Ruleshammer Q&A: May 7th 2021

Welcome to Ruleshammer, a collection of resources to help explain the detail and complexity of some of the more confusing rules in Warhammer 40k, this week we’re covering some more questions submitted by you, the readers!

Terrain- Dense and Ignore Line of Sight Weapons

If my basilisk is shooting something on the other side of the map that it can’t see, and there just happens to some foresty dense cover in between them, (not touching either, neither unit is even close to it) does the -1 to hit apply?

if so, why? Logically, my indirect fire artillery unit which lobs a shell in a big arc shouldn’t be affected. i’m not shooting through the dense cover, but well over and beyond it. and it already doesn’t matter that i can’t see it, that’s the whole point of basilisks anyway.

Yes weapons that ignore line of sight are still affected by Dense Cover.

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

The rule requires an uninterrupted lines between target and firing model, separate from any Line of Sight check. I can only speculate on the reasoning for this, though I can see the argument you are making about the shell being unimpeded, Dense cover is specifically not about cover that blocks incoming fire. Personally I tend to view the effect as representing it being harder for the crews to zero in their fire on targets that are able to make use of Dense Cover. The crews might not need to see their target, but they do still need to know where their target is. It’s also Important to remember that 40k is a pretty abstract game, and perfectly logical/rational battles are few and far between; if it was artillery pieces like Basilisks wouldn’t be anywhere near the enemy, let alone like 3 buildings down the street from them.

Overwatch – Can a unit Overwatch Twice if it has two abilities that allow it to Overwatch?

I was discussing Overwatch with a recent opponent and wondered if the Overwatch Stratagem and For The Greater Good can both be activated for Overwatching twice.
We found two ways of looking at it. Either both are ways to activate the same thing or they are two seperate triggers for overwatching leading to two Overwatch rounds.
I searched a bit and found that the ultramarine stratagem was FAQ’ed to specifically say that you can’t use the Standard Overwatch Stratagem at the same time. Which implies that other solutions ending up in Overwatching twice is ok. However there also seems to be implied in the Overwatch base rules that you can Overwatch once pr. Charge.

So can you Overwatch twice on the same unit charging you if you have several ways to activate Overwatch?

Thank you for your rules interpretations 🙂 

The answer to this is no. Here’s why, firstly the For The Greater Good ability doesn’t make a unit Overwatch, it says they can Overwatch.

Each time an enemy unit declares a charge against this unit, this unit can fire Overwatch before the charge roll is made.

and so does the Overwatch Stratagem.

Use this Stratagem after an enemy unit has declared a charge against one or more units from your army. One of the units that was chosen as the target of that charge can fire Overwatch before the charge roll is made.

Two rules saying you can do the same thing, does not mean a unit can do it twice per trigger. So using the Overatch stratagem on a Tau unit would not allow it to fire at a charging enemy unit twice. I did some searching and I couldn’t locate an FAQ on an Ultramarines stratagem as you described (possibly it was an 8th Edition FAQ). I don’t think based on your description of it though that it would be grounds for allowing double overwatch based on the pretty specific “per charge” wording of the Overwatch rules.

Overwatch – Can the Canoptek Doomstalker fire Overwatch more than once?

His own special rule says the following:
Each time an enemy unit declares a charge against a friendly <DYNASTY> or DYNASTIC AGENT unit within 6″ of this model, unless this model is within Engagement Range of any enemy models, this model can fire Overwatch at the charging unit as if it were also a target of that charge (this is in addition to any other units that are firing Overwatch). Each time this model fires Overwatch, it makes attacks with its doomsday blaster using the high power profile.
The question, that the rules do not make clear for me is: is firing Overwatch treated in the same way as a shooting attack in that it can only be done once per phase with each unit?

What do you think?

Yes this rule seems pretty clear that it happens each time a unit is charged within 6″ and unlike the Tau For The Greater Good rule does not prevent the unit from firing overwatch again once it has done so (which you did quote but that made it quite a long question).

While a friendly unit with this ability is within 6″ of this unit, each time an enemy unit declares a charge against this unit, that friendly unit can fire Overwatch before the charge roll is made. If it does so, until the end of the phase, that friendly unit cannot fire Overwatch again.

Important to note with the Tau ability that is is only joining in to protect an ally that prevents further overwatch. Units that are charge targets can Overwatch again unless they are now within Engagement range or have themselves used For The Greater Good this turn to overwatch when not a charge target.

Battleforged Armies – Unaligned units in Detachments

I have been running unaligned units in my army (specifically borewyrms). However another player who is studying to be a lawyer did some investigating and doesn’t believe you you can take unaligned units in your army, if the tourney you are at is using the GT pack (ie 100% of tourneys).

the rulebook (page 245) states your army faction which allows unaligned. In the GT pack it reinforces this:
Details of how to Battle-forge an army, how to use a points limit, how to select a WARLORD and what information your army roster must contain can be found in the Warhammer 40,000 Core Book.

However it then seems to “counter” this by stating:
All of the units in each Detachment in your Battle-forged army must have at least one Faction keyword in common, and this keyword cannot be Chaos, IMPERIUM, AELDARI, YNNARI or TYRANIDS, unless the Detachment in question is a Fortification Network (this has no effect on your Army Faction).

The last bit of that long ass sentence isn’t clear if it refers only to the fortifications or if it refers to the sentence as a whole. Anyway, I said I will ask you boys as you have been pretty right on the money with your rulings in the past, and see what you think.

Okay so there’s one imporant facet of this I think you haven’t quoted. Firstly on the face of it “unalligned” doesn’t seem to affect if an Army can be Battleforged.

In a Battle-forged army, all of the units in your army – with the exception of those that are UNALIGNED — must have at least one Faction keyword in common (e.g. IMPERIUM or CHAOS) even if they are in different Detachments. If a unit does not have the correct Faction keyword, it cannot be included in your army.

However the issue is another level down from this rule with the restrictions placed on actual detachments.

Restrictions: All units must be from the same Faction. This Detachment cannot include any Understrength units.

A detachment that has UNALIGNED units in it does not meet this restriction, which means they can’t be in Patrols, Battalion, Brigade, Vanguard, Outrider or Spearhead Detachments. That means to include Borewyrms in a Battleforged army the only option is to use a Auxilary Support Detachment which costs 2CP.

Fight Phase – Discordant vs Murderfang, ability order?

Lord Discordant on Helstalker kills Murderfang in fight phase. Murderfang uses Only in Death Does Duty End and Lord Discordant uses Spirit Thief to heal itself. If stratagem goes first without Discordant healing himself it would be lethal damage. Which resolves first the Murderfang’s stratagem or Lord Discordant’s ability?

First lets look at the exact wording of both abilities and when they say they are triggered.

Only in Death Does Duty End
Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, when an ADEPTUS ASTARTES CHARACTER model from your army that has not already been selected to fight this phase is destroyed. Do not remove that model from play – it can fight after the attacking model’s unit has finished making attacks. After resolving the destroyed model’s attacks, it is then removed.

Spirit Thief
Each time this model destroys an enemy VEHICLE unit in the Fight phase, this model can either repair a friendly Daemon Engine or release a beam of energy. If you choose to repair a friendly Daemon Engine, pick a friendly <LEGION> DAEMON ENGINE (other than models that can FLY) within 3″ of this model. That DAEMON ENGINE regains D3 lost wounds. If you choose to release a beam of energy, pick an enemy VEHICLE within 12″ of this model and roll a D6. On a 2+ that VEHICLE suffers D3 mortal wounds.

Initially here it looks like this might be a case for the sequencing rule, as both of these abilities are triggered when Murderfang is destroyed.

While playing Warhammer 40,000, you’ll occasionally find that two or more rules are to be resolved at the same time – e.g. ‘at the start of the battle round’ or ‘at the end of the Fight phase’. When this happens during the battle, the player whose turn it is chooses the order. If these things occur before or after the battle, or at the start or end of a battle round, the players roll off and the winner decides in what order the rules are resolved. [Core PDF Pg6]

However, the way Only In Death works ends up bypassing it. Both abilities trigger when the model is destroyed, so whoever’s turn it is gets to choose which order they resolve in. However, while the Lord’s ability does something straight away, Only In Death sets up something to happen later, specifically “after the attacking model has finished making attacks. “Making Attacks” is a defined step-by-step process in the rulebook, and the final step (Inflict Damage) includes destroying and removing models reduced to zero wounds. Even though Murderfang’s stratagem means he isn’t removed at this point, he’s still “destroyed”, so the Lord Discordant’s ability can happen straight away during the step. Only once that “Making Attacks” process is complete does Murderfang get to go out in a blaze of glory, at which point the Lord has already healed. The answer, therefore, is that the Lord’s ability resolves first here.

If Discordants can Heal Themselves between attacks, can they gain an attack by moving up a bracket?

Here the answer is a clear no. This is because attacks must be allocated before any are made in the fight phase. So even if the Discordant’s Helstalker does move back up to a higher number of additional attacks, they don’t get to allocate them, so they can’t be used.

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