Hello everyone. Since Space Marines got their shiny new codex, there has been a few musings on one of their newest inclusions: Grav Weapons. I am for one excited about these things, if not because of their usability, but for the simple fact that it's something new. It's a new option to add more variables in what marines can do and how. This might be something that breaks up the boring tenancy of seeing the same armies everywhere if people allow themselves to look past their upfront appearance.
But with these little buggers came somewhat of a conundrum. As for their use against infantry, they seem pretty straight forward, given their their unique means of wounding. Where the real confusion comes from is how they are used against vehicles. Some people feel there is a doubt or an argument to be made for how they work on both sides of the fence. So given that, I decided to poke around and see for myself just how they work.
Graviton rule states:
"...When resolving a hit against a vehicle, roll a D6 for each hit instead of rolling for armour penetration as normal. On a 1-5 nothing happens, but on a 6, the target suffers an Immobilized result and loses a single Hull Point." (pg. 121: Space Marines)
The first issue that people wonder about is how it reacts against the target after the first result is applied, or if it is hitting a target that has already suffered an Immobilized result. Some wonder if it removes an additional hull point on top of the one it inflicts by it's wording.
Imobilized result reads:
"... Any Immobilized result suffered by an already immobilized vehicle, or a Flyer with locked velocity (see page 81) instead remove an additional Hull Point." (pg. 74: 40k Rulebook)
Now when you combine the two, you start to piece together the formula. The Graviton rule means that Grav weapons do not actually use the damage table when determining what happens; they simply inflict damage in a unique process which mimics the effects of this result as if it had been taken from any other source. Because of it's wording, it both "inflicts an immobilized result" and "removes a hull point" if a 6 is rolled.
Therefore, if you hit a target once, it looses a single hull point and is immobilized. Should that target (or any other target that is already immobilized) suffer a hit from a Grav Weapon, it will then loose 2 hull points from that shot. This is because the target takes a hull point via the Graviton rule, and then takes a second because of the caveat listed for the immobilized result. This would mean a total of 3 hull points between the initial shot, and the second. This gives the weapon some real potential, as most vehicles have only 3 hull points.
Now we move on to the next issue that has come up. As we've determined already, a Grav weapon does not actually use the damage table, other than to reference the Immobilized rules. This is because Grav weapons do not actually cause a glance or a penetration result to occur, it merely mimics the effects. Because of this, there is a question as to whether or not vehicles (or Flyers) can take cover or invulnerable saves against this effect. Infantry is allocated wounds as normal, even though the process for causing a wound is unique, so they may take cover as normal. But can vehicles?
Rules for Cover Saves, third bullet says:
"... If the target is obscured and suffers a glancing or penetrating hit, it must take a cover save against it, exactly like a non-vehicle model taking a Wound..." (pg. 75: 40k Rulebook)
Now, this is where the truth comes about, as far as the rules are written. A vehicle must take a glancing or a penetrating hit before it is allowed a cover save. As we've discusses, Grav weapons cause neither. Therefore vehicles may claim no cover from the effects of a grav weapon. People are saying the second line states "exactly like a non-vehicle model takes a Wound" allows for cover to be taken, but it does not. That is a line which clarifies why it is taking a cover save, and how... but it is still linked to the first section clearly applying the circumstance "if it takes a glancing or penetrating hit."
Rules for Invulnerable Saves read:
Now, there is no wording on Invulnerable saves for vehicles specifically. Because of this, they follow the exact rules for Invulnerable saves as written for infantry, which only applies the caveat that "it must be the best save available." Because of this, it is in fact permitted when suffering a hit from a Grav weapon, because it is not dependent on it taking a glancing or penetrating hit like cover saves are.
So there you have it. By the rules as they are written, Grav weaponry is surprisingly effective at firing on those targets which are vehicles in nature. You may take any invulnerable saves you may possess, but cover is not allowed for the hulking metal bawkses! It's hard to take cover from the ground after all. But in all seriousness, this is a pretty big deal when you consider how good certain armies are at using cover saves, especially jink saves (oddly enough only the junk saves from vehicles though). These weapons completely remove that protection from skimmers.
Whether or not this is intended, we'll have to wait and see if GW ever releases an FAQ on the subject, but for now that is how it reads by the rules. I like it, as it gives these weapons some form of identity. Otherwise, I hope you found this enlightening.