So, the new FAQ is out and…
…well it’s fine.
Genuinely fine. The studio team has gotten good at putting in their justification for things, and for the most part, these are reasonable, and well though out responses. We’ll touch on each in turn, though note we’re not going to talk about the Ynnari today, because in my view that’s separate from the FAQ, and I still need time to digest it.
Changes to Fly
Basically, you can move over units again, so long as that unit isn’t a building. I think this is a solid change – way too many things were hit by that particular nerf, and in pursuit of making things straightforward, the rule change did too much damage to immersion. Personally, there’s a lot of things in 8th edition that don’t make a good trade there, but this one was especially troublesome, and I’m glad to see them walk it back a little bit.
The Return of Aircraft
Poor flyers. Games Workshop really doesn’t know what to do with them. There was a brief, shining moment when they weren’t manifestly inferior to what used to be Flying Monstrous Creatures, but Boots on the Ground and then the new Aircraft keyword both changed that.
Given my love affair with 40K aircraft, you might be expecting me to be a little salty.
I’m really not. Using fighter jets to block movement is gamey as hell, immersion breaking, and otherwise in the “This is why we can’t have nice things” category. It’s come up for me literally once, and at that time, both myself and my opponent went “Nah, that’s nonsense”. This is a solid rule.
The one thing I might have wanted to see is that an aircraft in hover mode counted, because I definitely think an angry Valkyrie hovering a few feet above the ground and unloading with everything it has, ala the last scene in We Were Soldiers represents an impediment to enemy troop movement. But this is sort of an edge case – and 8th edition really isn’t designed around edge cases, so it makes sense.
Setting Up (Again)
The rule clarifications around models that are removed and then put back on the battlefield as if they were reinforcements were clarified. Again, this is just a solid, clear ruling.
Data Sheet Shenanigans
You’re not allowed to use “practically the same” datasheet hijinks to get around the Rule of Three. Honestly, if anyone thought they were going to get away with doing this long term, I don’t know what to tell you.
Except maybe to stop it.
This was clearly always meant to be about Astartes, not Bolters. Again, this makes perfect sense. Though as an avid Sisters player, I hope they’re going to be taking into account that Sisters have gone from “Pretty much on par with the average Tactical Marine” in the shooting phase to being markedly inferior to the same.
Prepared Positions, Tactical Restraint and Tweaked Powers
Again, these were pretty logical changes. I will, admittedly, miss Prepared Position Alaitoc Crimson Hunter survivability, but this is pretty reasonable all-told. The same is true for the tuned Ork, GSC and Eldar abilities – all of these are “Yeah, sure, that makes sense” changes. The latter especially – as much as I like a good combined Eldar army, using Warlocks to help fuel Dark Eldar units feels wrong. They aren’t, you know, always on the best of terms.
This is just putting in place the beta rule, which functionally was already in place. Indeed, the whole notion of beta rules remains weird, as all rules are clearly up for review. I continue to not be super-thrilled with this rule from a narrative perspective, as it means things like Space Marine Drop Pods or grav-chute Scions arrive on the scene after heavy artillery tanks, but given the 8th edition reliability of reserves, it’s probably good for game balance not to have people up on the 9 inch line facing your opponent Turn 1.
Between the extremely solid Castellan and Rotate Ion Shields – which is spammable with a small accompanying force of Guardsmen – Knights were the “You Must Be This Tall To Ride” unit of the competitive scene. Seeing this dialed back a bit is probably a good thing, and is certainly a decent move for keeping the meta from settling on a single known optimum for a given faction.
While I thought the idea of having different CP costs for Matched and Narrative play was an interesting one when this was first introduced, I really like the designers discussion of how the various way to bring in Imperial Assassins was supposed to work – and then why their initial iteration didn’t. This was a really clear glimpse into their reasoning, the ides that multiple paths should all have a good reason for being used, etc. I think 2 CP is a perfectly reasonable surcharge for flexibility, without penalizing lower CP armies or Narrative players. But really, here I think the value is the discussion itself.
All in All
All told? This was a pretty solid FAQ, most of the changes are logical and well thought out. There’s a few builds that suffer (and my sincere hope is that they’re fixing the Grey Knights weirdness so they can be buffed mechanically, because they need a little help), but the ones that really get hit are probably ones that are bad for the health of the game.
These are all pretty solid fixes that will definitely have some ramifications for the game overall, but don’t feel rushed or slipshod.
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