situations. Oh, they also missed putting a bullet in the head of the old version of the Reliquary of Galthamor while they were here, but that’s another one that will obviously get fixed in the big FAQ, and wording elsewhere prevents you taking relics with the same name from different sources.

Everything Else

Pretty much everything else was extremely minor and/or obvious, but for completeness:

  • Ultramarines units with FLY don’t have to take -1 to hit if they fall back and shoot. Fair.
  • Clarified what they mean by the new “when resolving an attack wording”.Fine, we already reviewed on this basis because it was pretty clear, but it’s good they’ve properly outlined their thinking.
  • Clarified the interaction of Salamanders and Suppression Fire. Fine, but not the Suppression Fire clarification that was needed!
  • If a unit was in the old Codex and the Index but not the new Codex, you use the Index version. Weird but only relevant very briefly as we’ll see later.
  • Clarified the flow of bullet points in wargear options, but not in a way that properly clears up the Vanguard Veterans thing.
  • Clarified that Chaplains have to be on the battlefield to use Litanies. Fine – anything else was wishful thinking.
  • Flakk Missile can’t be used from a Cyclone Launcher.
  • Clarified drop pods and their mysterious doors again. Still leaves some very weird and non-thematic rules.
  • Clarified that dead models being added to a morale check isn’t a modifier so ATSKNF does actually work.
  • A Techmarine can shoot while firing a Thunderfire Cannon as well. Presumably the Servo Arm does all the hard work.
  • You can’t do very cheeky things with a Signum and a Chapter Ancient. A good catch.


Old School Guilliman
Old School Guilliman. Credit: SRM

Sergeant Chronus

Not much in the Ultra book was ambiguous, but this was the big one!

We made the call when reviewing it that Sergeant Chronus probably wasn’t supposed to be able to apply a warlord trait to a vehicle, so we didn’t deep dive on the many possible permutations. Part of the reason for that was that him not having a fixed trait (like every other Named Character) made it seem like he probably wasn’t ever intended to be the warlord.

It turns out the truth was in the middle – he can apply a warlord trait, but he was also supposed to have a fixed one, so we guess it’s a good thing overall that we didn’t go deep on the possible combinations!

Calm Under Fire is a pretty neat trait for him to pick up as it makes him great when deployed in a gunline of non-flying tanks, letting them fall back and shoot with a lesser penalty. If any list ends up running Chronus and a bunch of plausible targets we can see this getting added by Hero of the Chapter.

Most of the really silly stuff people were planning, however, ran off the Paragon of War trait, so some of the horrendous combos people were mooting turn out not to work, and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

They also clarify that you have to kill the model that pops out to claim “Slay the Warlord”, and that he can’t assume direct control of another tank if his first one dies.

Master Crafted

Crimson Fists Captain in Gravis armour
Crimson Fists Captain in Gravis armour by Corrode

(This applies to White Scars as well)

For the purposes of this, weapons that have a separate melee and shooting profile count as two separate choices. This takes some of the best uses of this (Gravis Captains and Aggressor Sergeants) down a peg. This is a slightly surprising and counter-intuitive call, and a bit of a shame, as it felt like a cool interaction rather than a broken one.

While we’re here, they also clarified that relics with the same name but different sources count as the same for the purposes of not being able to take duplicates, so if you include White Scars and Ultramarines detachments you can’t have a master crafted weapon in each.

Everything Else

  • Confirms that the Victrix Guard specialist detachment relics are superseded.
  • Martial Precision confirmed to only affect a single attack.
  • Tactical Expertise confirmed to stack with Tactical Doctrine.
  • Clarified that effects that apply tactical doctrine turn on Scions of Guilliman.
  • Defensive Focus can’t be used to double tap on overwatch.
  • Ultramarine Aggressors confirmed to be able to move and double tap in tactical doctrine.

White Scars

White Scars - Richyp - Step 4
Credit: Richyp

Master of Snares

Errataed to not work on units with a minimum move characteristic, so pulling planes out of the sky no longer works. Luckily, you can still trivially build a Scars character that will turbo-murder them.

Wings Note: I make a point of avoiding Codex reviews from other big names before contributing to ours because I want it to be our own work as much as possible, so I felt a bit silly when I went and read other Scars reviews and realised I had missed this possibility. Clearly I was just prescient!

Lightning Debarkation

Gets the same clarification as the Impulsor that it allows you to move after disembarking, and an additional ruling that it doesn’t override the normal inability to embark and disembark in the same turn.


Clarifies that you can’t disembark after setting up a transport from Deep Strike using the Impulsor or Lightning Debarkation abilities. Fine.

Everything Else

  • Same clarification on the Eternal Hunt stratagem as on Tactical Expertise.
  • Repeats the clarifications on Master Crafted and duplicate relics.

Other Sources

Index Options are Back…Briefly

All Index options that don’t show up in the Codex have had the Angels of Death ability rolled out, meaning they’re now viable for use in Marine armies that want to use doctrines again. Hurray?

Not really, because over the NOVA weekend a separate announcement has made this something of a moot point. Index options are shortly to become Warhammer Legends, which means that they’re going to:

  1. Be issued revised points (and presumably datasheets based on the AoS model).
  2. No longer be included in point balance reviews.
  3. No longer be recommended for competitive play.

There was no timeline on the Legends announcement but the September big FAQ seems like a reasonable bet. It also seems at least somewhat plausible that the delay in applying this ability to Index options was so that they could get this announcement out of the way first, as it would have caused extreme bad feelings otherwise.

Realistically the competitive scene sets a lot of the pace of what’s commonly included in games, so for a lot of people that effectively retires these units. We’re going to do a separate review of the tournament impact of the Legends change once it’s fully fleshed out, so won’t cover that in detail here.

In the brief window of tournament viability, or if you aren’t bothered by what the tryhards (like that jerk Wings) think, the most relevant outcome of this is for White Scars, as it opens up both bike characters and bike Veterans as viable options. The characters are extremely good with the new rules, with Bike Librarians and Ancients probably standing out as the biggest winners thanks to how good the Stormspeaking discipline and relic banner are. The Veterans are more of a nice to have, as while you can definitely build a squad that will do horrendous things to anything it touches once Assault Doctrine hits, you pay a steep premium over normal bikers for it. You can also bring the old version of Kor’sarro khan, but the new one is a lot better so running him in an Impulsor is probably the superior choice.

Overall, we would have been very hyped about this a few weeks back, but the Legends announcement has made it somewhat “meh”. As we said above, we’ll return to that topic once we know more.

Chaplain Venerable Dreadnought

Technically this section could have been “all Forge World Chaplains” but we know what we’re here for.

The Chaplain Dreadnought gets new litanies! We were already pretty hot on this model based on the other changes in the book, but this pushes it to the next level. The most obvious thing to do with it is to use “Mantra of Strength”, taking it up to S16 AP-3 D4 A6 on the charge (as it didn’t lose “Icon of Hate”) before you add the possibility of having “The Imperium’s Sword” as well, at which point you’re into “potentially trash a Knight” territory once you add a few re-rolls. Alternatively, you can keep him or a nearby unit accurate on the move with Recitation of Focus, or switch up to being a potent anti-psychic bulwark against Thousand Sons and the like with Litany of Faith.

This guy already looked like he might get over the line, and with this change he’s now confirmed as a fantastic unit.

Forge World Named Character Chaplains picked up new Litanies too, and two of them (Chaplain Dread Titus from the Howling Gryphons and Ivanus Enkomi from the Minotaurs) get to pick and use two like Cassius from the Ultramarines. Both do pay a much steeper premium for this though, and at least our initial instinct is that it isn’t worth it.

Finally, the Chaplain on bike gets an update…but the poor guy only knows the Litany of Hate, so is actually worse than he used to be because it can fail now. Welp.

Update: Never Mind – Reddit user Ferro_Ignis points out they released a followup edit a day later that fixed this. Bike Chaplains now get to pick a litany from the list like all the rest!

The Drill and the Albatross

Blood Angels Astraeus Grav-Tank
Blood Angels Astraeus Grav-Tank. Credit: Jack Hunter

The Terrax Assault Drill and the Astraeus both got added to the list of datasheets that get AoD. We already reviewed the Astraeus because it was really, really obvious that it would get this in the two-week FAQ, but the drill we weren’t as confident on, so didn’t review.

While the unique selling point of the drill isn’t as unique here thanks to drop pods, Angels of Death is very kind to it, as it actually has a relevant melee profile. Picking up chapter tactics is also a very nice boost. Not being able to transport Primaris models is a big blow, but if you’re interested in moving anything else around the battlefield it’s a T8 transport at a much more reasonable price than a Land Raider that also presents some counter-charge threat. We would expect it to get serious consideration if any list that wants to transport non-Primaris infantry ends up existing. It’s also hilarious in White Scars thanks to being able to advance and charge, and benefiting from their various options to boost charges out of Deep Strike.

Wings Note: I also just realised it can double fight now. This thing is actually kind of horrendous the more I think about it.

Everything Else

Here this was just a mass tidyup of changes they forgot to merge in the first update. It all pretty much works as it should now. Hurray.

TheChirurgeon’s Note: Still notably missing were Index: Chaos units getting Hateful Assault, but I’m sure they’ll release an update to cover stuff like Chaos Lords on Juggernauts any minute now.

Wrap Up

As far as we’re concerned, the big winners from this FAQ are the Terrax Drill and the Chaplain Dread – both are ideally statted to benefit from the new Codex and can now do so with wanton abandon. Chronus getting a Warlord trait and the changes to Grey Shield are also some nice upgrades. We also appreciate that the FAQs are generally very well put together, and continue the recent trend of explaining their reasoning and quickly jumping on the vast majority of potential problems.

The only major disappointment is the slight damp squib that is Index units, but ultimately delaying till now was definitely the right call – no one would have been happy if Marine players had spent three weeks converting bike characters leading up the Legends announcement. Not being able to take Assassins is also a little bit of a blow, but the philosophy behind it is clear – Doctrines are your reward for going properly mono-codex. On aggregate, having that incentive around will probably make more players more happy in the long run.

As ever, if there’s anything we’ve missed let us know at or via our Facebook page. This should really, genuinely, actually be us done with Marine reviews for a few weeks (especially as an announcement about the other four supplements was a weird absence at NOVA) but we’ve got plenty of cool things lined up now we actually have time to work on them, so stay tuned to Goonhammer for all of your GW content needs!