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 the new FAQs for Psychic Awakening Books 2 and 3 – Faith & Fury and Blood of Baal.
40k fans woke up this morning to a special post-holidays treat: The FAQs for Faith & Fury and Blood of Baal had been published. You can find each of them here:
For players who haven’t been over the original books with a fine-toothed comb, or those players who want to know what these changes mean for their games and the meta, don’t worry — Goonhammer’s got your back, and we’ll be covering both documents, the major revelations in each, and what these clarifications, changes, and errata mean.
Faith & Fury
Artum: The big clarification for black templars is of course that they do not get all of their own tools and the Imperial Fists successor chapter abilities, which is of course sensible but was never actually stated in rules.
Wings Note: So this was my expected outcome but it leaves Templars in the incredibly weird space of getting a bit less stuff than every other chapter, including custom Successors. Notably, they have fewer relics and miss out on double trait Warlords, which is a crying shame, as they’re a faction that really should get to play herohammer (also as my personal entrant into Smash Captain Thunderdome is now illegal). I think GW wrote themselves into a corner here – Templars either had to be 1.5 times as good as everyone else or 0.75 times as good, and while the latter choice was obviously correct it’s a shame for the players.
- Their characters which previously had massively inflated power level costs have now been brought down to more consistent levels which helps both competitive ITC play by limiting which secondaries they qualify as targets for, and anyone building lists through power levels.
- It was confirmed that if you use the Devout Push stratagem you can consolidate 6” for the rest of the phase rather than just the next time the unit consolidates, and that you can use devout push even if a unit isn’t within 1” allowing for some pretty scary gotchas to fight with a unit that hadn’t charged, and potentially fight twice using Honour The Chapter.Wings Note: Yeah, there’s uh, quite a bit to unpack here. The pile in now occurs immediately at the start of the fight phase, which quite apart from anything else is a good counter-tool to people trying wrap-shenanigans, as it effectively lets an entire infantry unit do a heroic intervention. If that 3″ gets you within an inch of an enemy, you’ve then got a massive amount of movement to play with on your more “peripheral” models in the squad, potentially allowing you to tag a bunch of targets, especially if you double fight.Speaking of tagging targets – this, uh, this currently lets you straight up get into a fight without charging. All you have to do is get your unit within 4″ of the enemy and then pop this at the start of the fight phase and then boom, in you go, because unlike all the double fight stratagems that have been ruled to need you to be in a legal position to fight before you can use it, this just instructs you to pile in, and piling in doesn’t have its own set of conditions on it, so, uh death to Tau I guess? I am reasonably confident that this is not the intended outcome of this change and this’ll be one of those things that fairly quickly gets re-errataed – my guess is that this stratagem is supposed to help very large squads (like Crusader squads) pile in and fight with their full numbers, not break a cardinal rule of the game that they put a tonne of effort into closing all the loopholes for in the last Big FAQ.
- In a rather baffling change they have ruled that the Fervent Acclamation litany affects aura abilities other than just those on the datasheet which is counter to how they’ve previously ruled on relics and potentially has unintended consequences. Chief Apothecaries with their 1” 5+ invulnerable save aura are boosted to a 4” aura for one. The biggest use is likely in boosting Front-Line Commander to a 9” aura of +1 advance and charge.
- Grimaldus was confirmed to have two uses of Deny the Witch if he is warlord or has hero of the chapter used on him, which is some decent counter-psychic for an army with no psykers.
- Vicious Riposte is clarified to cause a hell of slow rolling, as any attacks beyond what it takes to kill the unit of Templars are lost; you don’t continue rolling saves for a unit that no longer exists.
Artum: No changes for marines at large:
- Selfless Healer for Chief Apothecaries is clarified for the people in the back of the room that no, Chief Apothecaries cannot heal twice and resurrect a fallen model twice in the phase as that would be ludicrously powerful.
Chaos Space Marines
TheChirurgeon: A number of strong clarifications here, including a surprising improvement. As a Chaos player, I already loved Faith & Fury, and now I feel like I’m being further spoiled. Eat shit, Imperials.
- Tactical Perfection now allows Emperor’s Children units being redeployed to be set up in Reserves off the table. This is a surprising change because it directly contradicts previous rulings they’ve made on similar rules (in particular, the ruling on Rapid Redeployment from Codex Supplement: Ultramarines). It’s also a massive benefit, where Emperor’s Children can now completely psych-out their opponents Genestealer Cults style. I expect this to get re-errata’d in the next two months. (Artum note: which way they rule on this one for other armies will have a pretty massive impact elsewhere in the game as Invictors and other dangerous units with infiltrate being able to bamboozle people by swapping to the other side of the board is an extremely strong move, and eldar being able to shunt war walkers off of the board using phantasm would be a pretty substantial buff.)
Wings Note: OK, hear me out but I think I’ve worked out why they’ve ruled this differently. Both Phantasm and Rapid Redeployment say “set them up again as described in the Deployment section of the mission you are playing”. This one says “set it up again following the usual deployment rules for that unit and the mission being played” (emphasis mine). That extra rider about using the unit’s deployment rules is quite plausibly what’s prompted this ruling. It does also mean (and this would be true anyway) that you can only deploy units that would “naturally” be able to Deep Strike into it, you can’t use any stratagems that would grant the ability. That caps off most of the bullshit you can do with it, or at least it would if Forge World didn’t exist. Strap in kids. Specifically, strap in to your choice of the Dreadclaw, Kharybidis Assault Claw or Terrax Assault Drill. All of these are <Legion> units with natural Deep Strike that can transport other units. What this lets you do is deploy the transport with a powerful shooting unit (like the newly buffed-up Noise Marines) in it, and if you get the first turn great, they pop out and shoot, but if you end up going second they can go back into the sky/underground to add some Deep Strike punch later on. I think this is actually legitimately relevant, most probably with the Drill since it’s a good unit anyway and has a high transport capacity. Thanks, Forge World!
- Scorn of Sorcery can be used after a Deny Attempt. This is something I’ve always wondered, but has never come up because when I play World Eaters, I don’t run psykers. So, good to know.
- Dour Duty has been clarified to make it clear that AP-2 attacks will become AP0 when combined with the Bastion Warlord trait. This seemed clear to me before, but having additional clarity is always good (Wings Note: and it’s good that it’s consistent with Sisters). This combines with the Iron Within, Iron Without Stratagem to make some hilariously durable units.
- The Red Butchers Stratagem can be used on TERMINATOR CHARACTERS. This is good timing because it’s something I was literally wondering about yesterday. Games Workshop has previously clarified in FAQs that singular and plural versions of the same keyword are interchangeable, but it’s always good to have confirmation. This clears you up to run Red Butcher Terminator Lords who, as we saw in today’s Hammer of Math: Smash Captains Return, can put out some very silly amounts of damage.
- When multiple Vox Daemonicus relics come within 6” of each other, the player whose turn it is gains priority. This is an edge case, but it was an obvious issue when they printed the rule, so I’m glad we have a precedent/example here. It will be a more common issue when Space Marines get their own version of it in a future supplement or codex.
- When you use the Alpha Legion relic Bolter upgrade Hydra’s Teeth with the Daemon Shell stratagem, you automatically hit. This makes for a cute way to spend 1 CP every turn to put out D3 mortal wounds on a target every turn. Makes for a particularly spicy combination with the Headhunter warlord trait to make an assassins who can snipe characters for D3 mortal wounds every turn. Give your Terminator Chaos Lord a combi-plasma and have the bolter part fire off auto-hitting Daemon Shells while the Plasma portion can do additional mortal wounds on unmodified hit rolls of 6.
- Prey on the Weak uses the highest Ld value among models in the targeted unit. An expected clarification.
- Weapons that can fire at units out of line of sight can fire at units using the Conceal stratagem as long as they are the closest unit. Changes up the need for visibility, so watch out for Thunderfire Cannons.
- A unit with the Helm of Furore doesn’t have to declare a charge if it isn’t eligible or able to do so (e.g. if it advanced or fell back).
- The Alpha Legion’s Sabotaged Armoury Stratagem received errata specifying that vehicles that explode on a 6 now explode on a 6+ instead. This solves the issue of vehicles not exploding when a 7 is rolled after the +3 is applied.
- The World Eaters’ Banner of Rage relic now has an “until the end of the phase” modifier. I think we just assumed this was part of the text when we first read the relic’s description, so it’s not surprising to see it added. If you were playing it as an ongoing effect (which was clearly unintended), then I hope you got some good wins out of it while the getting was good.
Blood of Baal
Booley: Nothing particularly surprising happened to the Blood Angels, though some of the changes that players were hoping for ended up not materializing. The character Chaplains also get a reasonable nerf in the form of losing a known litany each.
- The first change applied across the board to Chaplains in all their various forms: Losing a litany. This brought them back in line with their codex brethren, and isn’t really a big deal.
Wings Note: Disagree on this not being a big deal – while it’s bizarre that they ever had two each, losing the extra one on the Named Character Chaplains in particular (Astaroth and Lemartes) makes them quite a bit less good, as being able to flex between buffing and being a Smash Chaplain for free made them absurd.
- As expected, Lemartes got the Black Rage ability back, increasing his damage output a little bit. He was already a good character, and this pushes him a little bit better. Having Black Rage in the codex before losing it in Blood of Baal was a strange oversight, and we’re glad this has been corrected.
Wings Note: Lemartes is now an even better Smash Chaplain (and still easily good enough to include as that) but losing the flexibility of the extra known Litany does make him a bit less of an auto-take.
- The Sanguinary Priest had ATSKNF replaced with Angels of Death, correcting a clear copy paste error.
- Unfortunately lacking from this FAQ was anything to give Dante new style chapter master rerolls. This was a strange miss from the book, and it’s strange to keep it unchanged now.
TheChirurgeon: A few important changes for Tyranids. The big (disappointing) adjustment is for Adaptive Physiology, which I’ll get to in a moment, but overall these all represented nerfs or downgrades to the rules they just got, which isn’t great.
- Named characters can’t be given an Adaptive Physiology. RIP Swarmlords. This isn’t massively unexpected, but it is a big blow to a Tyranids army that really needed all the help it could get.
Chase: That’s fine. What’s dead can never die.
Chase: sobs itsnotfine
TheChirurgeon: Sorry, buddy. You’ll just have to keep playing your good army, checks notes… The Dark Angels.
Wings Note: Much like double-doctrine Fists, this was always extremely unlikely to stand.
Kevin: Boo. Tyranids weren’t exactly in a spot where this nerf was needed, and given that Tyranid named characters could appear in any Hive Fleet they’re not like other special characters who were limited to a unique army or faction. It’s not surprising but it’s disappointing.
- Exocrines that are affected by Symbiotic Devastation can’t shoot if they Advanced during the Movement phase. I hate this ruling. It’s very counter-intuitive because it implies that Advancing is a separate state/flag from Moving, and that even if you count as not having moved, you still count as Advancing. That’s dumb and I hate it.
Wings Note: They kind of are separate flags, but I agree this makes the wording here very strange.
- The Hive Instinct stratagem has been clarified not to allow you to add an extra dice to a charge roll you made and failed. This makes sense, as the charge roll has already been made.
Wings Note: Arguably this has wider implications on some other edge cases, making it clear that effects that apply to rolls you take for the rest of the phase don’t start to applying just-failed tests if you pop the strat mid roll/test. That’s relevant to Seer Council, where some players interpret it as being able to be activated after you roll the dice, and there’s bound to be others. I’ve never been a fan of (nor used) that Seer Council interpretation, and I think this is a decent bit of precedent the next time a similar case comes up.
- The Bio-Metallic Cysts Adaptation doesn’t work on massive or monstrous scything talons. I understand why that’s the case based on the wording, but now I’m confused as to why they didn’t just allow for it when they wrote the rule. Makes the trait slightly less useful since it won’t boost your monsters. I say “slightly” because well, monstrous and massive scything talons already had AP-3, which is good enough to push to the invulnerable save on most units. AP-4 is nice, but it’s not a deal-breaker here when the real payoff is AP-1 on your smaller units.
Kevin: Hive Fleet Adapatations already struggled to be relevant since their abilities weren’t all that great, and they locked the player out of getting any Hive Fleet specific Relics or Stratagems. This limitation doesn’t really seem necessary.
- The Cranial Channelling Adaptation only gives a single model in your army the ability to re-roll a Psychic test once per turn. This is the worst possible interpretation of how they worded the ability and while I’m glad it got a clarification, it really makes no sense why they’d rule it this way. It’s another spot where it feels like kicking Tyranids when they’re down and it seems counter to how they’ve ruled on things like this in the past.
Kevin: I can’t think of any reason to utilize Cranial Channeling at this point. Sacrificing the benefits of Kraken, Behemoth, or Kronos so that one model can re-roll one test per turn seems like a poor choice.
Wings Note: This was my read on the initial wording, but it makes it bafflingly terrible.
Overall the impact of that FAQ isn’t all that major. The loss of Adaptive Physiology to named characters isn’t surprising, but it is disappointing. Being able to give Old One Eye Murderous Size seemed like a lot of fun and helped give Tyranids a few “Smash Monster” options that produced results close to what other factions got for much less. The nerfs to Hive Fleet Adaptations seems absolutely unnecessary given the sacrifices players were already forced to make to use them.
One thing that we were hoping to see was that perhaps Games Workshop made an oversight with Hive Fleet Adaptations and intended to link them to the six core Hive Fleets. This would give custom fleets access to Warlord Traits, Relics, and Stratagems the same way that an Ultramarine Successor can get access to Ultramarine content. Apparently that was not the case and things are working as intended. I would have liked to see Tyranids given more flexibility to reflect their constantly evolving nature (such as a Stratagem to enable armies to add an Adaptation after deployment). It would also have been nice for GW to explain why Space Marine drop pods can deliver units on the first turn, but Tyranid drop pods cannot.
Regardless, if you’re a Tyranid player then you’re likely happy about the Blood of Baal changes and this FAQ does not significantly impact the good things.
Next Time: Adepta Sororitas? Chapter Approved 2019?
TheChirurgeon: After a few weeks of releases downtime for the holidays, Games Workshop is now becoming dangerously close to being “caught up” with regard to their FAQs, and I suspect they will wait for a Sisters of Battle FAQ until after the full Codex release, meaning that the next likely FAQ is for the Chapter Approved 2019 and Kill Team Annual. I know Kill Team players are hoping on some edits for the Annual to Ork points values that are desperately needed, so hopefully that’s next. Either way, when it drops, we’ll be here with analysis of all the changes and how you can best put them to use.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, or feel there’s anything we missed, drop us a note in the comments below. Or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.