Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Precision Shot in Warhammer 40,000

As 6E rolls on, more important truths are becoming manifest in the 40K universe.

One of the truths is the impact of precision shot.  I was encuraged to write on that after a conversation about unit choices.  Somone pointed out that the old wisdom about what to take for units is being strongly influenced by this mechanic.  A unit of Snipers only needs to get lucky once or twice a game to REALLY cause a shockwave.

Some units are built with a very specfic mechanical combination in mind.  An example is a recent Dark Eldar list used at NOVA:  Maugan Ra attached to the Beast Masters.  Makes them fearless.  That, for BeastMasters, couldn't BE a bigger deal.  They are five times better when you simply can't break them.  Three Sniper hits can quickly end that and make the whole way you made the unit less effective.  In this instance the guy used a bunch of Kymerae and Razorwings.  With the BeastMasters leading the charge, they serve as ablative wounds for the much better parts of the unit.  So imagine the downer when in round one the 5 Beast Masters are killed (as intended) but then Maugan Ra gets sniped in the second! Your LD goes from fearless to a modest 5.  Ouch.  Relying on this one character is important from a points perspective but really the biggest buzzkill is the unit no longer really works well.  You go from probably getting 2 KP, maybe 3 with the unit all the way to maybe getting 1 or none because of the rounds you will lose regrouping from shooting morale tests (You can't charge on the round you regroup).

In close combat it was pointed out to me that the mantra of taking a commissar for most IG units may not be as great an idea as before.  Here again, precision shot both in shooting an in melee can get you.  Look ou Sirs on a 4+ are a big gamble if you're relying on the stubborn rule to maintain the quality of the unit.  Suddenly, Commissar Lords do look more apealing than they ever were before, as do LD buffs in general becauase of this and also because of the Warlord trait that forces you to use the lowest ld in a unit!  Single model units used to prop up LD getting killed is very bad.

The secret objective quality of re-rolling 1's becomes huge if a Sniper unit is on it.  Imagine the potential.  A character that adds preferred enemy like the Necron Destroyer Lord in a unit of Deathmarks is currently seen as very cool and would make you think twice about ANY 1 wound characters...  Like Sanguinary Priests! 

The moral of the story is that the days of single model upgrade characters could come to a grinding twisted metal halt unless they start giving them more wounds in future codex's.  Also, more people are going to be looking at taking snipers.  They're just too good not to give them a second look.


  1. Maugan Ra would get a 2+ look out sir,then an invuln right? Given that sniper fire isn't voluminous, and only wound on 4 up,i would be trying to snipe with ordnance.

  2. Its not the subject of the blog but you're right, you can Snipe with Ordinance. Look out sir is still in effect with Ordinance though and unlike ordinance, theres no chance of scattering to a non-preferential target.

    Another EXCELLENT strategy that was pointed out to me was with Twin-linked Sniper units. Farseers can twinlink Rangers/Pathfinders, and certain Psychic Powers can have similar type effects for other forces.

    The interesting tactic was to ALWAYS move your Snipers! By doing this, Only 6's can hit, but since you're actually trying to snipe, thats a good thing because then anything that wasn't a six can be re-rolled with a second chance at it! This can really increase the chances of hitting the preferred target, at the expense of overall damage. But when I look at the math, I find that a 5 man Sniper squad is probably going to cause 15 wounds if it never dies, over the course of time and against MEQ that's 5ish unsaved oned, again assuming they never take damage (kind of a big assumption really). So you might take the tact that you are better off gunning for the Powerfists and such in units and letting the overall damage be less in the interests of precision.

    I thought this made a lot of sense for things like Ratlings or any sniper with access to the re-rolling to hits power.

    1. Sadly snap-fire prevents precise shots.

  3. I have no book with me. Can you give a page number? I missed the prohibition (obviously) if it's there. My friend and I were playing with his list and it struck us how well this would work, but if it doesn't, he'll want to know right away!

  4. Pretty sure Maugan does not have an invulnerable. Asuryan does, and Fuegan had FNP.


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