Ruleshammer Q&A – Compendium

9th Edition Rules Breakdowns

Ruleshammer Battle – A Step By Step Example – This series covers the set up and first few turns of a full battle, with annotated diagrams of each step, exploration of basic tactics and strategic decisions and most of the core rules. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Consensus and Rules Accessibility: Two articles covering some area of the rules that rely heavily on community shared practice and consensus Part 1, Part 2.

Core Rules / Big FAQs: Building Armies – Terrain Guide – Dice, Re-rolls, Fast Rolling & Modifying Characteristics – Engagement Range – Actions – Auras – Arks of Omen DetachmentSequencing² –
Movement Phase:  Aircraft¹ – Types of Move – Transports¹
Shooting Phase: Look Out Sir – Big Guns Never Tire
Charge Phase: Charging and Heroic Intervention
Fight Phase: Pile In, Who Can Attack, Consolidation and Fight Order
Morale Phase: Coming eventually

still got plenty to cover!

Looking for Q&A on Factions with a new codex, check here?

ChaosDeath Guard – Thousand Sons – Chaos Space Marines – Chaos Knights – Daemons
XenosNecrons – Drukhari – AeldariOrksT’au EmpireGenestealer CultsTyranidsLeagues of Votann
AstartesSpace Marines – Blood Angels – Dark Angels   
Death Watch – Space Wolves – Black Templars – Grey Knights
ImperiumAdeptus Mechanicus – Adepta SororitasCustodes – Imperial Knights – Astra Militarum

Last Updated 2023-02-23
¹ Updates pending. ² See Note in Article Regarding Issues

Table of Contents

Core Rules

Is there a way to re-roll Smite or any other Mortal Wound output?


Not with the command re-roll stratagem, as that lists very specific things.

Use this Stratagem after you have made a hit roll, a wound roll, a damage roll, a saving throw, an Advance roll, a charge roll, a Psychic test, a Deny the Witch test or you have rolled the dice to determine the number of attacks made by a weapon. Re-roll that roll, test or saving throw.

The number of mortals is not any of those, some might wonder about the Damage Roll but that is a specific thing.

Damage roll: When determining a random Damage characteristic, the dice roll is called a damage roll.

That doesn’t preclude the existent of an ability that would let a unit re-roll mortals though. For instance Thousand Sons have this.

Witch-warrior: Each time this model manifests Smite or a Witchfire psychic power that inflicts mortal wounds on a dice roll (e.g. D3, or rolling one D6 for each model in the unit). you can re-roll one of the dice to determine the number of mortal wounds inflicted.

It can 100% re-roll the number of wounds Smite would do. It’s a bit wordy about it but it can also allow you to re-roll dice for abilities that would have you roll several and get a mortal for each one above a threshold. There are also other abilities that may let you re-roll mortal wounds, such as with the special re-roll afforded by Glimpse of Eternity. 

How many objectives can a model or unit control in a single turn?


While there are some models that can just about span the gap between objectives by themselves in some missions, there are rules about controlling objectives that limits them from counting on both:

Unless otherwise noted, a player controls an objective marker while they have more models within range of it than their opponent does. A model can only be counted towards controlling one objective marker per turn – if one of your models could be counted towards controlling more than one objective marker, you must select which one they are counted towards that turn. AIRCRAFT units and units with the Fortifications Battlefield Role can never control objective markers – exclude these units when determining which player controls an objective marker.

One key thing to note though is that this limit per turn. So a sufficiently large model can count as controlling one objective in your turn, and count as controlling a different objective in your opponent’s turn within the battle round. I’m not sure how often that’s actually useful, though.

Units however don’t really factor into objective control as a single entity. It’s always models. If your unit spans the gap between two objectives, then it can be counted as controlling both, though individual models in that unit can only count toward controlling one per turn – though this will usually just be the objective that model is within range of anyways.

Leadership use Auras and Modifiers


If an unit has a modifier to their leadership (such as -2 ld for being in range of Night Lords aura) but also has a friendly unit nearby that lets you use their leadership (such as a chaplain/inquisitor) who isn’t in range of the debuff, do you roll leadership using the chaplains current leadership (unmodified) or just copy their LD value then apply the modifier? – Dave

This is a question that has been debated frequently at Goonhammer HQ… and it’s one that I still don’t think we’ve ever actually agreed on an answer to before getting exhausted of debating it. To my read, the issue really boils down to “is using the Ld of another model replacing the Ld characteristic of the model attempting to use another’s Ld?” If it is replacement, then the Modify Characteristics rules cover that and it’s before modifiers:

Modifying Characteristics

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.

But I’m not sure “using the Ld of another unit” is instructing you to replace one Characteristic with another. The ability worded isn’t clear on if it is or not.

Spiritual Leaders (Aura): While a friendly DEATHWATCH CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, models in that unit can use this model’s Leadership characteristic instead of their own.

There are also instances where these abilities confer no actual benefit if they were subject to the same modifiers; if the Chaplain is near a unit of Space Marine Terminators for instance, both have a base Ld of 9.

Unfortunately without an FAQ there’s really not a RAW answer to this in my opinion. I have a preference, but I’d be hesitant to say it’s got much support in the rules outside of there being a void. My preference is to play that if the sharing Ld provider (the Chaplain) is not affected by the modifier, then units using their Ld can use it unmodified.

What Counts as “killing things” for a unit or army?


Q: Secondaries that require “units from your army” to kill things. If an enemy unit fails morale and loses their last model to it, does that count? In the rulebook definition of being destroyed, morale is included, but does the fact that something destroyed it mean that one of your units did? But you don’t know exactly who? IE Deathcompany needing to kill stuff, it wouldn’t count if morale did it, but if its just “a unit” it would? or not? – James

So there are a few different levels to this which the destroy section is actually only covering one part of:

Some rules will only trigger if an enemy unit was destroyed by you, or by a model or unit from your army – this means that the last model in the enemy unit was destroyed by an attack made by a model in your army, or it was destroyed because it fled the battlefield, or it was destroyed by a mortal wound inflicted by a rule that a model in your army is using, or it was destroyed as the result of any other rule that a model in your army is using that explicitly states that the enemy model is outright destroyed. Enemy units that are destroyed by any other means are not destroyed by you, or by a unit or model from your army.

This whole section is describing “destroyed by you”. It’s clarifying that that includes dying to attacks made by your models, by morale, and by rules your models are using (which is oddly the line that covers explosions counting). What counts being destroyed by a unit/model in your army is slightly more restrictive and it’s all in the glossary entries.

Unit destroys a unit: A unit is considered to have destroyed another unit when a model in the former destroys the latter.

Model destroys a model: A model is considered to have been destroyed by another model when the former is destroyed by an attack made by the latter, as the result of a mortal wound inflicted by a rule that the latter is using, or as the result of any other rule the latter is using that explicitly states that an enemy model is outright destroyed.

As models don’t “use morale” to destroy units, units that are destroyed by failing morale do not count as unit or model kills. Here are some examples:

Decivisive Victory

No, Morale Destruction would not count.

At the end of the battle round:
Score 1 victory point if one or more enemy units were destroyed by T’AU EMPIRE units from your army this battle round.
Score 3 victory points if three or more enemy units were destroyed by T’AU EMPIRE units from your army this battle round.

Grind Them Down

Yes, Morale Destruction would count.

Score 3 victory points at the end of the battle round if more enemy units than friendly units were destroyed this battle round.

No mention of needing to be destroyed by your army, in fact even models killed by enemy units killing their allies with explosions count for the tally in this secondary.

Fury of the Lost

No, Morale Destruction would not count.

– Score 3 victory points if one enemy unit was destroyed by a DEATH COMPANY unit from your army this battle round. Score 4 victory points instead if two or more enemy units were destroyed by DEATH COMPANY units from your army this battle round.
– Score 1 additional victory point if one or more DEATH COMPANY units from your army were destroyed by enemy unit’s this battle round.

Really harsh but even the Death Company unit dying to Morale doesn’t count as they have to be destroyed by the enemy units.

Measuring Distances to “Skimmers”


Q: “If a model is mounted on a “flying base” (e.g. wave serpent) does that count as a base for the purposes of “Measuring Distances” on page 5 of the core rules? In the case of a Wave Serpent that’s important for whether all of your models need to disembark wholly within 3″ of the 60mm round base, or 3″ of the much larger hull.” – Nathan Dimmock

It depends on the model. So yes it does count as a base however that’s not the only relevant issue here. Wave Serpents have a rule called Hover Tank.

Hover Tank: Distances are measured to and from this model’s hull or base; whichever is closest.

Which says that when measuring to this model in particular you should measure to whichever is the closest of the hull or base. This is not true of all similar vehicles though, not even within single factions. T’au Piranhas have the same 60mm flying bases of Tau Devilfish but the former has no hover rule so they only measure to their base, but Devilfish have the same Hover Tank rule as Wave Serpents.

Raiders, the Drukhari transport, have a rule saying to completely ignore the base and just use the hull.

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

Something that can have an actual impact on their disembark range depending how high over the board they are. And then the real clown of the pack, Starweavers:

Hovering: Distances are measured to and from the hull or base (whichever is closest) of the closest model in this unit.

Which RAW could mean that the the furthest back Starweaver of the unit be actually 30″ away but so long as the one closest to the target is within 24″ then technically they all are. No one players this rule as written though, I have no idea why it says that! 

Arguments about Damage Reduction and Ignore Wounds


While the fact that this Rare Rule changed has been covered a few times, the arguments about what it does have actually increased. Here’s the new rare rule as a reminder of the specific issue and change:

Some models have a rule that says that they cannot lose more than a specified number of wounds in the same phase/turn/ battle round, and that any wounds that would be lost after that point are not lost. Similarly, some models have a rule that reduces damage suffered by a stated amount (e.g. Duty Eternal). In any of these cases, when such a model is attacked by a weapon or model with a rule that says that enemy models cannot use rules to ignore the wounds it loses, that rule takes precedence over the previous rule, and if that attack inflicts any damage on that model, it loses a number of wounds equal to the Damage characteristic of that attack, even if it has already lost the specified number of wounds already this phase/turn/ battle round.

On the face of it I think most people walked away from this change thinking two things:

  1. “That’s a bit of an odd change.”
  2. Okay so all damage reduction abilities can’t be used against those weapons now.

Previously it was the understood consensus that damage reduction abilities were not “ignoring wounds” abilities as they applied before any wounds were lost. There was no lost wound in the first place. That’s now changed, and we know that at least as far as these abilities are concerned GW expects them to not work against abilities that prevent models from ignoring wounds.

This is where it gets messy, though. For some players, myself included, we just can’t help ourselves and thinking further…

What about abilities that reduce damage to 0?

This is probably one of the most debated aspects of the change and I can understand why it would be. Most of the abilities that do this are once per turn, and even if they don’t actually provide a benefit their trigger is usually the first failed save in the turn. So if that’s happened they won’t trigger again, even if they didn’t actually reduce the damage to 0 when they did.

There is however an argument that they still work vs these abilities and hinges on the phrasing of the rare rule:

reduces damage suffered by a stated amount

Some players argue that reducing the damage of an attack to 0 is not by a stated amount, it’s to a stated amount. This argument that also implicates abilities that halve damage rather than reduce to 0 or by a stated amount.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: I don’t particularly like this argument; it’s picking at phrasing in a way that doesn’t feel intended. Regardless of that though I do think that the once per turn abilities that reduce damage to 0 should work and I’d strongly suggest that they be considered an exception. They’re a very limited resource already.

Does this make Damage Reduction an Ignore Wounds ability?

As stated until now it’s been my understanding that Damage Reduction isn’t an Ignore Wounds ability, because it happens earlier than that. The wound was never lost to begin with. This Rare Rule really makes that distinction ambiguous now which Rules As Written has some extra silly consequences.

Firstly GW didn’t change the wording of the abilities that you can’t ignore wounds against they still say things like this

Abilities: Each time an attack made with this weapon is allocated to a model, that model cannot use any rules to ignore the wounds it loses.

And the rare rule now implies that damage reducing abilities are among the types of ability that can’t be used, making them an “ignore wounds” ability. However if that’s true then does this rule apply to them?

Some models have rules that give them a chance to ignore wounds. If a model has more than one such rule, you can only use one of those rules each time the model loses a wound (including wounds lost due to mortal wounds).

Can you use damage reduction and an ability to ignore lost wounds on a 6+ on the same model? Before this change that wasn’t even asked about but now it’s in a grey area.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: This is honestly all a little thin and seems almost certainly not intended. I would suggest that the Ignoring Wounds rule against using more than one specifically means you can’t stand multiple “on 6+”, “on 5+” abilities to keep trying to ignore each wound, and that it was never meant to limit Damage Reduction or even Wound Caps.

Using Command Phase Abilities with Units not on the Battlefield. Is that allowed?


I think so. That might be a surprise to some and cause outrage from others but I do have my reasons. There are certainly abilities that don’t work when a unit or model isn’t on the table but in those cases they don’t work for specific reasons. For example, this Fire Blade ability can’t work while it’s off board, either while being held in reserve or embarked in a transport:

Target Sighted: In your Command phase, select one friendly <SEPT> FIRE WARRIOR TEAM unit within 9″ of this unit’s CADRE FIREBLADE model; until the start of your next Command phase, each time a CORE model in that unit makes a ranged attack, re-roll a hit roll of 1.

but the reason it can’t is because there are no units within 9″ of it; it’s not on the battlefield and so cannot be within 9″ of anything. Though there are exceptions to this, most notably in Genestealer Cults armies:


If this unit is set up underground, then in the Reinforcements step of one of your Movement phases, you can set up this unit under one of the following conditions:

– You can set up this unit anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 8″ away from any enemy models.

– You can set up this unit anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 6″ away from any enemy models, but that unit is not eligible to declare a charge this turn.

If a unit set up underground has any abilities that are used in your Command phase (e.g. Meticulous Planner), then the first time that unit is set up on the battlefield, it can use any or all of those abilities as if it were your Command phase.

These Genesetealer Cults units can delay their Command Phase abilities until they have some targets within range. What about abilities that don’t have range requirements though? What about units with abilities that affect the unit itself, such as these two for the Tau Riptide or Angron?

Nova Reactor: In your Command phase, this unit’s RIPTIDE model can use its nova reactor. If it does, roll 2D6: if the result is greater than the remaining wounds of this unit’s RIPTIDE model, its nova reactor is burned out and this ability cannot be used again this battle; otherwise, you can select one of the following reactor abilities:

– Nova Shield: Until the start of your next Command phase, each time that model would lose a wound, roll one D6: on a 5+, that wound is not lost.
– Boost: In your next Charge phase, this unit can make a Normal Move of up to 2D6″. If it does, until the end of the phase, you cannot declare a charge with this unit.
– Nova Charge: Until the start of your next Command phase, if that model is equipped with a heavy burst cannon, that weapon has a Type characteristic of Heavy 16; otherwise, both profiles of that model’s ion accelerator have a Type characteristic of Heavy 8.

In your Command phase, select one of the following abilities. This model has that ability until the start of your next C
ommand phase:
– Infectious Rage (Aura): While a friendly WORLD EATERS CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, add 1 to the Attacks characteristic of models in that unit.
– Glorious Bloodletting (Aura): While another friendly WORLD EATERS unit is within 6″ of this model, each time a model
in that unit makes a melee attack, re-roll a hit roll of 1.
– Righteous Slaughter (Aura): While a unit is within 6″ of this model, that unit cannot Fall Back.

Neither of these abilities needs any targets within a certain range so they aren’t blocked by that restriction. Both of them tell you that the unit can do a thing in the Command Phase with no requirement that they units doing so be on the battlefield. Requiring units to be on the battlefield to use abilities would also cause most of the infiltration or Deep Strike abilities to cease functioning, though no one argues about them because if feels more obviously correct

Can I remove parts of my model during a game to make it fit in terrain?


Of course you can’t. Models must be able to physically fit where they are being placed. You can’t start removing parts to make this true. I’ve seen in claimed that there’s no rule against doing this however there is also no rule saying you CAN do this, so by default you can’t. That is how rules to games often work. They are lists of things you can do and usually only ban things the rules have said you can do. For example; You can shoot with your units, but you can’t shoot with them if the unit has fallen back unless it is Titanic or you have another rule that says you can shoot even if the unit Fell Back this turn. This all started with the rules giving units something they can do though. This way Games Workshop don’t need to write rules for every thing conceivable that they don’t want you to do, like there’s no rule against removing terrain from the board, putting your models on their sides, stealing your opponent’s dice, etc. There doesn’t need to be because there are no rules that say you can do these things to begin with.

I’ve covered some esoteric interpretations of Wobbly Model in the past and that Hint/Tip clearly states that it expects models to be able to physically be placed.

Hints and Tips – Wobbly Models Sometimes you may find that a particular terrain feature makes it hard for you to place a model exactly where you want[1]. If you delicately balance a model in place, it is very likely to fall as soon as someone nudges the table, leaving your painted model damaged or even broken. In cases like this, provided it is still physically possible to place the model in the desired location[2], you may find it helps to leave a model in a safer position, so long as both players agree and know its ‘actual’ location. If, later on, an enemy model is shooting the model, you will have to hold it back in place so they can check visibility[3].

What happens when A Transport Explodes and destroys another Transport, Which Also Explodes.


We actually had this happen during a game at GHO UK 2021… I think I got it right at the time but the game was on stream and the pressure was on so if what I write here isn’t what I said then, I am sorry. Though you did roll two 6s to explode with transports that could die to D3 mortals, so some of the blame should fall on your dice. Here’s the scenario: Transport Alpha has just died and rolled a 6 to explode. This explosion will (in the future from this moment) deal enough mortal wounds to another nearby Transport Vehicle, Transport Beta, which will then also explode. What happens? Which embarked units are hit by which explosions, if any? Questions, Questions, Questions.

DESTROYED TRANSPORTS If a TRANSPORT model is destroyed, and that model has the Explodes ability (or equivalent), roll to see if it explodes and resolve any resulting damage to nearby units before setting up any units embarked within it (if any) on the battlefield. If there are any units embarked within the destroyed TRANSPORT model, these must now immediately disembark before the model itself is removed from the battlefield; these units are not affected by the destroyed model’s Explodes ability (or equivalent) – instead you must roll one D6 for each model you just set up on the battlefield. For each roll of 1, a model that disembarked (your choice) is destroyed. Units cannot declare a charge or perform a Heroic Intervention in the same turn that they disembarked from a destroyed TRANSPORT model. – Core PDF Pg12

So here’s the order of things as far as I can tell.

  1. Transport Alpha is reduced to 0 wounds and rolls a 6 to explode.
  2. We resolve the damage to any nearby models BEFORE disembarking from Transport Aplha
  3. Transport Beta is reduce to 0 wounds and rolls a 6 to explodes. Here it gets tricky… resolving the resulting damage of this death would include following the Destroyed Transport rule again… recursively. Transport Alpha still hasn’t disembarked any models.
  4. We resolve the damage to any nearby models BEFORE disembarking from Transport Beta. In my read this doesn’t include the Transport Alpha units that are still embarked.
  5. Transport Beta models disembark. Models that don’t fit are destroyed and the rest follow the check from Destroyed Transports, i.e. roll a d6 for each model set up and see how many are removed as casualties. Transport Beta is removed from the board.
  6. Transport Alpha models disembark. Models that don’t fit are destroyed and the rest follow the check from Destroyed Transports. Transport Beta is removed from the board.

This is based almost exclusively on the definition in the Core Glossary for “When”.

When: If a rule states that it takes place when a certain trigger occurs, unless otherwise specified, that rule takes effect before any others.

while the Destroyed Transport rule isn’t “when a transport is destroyed,” it’s still a certain trigger and there not order “otherwise specified” to follow in this case.

Splitting Units and ObSec


Q: If a space marine troop unit combat squads, do the resulting units have obsec, since the new units were not technically in a detachment? What about Tau drones? If drones detach from a breacher squad, do the drones get obsec? – Decline Let’s tackle these one question at a time. Does combat squadding remove Obsec? No. I’m not going to try and debate if they are still in the detachment or not (who really knows) as it doesn’t actually matter if they are or not for detachment abilities.

An ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachment is one that only includes models with the ADEPTUS ASTARTES keyword (excluding models with the AGENT OF THE IMPERIUM or UNALIGNED keyword).

      • ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachments gain the Company Command ability.
      • ADEPTUS ASTARTES units in ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachments gain the Chapter Tactics ability.
      • Troops units in ADEPTUS ASTARTES Detachments gain the Objective Secured ability.

the reason it doesn’t matter is because no rule takes the gained abilities from them, they gained the ability for being in the detachment and meeting certain conditions. There’s no rule that then says “if they leave the detachment mid game they lose this ability”. For a given thing to be removed it would need to be removed or the rule would need to say that the affect is only while within the detachment. Tau drones don’t split automatically from units in the 9th book but there is a Stratagem to do so. They have a new rule that covers how this interacts with Objective secured. Drones in Tau Troops units do gain Objective secured with the rest of their unit now, but if at at point before or during the game a unit only contains Drone models this rule takes effect.

Limited Parameters: If this unit contains only DRONE models, this unic cannot perform actions (excluding the Fire Markerlights action) and loses the Objective Secured ability if it has it, and cannot gain it through any means.

Does a rule saying a unit can re-roll beat a rule saying it can’t?


This has cropped up lately and I felt it worth addressing before any more confusion arises. First of all, some players are suggesting that Attacker’s priority applies in these interactions. That’s simply not the case.

ATTACKER’S PRIORITY While resolving attacks, you’ll occasionally find that two rules cannot both apply — for example, when an attacking model with an ability that enables it to always score a successful hit on a 2+ targets a model that has an ability that states it can only be hit on a 6+. When this happens, the attacking model’s rules take precedence.

In fact this Rare Rules very rarely applies – the example included in the above text is pretty much THE example. The only other interaction where it might apply would be Transhuman Physiology vs. “always wound on X+” rules but transhuman specifically has an exception to that. It doesn’t apply in this case because there’s already a logical result to one rule saying “you can do this” and another saying “you can’t do this” and that result is “you can’t do this”. Think about it for a moment: As a person, you can move through doors, but you can’t move through locked doors. So when you’re faced with a locked door, the result is you can’t move through it. This logic is actually prevalent throughout the rules for 40k:

  • The rules say units can shoot, but the rules for making a Fall Back move says units can’t shoot after making such a move
  • Units can arrive as reinforcements, but the mission rules say units can’t arrive in the first turn. It takes drop pods a whole extra sentence specifically saying to ignore that rule to allow them to do so. This is a bit of a meta example because it’s a rule saying you can ignore another rules existence. In a rules arms race we could have a “can’t ignore the mission rules” rule.

There will be exceptions, as it’s still 40k after all.


How do you measure to objectives?


I’ve covered this in the past but it’s been a while since it was talked about. Especially in the context of terrain. Most missions prevent objectives from being within terrain pieces (though Chapter Approved: Tactical Deployment does allow this for area terrain features and hills), but that doesn’t mean you can’t have situations what models are within range of the objective whilst also within a piece of terrain. Being within an objective has this definition.

A model is in range of an objective marker if it is within 3″ horizontally and 5″ vertically of that objective marker.

This creates a cylindrical area around the objective. This area is not 6” wide though, it’s 6” plus the width of the objective which is recommended to be 40mm in the rule book.

Setting up larger Fliers


Ares Gunship
Ares Gunship

Q: Hey love the articles! I could really use some help on the rules for whether or not a Tyranid Harridan (or any large flier with shortest dimension >12″) can act turn 1 in a Dawn of War deployment in matched play. Because the model has a base and has no special rule to measure from the hull, coupled with the definition of ‘Wholly Within’ being ‘Base (or Hull)’ and a Designer’s Note allowing fliers with large overhangs/wings to overhang the edge of the deployment zone if base is Wholly Within the deployment zone, the consensus among Tyranid communities is that rules support acting turn 1, but I find TO/League organizers ruling otherwise and often inconsistenly. I’d much appreciate you and the team’s help in trying to settle this once and for all!

So we have a few rules on this to consider, firstly from the deployment step

If a model from your army is so large that it cannot physically be set up wholly within your deployment zone (i.e. the smallest dimension of that model is greater than the depth of your deployment zone), it must be set up so that it is touching your battlefield edge. In the first battle round, that model’s unit cannot do any of the following: make a Normal Move, Advance, Fall Back, attempt to manifest or deny psychic powers, make any attacks with ranged weapons, declare a charge, perform a Heroic Intervention, perform any actions or psychic actions. Models in such units count as having moved a distance in inches equal to their Move (M) characteristic in their first Movement phase. If the unit has a minimum Move characteristic, it counts as having moved its maximum Move characteristic.

and secondly from the Core Rules FAQ

DEPLOYING LARGE MODELS Some large models, typically Aircraft, have wings and other parts that extend significantly beyond their base, this can make it difficult for them to fit wholly within a mission’s deployment zone, and whilst the deployment sequences of mission packs clearly state that no part of the model can overhang the edge of the battlefield, the edge of your deployment zone is not mentioned. For clarity, such models can overhang a deployment zone if it is not possible to set them up otherwise (i.e. if it is not possible to set them up without them overhanging their deployment zone), but when setting them up on the battlefield their base must still be wholly within their deployment zone.

and just for completeness’ sake lets also look at the wholly within definition from the glossary.

If a rule says it affects models that are ‘wholly within’ then it only applies if every part of the model’s base (or hull) is within the specified distance

As wholly within is defined as fitting the base (or hull) within the specified distance then if the model has a base it this that must be wholly within. As such a Harridan can set up their base wholly within a 12″ deployment zone therefore the first rule from the deployment step does not apply. The unit can set up wholly within as it’s base fits and it doesn’t measure to it’s hull. The Deploying Large Models FAQ clarified that whilst there are rules forbidding models from overhanding the edges of the battlefield with any part, regardless of if they measure to base or hull there was no such rule or clarification regarding overhanging the edge of your deployment zone. If when setting up the Harridan it’s not possible to deploy the model without a wing or tail crossing the deployment zone edge, then you are allowed to cross the line. The model’s base must still be wholly within deployment though.

Movement Phase

Moving near models with parts sticking out.


Q: How do I handle intersecting models when a model has a hover base? I was attempting to move into a position to get a wrap on a Starweaver, and my opponent informed me that, since my one DC jump pack marines had part of his base under the wing of his Starweaver, I could not move to the position I wanted. I know the rules section concerning moving through/over models states that you cannot finish a move on top of another model or its base, but what about under a part of the model that isn’t the hull and isn’t the model’s flying stand? Wouldn’t that mean that moving around an actual plane would force me to move around the entire model’s “footprint” rather than just its base?

This issue is super messy and complex to be honest. It’s one that I think everyone should check pregame because we all make a set of assumptions about it and I think most players are inadvertently inconsistent about it. In a way that is really just an application of common sense in what is arguably a slight gap in the rules, where “on top of” is poorly defined. For instance this Aircraft is outside of the battlefield edge as most players would agree but this Aircraft hasn’t ended the move on top of other models, or has it? I reckon the groups that agree on both situations would share a lot of players. It’s a bit of contradiction that most players are okay with, that the first diagram does show a model that has crossed the battlefield edge but the second diagram doesn’t count as being on top of those other models. Personally whilst I think your opponent was arguably technically correct, applying that interpretation has too many other issues. I think the consensus is that overhanding bits only obstruct movement physically, like you can’t claim a model has ended a move phased into a gun or wing. With that said, it’s not clear from your question if instead of ending the move under a wing your opponent was talking about not being able to move through such a part. For instance this Daemon can’t simply phase through the front wing of a Devilfish for a few different reasons.

Can units that have disembarked from a transport that moved, move?


Yes. The current flavour of the month for this question is Trukk Boys, which I covered a some time ago but I’ve had several people ask it since so felt it worth mentioning. The short reasoning is that while embarked, units count as making the move the transport they are in this only applies to units that “are embarked” in the present tense. If a unit stops being embarked they stop counting as having made the same move as the transport they disembarked from.

Make no Advance Roll vs Advance Roll Modifiers


Q: How do effects that add x to advance rolls interact with rules that allow you to automatically advance a distance? For example, Metallica has a stratagem which says, “Do not make an Advance roll. Instead, until the end of the phase, add 6″ to the Move characteristic of that unit.” Am I correct in thinking that this would mean that it would not stack with buffs to the advance roll, such as the Magi buff of +2 to advance rolls?

Yes, I think I agree with your on this one – if you don’t make an an Advance roll then these is no roll to which you can add 2″. I think this might partially be why these abilities don’t just give you an Advance roll result but instead modify the unit’s Movement characteristic. There are however some newer abilities such as the Solar Watch fighting style that adds 1″ to Advance and Charge rolls or adds 7″ to a units movement characteristic if they have the Implaceable Vanguard ability rather than the normal 6″ that ability provides.

Hierophant and Sareptek Heavy Constructs Moving around Terrain


As sold, neither of these models comes with a base… mostly because they are what we’d describe in technical terms as “fucking massive.” However, they do both have a rule that gives them an “imaginary base”.

Designer’s Note: If this model does not have a base, before deploying this model, both players must agree the footprint of this models ‘base’ in the same way they would for an Area Terrain feature. We suggest that an imaginary straight line should be drawn from each point on this model which would touch the battlefield when it is placed on a flat surface. The area within these lines should be considered to be this model’s ‘base’.

If the model has been posed with one or more of its legs raised, agree with your opponent the point where that leg would touch the battlefield, and use this to advise the shape of the models ‘base’.

Which poses the question about how these models move around terrain. To which the answer is, frustratingly, “awkwardly.” The note gives them a base and bases can’t intersect through terrain so neither can imaginary ones. This would prevent a Hierophant from standing with legs on either side of a short wall and does significantly limit their movement on the usual battlefield. It wouldn’t be the first model that is basically incompatible with a typical 2,000-point game at the moment; Fortifications are basically undeployable as well. Sorry if this bursts too many Crusher Stampede dreams, but you’ve got other, more deployable options.

Breachable trait and moving through Walls


Q: If an infantry with a large base passes through a breachable wall but doesn’t make it all the way through. Would he lose movement before the wall or be placed to the side but having both players understand that he is in between?

The short answer is that if they don’t have enough movement to reach the other side entirely or there’s not space on the other side, then they can’t move to that location. They would move up to the wall and then stop, that is their actual location. The more detailed answer is that fundamentally models can’t end moves partially through walls in Warhammer 40k.  There’s no rule that specifically says this but that doesn’t mean that something is allowed in this game, there’s no rule against putting a model on it’s side but that’s still not allowed. In a permissive ruleset like 40k you can only do the things the rules say you can do, everything not specifically allowed is not allowed. There are however guidance notes in the core rules however that add specific clarification about this.

Hints and Tips – Wobbly Models Sometimes you may find that a particular terrain feature makes it hard for you to place a model exactly where you want. If you delicately balance a model in place, it is very likely to fall as soon as someone nudges the table, leaving your painted model damaged or even broken. In cases like this, provided it is still physically possible to place the model in the desired location, you may find it helps to leave a model in a safer position, so long as both players agree and know its ‘actual’ location. If, later on, an enemy model is shooting the model, you will have to hold it back in place so they can check visibility

So whilst you can place models in positions where it’s hard to get them to balance and then decide to put the model in a safer location to avoid damage if it falls, this hint/tip is pretty clear that models must be placed where it’s physically possible to place them. This does lead to situations where the gap is insufficient for a model to move through into engagement range for instance during a charge.

Move through enemy model abilities and ignored Engagement Range


These abilities on release did seem to be missing the specific ability to ignore Engagement Range movement limitations when 9th first debuted. I even wrote about this in the first few weeks of 9th because similarly the ability to move within Engagement Range of none targets when making a Charge Move with a unit that can Fly also seemed to be missing. Considering how specific it’s inclusion in the movement phase Fly rules were, I actually thought this was deliberate at the time. It made things like Flip belts and the Wraith Form abilities more distinct from flight as well as, mostly allowing them to move through friendlies and be generally immune to being locked in combat. However despite there being arguably some nuance and upsides to this (in my opinion) it was 100% confusing and just felt generally too subtle. Plus having this debate was generally just not fun mid game. And it was FAQed, they added a whole new Rare Rule for it in fact.

MOVING THROUGH MODELS Some models have a rule that enables them to ‘move through/over models’, or ‘move through/over models as if they were not there’. Sometimes such a rule will only apply to specific types of movement (e.g. Normal Moves, Advance moves, charge moves etc.) while other times it will apply to all types of movement. In any case, when moving a model with such a rule, it can be moved within Engagement Range of enemy models, but it can never finish a move on top of another model, or its base, and it cannot finish a Normal Move, Advance or Fall Back move within Engagement Range of any enemy models, and it can only end a charge move in Engagement Range of units it declared a charge against that phase). [Core Rules FAQ Pg3]

Which makes it clear that you can move within Engagement Range of models you are otherwise able to move over or through, as long as you don’t end your move there. This also affects Charge Moves using Fly as well.  

Moving near a Defence Line Terrain feature


Q: As defence line only extends ‘fight’ range and not engagement range, can a unit move to within 2″ of a unit behind a defence line terrain feature to fight a unit across from it? 

Yes this is allowed, I think. The defence line rules specifically changes eligibility to fight, however there is one potentially unclear part.

If an enemy is within 1″ of this terrain feature, you can still make a charge move against is so long as the charging unit ends it’s charge move touching that terrain feature and is within 2″ of the target unit. Units are eligible to fight, and models can make attacks with melee weapons, if their target is on the opposite side of this terrain feature and within 2″.

It’s not clear from the rule is the “their target” is the target of the melee attacks or if it was the “their target” from the charge phase. I think it’s the former, and allows fighting over these terrain features to happen without a charge. It would be nice to have FAQ that says for sure that this is correct though. There are a few odd interactions that can occur around these terrain pieces, especially if there’s not room or a route to actually pile in. Movement – Can I place a model where it doesn’t physically fit?


There have been arguments that the rules support an interpretation that so long as the base of a model fits somewhere, you can count the model as being there. These interpretations claim that the measurement rules for bases models justify a stance that only the base counts for all rules. This is a pretty broad read of the measurement rules though.

Distances are measured in inches (“) between the closest points of the bases of the models you’re measuring to and from. If a model does not have a base, such as is the case with many vehicles, measure to the closest point of any part of that model; this is called measuring to the model’s hull. You can measure distances whenever you wish.

This section does not cover how models interact with terrain, it’s just about where to measure to. The Terrain movement rules are pretty clear that models can’t move through terrain (breachable being an exception here).

When a model makes any kind of move, it can be moved over a terrain feature but not through it (so models can’t move through a wall, but can climb up or over it).

A model is not just a base – bases are part of a model. The next argument hinges on the Wobbly Model Hint/Tip, arguing that it supports placing models in places they can’t fit. I disagree, here’s the whole wording of that section.

Hints and Tips – Wobbly Models Sometimes you may find that a particular terrain feature makes it hard for you to place a model exactly where you want[1]. If you delicately balance a model in place, it is very likely to fall as soon as someone nudges the table, leaving your painted model damaged or even broken. In cases like this, provided it is still physically possible to place the model in the desired location[2], you may find it helps to leave a model in a safer position, so long as both players agree and know its ‘actual’ location. If, later on, an enemy model is shooting the model, you will have to hold it back in place so they can check visibility[3].

Emphasis mine but I think these three parts combined prevent Wobbly Model from supporting a stance where models can clip through walls, floors or anything else. 1: Something being hard to do is an understatement if it’s physically impossible. 2: If you need to clip a wing through a floor or wall to put the model where you want it, then it’s not physically possible. 3: You need to be able to hold the model in the actual location for Line of Sight checks The examples used vary, some even seem reasonable, things like Winged Hive Tyrants. These arguments tend to avoid discussing the more problematic examples like an Imperial Knight suddenly being able to pass through the upper floors of a building. One thing I will note though, is that pregame discussion on the gaps models can fit through is something I will always recommend. Absolutely letter of the rules the gap needs to be wide enough to accommodate the model entirely, not just the base. So a tall model might not be able to fit under a low bridge for instance. I know plenty of players that let models pass through gaps that their bases would let them pass through, this would technically be a house rule though. It is however one that I I’ve used frequently in casual games to avoid too much fiddling with an otherwise good table layout to give models reasonable freedom to move around. There are always going to be pros and cons to being big, being easier to spot and having more limited movement options are some of the cons that counter balance the higher toughness and wounds big models usually have.

Reinforcements / Reserves and Adding Models

Reinforcements in Detachments


Q: Do units starting the battle set up somewhere else other than on the battlefield (e.g. Terminators, Inceptors) lose their detachment abilities, because they count as reinforcements, and are therefore not part of any detachment? This seems to be what the rules say, but when I suggested this on a forum, people were pretty unhappy about it! Thanks – Daniel Wright

If you want to include a unit of Terminators in your army they should fill the appropriate Elite slot in one of your detachments, and they are still considered part of that detachment if you set them up off the battlefield to teleport in later. So they do get any detachment abilities the other units would. I asked around here at Goonhammer HQ to try and find where this confusion might be originating and we found this section.

REINFORCEMENT UNIT If a unit is ever added to a Battle-forged army during the battle, it is never considered part of a Detachment. This means that it never costs CPs to include them in your army but they will never benefit from any Detachment abilities. [Core Book Pg246]

So first things first this is not referring to all reinforcements, units like Terminators or Inceptors. It’s talking just about units you add to your army mid battle. These are units that were not part of your roster but you instead kept reinforcement points for to use mid battle. The two main examples of this that I can think of are Summoning Daemons, and spawning a new unit which armies like the Tyranids can. Those units would not have any detachment abilities. So if your Tervigon spawned a new unit of Gaunts, they would not have any of the abilities their hive fleet provides for being battle-forged. They would still have the <Hive Fleet> keywords for stratagems and auras though.

Reinforcements in Round 1


Q: Been reading and re-reading…Can I play reinforcements that are not strategic reserves(SR) in turn 1?  In the strategic reserves page stated that SR cannot deploy turn 1. It also states that other units with rules for reinforcements don’t follow “the following” SR rules – Txousman

Rules that used to have names! In Matched Play missions you can only bring in Reinforcements units in Turns 2 and 3. Units in reserve that are not deployed by the end of round 3 are considered destroyed. This is detailed in Declare Reserves and Transports of the game on pages 281 and 282 of the BRB). I really do recommend people give these steps a good read because there’s a few things in there that even the most experienced player will get wrong. For instance when you declare reserves and transports, you actually note down what will be in reserves (via whatever methods be it ability or strategic reserves) in secret. You reveal your choices at the end of the step before deployment begins. It’s not a massive thing, but it’s something I’d not noticed until recently. Note: Open Play allows reinforcements to enter during any turn, but any not deployed before the end are considered destroyed. Crusade missions vary slightly in that normal reinforcements are turns 2 and 3 only, but units in Strategic Reserves can come in during Turn 1 as well.

Psychic Phase

Psykers and Engagement Range


You are in close combat with your psyker, can you resolve psychic abilities?
You are not in close combat with your psyker, but can that psyker use psychic abilities on enemy units stuck in close combat with your units? – Odin S

Psykers can act normally whilst within Engagement Range and can select units within Engagement Range of friendly models as targets for their abilities, unless an ability itself says otherwise.

Start your Psychic phase by selecting one eligible Psyker unit from your army that is on the battlefield. Psyker units that Fell Back this turn (other than Titanic units) are not eligible. If you have no eligible Psyker units from your army on the battlefield, and no other rules that need to be resolved in the Psychic phase, the Psychic phase ends

The conditions for being eligible are that the Psyker isn’t currently performing a Psychic Action, and that the Psyker did not Fall Back. Outside of those limits though a Psyker within Engagement Range is free to act as normal, there are definitely some abilities that are best not use in these situations though, such as Vortex of Doom below.

Vortex of Doom has a warp charge value of 8. If manifested, a vortex opens above the nearest visible enemy model within 12″ of the psyker. That model’s unit, and every other unit within 3″ of that model suffers D3 mortal wounds. The number of mortal wounds inflicted is increased to D6 if the power is manifested with a Psychic test of 12+.

As you can see, this would be a bad idea. I think everyone involved would agree that this Psyker would have better served the imperium powering the astronomicon for a few milliseconds. I hope that helps.

Smite – what if the closest target isn’t visible?


Q: Smites wording in 8th was “If manifested, the closest visible enemy unit within 18″ of the psyker suffers d3 mortal wounds….” and in 9th, the wording is now, “If manifested, the closest enemy unit within 18″ of and visible to the psyker suffers d3 mortal wounds…” It was argued that the wording change means smite can no longer snipe targets because of placement. If an enemy unit is closer, but the psyker cannot see them, no other unit would meet the requirements for smite targeting as it now has to be the closest enemy unit to the psyker AND visible. Did smite actually change or is my group reading into to this too much? – Michael

Short answer, yes they’re reading into it too much. The result of both these sentences is the same target limitations. Essentially both sentences aren’t asking for the closest enemy unit out of all enemy units. They are both asking for the closest enemy unit out of the subset of units that are both within 18” of the Psyker and visible to the Psyker. So the power entirely ignores the non-visible units in much the same way as it ignores units more than 18” away.

Psychic Action denial vs Psychic Power Denial


A rare rule established that denying a Psychic Action does use up a Power denial because they are treated as manifesting a power, and that would use up a denial.

While psychic actions are not psychic powers, they function in much the same way. For all purposes, when a unit attempts a psychic action, this is treated the same as if they were attempting to manifest a psychic power, and it triggers any rules that interact with manifesting a psychic power (e.g. rules that enable you to deny a psychic power can also be used to deny a psychic action). Note that a Psyker can still only attempt to perform one psychic action in their Psychic phase instead of attempting to manifest any other psychic powers. Note, however, that the range of psychic actions is never modified by any such rules.

Shooting Phase


When shooting, do you have to measure to the visible part of a model?

No. This comes up when you’ve got line of sight on some part of the model, but the part that you can see is out of your range, while the front of the model is still within range, but hidden behind some terrain feature. While you do have to measure range to the visible models in a unit, the measurement to said models is always the minimum distance.

Distances are measured in inches (“) between the closest points of the bases of the models you’re measuring to and from. If a model does not have a base, such as is the case with many vehicles, measure to the closest point of any part of that model; this is called measuring to the model’s hull. You can measure distances whenever you wish.

This can have some slightly odd impact though when you swap between units of multiple models and units with singular larger models, especially because of how you check for if a unit is within range of a particular models weapons.

Only enemy units can be chosen as the target for an attack. In order to target an enemy unit, at least one model in that unit must be within range (i.e. within the distance of the Range characteristic) of the weapon being used and be visible to the shooting model.

As the model you check range to has to be visible as well. Lets look at some examples of how this plays out.

Does the benefit of Dense Cover stack with the new rules for shooting at targets out of line of sight (the Indirect Fire Rule)?


Yes. Dense Cover is a modifier to the hit dice roll.

…then subtract 1 from the hit roll when resolving an attack with a ranged weapon unless…

However the new Indirect Fire Rule is a modifier to Ballistic Skill.

…then each time an attack is made with that weapon against that target this phase, worsen the Ballistic Skill characteristic of that attack by 1 and add 1 to any armour saving throws made against that attack.

As such this avoids the usual cap on hit roll modifiers because one of them isn’t a modifier. If your unit has BS3+ and is affected by both rules then you will need to roll 5+ for a successful hit.

Incidentally there is no cap on Save Roll modifiers, just Hit and Wound rolls. So the +1 to saves from this rule can stack with Light Cover, should the target happen to have that benefit as well (usually from a different terrain piece to Dense Cover).

Can non-Infantry, Beast and Swarm benefit from Dense Cover?


Q: Do vehicles, monsters, and titanic units receive the benefits of dense cover? I don’t think they do based on the keywords associated with terrain. Namely, Area Terrain. Based on the examples given in the Nachmund book of common pieces of terrain that have the dense cover rule, forests and Mechanicus walkways have the Area Terrain keyword. The phrasing of that keyword states that Infantry, Beast, and Swarm models receive the benefit of Area Terrain. Doesn’t the “-1 to be hit” penalty qualify as a benefit of terrain along with +1 to saves for light cover and defensible bonuses?

Yes. You’re not alone on being confused by this rule recently, I’ve definitely seen a recent uptick in people asking about this in the communities I frequent. Every unit in the game can benefit from Dense Cover, regardless of what Area Cover says. This is because the benefit of Dense Cover is not provided by being within the area but via a different means entirely.

If this terrain feature is at least 3″ in height, then subtract 1 from the hit roll when resolve an attack with a range weapon unless you can draw straight lines, 1mm in thickness, to every part of at least one model’s base [or hull] in the target unit from a single point on the attack model’s base [or hull] without any of those lines passing over or through any part of any terrain feature with this trait.

It’s all about if you can draw lines to the model’s base or hull that don’t cross the terrain.

Unlike rules such as Light Cover which are just an explanation of what the benefit of cover is for a piece of terrain rather than also including how that benefit is gained. I have more detail on Dense Cover in the Ruleshammer Terrain guide, and even more detail on how very confusing it could be if played Rules As Written in this article on Warhammer 40k Acessibility.

Multiple exploding weapons in a multi model unit, where do the mortals go?


Q: “In the new Astra Militarum 9th Edition Codex, the Scout/Armoured Sentinel has been given an entirely unique new plasma cannon that’s slightly different, in that it only does “bearer takes one mortal wound.” The issue that arises is that Sentinels can be taken in groups of up to three. In normal circumstances, as in the case of Tau weapons that do one mortal wound, it states “the bearer’s unit takes one mortal wound”. However in this instance it does not say “unit” it simply says “bearer”. Does that mean that the Plasma Cannon on the Sentinels needs an FAQ, as they apply mortal wounds to individual sentinels despite being in a unit. If that’s the case, you could have three sentinels, all wounded at different degrees, which makes wound allocation a nightmare.” – Nathan Layhe

GW messed up on this one. That’s really the answer here, the rule absolutely should be “bearer’s unit” as without that word the wound allocation rules for this unit do just break down and every other time this has occurred they have changed the rules to make it work this way. Though oddly enough the Tau weapons you referred to have actually all changed since their 8th edition codex to do as many mortal wounds as they roll 1s now, rather than just 1 mortal max per weapon.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Play the rule as if it did say “bearer’s unit” it will likely change to this in the future anyway and without doing so wound allocation doesn’t function correctly.

How do D6+X shot weapons interact with Blast?


“How does Blast rule interact with weapon like Leman Russ battle cannon when firing at unit consist of 6-10 models since RAW stated that if the result of the roll are lower than 3 attacks it would make 3 attacks instead in this case the roll of 1+3 or 2+3 would be higher than 3, or it would replace D6 part to be 3 and resolve at D3+3 attacks?” – Bloodwing

Blast does nothing for D6+3 shot weapons. You’ve slightly misread the rule unfortunately. The Blast rule when targeting a unit of 6 to 10 models does not restrict the minimum result of the roll to 3, it makes the minimum number of attacks 3. The example in the rule is a little misleading.

If a Blast weapon targets a unit that has between 6 and 10 models, it always makes a minimum of 3 attacks. So if, when determining how many attacks are made with that weapon, the dice rolled results in less than 3 attacks being made, make 3 attacks instead. For example, if a Grenade D6 weapon with the Blast rule targets a unit that has 6 or more models, and you roll a 2 to determine how many attacks are made, that roll is counted as being a 3 and that weapon makes three attacks against that unit.

While the example for the grenade does mention the roll, that is because only a the roll was relevant. There’s a further Rare Rule about Blast weapons that makes it clear that the roll is not set a minimum of 3, just the attacks.

In addition to the errata here, we wanted to briefly add an additional example to explain how the Blast rule works when shooting a weapon that requires more than one dice roll to determine its number of attacks. For example, if a Heavy 2D3 weapon with the Blast rule targets a unit that has 6 or more models, and you roll a double 1 to determine how many attacks are made, that result is less than 3 and so that weapon makes 3 attacks against that target. If the same weapon targets a unit that has 11 or more models, that weapon makes six attacks against that unit.

In the case of the Leman Russ Battle cannon with D6+3 shots, any roll of the D6 is going to give you at least 4 attacks which is higher than the minimum of 3 attacks Blast provides. Meaning Blast will only benefit this weapon if the target has 11 or more models where it will instead provide the maximum number of shots the weapon can make. In this case 9.

Can I get Additional Hits or Attacks with one-shot weapons?


Yes. While there are weapons that say they can only be used once the wording is uses quite specific language.

The bearer can only shoot with each hunter-killer missile it is equipped with once per battle.

Terminology is key here and “To Shoot” is slightly different to making attacks. Shooting is picking a weapon, picking targets, and resolving the weapons attacks. Most if not all such weapons do usually only make one attack having types such as “Heavy 1” but when using an exploding hit or extra attack rule the weapon is not “shooting” again. It’s just getting another hit or attack, in the same way as if the weapon was Heavy 2.

Do multiple pieces of obscuring terrain block Line of Sight to 18+ wound models?


No. Multiple pieces of area terrain with won’t block targeting an 18+ wound model with the Obscuring rule alone. The Obscuring rule prevents models under 18 wounds that aren’t AIRCRAFT from being seen through the gaps in a terrain piece, the windows, doors and bits of missing wall:

Models that are on or within terrain feature can see, and can be seen and targeted normally. AIRCRAFT models, and models with a Wounds (W) characteristic of 18 or more, are visible and can be targeted even if this terrain feature is in-between it and the firing model (note that the reverse is not true).

For models with 18+ wounds or that are AIRCRAFT though, these models can be targeted normally. Which means that if you want to avoid being shot you need to be fully out of line of sight, which if the terrain has any significant windows will be tricky (not to mention the big honking wings on the models). This is the reason that a significant proportion of events make use of some terrain with large, opaque walls. Early in 9th edition there was some confusion on whether the “are visible and can be targeted” part of the rule meant that these models were just always visible regardless of line of sight; understandably so because it says they “are visible”. However this was addressed with some designers commentary in the first round of FAQs:

Obscuring and Dense Cover are two terrain traits introduced with ninth edition that interact with visibility. These rules do not overwrite the normal rules for determining visibility, though – they are in addition to them. Specifically, even though the Obscuring rules state that AIRCRAFT and models with a Wounds characteristic of 18+ can be seen through Obscuring terrain, they are still only visible (and hence eligible) targets if the firing model can physically see them (so if the terrain in question is solid and opaque, they are still not eligible targets).

This clarifies that units with 18+ wounds and AIRCRAFT “are visible” only if the model can be seen using the usual Line of Sight checks. Having multiple pieces of terrain in the way may make it more likely that a model won’t be able to draw line of sight to your daemon primarch, but just having two pieces isn’t enough.

Re-rolls, do I need to slow roll when I might use one?


Q: When using an ability that allows you to reroll a single die per turn, such as the Pinpoint Cruelty dread household, do you need to slow roll all of the dice if you want to be able to reroll one of them, or can you just roll all the dice at once and then pick one of them to reroll after you’ve seen all of them? This has some layers, first the ability you mentioned;

When a model with this bond fires Overwatch or is chosen to shoot or fight with, you can re-roll a single dice when determining damage as a result of those attacks.

So this is an odd one because whilst this ability is worded in such a way that it arguably allows for a re-roll after you have seen all the dice, the characteristic it allows a re-roll of can’t be fast rolled. To fast roll attacks all the weapons require the same damage characteristic, which a set weapons with random damage don’t have. I covered the Fast Rolling rules in more detail here but here’s the relevant section.

Fast Rolling Dice The rules for making attacks (pg220) have been written assuming you will resolve them one at a time. However, it is possible to speed up your battlers by rolling the dice for similar attacks together. In order to make several attacks at once, all of the attacks must have the same Ballistic Skill (if a shooting attack) or the same Weapon Skill (if a close combat attack). They must also have the same Strength and Armour Penetration characteristics, they must inflict the same damage, they must be affected by the same abilities, and they must be directed at the same unit. If this is the case, make all of the hit rolls at the same time, then all the wound rolls. Your opponent can then allocate the attack one at a time, making saving throws and suffering damage each time as appropriate. Remember, if the target unit has a model that has already lost any wounds or already had an attack allocated to it this phase, they must allocate further attacks to that model until either is is destroyed, or all the attacks have been saved or resolved. [BRB Only (for some fucking reason) Page 221]

There are abilities and stratagems that technically require slow rolling to be used as they are worded, in fact most do.

Command Re-Roll Use this Stratagem after you have made a hit roll, a wound roll, a damage roll, a saving throw, an Advance roll, a charge roll, a Psychic test, a Deny the Witch test or you have rolled the dice to determine the number of attacks made by a weapon. Re-roll that roll, test or saving throw.

Even the Command Re-roll Stratagem technically requires you to slow roll the dice because it can actually only be used to re-roll the last dice roll you just made. In practice this would slow the game down a lot so most people are fine with allowing its use with fast rolls. Just remember that if you might use the strat and your opponent asks you to slow roll, you really should, especially if you might use it to re-roll a saving throw (which aren’t technically allowed to be fast rolled).

When does determining which models can Rapid Fire happen?


Q: Rapid fire shooting – Double the amount of shots if the unit is within half range of the selected models. When you fire, you can select units in range eligible to fire at. If the closest model of a unit is the only model within half range but is obscured, are you still able to rapid fire at the unit? – Rafael Range and Line of Sight is measured per individual model, so if only one model is within Rapid fire range then only that model can fire it’s weapon twice.

In order to target an enemy unit, at least one model in that unit must be within range (i.e. within the distance of the Range characteristic) of the weapon being used and be visible to the shooting model.

Rapid fire uses the following wording:

When a model shoots a Rapid Fire weapon, double the number of attacks it makes if its target is within half the weapon’s range.

The target of an attack needs to be visible and be in range, and Rapid Fire keys off the selected target on a per-model basis. Therefore, the closest model in the target unit that each of your models can see determines whether they can Rapid Fire on a model by model basis.

Attackers Priority for Always Hit/Wound on X+ abilties


Q: Kharn’s weapon reads “This weapon always hits on a 2+, regardless of any modifiers”. The Armour of Shadows Raven Guard Relic reads “…when resolving an attack against this a model from your army with this Relic, an unmodified hit roll of 1, 2, or 3 always fails” If Kharn is fighting a unit with this Relic, what happens when Kharn attacks? I interpreted the ‘Always hits’ and ‘regardless of any modifiers’ portions of the Gorechild rule meaning that it would ignore the Armour of Shadows, but it’s not clear to me this is correct.  – Wes Okay so there’s a rare rule for this situation as well.

Attackers Priority While resolving attacks, you’ll occasionally find that two rules cannot both apply – for example, when an attacking model with an ability that enable it to always score a successful hit on a 2+ targets a model that has an ability that states it can only be hit on a 6+, When this happens, the attacking model’s rules take precedence.- [GT2020 pg90]

So for your specific example it is correct to play it as the 2+ rule would work and ignore the effects of the Raven Guard Relic. Really cannot emphasise enough how many rules issues are resolved by the Rare Rules section, it’s a great addition to the tools Games Workshop have to deal with these challenges as they arise. Just be aware that it’s easy to think this rule applies more often than it actually does, as discussed it would not apply to conflicting positive and negative modifiers because that interaction can be worked out applying the normal rules. The Rare Rule is for situations where, once you’ve applied all the rules, the end result is that you’re still being told to do two contradictory things, so you need to remove one of them for the game to be able to proceed. There’s also abilities that overule this such as Transhuman Physiology

Use this Stratagem in any phase, when a PRIMARIS unit from your army is selected as the target of an attack. Until the end of the phase, each time an attack is made against that unit, an unmodified wound roll of 1-3 for that attack fails, irrespective of any abilities that the weapon or the model making the attack may have. If that unit contains 5 or fewer models, this Stratagem costs 1CP; otherwise, it costs 2CP.

This extra line resolves the conflict that the abilities would otherwise have, so we end up back in a situation where there is no ambiguity over which ability wins.

Do Modifiers ever trigger Attacker’s Priority?


Q: You have a stratagems to add pluses to hits and wounds and your opponent has stratagems to nullify pluses to hits and wounds. Which one takes precedence? Also consider one a vis one vs two stacked pluses modifier stratagems against the single nullify pluses stratagem.- Noel Rivera

Okay there’s a few different things to be clear on here. If the stratagems being use are just more modifiers. The end result is just normal arithmetic with the result being rounded to +1 or -1 as appropriate. The old FAQ for the Tau 8th edition Ghostkeel is a good example of this.

Q: When an enemy model makes a ranged attack against a XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit unit, its Ghostkeel Electrowarfare Suite applies a -1 modifier to the hit roll. If that unit is within 3″ of a friendly MV5 Stealth Drones unit, the drones’ Stealth Field ability applies a further -1 modifier to the hit roll. Given that hit rolls cannot be modified by more than -1 or +1, and combined these abilities result in a -2 modifier, how does this work? A: While hit rolls and wounds rolls cannot be modified by more than -1 or +1, this limit takes effect after all applicable modifiers have been applied, some of which may cancel each other out.

So if a unit with a +1 to hit modifier shoots at a Ghostkeel, then it’s -2 modifier would still have a net result of -1. If a model with no modifiers to their hit rolls shot at the Ghostkeel it would still only have a -1 to hit applied because of the limit. However if the stratagem instead prevents a unit from being modified, this could for instance prevent an enemy having a +1 or prevent one of your own units being affected by a -1. Then there’s no actual conflict between these rules. If the enemy used a stratagem to give their unit a +1 and then you used a stratagem to prevent that unit being affected by modifiers. The result would be the unit can’t use the modifier. There is a rare rule for when rules do actually conflict though. The main example of these rules are one that always hit or always wound on a certain dice roll, facing an ability that says they can only be hit or wounded on certain rolls themselves. If the rules genuinely conflict in this way, then in most cases the Attackers Priortiy Rare Rule explains how to resolve them.

What do reduce AP abilities do to AP0?


At first this was unclear, as the main rules text don’t establish that AP0 is a “low” as AP can go. However the glossary does cover this.

Reducing an AP Characteristic: When reducing an AP Characteristic, add the appropriate amount to the characteristic, to a maximum of 0. For example reducing an AP of AP-1 by 1 would in AP 0; reducing an AP of AP0 by 1 would in AP 0;

Shooting through other units


Q: Is it possible to shoot through a Melee to hit a target behind the Melee? 

I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to widen this question out a little to cover shooting through other units in general, as well as a model shooting through its own unit. Line of Sight doesn’t have a massive amount of rules explanation dedicated to it, in fact this is the entire section.

Only enemy units can be chosen as the target for an attack. In order to target an enemy unit, at least one model in that unit must be within range (i.e. within the distance of the Range characteristic) of the weapon being used and be visible to the shooting model. If unsure, get a look from behind the firing model to see if any part of the target is visible. For the purposes of determining visibility, a model can see through other models in its unit. If there are no eligible targets for a weapon then that weapon cannot shoot. If this is the case for all of a unit’s ranged weapons, then that unit is not eligible to shoot with. – [Core PDF Pg15]

This actually answers part of our question pretty quickly though. Models always ignore other models in their own unit for checking visibility. This doesn’t mean they ignore other units though, friendly or not. You need to resolve this on a case by case basis. I want to pay specific attention though to this part.

get a look from behind the firing model to see if any part of the target is visible

Line of sight is not a check from the head (or other sight organ storing appendage) of the firing model to its target. It is if any part of the target enemy unit visible when you take a look from behind your unit. What’s important for fair and even play here is that both parties agree parts count when visible to the enemy, this has varied from edition to edition so it’s not always safe to assume both players share the same definition of “any part”. Bases are one example. I, for instance count the base of a model and any flying stems, I do this because “models have bases” in the same way in the rules that they have arms, legs, heads, wings, or a hull. A base is part of a model, though I grant that this is at least partially an interpretation. I favour it because honestly as a Tau player it is otherwise too easy for me to hide Tau Drones behind other floating things. Personally I feel this treats them too much like static statues than flying machines moving around scanning for threats, counting the base is a level of abstraction that levels the playing field. Some players also tend to exclude things like antenna, or make a “common sense” ruling when the only visible part of an entire unit is a tiny slither of leg or wing. I would let a dice decide in these cases if both players disagree (if you disagree for more than 30 seconds I’d always suggest using a dice, then get back to having fun having let change decide). However, note that for tournaments the overwhelming majority play “any part of the model” strictly rules as written to avoid any ambiguity, so all parts are assumed as fair game including extras like antenna etc.  Editor’s Note: In addition to that, some large events have actively ruled that the base of a model doesn’t count for Line of Sight purposes in the past. It’s relatively unusual for you to be able to see a model’s base but not the model itself, but do check your event packs carefully just in case it comes up. With this agreement we can look at some examples for models that are visible and that aren’t. Generally it’s agreed that unless the unit is really super dense it’s unlikely most units of Infantry to fully block LoS, so it’s generally accepted that you can shoot through them, to an extent. This will vary depending on several factors such as the height of the models, their facing and the sheer number of models you are attempting to shoot through.

Shoot Again


There’s a Rare rule for shoot again abilities that clears it up.

Some rules allow units (or sometimes models or weapons) to shoot again in the Shooting phase, or about (as if it were the Shooting Phase”, Such rules cannot be used on a unit unless it is eligible to shoot at the time when that rule is used. When a unit shoots again, any models in that unit that have already shot with any of the weapons they are equipped with earlier in that phase can shoot with those weapons one additional time.  When a model shoots again, that model can shoot any weapon it is equipped with that it has already shot with earlier in that phase one additional time. When a model can shoot with a specific weapon again, that model can shoot with it one additional time if it has already shot with it earlier that phase. If a rule allows a unit, model or weapons to shoot again, then it must completely resolve its first shooting attacks before resolving the second. This can be at a different target. If a rule is used to make a unit shoot again at the end of the Shooting Phase, that phase does not end until after all these rules have been resolved. – [GT2020 Pg89]

Few things to unpack here. First what is shooting? Shooting is going through all of the steps of the shooting phase, from picking a unit through to removing enemy models. This means that shooting again also means checking for LoS and Range again. A lot of these rules require units to pick the same target twice, but for the second round of shooting the target unit could be out of range or out of sight once casualties from the first round are removed.   This wasn’t ever really explained in 8th – maybe it was meant to be like this all the time but we do at least now have some clarification now. It also helps to make these abilities distinct from the weapon just having more shots. It also means that if there is any chance of targeting criteria (including the effect of Blast) changing after the first round of shooting, you need to resolve them separately.

EDIT: There is something that remains unclear about the shoot gain rare rule, some argue that it doesn’t cover shoot twice abilities though I do disagree. The more ambiguous aspect is whether shooting twice counts as “activating the unit” a second time. Personally I lean towards the answer being no, as most of the “shoot twice” abilities have you resolve the second set of attacks immediately after the first set, so you don’t actually activate the unit again. The majority of “shoot again” abilities though, are a second activation of the unit and would benefit from any rules that apply (such as getting re-roll a single hit for a trait or ability). 9th does not make any distinction I’ve been able to find for how to resolve these attacks though, both shoot twice and shoot again follow all the shooting steps including picking targets (though often from a limited set of one), checking Range and Checking Line of Sight.

“Re-roll a hit roll of 1”, is this a single attack or all my attacks?


Q: With the new wording on the auras of captains and lieutenants does the aura function as it did in 8th edition or has it changed to allow you to re-roll just one dice per model?

It’s every dice for those attacks. To understand why lets look at the wording for some new Space Marine auras.

While a friendly <CHAPTER> CORE unit is within 6″ of this model, each time a model in that unit makes an attack, re-roll a hit roll of 1. [SM Codex 2020 Pg129]

Space Marines are not unique here, Games Workshop started to make efforts to alter the wording of these abilities some time before the end of 8th. I have highlighted the important par though, this ability is triggered each time a model makes an attack. If the model is making several attacks then it will trigger several times. So you can re-roll all the 1s the unit rolls to hit. I think these changes were made to better align them with how the rules instruct attacks to be resolved one at a time, fast rolling only when it doesn’t change the possible outcomes.

Ignoring different cover types: What wording is necessary?


This recently came up during a game and I thought it worth going over again. Some abilities ignore specific types of cover, and some ignore all 3 types: Light, Heavy, and Dense. How to determine between what cover is ignored is covered by the Ignoring Cover Rare rule, though as time goes on more abilities will use the actual cover type terms rather than rely on this approach.

If a rule says that the target ‘does not receive the benefit of cover to its saving throw’, then, when resolving an attack with that rule, the models in the target unit ignore all benefits received from terrain traits that improve its saving throw (e.g. Light Cover, Heavy Cover).

So for instance the Tau Smart Missile System weapon would only ignore Light and Heavy cover (if you could use them as a Melee weapon that is).

This weapon can be fired at units that are not visible to the bearer. Units attacked by this weapon do not gain any benefit to their saving throws for being in cover. Importantly as well; ignoring line of sight requirements does not mean a weapon can ignore dense cover.

If a rule says that the target unit ‘does not receive the benefit of cover’, without specifying what benefits are ignored, then, when resolving an attack with that rule, models in the target unit ignore all benefits received from all terrain traits, including those that improve its saving throws, impose penalties on hit rolls and so on (e.g. Light Cover, Heavy Cover). Again the Tau codex has one of these to look at, you might well say I’m biased but I also want to make it clear that some codexes can have both types of ability, even the older ones.

Multi Spectrum Sensor Suite: Use this Stratagem before a Battlesuit unit from your army shoots. Enemy units cannot claim the benefit of cover against shots made by this unit. – Tau 8th Edition Codex

Ignoring Look Out Sir?


Q Do units that ignore “”Look out, Sir!”” rule also ignore rules that state you cannot shoot a unit? I suppose they can’t because they are not given a look out rule. E.g. Cryptothralls “While a friendly CRYPTEK unit is within 3″” of this unit, enemy units cannot target that CRYPTEK unit with ranged weapons”. Thanks for your amazing job and clear explanations. – Txousman Thanks for the feedback! Now regarding Overwatch and Look Out Sir. Look Out Sir is clearly made exempt by the Overwatch rule.

In addition, when a model fires Overwatch, it does so at the charging unit. Any rule that states the unit cannot be targeted unless it is the closest target (e.g. Look Out, Sir) does not apply when firing Overwatch. [Core PDF pg20]

However rules like the Cryptohralls, and others like Old One Eye’s Alpha Leader are not “unless it’s the closest target” type rules. They simply cannot be targeted whilst near the required unit. As such, based on current RAW Overwatch does not allow a model to ignore these abilities. Sometimes this will make sense,  as picking out Old One Eye from a pack of other Carnifexes would be harder than picking out some of the fancier looking Necron Overlords from a sea of normal Warriors. I guess for Crytothralls the effect is created via techno-sorcery for the mean time.

Editor’s Note: It’s saying while we’re on the subject of Crypteks there are still some non-Look Out Sir effects that prevent a unit being targeted unless they are the closest eligible target, such as the Prismatic Obfuscatron Cryptek Arcana. Because these use the “unless they’re the closest” wording that is called out in the rule above, you can fire overwatch at these even if they charge from behind another unit.

Charge Phase

Can Fortifications Charge?


They always fail if they can. My short answer might seem a little odd but there an element of ambiguity about if they can declare a charge, but far less ambiguity about if they can actually move. The charge rules don’t mention a restriction to buildings charging, and they can meet the eligibility criteria. So it’s definitely plausible that the rules as written let them declare a charge. However they will always fail the charge. This is because of the movement characteristic, usually this would have no bearing on a charge move but as most fortifications have a a movement of “-” it does in this case.

Move (M): This is the speed at which a model moves across the battlefield. If a model has a Move of ‘-’ it is unable to move at all.

Move being a general term, I have tended to interpret this limitation to affect all types of move and treat movement “-” as being how immobile models are represented.

What about Ork Careen Stratagem?


I want to do stupid Ork things. Can buildings charge? They’re technically units not terrain, which if my understanding is correct would make them eligible to charge (and therefore for the boss bunker eligible for ramming speed)? Also, is the boss bunker able to use careen if it explodes as its Mv characteristic is “-“ but the careen strat doesn’t rely on characteristic it just says “make a move up to 6”? – Keaton

No. For that same reason as other Fortifications. The Ork Careen Stratagem won’t cause a model with movement “-” to be able to move, as it doesn’t change this characteristic.

Use this Stratagem in any phase, when an ORKS VEHICLE model in your army that is not within Engagement Range of any enemy models is destroyed and explodes. That model can make a Normal Move of up to 6″ before resolving the explosion. If that VEHICLE is a WAGON or TITANIC model, this Stratagem costs 2CP; otherwise, it costs 1CP.

Without replacing the “-” movement characteristic the model is still not able to move.

Can I use the Desperate Breakout Stratagem on a Fortification to automatically kill it?

Actually no. The reasoning for this is pretty wild though. There’s a Rare Rule about rules that prevent units from Falling Back and how they interact with the stratagem.

As fortifications can’t move, they can’t fall back, and this FAQ clarifies that any models that are prevented from falling back do not trigger this part of the Desperate Breakout Stratagem.

Some rules either prevent enemy units from falling back, or when a unit is selected to Fall Back, triggers a roll-off, test or other dice roll that can result in the enemy unit being unable to Fall Back. In either cases, a rule that prevents Falling Back takes precedence over Desperate Breakout Stratagem (pg 255). This means, in the first case, that using the Stratagem on a unit would not enable it to Fall Back – you would be spending CPs only for the chance to destroy some of your own models. In the second case, if the Desperate Breakout stratagem is used on a unit, then after rolling to see if any models in that unit are destroyed, any roll-off, test or other roll is then triggered and resolved (which may result in the unit not being able to Fall Back). Note that in either case, if a rule prevents a unit from Falling Back, no models in that unit can make (and hence end) a Fall Back move, so no additional models in that unit are destroyed, but the unit the Stratagem was used on will still be unable to do anything else this turn.

As fortifications can’t move, they can’t fall back, and this FAQ clarifies that any models that are prevented from falling back do not trigger this part of the Desperate Breakout Stratagem.

Any model in that unit that ends its Fall Back move within Engagement Range of any enemy model is destroyed.

If you can’t make a Fall Back move, you can’t end one, so you don’t automatically die. As amusing as it might be to imagine a Drop Pod flopping over and trying to roll away.


Defensible Terrain Trait and modifiers?


So defensible terrain says: If a unit Holds Steady, any Overwatch attacks made by that unit this phase will score hits on rolls of 5+. Am I supposed to read that as a 5+ that can be modified? The overwatch rules very clearly says unmodified 6 irrespective of BS or modifiers. The terrain rule does not. Are we supposed to infer backwards that all overwatches can not be modified?

I’m actually not sure. The overwatch rules make things super clear about the normal kind of overwatch hit roll.

Overwatch is resolved like a normal shooting attack (albeit one resolved in the Charge phase) and uses all the normal rules, except that an unmodified hit roll of 6 is always required for a successful hit roll, irrespective of the firing model’s Ballistic Skill or any hit roll modifiers. In addition, when a model fires Overwatch, it does so at the charging unit. 

But then as you have pointed out Hold Steady is just.

If a unit Holds Steady, any Overwatch attacks made by that unit this phase will score hits on rolls of 5+.

No mention of being unmodified, or ignoring any modifiers. So RAW yes I would say these can be modified, but like all surprising finds I think this interpretation is with discussing with your opponent pregame.

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: I would actually recommend that they still be treated as unmodified 5s or 6s for hits but until an FAQ that is not the RAW.

Out of Sight Charges?


When doing an overwatch, does the weapon I’m using have to be in range of the charging enemy. The question is about grenades. – Hubert

Yes, Overwatch is a shooting attack. The only thing special about it is that rather than use your units Ballistics Skill it usually only hits on an unmodified 6 (though that can of course be changed by other rules).

Regarding Charging into and out of Ruins


Q: Two models; A) On the ground, say 5.5″ from a building that is 5″ tall. B) On the building and has the keyword FLY (just to stretch the example a bit more). From my point of view. If A charges B, the charge distance will be 5″ (i enough to reach the foot of the building due to the 5″ vertical engagement range) However, if B charges A, the charge distance is instead 10″ (this since the unit also have to consider the vertical movement in the charge move). Do I have got the rules correctly (9th edition)? – Frank

Okay first lets diagram out this scenario to make it clear. Yes your assessment of this is correct. Charging down from a Ruin is a longer charge than charging into one. In fact in my diagram above the Crisis suit has to charge even further than your example because it lacks the INFANTRY keyword so it can’t ignore and pass through that section of wall in front of it and would have to use some movement to go over it. Even if it were INFANTRY, however, it would still need a 10″ charge as you correctly identified!

Engaging all Targets of a Charge


Q: I agree that you must roll high enough to be able to engage every unit you charged while maintaining coherency. However, where does it say you must move your charging unit to engage all units you declared a charge against? – Chris Okay so two parts to your question, lets deal with the first. Where does it say that you must end your charge within Engagement range of all targets.

 To make a charge move, the unit’s charge roll must be sufficient that it is able to end that move in unit coherency (pg 4) and within Engagement Range (pg 4) of every unit that was a target of its charge, without moving within Engagement Range of any enemy units that were not a target of its charge. If this is possible, then the charge is successful and the models in the unit make a charge move so as to fulfill the above conditions. If this is impossible, the charge fails and no models in the charging unit move this phase. [GT2020 Pg72/73, Core PDF Pg19/20]

This is where it says it. Though I think the bullet points for this rule could have made it clearer, but some of these bullet summaries aren’t entirely helpful it’s not too surprising. What are the above conditions? So when you roll you need to be able to move to meet those are the conditions, and if you do have enough movement to do it you need to then move to fulfil them.

Charging Aircraft


I don’t see what is allowed to charge a unit with Aircraft. I only see where units can’t end their movement within engagement range if a unit with the Aircraft keyword. Thanks!  – Chris

This has been FAQed again!

Page 213 – Aircraft Engagement Range Add the following to the end of the second paragraph: ‘The only exception are units that can Fly, which can end a charge move within Engagement Range of an enemy Aircraft model.’

So that clearly allows for FLY units to Charge AIRCRAFT and end the move within Engagement range (so not automatically fail). This closest the Hover mode removes Airborne issue but doesn’t address Pile In or Consolidate moves, so close!

Fight Phase

Pile in and Consolidate Moves near AIRCRAFT


So I’ve talked about this before but it’s been asked about again a few times and I’m going to be straying from my usual rigid stance on Rules As Written for my answer here. Largely because in my experience, even as a none tournament player, it’s the least-argued-about Rules-as-Intended that I’m aware of. The crux of the issue is this section of the AIRCRAFT rules:

Whenever a model makes any kind of move, it can be moved across Aircraft models (and their bases) as if they were not there, and they can be moved within an enemy Aircraft model’s Engagement Range, but it cannot end the move on top of another model (or its base), and it cannot end the move within Engagement Range of any enemy Aircraft models.

It’s not even always an issue of a charged AICRAFT either – this can also come up if you charge a non-AIRCRAFT unit with one nearby. Originally this was even more broken than it is now and blocked even Charges against AIRCRAFT; that much at least was partially fixed (I talked about the issues with that fix a few weeks ago). However this leaves Pile In and Consolidate moves unable to end within Engagement Range of an AIRCRAFT still being the case under Rules As Written. I don’t make a habit of suggesting that rules be ignored, but these rules are ignored so much and with quite understandable reason that acting like there isn’t a consensus about it is almost disingenuous. The questions I’ve received about it lately have been from new players who have read the rules and then gotten to a point where a more experienced player has assumed they will be allowed to pile in and consolidate near an Aircraft, much to the surprise of the new player. I think the reasons these Rules as Intended are so often used is a sum of a few factors. First, this was allowed in 8th edition, and it’s not in the main body of the rules so it can be something missed by experienced players. Second, 9th edition made “types of move” a more rigid thing. It has specifically been stated that Normal, Advance, Fall Back, Charge, Heroic Intervention, Pile in, and Consolidation are “moves” in the text. Finally, the AICRAFT rules imply even in the Core Rules version that an AICRAFT might still start a turn with models within Engagement Range:

If, when an AIRCRAFT unit is selected to Move in the Movement phase, any enemy units are within Engagement Range of it, that AIRCRAFT unit can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary).

If, when a unit is selected to move in the Movement phase, the only enemy models that are within Engagement Range of it are AIRCRAFT, then it can still make a Normal Move or an Advance (i.e. it does not have to Fall Back or Remain Stationary).

the rules even go so far to mention that AIRCRAFT are ignored for determining closest enemy model for Pile In, Consolidation, and Heroic Intervention moves.

Whenever a unit moves when it performs a Heroic Intervention, piles in or consolidates, it must end that move closer to the closest enemy model. In all cases, AIRCRAFT models are excluded when determining which model is the closest, unless the unit making that move can FLY.

So really I think the conclusion to this issue is that 40k rules are already complex (my good friend Greg wrote about this a few days ago), and we don’t always recognise when they’re bent by the community at large. Communicate with your opponents especially if they are new to the game with only a few or no games in. 

Fight Range and tight gaps with oversized models.


Q: Recently this happened to us playing Space Wolves vs Tau. There was the edge of the map on the left side of a Broadside and a big rock on the right. In between there were ca.45mm. Behind this gap was the Broadside and in front of it was Ragnar. Ragnar charged the Broadside and the result was high enough. I could place him within 1″, but because the big gun of the Broadside stuck enough in the gap that I couldn’t move further in. Ragnar can’t reach the ½” to attack. My Opponent and I thought this is silly and just put the gun out the way, but we didn’t find anything about this in the Rulebook. My Question is, if your Opponent doesn’t want to move, can you attack them? And what if the gun was built the way that even the charge couldn’t end within 1″. And can you block an entrance between two obstacles with say three of them with this and put a lot of drones behind the broadsides, so as long as they aren’t removed through shooting, they can’t be charged? – Tape

Okay so there’s a few things to unpack here. First of all the “sticky out bits” of a model that isn’t “measure to hull” shouldn’t ever be used to block movement of any kind in my opinion. The rules forbid you from moving the bases of your models across bases (or hulls for units that measure to them) of other models, but don’t prevent you moving through “sticky out bits”.

Whenever you move a model, you can pivot it and/or change its position on the battlefield along any path, but no part of the model’s base (or hull) can be moved across the bases (or hulls) of other models. [Core PDF pg10]

They might make exact model placement tricky but in general slightly shuffling large guns to accommodate the actual position a model has reached is totally expected. Creating a model that is uncharge-able by extending it over 1” from it’s base would be a case of the sometimes mythical “modelling for advantage” and such a model would not be usable, or at least need some clear agreements worked out pre-game or with a TO! Secondly I think you’ve been working under a false impression about fight range. The ½” requirement is for the “second rank” of a fight not the first. To be able to fight a model must either be within Engagement Range of a target OR within ½” of a model in it’s unit that is within ½” of a target. If you have successfully charged a unit to be within 1” of it, then the models that are within 1″ can definitely fight, so Ragnar would be fine here. I don’t think there are any models that could create an unchargeable barrier. There may have been some in 8th where Engagement range didn’t have the 5” vertical component.

Can you fight through an enemy unit?


Q: Is it possible to fight a unit behind another unit you charged if you declared charge to both units but can only touch the the front unit?

Potentially yes, though there’s a super specific set of positions required that make it unlikely to be possible every game. The criteria for a successful charge (as detailed above) make this situation unlikely but not impossible. If your unit charged this turn then to be able to fight a unit behind another you need to meet these criteria. So you could feasibly charge and manage something like this. Generally gaps like this will not be common, and pile in will usually not let you move around the front unit too far because you must move towards the nearest enemy model when doing so.

Just killed the last model in the enemy army in Combat, can it consolidate?


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

No it would not be able to. The reason is interesting 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.

Fight Order Altering Abilities


Fight order has been a hotly debated topic since 8th was released and I think finally almost a year into 9th we have a streamlined fight phase order at last. Not that it’s 100% squeaky clean, one of the facets of the new Rare Rule and Designers Commentary is that GW heavily imply that they think ALL Fight Last abilities make units “not eligible” to fight, and then they made this intent more clear with their examples. There are only two fight last abilities in 9th edition books that do not use the “not eligible” wording, the Whirlwind stratagem and the Silent King. The latter is used in these examples though as if it wasn’t different, it’s included in lists with “not eligible” abilities such as the Judiciar’s temporamortis. So what does all that mean? I think this section of the new commentary is now the WHOLE fight phase.

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.

Which leads to this new Fight Order Chart. …and that’s it; almost. There’s one rule that doesn’t fit because it’s not a fight last and that’s Revolting Stench vats which prevents models from using any Fight First rules and causes those models to never count as having charged. However, with the new streamlined process above, it’s much easier to figure out how that slots in!

Imperial Fists Judiciar
Imperial Fists Judiciar. Credit: Jack Hunter

What happens if you have multiple Fight Phase interrupt abilities? Can you chain them?

The short answer to this is no, the Fight Order is pretty rigid on these now. The trigger for both of these stratagems is the same

Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, after an enemy unit has fought. Select one ADEPTUS CUSTODES unit from your army that is in range of an objective marker and is eligible to fight: that unit fights next.

Use this Stratagem after an enemy unit has fought in this turn. Select one of your own eligible units and fight with it next.

Once you have used and resolved one of them it is no longer “after an enemy unit has fought” so you can’t the other.

Fight Order with the Counter Offensive Stratagem


The fight order is mostly a non-mysterious thing now, since the pretty comprehensive design commentary we are left with an order than is pretty succinctly covered by this chart I shared above.

There is still one slight instance of ambiguity though concerning the Counter Offensive stratagem and if it can’t lead to being able to get back to back activations.

For instance if you have this situation, it’s the Marine player’s turn.

  • In the Fight First group are a unit of Marines (Unit A) that charged this turn and a Necron Skorpehk Lord (Unit B) with the Precognitive Strike Warlord Trait.
  • In the fights normally group are another unit of Marines (Unit C), and a unit of Necron Warriors (Unit D).
  • No units in the Fight Last group.

So without any stratagem use the order that this would be resolve in is ABDCNotice that the Necron player gets to activate two units consecutively because you start with the player whose turn it is not. Using the Counter Offensive Stratagem on D would only let it jump one place in the queue but otherwise the order would remain as it is.

If we change the scenario a little.

  • In the Fight First group are two units of Marines (Unit A and Unit A2) that charged this turn and a Necron Skorpehk Lord (Unit B) with the Precognitive Strike Warlord Trait.
  • In the fights normally group are another unit of Marines (Unit C), and a unit of Necron Warriors (Unit D).
  • No units in the Fight Last group.

So now the without Counter offensive order is ABA2Dif you were to use the Counter Offensive stratagem on unit D though now there’s some disagreement between if the order then becomes ADBA2or ADA2BC. Personally I favour the second order because the the stratagem just allows a unit to “fight next”, essentially giving you a unit to fight with in a group that you otherwise might now have any in.

Use this Stratagem after an enemy unit has fought in this turn. Select one of your own eligible units and fight with it next.

So using it lets you elevate D to being a valid pick for your activation, but I think it still counts as the activation you’d normally have. So you don’t get to have it, and then have another right away. Unfortunately there’s not all that much about the Counter Offensive Stratagem in any of the now extensive fight order rules, making it difficult to be sure that this interpretation is correct, so once again make sure you and your opponent agree pregame.

Heroic Intervention, when do they attack?


Q: When does a heroic intervention-er activate in fight phase? Does he count as a charger since HI is now part 2 of charge phase allowing him to activate after first charging unit or does he activate with the non charging units? – Nathan

Heroic Intervention does not count as charging, so they’re not usually part of that group of fights. The “Has charged” definition in the glossary makes it clear who counts as charging – only units that successfully made a charge move. So these units would “fights normally” unless affected by further rules that make the “Fight First” or “Fight Last” respectfully. Have any questions or feedback? Got a rules question you want answered? Drop us a note in the comments below, ask a question in our Ruleshammer form, or head over to r/ruleshammer to discuss.