Games Workshop silently dropped a few major FAQs today, with big changes for Deathwatch, Space Wolves, and Imperial Armour: Compendium. As always, we’ve got a full list of the changes and how they affect your games.
We were absolutely floored by the length of the Deathwatch FAQ; there’s a lot in here, from minor typo adjustments to a few major functional changes to some inexplicable points adjustments. On the whole, this represents a series of small improvements plus a few necessary tweaks. If you were playing Deathwatch before, your lists aren’t going to be seismically impacted by this, but you may take more frag cannons and non-storm bolters in your veteran squads and Proteus kill teams. Still, there are a lot of changes to cover here and while they aren’t necessarily going to shift your overall strategy too much, they are significant, particularly because of a number of points changes.
Review of Changes
Deathwatch Veterans saw a few major adjustments, both in terms of points and their options. Their PL has been reduced to 8 and 16 instead of 9 and 18 based on squad size, making them a little easier to place in Strategic Reserves if that’s what you’re going for. In general “typo adjustments” news, they’ve lost the Mixed Unit ability which they never needed, and most importantly changed every reference from “Veteran” to “Deathwatch Veteran” in case anyone was confused about who they worked for.
Wargear-wise, Deathwatch Veterans now have access to flamers and a bunch of their wargera costs changed: The Deathwatch frag cannon is now 10 points instead of 15 (hell yeah), the heavy thunder hammer is 15 points instead of 12 (sure, whatever), the stalker-pattern boltgun is now 3 points instead of 5 (woo!), and the storm bolter is now 3 points instead of 2 (Sorry about that one).
Terminators also had a few tweaks, moving from PL 9/18 to 10/20 but with no change in points costs. This would theoretically up the cost of putting them in Strategic Reserves, but they can’t go in SR anyways since they can teleport. The big changes here are for their wargear, specifically:
- Assault cannons, Heavy flamers, and Plasma cannons all went up in cost by 5 points, further disincentivizing you from taking them
- Deathwatch Terminator Squads no longer have to pay for power swords, power axes, or power mauls – these have dropped by 3 points each to being functionally free. So that’s cool, and means that dropping your power fist will save you 5 points per model, if you’re so inclined. Helpful for those of you who were imagining ways to deck out a squad with cyclones and other heavy weapons, though the increased cost of said heavy weapons makes this a wash on the whole.
Veteran Bikers received a few changes as well. The wording was changed so that a Veteran Attack Bike is treated as different from the Veteran Bikers in terms of PL. If the unit has 4-5 Veteran Biker models it’s now PL 10, and if it has a Veteran Attack BIke it’s +2 PL. Also the stalker-pattern boltgun is now 5 points instead of 3, meaning that the same gun that got cheaper for Deathwatch Veterans is also more expensive if they’re on a bike.
Other Significant Changes and Clarifications
- Mixed Unit: Includes actions and the Deathwatch teleport homer wargear for what keywords apply, includes Deathwatch Terminator models, and clarifies that the Biker models are Veteran Bikers. Major Change: The unit MUST include an INFANTRY model for the BIKERS models to count as INFANTRY, otherwise they only count as BIKERS.
- Proteus Kill Team: Add the option for no more than one Black Shield, and emphasizes that a Proteus Kill Team that contains only Veteran Bikers loses the INFANTRY keyword and gains the BIKER keyword.
- Fortis Kill Team: A Fortis Kill Team that contains only Outriders loses the INFANTRY keyword and gains the BIKER keyword.
- Brotherhood of Veterans: You can select a Chapter Tactic, or a Successor Tactic, but not a Successor Chapter Tactic since that’s actually two Successor Tactics.
- Banebolts of Eryxia: Can only be used if the bearer does not fire special-issue ammunition.
- Corvus Blackstar: Now counts Centurions as 3 models for transport purposes.
Points and PL Changes
One of the big surprises with this FAQ were points changes, which we rarely see in FAQs or outside of the annual Chapter Approved Points update. The most important parts of this are the adjustments to kill team specialisms, which have all gotten significantly cheaper. The biggest winner here is the Aquila specialism, which dropped a full 10 points and lets you pick an additional battlefield role for re-rolling wound rolls against. Overall it makes taking a specialism for your kill team much more attractive.
There were minor changes in points for several characters and wargear. A few units didn’t change their points, but did change their PL. This only really matters in competitive play for Strategic Reserves purposes.
- Watch Master: Now 130 points, was 125 points. PL unchanged.
- Chaplain Cassius: Now 95 points, was 100 points. PL unchanged.
- Watch Captain Artemis: Now 6 PL and 105 points, was 7 PL and 110 points.
- Corvus Blackstar: Now 10 PL, was 15 PL. The infernum halo-launcher is now 10 points instead of 5.
- Codicier Natorian: Now 5 PL, was 6 PL. Points unchanged.
- Kill Team Cassius: Now 13 PL, was 3. This was just a typo, though it was pretty funny there for a while. We like to imagine the kind of brainworms that would cause someone to run this as a cheap unit in a casual PL game.
- Beacon Angelis: Clarified that you actually have to use the Relic in order to gain the benefits of the Relic.
- Eye of Abiding: Turns out ‘would’ should actually be spelled ‘wound’.
- Neural Void: Clarified that only the closest unit from your army can be the target, eliminating any confusion about who the enemy is.
- Cull Order: Adds “Battlefield Roles” to the last part of the last sentence, clarifying that yes you do actually have to pick Battlefield Roles when selecting Battlefield Roles for the secondary objective about Battlefield Roles.
- Rearm, Reform, Redeploy Requisition: Minor wording change to eliminate a reference that didn’t actually reference anything.
- Special-issue Wargear, Heuristic Revelators: Changed ‘benefit’ to ‘benefits’. Seriously.
- Indomitor Kill Team: Changes the wording so that the section about Indomitor Kill Teams, under the Indomitor Kill Team header, is actually about Indomitor Kill Teams and not Fortis Kill Teams. Also changes the wording so that Heavy Intercessors can get access to hellstorm bolt rifles and executor bolt rifles, as opposed to heavy auto bolt rifles and heavy stalker bolt rifles which don’t actually exist.
- Duty’s Revelation: The AP on the reference table is now the same as the Datasheet, marking it as AP-4.
- Brotherhood of Veterans: Clarified to note that you cannot choose a Successor Chapter Tactic with this.
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