So, finally we have the spring FAQ or as GW have called it The Big FAQ 1. There are many FAQ's that have been updated, somewhere in the region of 25 or more and all on one day, which really is phenomenal. However, despite there being so many updates in one day there are really only 3 updates that I am interested in and one that doesn't seem to have been updated! These are the Big FAQ itself, the Main Rulebook FAQ and the Astra Militarum FAQ. The BA FAQ has yet to be updated and while it maybe that it isn't getting an FAQ at this time, there are some updates in the Marines FAQ that will be applicable to the BA codex, so I imagine that it will be updated soon. I will go in to these updates as well at the end, just for completeness.
Edit: the original plan was for one post but as I've been writing this it's been getting longer and longer, so I'll split it down in to at least 2 posts.
Now, there are a lot of changes within the FAQ's and I'll not be going in to all of them, as some of them have nothing to do with my armies, as such this review will only cover the bits that I think are relevant and anything that I found interesting.
First on the chopping block is the main FAQ itself, the BIG FAQ 1.
The first thing that you see in the FAQ is the implementation of the Psychic Focus and Targeting Character Beta rules, although with some subtle changes.
Psychic Focus has bee altered to get rid of Smite spam lists. This simply changes the Smite rule so that the number required to cast Smite increase by 1 every time you cast it. So it will still be fairly easy to cast 2 or even 3 times, but after that it will get a bit harder, requiring an 8 or more to cast a 4th time. This rule doesn't affect Grey Knights or Thousand Sons, as their Smite rules work slightly differently and they would be affected significantly more by the new rule than a lot of armies. This seems like a good idea to me, it nerfs Smite Spam, but doesn't stop players from casting Smite with a couple of pyskers. I usually run 2 psykers in my armies and this ruling means that I can still do so and not be penalised. The only issue for guard that I can see if for Wyrdvane Psykers, who cast on 1d6 rather than 2d6. While you can spam these guys, as there quite cheap, 24 points for a min unit, in order to cast smite repeatedly now, you would have to max out the units, and even then, you could only cast smite a max of 4 times before they could no longer cast it. So if you do spam Wyrdvane Psykers, you'll have to use them first.
The character targeting rules have also be updated to take account of some people breaking the system. In the old days, as in the early days of 8th, people took advantage of the fact that the character had to be the closest VISIBLE unit. if you made it so nothing else was visible, you could shoot any character you wanted. Now, you have to be visible AND closest, a small change but in means that as long as one trooper is closer, even if its hidden deep in a ruin, you cant shoot the character. This makes quite a difference, as it means that you characters can almost act with impunity, apart from snipers of course! The other change is minor but important, in the other characters effectively no longer count for determining if a character is closer, meaning you can't hide a character behind a character.
Next up is the new rules for tactical reserves. This is a huge change, by far the biggest change in my view and will be game changing. There are 2 main changes to note, firstly that not only does half of your total units have to start on the table but those units have to equal half of your power rating. Secondly, you can only drop units in to your deployment zone turn 1. The sum total of this means,, no dropping in half a dozen big nasty assault units while leaving 6 cheap as chips characters hiding in your deployment zone. The first part of this rule is going to get abused a lot I think, infantry already see lots of 6 man tactical squads and the like. The second part is going to nerf alpha strike armies. For me this seriously damages my Blood Angles force, as the while point is to drop in and assault. Granted it's not the end of the world, but I'm going to have to think hard about what to do with the likes of my death company. Don't wait until turn 2 or do I deploy and hope I get to go first, playing the forlorn fury stratagem? This ruling is really going to need mento sit downdand think hard about what changes in need to make, i thunk for starters that I'm going to have to paint my sternguard vets a lot sooner than I though! Now most of my guard armies it won't be a problem, as the scions are there for late drops and objective grabs anyway, so generally don't come in turn 1, the only issue could be the Dagr Ormr Militarum Tempestus force as they are based around the scions but there should be enough heavy weapons teams to soak up the damage and survive. As for my Dark Angels, well I'll deal with all those terminators when Ive finished my guard armies!
The new Battle brothers rules is next on the list and is a bit of a surprise. Granted, Imperial soup is a thing and I'm sure that Chaos and Eldar have similar things but I guess I didn't realise it was such an issue. I would have thought loosing the various detachment benefits would have been enough to off set any benefits you might gain from running a soup list but I guess not. At the end of the day however, this change is not going to effect me at all as I either run Astra Militarum or Blood Angles detachments.
Talking of detachments, these have seen some changes and while most people think it's a good move, most of my regular opponents have other ideas! With the increase for battalion to 5cp and brigade to 12 CP, my 1000 point guard list goes from 14 to 17 cp and my 1500 point list goes from 17 to 22 CP! That's a whole lot of command points! I still think that patrol detachments should have got a CP or two. If they had 1cp like the other detachments it would be better, but I'll take the other rises too. My blood angles will benefit from the rise, as they struggle with command points, usually having between 4 and 7, the extra 2 points will be very useful and enable me to use some of the stratagems that I don't use as I lack the points, like death visions of sanguinius.
The next bit that caught my attention was the changes to ignoring woulds. I feel that this is a good change and how it should be. Having an extra save is fine, having two or even three is silly. I don't have this issue, as the most I get is one on my death company and the BA command trait that give you one, calls out the death company save and replaces it. I also haven't come across multiple saves in my games, so it won't make much difference but I still think it's a good move.
The last two sections are the organised play section, which again won't have much of an impact on my games, as we don't play competitive and not many people spam units anyway, and the points section. The points section is interesting as there are some significant changes, most notably for me, the dark Reapers points increase. These are an excellent unit and are dirt cheap at the moment. The drop in points for commissars is good and will be covered in the guard review bit, because it's the rules updates to commissars which is more important.