Ruleshammer Q&A – Compendium

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To wrap up the year I’ve collated and checked over all the questions and answers from the last 4 months! Rather than just dump them all here in some random order though I have at least attempted to organise them sensibly… I’ll be updating this article every few months from now on so that there’s one page to book mark!

I also currently have rules explanation and example articles up to date for;

still got plenty to cover in the new year.

Table of Contents

Movement Phase

Move through enemy model abilities and ignored Engagement Range

I’ve got a question about moving through engagement range for Canoptek wraiths. The wraiths’ “”wraith form”” ability indicates that when they make a normal move, advance, fall back, or charge, “”until that move is finished, models in this unit can move horizontally through models and terrain features (they cannot finish a move on top of another model, or its base).”” It would seem to me that this lets wraiths move into and out of enemy models’ engagement range, which would make them amazing assassins. But I also know that many of the abilities in 9th that allow such a thing to happen specifically indicate that a model can move within engagement range of enemies (like the aircraft rule). Do you think this ability does allow wraiths to move through enemy engagement ranges, or is it more to allow them to pass through friendly units? 
Thanks a ton, and keep up the awesome work! – Dave Rini

First of all, thanks for the feedback, I will try to keep helping for as long as there’s confusion to unpick. Moving on though; yes these abilities 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.

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.

Necrons – Monoliths as a Transport

  The new Eternity Gate has changed a few things in the new Necron Codex and whilst I haven’t been asked yet, I figured we’d go over it now. We all know how much I love transports (ironically I do run a mechanised Tau army, I’m just a glutton for punishment).

Eternity Gate: In your Movement Phase, if this model Remains Stationary, then in the Reinforcement step of that Phase it can summon a unit. If it does, selection one <DYNASTY> CORE INFANTRY unit from your army that is in Strategic Reserves: set up that unit anywhere on the battlefield that is wholly within 3” of this model and not within Engagement Range of any Enemy models. Models in units that are set up using this ability count as having moved a distance equal to their Move Characteristics in the Movement Phase.

So this changes a lot of things about Eternity gate. 

  1. It no longer allows you to set up any number of units in reserve, in fact it allows you to set up none itself. It now requires that you have some units in Strategic Reserves to come in.
  2. It no longer counts as “disembarking” least not rules as written in the book. So these units are fair game for anti reserve abilities or Stratagems like Auspex scan (arguably some disembarking units are already see the next question).
  3. The Monolith has to remain stationary to do this, it can’t move after the unit gets out like it used to.

 All this adds up to a pretty significant change, and it’s worth noting that if the Monolith uses Death Descending to arrive on the board then it can actually only use Eternity Gate once in a GT2020 game. This is because the Monolith itself can only arrive in Turn 2, and when it doesn’t meet the criteria of having Remained Stationary. On turn 3 it finally can Gate a single unit in, but it can’t gate any more in in turns 4 and 5 because by that point any units that are still in reserves are destroyed.

Wings Note: you do have one way round this, which is to use the Prismatic Dimensional Breach stratagem. This lets you set up a unit in the same way as above in your reinforcements step – but crucially it doesn’t have the requirement that the Monolith remained stationary. This means that as it currently stands you can use it to bring a unit in straight after the Monolith itself deep strikes. It wouldn’t shock me to see this errataed so that the Monolith has to have been on the battlefield at the start of the phase, as it essentially lets you deep strike a unit from Strategic Reserves only 6″ away from the enemy, something usually reserved for very specific and telegraphed stratagems, but it works for now.

Tau – Falling Back move type and Maneuvering Thrusters

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

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

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

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

Tau – Mont’ka and Falling Back

I had a few people ask about my position on this and currently I’m hesitant to weigh in on this debate. I have a few reasons.

  1. Mont’ka has had an ongoing debate on whether units “must” advance. It’s ambiguous if the both means “can advance as if hadn’t moved and can shoot as if hadn’t moved” or “can advance and then shoot as if you haven’t moved”. The “both” confuses the issue.
  2. Mont’ka has a new version in The Greater Good, it’s however only used by Farsight and only when taken in the Eight. They’ve FAQed that the new worded (which only refers to FSE anyway) doesn’t replace the codex. This is a shame as it totally drops the Advance bit and would resolve part of the debate.
  3. Fall Back as a flag is defined in the glossary in such a way that it’s not 100% unambiguous if “as if hadn’t moved” is enough to remove its effects.

It didn’t previously matter too much if the units had to advance or not, as they were unlikely to want to charge and could shoot normally so the -1 for assault wasn’t relevant. I am probably in the “must advance” camp because “can advance as if it hadn’t moved” is meaningless… but I’m not 100% on it.  If models must advance then it’s moot, they can’t use Mont’ka to do this because they need to make a Fall Back move, not an Advance move. 

The TLDR; I don’t think this has an answer yet and I don’t especially think it is game breaking enough either way for a Ruleshammer suggested fix. It definitely requires a pregame discussion if you intend to make use of it.

Editor’s Note: Quite a few TOs (e.g. the Brisbane GT) have started issuing pre-event guidance about the Fall Back part of this and the Salamander “as if they remained stationary” ability. The trend is that people are ruling these to not override the restrictions of Falling Back – so in a tournament scenario it’s probably safest to assume that version.

Reinforcments/ Reserves and Adding Models

Using a Stratagem on a unit not on the board

Dear Ruleshammer, Can stratagems be used to target units that are currently off the table (e.g. via Teleport Strike)? I ask because the Deathwatch stratagem Brotherhood of Veterans states “Use this Strategem in your Command phase. Select one Deathwatch unit from your army, then select one Chapter Tactic or Successor Tactic. Until the end of the turn, models in that unit have that Chapter Tactic or Successor Tactic instead of the Xenos Hunters Chapter Tactic.” The clause “from your army” doesn’t seem to specify “on the table,” and “army” is defined in the core rulebook as every model in your army roster. Should the rules stating that stratagems can’t affect units in transports be used as a precedent here? Thanks in advance! – Blue

I think you really have already pretty well defended argument that this stratagem should work on units that aren’t “on the battlefield”. There’s also nothing in the general stratagems rules themselves that precludes this use either. I would still like some clarification on the off board models, planes bombing after leaving was the other main one that needs addressing. I think here though the target for that stratagem is very clear and would include models still waiting to arrive as reinforcements.

Reinforcements in Detachments

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.

Necrons – How does the new Reanimation Protocols work?

The new Necron reanimation is quite a change from the old one, some part of it are easy to mistake for being similar to an ignore wounds ability. As such I have put together a few examples to help illustrate how this ability works.

I hope those examples are helpful. Generally the new reanimation protocols are somewhere between the old version and a normal ignore wounds ability (often referred to as a Feel No Pain or FNP). For single wound models it’s a lot stronger than a normal FNP because it ignores extra damage, it’s just a single roll. For multi wound models it varies in its effectiveness compared to a FNP depending on the circumstances (generally better against massive overkill, but weaker as the wounds per model increase) but it’s less effective than the old Reanimation Protocols was for them as they now need to succeed multiple times to bring back a model.

Where to place resurrected models

The main thing I was looking out for in the Necron FAQ was a clarification on bringing models back when using reanimation protocols. When reading the rule, there’s not a line stating specifically where they must be placed (such as in coherency) which means it could be interpreted quite extremely if you really wanted to abuse the rule. If I have 20 models in a warrior unit and 16 are killed, and I then roll 7 successful rolls, there’s nothing to stop me placing these 7 models in a completely different location such as on an objective on the other side of the board… – Tom Merrick

There actually is an answer to this; it’s just not in the Necron Codex. It’s actually found in the Unit Coherency section.

Some rules allow you to add models to a unit during the battle, such models must always be set up in unit coherency with the unit they are being added to. Sometimes there will be insufficient room to set up all models from a unit, or it will not be possible to set up all the models so that they are in unit coherency. When this is the case, any models that cannot be set up are considered to have been destroyed.

So when bringing them back you need to set them up in coherency. 

Daemons/CSM – Can I Summon Daemons in Round 1

Can Chaos factions summon Daemons turn 1?  – Mike Pestilens

I know this has gone back and forth a lot throughout 8th, but in 9th it’s I think a bit clearer. Summoned Daemon units are not reinforcement units, they are just treated like them.

Reinforcement Unit: Any unit that starts the battle in a location other than on the battlefield, and is not embarked within a TRANSPORT unit that does start the battle on the battlefield, is considered to be a Reinforcement unit. Any Reinforcement units that have not been set up on the battlefield by the end of the battle count as destroyed.[GT2020 Pg94]

They’re not reinforcement units because they’re not “set up” somewhere other than the battlefield, the don’t exist until you summon them.

This unit is treated as reinforcements for your army and can be placed anywhere on the battlefield that is wholly within 12″ of the character and more than 9″ from any enemy model. If the total rolled is insufficient to summon any unit, the ritual fails and no new unit is summoned

Being treated as reinforcements means that rules that action triggers like Auspex scan would apply, and the models summoned count as having moved. As such you can summon units in any turn, and unused reinforcement points don’t count as destroyed units at the end of the game. Those rules only apply to actual Reinforcement Units, which Summoned Units do not meet the definition of. 

This answer is based on Summoning as of 2020/12/16, before the Death Guard codex was released; I expect this to change or require an update when that is released.

Splitting Horrors are they Reinforcements?

If a pink horror dies, I can split it into 2 blue horrors. I can only do this if I have reinforcement points available to spend on the blue horrors. Chapter Approved GT Mission Pack 2020 says (p6, section 10) that reinforcement units can’t arrive on the battlefield in the first battle round, and if they haven’t arrived by the end of the 3rd round then they are considered destroyed. Does this apply to Horrors splitting? Can I only split in turns 2 & 3? Or does it not apply because the new horrors are not a reinforcement unit themselves but rather additional models into a pre-existing unit? – Steve Lee

Okay so “Reinforcement Unit” has an actual definition in 9th edition.

Reinforcement Unit: Any unit that starts the battle in a location other than on the battlefield, and is not embarked within a Transport unit that does start on the Battlefield, is considered ato be a Reinforcement Unit. Any Reinforcement Units that have not been set up on the battlefield by the end of the battle count as destroyed. – GT2020 Pg94

Okay so do Blue Horrors meet this definition? No. They’re not a new unit ,and they weren’t set up off the board as they don’t actually exist at that time. Are Reinforcement Points confusingly named? Yes. This also means that Horrors can split in any turn because they are not set up as Reinforcements and as the models don’t exist until created by the split ability, unused ones do not count as destroyed at the end of Turn 5.

That’s not to say that this definition doesn’t have issues, just not for Horrors. Look forward to that in a few weeks’ time, as if I covered Transports three weeks in a row I’d have to rename this entire thing to Transport-hammer.

Space Marines – Combat Squads and Strategic Reserves

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

Combat Squading a unit In Strategic Reserves

I think the answer to the first question is that it works, the unit becomes two units after you have put it into strat reserves, and each half can deploy separately later on. I think this because of the order these abilities are resolved in. The ability in question. Combat Squads, reads as follows:

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

“At the start of deployment” would seem to be step 11 of the GT2020 match sequence. Declaring Reserves and Transports is step 10. So the order of the rules seems to be:

  • Unit is declared as Strategic Reserves during step 10
  • Unit is split into two units at the start of step 11 before any units are deployed.

Essentially combat squads doesn’t appear to change if the unit is about to be deployed now or has been stashed for later.

Combat Squading a unit affected by the White Scars Encirclement Stratagem

The Encirclement Stratagem however is different; the stratagem was recently FAQed to change the wording of when to use it but not change what it does.

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

I don’t think you’d want to combat squad the unit you have used this stratagem on. Here’s why; the unit is not in Strategic Reserves, it’s “in outflank” (though doesn’t gain the Outflank ability from the codex, confusingly). It also specifically allows you to put one unit in and then set up that unit later on. If you use combat squads the unit you used it on is either: one of the two new ones or doesn’t exist at all. If the former then you would need to choose which one to bring in as the strat only provides for one unit to set up at the end of a movement phase. If it’s the latter, then you can’t deploy that unit at all. They can’t use the Strategic Reserves setup rules because they’re not Strategic Reserves.

I think on the surface this might seem to contradict my interpretation for normal strategic reserves being split. Why does splitting a single Strategic Reserve unit create two Strategic Reserve units but splitting an unit benefitting from this stratagem doesn’t create two that both benefit? It comes back to the the strat still only allows you to bring “that unit” in, whereas setting up Strategic Reserve units is taken care of by core game rules, which don’t care how the units end up there.

I still think this set of interactions could really benefit from an FAQ because whilst I’m fairly confident in this line of reasoning, being able to accidentally delete half or all of a unit because you used a strat and ability in this way seems ridiculous, and can’t be intentional. I’d expect either a FAQ preventing use of combat squadding on the unit (or units in reinforcements generally) or a change to let both units come in as if both affected by the stratagem (probably more likely). Alternatively, the Encirclement stratagem could be updated, similar to how Translocation Crypt now works in Necrons, to give the unit the Outflank ability – that way after they’d split, both halves would be in reserves with an ability that let them come in when needed. That does assume that split units keep any abilities that have been applied to them, which used to be the case in 8th via FAQs but isn’t explicitly spelled out in 9th.

Reinforcements in Round 1

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

I’ve alluded to where this is explained in the answer above, but I appreciate being asked this because it’s become something of a bugbear with me and where 9th has placed some rules. Rules that used to have names!

In GT2020 or Eternal war 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 (I mentioned an odd interaction about that last week). This is detailed in step 10 of the game sequence, found on pages 5 and 6 of GT2020 (or 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 in step 10 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.

Necrons – Relentless Expansion an Aircraft into Reserves

Hi, can necrons use ‘relentlessly expansionist’ (the pregame 6 inch move) to put an aircraft into strategic reserves? (E.g. you move your night scythe into reserve ready to bring it on T2 and deliver your lychguard bomb).
I’m not sure if the minimum move of 20 inches would stop this, or in fact if you could even move a flyer off the board and into reserves, as the rule says that aircraft can move into reserves in their movement phase. Thanks! – True son of Dorn

Okay so there’s a few things to unpack here. I think best not in the order you’ve asked though. For those not in the know here’s the Relentless advance Necron trait.

At the start of the First Battle Round, before the first turn begins, units with this code can make a Normal Move of up to 6”.

Does an Aircraft Minimum move cause any issues?

No. This is because the AIRCRAFT minimum move requirements are during “its movement phase”. 

The first is the model’s minimum Move characteristic – in its Movement phase, all parts of the model’s base must end the move at least that far from where they started. – [Core Rules PDF Pg13, GT2020 Pg66]

So AIRCRAFT with a minimum move can still make the up to 6” move without automatically putting themselves into Strategic Reserves because they can’t move their full minimum.

But can I choose to put the Aircraft in Strategic Reserves if I want to?

Actually also no, mostly for the reasons you found. They are only moved into strategic reserves in the movement phase. The wording does get a bit confusing though so my confidence on this is only 99% specifically the part starting “similarly”.

The first is the model’s minimum Move characteristic – in its Movement phase, all parts of the model’s base must end the move at least that far from where they started. – [Core Rules PDF Pg13, GT2020 Pg66]

It would be easy to read that section and come to the conclusion that if AIRCRAFT can’t move their minimum they are automatically put into Strategic Reserves. However the key word there is “similarly”, encompasses the other criteria of the previous clause; having your army be battleforged and that it’s during the AIRCRAFT’s movement phase.

Psychic Phase

Psykers and Engagement Range

I have 2 questions for thousand sons more specifically for psykers. In 9th edition, I can’t figure out of you can:

  1. You are in close combat with your psyker, can you resolve psychic abilities? 
  2. 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 S10th 2020

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?

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.

Shooting Phase

Space Marines – Should Inceptors slow roll their plasma attacks in case they die?

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

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

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

There’s two ways to go on this. I personally favour the first one.

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

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

Space Marines – Ancient Banner and CORE

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

Yes they can! Do remember that “as if the shooting phase” means it’s still affected by shooting phase rules. If it’s within engagement range is needs to use pistols, or big guns never tire to shoot at units within Engagement range.

Can Eradicators Double Shoot on Death near Ancient

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

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

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

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

If a future FAQ did say the unit counted as being chosen to shoot in this case, to clear that ambiguity up, there another subtler reason why this still wouldn’t work though. When firing under an Astartes Banner the ability states that the model is removed after making the attacks the banner enables. With that in mind, even if the model was allowed to use Total Obliteration, it’s no longer on the board to make the second round of attacks (you’d need a model to check Range and Line of Sight from as if it was the shoot phase). They are two separate rounds, as detailed in the Shoot Again Rare rule on page 89 of GT2020 and the Banner rule removes the model at the conclusion of the first of these. Even if Total Obliteration kicks in, it’s too late!

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

Eldar – Fire And Fade into a Vehicle

Do rules like Eldar stratagem Fire and Fade, or psychic power Quicken, allow a unit to embark in a transport? – Brandon

Yes, currently this stratagem does allow you to embark as the rules for embarking only require that you end a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move with the unit wholly within 3”. This relies on the assumption that “move as if it were the movement phase” includes choosing which kind of move you are making, but a wide variety of things break down if that isn’t the case, so for now this works.

Wings Note: I’m honestly surprised this one hasn’t been clarified either way yet, as it’s a notable change from 8th that’s theoretically very good for my beloved Space Elves. The fact that they are performing like garbage on competitive tables is probably why no one’s cared enough to do anything about it.

When does determining which models can Rapid Fire happen?

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

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?

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 prescedence? 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 statagems being use are just more modifiers. The end result is just normal arithmatic with the result being rounded to +1 or -1 as appropriate. The FAQ for the Tau 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 modifers 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.

Modifiers and abilities for units in Open Topped Transports

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


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

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

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

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

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

Ignore AP Abilities and AP modifiers

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

Some abilities to ignore AP are worded like this;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This ability has both the “has an” and “treated as” wording for different sections, hower notice that the AP-2 part says “also treated as” as if it’s intended that the first section be taken in the same way. Needless to say this gets super confusing very quickly. There are however some other AP ability related FAQs though.

Q: If the Dour Duty Stratagem is used on a unit that is within 6″ of a model with the Bastion Warlord Trait, will enemy attacks with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -2 that are made against that unit be treated as AP -1 or AP 0?
A:The attacks will be treated as AP 0. The Dour Duty Stratagem turns any attacks with AP -2 that are made against that unit into AP -1, at which point the Bastion Warlord Trait will cause them to be treated as AP 0. – Faith & Fury FAQ

And for clarity here’s the wording for the stratagem and for that Warlord Trait.

Dour Duty: Use this Stratagem in your opponent’s Shooting phase or your Charge phase, when an IRON WARRIORS unit from your army is chosen as the target for an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made with a ranged weapon against that unit, worsen the Armour Penetration characteristic of that weapon by 1 for that attack (e.g. AP -1 becomes AP 0). 
Bastion: When resolving an attack made with a weapon that has an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 against a friendly IRON WARRIORS unit that is within 6″ of this Warlord and receiving the benefit of cover, that weapon is treated as having an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0

So putting all these pieces together then;

  1. Unit is shot at with AP-2 weapon and the Iron Warriors player using Dour Duty.
  2. This reduces the AP-2 to AP-1
  3. They are in range of their Warlord with the Bastion Warlord Trait so that AP-1 is treated as AP0.

This sequence supports that the fix I’ve suggested is actually accurate for 9th edition which has tweaked AP ignore rules to play as everyone has been using them.

Because in 9th it’s made specifically clear that modifiers are cumulative, you should resolve all rules that affect a characteristic together. This example suggests that AP ignoring abilities, especially those using the “treat as” language do not actually change the AP and should use the AP value after other modifiers as their trigger.

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;

Look Our Sir

Units in Combat

If I have an HQ within the parameters of “look out sir” protection, but on the enemy side of shooting, with an engaged unit of mine in melee between my HQ and the enemy shooter, can my HQ be fired upon?  In 8th, the errata ruled this out, a unit in cc still counts as the closest unit, even if it can’t be fired upon due to being in cc.  Example, my HQ is 2″ in front of one of my tanks, however in front of him are one of my units in cc with an enemy unit, can an enemy shooter unit behind the ongoing melee fire over it at my HQ? – Robert Vaughan

Yes the unit in combat still counts as the closest for Look Out Sir. Just to make it 100% clear for everyone though as it’s sometimes tricky to parse the positions of models from a description like that here’s a diagram.

Whilst we’re discussing it lets also look at how Look Out Sir works when Characters are within Engagement Range and the unit can still shoot.

Character made some friends mid shooting, can I still shoot the character?

During a game my friend chose to split his Tau Commander’s Cyclic Ion Blasters between my Farseer and my Falcon carrying a unit of Banshees, he resolved the attacks against the Falcon first and destroyed it. When the Banshees disembarked from the Falcon I was able to put them within 3” of my Farseer and closer to the Tau Commander, which would prevent him from targeting the Farseer via the “Look Out, Sir” rule. Would the Commander still be able to shoot the Farseer despite him no longer being a valid target? I ruled that since the Farseer was a valid target when he declared it he would still be able to shoot. – Angrytiki

You played this correctly here’s why though. The look out sir rule states:

Models cannot target a unit that contains any CHARACTER models with a Wounds characteristic of 9 or less with a ranged weapon while that CHARACTER unit is within 3″ of any of the following:

  • A friendly unit that contains 1 or more VEHICLE or MONSTER models with a wounds characteristic of 10 or more.
  • A friendly non-CHARACTER unit that contains 1 or more VEHICLE or MONSTER models.
  • A friendly non-CHARACTER unit that contains 3 or more models.

In all cases, if that CHARACTER unit is both visible to the firing model and it is the closest enemy unit to the firing model, it can be targeted normally. When determining if that CHARACTER unit is the closest enemy unit to the firing model, ignore other enemy units that contain any CHARACTER models with a Wounds characteristics of 9 or less.

This rule makes an important distinction, it only limits targeting. It doesn’t limit resolving attacks. The shooting phase has several key steps.

  1. Select Targets
  2. Determine the Number of Attacks
  3. Make the actual attacks.

For the same reasons that you still resolve attacks against units you can no longer see, or why you don’t have to slow roll every rapid fire shot in case the unit gets more than half range away. Characters that were legal targets when in step 1, can still have attacks resolved against them by that unit. Once yout targets are decided and the number of attacks determined they remain “locked in” until you finish shooting with the unit.

Shooting through other units

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 abilities

I had a few people ask me about this week, and it came up a few times in games. 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.

Harlequins – Shooting from Open Topped Transports, where to measure from

Whilst this issue does apply to other factions, Harlequins are extra special.

Can harlequin players still shoot pistols from any point on the physical model (hull if hull still existed on models with a base) of an open-topped transport? In case this needs some clarification, there has been some discussion on a TTS Discord about whether “model” now consistently refers to a model’s base due to the new verbiage in the measuring distances section. – Erick 

Let’s look at the particulars for this issue, first measuring distances in 9th.

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.- [GT2020 Pg58, Core PDF Pg5]

Okay so you only measure to the hull by default if the model doesn’t have a base. Raiders and Venoms do have bases but also their version of open topped has oddly not been updated by the FAQs.

Open-topped: Models embarked on this model can attack in their Shooting phase. Measure the range and draw line of sight from any point on this model. When they do so, any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers; for example, the passengers cannot shoot (except with Pistols) if this model is within 1″ of an enemy unit. Note that, due to their Rising Crescendo ability, the passengers can shoot if this model Falls Back.- [Harlequins Codex]

Starweavers (and a few other Eldar transports) have always been a bit odd, despite their open topped rules saying to measure from “any point on the model” they don’t have an equivalent of the hover tank rule the proper tanks have. So measuring for the vehicle itself is from it’s base. This means that the passengers can actually be closer to enemy models than the tank itself is. It is odd that this rule hasn’t been updated but it’s also pretty clear that for the units inside you should measure from the hull, because the rule specifically tells you to do so.

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

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 rerroll just one dice per model?

First 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.

NEW! – Ignore Modifiers vs Change Characteristic abilities

I took a Culexus Assassin vs Space Wolves. Culexus has a rule that says you treat the BS and WS as a 6+. Space Wolves have a stratagem that ignores any and all modifiers, Keen Senses. My opponent argued that the BS and WS change of the Culexus was a modifier and he could ignore it with his stratagem, but I said it was not a modifier. Are modifiers a general change to the BS or WS like the Culexus’ ability, or is it specifically the +1/-1 given to models after rerolls? Thanks!

I think you were correct, that “treat as having BS/WS 6+” is not a modifier as far as the rules are concerned. This probably needs another FAQ to be 100% certain but there are some related FAQs for modifiers that I think allow you to resolve this consistently. Essentially there are two types of “modifier”;

Many rules modify the characteristics of models and weapons. All modifiers to a characteristic are cumulative; you must apply division modifiers before applying multiplication modifiers, and before applying addition and then subtraction modifiers. Round any fractions up after applying all modifiers. 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.

Arithmetic Modifiers (add, subtract, multiply and divide) and Replacement Modifiers, the ones that tell you to replace on characteristic with a specified value. Importantly Replacement Modifiers are to be done before arithmetic ones. Currently my position on “treat as” abilities is that are neither of those types and are therefore not modifiers. The Culexus ability uses “treat as”.

Etherium: When resolving an attack that targets this model, the attacking model is treated as having a Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill characteristic of 6+.

I do have some FAQs reasoning for this, but the FAQs are not 100% in agreement about this interaction. This is what I mean about it needing it’s own FAQ because applying precedent like this is not a solid argument – 40k rules are not litigation. I’ve mentioned these examples before when talking about “treat as AP0” abilities.

Q: If the Dour Duty Stratagem is used on a unit that is within 6″ of a model with the Bastion Warlord Trait, will enemy attacks with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -2 that are made against that unit be treated as AP -1 or AP 0?
A:The attacks will be treated as AP 0. The Dour Duty Stratagem turns any attacks with AP -2 that are made against that unit into AP -1, at which point the Bastion Warlord Trait will cause them to be treated as AP 0. – [Faith & Fury FAQ]

And for clarity here’s the wording for the stratagem and for that Warlord Trait.

Dour Duty: Use this Stratagem in your opponent’s Shooting phase or your Charge phase, when an IRON WARRIORS unit from your army is chosen as the target for an attack. Until the end of that phase, when resolving an attack made with a ranged weapon against that unit, worsen the Armour Penetration characteristic of that weapon by 1 for that attack (e.g. AP -1 becomes AP 0). 
Bastion: When resolving an attack made with a weapon that has an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 against a friendly IRON WARRIORS unit that is within 6″ of this Warlord and receiving the benefit of cover, that weapon is treated as having an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0

This is why I don’t think “treated as” is a modifier; if it was it would be a Replacement modifier, as in “change AP-1 to AP0”. However as I pointed out the rules for those modifers say they happen before arithmetic ones. So this FAQ explaining to apply the arithmetic one first (worsening AP-2 to AP-1 by adding 1) and then basing the “treat as” ability on it’s new value indicates to me that they are an entirely separate thing.

Charge Phase


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. 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).

Ignoring Look Out Sir?

2-. 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.

Regarding Charging into and out of Ruins

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

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

Charging flyers, it’s a bit broken RAW at the minute. This section of the AIRCRAFT rules is why.

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.- [GT2020 Pg66, Core PDF Pg13]

As models can’t end within Engagement Range of them when making ANY kind of move, with no exception for models that can Fly. It gets even more confusing for units that have a hove mode because the majority of these say the unit is no longer affected by Airborne, the one rule still implying Aircraft should be chargeable. You can read more about AIRCRAFT and their rules here. However…

Wings: We obviously do not think this is the intent or endorse playing like this – this will be swiftly fixed, as it’s clear from other rules that FLY units are still supposed to be able to melee AIRCRAFT. I cannot imagine any TO worth their salt seriously arguing that all AIRCRAFT are always unchargeable, even by units with FLY, and people shouldn’t try and argue it in their home games either!

Fight Phase

Fight Range and tight gaps with oversized models.

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. 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?

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 sucessful 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 soemthing 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.

Dreadnought kills last model in 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

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

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

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

Fight Order Altering Abilities

Counter Offensive different types of Fight Last effects (Judiciar vs Supression Fire)

Updates to the Judiciar ability (and others) have created two different groups of abilities. Some no prevent use of Counter offensive and some are still interruptable

Counter Offensive: Use this stratagem after an enemy unit has fought in this turn. Select on of your own elgibie units and fight with it next.

Eligible units are define on Pg74 of GT2020 (Pg21 of Core PDF)

An eligible unit is one that is within Engagement Range of an enemy unit and/or made a charge move in the same turn.

So for counter offence you can select any eligible unit, which is any that meet the criteria set in the Fight Phase rules.

Judiciar affects this by making the unit “not eligible”.

At the start of the Fight Phase, you can select one enemy unit within 3” of this model. That unit is not eligible to fight this phase until after all eligible units from your army have done so.

Where as the whirlwind does not make them “not eligible” it just stops you selecting them using the normal fight phase rules until all the other eligible unit have fought. They are still “eligible” by the fight phase definition.

… if a hit is scored for that attack, then until the start of your next turn the target cannot fire Overwatch or Set to Defend, and cannot be selected to fight until all eligible units from your army have done done so. [SM Code Pg104]

If this wording prevented the counter offensive stratagem from being used then so would the rules for charging units fighting first.

Units that made a charge move this turn fight first in the Fight phase. This means that units that did not make a charge move this turn cannot be selected to fight until after all units that did make a charge move have fought. [GT2020 pg 74, Core Pg21]


Imperial Fists Judiciar

Imperial Fists Judiciar. Credit: Jack Hunter

NEW! – Judiciar vs First Fight Effects

I’ve been playing Slaanesh and nearly every model has the “Quicksilver Swiftness” rule allowing the model to fight first in the fight phase even if they didn’t charge. I recently played a game where I faced the Judiciar for the first time. I ended up in the situation of charging a unit that brought me within 3 inches of him and my opponent triggered his “Tempormortis” rule meaning my model now fights last. We played it out with my models fighting after everything else but when I checked the rules later I found this statement in the “Rare Rules” section of the Core Rule book “If a unit is under the effects of both a rule that always lest it fight first in the Fight phase, and a rule that says it cannot be selected to fight until after all other units have done so it instead fights as if neither rule is affecting it.” The question I have is in the situation where a unit that has a fight first rule charges into, or in the case of a Judiciar within 3 inches of, a model with a rule that can apply a fight last rule how would this play out? Both the fight first rule for the model as well as the fight first for the charge are canceled so you play the fight as standard alternating activations or just the fight first granted by a model rule and the model that charged still goes first because it charged, or does the model that charged just end up fighting last?

Of all the facets of Fight Order I have covered, I can’t believe I’ve looked at the Judiciar as many times as I have and not talked about how it’s new wording interacts with Fight First. The short answer is that units affected by Judiciar – regardless of their own abilities or if they charged that turn – fight last. There’s a reason for this however; once again let’s look at wording for the Judiciar’s ability;

At the start of the Fight Phase, you can select one enemy unit within 3” of this model. That unit is not eligible to fight this phase until after all eligible units from your army have done so.

There are two issues here.

  1. The Judiciar (and a few other new abilities) muck with the fight phase using a different mechanic than old “fight last” effects. These new ones alter a unit’s Eligibility.
  1. The Rare Rule does not cover units affected by the Judiciar ability at all, which is somewhat confusing.

So why doesn’t the rare rule apply here? It’s because it doesn’t actually have the wording the rare rule is looking for.

…and a rule that says it cannot be selected to fight until after all other units…

is not

That unit is not eligible to fight this phase until after all eligible units…

The Fight First abilities require the unit be eligible to fight. If for instance an Slaanesh Daemon is affected by a Judiciar then it’s not eligible, just like all the other units that aren’t in combat that turn who aren’t eligible and can’t fight. The affected unit isn’t eligible and can’t fight, it can’t even be selected, until the Judiciar’s restriction is met.

This unit always fights first in the Fight phase, even if it didn’t charge. If the enemy has units that have charged, or that have a similar ability, then alternate choosing units to fight with, starting with the player whose turn is taking place.

Nothing there says this unit is always eligible. Otherwise the abilities would allow all of them to be selected to fight in every turn, regardless of it they charged or if they have any enemy models within Engagement Range. Eligiblity is defined in the Fight Phase rules.

An eligible unit is one that is within Engagement Range of an enemy unit and/or made a charge move in the same turn. If neither player has any eligible units to fight with, the Fight phase ends.

It’s probably best to think of units affected by Judiciar as just “not being in combat” at all until you’ve resolved everything else (though obviously they’re still able to be the target of attacks).

Heroic Intervention, when do they attack?

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.

Sometimes, however, your heroic intervener will have an ability that lets them fight first, which complicates things. I’ve tried to summarise the fight phase ordering a few times and currently this is the best approach I have come up with.

Where do Heroic Intervention-ers fit on there? It depends. The majority will be in Group 2, just generally eligible units that fight after the enemy’s units that charged have fought. However if the model or unit that Heroically Intervened has a Fight First ability then they would be in Group 1, and fight alternately with the enemy’s units that charged.

Charging and Fight First vs Fight Last

This question has been asked a lot, by a lot of people. The chart above is 99% accurate, it has an issue though. Games Workshop have left the Armour of Russ FAQ for Space Wolves from 8th edition in as a still valid FAQ which seems to directly contradict the new Rare Rule for these abilities. Here’s the rare rule;

Some rules allow a unit in your army to always fight first in the Fight Phase, even if they didn’t make a charge move this turn. If the enemy has units that charged, or that have similar rules, then alternate selecting units to fight with from amongst these units, starting with the player whose turn is taking place.

Similarly, some rules say that a certain unit cannot be selected to fight in the Fight phase until after all other eligible unit have done so. If both players have units that cannot fight until after all other units have done so, then players alternate selecting which of those units to fight with, starting with the player whose turn is taking place. 

If a unit is under the effect of both a rule that always lets it fight first in the Fight phase, and a rule that says it cannot be selected to fight until after all others have done so, it instead fights as if neither rule is affecting it. – GT2020 pg90

So by that rule, a fight last vs a charging unit is fight as they did neither. Some players currently disagree that Charging is a “fight first” rule, but I think that the section on page 74 of GT2020 (pg21 core rules PDF) that says “CHARGING UNITS FIGHT FIRST” qualifies and I think the rare rule agrees (Editor’s note: This seems to be further backed up by the wording on “Strength from Death”, a recently-ish printed “fights first” rule). The other angle of debate is the word “eligible”, some take the Fight Last rules as making the unit in-eligible. Eligibility to fight is quite clearly defined though on that same page.

An eligible unit is one that is within Engagement Range of an enemy unit and/or made a charge move in the same turn.

Fight Last units still meet this definition, they are still an eligible unit. This is why you can always use the Counter Offensive stratagem even on Fight Last unit. Okay then but what does the Armour of Russ FAQ say?

[Old Answer before Space Wolve Supplement Removed]

Armour of Russ in the new Space Wolves supplement now has new wording similar to the Judiciar ability, so this ambiguity has been cleared up now.

Necrons – Number of Attacks for new weapons that do “additional” attacks.

Thanks so much for your expertise and awesome explanations! It’s really help me get started in Warhammer (started Oct 2020). Question about how the # of attacks (fight phase) is calculated when there are special weapon abilities. Skorpekh destroyers have 3 attacks. When wielding the Hyperphase Thresher weapon, it says that “Each time the bearer fights, it makes 1 additional attack with this weapon”. Does this mean that the number of Attacks = 6 or 4? As these models have 2 Threshers apiece, I can see the argument for 6 attacks (3 attacks with 2 blades = 6 attacks) as well as 4. Thanks. – Mike

First of you are most welcome! I’m here to help! Necrons actually have a two units like this that I’m aware of, other than just the Skorpekhs, so let’s cover them both.

Skorpekh  Destroyers

The first thing to notice is that the models do not have 2 Hyperphase Threshers, they have a single weapon called Hyperphase Threshers plural. That single weapon profile represents all the weapons they are equipped with. With that established it’s the exact wording of the ability for the Hyperphase Threshers is what matters here.

Each time the bearer fights, it makes one additional attack with this weapon.

Fighting in the 9th ruleset is not making an attack with the weapon, it’s being activated to fight in the fight phase. This only happens once per unit, unless the unit is affected by an ability that allows it to fight again. So for the models equipped with Threshers it’s their base 3 attacks + 1 Additional attack, for 4 attacks total for that fight activation. If the models did have mutliple Threshers it would be one additional per weapon though, for a total of 5. 

Ophyidian Destroyers

These are a little bit more confusing. Again the weapons are plurals so regardless of how many threshers or closes these models have stuck to them the profiles represent all of them. The standard load out with Hyperphase Threshers and Ophydian Claws will have 3 base attacks, you can choose which weapon these are resolved using though between the two and then you get the additional attacks for the two weapons on top of that. So the model could chose for example to allocate them like this;

  • 3+1 Hyperhphase Thresher Attacks and 2 Ophydian Claw Attacks OR
  • 1 Hyperphase Thresher Attack and 3+2 Ophydian Claw Attacks OR
  • X+1 Hyperphase Thresheser Attacks and Y+2 Ophydian Claw Attacks where the values used satisfy X+Y=3

The special model in the unit that replaces it’s threshers with a reap blade can also choose how it allocates, so it could decide to put all of it’s attacks into the claws if it really wanted to, not that I can think of a reaon why you would ever want to.

Skorpekh Destroyers

Skorpekh Destroyers. Credit: Chris Cowie



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