40K: Suffer Not The Wound To Take
Get ready for another rules conundrum – fortunately this one has an answer…sort of.
Warhammer 40,000 8th finally got an FAQ for the core rules and the 5 indexes. We’re glad to see it! It helped to clear up some things like “how many bonus attacks do scything talons grant?” (just 1 bonus attack – even though dual-wielding chainswords can give you 2 bonus attacks) and a few other things. Personally, I’m just glad they addressed a lot of these questions! Regardless if you agree or disagree with these FAQ answers, the fact is they put out an FAQ in a fairly reasonable amount of time.
Would we have liked the ruleset to be 100% free of these types of issues? Absolutely, but that’s also not realistic. Not on what is basically a first pass. I’m pleased with the progress we’ve seen so far however. Think about it – for the first time we’ve gotten all the armies currently in 40k updated at the same time for a new edition and we’re 3 weeks out and we’ve already gotten a pretty decent FAQ. The FAQ for 7th was a many-months long process and the roll out was one FAQ per faction at a time. Comparatively, this roll out has been like a sports car vs a bicycle – it’s no contest. But that doesn’t mean they caught everything…
To Suffer Or Not To Suffer
Last week, before the FAQ dropped, we got wind of an issue with wording (surprise) with some of the abilities. Specifically the Avatar of Khaine and Fortune. In fact, we even used this as an example for another issue – but here they are just so we can all see the exact wording:
“Okay, they don’t stack. So?” Yes, you are correct – however that isn’t the issue. The issue is the wording:
The Avatar’s ability says “whenever the Avatar of Khaine suffers a wound or mortal wound…” and the wording on Fortune is “whenever that unit suffers a wound…” and this brings up two issues:
1) There is a clear difference between wounds and mortal wounds. “Regular” wounds allow saves. Mortal wounds bypass saves and skip directly to damage:
2) When exactly do you “suffer a wound” in the order of operations?
The Suffering Begins
I want to address the second point because that will magnify why the first is now an issue. My question is simple: When exactly do you suffer a wound during the “Resolve Attacks” phase? Because as far as I can see you never “suffer a wound” – you only suffer damage:
Damage is equal to the Damage characteristic of the weapon used in the attack. Then a model loses one wound for each point of damage it suffers.
So again: You suffer damage and lose wounds. The wording matters.
Let’s look at the first issue now. There are lots of abilities in the game that read like the Avatar’s Molten Body or Fortune. They trigger when a unit suffers a wound and in some cases ALSO when a unit suffers a mortal wound. So was this intentional? And if it was intentional, what is the implication? Let’s look at some different cases to see if we can figure it out:
For Reference you can read all the 40k core rules HERE.
Resolve Attacks Steps:
- 1 – Roll to Hit
- 2 – Roll to Wound
- 3 – Allocate Wound
- 4 – Saving Throw
- 5 – Inflict Damage
Looking at these 5 steps, I think we can all agree that for a unit to suffer a wound, the attacker must have successfully hit and wounded the unit (the exception is mortal wounds which bypass the wound and save steps). That leaves 3 “steps” where the suffering can be interjected.
Case One: “Suffering Wounds” happens during/after the “Allocate Wounds” step.
This means once the attacker has successfully hit and wounded the defender immediately takes those “ability saves” – that means it happens before armor is rolled and before damage dice are rolled. This is incredibly powerful. Think about it – if you get shot with a -3 AP shot with multiple damage, you basically get to stop that attack cold.
Case Two: “Suffering Wounds” happens during/after the “Saving Throw” step.
Logically, it makes sense for a unit to suffer wounds before a model suffers damage as you have to be wounded before you are damaged. So in this case, the ability is still powerful because this check happens before damage is rolled. But it would take place after the armor save is failed. This also makes sense for things like mortal wounds which skip the wound and armor save altogether.
Case Three: “Suffering Wounds” happens during/after the “Inflict Damage” step.
At this point damage has already been rolled and the defender would roll this “ability save” for each wound lost. This is classic “Feel No Pain” and is probably how the majority of veteran 40k players are resolving things. In this case however, there would also be no need to differentiate between “suffer (regular) wounds” or “suffer mortal wounds.” The unit has already hit the “lose a wound” part.
Just Lose Wounds
Remember when I said there was an answer to this way at the top? There is – sort of. The answer is in an errata in the FAQ for Index: Xenos II – Catalyst:
Catalyst shared the same basic wording as Molten Body – “suffer a wound or mortal wound…” and that was changed to say “each time that unit loses a wound.” Finally we get some consistency in wording! Suffering damage and suffering wounds are two different things. But if GW meant to say “lose a wound” instead of “suffering a wound” then everything is fixed.
So was Fortune meant to work when a unit loses a wound due to suffering mortal wound as well? I’m not sure! They did differentiate between the two. Maybe they only wanted Fortune and abilities like it to work on damage caused from non-mortal wounds. Right now, it’s in a weird middle ground – the Fortune save either happens at a really awkward time during the Resolve Attacks Steps, or it applies when a model loses a wound (in which case that triggers on mortal wounds, too).
These abilities seem like they were supposed to be a throw back to Feel No Pain. Either that or Fortune was just supposed to be re-roll failed armor saves. Here at BoLS, until we get some errata to all of the abilities that say “suffers a wound” or “suffers a mortal wound,” we’re just treating them as “when this unit/model loses a wound” and getting on with playing more games.
So what do you think? Was “Suffer a wound” just supposed to mean “lose a wound” or are those abilities WAY more powerful than they first appeared?