Shas'la Mon'shase squinted into the dark, just making out a string of advancing figures. Within his cadre, Mon'shase's superb night vision was legendary - so well known, in fact, that it had earned him the given name of "Black Sun," just like the xor'vesa's night-fighting filter.
His night vision was about to earn him another commendation.
With a mental nudge, Mon'shase activated the squad-comm. "La'rua, we have incoming! Ten, make that fifteen hostile, one hundred tor'leks out." A breath later, the night dark was torn asunder with a dozen blue-white bursts.
In the gue'la's advancing ranks, he could just make out two, maybe three special weapons. Probably flame throwers, trying to get in under the cover of night. A kai'rotaa ago, they probably could have done it, too - for some reason, it was always those thrice-Aun-damned flamers - and plasma rifles! - that stayed alive till the bloody end.
But, within the past few rotaa, things had changed. As if accentuating the point, the night was temporarily illuminated by a second sun; even from seventy-five tor'leks away, the Fire Warriors could hear the unfortunate gue'la's death scream. They've stopped trying to recover their comrades' special weapons, Mon'shase thought. It's almost like they're playing by a different set of rules...
A lot has been said about the new shooting wound allocation system, and it seems that for every player, there's a different interpretation. I've sat down with the rulebook and thought long and hard about what it all meant. Here is the fruit of my labor - an attempt to explain the new system's intricacies. And yes, I stole White Knight's "awesome fluff hook" idea; it's just so much fun! Hopefully I can steal some of his, and eiglepulper's, humor.
Shooting Casualties – Because we can't "just all be friends."
Before you go any further, I want you to pull out your 5th edition rulebook and read through page 25, "Complex Units." That includes the example at the bottom. Think about what you've read, read it one more time, then come back to this thread.
If you haven't read page 25 (or have read it in the past but don't have a copy of the rulebook but you're pretty sure you kinda understand the rules) then please don't post here. I don't like to be an elitist prick, but in this one case - I'm being one. It'll make the conversation friendlier for everyone if all the posts are educated.
"Cannon in front of them/Volley'd and thunder'd"
Right off the bat, I should point out that...
andp. 18, Fast Rolling With Different Weapons wrote:When a unit fires, all of its weapons are fire simultaneously.
This means that the player controlling the target unit goes into the Wound Allocation phase knowing just how many, and what type, of wounds he is dealing with. In the event of mixed Toughness, the majority Toughness is used; if none exists, the higher Toughness value is used.p. 19, Roll to Wound wrote:Just like rolling To Hit, roll all the dice together...
Taking Saving Throws - A Perfectly Homogenous Unit
The 5th Edition rulebook treats a perfectly homogenous unit, like a squad of Necron warriors, in a hassle-free way:
This is really easy, and I don't think there is any ground for arguments here.p. 20, Taking Saving Throws wrote:You roll all of the saves for the unit in one go, and a model of your choice is removed as a casualty for each failure."
Heterogeneous is the Spice of Life
But, well, homogenous units are the exception, rather than the rule. We now turn to page 25, "Complex Units", for further insight. To begin...
Alright, pretty straight forward - we're allocating wounds to individual models. I should be able to use this to eat up a bunch of plasma hits, am i rite?p. 25, Complex Units wrote:The player controlling the target unit must decide which models have been wounded, allocating the wounds to the warriors of their choice... The player must allocate one wound to each model in the target unit before he can allocate a second wound to the same model.
Well, not really.
There is not some caveat that says "hey, you can actually roll each and every individual model separately." It doesn't work like that. Models that are perfectly identical in gaming terms roll their saving throws as a set, at the same time, period.p. 25, Taking Saving Throws wrote:Having allocated the wounds, all of the models in the unit that are identical in gaming terms take their saving throws at the same time, in one batch.
But Elliott, what does "identical in gaming terms" mean? Come on, Space Marines have the same stat line, how does carrying a special weapon make them unique?
5th edition defines this well, right at the beginning of this section:
p. 25, Complex Units wrote:By this we mean they have the same profile of characteristics, the same special rules and the same weapons and wargear.
Well fine, whatever. But a normal marine getting hit with an AP2 weapon isn't getting that armor save - can't I just remove him and all the wounds allocated to that one model?
Nope. Look at the example at the bottom of page 25. Specifically, notice the batch of Space Marines with bolters.
All unsaved wounds are applied to all members of the same identical batch at the same time; even if two meltagun hits had gone on one of the Marines with bolters, it would have resulted in two - not one - dead marine, because those wounds are applied toward the "batch".p. 25, Allocating Wounds on Complex Units wrote:He goes on to roll the four saves for the Space Marines with bolters in one go, failing two. He should remove three models (two unsaved wounds plus one wound with no armor save from the meltagun), but as there are only two models in the group of identical models, he just removes them both.
So great, I can't use this nifty new wound system to eat up any of those "assured death" wounds?
Wrong again. Since completely unique models are rolled individually, you can use them to absorb wounds. That is to say, if a squad of five Space Marines - with a Veteran Sergeant, a flame thrower, and three bolter Marines - was hit by four lasgun shots (no armor penetration value) and two meltagun shots (AP2), you could throw both melta hits on the flame thrower.
This is actually pretty straight forward: all the same rules about homogenous/heterogeneous models apply:
p. 26, Units of Multiple-Wound Models wrote:If a unit consists entirely of models that are identical in gaming terms and have multiple wounds, then take all the saves for the unit in one go.
However, there is one additional caveat:p. 26, Units of Multiple-Wound Models wrote:If the unit includes different models, first allocate the wounds suffered. Then take saves for identical models at the same time as normal.
The examples given clearly illustrate this point: wounds are allocated such that whole models are removed first, starting with models that have already lost a wound, then working through unwounded models.p. 26, Units of Multiple-Wound Models wrote:Once you have determined the number of unsaved wounds suffered by a group of identical multiple-wound models, you must removed whole models as casualties where possible. Wounds may not be 'spread around' to avoid removing models.
For example, let's say we have a unit of three identical Crisis Suits that have yet to be wounded. In one unfortunate shooting phase, this unit fails three armor saves. One suit would take two wounds, and die, and another suit would take one wound, placing it at half-life. If this unit later takes another unsaved wound from shooting, this would be applied to the previously wounded Crisis Suit.
However, if each Crisis Suit were unique (different wargear or rank from the other suits), then before saving throws are taken, one wound would be distributed to each of the Crisis Suits; then, each suit would role independent of the others. We could have three suits that have each taken one wound, but are still fighting! The benefits of diversity should be obvious.
'Instant Death' refers to the instantaneous death of a multiple-wound model from an unsaved wound inflicted by an attack with a Strength double or greater the Toughness of the defending model.
For instance, our multiple-wound Crisis Suits will die outright if hit with a weapon of Strength 8 or greater.p. 26, Instant Death wrote:If a model suffers an unsaved wound from an attack that has a Strength value of double its Toughness value or greater, it is killed outright and removed as a casualty.
When it comes to applying unsaved wounds that causes Instant Death, there is an additional rule:
For example, we have a homogenous, two-man Crisis Suit Team. One of the suits has already taken one wound. Unfortunately for them, they take two more unsaved wounds from shooting: a Strength 9 lascannon shot (which will inflict Instant Death), and a regular bolter shot. Both Crisis Suits die: the unwounded Crisis Suit is removed first, a casualty of the Instant Death weapon; the second suit them succumbs to the bolter shot. This is to prevent us from placing the bolter wound on the unwounded Crisis Suit, and then taking it as the Instant Death casualty.p. 25, Units of Multiple-Wound Models wrote:If amongst the unsaved wounds there are some that inflict instant death, the player must first, if possible, remove one unwounded model for each unsaved wound that causes instant death, and then proceed as normal (this is done for each group of identical multiple-wound models). This rule is designed to stop players avoiding single wounds by putting them on a model that has suffered instant death anyways.
The above two points - Multiple-wound Models and Instant Death - can be a bit tricky. P'Shar's Rifles wrote up an excellent summation:
P'Shar's Rifles wrote:To clarify, you must remove a wounded model if the shot is not instant death and the model has only one remaining wound, but you must instead remove an unwounded model if it is an instant-death wound. However, this rule still only applies within each group of "identical" models. It is possible, therefore, to have an instant-death wound remove an already wounded suit, if that suit constitutes a "group" by himself to which the instant-death hit was assigned.
Conclusion: What does this mean for the Tau?
This helps us out greatly. It is now possible to kill high-profile targets - like special weapons, or squad leaders - without chewing through rest of the squad first. However, there could be problems with mixing high-volume weapons with low-AP weapons (I'm looking at you, Firestorm!): give the enemy too many high-AP wounds, and he can easily perform the trick I explained above - put all of the low-AP shots on a useless individual.
We're in great shape here, too. Our Fire Warrior teams don't carry heavy weapons - they're very homogenous. Granted, our Shas'ui can now be called upon to take a save all by themselves, but 4th edition's Torrent of Fire put them in the exact same position (assuming that the squad doesn't take twice as many wounds as it has models). Unfortunately, these rules hurt the Vespid - if you run them in smaller squad sizes, there's a good chance that the Strain Leader will have to take a save. 'Course, given their fragility, they probably aren't getting saves anyway!
As for our heavy hitters: diversity is our friend. XV8 teams composed of unique Crisis Suits are effectively "compartmentalized", each taking their saving throws independent of another. This is good because two unsaved wounds on two identical Crisis Suits results in one dead suit, not two suits at half life.
This didn't occur to me at first glance, but our stealth suits can also benefit from compartmentalization. Check out this unit:
Elite: 3 Stealths (175 Pts)
- [2 Stealths with Burst Cannons]
- [Teamleader; Markerlight, HW Multitracker; HWDC + 2 Marker Drones, Bonding Knife]
We have three batches of models here: one teamleader, two marker drones, and two burst cannon stealths. For a few points, we could have four batches:
Elite: 3 Stealths (178 Pts)
- [Stealth with Burst Cannon; DC + 1 Marker Drones]
- [Stealth with Burst Cannon; Blacksun Filter]
- [Teamleader; Markerlight, HW Multitracker; DC + 1 Marker Drones, Bonding Knife]
Not only that, but not all of your drone-eggs are in one basket. One of the DC units could go down, and not take both drones with him.
Anyways, let me know what you guys think, and... good hunting!