Ruleshammer 40k Q&A: August 27th, 2021

Welcome to Ruleshammer, a collection of resources to help explain the detail and complexity of some of the more confusing rules in Warhammer 40k. This week we’re covering some more questions submitted by you, the readers, and our patrons on the Goonhammer Discord.

Necrons – Dreadclaw Drop Pod vs Aetheric Interception

Can a Necron unit use Aetheric Interception to restrict the space around a drop pod for disembarking models?

The short answer is “no,” and it’s to do with GW’s rather spare timing rules, and not even because of the sequencing rule. Let’s look at Drop Pod Assault: 


This transport must start the battle set up high in the skies (see Death From Above) but neither it, nor any units embarked within it, are counted towards any limits that the mission you are playing places on the maximum number of Reinforcement units you can have in your army. This transport can be set up in the Reinforcements step of your first, second or third Movement phase, regardless of any mission rules. Any units embarked within this transport must immediately disembark after it has been set up on the battlefield, and they must be set up more than 9″ away from any enemy models. After this transport has been set up on the battlefield, no units can embark within it.

this ability says they must immediately disembark.


Use this Stratagem in the Reinforcements step of your opponent’s Movement phase, after an enemy unit has been set up on the battlefield. Select one HYPERSPACE HUNTER unit from your army that is either on the battlefield, in a hyperspace dimension or in Strategic Reserves. If that HYPERSPACE HUNTER unit is in a hyperspace dimension or in Strategic Reserves, set it up anywhere on the battlefield that is within 18″ of that enemy unit and more than 9″ away from any enemy models.

This stratagem doesn’t say immediately. Immediately has a glossary definition in GT2020/21, which says “see When” and When’s definition is

When: If a rule states that it takes place when a certain trigger is occurs, unless otherwise specified, that rule takes place before any others.

So the Drop Pod Assault disembark takes place before any other rules in this case. This comes up in a few different places so it’s a key thing to look out for. If both rules said “immediately” or if both of them didn’t however, it would default to the sequencing rule and be up to the current active player what order those abilities would resolve in.

Credit: TheChirurgeon

Space Marines – How does the melta bomb Stratagem interact with exploding hits?

Let’s start by looking at the Stratagem itself:

Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, when an ADEPTUS ASTARTES MELTA BOMB unit from your army is selected to fight. Select one model in that unit; that model can only make one attack this phase, and must target an enemy VEHICLE unit with that attack, but if a hit is scored, that unit suffers 2D3 mortal wounds and the attack sequence ends

Unfortunately there’s not really a clear answer on this based on the Stratagem’s current wording that I can find; however some application of the rules we do have there’s a few routes. Let’s take a look at an example of an exploding melee hits ability:

While the Assault Doctrine is active for your army, each time a model in this unit makes a melee attack, an unmodified hit roll of 6 scores 1 additional hit.

So how do we resolve the potential extra hit? Based on some back-and-forth about this on the Reddit and Discord, here are a few ways you might resolve this:

  • Route 1: The attack sequence ends so the new hit generated from this attack does nothing and ends there. This doesn’t quite align with the FAQ on extra hits, though – that causes them to be separate attacks.
  • Route 2: With that in mind, the second hit exists as an attack except it has no weapon profile or target so it just sort of does nothing. Honestly if this was a video game this sort of error would cause the game to get stuck here.
  • Route 3: “the can only make one attack this phase” portion of the rule prevents the additional hits rule from working because they are more attacks and the model is only allowed to make one. This doesn’t perfectly square with how splitting off extra hits into a separate attack sequence normally works though.

After some discussion on our discord, Pendulin finally spotted a subtlety that we believe gives the true interpretation here. While the stratagem modifies how your attack works, it doesn’t stop you going through the normal pre-attack sequence of selecting a weapon. Therefore, although the attack is special and will quickly end if you hit, under the hood you are still making it with a specific weapon, which allows the following:

  • Our Favourite Route: Before making the attack, you still choose a weapon for it. If an extra hit is generated, it is resolved as a normal hit with this weapon.

One key aspect though is that it was generally agreed that there’s no rule supported interpretation for any extra mortal wound damage being inflicted.

Credit: Felime

Adepta Sororitas – Argent Shroud and counting as Remained Stationary

Does the FAQ on Remain Stationary rules allow an Argent Shroud sisters unit to disembark from a Rhino and remain stationary? Having trouble understanding if they covered this circumstance with the new rules, or if the old rule of never stationary after disembarking is in effect.

This is another tough one – I’m sorry but there’s not a proper answer to this currently.

It’s generally accepted that this part of the “counts as remain stationary FAQ” means that units arriving from reinforcements can’t ever count as stationary:

Even if a Reinforcement unit is subject to such a rule, that rule has no effect on that unit in the turn they are set up on the battlefield. This means Reinforcement units always count as having moved (i.e. they never count as having Remained Stationary). Remember that this also includes Repositioned and Replacement units.

And then the rules for disembarking use this very similar wording

Units that disembark can then act normally (move, shoot, charge, fight, etc.) in the remainder of the turn, but its models count as having moved that turn, even if they are not moved further (i.e. they never count as having Remained Stationary).

So RAW the FAQ and Disembark rules seems to lead to the answer “no.” However a significant number of events, including GW’s own event in Orlando two weeks ago, have ruled that they can count as Remaining Stationary after disembarking – a ruling that the upcoming Goonhammer Open is also going to be using.

Tau Pathfinders
Tau Pathfinders. Credit: Jack Hunter

Tau – Can I shoot Markerlights one at a time to get benefits for the rest of the unit?

If a T’au Pathfinder team fires multiple Markerlights at one unit, can they be slow rolled, one at a time or must they be rolled all at once without the Markerlight benefits in 9th edition? – Jay Jester

Yes, they can be rolled one at a time. This was also true in 8th edition as well.

If a model (other than a VEHICLE) fires a markerlight, it cannot fire any other weapons in that phase. WHEN a unit is hit by a markerlight, place a counter next to it for the remainder of the phase. 

The rules for attacks default do doing them one at a time, and as discussed previous “when” rules (like immediately) occur before other rules are resolved, such as the rest of the hits. So as you roll to hit counters are placed. Having established that counters are placed one by one for each attack rolled to hit. The rule goes on to explain the benefits you receive:

The table below describes the benefits T’AU EMPIRE models receive when shooting at a unit that has markerlight counters. All benefits are cumulative.

and the target now has some tokens, so you gain those benefits immediately.


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