Goonhammer FAQ Hot Take: Imperium Factions Points Updates, January 2021

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, and all points in the game are provided for free with an up to date PDF version of the Munitorum Field Manual (with a paper edition in White Dwarf if you wanted a physical copy too). A welcome change, sure, but entirely unexpected!

One important change which we’ve already seen in 9th edition codexes is specifically called out in the new MFM “…(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?

Adepta Sororitas

There’s only a few changes for the Sisters of Battle, but they hit units that you were probably expecting if you have any familiarity with the faction at all (and then one surprise!)

First up, the ones you were probably already assuming got hit – yes, Repentia went up, by 1 point each to 16. Not the end of the world – that’s only 27pts assuming you took the absolute maximum number of them, and they’re still utterly murderous.

The other change is the other R unit, in the shape of Retributors, which took a 2pt hike to their base cost to go up to 14ppm. Again, not really a surprise, and since people were generally only running the minimum 5 Sisters it’s only 10pts/squad.

The change that might be a surprise is Zephyrim, which take a 2pt net cut – they were 15 base before and now cost 18, but their power swords were 5pts each and are now free. Although they were overshadowed a little by Repentia it’s not like these weren’t seeing play, so a cut to them is very welcome for Sisters players and probably not by anyone else.

Additionally, Simulacrums are free now, as are null rods for the Cannoness.

For completeness sake, we should also mention the humble Sororitas Rhino, which now costs a round 80pts instead of its former 78 because of the janky 75pts + 3 for the storm bolter thing. Fine.

Adeptus Custodes

As we mentioned before in regards to the Introduction in the Munitorum Manual: “…weapons and wargear not listed in a unit’s entry cost no additional points to include in that unit).”

This is important to note for Custodes. The Guardian Spear is not mentioned in the entry cost for several units (with a few exceptions), which suggests they’re now free for several units (0 points). More importantly, there’s no points value listed for any of the Vexila standards, which means they’re now free as well!

The Custodian Wardens took a small hit for the zero people taking them, while the base costs for the Shield-Captain and the Shield-Captain in Allarus Terminator Armour have gone up (+5 points), but the weapon costs have gone down, resulting in a net change of zero points.

Finally Vertus Praetors get a flat 10ppm reduction. It’s a good time for big gold bikes.

There were no changes to the Forge World units for Adeptus Custodes, which makes sense as the book was only released recently.

All in all, the Custodes look to be big winners from this update, walking out with a number of points changes that make them look significantly better, as well as the added benefit of being favored by the changes to While We Stand, We Fight, which is a whole lot better when it can be used on big, tough units (which they specialise in) and is particularly hilarious on a big block of Allarus all splitting up – one guy can just run away out of line of sight and prevent you scoring the points even if you kill the rest.

Adeptus Mechanicus

Minimal changes – most of it is just tweaking to the basic gear into the model’s cost. I am pretty confident this is the case but my eyes are glazing over trying to check this when every unit has a million guns and melee weapons so if you see something, say something.

Update: Turns out Servitors changed. They’re now 30 points for a unit of four, rather than 7ppm. This happened for every Imperial faction except Grey Knights, hilariously.

Astra Militarum

The Guard got a bunch of changes all across their units – we’ll pick out the notable ones first and then run through all of the rest.

Notable Changes

Generally positive about these points changes. You probably could’ve gotten away without the increases to Infantry Squads and Astropaths, but the decreases are certainly significant enough to help you justify bringing along those new units and they’ll probably help you play the 9e missions better.

  • Infantry Squads 50 to 55 points. Effectively a +15 to +30 point tax to most Guard armies I’ve seen out there (though admittedly I haven’t been seeing many)
  • Tank Commander base 185 to 190, and Leman Russ Battle Tank base 160 to 155. Widens the gap between the two units to 35 points. May make normal Demolishers an interesting choice from time to time over the Tank Commander.
  • Astropath 25 to 35 is relevant due to the decreased potency of Abhor the Witch
  • Hellhounds and friends 120/110 to 110/100  and Chimera down 85 to 75. Cheaper medium vehicles may give board control more staying power.
  • Bullgryn with Mauls 43 to 35 per model. This might just give the Guard a points efficient way to flip an objective in the Fight phase.

Codex Unit Changes *by model


Unit Previous Base Cost New Base Cost Relevant Wargear Change Result
Tank Commander 185 190 +5 on all loadouts
Infantry Squad 50 55 +5 on all loadouts
Astropath 25 35 +10
Bullgryn* 38 35 0 Bullgryn Maul -8
Command Squad 24 25 +1 on all loadouts
Commissar 20 25 +5 on all loadouts
Crusaders* 15 16 0 Power Sword -4
Militarum Tempestus Command Squad 36 40 +4 on all loadouts
Veterans 60 65 +5 on all loadouts
Hellhounds/Devil Dog/Bane Wolf* 110 100 -10 on all loadouts
Heavy Weapons Squad 51 50 -1 on all loadouts
Leman Russ Battle Tanks* 160 155 -5 on all loadouts
Chimera 85 75 -10 on all loadouts

General Thoughts

Some painful changes to key units like Infantry Squads, Tank Commanders, and maybe not key, but certainly somewhat relevant Astropaths are largely offset by significant changes to units that might help the Guard play 9e missions better.

In addition to some very welcome mission changes that may allow more vehicles into the meta, Guard got significant point drops to Bullgryn, Crusaders, and Chimeras. We’ll see more about Crusaders, but I feel that Bullgryn and Chimeras are going to be relatively important for Guard going forward. One of the biggest issues the army has had with the 9e missions was that it’s Guardsmen focus board control was cleared away by a stiff breeze. Chimeras at -10 points that aren’t bleeding a ridiculous amount of VPs may be able to give the Guard army the little extra staying power it needs to stay on those mid board objectives up through their Command Phase. Bullgryn, with their very hefty discount, might just be enough to give Guard the capability to flip an objective in the Assault Phase in a points efficient manner; again a key capability for winning 9e games.

The last points change I’m going to highlight is Tank Commanders vs Leman Russ Battle Tanks. These two units are often competing for points in the armies I put together. Personally, I love tonk and they’re typically the first things I’ll pop into a list before I begin building an army around it. Towards the tail end of 8e I preferred bringing 2 Tank Commanders and a squadron of 2 Demolishers along with most of my lists. When 9e closed the gap between the two units I found I had a hard time bringing standard Tanks because their cost was too close to the Tank Commander. Given the mission and points changes, I’ll definitely be exploring 2 Demolisher again. A 35 point gap, rather than a 25 point gap, between the two units may just be enough to incentivise looking at the standard tanks more often.

All in all, I think Guard came out ahead with these points changes relative to where they previously were. I’m still going to be taking 30 Guardsmen in every list to fill out my Battalion, and they’re still good board control and area denial units. I’ll likely still rock 2 Tank Commanders, but replace my last one with a Squadron of naked Demolishers. Lastly, I’ll definitely be looking to mix it up with some Bullgryn and Chimeras again. So far in 9e, I’ve felt like I’ve been forced to sit on my backline and try and score in the last two turns of the game. Hopefully, the reduced cost on these units will allow me to start with a little more gas in my tank to contest the midboard in the top half of the game.

Inquisition, Assassins, Sisters of Silence

No changes.

Imperial Knights

Bringing up the rear for the Imperium are the titanic war machines of the Knight Households. Mostly Knights haven’t changed much, with the base cost going up but the weapons largely being rolled in for a net zero change. However, there is one exciting thing here, which is that Armigers have gone down – way, way down. Both types have dropped 20pts, with Warglaives now coming in at an incredibly cheap 135pts with basic gear. That’s a lot of medium-sized robots that you can put on the table, which may well help Knights players out by enabling them to just have more stuff to go out and score objectives with.

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