Ruleshammer Q&A Feedback: October 1st 2020

September Feedback and Follow Up Issues

From now on at the end of each month I will be reviewing the comments and discussions I’ve had following each Q&A and trying to summarise any extra details that came out of them. If I’ve made mistakes those will be covered in the Q&A themselves, leaving misinformation up is the complete opposite of what I want to do here. 

Mont’ka and Falling Back

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

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

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

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

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

AP Ignoring Abilities

So just to remind everyone I suggested that “treat as” in the wording of many of these abilities doesn’t trigger the “change characteristics before other modifiers” part of the new modifying characteristics rules. A few readers have since pointed me to a few FAQs related to this and there’s quite a lot to untangle.

First of all I quoted this 8th edition FAQ as a precedent for the new rules.

Q: If an ability instructs me to resolve an attack with a different characteristic (e.g. a Culexus Assassin’s Etherium ability) does this happen before or after any other modifiers that also apply to that characteristic (e.g. the Drukhari Serpentin Combat Drug)?
A: When resolving such an attack, change the relevant characteristic to the new value before applying any modifiers to that new value. – 8th Edition FAQ

However upon further inspection it contradicts one of my points. It did establish that setting characteristics happens before other modifiers however the ability mentioned is Etherium.

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+. 

Interestingly this ability’s wording changed during 8th, and from “as if they had a Weapon Skill…” to the new “treated as having”. However that doesn’t actually change much for Etherium as very few abilities alter an enemy’s actual WS and BS, so this would still apply before any abilities that cause a + or – to the hit roll itself but the passing value would now be 6+.

However it doesn’t end there. That FAQ was not carried forward into 9th so it no longer applies. There are however some other AP ability related FAQs though.

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

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

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

So putting all these pieces together then;

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

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

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

There’s one more thing though. What does Dour Duty do to AP0? Does it make it AP+1? At the minute, I don’t think this is covered explicitly. It’s not a characteristic with a rules enforced limit like Strength, Toughness, Attacks or Leadership. However there’s a good argument that AP0 is the worst AP in the game, so there’s nothing to “worsen” it to. In addition to that if it did create AP+1 then the stratagem would be functionally equivalent to giving the unit +1 to their saving throws, as this is an effect quite commonly found in other rules I think reducing AP is meant to be distinct from it. I’m hoping a future FAQ will make this clear though as there’s a lot of supposition in all of that reasoning.

Interrupting with Counter Offensive

Can you use the Counter Offensive stratagem to interrupt fight last effects? Yes. There isn’t an FAQ any more but here’s my reasoning.

Charging Units Fight. First Units that made a charge move this turn fight first in the Fight phase. This means that units that did not make a charge move this turn cannot be selected to fight until after all units that did make a charge move have fought.

It’s widely understood that you can use the Counter Offensive stratagem to fight after a unit that has charged.

Judiciar Ability Tempormortis: At the start of each Fight phase, select one enemy unit within 6″ of this model. That unit cannot fight until all other eligible units have done so that phase.

If the “cannot be selected” for non-chargers can be overcome by the stratagem, then “cannot fight” should be as well. I’ve seen a few arguments regarding “eligible units”, and that fighting last effects make the unit ineligible.

Counter Offensive: Use this stratagem after an enemy has fought in this turn. Select one of your own eligible units and fight with it.

I don’t think fight last makes units ineligible because eligible units has a definition on page 21

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

..and a “fight last” unit would still meet this definition. There’s a Fight Last issue brewing though for the Silent King’s new ability (previewed on Warcom), I will be covering that in the future you can be sure.

Bombing after/during Leaving the Board

I covered quite briefly in my Reference Article for AIRCRAFT that currently there’s a known issue regarding bombing as an AIRCRAFT leaves for Strategic Reserves. I want to clarify my position; essentially I’m not sure what the answer is and my hesitance to rule it one way or the other is based on two issues;

  1. The Strategic Reserves rules for AIRCRAFT are vague on if the model actually makes the move. They have to be able to reach a board edge or be in a position where their minimum would force them to reach one. It’s not clear if the model moves and is then removed, or not. I’d like that addressed because the rest of the leave the board mid game abilities you just pick the model up. It is implied that the move is still made if you’re choosing to leave rather than being forced to.
  2. It’s perhaps not said explicitly but generally the only abilities on datasheets that can be used when not on the board, are abilities to come on as reinforcements. These abilities have their exception to not using abilities for models not on the board written in to them. I grant this is no explicit rule saying this though, there’s just the mechanical issue that almost all abilities require you to select a model on the board to use. The act of putting a model into strat reserves has removed the model, leaving it in limbo. I think there’s evidence from the core rules and FAQs that more abilities are meant to able to function off board in 9th, so I’m half expecting an FAQ on this in the future.

Those two issues lead me to write that I’m not sure there’s an answer but that for now I felt “no” was the safest. Maybe that was wrong but it avoided the “feels bad” of being attacked by a model you can’t possibly retaliate against that turn. In more narrative terms of  “what bombers do” the argument is strong that they should be able to bomb. However I’d prefer that to be codified in a change to the Strategic Reserves rule to make the move definitely a thing, and potentially to change the bombing rules to be a bit like Valkyries where it’s a thing that they can do at any point during their move.

As ever this is a pregame discussion thing, and my points are really about 40k rules being written to tell you what a unit can do and when. Importantly If there’s no rule saying you can do something, then there being no rule saying you can’t doesn’t mean you can.

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