Ruleshammer – Transports

An article by    Ruleshammer Warhammer 40k        0


Transports offer a variety of gameplay elements, primarily in the Movement and Shooting Phases.

Embarking and Embarked Units

If a unit makes a Normal Move, an Advance or it Falls Back, and every model in that unit ends that move within 3″ of a friendly Transport model they can embark within it. A unit cannot embark within a Transport model that is within Engagement Range of enemy models, and it cannot embark if it has already disembarked from a Transport model in the same phase. Remove the unit from the battlefield and place it to one side – it is now embarked within the model. {CORE PDF Page12]

To embark within a transport every model in the Unit must make a Normal, Advance or Fall Back move that gets every model in the unit within 3” of the Transport. However you can’t embark in a transport that is within Engagement Range of any enemy units and you can’t embark if that unit already disembarked this phase.

Abilities and Embarked Units

Units cannot normally do anything or be affected in any way while they are embarked. Unless specifically stated, abilities have no effect on units while they are embarked, and Stratagems cannot be used to affect units while they are embarked. {CORE PDF Page12]

Just a blanket statement that no abilities affect them, rather than the older language about modifiers or penalties which lead to a lot of confusion about how the heavy penalty did apply but then +1 to hit abilities (which are also modifiers) did not.

What about the Open Topped rules?

As ever there’s a few quirks to this they ARE affected per the latest FAQ by any modifiers that also affect the transport they are in.

*Page 106 and 113 – Battlewagon and Trukk, Open-topped Change the third sentence to read: ‘When they do so, any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers.’  [ORK FAQ Pg1]

So if you have an ability that gives the Transport +1 to hit, then the units inside gain that as well (following the same restrictions if there are any). If the transport would be affected by a -1 to Hit ability, such as when shooting at something that has -1 to hit from Dense Cover, then the units inside are also affected. However the new rules does still have one major issue, weapons have abilities and so do some units themselves. Orks for instance have Dakka Dakka Dakka. Plasma Guns have their overheating rules in the weapon ability section. This is and a suggested fix is covered in this articles Known Issues below.


If a unit starts its Movement phase embarked within a Transport model, that unit can disembark in that phase so long as the model itself has not yet made a Normal Move, an Advance or has Fallen Back that phase. When a unit disembarks, set it up on the battlefield so that it is wholly within 3″ of the Transport model and not within Engagement Range of any enemy models. Units that disembark can then act normally (move, shoot, charge, fight, etc.) in the remainder of the turn, but its models count as having moved that turn, even if they are not moved further (i.e. they never count as having Remained Stationary). [CORE PDF Page12]

Disembarking requires the models to be wholly within 3″ of the transport when you do so. Also remember that when models are set up they must be in Coherency.

Disembarking from a Destroyed Transport

If a Transport model is destroyed (pg 6), 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 (see above) 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 (pg 19) or perform a Heroic Intervention (pg 20) in the same turn that they disembarked from a destroyed Transport model.

Things to note about this include;

  • You should disembark models BEFORE rolling the dice to see which ones die, technically. This actually only matters if the transport is surrounded in such a way that some models cannot disembark at all. Any models that you can not legally placed are destroyed (see Coherency for Setting Up Units) before you move on to the next step of this rule.
  • You roll a dice per model, but each 1 is your choice for which model dies. So if you have 10 models on the board, roll 10 dice. Then each 1 is a slain model. Plenty of players myself included thought at first that this rule meant to roll for each model and a 1 would kill it. Meaning Characters in Transport could be present with a 1 in 6 chance of death, fortunately this is wrong.
  • Models that disembark from a destroyed transport can not declare a charge or heroically intervene in that turn.

Emergency Disembarking Stratagem

Use this stratagemen when a Transport model from your army is destroyed. All units that are embarked within that model can bet set up wholly within 6″ of the destroyed model instead of the normal 3″ before the model istelf is removed from the battlefield.

However in exchange for this extra range the unit will lose models on rolls of 1 or 2 rather than just 1s. It’s still your choice which models are lost though so it’s not a 1 in 3 chance that it kills a specific model.

Models Inside Have Also Moved

For all rules purposes, units that are embarked within a Transport model that has made a Normal Move, Advanced, Fallen Back or Remained Stationary also count as having made the same kind of move that turn. {CORE PDF Page12]

So if you have an Ork Trukk that has made an Advance move then even though the passengers aren’t on the board they still count as having also made an Advance move. Especially in combination with the other clarification…



The eternal war and GT2020 missions  require models in transports to be declared before you start alternating the deployment of models.

Known Issues

Embarking in Other Phases

Wings: There’s currently also a major gap here that will almost certainly get a quick FAQ. In 8th, an FAQ was added such that you couldn’t use any ability that granted an “out of phase” move to embark in a transport unless explicitly specified. Now the criteria for doing so is just that you have to make a Normal Move, Advance or Fall Back and end within range, meaning any ability letting a unit “move as if it were the movement phase” without additional qualifiers is theoretically fair game.

Open Topped and Weapon/Unit Abilities

It seems pretty pedantic but weapon abilties and unit abilities do not specifically state they still affect units whilst embarked. This has both advantages and disadvantages depending on unit, if you follow the exact RAW then arguably an Open Topped vehicle prevents Plasma Weapons from killing their users. This however does seem rather uninteded, it would also prevent units with abilities such as Orks using Dakka Dakka Dakka or Imperial Fist Scouts embarked on a Landspeeder Storm using Siege Masters (or any other chapter tactic).

Using abilities to shoot at models disembark from Transports arriving as Reinforcements

This is currently ambiguous, but right now (2020-09-04) the consensus is; Yes, you can use ability such as Auspex scan to shoot at units disembarking from a Transport that arrived from reserve. This was explicitly FAQed against in 8th and that FAQ has not made it to 9th.

I think it’s ambiguous because of how these abilities are worded and what’s actually happening with the models in the transport.

‘Use this Stratagem after your opponent sets up a unit on the battlefield as reinforcements within 12″ of any Adeptus Astartes Infantry units from your army.’

The glossary for 9th firmly established that the units inside a transport not deployed at the start of the game definitely are reinforcement units. However this ability isn’t solely concerned with that status, it’s also concerned with how the models are getting to the board. If a Drop Pod enters the board in the Reinforcement step, it is 100% shootable, no ambiguity. However the models inside, are they set up as reinforcements? Or are they set up as a disembarking unit that happens to be a reinforcement unit? The drop pod rule says the units inside “immediately disembark” it doesn’t say they are “immediately set up as reinforcement units wholly within 3″ of this model” I don’t think this has a complete answer yet so be sure to check and agree on the interpretation being used before the game begins.

Gamesworkshop FAQ

*Page 106 and 113 – Battlewagon and Trukk, Open-topped Change the third sentence to read: ‘When they do so, any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers.’  [ORK FAQ Pg1]

Similar FAQs exist for other factions.

Ruleshammer Q&A

Applying Modifiers to units in Open Topped Transports

“In the Core Rules PDF, p12, it says models embarked within a transport “cannot normally…be affected in any way while…embarked. Unless specifically stated, abilities have no effect on units while they are embarked.” Note the important exceptions, “normally” and “unless specifically stated.” Likewise, p7 lists auras as an ability. Now, the Jackal Alphus’ Priority Target Sighted ability lets you pick an enemy unit and “add 1 to hit rolls for friendly <CULT> units that target that enemy unit while within 6” of this model.” The Goliath Truck has the CULT keyword, so can be given the modifier. It’s Open-Topped ability states that “any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model also apply to its passengers.” So, would the Truck pass this +1 to-hit modifier on to its passengers? After all, the Alphus’s aura is not giving them the modifier, the Truck is. 


1) In the new FAQ, GW added this same restrictions-or-modifiers clause to Ork Trukks and Battlewagons;

2) Shots fired by embarked passengers are measured from any part of the vehicle’s hull, and 

3) the Open-Topped rule “specifically states” modifiers are passed on and Open-Topped vehicles are not “normal.” I sent an email to GW but you know how that goes. Personally, I feel like it could go either way. Thanks and sorry for the wordiness but it’s a complicated interaction.” – Kevin

I think so yes, but this is still a bit unclear.  My understanding is that any abilities, auras, strats, etc that affect the Transport, also 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.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.