Wednesday, May 25, 2011

40K Rules Question: Emergency Disembarkation

by SandWyrm

Quick question for the Back 40K community: What happens when you're forced to do an emergency disembark from a vehicle?

Note that I'm not asking what SHOULD happen, or what would be fair. I'm asking what, according to the rules as written, actually happens.

This came up during a game that Spag and I had yesterday. He kicked my ass (as usual), but we had a case where he wrecked a Chimera with some of his Marines blocking the rear hatch. I bailed out to the side (emergency disembark) and the argument began as soon as I moved the unit on my next turn.

Spag thought, as would be logical, that the squad would not be able to do anything during my following turn. But that's not what the rules say.

Page 67, under 'Effects of Damage Results on Passengers':

"Destroyed - Wrecked

The passengers must immediately disembark and then take a pinning test. Any models that cannot disembark are destroyed. After this, the vehicle becomes a wreck."

Page 67, under 'Disembarking':

"Models cannot disembark within 1" of an enemy. If any models cannot disembark because of enemies or or because they would end up in impassable terrain, the unit can perform an 'emergency disembarkation' - the models are deployed anywhere within 2" of the vehicle's hull, but the unit can't do anything else for the rest of the turn."

Page 9 (top left), under 'Game Turns and Player Turns':

"Hence one game turn will comprise 2 player turns. Whenever a rule uses the word 'turn', both in this rulebook and in the Codices, it means 'player turn', otherwise it will clearly state 'game turn'.

So, IMO, that means that I'm free to move and fire the unit on my turn (if it didn't fail the pinning test). Because the rule only states that they can't do anything else on the player turn (Spag's) during which they had to disembark.

The only time I can see it mattering is if you somehow wreck your own vehicle with a stray battlecannon shot, or if your opponent assaults the disembarked unit in the same turn and you're prohibited from using defensive psychic powers. But otherwise, there's little point to blocking an access point if you can't surround the entire vehicle.

I agree with Spag that the rule makes little sense. But I wanted to play it the way most of the competitive community would play it (as we were practicing for NOVA). He finally relented, but kept letting me know afterward that he thought it was a cheese move.

Is it? I'll hand the decision to the community here.


  1. I believe that your interpretation is correct.

    The reason is that there is nothing preventing you from making an "emergency disembarkation" from a perfectly usable transport. The rule is there to prevent someone from driving up to your squad with their Wave Serpent, parking with the door against some terrain, "Emergency Disembarking" to the front of the Serpent, and then shooting with the squad.

    Failing the pinning test is what would prevent you from doing anything on your turn. The Emergency Disembarking thing is just there to prevent people from gaming the system on their turn.

  2. in a tournament i would ask the TO beforehand one this one, because it matters to my army so much. i would argue that it is intended to mean game turn, but they made a wonderful fail and as you say, RAW says it is player turn. thats all there is to it really, RAW wins in a competative environment.

  3. I do believe that you are correct. as much as I hate the rule, that is how it works.

  4. Great, yet another point for Mech.

  5. it is perfectly legal cheese. thank you GW for not defining the difference between player turn, and a game round.

    fuzzy writing FTW?

  6. @Rkik

    Ah. That makes perfect sense.

  7. Wait, so I could drive up a Chimera to an objective front-first, park another Chimera or a Russ behind it, and disembark to the front?

    Sure, that squad couldn't shoot or anything. But that might be useful if I don't want to lose the tank to enemy fire.

  8. You've basically nailed it, and you still have to take a pin test when wrecked and all that.

  9. Reading the disembark rule on pg. 67 of the rulebook, it specifically mentions the emergency disembark being allowed if enemies and impassable terrain are blocking exits but does not mention anything about your own units.

    So, if you block your access points with your own vehicles/models, then no, you can't disembark at all. But if you really want to use the unit for cover on the vehicle, you'd have to position it so that access points are within 1" of enemy or impassable terrain for emergency disembark to kick in.

    For the record, I don't see how this is cheesy or poorly written. Its just that there are two disembarks: one for voluntary (in the rules on transport vehicles) and one involuntary (when your vehicle is destroyed). They have their own explanations and seem pretty clear and reasonable to me...

  10. Andy the next time we play and I have to emergency disembark .... ;D

    I totally agree with Atreides on this - its a clear error on the part of the rules writing where they are doing cross reference rules. Its the sort of thing that I'd let some one do against me, but I'd use the phrase "if you feel you NEED to do it ... then go ahead" in the most condescending laughing tone I can muster lol!

  11. Do you really expect Action Hero (tm) to lose a whole turn, just because he jumped through a windscreen? I would have though that is what the pinning test was for.

    They should be made to have a dangerous terrain test, but I do not think they should lose a turn.

  12. You spill out where you can and take a Pinning Test. Sin é.

    Out of curiousity - is it the case that if the whole unit can't get out then everyone dies or is it as many individual models as possible can hop out, those that can't fit die and then they're good to go?

    I've had this come up a few times now and I wouldn't mind to see how others interpret it.

  13. @Stormy: The rulebook specifically states "Any models that cannot disembark are destroyed". The keyword there being "models".

    So if you can fit 9 of the 10 guys in the disembarking area, then only 1 dies. If there is only room for 1, then that one survives.

    @Atreides & Bully: I don't see why this is an error. If you were forced to do nothing for the entire round, then what's the point of forcing the pinning test?

  14. @rkik and @sandwyrm are totally correct. Reading the rules says exactly that.

    I find the argument: "I feel someone else should have intended it a different way than written, so I want the rule changed." to be very weak. This rule is crystal clear. They only way you can ever claim otherwise is if GW puts it in their FAQ.

    Also remember that you are all free to change the rules as you please if all parties agrees on it, and creating house rules is a good thing.

  15. Your ruling is correct Sandwyrm.

    It is silly? Yes. That is the rule though.

  16. Sandwyrm's interpretation is how I understand the rule to be written and intended.


  17. It is a cheese move if you don't have to take a pinning check! That is what was discussed. It was stated that you didn't have to do anything because it says "do nothing". I agree with MVB that you would have to take the pinning test at least. Of which you didn't take either of the two tests you needed to take. That being said, I can live with the ruling as long as pinning tests are taken. I will just have to ensure I encircle your Chimera next time. Or wreck it during shooting.

  18. Disembarking section refers to the passengers getting out on your movement phase at no point does it say you can disembark in any other phase especially your opponents.

    Cross reference over to Effects of Damage on Passengers and this section does not once state that you can conduct an emergency disembarkation due to your vehicle being damaged.

    I might be wrong but in the end I would say that emergency disembarkation can only be used in your movement phase (RAW interpretation).

  19. @HOTpanda
    That makes absolutely no sense. Emergency disembarkations exist specifically for being forced to disembark during the enemy's turn due to damage results.

    You played the situation correctly, Sandwyrm; you get out, take a pinning check as normal (because you are still being forced-disembarked from a destroyed vehicle) and then cannot act for the remainder of the turn. The rulebook is very explicit that turn == player turn unless it is stated otherwise, there is no ambiguity here.

  20. This is definately one of those DOH! moments in the rules as written.

    Per the exact wording of the rules Sandwyrm is correct. But let me ask you all this. Can a unit normally perform any actions during your opponents turn? Why then would they write a rule that says you may emergency disembark with the huge penalty of not being able to do anything THAT YOU ALREADY CANNOT DO! The word "player" should have been "game" in this rule.

    So in reality what you have is a series of circumstances that should not even be in the rulebook as they have no penalty or result. Delete a bunch of words and confusion so that there won't be any misunderstandings.

  21. @Spag

    If I forgot to take a pinning check (amidst all the arguing, book referencing, and the phone call to Justin), you should have said so. Honestly, I don't remember if I did or not. But I would have agreed that a check was required. You say 'either' like this happened multiple times, but we only had this issue come up once.

    My understanding of your argument was that you thought the squad should not be able to move and fire on my turn because of the "do nothing for the rest of this turn" wording in the rule. Not because a pin check wasn't required. That's why you were looking up the wording on turns in the front of the book.

  22. @Scotty

    See Rkik's first comment at the top. The rule is there to keep Eldar or Tau from gaming things so that they can disembark to the front and then fire. In that context it makes perfect sense.

    The problem is that everyone expects a penalty for being forced to emergency disembark on your opponent's turn. But GW didn't write a penalty. They wrote a rules tweak to stop a specific form of abuse. If they'd wanted the squad to be auto-pinned, they would have said so.

  23. And you could be forced to emergency disembark in your own turn, even do this is very unusual and involves dangerous driving close to the enemy or impassable terrain.

  24. Another good example is something that happened with a buddy of mine and I's game we played this week. He was playing Necrons against my AdMech and teleported himself out of melee with me via the Monolith portal. Well, the portal was semi-blocked by one of my Immobilized Gants and he had to go outside that 2" restriction so he wasn't allowed to take any further action that turn.

    Another question I have is what does that rule for not being able to take any other action for that turn mean for close combat? Are the disembarkees allowed to fight back? I would assume so as the alternative seems silly, but assumptions aren't what this post is going for.

  25. Umm yeah I read his posting and no offense but it makes no sense. You may only emergency disembark IF your hatches are covered by enemies or impassable terrain. Sure I guess it could happen but never in any game of 40k 5th Ed have I played or witnessed a game in which it occured.

    It just comes down to silly wording is all. I'm agreeing with you that you played within the rules.

  26. Another important thing to remember is you can emergency disembark even if the vehicle is surrounded. I know it sounds a bit jerky... but bases are 25mm and you need to deploy within 2" and >1" away. that leaves you enough space (0.8mm) to place the tips of the bases within the 'allowed' deployment zone. For KP missions and final turns, it matters.

    If terminators have surrounded your vehicle, you're F'd.

  27. @Sandwyrm,

    I agree I didn't at the time agree with the ruling but I also stated that you should have to at least take a pinning check and you stated the rules state you just disembark and do nothing. After careful thought I concur with the a majority of the rules here.

  28. @Brother Loring & Lantz: Both of your questions are covered by the Rulebook FAQ on pg 4.

    Q: When a unit makes an ʻemergency disembarkationʼ
    they cannot do anything else for the rest of the turn. What
    does this mean? (p67)
    A: It means that they can perform no voluntary actions.
    Any action forced upon them, for example from failing a
    Morale or Pinning test, they will still carry out and if
    assaulted they will fight as normal.

    Q: If a transport vehicle is completely surrounded can a
    unit inside disembark by moving through the enemy
    models? (p67)
    A: No. Models that disembark are still subject to the
    normal movement rules regarding moving through other
    models as per page 11.

  29. @Spag

    I think what happened is that I forgot the test and you assumed that I was auto-pinned. We then got to arguing on my turn when I moved the squad. You thought that I was deliberately not taking the test due to rules wording.

    Sorry for the misunderstanding, I didn't grok what you were getting at. :(

  30. @Rkik - aahhh.... thanks. Didn't know that one existed. I tend not to read the FAQ unless I have a specific question. Thank you.


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