40K FAQ: 2 Xenos 2 Heretical

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The FAQ for Xenos 2 has some pretty meaningful changes. Let’s take a look.

The Warhammer 40,000 FAQ’s dropped earlier this week and we’ve been showcasing some of the big changes in each one. We started with the Rulebook FAQ and have also looked at some of the big ones for the Imperium and Chaos. Today we continue our look at the foul Xenos, this time taking a look at  Xenos 2 and the impact on T’au, Orks, Tyrannies, and Genestealers.

via Games Workshop

Let’s start with a few of the ‘common sense’ changes–ones that, though they make sense, do mean that the game is just that much less ridiculous, which is a good thing. I suppose.

Orr stuff only works on Orks, which makes sense. Though I do like the idea of an allied unit of, I dunno, let’s say Necrons being protected by a Kustom Force Field, or being “inspired” by Ghazghkull’s brutality. There’s just something about that idea that feels…right. Maybe this means Orks and Necrons should be the new team Fist Bump?

Don’t worry guys, you’re still the original. And the best. I guess Necrons are just team players? Who knew!


Moving on…

I guess they don’t want T’au players to be able to advance and shoot (without penalty) or to re-roll misses every single turn. No more loading up on Commanders and then just declaring something every turn, which seems reasonable.

This one’s pretty big though. It used to be that the whole reason you’d take Shield Drones at all was to shunt off enemy fire to them. Now, with the unit suffering a mortal wound instead of normal damage, Shield Drones are all but useless. With the possible exception of being a mobile screen you can use to help shield your characters from enemy fire, I can’t really see any scenario in which you’d take them over either of their counterparts. This one feels like a pretty big change, especially just for the FAQ, which makes me wonder how they intended Shield Drones to be used. Well RIP little guys, guess it’s back to flipping burgers for you.

It’s not all bad news though. Catalyst became much stronger.

This is a pretty big buff for this power. You can now use it to shrug off mortal wounds even, which is pretty great. Makes it that much harder to squash your big bugs, or to stomp on that horde of little ones.

And Genestealer’s mining equipment isn’t as accurate as an actual weapon. Which, again, makes a certain kind of sense, though it ruins the majestic image of these crazy dynamite wielding cultists, sitting astride heavy machinery.

Speaking of the most majestic army in the game, Gene Stealers do get a pretty sweet deal out of Brood Brothers. While you can’t give Cult Ambush or the Cults keyword to any Guardsmen that are their hapless pawns, you do get to make a Battle-forged army out of mix-n-matches of GSCs, Guard, and ‘Nids, which opens up some crazy options. I guess those jeans are flexible.

Glad they cleared that up. It’s been a little back and forth–but it makes sense if you think about what Ork suspension would feel like. Of course you’re gonna have a hard time firing from a sturdy platform if you’re in an Ork vehicle.

Anyway, those are most of the big takeaways from this. Now it’s time to sit back and look at how these change all the rules and army builds in the few weeks we have until the new Codexes hit. And then of course, the inevitable FAQ for each Codex.

In the meantime, just get out there and roll some sixes.

  • Jeremy Larson

    Shield drones are still perfect for taking that melta/missile/lascannon hit that would do multiple wounds. They just won’t be used to shrug off ALL incoming fire now.

    • Trentat

      Sure, but why take a Shield Drone over a Gun Drone or a Markerlight Drone? With this change there is really no point to Shield Drones now.

      • Karru

        That’s what I thought as well. The 4++ save does give it a 50/50 chance to ignore it, but Markerlight Drones and Gun Drones offer additional support for the same price or 2pts more.

        • Trentat

          Saviour Protocols have been reworded to inflict Mortal Wounds now however.

          Mortal Wounds don’t allow for ANY saves including invulnerable saves (although they do allow for ‘Disgustingly Resliient’ which isn’t? a save?). So that 4++ only comes into play if people shoot specifically at the Shield Drone unit.

          So if that Shield Drone isn’t doing anything why take it over an offensive drone or a buffing drone?

          I guess to tank hits for your Drones, but it’s not guarding suits like the narrative states.

          They really screwed the pooch on this ruling.

          • Karru

            Oh yeah, I forgot about that. <.<

          • orionburn

            It would make sense if the saviour protocol applied only to shield drones. It’s like they left that word out.

            Maybe it’s the way purely for points purposes in matched play?

          • barry sadler

            Well it’s a small benefit but if you want to take out drones with small arms fire before attacking the juicy target with your super Killy gun. The shield drones will stick around longer to do their job of protecting their controller

      • NagaBaboon

        Only reason i can see is because you can’t shrug the wound off onto them. Sure you can use them as a wall but that won’t help you if someone drops in behind you or a flyer flys passed you and shoots from behind.

    • Chris Hilliard

      If you’re running a unit of drones for its own sake (why you’d do that is a different debate), you can assign wounds to the shield drone first. A single shield drone can theoretically tank a plasma gun for the unit for the same cost as a gun drone. It’s not what I’d call a brilliant plan since you’d lose a single gun drone either way, but you might get lucky and make the save a couple of times.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        You cannot save against mortal wounds

        • Chris Hilliard

          No, but you can protect the drones from other attacks, which means more drones alive to Saviour.

  • Jason

    I am surprised to see that you didn’t mention Purestrain Genestealers got 8pts cheaper and can get talons for free (prev 3pts). I was surprised to the change about the heavy rock cutter, but nothing mentioned about the heavy rock saw or heavy rock drill.

    • mgdavey

      Good point about the price drop. But the talons lose the -1 AP in favor of reroll of 1’s, so it’s not quite an upgrade anyhow. I agree it’s also odd about the other heavy mining weapons hitting on regular WS.

    • Rob brown

      Its a big shift as now Purestrains gain cult ambush and the ability to protect leaders effectively for free as compared to regular genestealers. It makes much more sense now to take Genestealer cult units, particularly as they are all tyranids.

  • Mandragola

    The weird thing about the new saviour protocol ruling is that it happens after wounds are rolled, but before saves. That just seems like really odd timing to me.

    So the drone takes the hit for the suit, but you roll to wound against the suit’s toughness. That’s weird.

    Then regardless of the suit’s armour, any invulnerable saves that either model may have or whatever, you take off a drone.

    As noted, it makes shield drones entirely redundant. Get gun drones instead.

    They could easily have decided to do it after you’d rolled to hit, then said to resolve the hits against the drones instead of the target unit.

    • orionburn

      It’s basically a different take on the look out sir rule from 7th. They’re there to be a final safeguard after taking a wound. It’s essentially the same thing that Tyrant Guard do (except they only take the wound on a 2+).

      From an order of operations standpoint it does seem odd, but again if you just picture it as a look out sir rule it makes sense.

      • Mandragola

        Ok… though it’s something drones have always done in one way or the other. The problem is that it makes shield drones worthless – unable to do the thing they’re designed to do.

        It isn’t a nerf to Tau, because gun drones are incredibly good. It just means you have to take lots of incredibly good gun drones instead of shield drones that don’t work at all.

    • Izak Lazarowski

      I don’t understand why they continue to wage war on T’au rules. Balancing is one thing but every rule change just feels like its in the opposite direction of the fluff.

    • Chris Hilliard

      I think you’re supposed to toss a shield drone to protect against a lascanon, or other heavy weapon that might kill a suit in one shot. Sacrifice a drone to guarantee a save kind of thing.

      • Mandragola

        Yes. The issue is that you can do it with any drone, not just a shield. And the drone takes a mortal wound, so its invulnerable save is useless. So you may as well take gun drones instead – because they have guns.

        • Chris Hilliard

          True, but they don’t have an invulnerable save against regular wounds. I think the theory was to have the drones tank small arms and be ablative meat shields for heavy weapons. Not the most practical of plans obviously, but it seems like the idea they were starting from.

          • BurpinforDayz

            Surely if all wounds are converted into mortal wounds with saviour protocols the use of an invuln is void?

          • Chris Hilliard

            Invuln doesn’t stop mortal wounds at all. But since Drones are now a separate unit from whatever they’re protecting, many people are using them as a screen to protect more valuable units. Combined with the need to target the closest unit when targeting character means that Drones can guard a Commander from the from multiple angles, i.e. block line of sight from a Tactical Squad on one side and eat Lascanons from a Land Raider on the other.

            The counter tactic I’ve seen suggested for dealing with Drones is to spam small arms first leaving the Battlesuit exposed, then use the big guns. A Gun Drone won’t survive those hits nearly as well as a shield drone, assuming the shots come with AP -1 or better. The surviving Shield Drone would still be available to sacrifice against the more powerful shots, while a Gun Drone would be dead. This would make for a trade off between the Gun Drone’s damage potential and the Shield Drone’s defensive capabilites.

            Of course that concept is reliant on the existence of numerous low Strength attacks with AP, and those seem to be a melee thing. So I’m guessing that GW had the theory that you could use the tactic I’m suggesting, but never bothered checking if it would come up.

        • Will Evans

          Shield drone is still better bubblewrap vs. assaults than other drones. The 4++ save will work fine against a charging unit, or in a pre-emptive charge vs. a nearby unit to keep them from charging whatever you’re bubblewrapping.

  • Keith Wilson

    unless it is stated specifically then i dont believe catalyst works on mortal wounds ….. it would need to specify that

    • mgdavey

      I believe that the other rules like this (e.g. Disgustingly Resilient) are used for MW’s as well.

      • Horus84cmd

        FAQ’s covered that.

        Q. Can abilities such as Disgustingly Resilient be used to ignore wounds if they were inflicted by mortal wounds?
        A. Yes.

  • Horus84cmd

    The drone one makes you scratch your head for the logic behind it – I kind of get it. While it is what it is for now (unless it get changed again) it would, perhaps, have being nice for GW to add some design commentary behind it – like they’ve done for a small of amount of queries. As then we could better understand the why.

    • Spacefrisian

      Gw makes peeps think on there lists an how they use it, nothing hard to understand about it.

  • Imrahil

    The biggest change is the points cost for Purestrain Genestealers… they halfed the points for them! Awesone 😀

  • AircoolUK

    Master of War was kind of obvious anyway, but the change to saviour protocols for drones does make shield drones almost pointless.

    Perhaps things may change with a Tau Codex, but at the moment, even before the errata they were secondary to gun and marker drones. Even those two drones are somewhat underwhelming without Drone Controller support as gun drones have to target the nearest unit, and marker drones need to get that +1 to hit.

  • Kindred Wanderer

    For clarity, there was never a question that a Kustom Force Field worked on non-ork units. The Errata in those cases was to correct typos. In the Index, for Ghaz and all instances of the KFF, it said , in angle brackets. Orks is a bolded keyword, where as is a variable keyword in angle brackets. That’s what they fixed. “” to “Orks”.

    The fact the author of this article jumped to Necron-fistbumping conclusions indicates they never bothered to compared the errata to the source text.

    If you are going to review errata, please look to the source to find out the reason why a change. Jumping to conclusions like that is the reason why there are so many common sense things needing to be spelled out in the FAQ in the first place.

  • Randy Randalman

    The shield drone still does one hilarious thing.

    Imperial/Chaos player: “Volcano Cannon against you’re beautiful FW Riptide… Hit… Wound… You failed your invulnerable save? Cool, so 2d6 damage per…”

    Tau player: “Nope. 1 mortal wound per to each of my Drones instead.”

    Totally gobbles up big damage firepower and MC attacks without a scratch to your suits and tanks.

    • Brad Parks

      Right but it doesn’t need to be a shield drone. Gun and Markerlight drones get to shoot and still perform that function exactly the same, so there’s literally no reason to take a shield drone over the others.

    • Spacefrisian

      So cute when some peeps think others will not think about this.

  • Anasa

    If I understood this correctly, shield drones are still useful for guarding characters, who can’t be targeted unless being nearest anyway, so you wouldn’t have to rely on the Saviour Protocols-rule.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Whu take shield when you could takea gun or markerlight drone? They do the same thing and can do other things to helpntheir allies.

      • Because, while Invulns don’t apply to SP, it would apply on any attacks directed at them. Easiest way to engineer that would be to have the shield drones bubblewrapping a character.

      • Anasa

        No reason, really. I was just trying to point out that one instance (guarding IC:s) when shield drones can actually use their damn shields.

  • Bran D

    190pts for an unaligned fortifacation that grants a 4++ to all within a 12inch bubble and goes to a 5++ then a 6++ as IT takes wounds….surprised the Void Shield Gen hasnt been talked about more.

  • Rob brown

    The catalyst has been nerfed not buffed. The old rule said “wound or mortal wound” the new text has removed “or mortal wound”.

  • Drew

    Something I was looking for that didn’t get addressed is the Power Level on Lootas- the initial Power Level 8 for 5 Lootas seems really, really overcosted in comparison to Burnas (5 power for 5 Burnas), who have the same “three of you can be Meks” champion option theoretically rolled into their cost, or Flash Gitz, who at PL 7 for 5 have 2 Wounds each, Nob statlines, and a gun that’s just as good if not better in many situations (admittedly Lootas are 2 Strength higher and Damage 2 but the Gitz have better AP, better BS, 3 shots each as opposed to D3, and a 1-in-6 chance for the unit to shoot again).

    I know that doesn’t matter to people playing points, but to those of us playing Power Level who don’t want to mess about with granular points, that seems like an error that could stand to be fixed…