40K FAQ: Smite Done (Mostly) Right
The FAQ has raised lots of new questions and started lots of new debates. One thing that I think the community is actually really pleased with is the final changes made to Smite, the most used Psychic Power in the game. But has it really curbed the ‘Smite-Spam’ option?
We’ve been covering each of the FAQ talking points pretty vigorously, going over each one and asking “how has this actually changed the meta and what’s the implication of this change?” The time has come to talk about the Smite change and why it works and where it still has some shortcomings.
1: The Smite psychic power’s Warp Charge now increases by one after each attempt to manifest it. So, the first time you attempt to manifest Smite, you’ll succeed on 5+, the third on a 7+ and the fifth would be on a 9+ etc.
2: The difficulty of manifesting also caps out at warp charge 11 – which means that you will always have a chance to manifest it, no matter how many times you’ve tried so far this turn.
3: Smite still deals d6 mortal wounds when the test exceeds 10 – meaning that, while it gets harder to manifest, you’ll still have the same potential for overcharging the power every time.
4: Models with the Brotherhood of Psykers or Brotherhood of Sorcerers rules can manifest Smite without an increase in warp charge cost. They will always manifest Smite on a 5+.
This change was a response to the dreaded ‘Smite-Spam’ that was happening with the abundance of Psykers running amok on the tabletop. Smite is a great tool to dish out Mortal Wounds. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to be that powerful. But when you compound the power with multiple users, those d3 (or d6) Mortal Wounds really start to add up.
In fact, Smite was a key reason why Flyrants were so deadly! Dropping up to 7D3 (or D6 if you rolled exceptionally well) Mortal Wounds BEFORE you shoot or charge a target with a pack of Monstrous HQs is down right terrifying! You could take out a Super Heavy in a round of Psychics – or finish the job with the rest of your turn.
Now, if you wanted to toss out that many Smites, it’s not as much guaranteed damage as it was. Each successive cast will increase the difficulty by 1. By the time you’re trying to toss out 7 Smites a turn, you’ll have to roll pretty much perfectly.
The damage output of a ‘Smite-Spam’ list has been severely cut down due to the this change. However, it’s not just this change that is going to reduce the odds of seeing a Smite build. There are two other big changes that are going compound the problem for those lists: The Tactical Reserve Change and The Rule of Three.
The ‘Deepstrike’ change as we’ve been calling it will not allow those same Flyrants the ability to drop in behind enemy lines on the first turn and Smite their targets. They will have to wait until at least the second turn to drop that far back. The suggested ‘Rule of Three’ in Organized Play is also going to mean that a maximum of three Flyrants will be dropping in as well. These changes combine to really squash those type of builds. Now, I’m using Flyrants as the example only because they were such a big boogeyman on the competitive scene recently. There are other offenders as well (you know who you are).
Brotherhood of Psykers – Bringing the BOOM!
One of the major exceptions to this rule is units with the Brotherhood of Psykers (or the equivalent ability) can ignore the penalty for multiple casts of Smite. And GW offered the Pro-tip of waiting to use those units until AFTER your other Psykers had used their allotted Smites. Now, Grey Knight’s Smite isn’t as scary as the ‘regular’ Smite. And some of those other Psyker-Bros have modified versions as well. They are still Mortal Wounds however – so don’t discount them!
At the same time, that’s what those units needed. They don’t really do what they need to do without some way to generate the damage via Smites. Plus, you’d be paying points for an ability that just wouldn’t function how it needed to. It’s current state is just plain better that it was during the ‘beta test’ for these rules.
Overall, I think we’re actually in a good spot for Smite. I think we’re still going to have some crazy outliers but the days of getting Smite’d off the board on turn one are (hopefully) over. Will it be good for the game? Will it help balance Psykers vs Melee vs Shooting? Will it make Super Heavies (like Baneblades) more viable now? I guess we’ll all find out soon enough!
The Smite change has been heralded as a good change but when viewed in concert with all the FAQ changes has it gone to far or not far enough? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!