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Pimpcron: New Morale Rules – Better or Worse?

5 Minute Read
Aug 1 2020

Pimpcron digs deep into the effects of the new morale rules.

Hey! This is my weekly collection of marking that your brain interprets as letters and words. But the real question is, how do you know what I mean? You can only assume that I’m using English as the cipher, but you can never be completely sure.

Out With the Old

I honestly like the way 8th edition handled Morale. It was super straight forward and predictable. There were ways to make it really effective, and there were ways to make it devastating. But here’s how the curve came out when it came to losing the morale. Before we begin, we have to make this an apples-to-apples scenario. So there are a few things we have to take into account:

Picture this, you have a hypothetical combat where a unit with leadership 8 deals the exact same number of casualties as the enemy unit. The enemy has a leadership of 6. Both units lose 5 models.

The Leadership 8 unit is fine as long as they roll 3 or under, and even then they are capped out at losing a maximum of 3 models. So they have a 50% chance to lose any models at all from fleeing.

The Leadership 6 unit is fine only on the roll of 1, and their maximum number of models fleeing is capped at 5. This unit has an 83% chance to lose at least one model.

You can see that this could quickly make things get out of hand. But I liked it, and I’m a little sad to see it go. The lower-morale unit is not only almost guaranteed to lose somebody but they will lose several more models.

In With the New

So under the new rules, you add your model loses to the roll of a D6 just like before. If that sum exceeds your leadership then you remove 1 model and roll a D6 for every remaining model. Under normal circumstances, every 1 you roll removes another model.

Let’s go back to those two units of Leadership 6 and 8. Let’s say they deal exactly the same number of casualties to each other again (5). Let’s also assume they have the same number of models for the sake of this mental exercise (10 models at the time of the Morale check).


Leadership 8 unit has the same 50% chance not to lose anybody. But if they lose that 50% roll, they lose one model automatically (instead of possible 3). Then you roll a D6 for the other 9 models remaining. On average between one and two more models will be removed, resulting in 2 to 3 models removed due to this Morale Phase.

The Leadership 6 unit still has its 83% chance to lose any models. But if they do lose that roll, they are only guaranteed to lose a single model. Then they roll a D6 for the remaining 9 models and will lose between one and two models on average. So their total number of models removed due to Morale is between two and three.

Hey! That’s just like the braver unit!

Looks May Be Deceiving

So even though both units lose the same number of models, there are differences. The cowardly unit has an 83% chance to lose 2-3 models while the braver unit has a 50% chance to lose the same number. What we are seeing here is a flattening of the curve when it comes to the possible swing of models fleeing. If there are two units of same size and damage dealing, it is arguably now a combat of who loses the average number of models. This contrasts with the way things are in 8th edition where units of same size and potency would have a much wide swing of models fleeing.

Something else to consider about this new rule is that the Leadership 8 unit used to be capped at 3 models lost, now you could potentially lose all 9. I know some of you (and me) might just roll nine 1’s.

Meanwhile, the Leadership 6 unit could have lost up to 5 models in the old way. Now its completely possible for them to keep all their models from fleeing past the one obligatory model removed.


Orks and Guard

More Caveats

Of course there will be plenty of specific unit rules to boost or negate this issue. And there are modifiers to the attrition roll to make it rolls of 1 and 2, or even worse. If a unit if half strength it will get a -1 to the roll. That could hurt pretty bad. And who knows how They Shall Know No Fear will be applied to this? And swarms that really took it on the chin in a combat phase might lose terribly. Or not. Many swarm armies such as Tyranids have ways to mitigate morale rolls.

But I am optimistic that this will help flatten the curve of disparity between units. I wonder if this will encourage more or fewer Multiple Scoring Units lists. Smaller units will reach half strength sooner, but they rarely have to take morale anyway because if they took significant loses they’re all just dead anyway. All in all, I don’t care for the extra steps, but making it more random could make things really interesting.

How Do You Think It Will Effect The Game?

Hey! This article is brought to you by my top-tier Patreon supporter Mike Cowley!

Thanks Michael, smooches!

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