Ruleshammer 40k: Q&A May 6th 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!

Out of Phase “End of Turn” Stratagems

With the release of the recent Tyranids codex (for which I very much recommend you read our review and my Ruleshammer) a type of stratagem has become slightly more commonplace and there’s some controversy about them. As well as the Tyranids version, Encircle Prey, there’s also Attack Out O’ Da Sun, and Booster Thrust for Orks and  the Adeptus Mechanics respectively. What makes these stratagems different to the majority is that they are not used “within a phase”. This in of itself isn’t too uncommon in 40k now, with most factions having access to several of these stratagems though they usually are used before the first turn begins.

These stratagems are different because they are used at the end of of the turn.

Use this Stratagem at the end of your turn. Select one DEFFKOPTAS unit from your army. Remove that unit from the battlefield. In the Reinforcements step of your next Movement phase, you can 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.

and being outside of the phase structure of the game allows them to ignore the usual limit on how many times you can use a stratagem.

Unless otherwise noted, you can use the same Stratagem multiple times during the course of a battle, but you cannot use the same Stratagem more than once in the same phase (for the purposes of this rule, Stratagems that have identical names, but that appear in different publications, are still considered to be the same Stratagem). This does not affect Stratagems that are not used during a phase, such as those used ‘before the battle’ or ‘at the end of the battle round.

So Rules As Written these stratagems can be used multiple times, this has a few odd effects though. For instance there are several Secondaries that are scored “at the end of the turn” such as Engage On All Fronts.

Score 2 victory points at the end of your turn if you have one or more qualifying units (see below) from your army wholly within three different table quarters,

and because rules that happen at the same time happen in an order determined by the player whose turn it currently is:

While playing Warhammer 40,000, you’ll occasionally find that two or more rules are to be resolved at the same time – e.g. ‘at the start of the battle round’ or ‘at the end of the Fight phase’. When this happens during the battle, the player whose turn it is chooses the order. If these things occur before or after the battle, or at the start or end of a battle round, the players roll off and the winner decides in what order the rules are resolved.

This means a player using these stratagems could decide that the end of turn VP scoring of Engage On All Fronts happens first, and then the unit they just scored those VP with leaves the board to be safe from enemy fire for another turn.

There’s also some inconsistencies between them, the Ork one is missing an important line that Encircle Prey was released with and Booster Thrust had added by FAQ.

A unit cannot be selected for this Stratagem if it was set up on the battlefield this turn.

which would allow the Orks player to deploy a unit of Deff Koptas to deploy during the reinforcement step, do some shooting, score some VP, and then leave, and repeat the trick every turn they have the CP for it.

So that’s the Rules as Written situation. Tournaments however are increasingly ruling against this interaction by limiting these stratagems to once per turn and extending the limitation that Booster and Encircle have on using it on models that arrived this turn to all such stratagems, so once again it’s important to check those event packs. Personally I agree with the competitive consensus on this, especially for the ability to score VP with zero chance for interaction from your opponent. As ever with rules with such constant debate it’s important that both players agree on how the stratagems will be played in their game if they’re not being told how by a TO.

Note: While we’re talking about out of phase stratagems, the end of the turn stratagems do have a different limitation that is worth mentioning. You can’t get any CP spent on them refunded.

CPs that are spent on Stratagems that are not used during a phase, such as those used ‘before the battle’ or ‘at the end of the battle round’, can never be refunded

Drop Pods and Reinforcement Limits

Drop Pods are back in my inbox over the last few weeks, this time regarding how they interact with limits to reinforcement units. The core of the question is if Drop Pods ignore just the limit on “number” and not the limit on “points” that mission packs generally place on how much of your army can be in reinforcements. Here’s the rules that people are wondering about from GT Nachmund.

No more than half the total number of units in a player’s army can be Strategic Reserve and/or Reinforcement units, and the combined points value of all Strategic Reserve and Reinforcement units (including those embarked within TRANSPORT models that are Strategic Reserve and/or Reinforcement units) must be less than half of the total points value of a player’s army, even if every unit in that army has an ability that would allow them to be set up elsewhere.

causing there to be two distinct limits on reinforcements

  • No more than half the total number of units
  • No more than half the total points value of your army

what does the Drop Pod’s rule actually say?

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. …

Now I could entirely see an argument that this as worded only clearly addresses the first limit, the number of units one. However I personally think it does in fact mean to exclude Drop Pods from both, as the points restriction is also a limit on how many units you can put into reinforcements, that’s just functionally what it is, and the exclusion is to “any limits”. That’s not the entire basis of my opinion on this though; I lean towards this interpretation because of how the rule otherwise has no way to account for more than half the army’s points being drop pods. For instance the drop pod itself costs 70 points. Here’s two examples to consider.

  1. You are running a 2000 point army and it contains 5 Drop pods, they all contain a full size unit of Devastators with 4 Heavy Bolters at 184 points, and so each drop pod and contents sums to 264. The Drop Pods and their embarked units add up to 1270 and Drop Pods must be set up “high in the skies”. What does the Marine player do? Are they forced to lose a pod, must they have some pods empty? Maybe.
  2. You’re a new player, running a 500 point list that has 4 Drop Pods in it. Yes this is odd. However the Drop Pods alone add up to 280 points. More than half the total of the list. What happens in this instance? Would this player lose a Drop Pod to the ether?

Because of this though it’s my opinion that the exclusion of drop pods from “any limits” is to entire avoid these questions from occurring, that is how the rule handles these issues. Once again though I have to acknowledge that the rule would benefit from an FAQ to make it clearer.

Fight Order with the Counter Offensive Stratagem

The fight order is mostly a non-mysterious thing now, since the pretty comprehensive design commentary we are left with an order than is pretty succinctly covered by this chart.

There is still one slight instance of ambiguity though concerning the Counter Offensive stratagem and if it can’t lead to being able to get back to back activations.

For instance if you have this situation, it’s the Marine player’s turn.

  • In the Fight First group are a unit of Marines (Unit A) that charged this turn and a Necron Skorpehk Lord (Unit B) with the Precognitive Strike Warlord Trait.
  • In the fights normally group are another unit of Marines (Unit C), and a unit of Necron Warriors (Unit D).
  • No units in the Fight Last group.

So without any stratagem use the order that this would be resolve in is A, B, D, C. Notice that the Necron player gets to activate two units consecutively because you start with the player whose turn it is not. Using the Counter Offensive Stratagem on D would only let it jump one place in the queue but otherwise the order would remain as it is.

If we change the scenario a little.

  • In the Fight First group are two units of Marines (Unit A and Unit A2) that charged this turn and a Necron Skorpehk Lord (Unit B) with the Precognitive Strike Warlord Trait.
  • In the fights normally group are another unit of Marines (Unit C), and a unit of Necron Warriors (Unit D).
  • No units in the Fight Last group.

So now the without Counter offensive order is A, B, A2, D, if you were to use the Counter Offensive stratagem on unit D though now there’s some disagreement between if the order then becomes A, D, B, A2or A, D, A2, BC. Personally I favour the second order because the the stratagem just allows a unit to “fight next”, essentially giving you a unit to fight with in a group that you otherwise might now have any in.

Use this Stratagem after an enemy unit has fought in this turn. Select one of your own eligible units and fight with it next.

So using it lets you elevate D to being a valid pick for your activation, but I think it still counts as the activation you’d normally have. So you don’t get to have it, and then have another right away. Unfortunately there’s not all that much about the Counter Offensive Stratagem in any of the now extensive fight order rules, making it difficult to be sure that this interpretation is correct, so once again make sure you and your opponent agree pregame.

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