A review of the DA FAQ 2008
dated 24 July 2008
29 July 2008 | 5th Edition
Games Workshop have recently released another Dark Angels FAQ/errata. This follows a month after the "Canadian" FAQ of 10 June 2008 and goes some way to redressing the strange rulings presented therein, as well as adding clarifications that we have been waiting for since the release of the 4th Ed DA Codex some 16 months ago.
I will treat this FAQ as a whole new item despite many items being the same as that of the "Canadian" FAQ, so everything will get looked at.
There are 6 items in the errata section where typos are cleared up, and 14 rules questions clarified and in some cases new rules added. Many of the queries were not serious issues, but some were, so let's not be ungrateful. At least we get clarification on Sergeants and sniper rifles; and taking a Razorback for a 10-man squad — both of these being key things that need sorting out.
However, the flip-side is that since the release of the 5th Edition Warhammer 40,000 (July 12th 2008) there is now a serious discrepancy between the Ravenwing Combat Squad rule and Combat Squad point scoring issues generally, with what is stated in the new Rulebook. I should imagine another FAQ will be along very soon to sort these out.
So let's have a look at what is in the FAQ. I have classified the items into four broad types:
a straight change or addition to the printed text.
where the rule was covered by RAW but was misleading or confusing or just needed reinforcing.
where the rule was not covered specifically by RAW so required further explanation.
where the FAQ has created something different to existing RAW, or something new entirely.
Let's have a look at what is in the FAQ.
Typo addition: Clearly stating rules apply to friendly units only.
Comment: Long overdue and a useful clarification but common sense would have pointed this way anyway. For those that use Sacred Standards at least it means that your rules-savy opponent can't claim any advantage.
Book of Salvation
Typo addition: Again clearly stating rules apply to friendly units only.
Comment: Long overdue and a useful clarification but common sense would have pointed this way anyway. And again stops any opponent rules-lawyering so ultimately that has got to be good.
Ravenwing Company Standard
Typo addition: Clearly stating only one Company Standard per army.
Comment: Useful, but by RAW was pretty obvious anyway I think. I hadn't heard of anyone trying to use more than one anyway so I can't believe this was ever a burning issue.
Typo addition: Clearly stating how searchlights function with regards Night Fight and shooting.
Comment: Useful but I hadn't encountered a problem with this anyway.
Command Squad options
Typo addition: Tidies up a messy rule.
Comment: Never an issue as far as I know, but great that it's been clarified nevertheless.
Q1 Combat squads in vehicles
RAW: Reinforcing the main Rulebook that clearly states that only one unit may occupy a transport at any one time.
Comment: Well it's RAW so it wasn't an issue really, but useful nonetheless. Has no great implications on how the game is played from a Dark Angel perspective.
Q2 Taking a Razorback for a 10-man squad
Clarification: Yes 10-man squads take a Razorback.
Comment: Long overdue this one and will save a lot of repeat questions I should imagine. Obviously all 10 can't sit in it at once, but for a combat-squaded unit it's a useful transport choice and it allows you to put either combat squad within it too don't forget as it is not combat squad-specific.
Q3 Drop pods, combat squads and arrival from reserve
RAW Clarification: This ruling is a direct reversal of that used in the "Canadian" FAQ. DA cannot put split combat squads into reserve, deploying one in a pod, and the other either from reserve or on the table.
Comment: Sorts out an issue that was RAW anyway, but did cause some headaches.
Q4 Deploying empty drop pods
New Rule:Useful for those who want to build a drop pod rule, otherwise of limited use.
Comment: An odd one this, but does bring Codex DA into line with Codex BA.
Q5 Company Masters and three weapons
Clarification: Uniquely DA Masters can have three weapons — but they must follow WYSIWYG.
Comment: Although not a problem as it was covered by RAW it's useful primarily for the modeling comment.
Q6 Combi-weapons and costs for Company veterans
Clarification: Reinforces that all combi-weapons are the same cost.
Comment: Not a major issue and could have been sorted by common sense so no change here.
Q7 Assaulting from drop pods on the turn they land
Clarification: Shuts the gate once and for all on this one.
Comment: A very useful clarification to existing but confusing conjunction of rules (ie open topped vehicles and no assaulting on arrival from deep strike). It was contentious when the DA book first came out, but seemed to have died a death due to the imposition of common sense. Realistically no change to how DA plays as no one I knew or had heard of assaulted from pods anyway. In tournaments this was frequently included in House Rules anyway.
Q8 Thunder hammers and the stun effect
Clarification: Thunder hammers only stun models who can't save the hammer's wound.
Comment: Needed clearing up as by RAW a model hit by a hammer and saving the wound seemed not to be able to attack at all in the next round of close combat.
Q9 Arcs of fire, drop pods, Rhino storm bolter and pintle-mounted storm bolters
New Rule: At last, we now know we can fire our Rhino's PMS backwards if we want!
Comment: A useful clarification for sure and might stop some arguments as sometimes this was indeed an issue. But really this will all be covered when the 5th edition 40k is published as there are now specific rules to cover this one. I should imagine there will be a further FAQ to retrofit the new rule if needs be.
Q10 Shooting psychic powers
RAW: Sorts shooting from assault phase psychic powers.
Comment: A useful clarification but not earth shattering as the rules were pretty clear anyway. No real change to gameplay as you can only use one power per player turn anyway and with DA Librarians being so unpopular now (apart from those in Terminator armour) this will effect few people. But again, changes are afoot in 5th edition with regards to using psychic powers which will give Libbies a bit of a boost so sorting your shooting powers from your assault phase ones might become more critical.
Q11 Choosing to shooting bolt pistols rather than another weapon before assaulting
Clarification: Clearly states what can be done.
Comment: Good clarification, one of the advantages of carrying a bolt pistol now fully set in stone. Still, it doesn't help you to remember you can do it though does it? When the new Space Marine Codex is released all marines will be this way anyway.
Q13 Scout Sergeants and Sniper rifle upgrades
Clarification: Thumbs up for Scout Sergeants.
Comment: Many played it this way anyway but nevertheless this is a very welcome clarification.
Q14 Veteran Sergeants and weapon/wargear upgrades
Clarification: A thumbs up for Veteran Sergeants.
Comment: Again, similar to the Scout Sergeant issue, another good and much needed clarification.
Q12 Choosing the Whirlwinds missile type
New Rule: Clearly stating when the choice has to be made rather than on the fly during the game.
Comment: A necessary addition to stop any ambiguity but no real change.
What isn't in the FAQ and should have been
It was disappointing that a few unresolved issues remain, all of which could have been covered in this FAQ as they have been well known for over a year now. Here are a few items I would have expected to have been included:
Q: When deploying Ravenwing Attack Squadrons from reserve, can the bike and attack bike units deploy on the table to utilise the Scouts Outflank ability, leaving any attached Land Speeder either in reserve or deploying from your own table edge as a normal reserve unit?
Q: Can I still field DA named characters even when a "Special" or "Named Character" ban is in place as this has an obvious impact on how the Deathwing and Ravenwing perform? This has recently emerged as an issue in some competitions and gaming clubs that ban named characters as a matter of course.)
Q: The Ravenwing Combat Squad rule clearly states that Bikes, Attack Bikes and Speeders are point scoring, despite the 5th Edition Rulebook stating that only non-vehicle Troop Choices can be point-scoring. So does this mean that all Ravenwing units are point-scoring, even if not Troops and/or and vehicle?
A good solid addition to the DA rules that be honest is a great improvement over the previously released "Canadian" FAQ. I am glad they have resolved a few of the long-term niggling issues, but unfortunately 5th Edition have thrown up a few more. Maybe these will be resolved sometime soon.
In the meantime, we have the release of the new Codex Space marines this Autumn that will inevitably bring more to light (judging by some of the rumoured changes I have seen) that will need to be added to the growing "unresolved" list.