October 2020 FAQ Update Review – Salamanders

In advance of the upcoming release of Codex: Space Marines and as promised, Games Workshop dropped a massive FAQ update on us yesterday (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 Salamanders and the changes to the Salamanders Supplement.

Salamanders have mostly managed to escape without earth shattering alterations unlike some chapters, cough cough Fists cough cough, they even picked up a few minor buffs along the way.

The Characters

Salamanders Space Marine. Credit: PierreTheMime

These were mostly the standard adjustments for adding the CORE keyword restriction and the AURA keywords in appropriate spots, with a couple of notable changes from this:

  • Vulkan He’stan’s Forgefather ability changed from a traditional always-on aura to selecting a single CORE unit within 6″ to give full melta/flamer hit and wound re-rolls in your Command Phase. This immediately gets rid of the He’stan and 15 Eradicators with full re-rolls nonsense, but still leaves a powerful ability on the table. For consistency, his flamer also got the 12″ range treatment to bring it in line. Rites of Battle is still an always-on 6″ aura to re-roll hit rolls of 1, but only affects CORE units now. Finally, Vulkan’s Gauntlet of the Forge now has a 12″ range, making it like other heavy flamers.
  • Adrax Agatone’s Unto the Anvil no longer buffs himself due to only affecting CORE units now, as does his Rites of Battle aura. It also now only works when affected units charge or make a heroic intervention, and not when they’re charged, bringing it into line with Kor’sarro’s equivalent aura over in the White Scars.

Warlord Traits

Not a ton changed here: Lord of Fire now grants an Aura, and the Never Give Up Warlord Trait now has you select one friendly SALAMANDERS CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6″ to gain Objective Secured, restricting the number of units you can put it on.


Relics also got touched with CORE and AURA keyword additions, plus a few additional changes of note:

  • The Helm of Draklos’ Leadership debuff is now an Aura.
  • Vulkan’s Sigil now only affects CORE units within 6″ with its +1 Attacks aura.
  • The Obsidian Aquila changed from models within 6″ to CORE units within 6″. So while it no longer applies to as many model types – notably not helping the bearer at all – you now can just touch the aura with a CORE unit to gain the bonus to all models, greatly increasing the relic’s effective range and making it a bit more worthwhile on the whole.
  • The Drakeblade now adds +1 to its bearer’s Strength characteristic, bringing it in line with other power swords.
  • Interestingly, Drake-Smiter did not see any changes, and it being AP -4 now puts it two ahead of default thunder hammers, making it an even more compelling addition to your smash master.
Assault Intercessors. Credit: Rockfish
Assault Intercessors. Credit: Rockfish


These mostly got off unchanged with only two changes but they are pretty big ones that act as major nerfs on the faction:

  • The Crucible of Battle can now only be used to affect CORE and CHARACTER units only. This wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it’s still pretty painful. Comparatively, it’s now very similar to the Chaos Marines’ Veterans of the long War Stratagem but it still lets you boost dreadnaughts. Even with the nerf, it’s still one of the best stratagems in the game and it’s a bargain at 1 CP. The big losers here are Centurions, who can no longer benefit.
  • Relentless Determination can only be used on units that neither advanced nor Fell Back this turn. This kills off the weird edge case of in theory being able to Fall Back and shoot using this stratagem.

The Promethean Discipline

The powers in this discipline haven’t changed, but they were assigned to psychic power categories; Fire Shield, Burning Hands, Drakeskin, and Draconic Aspect are Blessings. Flaming Blast and Fury of Nocturne are Witchfire powers.

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