Ruleshammer Q&A – Compendium

9th Edition Rules Breakdowns

Core Rules / Big FAQs

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

Movement Phase

Aircraft¹ – Types of Move – Transports¹

Shooting Phase

Look Out Sir – Big Guns Never Tire

Charge Phase

Charging and Heroic Intervention

Fight Phase

Coming eventually

Morale Phase

Coming eventually

still got plenty to cover!

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

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

Last Updated 2022-02-05 ¹ Updates pending.

Table of Contents

Core Rules

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

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

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

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

A Transport Explodes and destroys another Transport, Which Also Explodes… help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Splitting Units and ObSec

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Redeploy Abilities and Stratagems – can they deploy a unit to off the battlefield?

So the contradicting FAQs from my previous answer on this have been removed. In there place there is now one Core FAQ on these abilities (stratagem or not).

REDEPLOYING UNITS If a unit has an ability that allows it to be set up in a location other than the battlefield, or is eligible for a Stratagem that allows a unit to be set up in a location other than the battlefield, and that unit is selected for an ability that allows it to be redeployed, that unit cannot be set up in any location other than on the battlefield unless specified in the redeployment ability itself.

So this limits any ability that don’t specify they can redeploy to being reinforcements via their own abilities or strategic reserves, must redeploy on the battlefield. Previous Answer

Related to Thousand Sons but not really part of their Ruleshammer level issues is the subject of Redeploy Stratagems. There are now contradictory FAQs, and some books that have them that don’t have this FAQed. Applying FAQs from a faction to another faction is always a bit of a grey area (see below) but this is a bit more messy.

Rapid Redeployment At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins, select up to three ULTRAMARINES units from your army on the battlefield. Remove them from the battlefield and set them up again as described in the Deployment section of the mission (if both players have abilities that redeploy units, roll off; the winner chooses who redeploys their units first).

Ultramarines FAQ Q. When setting up a unit again using the Rapid Redeployment Stratagem, can that unit use any abilities that allow it to be set up in other locations (e.g. Teleport Strike)?A: No.

Compare this to the new Thousand Sons FAQ and ability for Master Misinformator:

Master Misinformator At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn begins, select up to D3 CULT OF DUPLICITY units (excluding VEHICLES) from your army. Remove those units and this WARLORD from the battlefield then set them up again following the normal deployment rules for the mission being played.

Thousands Sons FAQ Q: If a unit has an ability that allows it to be set up in a location other than the battlefield, or is eligible for a Stratagem that allows a unit to be set up in a location other than the battlefield (such as Webway Infiltration or Risen Rubricae), can this be done when they are selected by the Master Misinformator Warlord Trait? A: Yes, unless the mission specifies that units cannot be set up in that manner. For example, the mission may specify that units must be set up on the battlefield.

These are very similar abilities, but the Ultramarines FAQ answer was written during 8th edition and the Thousand Sons one was a few weeks ago. Once again we’re left with resolving this in the pregame discussion and personally I strongly believe that the Thousand Sons FAQ should indicate intent in 9th edition here.

Moving near models with parts sticking out

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

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

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?

Q: With the new wording on the auras of captains and lieutenants does the aura function as it did in 8th edition or has it changed to allow you to 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.

GT2021 To The Last  – Splitting units and when that occurs.

Q: To the Last (aka While We Stand We Fight) was changed in CA 2021 so that units which “split” after the start of the battle only award 5 points if all parts of the unit survive, 3 points otherwise, with the example given by GW of Tau drones. How does this work with pre-battle splitting of units, such as combat squadding? Is your ‘To the Last’ (1) the pre-splitting unit, 5 points if both halves survive, 3 points otherwise; (2) the pre-splitting unit, 5 points if at least one half survives; or (3) the post-splitting unit (so half of the unit on your army list), 5 points if it survives. And if (3) is correct, then do you use the (roughly) halved post-splitting points value to work out if it’s one of your 3 most expensive units. I think the answer is (2), but it seems too good to be true. Thanks! Tim UPDATE: This answer is partially out of date due to changes to how Drones work in Tau armies. However because Drones can still split just not always split it is still relevant. So essentially I don’t think GW are using terminology consistently with regard to this rule, both the timing of the splits and the points cost to use are slightly ambiguous.

If you select this objective, then before the battle, after you have selected deployment zones, identify which three units from your army (excluding those with the Fortifications Battlefield Role) have the highest points value, and make a note of them on your army roster (if two or more are tied, you choose between them). If your army has three or fewer units, you instead identify all the units in your army. A unit’s points value includes the points of all weapons, other wargear and upgrades it is has. You score 5 victory points for each of these units that are on the battlefield at the end of the battle. If a unit splits into several smaller units during a battle, all of those separate units (excluding DRONE units) must be on the battlefield at the end of the battle to score 5 victory points; if some of those separate units (excluding DRONE units) are on the battlefield at the end of the battle, but not all of them are, you score 3 victory points instead of 5.

Rules as written this basically has a tonne of holes if you use “Step 14 Begin The Battle” to when “the battle” in this rule starts. Much like how we now have an FAQ that clarified that Deployment is starts at “Step 10 Declare Reserves” rather than “Step 11 Deploy Armies”.

  • At the Start of Deployment: A rule that happens ‘at the start of deployment’, is resolved at the start of the ‘Declare Transports and Reserves’ step of the sequence. Combat Squads (see Codex: Space Marines) is an example of just such a rule.
  • During Deployment: A rule that happens ‘during deployment’ can happen any time between the start of the ‘Declare Transports and Reserves’ step and the end of the ‘Deploy Armies’ step

If you use Step 14 then Combat Squads will have happened before determining which three units this is. However this is not what is written, it exact wording “before the battle, after you selected deployment zones”. That exact moment is before you declare reserves and therefore before any “at the start of deployment rules” such as Combat Squads. As such the points value question for these units is the whole unit, it hasn’t split yet so that ambiguity doesn’t occur. Tau drone also don’t split up from the unit’s they accompany til later on in the deployment sequence so in my opinion those should be included, the exclusions for drones are about not needing to keep them alive to score 5VP, there’s no exclusion for them in the points cost for the unit. So that answers the points cost issue but there’s still ambiguity about the 5/3VP for a unit that splits during the battle.

Blood Ravens Incursors. Credit – Soggy

You’ve just determined that the larger unit of Intercessors your army has is one of your most expensive, and you use Combat Squads on that unit during the Declare Reserves step. Has this unit split during the battle? Tau Drones are actually similar to this.

When a unit is set up on the battlefield, any accompanying Drones must be placed in unit coherency with it. From that point onwards, the accompanying Drones are treated as a separate unit.

they split up during the Deploy Armies step of the battle if they’re brought with Battlesuits or Infantry. The only time a drones unit splits into a smaller unit during an actual battle round is when detaching from a Tau vehicle.

Detach: Both Gun Drones can detach at the start of your Movement phase by disembarking as if from a transport. From that point onwards, they are treated as a separate unit. They cannot reattach during the battle.

Or when a Battlesuit unit is set up from reinforcements. There’s other abilities likes this, Vehicle Squadrons and it’s derivatives split units up when the unit is set up for the first time. This will usually be during deployment before Step 14 as well, but some maverick might decide to Strategic Reserve a unit of Leman Russes or a brood of Carnifexes. So this would leave us in a position where neither Combat Squads or Drones meet the criteria for To The Last. In fact by splitting the units picked earlier we have essentially removed those units and replaced them with smaller units and would always score 0VP for this objective. This is pretty ridiculous. As such I actually recommend that this nuance be ignored, as I think it is already by the majority of players. My personal opinion on it is that Games Workshop are a little inconsistent with “game” and “battle” in the terminology. By the time you get to “start battle” in the steps you have two battle-forged armies, of a certain battle size, on a battlefield, my point is that the steps 1 through 16 describe how to wage¹ a battle of warhammer 40k and that the common sense approach to this is to treat all unit splitting abilities are being covered by the “if a unit splits” clause. Which is a shame because I’m not a big fan of taking a Rules as Intended approach here but so much of this secondary just doesn’t work with out. ¹ The first line of the Grand Tournament steps is “A Grand Tournament 2021 game is waged by following the sequence below”. Are games waged? Battles are certainly waged I know that for sure.

Assassination secondary and Character Units

Q: How does the CHARACTER keyword work for the Gaunt’s Ghosts models, especially in relation to Look Out, Sir and the Assassinate secondary? Also can “Try Again” Bragg shoot his autocannon until he hits or can he only shoot again once? Lets check the wording of the Secondary to start off with.

Score 3 victory points at the end of the Battle for each enemy CHARACTER model that is destroyed. If the enemy WARLORD was destroyed during the battle gain 1 additional victory point.

This is unfortunately as straightforward as it appears, models in the unit all have the CHARACTER key so each model killed is worth 3 VP for the enemy. Making the unit on its own capable of maximising the secondary for the enemy – that’s a pretty rough penalty for fielding them.

Setting up larger Fliers

Ares Gunship
Ares Gunship

Q: Hey love the articles! I could really use some help on the rules for whether or not a Tyranid Harridan (or any large flier with shortest dimension >12″) can act turn 1 in a Dawn of War deployment in matched play. Because the model has a base and has no special rule to measure from the hull, coupled with the definition of ‘Wholly Within’ being ‘Base (or Hull)’ and a Designer’s Note allowing fliers with large overhangs/wings to overhang the edge of the deployment zone if base is Wholly Within the deployment zone, the consensus among Tyranid communities is that rules support acting turn 1, but I find TO/League organizers ruling otherwise and often inconsistenly. I’d much appreciate you and the team’s help in trying to settle this once and for all! So we have a few rules on this to consider, firstly from the deployment step of the GT2020

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

and secondly from the Core Rules FAQ

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

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

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

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

Movement Phase

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

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

Make no Advance Roll vs Advance Roll Modifiers

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

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

Hierophant and Sareptek Heavy Constructs Moving around Terrain

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

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

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

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

Breachable trait and moving through Walls

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

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

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

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

Move through enemy model abilities and ignored Engagement Range

Q: 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.

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

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

Moving near a Defence Line Terrain feature

Q: As defence line only extends ‘fight’ range and not engagement range, can a unit move to within 2″ of a unit behind a defence line terrain feature to fight a unit across from it?  Yes this is allowed, I think. The defence line rules specifically changes eligibility to fight, however there is one potentially unclear part.

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

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

GSC – Ambush out of your deployment

Q: Can a model, like a Goliath truck, using the ambush marker rule, be deployed outside of your deployment zone? Within 1″ of your ambush marker? Outside 9″ of any enemy models. Yes, using the current Cult Ambush rule, in fact that first model placed doesn’t even need to be more than 9″ away from the enemy.

If you have the first turn, you must reveal all of your ambush markers at the start of your Movement phase, one at a time, before moving any units. Each time you reveal an ambush marker, select one unit from your army that you set up in ambush, then set up one model from that unit within 1″ of that ambush marker. Then remove that marker before setting up the rest of that model’s unit wholly within 6″ of the first model, wholly within your deployment zone and more than 9″ from any enemy models (any models that cannot be placed are destroyed).

The within your deployment zone and more than 9″ requirements only apply to all the subsequent models deployed after that first one.

Reinforcments/ Reserves and Adding Models

Using a Stratagem on a unit not on the board

Q: 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

Q: Do units starting the battle set up somewhere else other than on the battlefield (e.g. Terminators, Inceptors) lose their detachment abilities, because they count as reinforcements, and are therefore not part of any detachment? This seems to be what the rules say, but when I suggested this on a forum, people were pretty unhappy about it! Thanks – Daniel Wright If you want to include a unit of Terminators in your army they should fill the appropriate Elite slot in one of your detachments, and they are still considered part of that detachment if you set them up off the battlefield to teleport in later. So they do get any detachment abilities the other units would. I asked around here at Goonhammer HQ to try and find where this confusion might be originating and we found this section.

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

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

Splitting Horrors are they Reinforcements?

Q: 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

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

Daemons/CSM – Can I Summon Daemons in Round 1

Q: 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.

Strategic Reserves and Fortifications

Q: 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:

Fortifications 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.

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

Q: 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


Aeldari – Battle Focus and Falling Back

Q: New FAQ raised a question/exploit about Craftworlds’ Battle Focus “If this unit moves or Advances in its Movement phase, weapons (excluding Heavy weapons) are used as if the unit had remained stationary”. Does it allow Aeldari to fallback and shoot without repercussions or should we read Battle Focus as (If this unit makes Normal Move or Advances in its Movement phase, weapons (excluding Heavy weapons) are used as if the unit had remained stationary)” As this ability is from 8th edition I personally think the second read is the intent here. The term “normal move” didn’t exist in 8th and fundamentally if it’s not Normal Move or Advance then there’s no reason to mention any of the subset of moves. The rule could have been written in 8th as “weapons (excluding Heavy weapons) are used as if the unit had remained stationary” without the first bit entirely, if you read “move” to include falling back.

Psychic Phase

Psykers and Engagement Range

Q: 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 S

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Smites wording in 8th was “If manifested, the closest visible enemy unit within 18″ of the psyker suffers d3 mortal wounds….” and in 9th, the wording is now, “If manifested, the closest enemy unit within 18″ of and visible to the psyker suffers d3 mortal wounds…” It was argued that the wording change means smite can no longer snipe targets because of placement. If an enemy unit is closer, but the psyker cannot see them, no other unit would meet the requirements for smite targeting as it now has to be the closest enemy unit to the psyker AND visible. Did smite actually change or is my group reading into to this too much? – Michael Short answer, yes they’re reading into it too much. The result of both these sentences is the same target limitations. Essentially both sentences aren’t asking for the closest enemy unit out of all enemy units. They are both asking for the closest enemy unit out of the subset of units that are both within 18” of the Psyker and visible to the Psyker. So the power entirely ignores the non-visible units in much the same way as it ignores units more than 18” away.

Attempts vs Casts (Also Psychic Action Denial ambiguity)

Q: 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

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

Q: Hello, I own Mortarion and Magnus the red. I’m scared about the new Tau rules. And I was always curious with a specific obscuring terrain rule. Since they both have 18+ wounds. I was wondering if an enemy unit is eligible to shoot through multiple obscuring terrain features to target a model with 18+ wounds. For instance if an enemy unit can shoot two or more obscuring walls to target my 18+ wound unit who is fully behind both? -Amberlei So the really short answer on this is “Yes.” Multiple pieces of area terrain with won’t block targeting an 18+ wound model with the Obscuring rule alone. The Obscuring rule prevents models under 18 wounds that aren’t AIRCRAFT from being seen through the gaps in a terrain piece, the windows, doors and bits of missing wall:

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

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

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

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

Targeting an enemy within Engagement range with Pistols and other weapons.

Q: If a 10 man Tactical squad is in engagement range on 1 Termagant, can they split fire 5 pistols into the lone Termagant and 5 bolters into another unit that is not in engagement range? And resolve the pistols first in order to shoot themselves out of combat in a manner similar to Big Guns Never Tire. – Spence My gut answer to this was going to be “no”… so expect the same if you bring this up in game. However as far as I can tell, I think the answer might be “yes.” I really would recommend you talk to your TO about this; the separation between Targeting and Making Attacks is one where lots of mistakes occur. I thought the restriction would be in targeting but it’s not.

SELECT TARGETS When a unit shoots, you must select the target unit(s) for all of the ranged weapons its models are making attacks with before any attacks are resolved. If a model has more than one ranged weapon, it can shoot all of them at the same target, or it can split the weapons between different enemy units. Similarly, if a unit has more than one model, they can shoot at the same or different targets. In either case, when you select a target unit you must declare which weapons will target that unit before any attacks are resolved. If any of these weapons has more than one profile that you must choose between, you must also declare which profile is being used.

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.

Nothing in there prevents a model within Engagement Range of declaring other enemy units as targets. What is there is the Locked in Combat rule.

LOCKED IN COMBAT Models cannot make attacks with ranged weapons while their unit is within Engagement Range of any enemy models. Models also cannot target enemy units within Engagement Range of any other units from your army – the risk of hitting your own troops is too great.

but this specifically prevents a unit from “Making Attacks”, which is the title of the next section of shooting. It doesn’t prevent a model within Engagement Range from selecting targets. It also only applies while their units is within Engagement Range of enemy models, rather than for the whole phase if they start within Engagement Range of enemy models. Then there’s the Pistol rules to check.

A model can make attacks with a Pistol even when its unit is within Engagement Range of enemy units, but it must target an enemy unit that is within Engagement Range of its own unit when it does so. In such circumstances, the model can target an enemy unit even if other friendly units are within Engagement Range of the same enemy unit.

which specifically is an exemption to the “making attacks” restriction. Regarding Big Guns Never Tire, I think that might even support this interpretation:

Note that if a VEHICLE or MONSTER unit has more than one ranged weapon, you can still choose to target units that are not within Engagement Range of the firing model’s unit, but they will only be able to make the attacks with that weapon if all enemy units within Engagement Range of the firing model’s unit have been destroyed when you come to resolve those attacks.

This reads to me like it’s a note that a VEHICLE, MONSTER, or actually any model can target units in the Shooting phase even with enemy models within Engagement range but before Big Guns Never Tire VEHICLEs and MONSTERs didn’t have the means to remove the Engagement Range models so it wasn’t relevant that it could. With all that read I think the answer is in fact yes, if you manage to kill the Termagant with Pistols so that the unit is not within Engagement Range when you come to make attacks with the Boltguns then those attacks can be resolved.

Body Guard Auras – Again

As if this rule wasn’t frustrating enough. We’re at a really weird place with which of these seemingly identical abilities have the Aura tag. No Tag Dark Angels – Death Wing Command Squad Adepta Sororitas – Celestian Sacresants Drukhari – Court of the Archon Space Marine – Company Veterans Tau Empire – Crisis Bodyguards Has Tag Necron – Cryptothralls Necron – Lychguard Death Guard – Deathshroud I still firmly hold the opinion that the tag is not what defines an aura. Being an ability that has an effect on a unit while they are within a certain range is the definition that I suggest is the one that matters. This precludes any abilities that last for a specific time regardless of staying within range, or abilities that select a singular unit rather than affecting all units within that range. Having this agreed on is important as all the 8th edition Auras are not tagged. I still feel Body Guard in 9th Edition codexes meets the criteria of an aura, and that until specifically FAQed I would suggest they all be treated as Auras. Once again this ends up being on the players to resolve in the pregame discussion.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When does determining which models can Rapid Fire happen?

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

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

Rapid fire uses the following wording:

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

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

Attackers Priority for Always Hit/Wound on X+ abilties

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

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

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

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

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

Do Modifiers ever trigger Attacker’s Priority?

Q: You have a stratagems to add pluses to hits and wounds and your opponent has stratagems to nullify pluses to hits and wounds. Which one takes 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 old FAQ for the Tau 8th edition Ghostkeel is a good example of this.

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

So if a unit with a +1 to hit modifier shoots at a Ghostkeel, then it’s -2 modifier would still have a net result of -1. If a model with no 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

Q: 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.  Notes:  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;

Shooting through other units

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

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

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

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

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

Shoot Again

Shooting Twice or Shooting again with a model or weapon

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.

Astra Militarum – “Try Again” Bragg’s shoot again ability

“Try Again” Bragg does not suffer the penalty to the hit roll of incurred for moving and firing Heavy Weapon in the same turn. In addition. in the Shooting phase, each time this unit has resolved its attacks, if no hits were scored with “Try Again” Bragg’s autocannon, this model can immediately shoot again.

Lots has been said about this rule and I’m honestly hesitant to weigh in. Even the intent of this rule has been debated, some going so far to argue that the infinite loop is intentional so that at least one hit with the Auto Cannon is scored every time. I think that’s perhaps a little far fetched, for one thing there’s neater ways to write such a rule such as “instead of rolling to hit for this weapon, roll a D6 on a roll of 1-3 score 1 hit, on a 4+ score 2 hits”. The other camp that I think slightly more plausibly think that the rule isn’t intended to give an infinite loop also it seems admit that it might do just that rules as written. This is perhaps slightly thinner theory than I’d like that there’s a read where the rule isn’t broken or ambiguous at all, and there’s no loop. It’s to do with the distinction between a unit resolving its attacks and shooting again with a model. I’m not convinced that shooting again with a single model from a unit can be considered “the unit resolving its attacks” as the second set of attacks weren’t the unit they were just one model. With that interpretation in mind there’s no loop, because the trigger for the rule is never reached again. The unit shoots > Bragg misses > Unit has resolved its attacks with no Bragg auto cannon hits > Bragg the model shoots again. Then you’d move on, the unit has resolved its attacks again it already did that to trigger Bragg’s rule. There are arguments against this read though, the shooting phase rules are written predominantly with units in mind. Step one of shooting is to select a unit. This is frustrating but I don’t think it entirely invalidates the interpretation. I think Bragg’s rule (like several others) allows a model to shoot, skipping the usual selection step of the Shooting Rules. There’s also a rule in the shooting phase against selecting a unit twice in the same phase, and whilst there are stratagems that explicitly give permission for a unit to be selected twice I don’t think Bragg’s rule does give that permission. All things considered, it’s a pregame discussion rule if there every was one and I seriously would doubt that any such discussion is going to result in “infinite” grenades being agreed upon for the sake of the game.

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

Q: With the new wording on the auras of captains and lieutenants does the aura function as it did in 8th edition or has it changed to allow you to 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

Q: 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?

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

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

However rules like the Cryptohralls, and others like Old One Eye’s Alpha Leader are not “unless it’s the closest target” type rules. They simply cannot be targeted whilst near the required unit. As such, based on current RAW Overwatch does not allow a model to ignore these abilities. Sometimes this will make sense,  as picking out Old One Eye from a pack of other Carnifexes would be harder than picking out some of the fancier looking Necron Overlords from a sea of normal Warriors. I guess for Crytothralls the effect is created via techno-sorcery for the mean time. Editor’s Note: It’s saying while we’re on the subject of Crypteks there are still some non-Look Out Sir effects that prevent a unit being targeted unless they are the closest eligible target, such as the Prismatic Obfuscatron Cryptek Arcana. Because these use the “unless they’re the closest” wording that is called out in the rule above, you can fire overwatch at these even if they charge from behind another unit.

Regarding Charging into and out of Ruins

Q: Two models; A) On the ground, say 5.5″ from a building that is 5″ tall. B) On the building and has the keyword FLY (just to stretch the example a bit more). From my point of view. If A charges B, the charge distance will be 5″ (i enough to reach the foot of the building due to the 5″ vertical engagement range) However, if B charges A, the charge distance is instead 10″ (this since the unit also have to consider the vertical movement in the charge move). Do I have got the rules correctly (9th edition)? – Frank Okay first lets diagram out this scenario to make it clear. Yes your assessment of this is correct. Charging down from a Ruin is a longer charge than charging into one. In fact in my diagram above the Crisis suit has to charge even further than your example because it lacks the INFANTRY keyword so it can’t ignore and pass through that section of wall in front of it and would have to use some movement to go over it. Even if it were INFANTRY, however, it would still need a 10″ charge as you correctly identified!

Engaging all Targets of a Charge

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

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

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

Charging Aircraft

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

This has been FAQed again!

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

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

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

Pile in and Consolidate Moves near AIRCRAFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fight Range and tight gaps with oversized models.

Q: Recently this happened to us playing Space Wolves vs Tau. There was the edge of the map on the left side of a Broadside and a big rock on the right. In between there were ca.45mm. Behind this gap was the Broadside and in front of it was Ragnar. Ragnar charged the Broadside and the result was high enough. I could place him within 1″, but because the big gun of the Broadside stuck enough in the gap that I couldn’t move further in. Ragnar can’t reach the ½” to attack. My Opponent and I thought this is silly and just put the gun out the way, but we didn’t find anything about this in the Rulebook. My Question is, if your Opponent doesn’t want to move, can you attack them? And what if the gun was built the way that even the charge couldn’t end within 1″. And can you block an entrance between two obstacles with say three of them with this and put a lot of drones behind the broadsides, so as long as they aren’t removed through shooting, they can’t be charged? – Tape Okay so there’s a few things to unpack here. First of all the “sticky out bits” of a model that isn’t “measure to hull” shouldn’t ever be used to block movement of any kind. The rules forbid you from moving the bases of your models across bases (or hulls for units that measure to them) of other models, but don’t prevent you moving through “sticky out bits”.

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

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

Can you fight through an enemy unit?

Q: Is it possible to fight a unit behind another unit you charged if you declared charge to both units but can only touch the the front unit? Potentially yes, though there’s a super specific set of positions required that make it unlikely to be possible every game. The criteria for a 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.

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?

Q: When does a heroic intervention-er activate in fight phase? Does he count as a charger since HI is now part 2 of charge phase allowing him to activate after first charging unit or does he activate with the non charging units? – Nathan Heroic Intervention does not count as charging, so they’re not usually part of that group of fights. The “Has charged” definition in the glossary makes it clear who counts as charging – only units that successfully made a charge move. So these units would “fights normally” unless affected by further rules that make the “Fight First” or “Fight Last” respectfully. Have any questions or feedback? Got a rules question you want answered? Drop us a note in the comments below, ask a question in our Ruleshammer form, or head over to r/ruleshammer to discuss.