Ruleshammer 40k: Q&A 14th July 2023

Welcome to Ruleshammer! This week we’re covering some more questions submitted by you, the readers, and our patrons on the Goonhammer Discord. 

Core Q&A

Does scoring a Critical Hit on a 5+ automatically hit?


They might, but the wording of such abilities as far as I can tell specifically avoids this question coming up.

Adeptus Astartes model only. While the bearer is leading a unit, ranged weapons equipped by models in that unit have the [SUSTAINED HITS 1] ability. In addition, while the bearer’s unit is under the effects of the Devastator Doctrine, each time a model in that unit makes a ranged attack, a successful unmodified Hit roll of 5+ scores a Critical Hit.

To become a Critical Hit with this ability the roll needs to already be a successful unmodified hit roll. Rolling a 5 that misses for one reason or another would not be a successful roll so it doesn’t become a Critical Hit.

To expand on this further, specifically when firing Overwatch the above ability and abilities like it do not function. Critical Hits being specifically limited to unmodified hit rolls of 6 when using the stratagem.

Critical Hit: A Critical Hit is scored when a player rolls an unmodified Hit roll of 6 for an attack. Critical Hits are always successful Hit rolls, and can also trigger additional effects as described in certain rules (such effects are often said to be triggered ‘on a Critical Hit’, meaning when a Critical Hit is scored). While resolving attacks using the Fire Overwatch Stratagem, Critical Hits are only ever scored on unmodified Hit rolls of 6

How does Mortal Wound allocation work in multi-model Vehicle units with Hazardous weapons?


Ambiguously. Right now, rules-as-written I think the Hazardous rule allows a unit of vehicle models such as Sentinels or Crisis suits, equipped with Hazardous weapons, to end up with multiple wounded models.

Weapons with [HAZARDOUS] in their profile are known as Hazardous weapons. Each time a unit is selected to shoot or fight, if one or more models attack with Hazardous weapons, then after that unit has resolved all of its attacks, you must take one Hazardous test for each Hazardous weapon that was just used by rolling one D6. For each roll of 1, that test is failed and one model in that unit equipped with a Hazardous weapon is destroyed (selected by the controlling player), unless that model is a Character, Monster or Vehicle, in which case it suffers 3 mortal wounds instead. Note that if you selected a Character model in an Attached unit, the mortal wounds suffered must be allocated to that model first, even if there is another model in that unit that has lost one or more wounds or has had attacks allocated to it this phase.

For instance if you have 3 Crisis suits, all carrying 3 Cyclic Ion Blasters, all of which shoot. You will need to make 9 Hazardous tests. As written you can roll all 9 of these together and then for each 1 you roll:

one model in that unit equipped with a Hazardous weapon is destroyed (selected by the controlling player),

except in this case it’s a vehicle so this line kicks in

unless that model is a Character, Monster or Vehicle, in which case it suffers 3 mortal wounds instead

it’s very specifically the model you picked that suffers the mortal wounds. And the Hazardous rule does not require you to pick wounded models first so for the next 1 you could pick a different model. It’s only requirement is that it is equipped with a hazardous weapon.

This can result in multiple models in the unit having lost wounds and there’s no clear ruling on what to do in that situation. Previous editions have had similar issues to this and it’s often been changed to the bearer’s unit taking the mortal wounds. In which case the mortals are allocated as normal.

Is there any rules support for this not happening being allowed?

There is perhaps an argument to be made that a model “suffering” the 3 mortal wounds is the same as the unit having 3 mortal wounds inflicted, as it is a part of the unit.


Some attacks inflict mortal wounds. Each mortal wound inflicts one point of damage on the target unit, and they are always applied one at a time. Do not make a Wound roll or saving throw (including invulnerable saving throws) against a mortal wound – just allocate it as you would any other attack and inflict damage to a model in the target unit as described on the right.

Unlike damage inflicted by normal attacks, excess damage from mortal wounds is not lost if the damage can be allocated to another model. Instead, keep allocating damage to another model in the target unit until either all the damage has been allocated or the target unit is destroyed.

if someone were to argue that, then the mortals would be allocated like “any other attack” meaning regardless of which model you picked they’d be forced onto any wounded models. I don’t think this view is entirely without standing but it’s certainly not the clear answer I think we want on this issue. Especially as the hazardous rule seems very set on killing models with the weapons, and allocating mortals like this would allow you to spread them out to other models. It does however make this exception make more sense in context.

Note that if you selected a Character model in an Attached unit, the mortal wounds suffered must be allocated to that model first, even if there is another model in that unit that has lost one or more wounds or has had attacks allocated to it this phase.

Note that this suggests that you still have to allocate to wounded models first, and only being able/forced not to when you select a Character model.


Questions That I Think Only GW Can Answer

Here’s some questions that I think currently fall into gaps that no one has answers for right now. After each one I’ll provide an Pre-FAQ suggestion.

What if one model in a unit has damage reduction (such as a Character) but the unit is taking damage from a Devastating Wound?


Welp. So fundamentally the issue here is that all damage reduction is set in at the allocate step… but the attacks never reach the step before the sequence is ended. I covered the more common place scenario last week but I simply don’t think this FAQ ruling:

Some rules modify the Damage characteristic of an attack that has the [DEVASTATING WOUNDS] ability.
■ When a rule modifies an attack’s Damage characteristic, if that attacks scores a Critical Wound, the Damage characteristic is modified before the damage is applied as mortal wounds.

allows for the existence of an ability such as this one:

Formidably Resilient: Each time an attack is allocated to this model, halve the Damage characteristic of that attack.

That is only meant to reduce the damage received by that specific model in the attached unit, not halve it for the whole unit.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Really not sure what GW will say on this one. RAW if it wasn’t for the commentary saying otherwise damage reduction would never apply to a Devastating Wound attacks damage, so I’m inclined to suggest that that is what happens here. While the character is attached, it can’t affect the damage of such an attack.

Can a unit with an ability to use a Stratagem twice in the same phase Overwatch for a second time in that phase?


Probably. There’s some clear indications that this is meant to work but I really can see why people are thinking it might not. Let’s start with the basic form of these abilities.

Will of the Hive Mind: Once per turn, one friendly Tyranids unit within 12″ of one or more models with this ability can be targeted with a Stratagem for 0CP, even if another unit from your army has already been targeted with that Stratagem this phase.

seems relatively straight forward, gives an exception to the usual restriction using a stratagem you’ve already used that phase… why are people suggesting Overwatch is special? It because Overwatch has a restriction of its own.

RESTRICTIONS: Until the end of the phase, each time a model in your unit makes a ranged attack, an unmodified Hit roll of 6 is required to score a hit, irrespective of the attacking weapon’s Ballistic Skill or any modifiers. You can only use this Stratagem once per turn.

And some are arguing that clause isn’t ignored by the Will of the Hive mind. If that was the end of it I’d pretty comfortably have the opinion that they were correct, however Asurmen causes ambiguity.

Tactical Acumen: Once per turn, you can target this model’s unit with the Fire Overwatch Stratagem for 0CP, and can do so even if you have already used that Stratagem on a different unit this phase.

Clearly this ability is meant to allow for two used of Overwatch within the same phase, but is also doesn’t have an exception for Overwatch’s once per turn limitation. Anyone arguing that the intent of Tactical Acumen isn’t clear though would be disingenuous as such here’s my suggestion.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Yes, abilities to use a Stratagem again within a phase do allow for two uses of the Overwatch stratagem, so long as they are both in the same phase. As in: if you used Overwatch in the Movement phase, it can’t be used again in the Charge phase with one of these abilities.

That’s all for this week. Have any questions or feedback? Got a rules question you want answered? Drop us a note in the comments below, ask a question in our Ruleshammer form, or head over to r/ruleshammer to discuss.