What the Big FAQ 2 2018 means to me

by | Sep 29, 2018

So it is out and with a few days to spare even! Games Workshops’s Warhammer 40k Big FAQ 2 2018. This part rush job, part ducktape, part Nova Open overreaction continues to the move Warhammer 40k towards all the always edition inevitable gunline dominate gameplay.

It is clear (from the press release) that this FAQ is, but the appetizer for the real changes and point modifications coming with Chapter Approved 2018. Making the FAQ isn’t about point adjustments and more about stratagem tweaks and double gut punches to assault armies. The best example and again put front and center by Games Workshop are the changes to the Fly keyword, while we get some much needed clarification, we now have fully operational bubble wrap protection rackets lead by Infantry Squads and Tzaangors. This is because the Fly rule only now applies in the movement phase, which means you can easily block off opponents from charging the back line units or in a few cases into ruins. Not only is the change not very cinematic or tactical, but gives assault armies and units less tools in the toolbox. I get it Games Workshop saw too many Smash Captains hurt too many precious Imperial Knights and the feelings of Tau players everywhere.

The focus of this FAQ and focus of much of the online discussion though is squarely on the Nerf to CP farms. Now you can only ever gain 1 CP per battle round no matter what. Games Workshop knew how bad CP farming was as far back as LVO, but only after seeing Imperial Knights thrown into the mix was it time to do something. This is one of those changes that needed to be done, but doesn’t really get to the main problem that of Soup armies themselves. Stratagem abuse across multiple factions in one list was the cause, not the actual CP generation mechanics, which if limited to mono faction builds would have made more sense both realistically and competitively.

The next big change in the FAQ is the doubling down on Tactical Reserve, the good part is the rule is now much cleaner, removing the dumb BP math, making it truly for matched play, by using points. Where it went to far though was by preventing any Deep Striking, even in your own deployment, forcing all units in Deep Strike to come in on turn two at the earliest. Don’t get me wrong I am happy we won’t see beta striking Dark Reapers or Ravagers, but it is one less tactical tool and another thing that forces you to put units down to get shot at if you can’t wait to bring them in later. This change goes along with all the changes to random faction based abilities that allowed for easy 1st turn charges, once again this hurts assaults armies, by making it harder to get into combat. Not to mention, Genestealer Cult is now completely unplayable until they get a codex, and who knows when that is going to happen!

Every change in this FAQ leads to one big beta rule that is intended to wash all your alpha striking model removing PTDS away.

Prepared Positions 2 CP Stratagem 
Use this Stratagem at the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins. Until the end of the first turn, all units from your army that are wholly within your Deployment Zone, other than Titanic units, receive the benefit of cover, even while they are not entirely on or in a terrain feature. A unit that is already receiving the benefit of cover gains no additional benefit from this Stratagem.

If you look at all the new FAQ changes as a whole, one can make a case that it all leads to this fantastic addition. This is Night Fight for 8th edition and when combined with the other changes is Games Workshop attempt to at least make players feel like they survived one turn. Sadly, it won’t take long for the best players to find ways around it, but for the most part armies like Tau or Tyranids that require a one turn to get into position to really get going are helped immensely. Space Marines dare I say are also helped by this, even more importantly this stratagem effects almost every unit, not just infantry.

Finally, besides minor tweaks for each codex we get the CP increases to the most abusive stratagems; when combined with the CP farm Nerf this really makes the most hated stratagems one shot wonders.This FAQ is more a reaction to top tables and really doesn’t look at ways to help the weaker armies. The FAQ won’t change what armies we see at the top, but instead just changes the hierarchy within them.

Hopefully, Chapter Approved will be a panacea for the middle and lower tier armies. The FAQ takes away the last set of tricks for many assault armies replacing them with a reliance on making cover saves for turn one instead. Most likely this will just increase the variety of shooty armies, as getting into firing range easier and with more bodies. Games Workshop is going the right direction, but until we see Chapter Approved we won’t know just what direction that is. Until then, expect Ynnari to move firmly to top dog status, and we should see a Tau resurgence incoming. Games Workshop should have gone just a little further by making Prepared Positions something you can use every turn and maybe even allow units to Deep Strike up till turn 4 to mix things up.

Overall all this FAQ will do is give many players the feelings like they are in the game for at least a turn, but the illusion just postpones the feelings of hopelessness for a turn, when you are shot off the board after maybe killing one screening unit.

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