Ruleshammer: Mailbag 003

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 covers some of your questions!

Last week I introduced Judge Rule Shamer; when I’m covering something controversial or I’m just a bit disappointed in GW’s writing they’ll pop up again. Eventually there’s going to be a Rule Hammer article that is just one large collage of Judge Rule Shamer, I’m surprised it wasn’t last week’s. If you want your rules debate answered you can submit questions both on reddit, or via this form.

Your Questions Answered!

First up a few questions from “Cirtronsaft”

Some aircraft have a movement characteristic in their damage table that is only a single number. Let’s take the vulture for example, which has a 20″ move characteristic in its bottom bracket. Can it choose to stay stationary but keep all the rules of supersonic? Can it move any amount from 0-20″?

Yes. What the fuck? So I double checked, units that have one movement number don’t have a min. It would still be only able to rotate 90° but it could remain stationary. It’s not just a Forge World rules shenanigan though, the Nephilim Jetfighter also has this wound bracket.

The Valkyrie can disembark in its move phase with the grav chute ability. Can I say that it moves along some path and drop units along that path, or can I only use its final location?

Yes the troops can get out at any point along its path. See the wording of the ability below.

Grav-chute Insertion: Models may disembark from this vehicle at any point during its move, but if they do they cannot move further during this phase; if the Valkyrie moves 20″ or more, you must roll a D6 for each model disembarking. On a 1, that model is slain. Models that disembark in this manner must be set up more than 9″ from any enemy models.

It is a disembark though, so announce that the Valkyrie is pausing mid move. Set up the models within 3” of it’s base but also more than 9” from enemy models in this special case. Then finish the move for the Valkyrie.

Similar question for any flyer that has a bomb rule but not supersonic or has hover jet (if they exist–ares gunship probably does?). Can it say move 10″ forward, move 10″ backward to its original position, and bomb a unit 10″ ahead of if?


Yes you can do this, I can’t find any FAQ that clarifies what “flew over” means. There are perhaps a few units where this would make sense, a Harpy might well swoop low fling spores forward and then fly backwards like a bird. Daemon Screamers with their slashing attack could do so as they moved past the enemy, slashing at units like the machine squids from The Matrix. I would caution against playing with this interpretation as an assumption though, if in a Tournament I’d get an organiser ruling on it, in a casual/friendly game I’d discuss this pre-game. The relevant rules to this are below.

The Harpy doesn’t have Supersonic or a min move, and it’s spore cysts rules says:

Spore Mine Cysts: A Harpy can drop Spore Mines as it flies over enemy units in its Movement phase. To do so, after the Harpy has moved, pick one enemy unit that it flew over and roll a D6 for each model in that unit, up to a maximum of 3 dice. Each time you roll a 4+ a Spore Mine has hit the target and explodes. Roll a D6 to find out how much damage is inflicted on the unit; on a 1 the Spore Mine fails to inflict any harm, on a 2-5 it inflicts 1 mortal wound, and on a 6 it inflicts D3 mortal wounds.

Both Supersonic and Minimum Moves make this impossible. You can’t turn mid flight with the former, and minimum move models must be their min movement distance from where they began, making loops impossible, potentially a zig zag though. Not sure how many models exist with a Min Move that don’t have Supersonic; all I can think of is the Forge World Tau Remora Stealth Drone.

Question from Adrian

Right, so Space Marine Command Squads can suck up wounds for heroes (including character dreads). If a multi-wound hit, from a lascannon, say, is diverted onto the command squad and does 4 wounds, does it kill one Command Squad dude or four? RAW, it seems to be four, but the phrasing isn’t super clear.

First let’s look at the command squad rule.

Command Squad Bodyguard: When a friendly <CHAPTER> CHARACTER model within 3″ of this unit would lose any wounds as a result of an attack made against that model, this unit can attempt to intercept that attack. Roll one D6; on a 2+ that model does not lose those wounds and this unit suffers 1 mortal wound for each of those wounds. Only one attempt can be made to intercept each attack.

So few things to break down here. First this occurs when a Character is about to lose wounds. So that’s after it’s been hit, the enemy has made a successful wound roll, and the Character has failed it’s save. This happens before the character uses any other “ignore wound abilities” which it would still get to use if the Bodyguard ability fails.

Bodyguard would turn the 4 damage of the incoming attack into 4 mortal wounds. Which would then be taken by the command squad. Unlike normal damage Mortal Wounds carry over, so 4 of them would kill 4 “dudes” assuming they all have 1 wound each.

Question from Steven

In Overwatch, when a Charge Target is Declared by multiple units, does the Charge Target get to Fire Overwatch immediately (because it was declared) at the charging Units one at a time (allowing one unit in a multi charge to soak the Overwatch) or all at once and then the Charging Units roll for charge distance?

No, you have a misunderstanding of how charge declarations work. A unit can’t be declared as a target of a charge by multiple units at once. Here’s the charge rules to clear things up;

1. Choose Unit to Charge With
Any of your units within 12″ of the enemy in your Charge phase can make a charge move. You may not choose a unit that Advanced or Fell Back this turn, nor one that started the Charge phase within 1″ of an enemy.
2. Choose Targets
Once you have chosen an eligible unit, select one or more enemy units within 12″ of them as the target(s) of the charge. Each target unit can then attempt to fire Overwatch.

These sections are singular, your opponent chooses one unit to charge with, but may select multiple targets for the unit. When they make their charge move, any units that they are within 1” of (which must have been targets) can not overwatch again.

Question from Chuck

Let’s say you have a flying vehicle that is on a clear base and uses the “measure from the hull” rule. If the vehicle is suspended more than 1″ from the ground, is that vehicle immune to close combat with non-FLY infantry units? Technically you measure from the base of the infantry, and straight up from the base to the hull of the skimmer is going to be more than 1″. Obviously most people would say “of course you can”, but rules-as-written I’m not sure it’s wrong to say they’re out of range.


Okay so few things to unpack about this. Most skimmers have a “measure to base or hull whichever is nearest” rule rather than just measure to hull. Space Marines however as the pouting problem children they always are have an exception. Their Hover Tank rule says this;

Hover Tank: Distances are always measured to and from this model’s hull.

Rather than this which I’ve taken from the Tau Devilfish.

Hover Tank: Instead of measuring distances to and from this model’s base, measure to and from this model’s hull or base (whichever is closer).

What’s even weirder is that the Space Marine skimmers like the Impulsor have an actual base, the older skimmers used by races such as the Tau or Eldar use a 60mm transparent base with a flying stem. Technically you have to measure to that transparent base if it’s closer. It often isn’t but it can be if you’re close enough; coincidentally this is true for the Devilfish by all the exit hatches on the sides and stern.

I haven’t answered the question though, essentially yes an Impulsor more than 1” off the ground would be immune to combat. Having measured the puck things it comes with though it’s closer to 0.5”. This does mean that combat with such a vehicle is a bit tighter, part of the 1” range is eaten up by the 0.5” vertical. In such circumstances you’d need to be within 0.866”, that most common and normal of measurements. But do I recommend doing pythagoras mid game? No.

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