Ruleshammer 40k Q&A: January 7th 2022

Happy new year from Ruleshammer! This week we’re covering some more questions submitted by you, the readers, and our patrons on the Goonhammer Discord. Remember the banner below will take you to the Ruleshammer 9th Edition Compedium, for all the questions I’ve answered for the last few months!


Core Rules – Pile in and Consolidate Moves near AIRCRAFT

So I’ve talked about this before but it’s been asked about again a few times and I’m going to be straying from my usual rigid stance on Rules As Written for my answer here. Largely because in my experience, even as a none tournament player, it’s the least-argued-about Rules-as-Intended that I’m aware of. The crux of the issue is this section of the AIRCRAFT rules:

Whenever a model makes any kind of move, it can be moved across Aircraft models (and their bases) as if they were not there, and they can be moved within an enemy Aircraft model’s Engagement Range, but it cannot end the move on top of another model (or its base), and it cannot end the move within Engagement Range of any enemy Aircraft models.

It’s not even always an issue of a charged AICRAFT either – this can also come up if you charge a non-AIRCRAFT unit with one nearby.

Originally this was even more broken than it is now and blocked even Charges against AIRCRAFT; that much at least was partially fixed (I talked about the issues with that fix a few weeks ago). However this leaves Pile In and Consolidate moves unable to end within Engagement Range of an AIRCRAFT still being the case under Rules As Written. I don’t make a habit of suggesting that rules be ignored, but these rules are ignored so much and with quite understandable reason that acting like there isn’t a consensus about it is almost disingenuous. The questions I’ve received about it lately have been from new players who have read the rules and then gotten to a point where a more experienced player has assumed they will be allowed to pile in and consolidate near an Aircraft, much to the surprise of the new player.

I think the reasons these Rules as Intended are so often used is a sum of a few factors. First, this was allowed in 8th edition, and it’s not in the main body of the rules so it can be something missed by experienced players. Second, 9th edition made “types of move” a more rigid thing. It has specifically been stated that Normal, Advance, Fall Back, Charge, Heroic Intervention, Pile in, and Consolidation are “moves” in the text. Finally, the AICRAFT rules imply even in the Core Rules version that an AICRAFT might still start a turn with models within Engagement Range:

If, when an AIRCRAFT unit is selected to Move in the Movement phase, any enemy units are within Engagement Range of it, that AIRCRAFT unit can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary).

If, when a unit is selected to move in the Movement phase, the only enemy models that are within Engagement Range of it are AIRCRAFT, then it can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary).

the rules even go so far to mention that AIRCRAFT are ignored for determining closest enemy model for Pile In, Consolidation, and Heroic Intervention moves.

Whenever a unit moves when it performs a Heroic Intervention, piles in or consolidates, it must end that move closer to the closest enemy model. In all cases, AIRCRAFT models are excluded when determining which model is the closest, unless the unit making that move can FLY.

So really I think the conclusion to this issue is that 40k rules are already complex (my good friend Greg wrote about this a few days ago), and we don’t always recognise when they’re bent by the community at large. Communicate with your opponents especially if they are new to the game with only a few or no games in. 

Core – Hierophant and Sareptek Heavy Constructs Moving around Terrain

As sold, neither of these models comes with a base… mostly because they are what we’d describe in technical terms as “fucking massive.” However, they do both have a rule that gives them an “imaginary base”.

Designer’s Note: If this model does not have a base, before deploying this model, both players must agree the footprint of this models ‘base’ in the same way they would for an Area Terrain feature. We suggest that an imaginary straight line should be drawn from each point on this model which would touch the battlefield when it is placed on a flat surface. The area within these lines should be considered to be this model’s ‘base’.

If the model has been posed with one or more of its legs raised, agree with your opponent the point where that leg would touch the battlefield, and use this to advise the shape of the models ‘base’.

Which poses the question about how these models move around terrain. To which the answer is, frustratingly, “awkwardly.” The note gives them a base and bases can’t intersect through terrain so neither can imaginary ones. This would prevent a Hierophant from standing with legs on either side of a short wall and does significantly limit their movement on the usual battlefield. It wouldn’t be the first model that is basically incompatible with a typical 2,000-point game at the moment; Fortifications are basically undeployable as well. Sorry if this bursts too many Crusher Stampede dreams, but you’ve got other, more deployable options.

Black Templars – Do Grimaldus’ Servitors award Assasinate VP?

Q: Hello and thank you for the great work you do in clarifying the game. My question is related to Grimaldus and his servitors: are they characters and so they give up points for Assassinate, as the keyword seems to imply? Can an Apothecary bring them back?
Thank you very much! – Stefano

Yes. The Servitors are Character models and award VP. There are a few other units with this issue, such as Celestine and her Geminae and Gaunt’s Ghosts (thought that unit isn’t exactly meant to be competitive as much as fluffy).

It does appear that an Apothecary could bring them back however, as the whole unit is BLACK TEMPLARS INFANTRY, which is one of the two types of unit an Apothecary can use Combat Revival on. Because Assassinate only checks deaths at the end of the game, a revived model will not count as destroyed for the purposes of awarding VP.


Core Rules – Targeting an enemy within Engagement range with Pistols and other weapons.

Q: If a 10 man Tactical squad is in engagement range on 1 Termagant, can they split fire 5 pistols into the lone Termagant and 5 bolters into another unit that is not in engagement range? And resolve the pistols first in order to shoot themselves out of combat in a manner similar to Big Guns Never Tire. – Spence

My gut answer to this was going to be “no”… so expect the same if you bring this up in game. However as far as I can tell, I think the answer might be “yes.” I really would recommend you talk to your TO about this; the separation between Targeting and Making Attacks is one where lots of mistakes occur.

I thought the restriction would be in targeting but it’s not.

When a unit shoots, you must select the target unit(s) for all of the ranged weapons its models are making attacks with before any attacks are resolved. If a model has more than one ranged weapon, it can shoot all of them at the same target, or it can split the weapons between different enemy units. Similarly, if a unit has more than one model, they can shoot at the same or different targets. In either case, when you select a target unit you must declare which weapons will target that unit before any attacks are resolved. If any of these weapons has more than one profile that you must choose between, you must also declare which profile is being used.

Only enemy units can be chosen as the target for an attack. In order to target an enemy unit, at least one model in that unit must be within range (i.e. within the distance of the Range characteristic) of the weapon being used and be visible to the shooting model. If unsure, get a look from behind the firing model to see if any part of the target is visible. For the purposes of determining visibility, a model can see through other models in its unit. If there are no eligible targets for a weapon then that weapon cannot shoot. If this is the case for all of a unit’s ranged weapons, then that unit is not eligible to shoot with.

Nothing in there prevents a model within Engagement Range of declaring other enemy units as targets. What is there is the Locked in Combat rule.

Models cannot make attacks with ranged weapons while their unit is within Engagement Range of any enemy models. Models also cannot target enemy units within Engagement Range of any other units from your army – the risk of hitting your own troops is too great.

but this specifically prevents a unit from “Making Attacks”, which is the title of the next section of shooting. It doesn’t prevent a model within Engagement Range from selecting targets. It also only applies while their units is within Engagement Range of enemy models, rather than for the whole phase if they start within Engagement Range of enemy models. Then there’s the Pistol rules to check.

A model can make attacks with a Pistol even when its unit is within Engagement Range of enemy units, but it must target an enemy unit that is within Engagement Range of its own unit when it does so. In such circumstances, the model can target an enemy unit even if other friendly units are within Engagement Range of the same enemy unit.

which specifically is an exemption to the “making attacks” restriction.

Regarding Big Guns Never Tire, I think that might even support this interpretation:

Note that if a VEHICLE or MONSTER unit has more than one ranged weapon, you can still choose to target units that are not within Engagement Range of the firing model’s unit, but they will only be able to make the attacks with that weapon if all enemy units within Engagement Range of the firing model’s unit have been destroyed when you come to resolve those attacks.

This reads to me like it’s a note that a VEHICLE, MONSTER, or actually any model can target units in the Shooting phase even with enemy models within Engagement range but before Big Guns Never Tire VEHICLEs and MONSTERs didn’t have the means to remove the Engagement Range models so it wasn’t relevant that it could.

With all that read I think the answer is in fact yes, if you manage to kill the Termagant with Pistols so that the unit is not within Engagement Range when you come to make attacks with the Boltguns then those attacks can be resolved.

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