October 2020 FAQ Update Review – Genestealer Cults and Tyranids

In advance of the upcoming release of Codex: Space Marines and as promised, Games Workshop dropped a massive FAQ update on us today (remember when we said fifteen books needed FAQs? Turns out it was more). There’s a lot to digest, so we’re poring over every word of the updates and noting what’s changed and our thoughts on what it means for the faction. In this article we’re looking at the Genestealer Cults and Tyranids* factions.

This round of updates is about making sweeping changes to some Imperial factions and thanks to the fact that we are truly loyal to our Emperor we’ve seen some updates sent our way. It’s certainly not a significant update for our f(r)iends, but we’ll take what we get.

“Which Emperor,” you say? Follow me into this dark alley and I’ll explain…

Genestealer Cults Patriarch
Genestealer Cults Patriarch. Credits: That Gobbo


Like other factions that draw from the general pool of “Imperial” weapons, Genestealer Cults have received a bit of a buff:

  • Flamers, heavy flamers, and hand flamers increased from 8″ to 12″
  • Heavy Bolters increased to D2
  • Hunter Killer missiles bumped to S10
  • Multi-melta greatly improved to Heavy 2 and d6+2 damage within half-range
  • Plasma cannons are no longer more dangerous to your own units if the enemy is in cover
  • Force stave goes to +3S
  • Power maul goes to +3S
  • Power axe goes to +2S

Overall, most of these changes apply more to the Astra Militarum units in your army. The stand-out here is that hand flamers are going to be easier to use, especially in your traditional “flamer bomb”. At a minimum this might help save you 2CP for Lying in Wait and in an army that’s already stretched thin on CP that’s not nothing.

Melee-wise, the bump in strength will help some of your minor fighters a bit, though faction-specific weapons like pick axes did not see any improvement and there’s only a few models that can take the options that got improved. If you paid the points for mauls on your Neophyte leaders you’ll now be wounding T3 infantry on 2s, which is nice when it happens. If your Magus has somehow found itself in close combat and isn’t just immediately reduced to a smear their staff is now pretty beefy. There’s a lot of T5 models around these days, so a few S6 hits might help tip things in your direction.

Credit: BuffaloChicken


  • Metallophagic Stave went up to +3S to match the update to generic Force staves

No New FAQs

There are no other changes from the previous FAQs for these two factions in either their codices or respective Psychic Awakening books, so you’ll have to wait for the Codexes to see what new tricks you’re going to have available. However, until then most of your army will play the same, with the above exceptions.

*Tyranids received no new updates. We couldn’t help but add an “except Tyranids” asterisk.