Ruleshammer 40k: Leagues of Votann

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How does Magna Rail Damage allocation work?

Much has been said about Magna Rail’s ability to spill damage but there’s just as much about it that is leaning on concepts we haven’t seen before in 9th edition… some that arguably don’t exist.

…on an unmodified wound roll of 6, excess damage that weapon inflicts is not lost. Instead, keep allocating excess damage to another model in the target unit until either all the excess damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.

The prevalent approach to resolving this rule is that once a save has been failed, and the model that the wound was initially allocated to has been destroyed, the remaining damage goes from model to model, killing them one after the other. However allocating damage isn’t something the rules actually cover. Wounds are allocated, not damage. Damage is suffered or inflicted and causes models to lose wounds. GW really loves the word wound.

What are the consequences of this? First of all it’s the reason that only one save is made against these weapons (assuming you have a good enough armour save to tank the AP), the attack is only allocated to one model and you save against attacks not damage. Secondly, and this is where the things get weird, “Rules As Written” there are no rules explaining what to do with “allocated damage,” so there’s an argument it does nothing. This is not a serious position to take but an amusing one. A more serious issue is that there’s no rules on how damage must be allocated; as previously stated allocating damage is not allocating attacks/wounds. So the rules that require allocation to already wounded models is entirely absent. There’s no rule requiring the spilled damage to be allocated to a single model in the unit; it is heavily implied though.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Inflict remaining damage on one model at a time until that model is destroyed before moving on to another model. Inflicting damage to a model does not count as allocating a wound to said model.

Why that last part? This is why:

How does damage spillover interact with -1 to Damage weapons?

Each time an attack is allocated to a model in this unit, subtract 1 from the Damage characteristic of that attack (to a minimum of 1).

I think damage reduction abilities will only trigger once vs the current wording of Magna Rail, as the attack is only allocated to a single model.

Rob: This is a rule Death Guard also have on the Haze of Corruption Stratagem; there the rules text says that excess damage is “suffered” by another model in the unit, not allocated. Worth noting that this might have been a better way to go, and gives us a paradigm for how to do this – you pick another model to suffer the excess damage, if it dies, you repeat the process. This looks just like allocation without using broken terminology.

Trans-Hyperion Alliance Hearthkyn Warriors – Leagues of Votann. Credit: Colin Ward

Do Beam Weapons Hit intervening units?

Beam weapons have a special rule allowing models along the path of the beam to be “wounded” by it. It’s however vague on if this counts as hitting the unit or not.

Some Votann weapons have the Beam ability. Each time an attack is made with such a weapon, if a hit scored, draw a line between the closest point of this model’s base (or hull) and that of the closest mode in the target unit. Make one wound roll against the target unit, and each other unit this line passes over (excluding units that were not eligible to be targeted by this weapon when targets were selected). When a VEHICLE model makes an attack with beam weapons that targets an enemy unit in Engagement Range of it, that attack is only resolved against that target unit and it cannot HIT any other unit.

Honestly, for almost the entire rule up to those last five words I would say that the intervening units are “just wounded” and not “hit.” However that last line throws this line of reasoning into doubt as it specifically disables Beam weapons’ ability to “hit” other units. Why does this matter though? Well, it matters because there are abilities in the codex – some for Beam weapons – themselves that trigger on being hit. For instance, the Hekaton’s beam weapon:

Beam. Each time an attack made with this weapon hits a unit, if the unit that was hit is wholly more than 15″ from the firing model, one additional hit is scored against that unit.

If the intervening unit counts as being hit, and it’s more than 15″ away, then it arguably is also hit twice as the main target would be. If it didn’t count as hit then it would not be. Whilst I personally lean towards the intention being that these units don’t count as being hit I don’t have a strong basis to defend that position, so my suggestion for this is:

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Beam weapons count as having hit any intervening units and trigger any rules that would be triggered by successful hits on said units. Range requirements for such effects are to that intervening unit, not to the original target.

Also before moving on I have to mention Forge Masters Eye, an Ancestral Judgement for Brokhyr forces, specifically this part.

…If a Brokhyr Forge Master model makes an attack with a beam weapon, this ability also applies to any intervening units that are ‘hit’ by that beam that have 1 or more judgement tokens.

GW pretty much literally wrote hit in “air quotes”. What does that even mean?

Wings: This one has also been a subject of lively debate in the Goonhammer offices, as there are quite a lot of things hanging off the answer. I 100% agree with the suggested ruling above, but also think this probably is the intent – there are some abilities in the book (e.g. the Ymyr beam stratagem) that seem very limited in what they can do if they don’t affect intervening units, though to be fair with that one the scope of what you can do with it when it does work ends up looking a bit much. Ultimately, however, I think this is a case where the reason the rules don’t clarify this is that it seemed obvious during writing, and am laying a small bet in the only currency that matters (other Goonhammer writers getting to say “I told you so”) that that’s how it’ll come out in the FAQ.

Can Beams hit Friendlies?


Make one wound roll against the target unit, and each other unit this line passes over (excluding units that were not eligible to be targeted by this weapon when targets were selected).

Units that aren’t eligible targets are ignored by Beams, this includes friendly units but also enemy Characters that were non-targetable for reasons such as Look Out Sir.

Leagues of Votann Einhyr Champion. Credit: Jack Hunter

How does Ancestral Fortune work with weapons that do 2D3 or D3 damage?

Hammer of Math covered what this ability can do and used one of a few different interpretations we “debated” here at Goonhammer HQ.

Ancestral Fortune: Once per battle round, when you make a hit roll, wound roll, damage roll, or saving throw for this model, or a friendly GREATER THURIAN LEAGUE unit within 6″ of them, you can change the result of that roll to a 6. For any rules purpose this counts as an unmodified 6.

For Hammer of Math the rule is interpreted using the Roll Result definition from the glossary.

A roll result is the final result of a roll, after any dice that make it up have been added together, before any modifiers are applied.

The roll result is the total, so changing it to the total of 2D3 to a 6 seems completely fine. The weirdness arises from weapons where 6 is greater than the Roll Result could usually be, for instance on a D3 weapon, or a D3+3 weapon such as a Magna Rail Rifle. Does changing that damage roll result to a 6 result in 9 damage (6+3) or 6 damage (6/2)+3?

Further ambiguity is added by the last line of the rule:

For any rules purpose this counts as an unmodified 6.

A roll result doesn’t have “unmodified” as a characteristic, that’s a word used for Dice Results. I genuinely don’t know how this is meant to function. Should it be just one dice of the 2D3 and treat it as a 6 that becomes a 3? Should it be the whole result? Should the ability allow a weapon to exceed it’s normal damage cap? I doubt it’s intended to do that though.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: The ability alters the roll result but cannot change a result to greater than would be possible from the dice being rolled.
I.E. 2D3 can have a roll result of 6 so the ability changes the result to a 6.
D3 can not result in above 3 so it is changed to it’s maximum of 3.
3D3/2D6 etc can result in more than 6 so this ability would change the result to 6. Obviously this could be less than what was rolled so you would not use the ability on those rolls in those instances.

Leagues of Votann. Credit: Rockfish
Leagues of Votann. Credit: Rockfish

Can the Ancestors are Watching secondary objective score above 15 VP before the reduction is applied at the end of the game?

Nope. No ambiguity on this one – Nephilim has a specific rule for handling Secondary Objectives that include VP subtraction:

Some secondary objectives include conditions that can reduce your victory points at the end of the battle. If such conditions apply, first add up all the victory points you scored from that secondary objective (to a maximum of 15), then reduce the total as instructed by that secondary objective (to a minimum of 0).

This prevents Ancestors are Watching from ever exceeding 15VP, meaning the subtraction for remaining Judgement token having units will always take it below 15VP unless there are no such units. This means you can’t buffer against it with excess VP.

Hearthkyn Warrior. Credit: Rockfish
Hearthkyn Warrior. Credit: Rockfish

What does HunTR do?

Nothing. It’s type Gun.

  • It doesn’t double its shots at half range like Rapid Fire.
  • It can’t be shot after advancing like Assault.
  • It doesn’t suffer the -1 to hit penalty when used by moved Infantry like Heavy.
  • It can’t be used within Engagement Range like Pistols.

It just does the number of shot it says and doesn’t have any fancy exclusions or penalties.

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