Ruleshammer: Codex Space Marines

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Welcome to Ruleshammer Codex Space Marines – the one place to look for Ruleshammer Q&A on main book Space Marine issues!

Combat Squads and Strategic Reserves

How is the interaction with combat squad a unit going into strategic reserve or deep striking? Is it allowed? What’s the order of operations and how does it work with stratagems like White Scars Encirclement? – Daniel

There are a few things going on here and some definite ambiguity that we’ll talk about in a moment. Let’s start by addressing the Encirclement Stratagem, which dodges all these issues.

When does Encirclement Happen?

The Encirclement Stratagem was recently FAQ’d to change the wording of when to use it but not change what it does:

Use this Stratagem during the Declare Reserves and Transports step of your mission. Select one WHITE SCARS unit (excluding ARTILLERY and BUILDINGS) from your army. You can set up that unit in outflank instead of setting it up on the battlefield. If you do, at the end of one of your Movement phases you can set up that unit wholly within 6″ of any battlefield edge and more than 9″ away from any enemy models.

As a result, the answer to this question has changed significantly. The new Rare Rule straightens this out entirely.

Some rules enable one unit to split up into two or more smaller units. Each time this happens, any rules that the original unit was being affected by when it split, and which would continue to affect it for a specific duration (from abilities, Stratagems, psychic powers, etc.) continue to affect all of the individual units it split into until such a point as they would normally have no longer applied. For example, if the original unit was within range of an aura ability when it split, any given individual smaller unit would only be affected by that aura ability if it was itself still within range of that ability after the split, whereas if the original unit was being affected by a psychic power that lasted until the end of that turn at the point when it split, all of the smaller individual units would still be affected by it until the end of that turn. [Core Book FAQ pg.4]

Based on this rare rule the effect of the Stratagem applied to the original unit would now continue to affect the two new units. They wouldn’t be stuck in a limbo state unable to deploy because the unit the Stratagem was used on originally ceased to exist. This makes a lot of sense, and provides a way for some Space Marines to get multiple units into reinforcements very cheaply.

As far as Combat Squads and Reserves well, the big problem there is with Combat Squads and its wording:

Combat Squads: At the start of deployment, before any units have been set up, if this unit contains the maximum number of models that it can, then it can be split into two units containing as equal a number of models as possible. When splitting a unit using this ability, make a note of which models form each of the two new units.

There is currently some debate on when “Deployment” starts. Codex: Space Marines has several abilities that are used to put a unit into reserves that are used “during deployment,” which would imply the step where you declare they are being used is “Deployment” rather than the “deploy armies” step (and potentially points to Codex: Space Marines being written before 9th edition wording was finalized). Unfortunately there is no “Deployment” step in 9th edition missions – instead we have the Declare Reserves and Transports Step and the Deploy Armies step following it. The Deploy Armies step itself says it’s when players alternate setting up their “remaining units.” As such there’s definite ambiguity about if Combat Squads happens prior to declaring Reserves and Transports or after it, hopefully an FAQ resolves this in the future.

What is definitely the case is that you can use Encirclement on a unit of marines, then place them into Outflank, then split them with Combat Squads and them arrive separately. What’s less clear is whether you can use Combat Squads and then put one of them into Strategic Reserves.

Original Answer from 2020-10-22


Blood Ravens Inceptors. Credit – Soggy

Should Plasma Inceptors slow roll their plasma attacks in case they die?

So question. If I understand the rules correct, an inceptor would have to slow roll his plasma shots, since he dies after overcharging and rolling a one. Meaning he wouldn’t be able to shoot his second gun? Or do all the attacks still go through? – ReneG8

Yes he wouldn’t be able to shoot the second gun. At least it seems so to me – though there’s room for debate, unfortunately. This is likely quite a rare occurrence in the rules as most models with several overheating weapons aren’t outright killed by them when they overheat, they usually only inflict a number of mortal wounds.

if any unmodified hit rolls of 1 are made for attacks with this weapon profile, the bearer is destroyed after shooting with this weapon.

There are two ways to go on this:

  1. Models not on the board can’t make attacks. I think this because the “make attacks” steps starts “When a model makes an attack, make one hit roll for that attack by rolling one D6” implying the need for a model. This also gives you a baseline for things like what auras are affecting the model (both positive and negative) would be debatable once the model is removed should the first weapon kill it before the second. It also establishes which stats such as BS to use as it’s “the model” making the attacks, rather than an empty space.
  2. The other way to go though, is that the number of attacks step has already happened and it determines the total to be resolved. We already continue to shoot at units that are no longer visible and whilst this section does not call out the attacker dying mid shooting it’s arguably applicable.

I personally favour the first of them, but I think this situation needs a general FAQ to be 100% resolved. The middle ground is that Inceptors should at the very least be slow rolling per model, in fact despite the above I would still recommend this interpretation but I think that’s generally being done already.


Imperial Fists Primaris Ancient

Imperial Fists Primaris Ancient. Credit: Jack Hunter

Ancient Banner and CORE

Hello! The Astartes Banner changed from INFANTRY to CORE. Does this mean that dreadnoughts and bikes can fight or shoot on death? – Bridges

Yes they can! However remember that “as if it were your Shooting phase” means that the model is still affected by shooting phase rules. If it’s within Engagement Range of an enemy unit it will need to use pistols, or abide by the rules of Big Guns Never Tire to shoot at units within Engagement range.

Can Eradicators Double Shoot with Total Obliteration when they die while in range of an Ancient’s Astartes Banner Aura?

Hello! I have a question about how the Astartes Banner rule interacts with the Eradicators’ Total Obliteration ability. The former states that the slain “model” can shoot as if it were the Shooting phase. The latter can be used each time the “unit” is selected to shoot in the Shooting phase. Does a unit count as being selected to shoot when one of the models in it is? Can Eradicators double-tap when shooting before being removed, and if so, how often is the target to be totally obliterated chosen? Thank you! – Egor (and Chris G who also sent in a similar question).

I agree with your first impressions here. The model is being chosen to shoot, not the unit, so it doesn’t fulfill the trigger of Total Obliteration.

In your Shooting Phase, each time this unit is selected to shoot, if it has not Advanced this turn, it can unleash total obliteration.

I would prefer this to be clarified by an FAQ though, as there’s no real process laid out in the rule (or Rare Rules) for firing a single model from a unit “as if it was the shooting phase”.

However even if a future FAQ did say the unit counted as being chosen to shoot in this case to clear that ambiguity up, there another, subtler reason why this still wouldn’t work though: When firing under an Astartes Banner the ability states that the model is removed after making the attacks the banner enables. With that in mind, even if the model was allowed to use Total Obliteration, it’s no longer on the board to make the second round of attacks (you’d need a model to check Range and Line of Sight from as if it was the Shooting phase). Shooting with Total Obliteration is two separate rounds of shooting as detailed in the Shoot Again Rare rule on page 89 of the Grand Tournament Mission Pack 2020 and the Banner rule removes the model at the conclusion of the first of these. Even if Total Obliteration kicks in to allow a second set of shoots, it’s too late!

I have made reference to abilities allowing you to shoot a weapon twice being covered by Shoot Again Rare Rule in the past here on Ruleshammer, and while I think the Rare Rule covers it some have disagreed. I’ve still not been entirely convinced that they should be treated differently; if the abilities wanted the attacks resolved all at once then why have the model shoot twice rather than doubling the attacks the weapon makes? This is speculation now so I would also hope for an FAQ to address this just to put the matter to rest as it was ruled differently in 8th. For now though, I’m going to tap this sign I made:

Last Updated: 2021-03-31 GW FAQ Here

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