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Ambush markers and Deep strike
Q: How do deployment abilities like Death From Above and Sky Strike interact with the new Genestealer Cults Ambush Marker rules? These abilities are not moves and tend to only care about the distance from enemy models so presumably if there is a marker on the table there is nothing stopping you using a deep strike effect to land on it and deny the Cult player using the marker? – David
Fortunately, the new rules in Codex: Genestealer Cults cover for these types of interactions in two ways: First, you just can’t set up models within 9″ of the markers; they have that specifically in the new rule:
Enemy models can’t be set up or moved within 9″ of the centre of any of your ambush markers.
Second, markers are revealed in the first battle round, either during the GSC player’s command phase if they are going first, or at the end of their opponent’s Movement phase. This limits the units that actually can come in from reserves while Ambush Markers are still on the board to pretty much just Drop Pods, and those are blocked by the earlier part of the rule from setting up closer than 9″ to the centre of the marker.
Is Nexus of Devotion an Aura? Can aura-extending abilities affect it?
This is a slightly odd one, as I’m not sure what to rule on it. I have been pretty vocal on auras and how the (AURA) tag isn’t entirely reliable for determining what is and is not an aura in 9th edition, which is not ideal. As the number of 8th edition codexes still in play decreases, we’re getting closer and close to being able to use the tag all the time even if we suspect there are still abilities that should have it in 9th edition books. With this particular example I think GW have accidentally written something very Aura-like but that is actually not intended to be one. The ability in question is worded as follows:
Nexus of Devotion: In your command phase, if a friendly <CULT> CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, that unit can summon the cult.
So how does this resemble an aura? Well it causes an effect on units at a given range, despite how singularly this ability is worded it would be all such units within 6″ that can summon the the cult. How does it differ from other auras? The main difference is that it doesn’t start with “while.” I can’t pretend to have checked every aura in every book but “while a unit is within” is the predominantly structure for Aura abilities, while this ability is worded closer to abilities that select a particular unit in the command phase.
Where does that leave us? Well I think that seeing as the “while” wording isn’t technically part of the definition, it’s just a convention up until now, then this ability resembles an aura more than it differs from one. NOTE: This is where we stray into my opinion though; I don’t think this was intentional. Unlike some other examples where wordings have been almost identical between books but one have the aura tag and the others not. This is a uniquely worded ability that I think is specifically not an aura so as to avoid it being extended by aura range extending rules. So despite being an ability that I would REALLY hate to try and catergorise if it was from an 8th edition codex, I think I’d suggest that this ability isn’t untagged by mistake.
Post FAQ Note: The wording hasn’t been changed so it’s pretty safe to say it’s not meant to be an Aura.
It was a rather light FAQ for GSC but the book was pretty tight already.
Can a unit that has been set up in Ambush be moved into Strategic Reserves using From Every Angle?
So this is a meeting of a few concepts here. From Every Angle is sort of a Redeploy ability but it does specifically allow a unit to be put into Strategic Reserves.
At the Start of the First Battle round, if this mission use the Strategic Reserves rules, this unit can be placed into Strategic Reserves without having to spend additional CPs, regardless of how many units are already in Strategic Reserves.
So what matters is if the unit is actually around to be redeployed. I think they are, considering how Ambush is worded:
Units set up in ambush are considered to be setup on the battlefield (unless they are embarked within a Transport model that is set up in ambush), even though their models are not actually on the battlefield. Enemy models cannot be set up or moved within 9″ of the centre of any of your ambush markers.
So that firmly establishes that they are treated as being on the board to be moved off.
Post FAQ Update
Previously I suggested that the marker that represented the models being removed to strategic reserves should be picked up when you use the stratagem, that was however in the absence of an actual rule saying to pick it up at all. The new FAQ establishes the remaining markers are picked up after all ambush units are set up.
After all units from your army that were set up in ambush have been set up from an ambush marker, remove any remaining ambush markers you placed on the battlefield.
This is actually pretty interesting tactically because it still restricts your opponents movement around your markers but then you can decide which one to not use for setting up models potentially after they have moved if you’re going second. On top of the mystery of which one you might not use for them to consider during deployment.