Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Snazzgunz: Relentless, Eternal Warrior, Furious Charge

Universal Special Rules. They simply sound terrifying. They’re Universal (big), they’re Special (awesome), and they’re a Rule (ticketable offense).

In Snazzgunz, I’ll be looking over the special rules that are ever-present throughout Warhammer 40,000. From the Universal Special Rules, to the Eldar Jetbikes special rules, to Tyranid special rules (wow there’s a lot there).

It’s interesting to look at the framework of Warhammer 40,000. Everywhere in the game we are presented with rules. Really, though, the game just has a few basics:

Infantry move 6”, assault 6”, you roll twice to see if you might deal damage to your opponent, and they roll once to see if they’re okay. That’s it. So in many ways, Warhammer 40,000 is a game about BREAKING the rules. Yes Infantry move 6”… but Infantry with Jump Packs move 12”! Yes you roll twice to see if you deal damage… but if you’re twin-linked you get to reroll some dice! Yes they get to roll to see if they’re okay… but NOT if you dealt the wound with a Power Weapon.

Universal Special Rules are rules that are likely to be found in multiple armies. The most common is the Invulnerable Save. It breaks the rule that, even when you don’t get a save, you still get a save (Boss Klopz: “Da metal skelliez don’t count!”).

Presented here are 3 other Special Rules that you’ll often run into. Maybe not all the time (these rules are usually found on Elite, HQ, or Heavy Support units), but you’ll still run into them quite often.


The first is the Relentless Rule. This easy-to-learn rule allows a model to move, fire any weapons, and still assault. Most commonly you will encounter this rule when fighting Space Marines (all Terminator models gain this rule), or Tyranids (their Monstrous Creatures have this rule).

Relentless units are often all-round good Spearhead units. A Hive Tyrant is a powerful foe, but it remains deadly throughout the game largely due to the fact that every turn it’s on the table, it can cause some serious damage. In close combat, the Tyrant is a beast of Epic Proportions that even few Assault units can stand up to. At a range, the Tyrant can also be a menace, killing scores of light infantry, or punishing light vehicles. And every single turn, the Tyrant is moving towards its objective or enemy.

In this way, Relentless is a special Movement rule, since that is where it has its greatest impact. It allows units to keep moving, even if they would normally have to stand still. When using a Relentless unit, keep it on the move – either moving to a more advantageous position, moving to cover, moving to assault, or moving to the objective.

When facing a Relentless unit, try to control where the unit will move. The best direction is probably AWAY from you. As a Spearhead unit, if you break the spear’s tip, the rest can be blunted. Relentless units are often slow – so if they spend 1 turn going the opposite direction, they’ll need a whole 2nd turn just to end back where they started… and since a game will likely only last 6 turns, you’ve just dealt with a deadly unit for 1/3rd of the game.

Eternal Warrior

This uncommon special rule is most often found on HQ units, but also entirely throughout the Daemons codex. This rule makes you immune to the dreaded Instant Death clause. You may not see many Eternal Warriors out there, but it’s important to remember this rule when you do. The greatest players, sports stars, and chess champions in the world do as well as they do because they can exploit an opponent’s mistake.

Don’t be one of those people that make this mistake!

When you go into combat against an enemy, and you plan to take them out with a decisive Power Fist, Force Weapon, or similar attack – remember to consider Eternal Warrior. Instant Death does not come up often, but there are many armies that focus on using their Instant-Death causing characters/units to take out opposing characters. If that character turns out to have Eternal Warrior, then the attack falls flat.

By the same token, you can use your Eternal Warriors offensively in this matter, by pitting them against some of the deadliest enemies in the game and still expect to see them walk out of the fight alive.

Furious Charge

This is the real meat and potatoes I wanted to get at. This Universal Special Rule has been getting more spotlights recently from Games Workshop, mostly because every single Ork boy has it – and it is nothing to laugh at! At +1S and +1 Initiative, Furious Charge can make any assault-orientated unit doubly, or triply effective on the charge.

Nothing pisses off an Eldar Wraithlord more than when it gets charged by a Blood Angel Librarian with Furious Charge and a Force Weapon. They think they have it made, but then they realize that the Librarian only needs to do 1 wound to completely annihilate their Wraithlord. This would not be possible without Furious Charge.

It’s important to remember that Furious Charge takes effect after all other modifiers. So Ork Nobz with Power Klawz that charge are S9, not S10.

It’s often easy to forget the impact of Furious Charge. In Warhammer 40,000 we tend to think of Attacks and AP as the two biggest influencers of a weapon/model’s ability. However, Strength is probably the most important attribute after Toughness to a model. Toughness 4 is barely touched by S3 attacks (5+), able to shrug off S4 attacks (4+), vulnerable to S5 (3+) and akin to tissue paper at S6 (2+). No matter where you stand along the S3 to S5 curve, receiving +1 to your strength increases your unit’s deadliness.

That means a unit that hits on 4’s experiences a 33% increase in the number of wounds it would likely score if its attacks have the bonus from Furious Charge.

(Units that hit on 3’s experience only a 25% increase… still very sizable)

That’s like adding 3 extra models to a 9-man squad.

But you also have to remember the Initiative difference. That +1I can give you a further edge. Striking first in combat is a huge advantage, as you get to strike at full power, and your opponent will only strike back with whatever’s left (if there is even anything left).

When using Furious Charge, try to take advantage of it as often as possible. ALWAYS remember to use Hit & Run units where possible to regain the attack, initiative, and strength advantages of charging.

When fighting against units with Furious Charge, try to minimize its effects. Orks are most dangerous on the charge – so if they’re going to get to you the turn after they leave close combat, charge them instead! Deny them that advantage. Being stuck in the same combat turn after turn is the last thing units with Furious Charge want.

Always remember the impact that this can make on other rules as well. An Ork Warboss with a Big Choppa already receives a +2 bonus to Strength on top of S5. When that Furious Charge is added in, this brings the Boss up to S8 – often enough to deal Instant-Killing blows to HQs, and ruination to vehicles.

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