Episode 60: Assault in 40K
In this episode, we talk about conducting successful assaults in Warhammer 40K. There are a lot of changes in this edition, starting with the fact that there is no more assault phase; its the Charge and Fight phase now. We discuss the reasons for charging and fighting and go into detail on the steps for each phase and all the flexibility you have as a player.
Assault has changed the most from 7th edition to the new edition of 40k. Many of the rules from 7th simply don’t exist anymore.
Simply reading the rules as written on the page does not give you a clear idea of what you actually can do. You have a lot of flexibility now.
This is part 1 of our two part series on assault in 40K.
40k and Assault
Unlike 6th and 7th edition, assault is a viable method of dealing damage to units. You don’t need to run death stars or rely on stomps to make assault work in 40K.
Most armies have some melee units that can be effective and every list should either have an assault element, or an answer for assault.
Getting into assault
Shooting requires line of sight and range, whereas in assault, you only need range.
You don’t need to see a unit to assault it. But you do need to be able to move one model to within 1” of another model.
Assaulting infantry allows you to get to units in buildings.
Fly keyword allows you to move over units/terrain.
Enclosed spaces: bikes cannot enter, nor can monsters/vehicles.
3 ways to get into assault:
- Start on the board, but you have to survive to get into assault
- “Deep strike,” but you need to roll a 9 to get into assault
- Vehicle disembark, protected, but you need the vehicle in position to make an assault
The best assault/melee units have access to special rules, strategems, or powers that boost movement/range of assault.
What is your ideal outcome from assaulting with a unit?
- Wipe it out? (will you be open to being shot next turn?)
- Stop if from shooting next turn? (only if it does not have Fly or a strategem)
- Protect yourself from shooting? (have to prevent it from leaving combat, or you get killed in shooting pistols/psychic phase)
- Gain movement?
- Board control/clear an area for deepstrike/take an objective?
The Charge Phase
Anything that lasts “until the end of the phase” ends when the phase ends.
Step 1 Choose a unit
Has to be within 12 “ unless you have a rule like Banshees.
Step 2 Choose Targets
Select one or more targets within 12, they get to overwatch if they can.
Step 3 Overwatch
You always need a 6, irrespective of any modifiers to hit.
Watch for flamers and anything that autohits!
Step 4 Charge Move
Your 2d6 is your charge move, and every model in your unit can move up to that roll.
Only need 1 model to make it within 1.”
You cannot move within 1” of a model that was not the target of a charge, but… you can consolidate, as described in the Fight phase.
You can move PAST models if they left a gap to shoot through, or if you have fly you can place on the backside of models. Gain movement.
You only have to attack with a single model.
ANY character within 3” can move up to 3” closer to the nearest enemy model.
Prevents a model without the fly keyword from leaving combat, thereby protecting your melee unit. But, if you cannot get around a model or through a line to trap it or several of them, (because several will die in melee), then you need to move toward the edge of a line of models.
To protect against this, a defender needs to keep all the enemy models in front of them, whereas an attacker wants to move around the back of several of them.
Remember, you have a pile in and consolidate phase for more movement, but you need to end closer to the nearest enemy model. So, you should normally NOT make base contact with any enemy model during the charge phase to leave yourself options for movement.
The Fight Phase
Some models that “fight again” basically start here. They do not get to make charge rolls, they start here.
Step 1: Choose a unit to fight with
Only units with models within 1” of an enemy unit can fight. All units that charged fight first, with the player whose turn it is picks the first one to fight.
Step 2: Pile In
Another 3” movement, but you need to move close to the nearest enemy model.
Note: you cannot attack what you did not declare a charge against, but they can attack back when it’s their turn.
Step 3: Choose targets
Pick a unit to attack with, have to be within 1” or within 1” of another model that is within 1”
Step 4: Choose melee weapon
You can split attacks if you have multiple weapons against eligible targets.
Step 5: Resolve close combat attacks
You can remove ANY models you want if you lose them.
Step 6: Consolidate
An additional 3” of movement, as long as you are closer to the nearest enemy model. Board surfing again if you did not make contact.
Have to consider which models you pull. You can easily take yourself out of combat by being outside of 4” (consolidate 3” attack at 1”).
If you surround a vehicle and destroy it, the occupants inside are dead UNLESS they can ignore your line of units, like Harlequins, and can make it 3” out but stay 1” away.
Falling back from combat
You cannot assault after falling back (without a special rule or strategem), so when you assault, you need to make sure you want to be there.