Hot Take: The Greater Good FAQ

In Goonhammer Hot Takes, we do quick-pass reviews and reactions to new releases, rules, and events. In today’s Hot Take, we’re covering the new FAQ for Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good.

With the surprise release of today’s Greater Good FAQ, we’re finally back to what looks like more timely FAQ/update follow-ups. Today’s update has a major impact for the T’au Empire, so let’s jump right into the changes and what they mean.

T’au Empire Changes

The Tau get the bulk of adjustments today, which reinforces the notion that they were the big winners of the release. The general read for us is that this is all reasonable, and is largely in line with how we were playing the game to start.

Added Points Cost for Commander Shadowsun

This was entirely expected and necessary. While GW published a day 1 points cost for Shadowsun, it’s helpful to have her cost in an FAQ and not have to hunt for the WHC article every time you need her cost if you didn’t write it in your book with a pen.

Her abilities and drones are still largely locked to the T’au Sept, which is a bit of a missed opportunity. As it stands, yes, you can take Shadowsun in other Septs, even custom ones, but what would be the point?

Each Prototype Weapons System can only be taken once, and they have to be taken on different units

This is something that seemed destined for an FAQ immediately, but it was interesting while it lasted. The original rules text didn’t specify that Prototype Weapon Systems were bound by the same rules as relics, which meant you could have duplicates across multiple units. That’s now no longer the case, and the result is a moderate nerf to Tau armies, but not something that’s going to break them. RIP multiple units of prototype railrifle Broadsides; you were rad as hell. 2020.

Note that you can still have a Signature System and a Prototype Weapon on the same unit. We’re assuming this isn’t on purpose, but get it how you can get it, honestly.

Cyclic Ion Blasters revert to their sensible rules

Eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that Cyclic Ion Blasters technically reverted to an odd “the firing model takes a mortal wound for each 1 rolled” wording with the publication of The Greater Good, which published the older, bad Cyclic Ion Blaster rules when it republished the Chapter Approved 2018 for the Eight. The update here reverts them to their previous wording, wherein the firing model’s unit takes a mortal wound instead for 1+ hit rolls of a 1 after shooting. We talked about this in our Ruleshammer on slow rolling, but it’s great that they’ve closed this weird edge case.

Curiously, the Fusion Blades and Onager Gauntlets remain with their own rules for The Eight. Why the Blades work different based on who’s using them, we’ll never know, but it does appear to have been deliberate.

The Up-Gunned Sept Tenet doesn’t work on High-Output or Long-Barreled Burst Cannons

This would also have been grody as hell on the Riptide gun, so no one reasonably expected that, but having it on a Coldstar’s High-Output Burst Cannon wouldn’t have been terribly overpowered. In either case, no, it only works on Burst Cannons proper. This is a bit of a departure from GW’s usual rulings, which treat “any weapon with X in the name as being an X”, but it makes sense.

Hybridised Weaponry and Pulse Blasters

The extra 4″ of range only applies to the long range profile, limiting the murder-shotgun profile to its current 5″, rather than 9″. This is one of the few rulings where things plausibly could have – and definitely would have been preferred to have – gone the other way.

The Y’Vahra sucks again

In a blow to anyone who was leaning on GW’s tendency to forget that Forge World exists and sells models, the Modulated Weaponry stratagem has been updated to only work off of the Riptide, Ghostkeel or Vehicle keywords (and excludes Titanic). This means it still works for what we can assume was the intended use-case – Ion Riptides and Ghostkeels, where you didn’t spend the relic slot to get them the Prototype Weapon with fixed shots – and freezes out the Y’Vahra. Condolences to everyone who ordered one from Forge World after reading this book, and had it nerfed before the thing even shipped.

Vibrating angrily no longer causes units (or Wings) to spontaneously combust

Goonhammer editor James “Wings” Grover will be thrilled to hear that a Commander with the Seismic Fibrillator Node no longer hovers menacingly and causes mortal wounds any time a model does anything. The Fibrillator no longer fires on pile-in or consolidate, just regular moves and charges. Personally I still love how absurd this is, and I wish this would still go off on Stomp attacks, since that’s technically movement, but you can’t have everything, and we’re at least glad that Wings can be removed from his medically-induced coma now that the world makes sense again.

Veteran Drones are a fake idea

Using the Farsight Enclaves stratagem to upgrade a unit of XV-8s to BS3/WS4 doesn’t apply to the drones in the unit. This incredibly reasonable change, while it dashes my hopes of a 9-model unit of battlesuits as a tax for 18 BS3 markerlights, was pretty much expected as soon as anyone read the book.

The Hot T’ake

That’s about it for the T’au section – a few more things are in there, and we encourage you to read the full PDF, but in general this is an A-Tier FAQ. It clarifies some rules interactions in a way that’s unambiguous and goes along with how they were being played already, mostly serving to merge the RAI and RAW sides of the argument. A few changes – namely the Y’Vahra not being able to properly Modulate its Weaponry, and not being able to double-dip on the same Prototype Weapons System – will cause problems for players, but for the most part this is about as kind to the T’au Empire as a set of nerfs could be.

Genestealer Cults Changes

Literally nothing. We assume this is either very good or insanely awful, but no one has enough arms to check.

Astra Militarum Changes

Today, Guard only received 1 errata and 3 FAQs. Overall, the errata changed a literally unusable relic into a relatively useless relic, and 2 out of the 3 FAQs probably could’ve been answered with re-reading the rules, but it’s probably better to include them rather than leave those burning questions out.

Blessed Boltgun pistol

GW simply changed this relic from a very odd 12″ Rapid Fire 1 Boltgun to a more sensible 12″ Pistol 2 Bolt Pistol. The significant difference here is that you can now actually use this relic. Previously there existed no 9th Iotan Dragons Character model that could carry a Boltgun. Meaning that, no matter how useful or useless you may have found this relic, it was literally unusable. So kudos to that! We don’t think you’re going to be seeing this very often in the wild, but it’s a generally good thing to clean up.

(Mostly) Full Payload

Lads, you can’t use Full Payload to change your Deathstrike Missiles to Damage 3. I don’t know how anyone expected this to work within the confines of the 40k rules, since the weapon would still lack a Strength value and would presumably never get to roll to wound. So, I guess, in whatever way you imagined it would work, it doesn’t.

Wilderness Survivors

You do not get the benefit of cover if you order a unit to Move! Move! Move! when using the Wilderness Survivors Regimental trait. Somewhat interesting because Wilderness Survivors specifies that when a “unit did not Advance in its previous Movement phase” it gets the benefit of cover when saving against ranged weapons. The Advance action from Move! Move! Move! is happening in the Shooting Phase, but “as if it were the Movement Phase”. While I understand the intent here is that “if a unit has not Advanced in its previous Turn”, it may have been better to do that with an Errata to Wilderness Survivors rather than a FAQ that directly contradicts the wording of the rule. This has some interesting implications for other conditions that are triggered off of actions taken in previous phases if there are any.


Stormtroopers Doctrine

You don’t get the Stormtroopers Doctrine in addition to your Tempestus Scions regiment-specific trait. It seems pretty obvious that the intent was for it to replace your standard AM Codex trait, but we can’t say we’re not sad that a Command Squad of 32nd Thetoid Eagles with Plasma Guns can’t (assuming absolutely perfect rolls) rip off 32 Plasma hits on a target. While we are sad because Scions kick ass, we can see it would take them a bit over the top, and was definitely not intended.

Wrapping Up

Well that’s about it, minor updates for two of the armies, and nothing at all for the third. A few of these changes will shake things up (or shake them less, in the case of the Seismic Fibrillator Node), but this is mostly the Platonic ideal of an FAQ, compared to the Iron Hands update we just got: it clears up some edge cases, fixes a few errata, and life carries on pretty much as normal. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, feel free to drop a note in the comments below or email us at