Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Causing TOO MANY wounds?!

Today, I'd like to take a moment to talk about an issue that might affect a number of people's games. That is the issue of causing too many wounds in melee.

What? Causing too many wounds! Are you serious?

Why yes. Here's a situation that has happened to me, not once, but twice over this past year. Your opponent is fielding space marines or chaos space marines -- all with a 3+ save. On the other hand, you and I are fielding chaos daemons (example army list here). To be more precise, I'm going to talk about a squad daemonettes in particular, as this is the context that it happened in. Although I've talked about the relative merits of daemonettes before, the key to this particular situation is to note that daemonettes have the rending special ability and can therefore by-pass the marine's 3+ save with some fortuitous die rolling.

After having a lot (well ... a round or two, at any rate) of hand-to-hand combat, there are only a few miniatures left on both sides. Let's suppose that the opponent has two marines left, and the daemon player has several daemonettes remaining.

If our daemonettes manage to hit the marines a few times and then go on to cause 2 rending wounds, then there is assuredly only 1 possible result: 2 marine casualties.

But consider this. If our daemonettes cause an additional "normal" wound, then the two marines can allocate the wounds how they like. Unless my opponents and I have completely mis-read the hand-to-hand combat rules, the sensible opponent should allocate 2 rending wounds to one model (meaning 1 automatically dead marine) and the "normal" wound to the second marine. Chances are that the second marine will then make his ordinary 3+ save and survive. Hence by causing more wounds, we have placed ourselves in a worse situation than would have happened if we had only caused 2 full rending wounds....!

So as a chaos daemons player, I now tend to take daemonettes in slighter larger squads than I have been doing. If I'm going to cause more wounds than required, then I want to make sure that I cause many, many, many more wounds than are required rather than just a pesky extra wound or two. Perhaps a longer term solution would be for the next core rules re-write to explicitly talk of allocating "no-save" wounds before other wounds? (Although I'd be totally impressed if a GW staff writer was reading this and took notice!)


Heinz said...

had the same thing happen to me shooting 4 combi plasmas and rapidfire hellfire rounds from my sternguard squad into my friends honour guard. the combi plasmas would have wiped them out if not for all the hellfire wounds!!
at the same time, it just feels too gamey not to shoot with the other guys because of would allocation rules.

Big Jim said...

This is why I hate the wound allocation rules in 5th edition.

It would be better if the wound from each weapons type were allocated before moving on to the next.

Colby said...

It's only a problem if the marines (or whatever other model) in question have differing wargear and/or stats. If it really was just two standard marines then the two rending wounds would have killed them both. You can only do the "stack two rends on one guy and a normal save on the other" trick when you have two guys with differing stats or equipment, like say a Sergeant and a normal marine, or a marine with a special weapon and a normal marine.

If you look at the example giving in the section of the rulebook about allocating wounds you'll see that models in a unit with identical equipment and stats are rolled for collectively when determining how many wounds they take. So for example if I have 5 bog-standard marines and they take 2 rending wounds and 6 standard wounds, and I save 4 of the 6 standard wounds, 4 (2 rending + 2 failed saves) marines will still die. The only time this isn't the case would be, say, for the following example:

I have a sergeant and 4 more marines. They take 2 rending wounds and 8 normal wounds. I'm crazy and allocate both rending wounds to the Sergeant and the other 8 wounds (which allow saves) to the other 4 marines, so that each "model" is taking 2 wounds a piece. I roll collectively for the 4 marines' saves, and manage to save 7 of the 8 wounds through some lucky dice. So the unit took 2 rending wounds and 1 unsaved wound, but because I allocated the rending wounds to the Sergeant, only 2 of the 5 models actually died, rather than 3.

Hope that makes sense...

Jason said...

Colby is right. In your example, if the two marines are the same, then they both would die. You split wounds amongst models, but then you group those wounds based on the type of model, and then roll all the wounds together.

So, 3 rending wounds on a 5 man squad with a sergeant that is also taking 5 normal wounds will lose 3 guys at least, because rending, even if split, will still end up on the normal guys, and the normal guys pool their wounds together.

oni said...

Colby beat me to the punch. :)

The odds of such a scenario happening are slim. Even if it were to come down to the sergeant and a marine (where saving throws would be done separately) it seems perfectly within reason and fluffy that the sergeant could strive to fight on in such and a bleak situation.

jabberjabber said...

Thanks for leaving all the comments folks!

Colby -- you're spot on :) From memory, my opponents did indeed have a sergeant and an "ordinary" marine left over both times the situation occured this year. Cheers!

LegenMythMan said...

Remember also that now you can be forced to take several saves on a model you hold dear, before you only had to take one. Or as in the good old third edition rule set, where you got to choose without much penalty at all how would die or live.

I would go so far as to say that fifth edition is by far the best rule set, especially when compared to third and fourth edition, the only thing that I feel could be a bit different is the assault combat resolution, as units with low I and a poor SV are eaten alive by anything.

oni said...

I honestly think that 5th edition is the best rules set to date also. There are some things that I'm on the fence about like vehicle shooting, but nothing I strongly disagree with. Individual codices... that's another story.

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