Ruleshammer 40k: Q&A – July 22nd 2022

Welcome to 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!

For readers still waiting for the next instalment of Ruleshammer Battle, rest assured the series will continue; it is however a more demanding series and I’m currently finding time to write between heatwaves.


Genestealer Cults – Who can use Return to the Shadows?

Can a genestealer cult player use “Return to the Shadows” in the fight phase on a unit that isn’t eligible to fight? Example: A Kelermorph arrives from deepstrike, shoots, and is outside of 6″ from enemy units. Can you use “Return to Shadows” to take him off the table?

I have been convinced by reader feedback that that the answer to this is in fact no.

Use this Stratagem in your Movement phase, when a GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit from your army is selected to move, or in your Fight phase, after a GENESTEALER CULTS INFANTRY unit from your army has resolved all of its attacks but before it makes a consolidation move. If that unit is more than 6″ away from any enemy units, remove it from the battlefield. In the Reinforcements step of your next Movement phase, set that unit back up on the battlefield anywhere that is more than 9″ away from any enemy models. If the battle ends and that unit is not on the battlefield, it is destroyed.

Update: My original answer proved to be quite a controversial one, the core argument in the feedback I received was that timing implies that the unit was eligible to fight to get to the stage of after it’s attacks and before consolidating. I have been convinced I was wrong because unlike “after charging” or “after moving”, not every unit had the option to “make attacks”, so every unit doesn’t have an “after making attacks” moment. I’d still like it to be clearer, but I do think this logic makes sense. My argument that GW is just trying to head off a timing ambiguity seems thinner in comparison.

Previous Answer

I’m pretty confident that the answer to this is yes.

It doesn’t limit the targets of the stratagem to units able to fight, it just specifies a specific timing for such units that might be able to. This is not the only time the rules do this. For instance Heroic Intervention takes place after the enemy army has completed all of its charges, a moment that occurs if they made 10 charges or none. Similarly, after a unit has resolved all its attacks but before consolidating happens even if the unit makes no attacks in that phase.

Credit: Kevin Stillman

Ignore Wound Modifiers vs Wound Caps Per Phase?

How do abilities that ignore wound modifiers (Chaos Knights Bow to None) interact with abilities that restrict the amount of wounds taken in a phase (Ghazghkull Thraka). The FAQ has a section on Ignoring Wounds vs. Rules that Prevent Models from Ignoring Wounds, but I’m not sure if this covers it.

That FAQ doesn’t cover it. Essentially these mechanics don’t interact. Ignoring modifies to damage doesn’t allow a unit to supersede the caps that models like Ghazghkull have. Though in the case in the modifiers you mentioned, there something else worth mentioning:

Each time this WARLORD makes an attack, you can ignore any or all modifiers to its hit rolls, wound rolls, or damage rolls.

The Bow To None trait is only excused from modifiers to rolls, and as is very relevant to this discussion, damage rolls. Damage Rolls modifiers have been FAQed as distinct from Damage Characteristic modifiers in perhaps one of the weirdest FAQs in the game as it stands.

Q: For the purposes of the Bow to None Warlord Trait, what constitutes a modifier to a damage roll, and is this the same as a rule that modifies the Damage characteristic of an attack?

A: A modifier to a damage roll is something that modifies the result of the dice roll itself. This is not the same as something that affects the Damage characteristic of an attack. For example, this Warlord Trait would affect a rule that said ‘…subtract 1 from that attack’s damage roll’ but it would not affect a rule that said ‘…subtract 1 from the Damage characteristic of that attack’.

As it stands I’m not actually aware of a single rule that modifies an incoming attack’s damage roll, so that part of the trait currently does nothing at all.

The Silent King
The Silent King. Credit: Pendulin

Necrons – Reanimating Menhir and then allocating Wounds?

If the Silent King is half wounded and has a Menhir which is reanimated, which do you take wounds on? the wounded Silent King or the Menhir?

First there is the question of whether Menhir can be reanimated at all. While the unit has recently gained CORE it’s not settled if that’s enough to make them eligible for the Rites of Reanimation ability:

Rites of Reanimation: In your Command phase, you can select one friendly <DYNASTY> CORE unit within 6″ of this model. One destroyed model from that unit is Reanimated. If the selected unit is a NECRON WARRIORS unit, D3 destroyed models from that unit are Reanimated instead. Each unit can only be selected for this ability once per phase.

Reanimate has a definition in the Necron Glossary as follows.

Reanimate (pg80): When a model Reanimates it is set back up on the battlefield with its full wounds remaining.

The page reference is to the ability Reanimation Protocols. There’s a lot of opinions about whether this means that a unit or model needs the Reanimation Protocols ability to reanimate or not. I don’t think a page reference is enough to establish that for certain either way. Looking at the wider context though, the book doesn’t use reanimate for any other models that lack Reanimation Protocols. There are even other healing abilities in the book such as this one:

Resurrection Protocols: Use this Stratagem in any phase, when a NECRONS INFANTRY NOBLE or NECRONS INFANTRY CRYPTEK model from your army is destroyed. You can choose to roll one D6 at the end of the phase instead of using any rules that are triggered when that model is destroyed (e.g. the Surrogate Hosts abilities). If you do, then on a 4+, set that model back up on the battlefield as close as possible to where they were destroyed and more than 1″ away from any enemy models, with D3 wounds remaining. This Stratagem cannot be used to set the same model back up more than once per battle.

There are key differences, such as this ability only giving D3 wounds rather than full wounds, that could explain them not using the Reanimate term. However I think that when compounded with the wound allocation issue, I’d suggest that Menhirs can’t be reanimated.

If you are playing in a game where Menhirs can be reanimated, then unfortunately there’s no clear answer on where the wounds must be allocated. The rules are contradictory. The core rules say this;

If a model in the target unit has already lost any wounds or has already had attacks allocated to it this phase, the attack must be allocated to that model.

and the Silent King rule says this;

Triarchal Menhir: While this unit contains any Triarchal Menhirs models, it does not count as a CHARACTER for the purposes of the Look Out, Sir rule and each time an attack successfully wounds this unit, that attack must be allocated to one of those models. The destruction of Triarchal Menhirs is ignored for the purposes of Morale tests. If Szarekh is ever destroyed, any remaining Triarchal Menhirs in this unit are also destroyed.

Some players will argue that Codex beats Core rules resolves this, but that’s not actually a concept written anywhere in the rules and acting as if it is causes more issues. For instance there are many “counts as remain stationary abilities” in the book and the core rules have passages such as this in in Disembarking;

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).

If Codex beats Core was a thing, then remain stationary effects would work for disembarking units. As such there is no resolution to this in my opinion and if the unit was to find itself in the position of having a wounded Szarekh and unwounded Menhir, I don’t know where the wound should go. I’d definitely discuss this and if Menhir can reanimate at all pregame.

TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. Credit: Rockfish
TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. Credit: Rockfish

Tau – Longstrike’s Markerlight and the Frequency Lock Stratagem

The Tau Stratagem Frequency Lock and Longstrike’s XV02 Pilot Battlesuit ability appear to combine to allow a Hammerhead with Seeker Missiles to target an out-of-sight target that doesn’t have any markerlight tokens on it otherwise. Thoughts? Seems like a great way to hit something someone wouldn’t expect.

Unfortunately I can’t be certain on this one. The idea is sound and perhaps I’m reading to much into the details as I’m almost certain the interaction wasn’t considered. Longstrike’s ability uses a specific wording, though:

XV02 Pilot Battlesuit: In your Command phase, you can select one other friendly T’AU SEPT CORE or T’AU SEPT HAMMERHEAD unit within 6″ of this unit’s HAMMERHEAD model. Until the start of your next Command phase, each time a model in that unit makes an attack, the target is treated as having a Markerlight token.

It’s not each time a model in the units shoots, it’s specifically “makes an attack”. Making attacks is a specific step of the Shooting Phase that happens after targeting. It’s also arguably only during the making of the attack that it’s treated as having one, not before or after. As such, it doesn’t count as having one when Frequency Lock requires it.

Use this Stratagem in your Shooting phase, when a T’AU EMPIRE model from your army is selected to shoot. Until the end of the phase, each time that model makes an attack with a seeker missile, seeker missile rack or destroyer missile:
– That attack can target units with one or more Markerlight tokens that are not visible to the attacking model.
– Add 1 to that attack’s wound roll.

Frequency Lock allows for targeting none visible units that have one or more Markerlight tokens, but at the targeting step Longstrike’s doesn’t treat every unit on the board as having one; it doesn’t say to treat them as having one until the unit makes attacks. For this reason I don’t think you can combine these abilities in this way – the target would require a Markerlight from a more traditional source.

Update: It’s been noticed that Frequency Lock also uses the “each time that model makes an attack” timing, which by the strict reading I gave to that timing would mean the rule does work RAW because it gives an ability at a time after targetting has already happened. It’s hard to believe that’s the intent though. It certainly adds an extra layer of ambiguity to this that makes me less sure of my stance above. Hopefully it gets an FAQ answer (the Farsight Enclaves ability also might be useable in this way).

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.