In this week’s Ruleshammer we’re looking at some of the changes made during the June 2021 FAQs, which made a number of major changes to the 9th edition rules, including streamlining combat and fight first/last effects and changing how Difficult Terrain works. In today’s update we’re looking at how some of the changes affected Chaos and Xenos armies.
Death Guard Updates
Summoning and Contagions
We not have a new rare rule that helps clear up if Contagions can be lost or gained by summoning and it’s good news!
‘IF EVERY UNIT IN YOUR ARMY’ RULES
Many armies have abilities that only apply if every model in your army has a specific keyword. For example, many units in Codex: Space Marines have the Combat Doctrines ability, but this rule only applies if ‘every unit in your army has the Adeptus Astartes keyword’ (with a few listed exceptions). The condition of ‘every unit in your army’ is checked once, after you have selected your army, which happens at the end of the ‘Muster Armies’ step of the mission sequences used in a mission pack, and such rules either apply for the duration of the battle or they don’t. If the condition is satisfied at the end of this step, then those rules will apply throughout the battle, regardless of whether or not new units are added to your army during the battle that might not satisfy this condition. Similarly, if at the end of the ‘Muster Armies’ step, this condition is not satisfied, then it will not apply for the duration of the battle, even if during the battle you suffer casualties to the point where all your remaining units would start to satisfy the condition.
It’s now 100% clear that if the Army met the conditions for Contagions when you mustered the army, then it keeps them for the entire game. They can’t be lost by adding units and they can’t be gained during the battle when the last conflicting unit is destroyed.
Foulblight Spawn’s Stench Vats
Whilst the new designer commentary for Fight Order is pretty comprehensive it’s still not a Fight Last ability. It has two effects.
Revolting Stench Vats (Aura): While an enemy unit is within 6” of the bearer, that unit cannot make use of any rules that allow it to fight first and never counts as having made a charge move this turn.
So whilst it does make units within Range into Fights Normally it’s for slightly different reasons, the Stench Vats never causes a unit to become Fight Last. What’s unchanged is that they can still cause a unit to end up unable to fight at all under a specific set of circumstances. Specifically, the rules for which units can fight state that “An eligible unit is one that is within Engagement Range of an enemy unit and/or made a charge move in the same turn.” (Core Rules, “Fight Phase,” Paragraph 1), which means that a unit affected by this that is pushed out of Engagement Range as a result of removing casualties won’t be eligible to fight, as shown below:
Inexorable Advance and Transports
Just a slight edit as the Remain Stationary FAQ got larger, essentially this is unchanged. Inexorable advance does not allow a transport to disembark models after moving even though it counts as “Remain Stationary.”
7. Even if a Transport model is subject to such a rule, embarked
models still cannot disembark from that Transport during the
Movement phase if that Transport has already moved, unless
that Transport (or the models embarked within it) have a rule
that explicitly allows them to disembark after the Transport
The new FAQ stil firmly prevents that though.
Inexorable Advance vs Difficult Ground and more
The old FAQ that said Inexorable Advance did not allow models to ignore difficult ground has now been removed! Instead we now have a new difficult ground rule.
‘If a unit makes a Normal Move, Advances or Falls Back, and any of its models wish to move over any part of this terrain feature, subtract 2″ from the Move characteristic of every model in that unit (to a minimum of 0), even if every part of this terrain feature is 1″ or less in height. If a unit declares a charge, and any of its models wish to move over any part of this terrain feature as part of its subsequent charge move, subtract 2 from that unit’s charge roll, even if every part of this terrain feature is 1″ or less in height. These modifiers do not apply if every model in the moving unit can Fly. These modifiers do not apply if every model in the moving unit is Titanic and this terrain feature is less than 3″ in height. The height of a terrain feature is measured from the highest point on that terrain feature.’
No longer does this rule modify the abstract concept of “max distance” it now clearly modifies the movement characteristic and the charge roll.
Inexorable Advance: If this Unit has the Infantry Keyword, it can ignore any or all modifiers to its Move Characteristic, Advance Rolls and Charge Rolls
which Inexorable Advance now without doubt makes the unit immune to modification. This is progress, slow but inexorable progress.
How do The Silent King’s Obeisance Generators work?
The new Fight Order Commentary now contains a pretty through example of how Obeisance Generators work but here’s the new and improved Fight Phase Order. Where do Obeisance Generators fall though; well they’re a Fight Last effect.
The rare rules then clarify a few things:
1. If a unit has charged it is a ‘fights first’ unit that turn.
2. A unit is a ‘fights first’ unit whether it is under the effect of just one, or multiple, ‘fight first’ rules.
3. A unit is a ‘fights last’ unit whether it is under the effect of just one, or multiple, ‘fight last’ rules.
4. If a unit would be both a ‘fights first’ and a ‘fights last’ unit at the same time, it is instead a ‘fights normally’ unit.
The only other thing the rare rule does is clarify which units are eligible to fight, and so can make use of the Counter-offensive Stratagem (which lets a unit ‘fight next’). In practice, using the above terms, you can select any ‘fights first’ or ‘fights normally’ unit for this Stratagem.
So vs a unit that has charged or has another Fight First rule, Obeisance makes those units fight normally. Against a unit that has no Fight First rules though, they are forced to Fight Last; though more accurately they must fight after all eligible Necron units have fought. They don’t have to fight absolutely at the end.
One remaining point of contention here though is how Counter Offensive interacts with Obeisance. Based on how the commentary lays out the rule any unit that has been made to Fight Last is not an eligible target for Counter Offensive, this doesn’t 100% line up with the wording of Obeisance Generators though.
Obeisance Generators: At the start of the Fight phase, if there are any enemy units within Engagement Range of Szarekh, then until the end of the phase, those units cannot fight until after all other eligible units from your army have done so.
however the commentary is pretty clear on the intent here, and so far Silent King and the Whirlwind stratagem are the only abilities that use “cannot fight” rather than “not eligible”. It’s a shame that the FAQs didn’t change their wording but I think the commentary is still enough written intent to play these as described by the rules writers. Maybe send an email to the GW FAQ department though and we can get the wording amended to match!