GW released a bombshell of new FAQs today, covering updates to the GT missions, points updates, and rules clarifications and errata. And as always, we’ve got you covered with the rundown of what’s changed and what it means for your games. In this series of Hot Take articles, we’ll be covering the changes and our initial reactions to them but for more detailed analysis, check back over the next two weeks as we dive deeper into how these changes affect the game and its factions.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the January FAQ update was the fact that it included points adjustments for a number of units. A welcome change, sure, but entirely unexpected! The document itself is essentially an entirely new Munitorum Field Manual, covering points for every unit in the game, laid out in the new Codex format (as opposed to listing wargear options separately).
Per the new Introduction in the latest Munitorum Manual, “…(weapons and wargear not listed in a unit’s entry cost no additional points to include in that unit).” This is proving to be a huge impact for several armies, since it means that any weapons or wargear no longer listed are effectively free for their respective units. This means less entries for the design team to update in future, but more time for players to puzzle through changes. But what else would you be talking about, anyway? In this article – one of several – we’ll be covering the point changes for the Chaos factions with some thoughts on how they affect army construction and play. There are a few very interesting things here, plus some things that border on “game-changing,” so strap in.
Chaos Space Marines
There are quite a few chaos space marines changes, though most of these aren’t as impactful as you’d expect, merely rolling in weapon options into models’ base costs. In a couple of cases this made units slightly more expensive for some builds (Helbrutes, Defilers), but in two very specific cases, it improved the units a lot. The key cases here are Warp Talons, which dropped 4ppm and are now potentially viable, particularly in Creations of Bile lists, and Terminators, which now get power weapons free, or rather are 2 points cheaper when taking a Power Sword, Axe, or Maul. That’s a good start, and helpful for a unit that was inexplicably 1 point cheaper than a loyalist version sporting an extra wound over them. Raptors also dropped to 15ppm, a massive improvement that makes them much, much better. There’s a lot more value now for Chaos Space Marines looking to build around either their Fast Attack choices or Terminators, and while it probably doesn’t get the faction over the top, these do help quite a bit. There’s probably a lot more value in taking a second look at a Creations of Bile force that runs heavy on Raptors, and Night Lords may also be worth a second look, given their ability to deliver Warp Talons into combat immediately off of a Deep Strike. World Eaters Terminators also seem like a more attractive play now, especially since they’re able to take Lightning Claws for free.
- The Chaos Lord in Terminator Armour is now 100 points base, including his Power Sword and Combi-bolter, which brings the cost of the model down 2 points. Combi-weapons and upgrading to a Chainfist or Power Fist will cost you an extra 5 points now.
- Daemon Princes have a single listing now (still 150 points), and wings are a +35 point upgrade. So no major changes – the unit is still overcosted.Warpsmiths are now 65 points base, but that includes their Meltagun and Flamer. They still have to pay 5 points for the power axe they come with, however.
- The Lord Discordant went up to 195 points base cost, but now includes the Autocannon, so it’s a net-zero change. The Baleflamer and Magma Cutters will each cost you +5 points.
- Helbrutes got a very weird points change, which is kind of a nerf – they’re now 110 points per model, which includes most of their weapon options, but averages out to a net increase for things like a pair of fists (+10) or fist + scourge (+5). The weapons you pay extra for now are Multi-meltas (+5), heavy flamers (+10), twin heavy bolters (+10), and twin lascannons (+20), as well as combi-bolters, which are now +5 points instead of 3. The result is that most builds got more expensive.
- Chaos Terminators are now 28ppm (+5), but have their combi-bolter (-3) and melee weapon costs built-in. Previously the Chainaxe (1) was the default loadout, but you now get power axes, swords, and mauls for free on the models (5 points each), bringing the cost of these down by 2ppm now that you’ll always be putting a power weapon on them (Power swords are strictly better than chainaxes). It also solves the gross problem of “how do I get 5 chainaxes on my terminators when a squad only comes with 1 on the sprue?” Also, there’s a pretty clear error in this section – it lists Reaper Chaincannons as a 5-point upgrade for Chaos Terminators, which is a weapon they can’t take. This doesn’t mean you can take chaincannons (though that’d be sweet), but it does mean that until this is fixed, Reaper Autocannons are free RAW. Thanks, GW. Lightning Claws are also free now, so double claw terminators have dropped by a full 5 points.
- Raptors are now 15ppm (-3). That’s a massive drop for a unit that was already starting to look pretty good thanks to the Astartes Chainswords update.
- Warp Talons are now 23ppm, including lightning claws. This brings them down 4ppm from before.
- Cultists stay at 6ppm, despite going down to 5 for Death Guard. Just wonderful.
- Defilers went up to 135 points (+15), but that includes their Reaper Autocannon (-10) and the Defiler Scourge is only 5 points now (-5), so if you take one with the common loadout, nothing has changed.
- Chaos Rhinos went up to 80ppm but now include the combi-bolter. This is still a 2ppm increase, which sucks.
- The Heldrake and Maulerfiend now include their base weapons in their cost, but are otherwise unchanged.
- The Khorne Lord of Skulls now has a base cost of 435 points, but this includes the Skullhurler and Ichor cannon in the base cost. Upgrades are comparable.
- The Noctilith Crown still costs any points (85), meaning it’s still pretty much unusable.
- On a wargear note, Thunder Hammers went from 40 points on a character to 20. You still won’t use them since they mess with Death to the False Emperor and other abilities that proc off modified hit rolls, though.
In a bit of an insane twist, the Death Guard points lists a ton of changes and upgrades/units that aren’t available yet, signifying that we’re looking at points costs from the upcoming/should-have-been-out-already 9th edition Codex: Death Guard. There’s a ton to cover here that will likely be in the codex in a few weeks, so I’ll cover the big notes but if you wanted to start playtesting with some of the new previewed rules, now’s your time! A number of vehicles, such as the Chaos Rhino and Chaos Land Raider, notably did not get new “Death Guard” labels in their unit names, and while we’re not 100% sure what that means, it does likely suggest that they won’t be receiving quite the same full “Death Guard” treatment as some of the faction’s other units. Or GW has just messed up, whichever. You know how it goes.
- The Lord of Virulence, the previewed Terminator Lord for Death Guard with a twin plaguespitter, is 120 points.
- Sorcerers and Chaos Lords get the DEATH GUARD title added to their names, so they’re now distinct units, hopefully with T5.
- Death Guard Cultists are 5 points per model. Cheaper than CSM cultists. Cool. So cool, you guys. **Scott’s note: notably, cheaper than Guardsmen now. You can stop crying finally.
- Poxwalkers are 5 points per model too. That rules.
- Plaguemarines are 21 points per model. That’s a pretty solid cost for a unit that just got +1 wound and +1 attack. Hell yeah, fellas. The downside is they’re now locked in to squads of 5-10 models. Boo, fellas.
- Blightlord Terminators are 40 points per model, and their cost includes combi-bolters (3) and melee weapons, including Baleswords and Bubotic axes. This means that on the whole they dropped 3ppm while gaining a wound (well, soon anyways). That’s a welcome change!
- Plague Surgeons (+15) and Tallymen (+5) both went up in cost. We hope they’re worth it with whatever new rules they get.
- The Foul Blightspawn is now 10 points cheaper (75). That guy’s agent deserves a raise immediately.
- Death Guard Possessed are 24 points per model. That’s an absolute steal for a unit with 4 plague weapon attacks at the previewed profile and even better if they get to rock T5 and +1W on their base profiles. They’re also limited to squads of 10 now.
- Death Guard Defilers are 160 points base now, reflecting that, at the very least, they’re WS/BS 3+ now.
- The Plagueburst Crawler is now 165 points base, but that includes the pair of plaguespitters, dropping it by 5 points. Pretty good if it also manages to get BS 3+.
- The Miasmic Malignifier – the new fortification – is 75 points. So make of that what you will.
- Mortarion stayed at 490 points. This is a pretty good deal for the primarch, considering he’s T8 now.
- Deadly Pathogens are here too – these are the upgrades for plague weapons we saw previewed on Warhammer-Community. We don’t know what most of these do yet, but we do know that they cost between 10 and 20 points. Each of these adds +1 to the strength of the weapon, and the one we have seen – Viscous Death – costs 10 points for +1 strength and the ability to re-roll hit rolls. That’s pretty good, and we could see using that on a foul blightspawn or a Lord of Virulence.
The big change for Chaos Daemons is that Nurglings are now 22 points per model, and have been removed from the Death Guard list, so now there’s only one cost for them. This is a big increase over the 18ppm they were listed at before on the Daemons list, but not so bad compared to the 20ppm DG cost that some TOs had enforced. They’re likely still worth it at 22ppm just for their sheer utility, but not quite the steal they were.
- Nurglings are 22ppm (+4), or (+2), depending on which cost you used.
- Bloodcrushers are 40ppm (-5)
- Plague Drones are 35ppm (-5), bringing them in-line with Beasts
- The Soul Grinder is now 170ppm (-15), a significant and welcome drop.
There’s only one major change for Chaos Knights, who kept the same costs while folding in their weapons costs, and that’s to War Dogs – War Dogs dropped 20ppm in their base cost (from 150), so now a twin autocannon War Dog will cost you 155 points and a spear/cleaver variant will cost you 135 (the meltagun is +5 points). That’s a good change for a faction that needs help.
The Thousand Sons changes mirror the ones to Chaos Space Marines for the units they share. Otherwise, there were no changes, which is a bummer given that Scarab Occult Terminators could have really used at least a minor decrease.
Stay tuned, reader – there’s more to come. If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.