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View Full Version : Character in Second Rank, Must it move to the Front Rank?



b4z
13-06-2014, 08:24
Imagine a unit, 5 models wide, deployed like so from the start of the game...

Front Rank is : Lord / BSB / Hero / Hero / Champion
Second Rank is : Rank&File / Rank&File / Mage / Rank&File / Rank&File
Third Rank is: Rank&File / Rank&File / Rank&File / Rank&File / Rank&File

In combat, the enemy kills the Champion.

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Which model must fill the gap left by the Champion? Is it a Rank&File or is it the Mage?

I cannot find anything in the Rules that says the Mage has to move to the Front Rank.

The only rule is as follows...


Warhammer Rulebook, Page 97, Characters and Units, Position in the Unit
"When characters join a unit, they are placed in the front rank (regardless of distance). Rank-and-file models, except for the command group that must remain in the front rank, are moved to the back ranks to make room for the characters. If there is no more room in the front rank, some characters will have to go in the second rank"

Which means the Mage can stay in the Second Rank untill enough Rank&File die that she MUST move to the Front Rank. Is that correct?

Are there any conditions where the Mage has to move to the Front Rank other than that?
eg. If the unit were to Combat Reform? .... could i make the unit wider frontage in Combat without moving the Mage to the Front Rank? eg. Move one Rank&File to the left front and one to the right front to make the Unit 7 wide. Is that legal?

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I am just seeking clarity on this, because i am looking at fielding a Cavalry Deathstar and i want to know the very specifics of what triggers the Mage to move to the Front Rank, because obviously i want to keep her in the Second Rank as much as is possible.

Vulgarsty
13-06-2014, 08:48
I would be happy that the mage can stay in the 2nd rank, whether that is RAI is another matter, but who knows with those clumsy cretins. That is a lot of of characters in your scenario though. Your mage denial would work equally well with the more likely set up of...

Gen, bsb, champ, mus, std.
R&f, r&f, mage, r&f, r&f

The mage can not only avoid challenges and attacks placed on unit, but cast through the first rank and of course retains his 180 frontal arc for casting which people seem to forget about (i guess it is easier to just turn your gaze than heft a longbow or charge almost paralell to yourself, so that possibly is RAI)

Blkc57
13-06-2014, 11:49
I cannot find anything in the Rules that says the Mage has to move to the Front Rank.

Its located in the Official FAQ page 9:
Q: Must a character be moved to the front rank of a unit as soon as a space becomes available? (p100) A: Yes.

So to answer your question, the moment the champion dies and a space has opened up, the Mage being a character must be moved up as soon as possible to fill the said space and not a rank and file.

Wilhelm das Blutige
13-06-2014, 11:56
A similar situation arose in a game I was watching recently.

A character moved to the rear ranks because he declined a challenge. In later rounds, the character was in the third rank of a horde. To my mind, this character could now make a supporting attack. One of the players said the character was out of combat because he'd refused a challenge previously.

Interestingly enough (and more relevant to this thread) the player with the character in the horde was going to reform after combat, but then changed his mind when his opponent pointed out that if he reformed, the character would have to move to the front ranks.

I looked up the ruling on this later. All I could find was;

- Command groups must be in the front rank (or as close to the front rank as possible if there is not enough room), unless displaced by characters making way.
- Command group models must move to the front as soon as they are able after Make Ways (for instance, combat over, making way characters slain, reforms etc.)
- Characters must be placed in the front rank or ranks without displacing command models when they join a unit.

I could find nothing to say that characters are compelled to move to the front ranks as soon as they are able, or that they cannot freely move elsewhere within the unit when not in combat.

Along with the OP, I too would be grateful for any enlightenment on this matter.

Wilhelm das Blutige
13-06-2014, 12:00
Its located in the Official FAQ page 9:

So to answer your question, the moment the champion dies and a space has opened up, the Mage being a character must be moved up as soon as possible to fill the said space and not a rank and file.

Thanks. That answers the question for me.

In the situation noted previously by me, wouldn't the character who declined the challenge simply have to move back to the front in the following round?

Blkc57
13-06-2014, 12:01
A similar situation arose in a game I was watching recently.

A character moved to the rear ranks because he declined a challenge. In later rounds, the character was in the third rank of a horde. To my mind, this character could now make a supporting attack. One of the players said the character was out of combat because he'd refused a challenge previously.

Interestingly enough (and more relevant to this thread) the player with the character in the horde was going to reform after combat, but then changed his mind when his opponent pointed out that if he reformed, the character would have to move to the front ranks.

I looked up the ruling on this later. All I could find was;

- Command groups must be in the front rank (or as close to the front rank as possible if there is not enough room), unless displaced by characters making way.
- Command group models must move to the front as soon as they are able after Make Ways (for instance, combat over, making way characters slain, reforms etc.)
- Characters must be placed in the front rank or ranks without displacing command models when they join a unit.

I could find nothing to say that characters are compelled to move to the front ranks as soon as they are able, or that they cannot freely move elsewhere within the unit when not in combat.

Along with the OP, I too would be grateful for any enlightenment on this matter.

The Errata and FAQ answers your question. (See my post) You must move a character up when space is available.

Also when declining a challenge you must move the character to a position in a non-fighting rank (which means you can't make supporting attacks with him). To answer your question, yes if the challenge was declined then after combat has resolved and in the following round, the character moves up, of course usually your opponent is just going to challenge again and move the same character back in the following round as well if you refuse.

Wilhelm das Blutige
13-06-2014, 12:09
The Errata and FAQ answers your question. (See my post) You must move a character up when space is available.

Also when declining a challenge you must move the character to a position in a non-fighting rank (which means you can't make supporting attacks with him)

I read your post. You just posted yours while I was still writing mine.

W.r.t. the declining challenge bit. Yes, the character cannot attack in the round in which he declines a challenge, that much is clear.

My question was, what happens in the subsequent rounds?

Blkc57
13-06-2014, 12:18
My question was, what happens in the subsequent rounds?

In subsequent rounds he must move back up into the front rank as soon as possible if a space is available (ie is not filled by other characters or command).

EDIT: I take it in your game the poor fellow who was doing the challenging was playing a type of character (WoC usually) who had a rule requiring him to issue challenges. Such is the case that many strategic players can anticipate this forced challenge and use it to their advantage, such as trapping said character into a challenge they don't want or using it to hide a weak character away from the combat. One of my armies is Warriors, so I know full well the pain of being Challenge Cheesed. Its why I recommend Warriors players memorize the Challenge rules, their order of operation, and any subsequent FAQs on them.

Wilhelm das Blutige
13-06-2014, 12:52
Okay. I thought that was the case.

It was High Elves vs Skaven. No 'must issue challenge' types in this particular combat. The High Elf player just felt like issuing a challenge. It was a mounted elf prince or noble (not sure which) lone model against a horde of skavenslaves with a Grey Seer in it. I think he issued the challenge because the Grey Seer was not in base contact with the noble (an oversight in the movement phase when he made his charge, I think. He had enough room to charge and make contact with the Grey Seer and still obey the maximising combatants rule) and wanted to either take out the Grey Seer or reduce the unit's Leadership for combat res.

Wesser
13-06-2014, 13:04
The Errata and FAQ answers your question. (See my post) You must move a character up when space is available.

Also when declining a challenge you must move the character to a position in a non-fighting rank (which means you can't make supporting attacks with him). To answer your question, yes if the challenge was declined then after combat has resolved and in the following round, the character moves up, of course usually your opponent is just going to challenge again and move the same character back in the following round as well if you refuse.

First of all .... I just need to "Boooooo" non-Skaven/non-bret characters hiding in the 2nd rank

Second of all. Can a character actually move back? Per the "Make Way" rule a character have to move into a fighting rank at the start of combat (not the combat phase), so in my interpretation you only get the chance to move a character from non-fighting rank to a fighting rank when 1) you have to "Step Up" from second rank or 2) "Make Way" when the combat starts and not in subsequent rounds.

Or what?

Wilhelm das Blutige
13-06-2014, 13:37
First of all .... I just need to "Boooooo" non-Skaven/non-bret characters hiding in the 2nd rank

Second of all. Can a character actually move back? Per the "Make Way" rule a character have to move into a fighting rank at the start of combat (not the combat phase), so in my interpretation you only get the chance to move a character from non-fighting rank to a fighting rank when 1) you have to "Step Up" from second rank or 2) "Make Way" when the combat starts and not in subsequent rounds.

Or what?

I used to play it that Make Way was at the start of the entire combat, but found out at a tournament that it is widely played as at the start of the combatphase, instead of what is actually written. I now play it as start of any combat phase (not just the first), but wouldn't argue with anyone who wanted to play it as written.

Also, Make Way is at the owning players choice, but seems to be over-ruled somewhat by the FAQ mentioned (making moving forward compulsory).

Blkc57
13-06-2014, 20:56
Most play it as the combat round, Wesser. The reason is the wording is not entirely clear between the difference in that instance and it makes far more sense to allow the Make Way each combat round. Most combat rules seem to be organized on a per round basis, when this is not the case as in the Challenge rules they make it very clear it last for subsequent combat rounds.

Wesser
16-06-2014, 10:19
Most play it as the combat round, Wesser. The reason is the wording is not entirely clear between the difference in that instance and it makes far more sense to allow the Make Way each combat round. Most combat rules seem to be organized on a per round basis, when this is not the case as in the Challenge rules they make it very clear it last for subsequent combat rounds.

Makes more sense? I'm not sure about that.

The specific reason I was miffed was after a game where I charged my Blood Knights into a 3-wide Ogre unit with characters hiding in the 2nd rank. After I had expended the impact of my lances on Ogre Bulls all his characters leap-frogged to the front rank.

Did it make sense that BsB rerolls, character leadership and Crowns of Command can be hidden in 2nd ranks? That you can abuse Make Way to hide your characters with no penalty until it is safe for them to poke out their heads?

In my little world there should be a rule called "Pay no heed to cowards" preventing the use of leadership bonuses etc. for characters skulking in the back ranks (except for Skaven), but that's not the rules.


As I read the rules it says "at the start of combat". If people insist on abusing Make Way in the above manner, I'd enforce that RAW. In the case of challenges I'd allow it for fun's sake, but there's no actual rules allowing a character back into the front rank in subsequent rounds that I can find.

Blkc57
17-06-2014, 06:55
Hey Wesser,

I understand the frustration of watching an Ogre player cheese the hell out of the Make Way Rules for their "Character Shields" BS, but it would hurt alot more people to restrict Make Way like you propose and encourage players to mess with people like Brettonians that usually must Make Way to challenge with their characters. The FAQ ruling that prevents the BSB from using his Hold Your Ground rule from the back was a good start to limiting it and I would have liked it if magical banners and items stopped working as well if they refused a challenge, but there is always hope for 9th ed (if they ever decide to make it).

EDIT: I'm also miffed that a simple musician tooting on a horn takes more precedence in the front rank than your army BSB, but aside from straight up House ruling how can you stop people from abusing the characters in the second rank that without hurting players that try not to (like Bretts that have to put their ladies in the second rank).

Wesser
17-06-2014, 10:25
Hey Wesser,

I understand the frustration of watching an Ogre player cheese the hell out of the Make Way Rules for their "Character Shields" BS, but it would hurt alot more people to restrict Make Way like you propose and encourage players to mess with people like Brettonians that usually must Make Way to challenge with their characters. The FAQ ruling that prevents the BSB from using his Hold Your Ground rule from the back was a good start to limiting it and I would have liked it if magical banners and items stopped working as well if they refused a challenge, but there is always hope for 9th ed (if they ever decide to make it).

EDIT: I'm also miffed that a simple musician tooting on a horn takes more precedence in the front rank than your army BSB, but aside from straight up House ruling how can you stop people from abusing the characters in the second rank that without hurting players that try not to (like Bretts that have to put their ladies in the second rank).

Well Brets and Skaven have actual and fluffy rules EXEMPTING them from the standard. We must also consider that these two are slightly dated army books. Besides if a Bret player want to put a wizard in a position where a miscast have about 50% chance of all but wiping out the unit...then it's fine by me.

I actually don't see anyone getting hurt by this. Not enough room in your front rank? Just losing character attacks from not being in base contact isn't the penalty it used to be. No CR, rerolls, leadership bonuses or magic item effect for characters in the 2nd rank. Period.

Ramius4
17-06-2014, 12:40
The Errata and FAQ answers your question. (See my post) You must move a character up when space is available.

Also when declining a challenge you must move the character to a position in a non-fighting rank (which means you can't make supporting attacks with him). To answer your question, yes if the challenge was declined then after combat has resolved and in the following round, the character moves up, of course usually your opponent is just going to challenge again and move the same character back in the following round as well if you refuse.

Not quite. If we're using the OP's example, the character who was chosen to go to a non-fighting rank would force the Wizard to immediately occupy his now vacant spot. Therefore, at the end of combat, that character would have to be placed in the second rank since he cannot displace another character, only rank and file.

Blkc57
18-06-2014, 09:05
Not quite. If we're using the OP's example,

We weren't using the OP's example in my discussion with Wilhelm. You quoted the section from when I started talking to Wilhelm about his example. At least I believe that is what was going on, I have to go back now and make sure I didn't screw anything up. I appreciate you keeping us on our toes though Ramius :)

Ramius4
20-06-2014, 07:00
I appreciate you keeping us on our toes though Ramius :)

That's what they pay me for ;)

Wait what? They don't pay me!? :p