After thousands of years of waiting our Games Workshop overlords have finally rewarded out patience with the new FAQ’s! https://www.warhammer-community.com/faqs/
Many people went in with some expectations, such as Flyrant nerfs, Reaper nerfs, Poxwalker nerfs etc… and they certainly weren’t wrong. But this FAQ did so much more than that. It fundamentally changed the core rules of 8th edition. The changes were actually so impactful I’m going to break down the FAQ in two parts. First I will go over the major changes in the FAQ, and then explain what I think that means for the game on the macro scale. And then in part two which will release Thursday I will put up a summary of how different armies were specifically affected and what I think the meta will look like.
Major FAQ Changes:
-No more soup detachments- What this means is practically a battalion of Celestine, Guard Commander, 3×10 infantry (a classic staple in a lot of competitive 40k lists) can no longer be taken. Every detachment must be “pure” as in no allies within a detachment.
-More CP for Battalions and Brigades– This change will help reward players for taking the more balanced detachments50 as opposed to taking multiple vanguards and outriders. I think 5CP for a battalion may have been a bit ambitious and 4 would’ve been better, but it’s ultimately fine.
-0-3 on all non troops or DT- What an amazing balancing rule. I’m so happy with GW. They brought the game back from unbound without completely taking away people’s creative freedom in list building. Gone are the cancerous days of 7-10 Flyrants, enter the new era of diversity!
-50% of your unit count and power level must be deployed– This honesyly doesn’t change much for most armies, as most people deployed over 50% of their forces in points total already. What this does really change is Tyranids though. It was possible and viable to have a completely reserve based Tyranid army, and I’m not even just talking about Flyrant spam. Genestealers in Nodes, Swarmlord in a pod, Mawlocs, Warriors and devourer gaunts tunneling with tons of mucloids deployed was very much a list concept, but for better or worse that is now gone.
-You can’t move after deep striking- This is so unbelievably huge. Gone are the days of deep striking 30 tzangors and casting warp time on them to charge an army turn 1. Deep strike quicken spears are a soon to be distant memory. Competitive 40k as we know it is going to change fundamentally.
-Anything that comes in from reserve turn 1 must go into your own deployment zone- This is one that really changes the fundamental dynamic style of 40k. Things like Guardian blobs and other similar units used to gain momentum really suffer here. Other shooty alpha strike units like obliterators and destroyers also lose a lot of their luster. Many armies that did not rely so heavily on deep strike will only see benefit from this rule though.
There are a lot of other small changes such as points adjustments for Eldar and Nids, and a small change to the way Smite works but nothing overly significant there. The highlighted cliff notes above are really the brunt of the FAQ.
Now that I’ve covered what the major points of the FAQ are let me give some initial ideas on how this will ultimately impact the meta.
Due to the 0-3 limitations on “spammable” units like Flyrants, plagueburst crawlers, hammerheads etc… armies will naturally go extinct. With the removal of such extremes more balanced armies will be able to come back into the meta since they don’t have to worry about dealing with such harsh extremes on opposite ends of the meta spectrum. I mean, how could you expect a battle force, picturesque, Space Marine army to be taken seriously in a world of 7 flyrants on one hand and 300 pox walkers on the other? By design, the pseudo-force org that the Rule of Three creates will be really beneficial to the game.
The loss of being able to use deep strike to establish board control and gain momentum on turn 1 will really shift armies and what they value. Durable units that can take shooting for a bit while they wait for reinforcements will see more play, and faster units that can effectively redeploy will be more valuable to make up for the momentum loss.
Prior to this FAQ most 40k games tend to be played within the first few turns (1-3), which led many games to being total blow outs and left one player feeling a bit left out. Thus far in the two games I’ve played under the new FAQ rules both have gone all the way to 6 without a clear winner being determined until at least 5. The mentality that everything is going to die within the first couple turns and it’s all about doing as much damage to the other guy as quickly as possible in order to succeed will soon subside. You’ll start to see list choices reflecting that, and the game will naturally slow down (from an action perspective not a time perspective).
Lastly, just because I love you all so much I will be holding a live Q&A session on facebook live tomorrow on The Brown Magic Facebook Page where I’ll be answering any questions you may have about the FAQ. The Q&A session will take place on Wednesday 4/18 at 1:30pm EST, so be sure to check in!
Also, stay tuned for Thursday’s article where I break down my opinions on how each army made out and what the meta will look like!