Monday, January 25, 2010

Doom of Malan'Tai Rules Interactions

Ok, so there is a LOT of discussion on the web about some of the new rules introduced in the Tyranids Codex. I'm not a Rules Lawyer, but I've done a bit of research, and looked at a lot of the arguements so here are my interpretations:

First up: The Dreaded Doom of Malan'Tai

His major gripe comes from the "Soul Leech" rule so in it's entirety:

Soul Leech: At the beginning of every shooting phase, including the foe's, every non-vehicle unit within 6" of the Doom of Malan'Tai must take a leadership test on 3d6. If the test is failed, the unit suffers a single wound for each point they failed by, with no armor saves allowed.

Ok, now the big points of contention that are cropping up are Cover Saves (Are They Allowed) and units embarked in vehicles (are they affected)

First we'll start with the Embarked units.

Common Arguements against affecting Embarked Units:

- Nothing in the game can affect an embarked unit
- Wrong. Blowing up a transport affects them.
- Necron Pariah (EDITED FROM EARLIER VERSION - Morning Needed Coffee.) Squads Affect Them.
- Parasite of Mortrex Affects them.

- Embarked Units are not on the table and thus can not be affected.

The main reason these arguement does not work is that in the BRB on page 66 2nd Column there is a rule that states: "If ever the players need to measure a range involving the embarked unit (except for shooting), this range is measured to or from the vehicle's hull."

- Psychic Powers Can't affect embarked units, it's in the FAQ
- True, however this is not a psychic power, it's a special rule.

- Shooting Can Not Affect an Embarked Unit
- True, However this is not a shooting attack, it just takes place in the shooting phase.

So, now that we've established that there are things in the game that affect embarked units, and that we can indeed measure to and from the unit, the main arguement against is that GW would not put something out there that can do this.

Why not? Tyranids don't have transports. at all. A mycetic spore can let them deep strike, but from there they are foot sloggers. Why would GW not put something in the codex that can alleviate some of that advantage? The only real answer that I can come up with is that people don't want their mini bunkers to be neigh indestructable.

Ok so if they can and do affect an embarked unit, now we've got another problem. What happens when the unit takes enough casualties to have to make a morale check?

well we've got some rules to cover this too.

Page 44 "A unit losing 25% or more of it's models during a single phase must pass a morale check at the end of that phase, or else it will fall back. Do not count casualties caused by close combat attacks as they are covered later in C) losing an assault"

Ok so say we've got a unit of 5 Sternguard Veterans, in a rhino, that lose 2 members due to Soul Leech, Have they met the 25%, yes. Do they need to check? Yes. Ok, so we test. Say they fail, what happens? well, here is where the rules take hold again.

Emergency Disembarkation rules for this are on page 67 of the BRB. and if they can not do this, they can not disembark which will supercede my further comments about trapped.

Page 45 BRB "Trapped! Sometimes a unit will find it's fall back move blocked by impassable terrain, friendly models or enemy models (remember they have to stay 1" away from enemy models.) The models in the falling back unit may move around these obstructions in such a way as to get back to their table edge by the shortest route, Maintaining coherency. If the unit cannot perform a full fall back move in any direction without doubling back, it is destroyed."

So, since they cannot disembark because it is the shooting phase (not movement) and the vehicle itself is not destroyed (since the rules don't affect vehicle units) if they fail their morale check, they are destroyed.

Wow. The world is ending! not quite. let's look at the "Balancing" factors of the Doom of Malan'tai.

First, he is not an Independant Character so can be picked out to shoot at any time.
Second, he is only Toughness 4. Bolter fire can bring him down.
Yes, he has lots of wounds, but well, any S8 or better or a Force weapon will Instant Death him.

Second. Range. 6". if you're within 6" of this guy with a 5 man squad in a transport, how badly did you plan your game? Really? Yeah.

Third, and this is the kicker (at least to me). Let me get this right, You're just fine with a Wolf Lord that can conceivably get upwards of 30 attacks, or a 100 point model that can conceivably kill any character of mine with no save allowed (or 2 in one shot) but this thing is cheese balled all to crap? Really? sorry. no.

This guy has a lot of death potential, but in the end it is a very situational effectiveness.

Problem 2 with him seems to be the arguement of Cover Saves. Do you get them? well, in the end, the answer is yes. Since the only outlawed save is Armor Saves, Cover saves and Invulnerable saves are allowed.

HOWEVER, since it is not a shooting attack, there are several types of cover saves that will not be allowed to be taken.

- Intervening Models (Applies only to shooting.)

Basically any cover saves that apply only to shooting (as defined by their rules)will not be allowed to be taken. Sorry.

Area Terrain, Smoke Clouds (Ork Bikers), Kustom Force Fields (Ork Big Mek) and the like will be allowed to be taken. Them's the brakes guys, when your army's codex gets updated, expect some goodies as well. You'll get them in time, in the mean time just deal with the new codexes being a bit more powerful and harder to beat.

Now, to be fair, I believe these will be FAQ'd within a month or two, but from a strictly Rules As Written Standpoint, this is how it works to the best of my knowledge. if you've got something to add, by all means please put up a comment.


  1. I think the unit will not be destroyed it will have to an emergency disbarkation just like a transport destroyed in the shooting phase.

    What cover save would people in a transport get? 4+ at least.

  2. I am thinking it will either be none (not area terrain) or a 4+ (via "Bunker")

  3. My curiosity comes from this: As a general rule "cover" is something that protects one from flying objects, debris, etc. As this special rule attacks the SOUL, and as such must either be psychological or supernatural, how in the name of sanity is being inside a vehicle or behind a rock going to protect you in any way? The attack is not physical, therefore, in my mind, cover saves do not apply.

  4. I would also maintain that, since the rule says "every non-vehicle unit" is affected, troops inside a transport are part of a vehicle unit, and would somehow be protected.

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