Just as I was starting to wonder if we would get the Big September Update actually in September, Games Workshop pulled it out their back pocket and slammed it down on the table for all to read. And read it I did.
All told, it isn’t a big update. As you might expect, most of it is clarifications, with a handful of actually interesting changes. Let’s have a look. at the Big September Update and see what stands out.
Tau Saviour Protocols
Potentially one of the biggest changes in the Big September Update is the change to the wording of the Tau Saviour Protocols. Having managed to combine both a buff and a nerf into one update, most communities have at least one Tau army and many players will be aware of the principle that Tau drones will fly in the way of bullets and take wounds for the commanders and elite models.
Now, the wording reads as such:
If the wound roll is successful, you can roll one D6; on a 2+ that DRONES unit suffers 1 mortal wound and the attack sequence ends. The wording is particularly interesting as there are often attacks that cause mortal wounds in addition to normal damage.
I’m thinking of things like Bobby G’s Emperor’s Sword where unmodified wound rolls of a 6 cause D3 mortal wounds in addition to the normal damage. One wound roll could actually be worth five damage (two for the sword and up to three mortal wounds) but the drone would only take one mortal wound damage.
Now for the nerf. The wording of the Saviour Protocol is “if the wound roll is successful”. Using Space Marines again as an example, the Infiltrator Marksman bolt carbine has an ability that “an unmodified hit roll of a 6 automatically scores a hit and successfully wounds the target (do not make a wound roll)”.
Because you are not making a wound roll, Saviour Protocol would not trigger and these wounds would have to be taken and saved for by the original target of the attack. Additionally, when the normal wound fails but mortal wounds are still allocated, these mortal wounds cannot be allocated on to the drones.
As many of you will be aware, there are a number of abilities which allow extra hits. For example, the paired combat blades of an Incursor unit sets out that an unmodified hit roll of 6 scores 1 additional hit.
It was noted in a previous update that while these additional hits did not themselves generate additional hits under the same rolls, they counted as a roll of 6 for the purpose of other abilities. This lead to unforeseen combinations which resulted in combinations that could kill a model simply due to one dice roll of a 6.
This has now been addressed, as it was never the intention of the previous ruling and it would also go on to set a precedent for similar rules and abilities. It isn’t very often that Games Workshop admit they were wrong or go back on something, but this was such a big issue that it needed to be addressed. I just wish I had known about the loopholes while I could still take advantage of them!
Just as a note, this errata is in the Codex: Space Marines update, as opposed to the big update or the rule book. It is pretty clear from the designer’s notes that this is designed to apply to all similar circumstances. So if your opponent is trying to take advantage of the old wording, point them in this direction.
The other big changes worth mentioning here are about rerolls. I say changes, it is more clarification. It is covered in a couple of different points but all largely with the same effect. All dice that are to be rolled have to be declared at the same time, before you, or your opponent, make rerolls.
This includes where you have the options to reroll multiple missed hits. For example, let’s say you have supercharged your Hellblasters while within range of a Chapter Master. Some people may choose not to reroll the 2s as this invites another opportunity for these to end up a 1 and cause mortal wounds to the firer, but your 1s that are rerolled are not as fruitful as you had hoped so you look to reroll the 2s.
It is now explicit in the rules that have to declare all dice before any rerolls happen.
Likewise, if you are your opponent are rolling off as part of, for example, the Psychic Scourge psychic power. If you win the roll-off and your opponent decides to use a command re-roll, you cannot wait to see what happens and then use a command re-roll yourself. You would need to declare before you opponent does their reroll.
So what now, after the Big September Update?We still have a couple of updates and errata before the end of the year. Notably, there were not updates to the Iron Hands or Raven Guard codex supplements. This is not particularly surprising, they are normally dealt with two weeks after the release and there is no need to really rush that.
Secondly, we have Chapter Approved 2019 just around the corner. It will be interesting to see what gets introduced at this time. I will always enjoy and appreciate new missions and new tools to help narrative gameplay and campaigns. It is the aspect of the hobby I enjoy the most and will always hunt those out.
We also have more Space Marine chapter supplements to be released, and Sisters of Battle with their official release somewhere around the corner.
You can be sure though that I will cover the new updates and FAQs and I even have some exciting things coming up for my hobbying as well which I can’t wait to share with you.
So, until next time, peace out.