Ruleshammer Q&A: October 22nd 2020

Question 1 – Eradicators Double Shoot on Death near Ancient

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question 2 – Combat Squads and Strategic Reserves

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

Combat Squading a unit In Strategic Reserves

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

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

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

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

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

Combat Squading a unit affected by the White Scars Encirclement Stratagem

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

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

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

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

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

Question 3 – When can Reinforcements come in?

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.

Question 4 – Relentless Expansion an Aircraft into Reserves

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

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

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

Does an Aircraft Minimum move cause any issues?

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

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

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

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

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

If you have a battleforged army, AIRCRAFT units from your army can, in your movement phase, move off the edge of the battlefield (assuming it has sufficient Move for any part of its base (or hull) touch the edge of the battlefield). If an AIRCRAFT unit does so, it’s placed into strategic Reserves. Similarly, if you have an AIRCRAFT unit with a minimum Move characteristic that cannot make its minimum move, or is forced to move off the battlefield because of its minimum move, then it is placed into Strategic Reserves. – GT2020 Pg81

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

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.