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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Back to Basics: How Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras work in 6th

How Rhinos, Razorbacks and Chimeras work in 6th

As anyone who has received their rule book will know, rather than having 5th edition discarded and replaced there are a thousand tiny changes that add up to a very different picture. I've made a start at trying to compile how the new rules effect one of the most important factors in shaping the game: the imperial transport vehicles.
The psyker, flyer and ally rules are getting most of the attention, but it is the affect of the rules on the most common transport vehicles in the game that will really decide how this edition of the rules plays.

Please note: The rules are compiled from all over the book
and I hope to make this useful for players of all levels, so any changes and additions are welcome. If you notice something that needs correcting or expanding, feel free to post below. Thanks.


Changes to Rhinos:
No change to Armour and weapons. Now has 3 Hull Points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.

Changes to Chimeras:
No change to Armour. Now has 3 Hull points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.
The Multilaser is now AP-, but the impact of this change is lowered by the fact that AP- no longer causes a negative bonus to rolls on the damage chart. (Edit: This was a typo by GW; in reality the Multilaser keeps its status as an AP6 destroyer of planets)

Changes to Razorbacks:
No change to Armour and weapons. Now has 3
 Hull Points. Vehicles have the ‘relentless’ rule.


Vehicles now only require 25% of their hull to be obscured in order to obtain a cover save. However the cover save is now generally 5+ instead of 4+ (cover from ruins, ruined fortifications and trenches remains 4+, Fortifications 3+), and it is especially significant that smoke only gives a 5+ save.

A static or immobile vehicle is still automatically hit (counting as WS0). A moving vehicle is counted as WS1 and will be hit on 3+, regardless of how far it has moved. This is a huge boost in the power of close combat attacks against vehicles from 5th edition, where hits against moving vehicles were 4+ or 6+ depending on their movement speed.

Rhinos, Razors and Chimeras all have 3 hull points. The effect of the hull point system and changes to the damage chart require a whole article of their own, but as a rule of thumb vehicles are less likely to be killed by one lucky result on the chart and more likely to be killed by accumulated hits.

Randomised Weapon Destroyed

Weapon destroyed results are now randomized amongst all weapons that can still fire, including pintle mounted weapons and hunter killer weapons. This is an improvement over the enemy being able to choose. Rhinos are unlikely to gain much by adding weapons, but chimera and especially razorback owners might seriously consider pintle weapons as a way to increase the life expectancy of their primary weapons.

This combines with the fact that glancing hits now never cause a roll on the damage chart to make the primary weapon on any vehicle more durable - at least until the vehicle runs out of hit-points. The chief benefactors of that will be the 'one gun tanks' like vindicators, but it also benefits razorbacks, especially the single gun versions.


Stationary vehicles can fire all weapons. No change to 5th.

Combat speed (up to 6”) can fire a single weapon at full BS and all other weapons that can fire as snap shots* at BS1. This would allow a Chimera to fire its Multilaser at BS3, and a heavy bolter and any pintle mounted weapons at BS1.

*Snap shot rules:

Snap Shots at BS1 when a heavy weapon moves and shoots in the same turn
Cannot fire template (flamers etc) or blasts (mortar etc) as Snap Shots

  • TIP: Alternatively, a Chimera could use the ‘full BS’ ability to fire a heavy flamer which cannot snapfire, and then use Snap Fire to fire the Multilaser at BS1 for a small increase in firepower over 5th edition.
  • TIP: A Razorback with more than one weapon can pick which weapon to use at which skill. This means that on a Las/Plas razorback, firing the Lascannon at BS4 and the twin linked plasmagun at BS1 would be recommended.
Cruising Speed (6”+) can only make snap shots. A chimera could fire its Multilaser, Heavy Bolter and any pintle weapons at BS1 while moving up to 12”, an increase in fire power over not being able to fire at all in 5th Edition.

Flat out: A vehicle can move flat out instead of firing in the shooting phase, giving it an additional move of up to 6”. They cannot tank shock while moving flat out.


The Lascannon – Twinlinked Plasmagun version of the Razorback is likely to remain very popular. Cover saves against its low AP shots have been reduced, and all twin linked guns have had a boost due to the likelihood of sooner or later firing snap shots at speed or firing against flyers. However, keep in mind even on vehicles the plasmagun now overheats and can strip away Hull Points.

The Twin-Linked Lascannon version is worth a second look, as it can fire its S9 shot at an effective BS of around 1.8 when moving faster than in 5th Edition (up to 12") or firing vs flyers. The single gun razorbacks have been improved by the randomisation of weapon destroyed results, making up some of the ground on the LasPlas razorback, and probably meaning this will come a closer second than under the old rules.

The Twin-Linked Assault cannon version has all the benefits of twin linking a 4 shot gun under the new rules that means it can sometimes move fast and still get some worthwhile shooting in despite firing snapshots. It is probably still the 3rd best choice for armies other than Blood Angels, however.

The Heavy Flamer ‘Flamerback’ is probably the big loser, as it combines the fact that it is the vehicle most likely to want to move fast for a good position and the fact it cannot fire its template weapon when moving over 6”.

Fast Vehicles

Fast Vehicles such as Blood Angel's Rhinos do not move faster in movement; instead they now move up to 12" when moving flat out. Fast vehicles can also fire all weapons after a 6" move as if they were stationary, or up to two at full BS at cruising speed.


There have only two major builds for Chimeras in the past; ML/HF and ML/HB, but it could now be worth experimenting. 

I expect the Multilaser and Heavy Bolter version to gain some additional users now that the vehicle can fire both even when moving (the heavy bolter at only BS1), but in my opinion the Multi-laser and Heavy Flamer combo still looks like the winner.

The rare variant HB/HB might appeal to some people who like the sound of 6 AP4 shots in an environment with lower cover saves, but Strength 6 should generally win out over 5.

The rarest HF/HF build unfortunately won't be the BBQ wagon some of us were hoping for, since vehicles can't fire overwatch shots and templates can't be used for snapshots.

In all cases, the value of adding a Heavy Stubber has increased slightly due to weapon destroyed randomisation. The Storm Bolter should never be taken, not even as a Dare. Double Dee Dare?


As you can see from the above, vehicle movement is now faster than ever. Vehicles can move up to 18" rather than 12", and fast vehicles can now move up to 24" rather than 18".
This will have a huge impact on the game.


Vehicles cannot make Overwatch shots against charging enemies unless specified otherwise (this and the fact that only 1 weapon can fire at BS when moving makes the double-flamer Chimera a lot less appealing). However if a transport is assaulted its passengers can fire snap shots out of fire points. This would be 2 models firing from a Rhino or 5 from a Chimera.

Wall of Death

Flamers cannot snap fire, but can fire on Overwatch and automatically inflict D3 hits on the charging unit.
  • TIP: A chimera carrying a PCS with 4 flamers will cause 4xD3 hits on an enemy that charges it - for a rule of thumb, that's 8 x S4 AP5 hits. If you position the chimera in your turn so that a lightly-armoured enemy will be at maximum charge range, that might be enough to make some charges stall.


Passengers Firing

Passengers count as moving if the vehicles moves at cruising speed. Passengers can fire exactly as if they were moving, which now gives a slight improvement to Heavy Weapons which can fire at BS1 rather than not at all. 

If the vehicle moves at Cruising speed the passengers can only fire Snap Shots (an improvement over no weapons).
  • TIP: If you have a heavy weapon such as an autocannon or missile launcher in a transport that moved, why not fire it at an Aircraft that you would require a 6 to hit anyway?
When a ‘Crew Shaken’ result is rolled, passengers can only make snap shots in their next Shooting Phase. 
When a ‘Crew Stunned’ result is rolled, passengers cannot shoot in their next shooting phase.


Move models to within 2” of access points during movement. Simple.


Disembarking now requires the models to end their movement wholly within 6” of the access point, a significant change to the almost 9” movement range of the 5th edition.

A unit can now only disembark if the vehicle has not moved more than 6” – this is as significant change to the ‘Move 12”, disembark 2.9” and fire melta weapons’ tactics common in 5th edition, and significantly reduces the threat range of embarked passengers.

No Charging from inside non-assault vehicles!

Models cannot declare a charge in the assault phase after disembarking from a vehicle, even if the vehicle has not moved. This is a huge change, as preventing charges from inside most vehicles both boosts the relative value of assault vehicles.

All three deployment types in the rule book have zones 24" apart, so without this stipulation we would have been likely to see lots of 18" moves in turn 1 followed by massed assaults in turn 2, and a return to the heady days of the Rhino rush. With this ban on charging from inside non-assault vehicles, squads that start in vehicles are more likely to get their charge in turn 3 unless the enemy comes to them.

Another significant impact is that squads will have to be ready to weather a turn of fire power or assaults in the open before they themselves get a chance to charge, rather than springing out of their nice, safe luxurious limousines and leaping straight in to combat unscathed.

Assault Vehicle

This rule allows passengers to disembark and charge in the same turn. If the vehicle does not have this rule, the passengers cannot disembark and charge. This is now a bigger deal than ever, and none of the three transports being discussed here have it.  

Ram and Tank Shock

A vehicle can no longer Ram or Tank Shock in a turn when a squad has embarked or disembarked. Expect it to take a while for people to get used to that rule.

Passengers are Fearless

The rules explicitly state that passengers are fearless. This is how the overwhelmingly vast majority of players treated them in 5th Edition, but will avoid any debate about what happens if a squad in a vehicle loses 25% of its members.

Disordered charges:

It has been common in the past for charging squads to charge more than one enemy unit, or to charge enemy units and vehicles simultaneously. Doing so now will remove their 1+ attack for charging. This will not have any effect on grenade armed squads who only had 1 attack vs vehicles anyway, but could reduce the likelihood of the opponent wanting to make multiple charges. It's great for pulling punches though.


Troops do not score while embarked in a vehicle (worth noting, also do not score if in a building).

Troops also cannot deny (ie 'contest') objectives if in a vehicle, and nor can the vehicle itself. 

Since troops will have to disembark to contest or control objectives and cannot disembark if the vehicle has moved more than 6", a lot more attention will have to be paid to getting the men to the objectives than the last minute flat-out grabs of 5th Edition. 



Blast weapons now hit vehicles at full strength even if the hole on the blast marker is now over the hull. This has a negative effect on the survivability of all vehicles.


There you have it: a decent start on what are likely to be some of the most important rules shaping the ebb and flow of games in the new edition of 40K. The ink on the rules is still wet so as mentioned above please feel free to let me know if you have any additions that you think are worthwhile or corrections to any parts of the article. Thanks!
I hope you found it helpful.

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