Ruleshammer 40k: Updates and Q&A 20th, January 2023

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!


Supreme Commanders are back!

Games Workshop snuck another update out to the Arks of Omen GT Mission pack that addresses the SUPREME COMMANDER issue.

Page 6 – Arks of Omen: Grand Tournament Games,
Muster Armies
Add the following bullet points after the third bullet point:
• You can only include one Supreme Commander unit in an Arks of Omen Detachment.
• You can include Abaddon the Despoiler in a Legion Detachment even if it is not a Black Legion Detachment.
• You can include The Silent King in a Necrons Detachment even if it is not a Szarekhan Detachment.
• You can include Commander Shadowsun in a Sept Detachment even if it is not a T’au Sept Detachment. Doing so does not prevent any other units in that Detachment from gaining their Detachment Rules. Note that Commander Shadowsun will only gain a Sept Tenet if every <Sept> unit in your army has the T’au Sept keyword.
• You can include Belisarius Cawl in a Forge World Detachment even if it is not a Mars Detachment. Doing so does not prevent any other units from gaining their Detachment Rules. Note that Belisarius Cawl will only gain a Dogma if every <Forge World> unit in your army has the Mars keyword.
• You can include an Adeptus Astartes Primarch unit in a <Chapter> Detachment even if it does not share the <Chapter> keyword of other units in that Detachment. Doing so does not prevent any other units from gaining their Detachment Rules. Note that the Adeptus Astartes Primarch unit will only gain a Chapter Tactic if every <Chapter> unit shares the same <Chapter> keyword.

The short version of this is that SUPREME COMMANDER units like Abaddon can now lead armies of a legion different to their own. Abaddon just doesn’t get their legion detachment ability unless it is a Black Legion Detachment, and the other SUPREME COMMAND units work the same way. Note that while this doesn’t include Ghazghkull, he’s already covered in Codex: Orks under the Specialist Ladz rules.

What these additions to the Arks of Omen mission rules don’t do is let Abaddon lead armies of Thousand Sons, Death Guard or Chaos Knights in the Ark Detachment.

This update an other aspects of Allied Detachments is covered in this article here.

Does Guilliman prevent a chapter from getting their Super Doctrine?

Probably yes. The new FAQ does clear up a lot of things about including such units, and this is by no means limited to Guilliman but they’re the prominent example. I’m still not of the opinion that this FAQ lets a Space Wolves army with Guilliman have Savage Fury at all. As it doesn’t actually cover army rules, just detachment rules.

You can include an Adeptus Astartes Primarch unit in a <chapter> Detachment even if it does not share the <chapter> keyword of other units in that Detachment. Doing so does not prevent any other units from gaining their Detachment Rules.

That’s the key problem, followed swiftly by the next issue; whether or not Savage Fury is a detachment or army ability. It’s on a page called Detachment Abilities, but the actual text of the rule isn’t a detachment rule. It’s an army rule.

If every unit in your army (excluding UNALIGNED units) has the SPACE WOLVES keyword, then every unit that has the Combat Doctrines ability and is in a SPACE WOLVES Detachment gains the Savage Fury ability, below.

So it’s at best ambiguous still if including Guilliman in a different Chapter army prevents them from using their Super Doctrine or not.


Arguments about Damage Reduction and Ignore Wounds

While the fact that this Rare Rule changed has been covered a few times, the arguments about what it does have actually increased. Here’s the new rare rule as a reminder of the specific issue and change:

Some models have a rule that says that they cannot lose more than a specified number of wounds in the same phase/turn/ battle round, and that any wounds that would be lost after that point are not lost. Similarly, some models have a rule that reduces damage suffered by a stated amount (e.g. Duty Eternal). In any of these cases, when such a model is attacked by a weapon or model with a rule that says that enemy models cannot use rules to ignore the wounds it loses, that rule takes precedence over the previous rule, and if that attack inflicts any damage on that model, it loses a number of wounds equal to the Damage characteristic of that attack, even if it has already lost the specified number of wounds already this phase/turn/ battle round.

On the face of it I think most people walked away from this change thinking two things:

  1. “That’s a bit of an odd change.”
  2. Okay so all damage reduction abilities can’t be used against those weapons now.

Previously it was the understood consensus that damage reduction abilities were not “ignoring wounds” abilities as they applied before any wounds were lost. There was no lost wound in the first place. That’s now changed, and we know that at least as far as these abilities are concerned GW expects them to not work against abilities that prevent models from ignoring wounds.

This is where it gets messy, though. For some players, myself included, we just can’t help ourselves and thinking further…

What about abilities that reduce damage to 0?

This is probably one of the most debated aspects of the change and I can understand why it would be. Most of the abilities that do this are once per turn, and even if they don’t actually provide a benefit their trigger is usually the first failed save in the turn. So if that’s happened they won’t trigger again, even if they didn’t actually reduce the damage to 0 when they did.

There is however an argument that they still work vs these abilities and hinges on the phrasing of the rare rule:

reduces damage suffered by a stated amount

Some players argue that reducing the damage of an attack to 0 is not by a stated amount, it’s to a stated amount. This argument that also implicates abilities that halve damage rather than reduce to 0 or by a stated amount.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: I don’t particularly like this argument; it’s picking at phrasing in a way that doesn’t feel intended. Regardless of that though I do think that the once per turn abilities that reduce damage to 0 should work and I’d strongly suggest that they be considered an exception. They’re a very limited resource already.

Does this make Damage Reduction an Ignore Wounds ability?

As stated until now it’s been my understanding that Damage Reduction isn’t an Ignore Wounds ability, because it happens earlier than that. The wound was never lost to begin with. This Rare Rule really makes that distinction ambiguous now which Rules As Written has some extra silly consequences.

Firstly GW didn’t change the wording of the abilities that you can’t ignore wounds against they still say things like this

Abilities: Each time an attack made with this weapon is allocated to a model, that model cannot use any rules to ignore the wounds it loses.

And the rare rule now implies that damage reducing abilities are among the types of ability that can’t be used, making them an “ignore wounds” ability. However if that’s true then does this rule apply to them?

Some models have rules that give them a chance to ignore wounds. If a model has more than one such rule, you can only use one of those rules each time the model loses a wound (including wounds lost due to mortal wounds).

Can you use damage reduction and an ability to ignore lost wounds on a 6+ on the same model? Before this change that wasn’t even asked about but now it’s in a grey area.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: This is honestly all a little thin and seems almost certainly not intended. I would suggest that the Ignoring Wounds rule against using more than one specifically means you can’t stand multiple “on 6+”, “on 5+” abilities to keep trying to ignore each wound, and that it was never meant to limit Damage Reduction or even Wound Caps.

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.