Ruleshammer: 9th Previews – “Look Out Sir” 

An article by    Gaming Ruleshammer Warhammer 40k        0

Although we love Warhammer 40,000, the game’s complexity can be daunting, particularly for newer players. In Ruleshammer, we look at the nuances of the game’s rules and how they affect gameplay, clearing up potential issues and helping make sense of some of the game’s less common interactions. In today’s Ruleshammer, Rob “Vre’kais” Chilton looks at 9th’s update to the Character Targetting rule Look Out Sir.

Quick Disclaimer: Warhammer 40k 9th Edition was not released at time of writing. The contents of this article are based on public previews and incomplete information, I have noted any rules assumptions I have made where relevant.

Look out Sir Rule

Largely this rule is very similar to 8th edition. The key differences are;

  • Characters need to be within 3” of a MONSTER, VEHICLE or Unit of more than 3 Models to be eligible now
  • The wording changed to having “9 or less” wounds rather than “less than 10” wounds. They are equivalent so I’m not entirely certain why this was done. Though I personally do prefer the inclusive phrasing.

How does this work then?

I think the best way to express this rule is with some charts. Though of course I would. The rule lays out three different conditions to check for.

A) The Unit Containing the CHARACTER is within 3” of another unit containing a VEHICLE or MONSTER
B) The Unit Containing the CHARACTER is within 3” of another unit containing a Unit of 3 or more model
C) The Unit Containing the CHARACTER is visible to the firing model and the closest enemy unit to the firing model.

I can then think of this rules as “(A OR B) AND NOT C”, but that’s because I’m 40k player who thinks in programming code and then insists on sharing this with people on the internet, so here’s a marginally more human friendly flow chart.


What does this look like on the board?

Essentially this means that CHARACTERs will for the most part need something to hide behind around them to be hard to shoot at. It’s in my opinion a pretty tidy way to make the rule functionally similar but less odd like it was in 8th Edition.

Are there any slightly weird scenarios for this rule?

CHARACTER MONSTERs (and CHARACTER VEHICLEs for that matter) are a bit odd when this rule comes up.

Maybe this won’t be an issue, maybe it’s “fixed” by the FAQ, maybe it was intended. We don’t know yet but I do think it’s a bit odd for the moment. One thing to add to this though is that if the unit of Horrors was not there, when determining if a CHARACTER is the nearest enemy model you ignore other CHARACTERs. This would make both Princes the nearest enemy model to the Tactical Marine and it could shoot at either of them.

Disclaimer time, we know to expect some FAQs with the release of 9th so there’s every chance that this won’t be an issue when 9th is released.

Surrounded by Small Units

Another point to mention, though the rules does make it pretty clear, is that you must be within 3” of a single unit that has 3 or more models. Two units of 2 models each within 3″ does not protect a CHARACTER from being shot at.

It’s worth bearing this in mind offensivesly and defensively. As CHARACTER protection is significantly weaker in 9th than it was in 8th, in my opinion for the better. There’s no need any more in most cases to remove every model around the CHARACTER before it can be shot at.

What about ignoring LoS Weapons?

I had meant to cover this for 8th but this is as good a time as any. Essentially they do still work, but you have to follow the CHARACTER rule still. The key argument against them working has been a very literal reading of this section of the old and new CHARACTER rule.

 …unless that CHARACTER is both visible to the to the firing model and it is the closest enemy unit…

Which some read as meaning that CHARACTERs have a special need to be visible, however the very similar wording is used in the Target Selection rules for 8th.

In order to target an enemy unit, a model from that unit must be within the Range of the weapon being used (as listed on its profile) and be visible to the shooting model. [Core Rules 8th Edition Pg5] 

Essentially if the ignore Line of Sight weapons can ignore this requirement then then can also ignore the same requirement in the CHARACTER/Look Out Sir rules. You’d still need them to be the nearest model if they would otherwise be untargetable because of Look Out Sir. Remember as well that the targeting rules for 9th are not out yet so there’s a chance this could change in the future, I will update this article with that information when I have it.

More Examples

Finally here’s a few more examples of the Look Out Sir Rule.

Hope this helps decode the new rule for you. Games Workshop do seem to favour longer less ambiguous wording for this edition which is great but does make the rules a bit of a handful to actually read. Don’t forget If you want your rules debate answered before the end of this edition, you can submit questions both on reddit, or via this form. Or drop us a note in the comments below or email us at If you have any questions about 9th so far then please do send them in or ask on reddit, some will get featured in Q&A but others will really help me plan out articles for 9th edition’s changes!


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