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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Back to Basics: Moving models during Assaults

This is perhaps the most complicated (not saying much) and poorly executed part of the game - moving models in assaults. This is seen particularly during multiple assaults and thus we are going to do another back to basics series on it.

There are some very simple and key rules you need to understand when making assaults.

  1. To START an assault, move the closest model to the closest model of the intended target.
  2. Every model which CAN get into base to base contact, MUST and MUST engage an unengaged model if possible.
  3. If a model cannot get into base contact with an enemy it MUST get within 2" of an engaged model.
  4. All models MUST end their move in coherency with another model with engaged models taking preference. This was the topic of the last back to basics
There are many implications of this. Let's take a look at a few.
Models do not have to move in a straight line

The first model to be engaged must do so but every model after that can do as they wish AS LONG AS THEY FOLLOW THE RULES. If you can move around terrain to avoid a terrain test and still engage a model which was previously not engaged, awesome - you've avoided taking a terrain test. If you do this to avoid getting into contact with a model which is not engaged to avoid taking a terrain test you're doing it wrong. If a model can draw a direct line to an unengaged model but has to take a difficult terrain test, you're taking the damn test. Let's look a pictorial example.

We see all the Rough Riders moving in a straight line here though so let's look at an example where you can wiggle around and avoid terrain. 

Because the final Rough Rider is within 12" of the Scorpion not in base contact with a Rough Rider, he has to go through the terrain and therefore the UNIT MUST TAKE A TERRAIN TEST. This is where setting up your assaults is very important. If only the first two (or even four) Rough Riders had been able to engage the Scorpions, the rest of the Riders could have moved up to support the engaged units and NOT had to go through terrain. With pile-in moves the Scorpions would have then brought themselves to the Rough Riders without the Rough Riders potentially failing a terrain test.

The 1" rule is ignored during assault moves

Remember that 1" rule which is so important for blocking? Knowing that rule is very important for blocking in combat because it does not apply. The only way to stop assaulting models with blocking moves is to make sure they physically cannot move through. This means a gap of 24.9mm between models is required to ensure no opposing models can get through. If that gap is greater than 24.9mm, a 25mm based model can move right on through that gap. This is a key difference from movement when having a 2" coherency bubble effectively stops movement through units. Not so with assaults. Obviously for larger based models the gap can be bigger (i.e. 39.9mm for 40mm bases and 59.9mm for 60mm bases) but it's important to not have a large enough gap for the opposing unit to move through. Block with your base rather than the 1" bubble.

Remember, this applies to ALL MODELS not just the ones you are assaulting. It's perfectly legal to assault through a unit which has left 25.1mm gaps without ever actually engaging that unit.

It is NOT possible to multi-assault with one model

You MUST move the shortest route possible to the closest model whilst avoiding impassable terrain, friendly models and enemy models which are not the intended target. Whilst it's theoretically possible to just touch the engaged model whilst taking the shortest route, the rules imply you should only be engaging a single model as you move around enemy models (not 1" away but clearly avoiding base contact with all other enemy models).

You can forcibly not engage units during their previous movement phase

Models must engaged models not already engaged. If this is not possible you have to engage models (i.e. get into base to base). If this is not possible you must move within 2" of a model in base to base contact. If this is not possible you can go wherever the hell you please as long as you stay in coherency. This means by setting up your assaults during your movement phase you can have only a few models actively engage in a fight or have a few models you can move freely. There are many reasons for this including:
  1. Minimise damage to opponent and thus stay in combat for your opponent's turn.
  2. String units out towards a buffing bubble (i.e. Sanguinary Priests, Tervigons, etc.)
  3. Pull the opposing unit away from something with reaction moves.

Here the ASM have not only pulled the Scorpions away from a particular point but strung out a couple models which could not engage in combat to ensure they got the benefit from the Priest's FNP/FC bubble. Win/win.

Independent Characters...

Are basically individual units for assaults. Remember their new rules which allows them to 'Make Way!' like in Fantasy to ensure they are part of the fight (if possible) but for terms of allocating attacks against them, THEY ARE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT UNIT. They may still take the same Ld/Initiate checks the rest of the squad does, but for attack allocation they are an individual unit. Of course if they have a retinue they are not. 


I hope this clears some facets of the assault phase up. If there are any other commonly perceived mistakes or rules queries let me know and I or someone else can do a follow-up post. Remember, it may seem complicated but everything you need to know is in the rulebook and there is a very particular order and way each model must move. Follow that and you won't have any issues!

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