Monday, July 12, 2010

Rules Shenanigans: Baal Predator

Good morning everyone, I came across this earlier and thought this might peak your interest. As you probably know, GW recently published FAQs for the Blood Angels and Tyranid codices. Why the Blood Angels FAQ was produced in a shorter time after the publishing of the codex than the Tyranid FAQ, I don't know. For the most part these FAQs make sense, even when they change initial interpretations based on the big rule book, but the ruling on the Baal Predator makes me wonder if the author thought this all the way through.

The Question:
Can a Baal Predator use its Smoke Launchers during its scout move?

The Answer:

The Shenanigans:
This may not seem like a problem, but look closely at the wording of Smoke Launchers on page 62 of the big rule book. Smoke Launchers may be triggered by the vehicle "after completing its move." Fine so far, a scout move is a move and therefore Baal Predators should be able to trigger their smoke launchers.

Where the shenanigans begin is when you look at the duration of smoke launchers. The precise phrasing states the vehicle "will count as obscured in the next enemy Shooting phase, receiving a 4+ cover save." Now let's say the Blood Angels player goes first, scouts his Baal and pops smoke. They will then be able to take a turn as normal, including moving and firing any weapons they desire and they will still benefit from the smoke launchers. There are no caveats about a turn taken between the triggering of the smoke launchers and the next enemy shooting phase.

Now let's look at how to exploit this, most likely with the Baal's shiny new weapon the Flamestorm Cannon. It only has a template range from the tip of the Cannon, but being a fast vehicle it's speed makes it a practical weapon. A Baal can move 18" in its scout move and then move 12" in its first movement phase and fire one weapon, all of this under the effects of the smoke launchers. This allows a Blood Angels player to get a Flamestorm Cannon 6" into your deployment zone in a Pitched Battle or Spearhead game before you can take a turn and benefit from smoke launchers in your first turn.

Will this cause problems with 40k as a whole? I don't think it will, as it only affects one army and can only be exploited if they go first. Will this cause any changes to my gaming experience? I don't think it will because no one in my gaming group runs Baal Predators. What does it make me think of GW's FAQ writers? I think they should have thought more of the implications of their rulings.

Will it change your gaming experience, if so how?


  1. This is probably the most fucked up ruling between the 'nid and sparklies FAQs. Since a Baal pred can scout and smoke, can other vehicles that have scout do that too? We don't fucking know is the issue, and since it doesn't say you can, you can't. FAQ shenanigans strikes again!

    Kinda like Doom's old bullshit INAT ruling, eh? Man, that was spot on!

  2. If this is true, does that mean my vandetta gets it's cover for moving flat out on the scout?

    Also, I think what the rule means is that if you go second the smoke will protect you on turn on (it is a protection from alpha striking). If you go first, however, it might count as your next turn and the smoke is than discarded. (siez the initive protection)
    Just my 2Cents.

  3. Unfortunately no on the Vendetta Luke. The Shooting at Skimmers section on Page 71 specifies that the skimmer must not be immobilized and "and has moved flat out in its last Movement phase" as the condition for getting a 4+ cover save.

    Also the smoke launchers section specifies "After the enemy's Shooting phase, the smoke disperses with no further effect" and that the vehicle "will count as obscured in the next enemy Shooting phase, receiving a 4+ cover save." I don't think they had this in mind when they wrote the big rule book and it makes me wonder what Matt Ward was thinking. Either way it's legal.

  4. I know it isn't really the topic here but people should always remember that a lot fo rulings have come out in FAQ form that have been rather interesting to say the least.

    I turn to the Codex Marines army as an example. Their power of the machine spirit was FAQ'ed to say this doesn't work if smoke was used.

    Now usually the rules is codex supersedes BRB, but in this case they simply said "no it's too god" I suppose. Why that same line of thinking wasn't applied to the Baal Pred. I do not know. I guess we'll have to see if a correcting Errata/FAQ comes out to fix this conundrum as they did wit the Space Wolves "Furious Counter Attack... thing (though that was simply a blunder on rules conception)