Tuesday, February 15, 2011

An Often Overlooked Cover Save Trick

I was sitting around in my thinking room reading the 40k rule book and noticed a funny thing about cover saves. It would seem that people should be getting less cover saves than they have been getting...

I the rule book there is a picture similar to this one with some space marines firing at some orks. According to the rule book caption, the orks would receive a cover save.

The book states that since a majority of the marines do not have clear line of sight to majority of the orks, the orks would be granted the cover save.

However, to add to that basic layer of rules you should be able to deny the orks cover. In the section of cover it says specifically, that you check line of site from each of the firing models. This is the key stone to my argument in denying the cover save to the orks.

Earlier in the book it states that you can chose to not fire with any models in a unit. If you combine these two rules, I can choose to not fire with the two models behind the rock. (Marked with the X) If I do this, suddenly my majority is 2 and that majority has clear line of site to the majority of the orks.

This is important because if your plasma gunner (the one marked with P) is outside the rocks like in this example. There is no reason to throw 2 more bolter shots (4 if rapid) if you're firing on the orks when it'll allow them to take 4+ saves vs your plasma an bolter shots that would otherwise AP them.

Also, if you're firring 10 marines at wyches, or something with a similarly bad armor save, it'll be worth losing a few shots to avoid them getting a 4+ cover save. The number of shots you're willing to lose is a matter to be handled by your mathhammer, but I'd figure it out and just keep it as a formula in the back of your mind. My gut response is that you'd better be able to do twice as many wounds allowing them cover as you can not allowing them to have cover.

So, for those of you that play against people who constantly pull cover, start using this trick to mow them down with fire and for you fellow guard players rejoice in a way to deny cover and become even more of a pain in the ass army to play against!

Lastly, any one who has a reason this wouldn't work please let me know in the comments. I know that whenever I find a rule that seems to be game changing for me I usually have read it wrong. However, following my typical steps of; step 1. run it by a close friend who won't lolz at you for being an idiot. Step 2. run it by the game shop population to see if we missed a rule somewhere. Step 3 run it by the shops premier rules expert. Step 4. Internet


  1. There's no reason not to count the other 2 marines in that example, seeing as the plasma gunner has a clear line of sight to the two bottom orks. 3 out of 5 is a majority.

  2. The drawings are a little oddball, but the idea is sound and would prevent you from accidentally giving cover to somebody when you could take it away ... could mean the difference between taking somebody off an objective or not. Also, for those of you interested on where in the rules it says some mambers of a unit may choose not to fire, it is covered on page 16 of the BRB.

  3. THe plama gunner has line of site, but not clear line of site.

  4. RAW it may be fine, but it feels dirty.

  5. It really becomes so tough to decide for me, on one end, i like having cover saves, on the other, I could totally abuse this rule with my vet squads firing plasma or melta at tanks/MC/Marines.

    Personally I like the rule how its stated, and dislike the idea of it depending on who fires. The reasoning becomes cover is based on line of sight of the squad to me, not on who fires. I really need to review the various rules myself before I make a final call, but that is how it has always been thought of by me.

  6. Whats to debate its clearly written....Look under units partially in cover. It clearly keeps says models firing. So if u dont shoot with some to make the majority of the "Firing models" negate cover then so be it.

    Not to down u or anything, ur my boy and all, but if u consider this game breaking u may need to check ur game.

  7. Really, it isn't even a big huge deal. It's a matter of fire power vs cover denial at less weight of fire. It also is unlikely to even occur in a game. Furthermore, LSS, it is clearly written in the book, so not much call-making needs to be done.

  8. So if the one heavy weapon in a combat squad is firing at something 40" away the bolters that can't even reach it are giving it cover?

    Also, I can easily make this matter with the number of times I shoot at things with my guard. Maybe with nids or demons it doesn't seem to come up often, but from the other the side of the board as a shooty army, I feel like I can really stretch this rule.

    It does feel dirty though, that's for sure.

    I don't consider it game breaking, but I know there are times I've allowed cover when I could have easily denied it.

  9. I agree Chris, and I am not saying it ruins me, as more often than not it will be to my advantage when I am shooting with ground troops. Yet it does feel inately dirty for a game that is based around squad tactics, not partial squad tactics.

    However if that is how the rule exactly reads I am not going to argue the validity of it, like I said.

    I have even had this ruling used against me in the past two weeks and been fine with it once I was told about it.

    What it will do, is make me watch how an oppenent moves their forces a WHOLE lot differently, and I definately wont give a person the benefit of the doubt on where they "intended" to put their special weapons/heavy weapons from now on in competitive/training play.

  10. I still don't see it coming up often. More than anything, I think it will make you think much more about the movement phase and manage your squads even closer thinking of where that vet will be in a turn or two.

  11. Not just for me, but for opponents where they place their guys when they deep strike in with a drop pod and such. I mean can they choose to fire bolters at my tank even though they wont do anything so my models dont get cover saves becuase they placed their meltagun badly by accident? And if that is the case am i obliged to therefore force them to waste time by rolling out said boltgun fire or if they dont claim cover because they chose not to fire them?
    Or because they cant hurt the tank are they not allowed to fire therefore giving me cover?

    This is where it gets a bit tricky in my opinion. O