Ruleshammer Q&A: September 4th, 2020

This is the first Q&A Ruleshammer for 9th edition and I’m going to be doing things a bit differently for 9th. Each week I’ll be doing these Q&A articles from now on, but the answers won’t just be here; they will become part of larger articles on parts of the game. So for instance a question this week on a Fall Back related ability will become part of a sort of summary article on Falling Back. Links in RED are articles coming soon that will be reachable from this one for more related content.

I’m also taking the gloves off on making suggestions when there absolutely isn’t a reasonable RAW answer. These will ONLY be suggestions, they are not rules, they should not be treated as such and will pretty much exist to form a neutral third party to refer to for normal casual games (event games have organisers for this role). A full list of Ruleshammer Suggestions are being maintained on a dedicated page. 

Question 1 – Regarding the Falling Back move type and a Tau Maneuvering Thrusters

With the new movement rules in 9th edition regarding a unit being classified as “remain stationary”, “normal move”, “advance”, or “fall back” how does that interact with the Tau custom tenet, “Manoeuvring Thrusters” which allow a BATTLESUIT unit to advance when it falls back.  Would this allow BATTLESUITs to fallback and shoot as if they advanced? – Danny

First let’s look at the text for that Sept Ability, from Page 35 of The Greater Good.

A BATTLESUIT unit with this tenet can Advance when it Falls Back.

The short answer to this question is pretty bluntly no. The ability doesn’t allow a model to ignore that it fell back for shooting purposes, it doesn’t say the model can shoot as if it hadn’t moved, or as if it was stationary this turn. Essentially this causes a situation where the model has actually both Advanced and Fallen Back. It would have the limits and restrictions of both those rules, so despite the Assault weapons rules allowing you to fire them even units have Advanced those rules do not allow for a unit to shoot if it fell back.

Question 2 – Regarding Open Topped Transports

“In the Core Rules PDF, p12, it says models embarked within a transport “cannot normally…be affected in any way while…embarked. Unless specifically stated, abilities have no effect on units while they are embarked.” Note the important exceptions, “normally” and “unless specifically stated.” Likewise, p7 lists auras as an ability. Now, the Jackal Alphus’ Priority Target Sighted ability lets you pick an enemy unit and “add 1 to hit rolls for friendly <CULT> units that target that enemy unit while within 6” of this model.” The Goliath Truck has the CULT keyword, so can be given the modifier. It’s Open-Topped ability states that “any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers.” So, would the Truck pass this +1 to-hit modifier on to its passengers? After all, the Alphus’s aura is not giving them the modifier, the Truck is. 


1) In the new FAQ, GW added this same restrictions-or-modifiers clause to Ork Trukks and Battlewagons;

2) Shots fired by embarked passengers are measured from any part of the vehicle’s hull, and 

3) the Open-Topped rule “specifically states” modifiers are passed on and Open-Topped vehicles are not “normal.” I sent an email to GW but you know how that goes. Personally, I feel like it could go either way. Thanks and sorry for the wordiness but it’s a complicated interaction.” – Kevin

This is still a bit unclear but my understanding is that any abilities, auras, strats, etc that affect the Transport, affect the occupants. For instance if a character has a +1 to Hit Aura for friendly INFANTRY units, the INFANTRY inside the transport would not get the bonus. A similar aura but for any friendly units would benefit the Transport, and therefore benefit it’s passengers.

This also makes sure defensive traits such as Alpha Legion’s -1 to hit work – because it would apply to the Transport it also applies to the passengers. They’re not somehow immune to this modifier because they’re inside or on top of a metal bawks.

Question 3 – Dreadnought kills last model in army in Combat

We ran into an interesting game state where a dreadnought wiped out the last of the opponent’s army in the fight phase, but needed to consolidate to reach an objective in order to win the game on points. Would it be allowed to do so, despite there being no “closest enemy model” left on the table? – Magehat

Ummm wow, no it would not be able to. This is an interesting one though. The Consolidation rules for 9th are;

When a unit consolidates, you can move each model in the unit up to 3″ – this is a Consolidation move. Each model must finish its Consolidation move closer to the closest enemy model. A model that is already touching an enemy model cannot move, but still counts as having consolidated. Remember that a unit must finish any type of move in unit coherency (pg 4). [Core Rules Pg22]

Which seems to make it pretty clear that the Consolidating models must end the move closer to the nearest enemy model. If there are no enemy models, then this is no model to be closer to, so there’s no way to move that fulfils the condition. What interests me most though is this is a consequence of very specific wording. For instance in Age of Sigmar, the Pile In condition is that they must be “at least as close” as they were, such wording would allow a move with no models, because if for argument’s sake we say that no enemy models is being infinitely far away, then moving would put you still infinitely far away. The part in 40k that blocks this is that you must end the move closer.

Question 4 – Regarding Ignore AP Abilities

This question came from many different users so rather than quote any one of them I’m going to summarise the question and issue. Basically GW have really mucked up some of these abilities and how they interact with the new Modifying Characteritistics rules (well actually, these new rules are from FAQs that 8th had so the issue is older than this but un-noticed).

Some abilities to ignore AP are worded like this;

Reactive Countermeasures: BATTLESUIT model with airbursting fragmentation projector only. Ranged weapons with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 or -2 are treated as having an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0 when resolving attacks against a model with this Weapon System.

The key thing to notice here is that this wording has you “treat” the attack as having AP 0, it does not set the AP of those attacks to 0. Why does that matter? It matters because of the order in which these abilities are applied. Here’s the relevant part from the Modifying Characteristics rules;

If a rule instructs you to replace one characteristic with a specified value, change the relevant characteristic to the new value before applying any modifiers that apply from other rules (if any) to the new value. Regardless of the source, the Strength, Toughness, Attacks and Leadership characteristics of a model can never be modified below 1. [Core Rules PDF Pg8]

Okay so the first AP ignore ability doesn’t trigger this, so why am I mentioning it? Take a look at this one.

Tarsus BucklerWhen resolving an attack made with a weapon that has an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 against a model equipped with a tarsus buckler, that weapon has an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0 for that attack.

This is different, not “treated as”, it literally sets the AP Characteristic of the weapon to 0. As such this happens before ANY OTHER modifiers. So if you used this against Space Marines for instance and they has a Doctrine buff to use the against the buckler an AP-1 weapon would become AP0, then be modified again to AP-1. Against the Countermeasures it would be improved to AP-2 and then treated as AP0 when being resolved.

This is obviously a bit pedantic and a very intricate example of RAW, and the presence of the treats as wording definitely in my opinion implies intent. This really gets compounded by the Sisters of Battle convictions.

Stoic Endurance: When a model with this conviction would lose a wound, roll one D6; on a 6 that wound is not lost. In addition, when resolving an attack made with a weapon with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 against a unit with this conviction, that weapon has an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0 for that attack. Whilst a unit with this conviction is under the effect of an imagifier’s Tale of the Stoicability, weapons with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -2 are also treated as having an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0 when resolving attacks against that unit.

This ability has both the “has an” and “treated as” wording for different sections, hower notice that the AP-2 part says “also treated as” as if it’s intended that the first section be taken in the same way. Needless to say this gets super confusing very quickly. It could be explained away as an issue of 8th’s rules writing being incompatible with 9th but actually this is how set characteristic rules have been for a while, they were just more obscure as it was only in an FAQ.

Q: If an ability instructs me to resolve an attack with a different characteristic (e.g. a Culexus Assassin’s Etherium ability) does this happen before or after any other modifiers that also apply to that characteristic (e.g. the Drukhari Serpentin Combat Drug)?

A: When resolving such an attack, change the relevant characteristic to the new value before applying any modifiers to that new value. – 8th Edition FAQ

As such here is a Ruleshammer Suggestion, I’ll be making these from time to time now but they 100% just my opinion on how best to resolve tentative rules issues and if you want to use them it should be part of the pregame discussion.

That’s it for this week. If you have any questions or feedback, or a rules question you want answered, then drop us a note in the comments below, ask a question in our Ruleshammer form, or head over to r/ruleshammer to discuss.