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Slayer Deathblow And Removing Casualties

slayer deathblow rules

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#1 frnknstn

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 09:58 AM

Recently in the "Waiting For The Faq" thread, someone reopened the Slayer Deathblow question: If you kill more slayers in a single round of combat than there are in the front row of the unit, do the extra casualties get deathblows? Who can these attacks be directed at?

I have created this thread so that any needed discussion doesn't pollute the FAQ thread.

Too much rules-lawyering takes place around the issues of "base-to-base contact" and "the step-up rule". People say it's because the rules are poorly written or incomplete, but I find them simple and straightforward.

The key to understanding the "step-up rule" is this: there is no step up rule. Open your rules book and read along, page 51, the section is "Remove Casualties". The first sentence, in bold in the book, "Casualties are removed from the rear rank, just like models killed by shooting attacks." Even though the dwarfs in the front row were the ones that took the wounds, those models don't die, the ones at the back do.

This is obviously not an accurate representation of real life, and so the book makes an attempt to reconcile the rules with reality. The next sentence explains why that abstraction takes place: "Models that have stepped up to replace the fallen can fight". The "Remove Casualties" section of the Shooting section (page 45) further talks about this: "although casualties would normally fall amongst the front rank, for the purpose of the game we remove models from the rear of the unit."

So, it is clear that the "Step-up Rule" is not a rule, it is an explanation of why the rules of the game differ from reality. The actual rule is that for all intents and purposes, the front row acts as if it never died.

Some argue "technically when a model is stepping up, he not in base contact", but we can see this clearly isn't true. The front row models do not ever actually move.

So where does this leave us? Do the extra casualties get deathblow? Yes, they do.

Who can these attacks be directed at? This is a bit more complicated. Normally the attacking player gets to chose how to divide attacks, so they would probably get to chose here too, but there are no rules I can see to back this up. This needs an FAQ. Before your opponent makes his rolls, you should ask him which Slayers he is targeting, because it can make a material difference. In game terms, any additional wounds done to a trollslayer are removed from the back of the unit as usual, and result in extra deathblows from the targeted slayer.

#2 kgkid

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 10:58 AM

p. 48 "Normally, a warrior can only strike blows against an enemy model in base contact."

It also states there are exceptions to this (supporting attacks, or some other special attack).

 

p.51 It actually states that the removal from the rear rank represents models stepping forward to fill the gaps (and falling on a blade made by powerful character or something).

It is there to make things simple and fast, not more complicated.

 

This has several consequences and documented precedents, among other: the attacking back with full ranks, re-rolling all successful ward saves made by a model with the Other Trickster's Shard...

 

To be able to hurt a model in CC you have to be able to hit it first. To hit it, you have to be in base contact (with possible exceptions).

 

Consequences of this line of reasoning:

 

It can be very difficult and time consuming determining the origin and target of each blow in combat in which Slayers die. The game would suffer, although it would be the most precise way of doing things.

 

So, the easiest way of doing this, at least for me, and I used this a couple of times in last few weeks is:

 

1. Ask opponent to carefully split attacks made by "special models" (in essence characters and champions) from "regular troops"

2. Kills made by a character basically can "deathblow" back into the character itself, or to the unit. (exceptions possible (wider bases ...))

3. Kills made by "ordinary troops" can "deathblow" back into the unit, but you give up on attacking characters because of simplicity. The error is minimal anyway.

4, If a character, or other "special model", attacks from a second rank, or has a special rule allowing him to attack without being in BtB (Skaven whips, can't remember other situations), then Deathblow attacks, obviously, have to go into the unit (or another "special model" if it is directly in font of the model in question)

 

It is all very intuitive, fast and easily applicable, if you're not trying to get more then you deserve.  

If in doubt, you have to just split all attacks and waste a lot of time.



#3 Itsacon

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 12:31 PM

Wow, whoever first turned this in a problem really needs to learn to enjoy the game.

Next time your opponent makes a problem of this, simply ask him:

If the dead model wasn't in base contact, who killed him?

That's why models are removed from the rear: it represents either the attacker or the defender stepping over the fallen soldiers. That's also why the front row can still fight back, even if their initiative is lower.

As for who the deathblow attack is aimed at: It's aimed at whatever killed the slayer, of course. The slayer is trying to take as many of what killed him with him. If the slayer died from a character's attacks, it's aimed at him. If he died to normal troop attacks, the attack will be against normal troops.

I'd stick to that even if we're talking about models that ARE in base contact.

It's a slayer, it wants to kill something dangerous, or die trying. The thing that actually killed him is obvious the primary candidate.

Edited by Itsacon, 27 March 2014 - 12:31 PM.


#4 Thrundorin

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Posted 27 March 2014 - 02:04 PM

It gets a bit weird when you are looking to kill the most dangerous. The rules state you hit someone in b2b contact.

Ignore the step up for now and assume everyone accepts the slayers come forward. Step up only becomes an issue anyway if the kill more than the first rank or large numbers with characters.

In a situation where you are fighting an opponant and have piled into combat with their mages unit. The mage kills no one but the two "bodyguard" models kill a slayer in front of them. Only two kills, no step up to worry about, but those slayers can strike the mage, they are not forced to strike at their killer.

#5 Kohr the Unstable

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:36 PM

+1 for what Thrundorin said.  The Deathblow rule is pretty clear about that part, so I don't really understand the argument about it.

 

If I can muddy the water a little here, I have a question regarding *when* Deathblow actually happens.  There's an easy answer and a hard answer.  Normally, the easy answer is the way to go, but the hard answer could have an impact on the game's outcome.  Examples:

 

#1 - A Keeper of Secrets (5 wounds) makes 10 attacks against my 20 model Slayer unit.  She makes all of her attacks and wounds 10 times, killing 10 Slayers.  I then get 10 Deathblow attacks back at her.  Then, assuming I didn't kill her, I make my normal attacks with the remaining 10 models.
 
#2 - The KoS makes her 10 attacks, but one at a time.  Assuming the best possible scenario, after every wound the KoS makes, my dying Slayer makes his Deathblow attack and wounds her.  That means that she'd take her 5th and final wound after her 5th attack; not her 10th, thus sparing the lives of 5 Slayers (much to their chagrin).
 
I would lean towards scenario #1 simply to maintain the pace of the game, as it's the easiest and simplest solution.  However, scenario #2 brings up an interesting idea.  Could Deathblows theoretically kill a monster/character off before it gets to finish its battery of attacks?
 
I think it boils down to how you define "immediately" and exactly *when* do you remove a model as a casualty?
 
Forgive me if this was discussed to death elsewhere.  I'd appreciate a link to that discussion if someone has one.


#6 Wendersnaven

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 05:56 PM

The turn order seems pretty clear to me, and as things are struck in Initiative order, the first of Kohr's examples is the correct one.

 

I'd link the old conversations, but they might contain my grumpy side considering how meta-players are trying to undermine the entire purpose and creation of the rule... :happy:



#7 Kohr the Unstable

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:20 PM

Actually, as usual, I was able to answer my own question by scouring the rulebooks mercilessly.

 

Per BRB pages 50/51, you always roll all attacks at the same time, for the same initiative.  Then you roll to wound for each successful attack.  Then you roll Saves vs. those successful wounds.  THEN you remove casualties.  So Deathblow would trigger after you roll your Armor/Ward saves.

 

Interestingly, this still brings the split-profile concept into the conversation.  If, for example, you get charged by Skullcrushers (Init 5), you could theoretically kill off multiple models via Deathblow before the Juggernauts (Init 2) ever get a chance to attack.  Same goes for Frost Phoenixes or other big gribblies with Stomp/Thunderstomp.  Your Deathblow attacks would come before the Stomp/TStomp and thus could kill the monster before the serious pain comes.



#8 Volsh

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 07:01 PM

In general, it makes sense that deathblow attacks are targeted at the model that killed them.  However, as was mentioned with the KoS, a problem arises if the model has more attacks than wounds.  In particular, this could apply to unit champions.  If a champion has two attacks, does two wounds, and then dies from the first deathblow, can the second deathblow hit the RnF?



#9 Seefood

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 07:01 PM

The slayer gets to attack the one that did the wound to him.

Easy 



#10 Swordthain

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 09:32 PM

That's right. In the example of a unit campion above, both death blow attacks would have to be made in reaction to the champion's kills, at the champion's initiative. This means the two kills would result in two death blow attacks aimed at the champion, much like the case of attacks in a challenge.

#11 Kohr the Unstable

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 10:03 PM

That's right. In the example of a unit campion above, both death blow attacks would have to be made in reaction to the champion's kills, at the champion's initiative. This means the two kills would result in two death blow attacks aimed at the champion, much like the case of attacks in a challenge.

 

Remember though, that the second attack would have to go against a model in base contact.  If the Champion was next to a wizard, for example, then the second Deathblow could potentially go on the wizard.  So the RnF argument is valid, but not the only option.



#12 Wendersnaven

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:45 AM

Oh man, it's Mr. Gumby time... :wallbash:

 



#13 Swordthain

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:06 AM


That's right. In the example of a unit campion above, both death blow attacks would have to be made in reaction to the champion's kills, at the champion's initiative. This means the two kills would result in two death blow attacks aimed at the champion, much like the case of attacks in a challenge.


Remember though, that the second attack would have to go against a model in base contact. If the Champion was next to a wizard, for example, then the second Deathblow could potentially go on the wizard. So the RnF argument is valid, but not the only option.

Oh my! I guess you're right! The attacks go against a model in base contact, so could be directed against any model that fits the bill! That usually means multiple models would be viable targets, doesn't it? You would not even have to target the champion at all if you had the opportunity to inflict wounds on a Mage or some other crunchy, high profile model...

#14 gjnoronh

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:15 AM

I think in those kinds of situations you ask your opponent to suspend fast dice rolling and allocate attacks "the attacks from these three models may generate juicy death low attacks please roll them separately.

Of course if we did that he could allocate to models to the left or right of the slayers who could attack the Mage for example. Hmm

#15 Hoffa

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:36 AM

Seems like I have missed a vital rule for the slayers. Deathblows are not made at the slayers I step. They are made after the I step were the slayer got killed but before the next I step. What I'm trying to say is that if slayers gets attacked by one batch of I 4 attacks and one batch of I 3 attacks the deathblows from the slayers killed at I 4 would come after all attacks at I 4 but before any attacks at I 3.  Correct ? 


Edited by Hoffa, 10 April 2014 - 10:37 AM.


#16 Swordthain

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:31 PM

The rules don't put that stipulation on the attacks. They're made in response to unsaved wounds, which I would think has to occur "immediately". So, you wouldn't necessarily wait for all attacks at I4 to be completed. Practically, I will work out that way probably 99.9% of the time, since I can't think of an exception just now, but the point is that in the event any sort of exception obtains, death blow attacks are made "immediately" rather than at the end of any particular Initiative step.

#17 Kohr the Unstable

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

In many (most) cases, it won't matter when the Deathblow attacks are made.  The issue comes up when there's a mixed profile of attacks, where the Deathblows could potentially eliminate the opponent prior to the next set of attacks being made.  If it's just Slayers vs. RnF models, there's a good chance that the RnF is going first, then the Slayers go, so it really washes out.  But against Cav units or a character or something, it could be important.

 

As far as targeting Deathblows goes, it seems to me that the wording of the rule makes resolution a bit tedious, as gjnoronh mentioned.  Since the base-to-base aspect would become important if I have the opportunity to target those Deathblow attacks at wizards or other characters, then yes, you'd have to have your opponent designate attacks.  Annoying and tedious, but ultimately necessary.  Under standard unit-vs-unit combats, it's a non-issue.  It's only when you want to target specific models with your Deathblows does it come into play.



#18 Thrundorin

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:56 PM

It is taken after the wounds are made. To deal with a split in one I step, you would need something where two models with the same initialtive were rolling separately, either due to different WS/Strength etc and weren't in the same unit, e.g. two enemy heroes, same I,. same WS but different weapons.

 

People also seem to overlook the fact you don't have to hit your killer, any model in b2b is fair game. This makes mages etc in the front rank of r'n'f units quite vulnerable as RaW you could pile all death blows caused by a rank and file model into the mage. The defence against this is to put the mage in the corner next to another character or the unit champion so only models killed by the char/champion could hit them. 



#19 Kohr the Unstable

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 01:59 PM

Seems like I have missed a vital rule for the slayers. Deathblows are not made at the slayers I step. They are made after the I step were the slayer got killed but before the next I step. What I'm trying to say is that if slayers gets attacked by one batch of I 4 attacks and one batch of I 3 attacks the deathblows from the slayers killed at I 4 would come after all attacks at I 4 but before any attacks at I 3.  Correct ? 

 

Just to clarify this, yes, you're correct.  According to the BRB (pgs 50-51), you declare attacks for a given Initiative count, roll to hit, roll to wound, roll saves, then "remove casualties."  The Deathblow rule states that the Deathblow attack occurs "before the Slayer model is removed as a casualty."  Thus, they happen before the next tick of the Initiative counter and its corresponding set of attacks.



#20 Hoffa

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 02:08 PM

Thanks for the clarification, this makes slayers a bit better than I thought against certain targets. (For example mounted units where the rider and mount have different I or units containing killy characters.)







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