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Warhammer: The Old World – Breaking Down the Shooting Phase

5 Minute Read
Nov 13 2023

The deep dive into the rules of The Old World continue with a look at the Shooting phase with a splash of Magic, too.

Games Workshop is back with another look into the rules of Warhammer: The Old World. Get ready for a blast of nostalgia mixed with some new nomenclature. Today it’s time to take a look at how shooting will work and also a brief look at some of the magic spells you’ll be able to sling in The Old World, too.

via Warhammer Community


“As with the other phases, the Shooting Phase is broken into four steps which you follow in turn for each unit: Declare TargetsRoll to HitRoll to Wound, and Remove Casualties. Everyone and everything shoots in this phase, whether they’re lowly peasant bowmen and barbarian javelineers, a macabre Khemrian screaming skull catapult, or a High Elven mage manifesting a Fiery Convocation.”

‘Old World’ Shooting Steps

Declare Targets

First up, we have the classic “declare targets” which is pretty self-explanatory. There’s a few key things to remember:

  • A unit can only shoot if it has a ranged weapon (duh)
  • The unit cannot have marched or charged in that turn
  • The unit cannot be fleeing or already in combat
  • The unit must also have line of sight to it’s target
  • You cannot split unit fire into separate targets

When a model shoots, they typically only get one shot regardless of how many attacks they have on their stat profile. Additionally, unless they have the Volley Fire special rule or on a hill, only the front rank may fire!

That’s quite a few restrictions/conditions to keep in mind. And that’s also why having a hill in your deployment zone is going to really benefit a lot of armies with an archer-core.


Roll To Hit

The second step is now to roll those dice and see if you hit.

“Here’s the big news: old-style Ballistic Skill, or BS as it is on the profile, is back, and it runs from 1 to 10. The higher your BS, the easier it is to bullseye your target, and once models reach a BS of 6 or more, they start earning rerolls on their missed shots.”

That’s right folks, the BS is back! And don’t forget that if your BS is 6 or greater then you get a re-roll on those shots. This also means there are modifiers to shooting, too. Here’s a list of a few ways you can get a -1 to your hit:

  • If the unit has moved
  • If the unit is at long range
  • If the unit is being/receiving a charged
  • If the target unit has partial cover

A natural ‘1’ always misses. Oh those negative modifiers stack, by the way. That means it’s very possible to end up needing a 7+, 8+, or 9+ to hit! How does that work? You’ll need to roll  a natural six followed by another roll of 4+, 5+, or 6+ to hit those numbers.

Roll To Wound

The BS chart isn’t the only thing that’s back. Now that you’ve hit, it’s time for the third step: fire-up the old school To-Wound chart…


Yep! Time to re-memorize this chart. Oh and in the Old World, since this uses the Strength vs Toughness chart, some attacks are just too weak to hurt really tough targets. Additional, each stat caps at 10.

Also during this step we have the saving throw step. You’ll compare the Armour Penetration (AP) of the weapon vs the armour value of the target. It’s not stated in the article, but based on the fact that the Screaming Skull Catapult has an AP of -1(-3), the AP applies to the armour value. So, just like before, subtract the AP from the armour save and there you go.

Additionally, units can have Ward Save which cannot be modified by the AP and it’s a seperate roll made after the armour roll has failed.

Remove Casualties

The final step is pulling those unfortunate models who are taking the hit. Just remove one model for every wound caused — unless the models have multiple wounds. You know how this works and it’s basically the same from all the other GW games. “You’ll need to take a panic test if the shooting has killed more than a quarter of the models in a unit.” So keep that in mind as shooting can literally break a unit with a little luck.

Slinging Spells in the Shooting Phase

“As for magic, there are two categories of spells to be fired off in the Shooting Phase – Magic Missiles and Magical Vortexes. Human wizards using Battle Magic can, for instance, blast off a quick fireball, while those blessed by the Dark Gods may use the Lore of Daemonology to conjure a Vortex of Chaos.”

Games Workshop hasn’t full covered how Casting workings in The Old World just yet. However, you can see that slinging these spells does require a check. We’re curious if there’s going to be some counter-magic at play as well…



That’s all for the Old World Shooting phase. Are you ready to take aim at these rules?

Author: Adam Harrison
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