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Warhammer 40K RETRO: The Top Deployment Dirty Tricksters of All Time

3 Minute Read
Dec 13

With every Marine out there trying deployment shenanigans we thought it was the PERFECT time to go back and celebrate some of 40K’s greatest (or infamous) deployment tricks.

We are going back through the editions looking for the units that made us laugh hysterically, or groan with dread during the Deployment Phase. It strangely seems like 1998’s 3rd Edition was the high water mark for GW kicking out deployment tricks. Here we go:

Callidus Assassin (3rd Ed.)

A Word in Your Ear. Sure being able to move a single enemy unit up to 6″ didn’t sound like much, but I can recall all the hilarity of moving Devastator Squads forward out of rooftops into the open right in front of buildings, or back 6″ behind it. Moving that scary assault squad 6″ back, or some hero with an aura effect just out of range was extra sweet.

Eldrad (3rd Ed.)

Divination: Getting to move d3 of your units up to 6″ after deployment was extra spicy. Again, once deployment is done, you can do the Ulthwe 2-step, and get your shooters into solid positions to hit any exposed bad guys, move your exposed units into cover, and hide your precious HQs from alpha strikes.

Solar Macharius (3rd Ed)

Master Strategist. Not deployment per se, but close enough. Macharius’ ability to choose who goes first or second, with no rolling required was the most powerful any mini ever got. Even Vect’s older Seizing the Initiative on a 4+ couldn’t compete against the Warmaster. Macharius was seen so infrequently that it often caught opponents off guard. Players would choose early in deployment to deploy insanely aggressively, or defensively with no need to worry about losing that critical roll – while unwary foes just thought they were being overconfident.

Catachans (3rd Ed)

Ambushes & Booby Traps: Who could forget the entirely non-standard deployment a Codex Catachan army could use. They would cut up the board into 1 square foot sections and note on a map where their units deployed. Then they would pop up mid-game or if an enemy wandered too close.  Of course, they could also spend points on booby traps, and place than anywhere on the board – even the enemy deployment zone. Watch your step – BOOM!

Craftworld Alaitoc (3rd Ed.)

Ranger Disruption Table: We saved the best for last. You rolled on a d6 chart for each unit of Eldar Rangers and Pathfinders in your army.  The results could throw enemy units off the table and into reserves, or even get free shots pre-game at them. It was often crippling to a tightly constructed army’s ability to fight – and is infamous to this day.

~ Did we miss any? I’m SURE you have great stories about these abilities. Let’s hear em!


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