Goonhammer FAQ Hot Take: Xenos 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. 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). This also means bespoke wargear costs for some units.

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 game’s Xenos factions and how these affect the factions’ play and viability. 

If you haven’t already, it’s worth checking out the Faction Errata article we published earlier, which establishes a few key changes for the game’s factions (such as how The Eight work for T’au), and check out our upcoming article on the core rules changes, which covers things like Fire and Fade and embarking out-of-phase.

 

Canoptek Reanimator

Canoptek Reanimator. Credit: Chris Cowie

Necrons

Only two changes for the Necrons, but they’re substantial. The Reanimator dropped by 30 points, maybe making it usable – something we’ll have to revisit in Hammer of Math – and the Nightbringer went up 20. We’d have rather seen the Deceiver and Void Dragon drop, but overall this isn’t likely to kill the model’s viability; he’s still a house on the table.

Craftworld Eldar

The big changes for Eldar are drops on the Troops choices, which all got significantly cheaper on a per-model basis. Additionally, while War Walkers didn’t get any more expensive, the changes to Bring it Down work in their favor, making them significantly easier to field. The changes to Abhor the Witch also work in their favor, punishing them less for taking multiple psykers. Points-wise, the only change comes on the army’s Troops choices: The Craftworlds Troops choices dropped 2ppm each – dropping Dire Avengers to 11, Guardians to 8, Rangers to 13, and Storm Guardians to 7. Additionally, the second gun on the Dire Avenger and Warp Spider Exarchs now appears to be free.

Harlequins

The only change for Harlequins is that Voidweavers are now down 10 points. This probably still isn’t enough to make them worth fielding, but it’s worth noting.

Ynnari

No changes.

 

Credit: John “JackMann” Beattie

Orks

While many units have had their wargear options folded into their base costs, there do not appear to be any changes to the final cost of any Ork units.

Edit: Not quite true! The confusing life story of the KFF Big Mek Datasheet takes another turn, coming down to 60pts (-15 from the prior MFM FAQ). Will it stay here? Will it change again? No one knows.

 

Tyranids 

Tyranids got some surprisingly good stuff out of this FAQ between scoring changes and point changes, some loadouts are now very much worth considering. This is a welcome change for a faction that was struggling a bit and will now be significantly stronger with the changes to Abhor the Witch and Bring it Down, two secondaries that directly punished the faction’s larger psychic monsters.

  • Tyrant wings went down 15 points, talons went down 5 but are still bad when claws are free
  • Warriors down to 17 from 21
  • Hive guard went down to 35 from 40
  • Zoanthropes up to 50 from 45, which seems kind of unnecessary 
  • Ravenors base price 20 instead of 22, probably not gonna change much for them but its something.
  • Tyranofex is now base 170 from 190, making a cheap acid one 175 or 190 for the rupture cannon.
  • Termagants with devourers went down to 7 points from 9! This drops a full unit from 270 to 210, a 60 point reduction!
  • Mixed weapons carnifex are a bit more legit as the talons are 10 for a single pair from 15, but notably the second pair is not free making this a bit of a mixed bag.
  • Interestingly with screamer killers being 120 base they keep the old price for talons 

 

Genestealer Cults

Unlike Tyranids, Genestealer Cults got much less love. There’s not so much here, and the units that really needed a drop, mostly Aberrants, didn’t get enough, while Brood Brothers went up 1ppm.

  • Brood Brothers went up 1 point per model, to 6ppm
  • Aberrants came down 2 points per model; their cost includes a power pick (previously +10), and a base cost of 30. This is a welcome change for a unit that used to be good then caught an unreasonably large points hike to remove it from viability. The Heavy Improvised Weapon is 20 points now (-10), but that’s just reflecting the 10 points taken out for the power pick costs.
  • The cost of Brood Bros heavy weapons squads came down 1 point (51 to 50) for all loadouts, similar to the Astra Militarum change.
  • The Cult Leman Russ is now 5 points cheaper at 140 points base, but only +5 for the Battle Cannon.
  • The Goliath Rock Grinder appears to be 15 points cheaper, with a 95 point base cost and the Heavy Mining Laser, Drilldozer, and Heavy Stubbers baked into its cost. That’s a pretty good deal, at least.

 

T’au Empire

Oh god. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, there’s some real bad shit here.

Scott: Here you go Rob:

Credit: Disney

Thanks, Scott. 

The big thing here is that Tactical Drones now cost an eye-watering 20 points per model, despite each individual drone costing only 10-15 points elsewhere. This is an insane price hike on a unit that absolutely didn’t need it, and is a nail in the coffin for drone units (and it doesn’t bode well for the faction, either). The costs have also gone up on Crisis Suit Commanders (+5), as well as Coldstar and Enforcer suit Commanders (+5 each after you factor in wargear costs that were rolled in), again increasing costs on units that really didn’t need it. The one upside for the faction is Shadowsun becoming a Supreme Commander but good lord was this something the game’s worst faction really did not need. The Eight being a single unit also has some interesting consequences as well, since it means that your opponent has to kill every non-drone model in the Eight in order to prevent you from scoring 5 points for While We Stand, We Fight, which may make for some hilarious builds.

There are some buffs too, mercifully. Crisis teams come down a full 5 points per model, which since mid-large units of these are one of the better things you can do in the faction, is definitely appreciated. Crisis Bodyguards also come down by 3 if you want punchier red gundams for your Farsight Enclaves, but the wider gap in price here is likely to push people towards the basic ones. Broadsides also get a surprisingly massive cut, going down 20pts on the heavy rail rifle/SMS build and 15 on the HYMP build. That’s extremely good on both fronts, as a single unit of three of these gives you credible ranged output against most things, and those units are now priced to move. Three with the specialist system HRR at 240pts seems especially great. Finally, the Devilfish comes down a little bit, landing at 90pts for either the drone or SMS builds, both good prices. These four units were all some of the best Tau had to work with other than Commanders, so at least they got something, even if any level of nerf wasn’t really needed here.

For what it’s worth, we really, really hope the drone thing is a mistake because it feels like it has to be.

 

Drazhar, the Master of Blades

Drazhar, the Master of Blades. Credit: Corrode

Drukhari

Similar to the Death Guard and Dark Angels points sections, it appears as though we’ve received Drukhari points updates from the future, and this massive list of changes reflects the soon-to-be-and-possibly-should-have-already-been-out Codex. There’s a ton here, and a lot of it we suspect won’t make sense until we see the final, updated rules for the faction.

The HQs have mostly gone up a few points, largely because they’ve had their core equipment baked into the cost.

Archon: net zero, his base cost is up 5pts but the venom blade is free now

Drazhar: up 30pts, which we really hope reflects some changes in the codex because that is steep otherwise

Haemonculus: net zero, with the stinger pistol now being part of his base cost. He also benefits significantly from all his gear options now being free – hopefully this reflects a change in philosophy and not just that they’re all being taken away in the new codex, though we’re not holding out too much hope. 

Lelith: up 5. Let’s hope she gets some new rules to match her new plastic model.

Urien: up 5

Succubus: up 5 at base cost, but previously she was in the slightly weird position that the default build cost more than swapping out her splinter pistol, so overall net zero?

All of the Drukhari Troops choices have seen a points cut, which was honestly needed – much like the Craftworlds Troops, it felt a lot like someone had made a Decision Choice about non-horde light infantry and it was way too punishing for what you were actually getting for your points. As it stands, 8-point Kabalites and 10-point Wyches are probably still too expensive, but maybe they’re worth a little more when you take the new book into account. One nice bonus for Kabalites is that both their special weapons went down 5pts, so that’s a nice little bonus. As for Wracks, they got a 33% point cut, from 12 down to 8, which suggests that maybe someone has realised that they got it badly wrong before.

Vehicles are about the same, with Ravagers and Raiders each dropping 5 points, and Venoms working out to 5 points cheaper if you take both splinter cannons. Mandrakes and Scourges also come down by a few points each, and Scourges get the same price reductions on blasters and shredders that Kabalites do.

Wych Cults pick up a few interesting tricks: their Beast units dropped in cost by 2 points for Razorwings and Khymarae, and 10 points for Clawed Fiends. Speaking of 10-point drops, Reavers now cost half as much stock, taking them to 10 points per model. Hellions, on the other hand, went up 2 points each. We are forced to assume that this reflects some kind of change – Hellions haven’t been good at any point in the current codex, and they definitely didn’t get 2pts better recently, so hopefully that speaks to some big changes for them. Reavers going completely the other way is equally suggestive, but it’s hard to guess what of. 

The real winners, though, are Haemonculus covens. Talos drop 15 points per model after you factor in their two splinter cannons and pair of macro-scalpels. Replace them with heat lances or haywire blasters and they clock in at 5 points per model less than that loadout did before. Urien Rakarth also increases by 5 points, though the generic Haemy is unchanged if you take the stock build, but cheaper if you start swapping out guns. Grotesques are down 5 points a model after you bake in their weapons. Along with the drop for Wracks, that’s a great set of changes – though as ever, just bear in mind that it might reflect rules changes we aren’t privy to.

Kabalite Warriors: down 1ppm

  • Blaster: down 5
  • Shredder: down 5

Wracks: down 4ppm

Wyches: down 1ppm

Court of the Archon: now a unit

  • Sslyth: down 3

Grots: 5 pts cheaper due to flesh gauntlet being baked in

Mandrakes: down 2ppm

Clawed Fiends: down 10ppm

Hellions: up 2ppm

Khymerae: down 2ppm

Razorwing Flocks: down 2ppm

Reavers: down 10ppm

  • Their weirdo upgrades are 2ppm more expensive, but otherwise the same

Scourges: down 3ppm

  • Same special weapon changes as Kabalites

Cronos: unchanged

Ravager: down 5 pts after factoring in guns

  • Chain-snares and grisly trophies both up 3

Talos: down 15 after factoring in weapons

  • Talos Gauntlet: effectively down 5
  • Twin liquefier: effectively up 5
  • Stinger pod: effectively up 30 (lmao)
  • Heat Lance/Haywire: effectively up 5/gun

Raider: Down 5 after guns

Venom: No change initially, 5 cheaper if you take the second splinter cannon

Razorwing Jetfighter: unchanged stock, 5 cheaper if you take the splinter cannon

Voidraven: unchanged stock, but more expensive if you take the options

  • Dark scythe: up 5/gun
  • Voidraven missiles: up 15

Reaper: unchanged from IAC

Tantalus: unchanged from IAC

 

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 contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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