Today we have a couple of tough rules questions from a reader. These are some of tougher rules issues you can come across, and are sometimes used by rules lawyers to bully their opponents. Scout moving smoke launchers and Pain tokens issues regarding Beastmasters.

Rules of Our Game is a weekly post regarding rules problems. I run across tons of rules questions each week, and I think almost every person in our hobby should keep an eye out for things like these. It helps us when we finally come across such problems or weak spots in the rules of the game. Comments and "Your Wrong!" are very appreciated with this series, as navigating the rules of our game can be quite treacherous.


Once again since I did not really get authorization to use the name, it is left anonymous. If he/she is interested in saying who he was he can leave that in the comment section.

Hi there,
first of all let me say thank you for the time and effort you put into being the No.1 ressource for 40k news and rumours.

Now for that other great category on your site, Rules of our Game, I have 2 questions:

1. At a my local club a Blood Angels player had first turn, scouted forward with his Baal Predator, used smoke (that's ok and in the FAQ). I failed to seize, so he still had first turn. He shot all weapons with his predator and when I shot him in my first turn, he claimed to have his 4+ save because of still being concealed by smoke. Now, the FAQ states that he can smoke after scouting and the rulebook says that the smoke wears off after the enemies first shooting phase, concealing him and on the other hand the rules state that you can't shoot after smoking (which he did during his scout move, not his first turn). But still, to me this is some WAAC interpretation and not as intended because you can either be in a big bubble of smoke OR you can shoot. Do you see any arguments for my side (apart from the "that's not how it was intended"-one)?

2. I'm still a bit confused by the mixed rules of the Dark Eldar Beastpacks:
a. So, Razorwings are a swarm, giving them a 3+ cover-save instead of a 4+? Sounds ok to me since you can have mixed armor-saves in a single unit as well.

b. They don't get FnP or FC from pain tokens because they don't have Power through Pain. But what about Fearless? According to the rulebook, when an IC joins a non-fearless unit he loses fearless. But my Beastmasters are not an IC and therefore shouldn't lose it. Also, you always use the highest Ld in a unit, in this case the Ld8 of the Beastmasters. Is Fearless the highest Ld so my 3-pain token-Beastpacks are immune to tank shocks etc. as long as a Beastmaster lives?

Any help would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance,

Dark Eldar Beastmasters
Lets take number 2 first, since it is the easiest of the two. The Beastmasters in your unit come with the power from pain rule. These models will receive the benefits of the rule, while the "beasts" will not.

So what does that do to your unit? First off the beastmasters will receive Feel no Pain from a single pain token, the "beasts" will not recieve any benefits because they do not come with power from pain and cannot benefits from pain tokens. When they receive 2 tokens, the beastmasters models will have furious charge. When they get three does the unit become fearless? Yes. They do so because the unit does not lose the USR because the beastmasters are not an independent character. A single fearless model in the unit gives that unit fearless, as long as it is not an independent character.

Regarding fearless units, you automatically pass morale checks, so a beastmaster unit with 3 tokens automatically passes the tank shock.

Scout Moves and Popping Smoke
This is a fun one as it falls into one of those grey areas. As a player that uses scout moves all the time, this is not something I have ever tried on an opponent (a little rude, and in a friendly game someone insistent on it, I might not continue the game). Here are the relevant rules;

Smoke Launchers
The vehicle may not fire any of its weapons in the same turn as it used its smoke launchers, but will count as obscured in the next enemy shooting phase, receiving a 4+ cover save.

What the player is declaring is that they are allowed to shoot in the above scenario, because they did not pop smoke during this turn, and that they are allowed to keep the smoke during the enemy shooting phase no matter when that occurs.

Scout moves allow you to take a normal movement phase, which is what allows them to use their smoke launchers. So is the player correct in doing what he did. Yes. I think the rules "as written" are bad in this scenario. Just so you are aware the INAT definitely rules out smoke launchers having a lasting effect like this, but the INAT are a custom rule set and not commonly accepted (they break a lot of standard rules).

Most players you will come across will just tell you that their smoke is gone after they take their first turn. In a tournament I would simply call over a judge, and if there is a sportsmanship comp system in place, no points.

Your ammunition against this is pretty small since it falls into the cracks and breaks the rule system. I have heard this argument before, and there is probably something I have missed, but it is one of those sore spots I wish would get an faq. Perhaps someone else has a good answer to this one?

19 Comments:

  1. As far as I understand it, the scout smoke launchers is as you say RAW and legal, but still a WAAC/dick move.

    I have scout and smoke launchers, but due to short range weapons and choosing to go second almost always, don't really run afoul of it.

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  2. Razorwings do not have the swarm USR, they get normal cover saves.

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  3. it says
    "once PER GAME you can use smokelaunchers..."
    it does NOT say BEFORE THE GAME
    game starts after all scout moves ect. have been made not any time sooner

    so he cheated flat out
    + missinterpretaiting rules to his advantage

    if you can see me i can see you... simple!!!


    I would just do this if someone pulls this on me... go to ground with all my troops and in my turn claim that i can act normal... same thing as his smoke... if he got a problem with that stop game & call him a noob :DDD

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  4. @above, when does the game start? Where I am from it starts when two people start placing terrain.

    As for the bit about from the letter

    "this is some WAAC interpretation and not as intended because you can either be in a big bubble of smoke OR you can shoot."

    To me, you seem like the WAAC player. The rules are clearly written, yet you some how want to shoehorn on a interpretation based upon how you think the rules should be and not how the game designers with years of experience and extensive play-testing wrote it. If that isn't WAAC then what is?

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  5. The Rules Lawyers have already tackled this in intricate detail:

    http://www.theruleslawyers.com/2011/09/rulings-baal-predators-smoke-launchers-and-scout-moves/

    And the Scout Move does not happen before the game starts. Corbulo is allowed a "once per game" re-roll that can be used on the Seize the Initiative roll, which also happens before the first turn.

    I also don't consider popping smoke on the scout move a WAAC move, just like I didn't consider using PotMS and smoke WAAC before it was FAQ'd. If someone brought a list with Baal Predators and did that to me, I'd just prepare for it. A once-per-game 4+++ save just means that they've brought their own cover for one turn, and if I don't kill it, they'll likely be behind existing cover on the next turn.

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  6. here's another question which was brought up on Beasts Of War; in the rules for the Necron Deathray, it says that "draw a straight line between the two points. every unit suffers a number of hits equal to the number of models in the unit under the line"
    does this mean that a unit of ten men would take 10 hits if just one was under the line, or just one? the wording is ambiguous, so what do you guys think?

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  7. You misquoted there...it actually says "..every unit (friendly or enemy) underneath the line suffers a number of hits equal to the number of models in the unit underneath the line."

    The inclusion of "underneath the line" at the beginning of the quote implies that the "underneath" text at the end of the quote is referring the the models, not defining the unit.

    Short answer, only models under the line are counted for determining how many hits the unit takes. No doubt people will be intentionally misreading it all over the place until there's an FAQ though.

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  8. From the BA FAQ
    "Q: Can a Baal Predator use smoke launchers during its Scout move? (p36)
    A: Yes."

    No other comments from GW indicate that the Smoke Launcher rule shouldn't apply as written.

    Knocking someone their sportsmanship score for interpreting the rules as written is a very slippery slope. If there's a rules dispute during a game, players should call the judge and the result of the judge's decision should not have any impact on any player sports score.

    Just because the rules don't fit what is normal or don't "seem right" doesn't mean your opponent is a WAAC gamer. Talk with your opponent about the rule, find out where he's coming from and if he is being a dick about it then feel free to knock him some sports points. Being a dick and dropping someones scores because they are playing the game as written seems more WAAC to me.

    Also, if you are concerned about your own sports score and you make a stink about scout moves and smoke launchers, you should probably expect to have your own score drop.If you have issues with how some rules work ask your opponent before the game starts how they play them and get that stuff out of the way. It's easier to be calm and talk through the rules disputes before. Figure out the ruling amicably between yourselves, or call a judge, and don't make fuss about it the rest of the game.

    The biggest part of this game is communication. Don't let what is a really a minor stretch of the rules affect your enjoyment of the game.

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  9. I don't think all players who discuss rules are WAAC players, expecially not bloggers who's rules discussion is a service to the rest of us. I also don't think every BA player who reads this will start doing it. If we wanted to play a generic strategy game where the rules were the only part that matters and the involvement of the story and fantasy aspect were not important we wouldn't play warhammer, that's for sure.
    And the death ray was definately intended to be the number of models directly under the line, the poorly inflected part about the unit is to let players know they can allocate the wounds to models not under the line, im sure of it.

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  10. I play with 3 Baal Preds and I do this all the time... I am not a WAAC player, I am simply following the already stated FAQ ruling... HOWEVER, I do not allow the smoke to carry over if I were to steal the init... seeing as if you are going first and you popped smoke in the scout you're an idiot... The only time I ever do this if I'm going second.

    If I were to seize, I say the smoke is gone, they can shoot me normally and I can shoot them. Almost as if the scout phase was its own turn.

    I can see the arguments for both ways, I don't think either way is a "dick" move at all. Its the rules and GW just needs to clarify is all. Be careful who you accuse of dick moves, 90% of the time the dick is the one calling somebody else a WAAC player.

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  11. @"If we wanted to play a generic strategy game where the rules were the only part that matters and the involvement of the story and fantasy aspect were not important we wouldn't play warhammer, that's for sure"

    I love the Warhammer fluff, but I am also very competitive gamer. I very much look at the rules as hard and fast, as it gives me a certain level of comfort that both me and my opponent should have a common understanding of the game and it's mechanics. If you and your opponent are on the same page rules wise, then the game comes down to who best achieves their goals within the ruleset.

    I think that modifying the rules and creating custom scenarios are really fun and enjoyable in their own way. In a tournament setting, when I've paid an entry fee and prizes are on the line, being clear and consistent on what the rules are is very important. House rules are fine, but in a tournament, I sure expect to play the game as written.

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  12. First Anon back,

    Yeah I guess it is just the RAW. Ultimitely it is something they should FAQ.

    I guess it also takes the way they explain it and their attitude to make them a dick. You have changed my mind with your responses and it being RAW, technically.

    Maybe they will change it for 6th edition, smoke launchers that is. It should last till just before the beginning of your own next turn. So you screw yourself if you do it during scout moves, and then seize or just go first.

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  13. its clearly cheat... what wrong with all you people?!!!

    if he moves AGAIN in his 1st turn he can´t claim smth from a moveing turn before in the opponents turn!!!
    he woud have to had smoked in turn 1´s moveing phase to claim it in opponents turn 1
    since he went 1st

    its like turboboosting as scout-move then turboboosting again in turn 1 and then in opponents turn claiming 2x 3++ for ever model in the unit since i have double the effect of the turboboost?!!!! OR NOT???
    ofc not!

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  14. For the smoke question, I would say if the Baal Preds did not move in first turn, it would still be covered in smoke. Guess the actual question should be... 'Since the Scout Move takes place before the First Turn move, would the smoke remain in that area of the Scout Move, or would it follow the Pred during first turn move?' Then, would have to take the Vehicles and LOS rules in to effect, which would not matter if the tank is equipped with someway of seeing through the smoke.

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  15. Thanks for posting my question and thank you for all the comments.

    First of all, thanks for clarifying the Beastpack-rules (I really missed that the swarms were not "Swarms" as in the USR-rules).

    Regarding the Blood Angels: The reason I was unhappy about the situation was that I felt kinda cheated, just like Anon (2 above me) said. When using the smoke launcher you gain a benefit (cover-save) and as a tradeoff you can't shoot (because you are covered in smoke so the enemy can't see you and you can't see the enemy). You kinda break that tradeoff in a way noone else does:

    Try applying the same logic to a Imperial Guard Vendetta using it's scoutmove to move towards the enemy and then disembarking it's passengers first turn.

    Anyways, I can see why some people here feel I am acting up too and I agree that it is written that way in the rules, but I still feel kinda cheated because I strongly believe that it is not as intended but rather a crack in the rules.

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  16. Same was discussed somewhere else with flat-out Valkyres and their 4+ cover.

    The main problem is that the phase, when scouting happens is out of the boundries of the rulebook. It is not even a zero turn, because it involves only movement - no shooting, no assault, nothing.

    Someone wrote, that the book also doesn't write you cannot deploy units onto the back of the table, but noone does that :)

    If you consider the MOST IMPORTANT RULE (which rarely comes into view when making overheated discussions about rules interpretations), then cover is intended to be gained by expending your shooting capabilities. Period.

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  17. Well look at it this way, it is supposed to protect you from one round of shooting of the opponent, whenever that occurs.

    If you look at it this way, then you probably won't have so much of an issue with it.

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  18. As written, it protects you from the next enemy shooting phase. If you (theoretically, as nothing I know of in this game does it) manage to make them lose their next shooting phase, then as written, the smoke would give you a cover save in two turns, when they finally do get to shoot. Was this what they intended? Probably not, but as I don't know anyone who works at GW, I certainly can't say for sure.

    I used to be a rabid Magic gamer who knew the comp rules cover to cover, and my roommate is a Magic judge. So I tend to read loopholes like that quite easily (Magic is FULL of them), and that's where I got the idea for phase skipping from (in Magic if someone can't attack duri9ng their next turn, and then has to skip their next turn, then they lose the next and on the one following they can't attack). Seems to me like smoke launcher follow the same rule.

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  19. I would refer you all back to the first chaper of the rule book concerning 'Turns' and 'Player Turns'. Smoke last one turn. Not one player turn. Therefore if you pop it in the scout moves phase then smoke benefits and restrictions apply for 1 turn (i.e. both players first turn). Normally you'd pop it in your movement phase, at which point you cannot fire and count as in cover for one turn (yours, which has already commenced, and your opponents). The only complication popping in the scout move is it happens out of the normal sequence, however it still lasts on turn (or two player turns).

    I honestly cannot see the confusion on this one.

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