Ruleshammer Q&A – Compendium

An article by    Gaming Ruleshammer Warhammer 40k        0

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!

9th Edition Rules Breakdowns

Core Rules / Big FAQs

Building Armies – Terrain Guide – Dice, Re-rolls & Modifying Characteristics – Engagement Range – ActionsAuras and Fast Dice

FAQ Jan 2021

Movement Phase

Aircraft¹ – Types of Move – Transports¹

Shooting Phase

Look Out SirBig Guns Never Tire

Charge Phase

Charging and Heroic Intervention

Fight Phase

Coming soon

Morale Phase

Coming soon

still got plenty to cover!

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

Chaos: Death Guard
Xenos: Necrons – Drukhari – Orks
Astartes: Space Marines – Blood Angels – Dark Angels –  Death Watch – Space Wolves
Imperium: Adeptus MechanicusAdepta Sororitas

Last Updated 2021-06-07
¹ Updates pending.

Table of Contents

Core Rules

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.

“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.

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.

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.

UPDATED – Tau – Mont’ka and Falling Back

This has finally been resolved once and for all by a new set of expansions to the Remain Stationary rare rule.

Rules That Count As Remaining Stationary
Some rules allow a unit to count as having Remained Stationary, or count as if it had not moved, even if that unit has moved during its Movement phase. The following rules apply to these type of rules:
1. Such rules, if they apply in the Shooting phase, mean that a unit is eligible to shoot even if it has Advanced or Fallen Back this turn.
2. Such rules, if they apply in the Shooting phase, mean that Infantry models do not suffer the penalty to hit rolls incurred for firing Heavy weapons in the same turn that their unit has moved.
3. Such rules, if they apply in the Shooting phase, mean that models do not suffer the penalty to hit rolls incurred for firing Assault weapons in the same turn that their unit has Advanced.

The first point above above covers Montka clearly:

Mont’ka: In a turn in which a Commander unit from your army declared Mont’ka, at the start of your Movement phase you can select any friendly units within 6″ of that unit. Until the end of that turn, the selected units can shoot as if they did not move this turn.

At last the ambiguous period is over and Tau can make full use of their once per game (twice if Commander Farsight is on the table) ability to fall back and shoot, I can’t wait to see how this effects the next competitive tiers table.

Original answer 2021-01-13

Moving near a Defence Line Terrain feature

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.

I’ve covered this in detail and more in my Terrain Rules Guide.

Movement – Can I place a model where it doesn’t physically fit?

Had a few readers asking about this recently. There have been arguments that the rules support an interpretation that so long as the base of a model fits (I’ll cover hull models in a later article as those aren’t as debated) 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.

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.

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.


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.

Strategic Reserves and Fortifications

Can a Hammerfall Bunker (or any other unit without a move) be put into Strategic Reserves – I couldn’t see anything which would prevent this specifically based on having the building tag or a move of “-“. For most types of these units I could see it as a ‘Don’t be stupid’ but the fluff for the Hammerfall implies that it is meant to be dropped down and Strategic Reserves would be a way of implementing this given that GW forgot to give it Death From Above.

I think I got this question before the FAQ that prevented this was added, but now we have an answer to this question:

Units with the Fortifications Battlefield Role are terrain features that are part of your army. Unless otherwise stated, when setting Fortifications up on the battlefield, they cannot be set up within 3″ of any other terrain feature that is not part of its own datasheet (excluding hills, page 260). If it is not possible to set up a Fortification as a result, it cannot be deployed and counts as having been destroyed. Fortifications can never be placed into Strategic Reserves (pg 256).

As a Fortification the Hammerfall Bunker is prevented from being placed into Strategic Reserves.

UPDATED – Chaos Space Marines – Dreadclaw Drop Pods – when can I disembark from them?

Can the chaos space marines dreadclaw disembark its models after arriving or do I have to wait until the next turn?

Dreadclaws finally got the two FAQs they needed to function sensibly in 40k.

Hover Transport: Change this ability on both of these datasheets to read: ‘Distances are measured to and from either this model’s hull or its base, whichever is the closest.

Now when mounted to that flying stand, models can measure from either the hull or the base when disembarking, which was sort of necessary for it to function at all!

Drop Pod Assault: Add the following sentence onto the end of this ability on both of these datasheets: ‘Any units embarked within this transport can immediately disembark after it has been set up on the battlefield for the first time, and if they do so, they must be set up more than 9″ away from any enemy models.

I want to draw attention though to this addition because it’s not quite the same as a loyalist Drop Pod (where models have to disembark) – it’s a choice for the Dreadclaw’s occupants. It stands to reason that if you’re bringing one of these in your lists then in most cases they will want to disembark, but it’s not forced on them and they only have to remain outside of 9″ of enemy models if they disembark using this rule.

Original answer 2021-01-07

Credit: Forgeworld

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.

Attempts vs Casts (Also Psychic Action Denial ambiguity)

Many Psykers have a cast X number of psychic powers so if you fail the second cast attempt can you attempt a third cast since the rule doesn’t say X attempts to cast but can cast X number of powers?

I’m not sure if you’re looking at some really old wording for a Psyker here but the latest Space Marine codex wording is this.

This model can attempt to manifest two psychic powers in your Psychic phase and attempt to deny one psychic power in your opponent’s Psychic phase. It knows Smite and two psychic powers from the Librarius discipline (pg 110).

This wording clearly says “attempt to manifest two psychic powers” with this psyker, so no it’s just two attempts at two powers. Not several attempts until you have managed to cast two powers.

The powers also have to be unique.

When you select a Psyker unit to manifest psychic powers, you select one psychic power that unit knows and attempt to manifest it. With the exception of Smite, you cannot attempt to manifest the same psychic power more than once in the same battle round, even with different Psyker units. [Core Rules, Pg..14]

So you can’t keep trying to cast a singular power with the same psyker or even multiple psykers, unless you’re attempting to cast Smite with multiple psykers.

Psychic Action denial vs Psychic Power Denial

What absolutely isn’t clear at the minute (so if you’re reading this expecting an answer then sorry), is if denying a Psychic Action uses up a Psychic Power denial. It’s very clear that doing a Psychic action means that that psyker can’t use any powers.

A PSYKER unit from your army can attempt to perform a psychic action in its Psychic phase instead of attempting to manifest any psychic powers. [Chapter Approved: Grand Tournament 2020, Pg 77]

The section on denying them with Psykers is less clear though.

The opposing player can then select one of their PSYKER units that is within 24″ of the PSYKER unit attempting to perform the psychic action and attempt to deny that action in the same manner as if it were attempting to deny a psychic power, by passing a Deny the Witch test. [GT2020 pg.77]

There’s a lot of “as if” and “in the same manner as” in there but the actual rules for Psykers say they can

…and attempt to deny {number} psychic powers(s) in your opponent’s Psychic phase…

So it’s really left unclear on if denying a Psychic Action counts as using up a Psychic Power denial or not, or if this section is just saying that all Psykers can deny actions and this is how they can do so. You are limited to only one attempt to deny per action anyway by the text of the rule. Really hoping for an FAQ on this but I’m not sure how frequently the Psychic Action secondaries are being taken because of how punishing Abhor the Witch is.

Shooting Phase

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

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).

 Aeldari – 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

The answer to this hasn’t changed, it was yes before and it’s yes now. It’s nice to have it clarified by a specific rule though in the new FAQ.

OUT OF PHASE RULES AND EMBARKING ON TRANSPORTS We wish to add an example to explain how the Out of Phase rules apply to units. When a unit uses a rule to make a move as if it were the Movement phase, all the normal rules that would apply in the Movement phase apply when making that move. For example, models in that unit cannot finish that move within Engagement Range of any enemy models, and if every model in that unit finishes that move wholly within 3″ of a friendly Transport model, they can embark within that Transport model following the normal Movement phase rules regarding embarkation.

However I would point out that for a lot of the unspecified movement type rules that still exist from 8th edition, they can now only make a Normal move regardless of if the rule doesn’t restrict them or not.

*Page 366 – Rules Term Glossary Add the following: Move normally: Rules that refer to move/moves/moving normally are the same thing as making a Normal Move, e.g. a rule that states ‘instead of moving this unit normally’ means ‘instead of making a Normal Move with this unit’. If a rule simply tells you to make a move as if it were the Movement phase, but does not specify what kind of move is being made, it is a Normal Move.

I’m already seeing this new glossary definition be used in places it’s not relevant though. This really is only about abilities that allow a unit to move, and from now on that move unless stated otherwise is normal. Rules that don’t specify moves for things like “if it did not move” aren’t suddently “only if it did not make a normal move”.

UPDATED – Regarding Twilight Pathways

It’s gone Jim! The FAQ that made this interaction ambiguous has been deleted from the document, though we here at Goonhammer HQ still feel that strike through formatting would communicate this better than removal. As such it’s at least now clear that units can not advance when using this.

Original answer 2021-01-13

Can I fire and fade Aircraft into Strategic Reserves?

Considering the fact that in the event that an aircraft cannot make it’s minimum move or moves off any table edge, it is put into reserves, would it be possible for you fire and fade and Aeldari aircraft into strategic reserves? The action of going into strategic reserves is not phase bound, but movement bound, I would thusly state that the precedence of fire and fading into a transport would also apply to this. – Elrico Botha

You can’t do this because you can’t use Fire and Fade on AIRCRAFT keyword models.

*Page 119 – Stratagems, Fire and Fade Change the first sentence to read: ‘You can use this Stratagem after an Asuryani unit from your army (excluding Aircraft) shoots in your Shooting phase.’

However if you could use it on Aircraft then it would work, though I would like to mention that moving into Strategic Reserves is bound the movement phase.

If you have a Battle-forged army, AIRCRAFT units from your army can, in your Movement phase, move off the edge of the battlefield (assuming it has sufficient Move for any part of its base (or hull) to touch the edge of the battlefield). If an AIRCRAFT unit does so, it is placed into Strategic Reserves. Similarly, if you have an AIRCRAFT unit with a minimum Move characteristic that cannot make its minimum move, or is forced to move off the battlefield because of its minimum move, then it is placed into Strategic Reserves.

But as the stratagem says “as if it were the Movement phase” then these rules would apply, if Aircraft were a valid target for the Stratagem.

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

So after a lot of back and forth on these abilities we now have a consistent rare rule that covers all defensive abilities such as Ignore AP ones.

Defensive Rules that Apply to Attacks with Specific Characteristics Some rules only apply against attacks that have a specific characteristic. For example, ‘Each time an attack with an Armour Penetration characteristic of -1 is allocated to a model in this unit, that attack has an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0 instead.’ Each time you determine if such a rule is triggered, and so applies, always use the modified characteristics of that attack at the Allocate Attack step of the attack sequence. In the example above, that means that if an attack which originally has an Armour Penetration characteristic of 0, but then is modified by another rule before the Allocate Attack step to be -1, then at the Allocate Attack step it would then trigger the ability and be changed back to 0 instead.

It’s important to note when they’ve said the characteristic for triggered it determined though as I’ve already seen this confused. Allocating Attacks is not “targeting models with weapons”, as in “I’ll put 5 of my Bolters into that unit and 5 into your unit over there”. Allocate Attacks is the third step of the “Making Attacks” rules.

3. ALLOCATE ATTACK If an attack successfully wounds the target unit, the player commanding the target unit allocates that attack to one model in the target unit (this can be to any model in the unit and does not have to be allocated to a model that is within range of, or visible to, the attacking model). If a model in the target unit has already lost any wounds or has already had attacks allocated to it this phase, the attack must be allocated to that model.

So after an attack has made a successful hit roll and wound roll, any abilities that might alter the AP based on those rolls would still take effect and the abilities to ignore the AP trigger based on that value. So if being fired upon by Tau using the Through Unity Devastation Warlord Trait, the 6s to wound that become AP-1 would be ignored by a “treat AP-1 as AP0 ” ability still.

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.

“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.

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.

Note: This wasn’t resolve by the changes brough in by the new rare rule (see Ignore AP Abilities and AP Modifiers above) as these abilities do no apply to attacks that have specific characteristics. Though arguably it signalled intent for resolving “treat as” wording as not being a modifier. 

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.

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 Aircraft seems to be (and mostly is) against the rules when you first read them. 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. GW addressed this with a recent FAQ which I talked about earlier in the week.

It is not normally possible to end any kind of move within Engagement Range of an enemy Aircraft model. However, many Aircraft models have an ability (e.g. Airborne) that specifically says that they can only be charged by enemy units that can Fly. Such rules take precedence over those in the Core book, and units that can Fly can indeed declare a charge against an Aircraft model, and they can end a charge move within Engagement Range of it. [Core Book FAQ pg.3] 

On the one hand, yay they confirmed that Aircraft can be charged by flying units. Any sensible pregame discussion was coming to this conclusion in my opinion and it absolutely still should regardless of what I’m about to say next. They went and tied this rule to the presence of rules such as Airborne. This on the surface might seem fine, it’s when you get to things that have a hover mode rules that it gets silly again.

Hover Jet: Before this model moves in your Movement phase, you can declare it will hover. Its Move characteristic becomes 20″ until the end of the phase, and it loses the Airborne, Hard to Hit and Supersonic abilities until the beginning of your next Movement phase. 

By losing Airborne it loses the “such rules” that allow it to be charged. All that being said, forget I pointed this out. It’s really pedantic and if anyone tried to play with this interpretation seriously I would laugh.

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.

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

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.

UPDATED – 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

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. 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.



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