Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spearhead for dummies.

I've been getting a fair amount of questions about the spearhead expansion related to the basic rules of spearhead. As such I'm writing this post so that we can avoid when the tournament happens people giving me invalid lists and me handing it back saying, "Sorry, you'll have to make some changes." I would feel really bad that this confusion happen because I amended the format and that got lost in translation. So please, read this carefully if you're planning on coming to the tournament on May 14th.

Force organization chart:

In a normal spearhead mission there are no compulsory choices. You're otherwise allowed a full chart (0-2 HQ, 0-3 Elites, ect.). Also you are allowed as many formations as you want, just not the same one formation twice.

For the tournament this is different. You are only allowed one formation total.

Also, for the tournament there ARE compulsory choices; Your force organization chart is 1-2 HQ 0-3 Elites, 1-6 Troop, 0-3 Fast Attack, 0-3 Heavy, and 0-1 Spearheads.

Another point to the force org chart is that units taken as a spearhead do not fill other slots. For example, if I take a tactical squad in a mechanized assault spearhead, I will still need another troop to fill the compulsory.

Formation Rules

As a reminder, Strongpoint, Gargantuan, and Super-Heavy Spearheads are all NOT ALLOWED.

Scoring units: Troops, Tanks, Walkers, Monstrous Creatures [ammendment] and units from a Spearhead formation all count as scoring. There are exceptions; swarms and units that never count as scoring per their rules, i.e. death company.

There are not page numbers on the spearhead expansion PDF, but the meat and potatoes of the expansion are on the page just after the missions and right before the formations. In this page you'll find a lot of what makes spearhead different. Lets go over them.
  • Selecting a spearhead-
Remember, only one spearhead formation is allowed, period. If you take ambush, thats all you get. You cannot take any combination of spearheads for this tournament.
  • Selecting units-
Unless otherwise specified units must be from the same entry. This means if I took ambush, I have to take 3 Leman Russ battle tanks, though they can be of different varieties. A space marine player could not take 1 vindicator, 1 predator, and 1 whirlwind.

A squadron counts as one unit. So if I take Ambush, I can take 3 units of land speeders that each have 3 speeders for a total of 9 land speeders. [see 'Formations' for elaboration on this point]

Dedicated transports can be selected for a spearhead without having to buy the unit you would normally have to buy with them. Yes, this means you could buy a bunch of razorbacks without dudes in them. They count as heavy support but that would only matter if it effected the mission objectives. They would not occupy the heavy slot in your force org because they are part of the spearhead.

  • Reserve-
Spearhead units are treated as a whole when it comes to deployment. What the rules mean by this is that when they're in reserve you roll for the whole spearhead and it shows up on the one dice roll (like a platoon for the IG players out there). Otherwise the whole point of this paragraph is that the spearhead cannot be half in reserve, half deployed. If I took 3 Battle wagons, I could not deploy 2 and keep one in reserve; I either put all 3 on the board or all 3 in reserve.

Special rules

Beyond the rules you get when you buy the spearhead, all spearheads get certain extra rules outlined in this section. To utilize these rules members of the spearhead must start the shooting phase within 4" of another unit in the spearhead. If they meet this requirement they are allowed the following:
  1. Non-walker vehicles moving up to cruising speed can fire one more weapon than normal. This weapon can be fired at a different target than other weapons. Vehicles moving flat out cannot utilize this.
  2. Walkers and monstrous creatures can fire one weapon after they run. I know it'll come up so, if this run takes you out of 4" of each other you'll still get to shoot so long as you satisfied that at the start of the shooting phase you were within 4"
How #1 translates is that I can take my Skyfall spearhead comprised of 3 units of 1 vendetta each and fire 2 lascannons per vendetta, 1 each at 6 different targets if I moved at cruising speed and were within 4" of each other. Remember that spearheads do not have to stay together and do not follow shooting as if they were a unit. They are treated completely as separate units that if in coherency, get bonus abilities.


I don't really have a place for this, so I'm putting under the 'formations' heading because its the best fit. When you select a spearhead, you select a number of units, meaning if you're able to take it as a troop choice or a fast attack or an HQ, you can select up to three of these to be in your spearhead. A trick is to think of the spearhead selection as a unit made of squads/squadrons. The most confusion comes from squadrons.

If I take the armored spearhead, I'm allowed 3 tank units. This means as an Imp Guard player, I can take 3 Leman Russ units. Each unit can have up to 3 Leman's in it meaning that for my spear head I end up buying 3 units of 3 Lemans each for a total of 9 Leman Russ tanks.

To elaborate on that, when I deploy this formation, the only restriction I have is that each of the 3 units in the spearhead have to stay in coherency in their own squadrons. So I can deploy one squadron of 3 on the far right, one squadron in the middle and one squadron of 3 on the far left of my deployment zone. The squadrons are not required to be within coherency with other squadrons but the vehicles that are in the squadrons are required to be in coherency with other members of their own squadron. The trade off is now that my squadrons are not within 4" of another unit in the spear head I can't take advantage of those spearhead rules listed earlier.


I was going to make a sample list as well as write a few words about each formation to make it a little clearer but I think I'm about at the TL;DR point of this post so I'm going to wrap it up now. My whole point of this is to bring attention to the fact that this tournament is based on an expansion that amends some of the rule book rules and it is very important that you read and understand those rules changes. On top of that, I've made just a handful of rules changes that are focused on trying to bring the expansion back to a normal format so that it is more appropriate for a tournament.

I really am going to hate it if I have to reject someone's list because they missed a rule or misread something. I really don't want to have to do that so please please, if you plan on attending and you're not 100% sure you understand the rules, send me your list (I won't share it, I swear to whatever you'll need me to swear to) so that you can be sure everything is fine sooner than 30 minutes before the tournament starts.

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