Quick notes on the Big FAQ

A bit late Games Workshop finally dropped the much anticipated Big FAQ. And it made quite a splash. I just want to share some initial thoughts and reflections regarding the new rules.

The Big FAQ focuses a lot on Matched Play, which is fair. The most need for rules tweaks is among the competitive crowd. You know, the ones that over-exploit undercosted, over-performing units, cook list soup, develop pox bombs or place seven Hive Tyrants in reserves. They essentially break the game and GW released the Big FAQ to fix it. Or at least shake it up enough to force people to build lists that are more balanced and maybe more fun to face.

If you play Matched Play games these changes will effect you too. Let’s dive in!

Finalised Rules

Psychic Focus

Restraining Smite Spam was an urgent change and I think they pretty much nailed it here. The Warp Charge goes up by one each time you try to attempt to cast Smite. The first attempt is the normal 5+, the second attempt is 6+, third is 7+ and so on. It caps out at 11+ so you’ll always be able to cast Smite. Since it’s only the Warp Charge that changes, unlike the Beta rules where you got a negative modifier you still overcharge Smite on a roll higher than 10. So far so good, now here comes the kicker. Grey Knights and Thousand Sons are exempted from the rule. They always cast Smite on a 5+. Awesome!

Targeting Characters

Just like the Beta rules, you cannot hide Characters behind other Characters. I guess it is ok. I’ve never faced nor played a Character overload list so I can’t tell if this is such a big deal really.

New Beta rules, Errata and FAQ rulings of note

Battalions and Brigades

Games Workshop wants you to play classic, balanced armies. You know, the combined arms approach with a few HQ, some Troops and topped with a couple of elites, fast attack and heavies. In order to promote these types armies GW just increased the number of CP you get for Battalion and Brigade Detachments. Battalions get 5 CP and Brigades get 12 CP.

I always use Battalions in my armies and like a balanced approach to list building so this change is right up my alley. With a hefty +4 CP my double Battalion list is feeling pretty good.

Rule of three

Let’s be honest, spam is dull and as such should be contained. Diverse and balanced armies are the most fun to play and face, while the new Matched Play recommendation doesn’t force you to build your army a certain way it does restrict the possibilities to spam units. At 2000 points you’re able to bring a maximum of three units with the same datasheet (troop and dedicated transports exempt). Yes! This is golden.

Sure there are still ways to get past this, Space Marines can spam Aggressors by adding detachments from Blood Angels and Dark Angels much like Chaos can spam Daemon Princes since Datasheets in each Codex are unique. So while loopholes exist the main problem is contained and that’s great. I believe that this will keep the game fun and diverse.

No soup for you!

While I like diversity and variety in my list I don’t like cherry picking and mixing units connected by a single faction keyword in a Detachment. I’m too much of a narrative player to mix and match to earn a competitive edge. A lot of players like to play soup Detachments to gain that edge, thankfully GW doesn’t like it either and soups off the menu.

The best part of putting a stop to these ultra-competitive mixed Detachments was probably the way that GW explained their ruling, these esoteric warband belong in narrative or open play. Hahaha. Good one! I think they should go even further and I think they will once all armies have a Codex. Fluff is the future.

Tactical reserves

Oh my, this is a big one. 8th edition so far has been all about the hard hitting first turn. Especially deep striking units to wreck face – double tapping Slaanesh Plasma Terminators, Tzaangor and Bloodletter bombs, Guardian hordes and much more. All that is gone. Or at least, it won’t happen first turn. In first turn you’re only able to place deep strikers in your own deployment zone and you can only deep strike half your army in number of units and power levels.

These new rules affect my army a lot, my army is built around a heavy Scarab Occult unit supported by Terminator Sorcerers and Rubricae in the Webway. I deep strike in for the punch or counter-punch. With this strategy gone I need to rethink my strategy. More Scarab Occult is out of the question, I’ll keep the big unit but one Terminator Sorcerer’s got to go. No, what I need are Rhinos. A couple of them. Rhinos are great. Cheap enough to bring, they lack real offensive kick so you can pop those smoke launchers and run first turn with feeling bad about it. They have enough wounds to keep your models inside safe for a turn or two. Enough time for to get up the pitch and into rapid fire range.

The new Tactical Reserve rules changes the game. I believe for the better. The game will be more tactical and shift the focus from how you deploy to how you move.

A complementary FAQ ruling adds to this. Now, when you Deep Strike (or teleport across the battlefield) you can’t use Warptime or similar abilities to move again. You can charge but not by any means move. Yikes. Not sure what I think about this. I like the whole drop in and move again but my army doesn’t need to Warptime but it was nice to have that option.

Other than that some units got points changes and the sky fell. Hahaha, no not really. Good changes and clarification overall.

What’s your take on the Big FAQ?

3 thoughts on “Quick notes on the Big FAQ

  1. I’m a 40k novice but the smite spam definitely makes sense. I also dislike the soup approach (I’ve seen it a lot at the club together with unit spam) so really like those changes. I also fully agree with the points hike for guilliman. He is just a machine! So overall, with my limited 40k experience, the changes seem to be for the better. The best thing about it however, is the fact they are actually fully supporting the game through faqs etc. A shocking turn around in the company from a few years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I got back into 40k at the end of 4th edition the game was run by a completely different Games Workshop. It’s like day and night. Back then it was two maybe three Codex a year. No interaction. No community presence. Fast forward to today – yeah, I agree, the best part is that Games Workshop keep the game reactive and living.


  2. I like all the changes and how they effect Thousand Sons. Smite is pretty nice but not a game changer.

    I haven’t actually done a game with Tzaangor yet but I planned to use the Dark Crystal on them rather than webway. Not sure if that is still viable.


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