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Dropping Dice Responds: Should a 6 Always Hit?

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There was recently an article posted on Bell of Lost Souls about whether or not, in game Warhammer 40k, a roll of 6 should always hit (which can be found here: http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2018/01/40k-op-ed-a-6-should-always-hit.html). Would this be a good idea? Dropping Dice responds!

So, to recap for those who don't want to click the link (and given the torrent of ads on BoLS, I don't blame you), in Warhammer 40k right now there's something that's... well...it's not really a problem until it IS a problem. I'm talking about negative dice modifiers. Let's look at a totally normal situation. A unit of Ork Lootas (BS 5+) needs to move to be able to hit anything for some reason. With their Heavy Weapons, that's a -1 to hit. But oh no! They're fighting Ravenguard (or Alpha Legion, or Alaitoc), and now when they shoot, they're at an additional -1 to hit. This means that their very best roll is no longer good enough to hit their target, it is impossible for them to hit. With every way there is to take these penalties in the game, -2 is very possible when moving and shooting, or even when standing still against Alaitoc or Nurgle Daemons. -3 and even -4 is technically possible too! Yes, for some units, it would be impossible to hit.

And yet... it's always possible to miss.

The first time I really saw this in action and saw just how unfun it would be to play against was in this very recent game by frontline gaming:

In it, Frankie and Reecius do battle between the new Daemons and a fully mekanikal Ork army. It's not a good list from Reecius, but it illustrates the point. For two turns, despite a great number of attacks, Reecius was unable to do any real damage to the Nurgle forces (always wasted a turn of fire on one thing, so had to engage a sub-optimal target, and even then was hard to get through - though that's a bit more unrelated). As the Nurgle -1 (and in many cases, -2) to being hit also applied in close combat, the Orks sometimes were entirely incapable of hitting targets.

And through it, I couldn't help but feel that this isn't what GW intended. I think they intend on things being able to stack these to-hit penalties to make it very HARD to hit something, but didn't intend to make it impossible. Even in the Dark Days of 7th, with Invisibility, you still hit on 6's.

I would imagine modifying this rule (4. Resolve Attacks; 1. Hit roll, pg181) to the following:


1. Hit Roll: Each time a model makes an attack, roll a dice. If the roll is equal to or greater than the attacking model's Ballistic Skill characteristic, then it scores a hit with the weapon it is using. If not, the attack fails and the attack sequence ends. A roll of 1 always fails and a roll of 6 always hits, irrespective of any modifiers that may apply.

Who would this benefit?

Mainly; Orks. Hitting normally on 5's is rough enough as it is, and Orks will often be hitting on 6's either due to these intrinsic penalties or from moving. Having them not even have any possibility of hitting is a bit of a slap in their green faces. Being able to always hit on a 6 would just give them an out against armies that stack up tons of hit roll penalties. In very rare cases, it will also help all the 4+ to hit armies out there, but those situations are far rarer.

However, we also don't yet have an Ork codex out there. It's totally possible that GW is going to give that rule specifically just to Orks, though chances are it's too late now (I wouldn't be surprised if, given GW's release schedule, the Ork codex is already being printed).

Ultimately, I think this is a change that for 95% of the games being played out there would not make a difference, but would see a big difference and a far more enjoyable time for those folks that get stuck in that 5% of games that do.

Happy gaming!

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