No matter what modifiers you suffer, everyone should always have a chance to hit.
Dice roll modifiers seem like a pretty basic and good idea at first glance. It’s a simple way to significantly improve or hurt a unit’s chances of accomplishing something. Something as simple as a +1 or -1 can really swing the amount of damage a unit can put out. Now despite the fact that modifiers can get you down to needing 1+ or 0+ to succeed (a unit with a 2+ save in cover for instance) GW has pretty much always kept (in 40K) the rule stating a natural roll of a 1 fails – for many editions. No matter what modifiers you might have when that lone pip rolls to the top you know you’ve failed. The same however is not always true of succeeding. When looking for success, for some reason, a natural six is not always a success. Lets look at why this is a problem.
As more and more Codexes come out its easier and easier to get minus to hit modifiers on your target. A number of armies have army-wide rules that give enemies -1 to hit them at range. Other units, like Eldar Rangers, have a natrual -1 to hit; sometimes always, sometimes in cover. The ability to combine these really takes things over the top. Alaitoc Rangers get a -2 to hit them, which with the addition of lighting fast reflexes goes to a -3. A large unit of Plaguebearers with Miasma of Pestilence also get a -2 to hit. As more army books come out there will only be more options for getting these minuses.
That much Dakka has got to be able to hit something.
When you start piling all these abilities on you start running into situations where a unit can’t hit its target at all. Now this tends to affect lower BS armies like Ork,s T’au, Astra Militarum, the most. Most Ork units taking a -2 need 7s to hit and so simply cannot do it. A number of T’au and AM units are in the same boat, and might take a -1 for moving as well and not be able to hit. A unit with a -3 is immune to most of the shooting for all three of these armies.
While this can be a devastating “tactic” it’s not really fun. There are few things as annoying and unfun as having a unit that just can’t do anything at all. This is doubly true since Lighting Fast Reflexes is used after you pick a target. You may well end up with a unit picking a target and then finding out it can’t hit them at all. Fun! It also leads to some situations that don’t make sense. Overwatch is supposed to be a hard environment to hit the enemy in, but you can now run in to situations where the enemy is actually easier to hit in overwatch shooting than non-overwatch shooting.
This problem doesn’t just effect shooting either. Some units take the negative modifiers in close combat also. Plaguebearers with Miasma of Pestilence are -2 to hit in combat also. So are Eldar Autarchs with the Shimmerplume and LFR. That means for instance that the major of T’au units simply cannot hit these units in close combat. Like have 0 chance to hit them. In fact T’au Firewarriors have a better chance of hurting a Warlord Titan in close combat, or Guilliman himself, then they do of hurting that unit of Plaguebearers. Now that makes sense!
These kids would be so good at 40K
Of course fixing this is pretty easy. All you would have to do is just add a rule saving a natural roll of a 6 always hits. It seems like this would be a pretty fair addition to the game. Units that are hard to shoot now would still be so. Units that are bad at shooting would not suddenly get good. All it would allow is for every unit to at least have a chance to do something. Overall I think this would be an easy and fair fix.
What do you think, should units always hit on a natural 6 or is it OK for units to not have a chance to hit at all? Let us know down in the comments!
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