GW dropped a raft of new FAQs for Warhammer 40,000 today, updating most factions as well as the core game rules. Let’s dive in and find out what’s changed, and how it affects your games.
There was a mix of updates here, with some errata and changes to the core rulebook and the Imperial Armour Compendium, as well as some new errata and FAQ answers for codexes. There are also a number of redactions from the codex FAQs – largely to remove rulings that had subsequently been ported over to the Balance Dataslate, and ensure that there’s only one source of truth. FAQs are now pretty clearly delineated as being for errata (fixing things that are actually broken) and, as the title suggests, questions; changes made for the purpose of balance are now the province of dataslates. Observant readers may notice that this comes on the heels of the changes to Ad Mech, where CORE was restored to Sydonian Dragoons and Ironstrider Ballistarii, except not really because the FAQ still said it was removed – an oversight which has now been fixed.
Mostly this is a sensible thing to change; having two sources of rules text that could be in conflict with each other was silly. We are, however, once again begging GW for a changelog to go with the FAQ documents, since right now there’s several “updated” FAQs where the only way to know anything has changed is to know it existed in the first place.
With that commentary out of the way, let’s look at what changed – we’ve broken this down into sections, starting with the more general ones (core rulebook and Imperial Armour) before moving on to the codexes and then finally turning to the Psychic Awakening and Warzone books.
The Core Rulebook
In all, there’s five changes made to the Core Book.
The Obscuring Terrain Trait was Updated
Obscuring gets an update, as below:
“Add the following to the end of this terrain trait: ‘While a model is within 1″ of an Area Terrain feature with this trait (e.g. Ruins) and the shortest line between it and an enemy model crosses over or through this terrain feature, then while those models are within 2″ horizontally and 5″ vertically of each other, they are within Engagement Range of each other.”
This prevents the common tactic of screening out chargers by placing models exactly 1” away from a wall, such that an enemy unit (at least one on a > 25mm base) was unable to engage them through the terrain (since their bases would be unable to fit in the gap, but would be out of Engagement Range if placed legally outside of the ruin). It’s also a direct buff to things affected by the “Breachable” keyword, which previously would have to walk all the way around the walls of a ruin to try and reach a unit placed this way; now they can engage from outside of it.
Jack: So the change to engagement range in obscuring area terrain is great for reducing how much fiddling with precise position you can do to try to block charges completely…… but it has the side effect of potentially making a charge out of deep strike only 8″ into a ruin, depending on where your unit charges from and the width of those ruin walls. I’m not sure this was actually considered when writing the faq. As most competitive boards consist of a lot of this kind of terrain, this is a pretty substantial boost to armies like Blood Angels (who now have an effective 7” charge into ruins thanks to their Chapter trait), who are already on an up-swing between Nephilim secondaries, armor of contempt, and the points updates.
TheChirurgeon: Yeah this is a massive shift, since of the game’s most common competitive tricks was to place your models a little less than 1” away from a ruin wall and use the wall width + distance to prevent an opponent from fighting through the wall (though they could still climb the wall and fight from an upper floor if one was available. Now most infantry can just force their way in if you try this with 2”, with some exceptions like Crisis Suits, Obliterators, and Skorpekh Destroyers. The Deep Strike Implication is also real, but you’ll be able to screen out deep strikers by keeping just over 2” into the ruin. Still, this is rarely ideal and may place you out of range of a key objective.
Pendulin: This is a change so large that I’m shocked it’s being released in an FAQ and not a dataslate. The threat of an 8” deep strike charge, and a 2” engagement range, is dangerous enough that ruins just became a rather scary place to hide models in.
The new rule uses the term “engagement range” and not something like “is eligible to fight” which further causes this splash of a rule change to ripple throughout the game. Cut Them Down now has a 2” range inside ruins, which could double the number of mortal wounds it deals when running away from a horde of Ork Boyz. We’re not krumpin’ in here with you, you’re krumpin’ in here with us!
Disembarking near ruins is also trickier, even moreso if the transport is destroyed. Emergency Disembarkation may give you a 6” disembark, but clever positioning could block you out from a ruin with just one or two enemy models.
Also keep an eye out for abilities that key off “within Engagement Range” as they now have double the range while within ruins. Electro-priests recently got a points drop, and now their Voltagheist Blast ability has a 2” range inside ruins? Yes, please.
TheChirurgeon: Christ, this makes Blood Angels really nasty on missions with lots of ruins. Congrats to Jack Harpster on winning the next GW Open event.
Shooting While Embarked
Point 9 of the “Shooting while Embarked” rare rule also gets an update, as follows:
“9. If a Transport model is under the effects of an ability which would apply a modifier to a hit roll, wound roll or damage roll when making a ranged attack, the same modifier applies each time an embarked model makes a ranged attack.”
This doesn’t have a gigantic impact, since it mostly just lines up with what the rules said already, but it helps clarify exactly what is and isn’t affected – most notably, it closes off the argument about Ork units being impacted by Speedwaaagh, which modifies AP.
Rules That Count as Remaining Stationary
Point 9 of this rules is also clarified:
“9. Even if a unit is subject to such a rule, it cannot start an action if it has Advanced or Fallen Back this turn, and any action that it is currently performing but has yet to complete will still fail if that unit makes a Normal Move, Advances, Falls Back, performs a Heroic Intervention or declares a charge.”
This just expands out what was already there – you couldn’t previously start an Action if you’d done those things, but now also it’s clear that the action fails if you do any of the above.
A Clarification on Psychic Power Effects
The Rules Glossary now has an item for what it means to be “not affected” by Psychic powers. Now this specifically means that you cannot be selected as the target of a psychic power, nor affected by psychic power aura abilities. You’re still an eligible target when it comes to powers that must target the closest visible enemy unit, but that power just does nothing. Finally, each time a unit is selected to shoot or fight, if its attacks are affected by Psychic Powers, those effects are not applied when resolving attacks against the unit that cannot be affected by psychic powers. This is very thorough, and clears up some big questions we had about where this rule ends.
TheChirurgeon: The only area I think they missed is some unit buffs that don’t involve attacks, i.e. the -1 to hit a target being affected by Glamour of Tzeentch or Miasma of Pestilence, but for now it looks like those continue to work against units that are not affected by psychic powers.
While We Stand, We Fight was Updated
For those perverts out there playing with the Matched Play rules in the Core Rules, the While We Stand, We Fight secondary objective had become woefully out of date. This new version now clarifies what happens if you don’t have three units in your army, or if you have units that split into smaller units – all of those units must be destroyed to count VPs.
Liam: There’s every chance that this rules text will never be used. Does anyone play these missions?
TheChirurgeon: I usually have to remove like 2-3 rows of data for these missions from ITC Battles data every time I do an analysis, so there’s at least one sicko out there still playing them.
The Imperial Armour Compendium
If you were expecting major updates to the Imperial Armour Compendium to coincide with the release of Codex: Chaos Space Marines well, bad news. There are only a few notes here, shoring up the rules for Imperial Knights and Chaos Knights, again making terminology edits, e.g. “replace ‘Vehicle Squadron’ with ‘Armiger Squadron’.”
The codexes with updates are:
- T’au Empire
- Grey Knights
- Genestealer Cults
- Adeptus Mechanicus
- Adeptus Custodes
Drukhari get no actual changes, and just have the balance change errata from last year removed which changed some points costs and “fixed” Dark Technomancers – this stuff is now in the Balance Dataslate.
Ad Mech are in a similar position, with the changes all being about removing things that were now extraneous and were intended to be corrected last month by the Balance Dataslate – as mentioned above, changing what gets CORE, but also some adjustments to Stratagems. It’s worth noting that one of these has stayed, and Acquisition at Any Cost still requires a unit to be wholly within 6” of an objective; that feels like an actual errata to the rule rather than a balance change, and makes sense to stay here.
On the other hand, T’au Empire get some actual changes. The first is to remove the fulcrum of the “Outer Enclaves” list, which was popular for a while and allowed you to do an ersatz Farsight Enclaves army without needing to exclude Ethereals. Now if you pick FSE as your Allied World, you also get the Independent Power rule which prevents you from taking Ethereals. Additionally, the Hover Tank rule has been updated to work like other similar rules – you measure to hull or base instead of just hull. This is a pet peeve of our own Vre’kais, so it’s good to see it fixed.
Orks also get two changes. Groundshaker Shells now only affect the ‘eavy lobba rather than “ranged attacks” generally, while kustom shokk-rifles on the Shokkjump Dragstas now do a mortal wound to the unit rather than the specific model firing them – which neatly avoids issues where multiple models could potentially be wounded, a situation which breaks the wound allocation rules.
Edit: There’s a third, unmarked change in here, which is a nerf to the Freebootaz kultur – this now only allows you to re-roll 1s to hit, rather than adding +1. This is normally kind of a wash, but Orks have terrible BS and benefit a lot from improving it; the old kultur also had no cap so you could stack +1 to hit in order to overcome hit penalties. Now you’re out of luck.
Grey Knights just get one change, and it’s an FAQ answer, a fairly rare event in 9th edition. This clarifies that to receive the benefit of Dense Cover when in Tide of Shadows, the shooting unit must be more than 12” away – a straightforward clarification.
On the chunkier end are Genestealer Cults, with three updates which all hit Crossfire in some way or another. First, there’s a note added which clarifies that any rule which interacts with Crossfire requires you to have Crossfire “live” for your army; you can’t add useless markers to things and then use Stratagems which require them if you don’t actually have it, such as if you’re playing Forces of the Hive Mind (i.e. Tyranid soup). Second, the Sanctus’ sniper ability now requires the target to have a crossfire marker applied; previously it didn’t, and sort of didn’t work as a result. Third and finally, we get clarification on whether Crossfire works from a unit shooting out of a transport – and the answer is yes! This resolves a long-standing unanswered question from the book. Still no answer, however, on whether the Kelermorph is meant to be allowed to move and charge after deep striking – maybe next time.
Just one change to the Adeptus Custodes: The Martial Discretion Stratagem now requires that your unit actually has the Martial Ka’tah ability. Previously you could use it and get access to ka’tahs even if you didn’t otherwise have them, which doesn’t exactly feel intended.
One change here – Deathwatch Aggressors in Indomitus Kill Teams can now replace their flamestorm gauntlets with auto boltstorm gauntlets, fixing an earlier issue where they came with flamestorm and the option of replacing their boltstorm gauntlets.
Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good
No Additions here, only removals – there’s no longer any need for T’au or Genestealer Cults errata or rules clarifications as those books are no longer legal for matched play thanks to their new Codexes. The Astra Militarum rules are still valid though. RIP.
War Zone Octarius Book 1: Rising Tide
Nothing added here; only items removed. Many of the Rising Tide rules aren’t valid any more anyways, and the Synaptic Instincts rules text has been removed.
What’s Not Here
There are some notable omissions here – namely anything to do with Codex Chaos Space Marines and the related books. That means no ICON keyword for Rubrics or Plague Marines (yet), no Agents of Chaos exemption for those armies, and no clarification on how some of this interacts with Imperial Armour units. Also, no updates to other factions’ land raiders and predators. Hopefully those will happen soon.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.