The Goonhammer Hot Take: Faction Rules and Errata Update, 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.

As with any FAQ/Errata update, we get new rulings and errata and this update was no exception. In this article – the first in a series that will release over the course of the day and tomorrow – we’ll be looking at the errata, updates, and changes to the factions outlined in the new FAQs. We’ll be covering clarifications and changes to the core rules and GT missions later, as well as the myriad points updates. There’s a lot to cover, so stay tuned.

Space Marines

The rest of this list will be in alphabetical order, but we’ll start with Space Marines because we know which side our bread is buttered on.

  • Apothecaries can’t resurrect Invader ATVs using Combat Revival anymore. Say goodbye to the trick that everyone thought was insanely overpowered, that nobody ever saw used in a real game. Not a fan of the “except Tyranids” style of rules-making – it feels like a kludge – but what this lacks in elegance it makes up for in effectiveness.
  • A welcome change: abilities like Adaptive Strategy that put a unit into a Doctrine that the rest of the army isn’t in grant both the base doctrine ability for the detachment and benefits of the ability itself. Savage Fury is called out explicitly, so it will grant both the extra point of AP and the extra hit on 6s. Savage Echos is not, though it probably still applies.

More quick hits:

  • Eradicators and Inceptors are slightly more expensive (5 points per model), with power level tweaks to match. 
  • Bladeguard Veterans stayed the same.
  • The Vigil Spear is officially a bolt weapon now. We’re very happy for it. Congratulations, Vigil Spear, you did it.


Adeptus Mechanicus - Serberys Raiders
Adeptus Mechanicus – Serberys Raiders
Credit: Pendulin

Adeptus Mechanicus

Serberys Sulphurhounds lose access to Power Mauls, replacing them with Arc Mauls. They cost the same 5 points per model, trading a point of strength (so +2 rather than +3) for the ability to become d3 damage when attacking a vehicle. AP-1 S5 d3 damage isn’t the greatest statline for attacking vehicles (to be fair, S6 1 damage wasn’t great either). There’s also no real difference between hitting MEQ or Gravis models at S5 instead of S6. Is it a good change? Is it a bad one? What we can say for sure is that this definitely is a change.

Blood Angels

The Sanquinor can’t deep strike turn 1 anymore, Vehicle characters can’t take special-issue wargear, and Forlorn Fury is once per game. Ok?

They fixed Death Company Ass Incestos! Well, their loadout problems, anyways. The psychological problems will still be there, obviously. The specific change is that one model can replace its Astartes Chainsword with a thunder hammer, power fist, or power sword. This is in addition to the rules that allowed a model to take a chainsword/sword/fist/hammer, so now you can take the special combat weapon regardless of whether these are regular Incestos or Ass Incestos. This is unalloyed good news, and is how it should have been from the beginning.

Chaos Daemons

This one shows up on the FAQ list page as being updated January 7 2021, but the only update is a clarification that mortal wounds are not 1-damage attacks, and so you can’t use the Nurglings’ Disgustingly Resilient rule to prevent them. C’mon GW, I’m trying to write a column here, you can’t do this to me.

Deathwing Terminator Praetor
Deathwing Terminator Praetor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Dark Angels

We briefly covered this in the points changes post, but the Munitorm Field Manual update teases two new things. First, a new unit. The 95 point Deathwing Strikemaster looks to be a DW equivalent to the Ravenwing Talonmaster (ie, a ‘wing-specific Lieutenant), and can take the normal Terminator close-combat weapons, or a Deathwing Knight mace. There’s also something called Rites of Initiation that makes any Captain, The Indomitus Lieutenant (and only that loadout), Dreadnoughts, and various large tanks more expensive. No word on what it does, but based on the name and unit list we’re assuming it has something to do with handing out the DEATHWING or INNER CIRCLE keywords. Answers forthcoming with the Dark Angels supplement, which now looks even more bonkers than before. Hell yeah.

Genestealer Cults

A Perfect Ambush changed to use the “Normal Move” language instead of referring to the ambiguous “move” that we’ve litigated approximately one thousand times in Ruleshammer. Pretty rich considering that this dropped the same time as a Core Book FAQ that applied the “when it says move just pretend it was Normal Move” ruling to everything at the same time. That, and a Crusade note about when Astra Militarum units become BROOD BROS, are the only changes you get. So, functionally, no changes.


Player of the Twilight works properly, granting the full amount of CP rolled for, rather than being limited to 1CP by the global rule. Fair enough.


The Triarch Stalker has the Quantum Shielding keyword now. Hell yes. No other changes, other than some points/power level tweaks. Those are covered in more depth in our points changes article, but in short: Nightbringer up 20, Canoptek Reanimator down a whopping 30, which means you’ll see about the same number of Nightsbringer and somewhat more Canopteks Reanimator on tables.

Necron Hexmark Destroyer
Necron Hexmark Destroyer. Credit: Pendulin

T’au Empire

  • From Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good, Shadowsun picks up the SUPREME COMMANDER keyword. Good for her. And also T’au players generally.
  • Also from the Greater Good, taking The Eight now refunds the 3CP for their Super-Heavy Auxiliary detachment, and gains detachment abilities (though it still uses up all your relic slots). We’re still baffled why anyone would want to take the Eight, but this doesn’t hurt their case any.
  • In the actual T’au codex update, the Vior’la relic flamer (Thermoneutronic Projector) is range 12, which we thought it already was. That’s…about it. The document has been updated with a reference to certain relics being updated to reflect changes to the base weapons (in order to prevent the relic being weaker than it’s un-upgraded form), but the sept-specific flamer’s range appears to have been the only one that changed. We’re not entirely sure this document was actually updated at all.
  • Fusion guns still don’t have the extra damage that meltas got. Very cool.


Spore Mines cannot perform Activities. Oh noooooooo. They also don’t participate in basically any of the Crusade mechanics (experience, battle scars, out of action tests) which is fair. 


Crusade Changes

In a last gasp of relevance for the Psychic Awakening series, changes are dotted throughout the books to allow any of the new bespoke sub-factions to be used in Crusade rosters: Death Guard can apply Plague Companies, Tempestus Scions get Regiments, Custodes get Shield Companies, Knights get Households, etc. This is global across all of them, we won’t list them all.

The specific updates are in each PA’s associated FAQ, but the gist is the same. You pick the sub-faction when adding the unit to your Order Of Battle, it cannot be changed during the “muster your army” step of preparing for a game, and you only receive the benefits if the entire detachment shares the faction.

This is really just house-keeping, and probably matches what people were already doing in the first place, but it’s still good to see.

T’au Empire players can now apply Prototype Weapons Systems when a unit is added to the Order of Battle or gains a rank. Another weird edge-case clarified, since Prototypes aren’t relics, but function much the same way. Hopefully when T’au get a new book they can put this issue to bed entirely, but it’s nice to see it worked out in the meantime.


Up Next: More Hot Takes

Stay tuned, dear reader – we’ve got more hot takes and analysis of the new FAQs in the works. And if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at