Thursday, July 23, 2015

War Machines in Age of Sigmar

Well, I've been trying to figure this out because with a dwarf/elf army it becomes pretty important- usually like first turn important. After our first game it became apparent that war machines are very dangerous in Age of Sigmar. Something has me puzzled though- and it is part because of the streamlined rules and in part because of conflicting reports I've uncovered on the internet. Let's start at the beginning.

WARSCROLLS & UNITS “All models are described by warscrolls, which provide all of the rules for using them in the game. You will need warscrolls for the models you want to use.”

“Models fight in units. A unit can have one or more models, but cannot include models that use different warscrolls. A unit must be set up and finish any sort of move as a single group of models, with all models within 1" of at least one other model from their unit.”

When I first read this it seemed very apparent that you would never have more than one unit in a warscroll. But that isn't quite what it says. It says you cannot have have models in a unit that come from separate warscrolls. So what does this sound like to you?

A Dwarf Cannon consists of a Cannon War Machine and 3 Duardin Crew.

Does it mean there are two different units or one single unit? Now they have a split profile. Meaning the Cannon has it's own statline and the Duradin Crew have the their own stat line. It isn't like every other type of model in the game. Chariots, monsters, characters, and units all simply have a single profile.

On one hand I was assuming the cannon and crew were a single unit. That way when it is attacked, you can how to allocate the wounds against the model. Maybe you want to make your save rolls with the cannon since it has a 4+ save, 4 wounds, and when you start losing crew members the cannon becomes less effective.

But and this is the kicker, why does the Dwarf Cannon have this rule?

Duardin Artillery: A Dwarf Cannon can only move if its Crew are within 1" at the start of the movement phase. If its Crew are within 1" of the Cannon in the shooting phase, they can fire the war machine. The war machine cannot make charge moves, does not need to take battleshock tests and is unaffected by any attack or ability that uses Bravery. The Crew are in cover while they are within 1" of their war machine.

It isn't a mistake on the writer's part. It has rules that specifically separate it from the crew. If the Cannon and the Duradin Crew were the same unit they would always be within 1" of each other. You wouldn't need to reiterate that over and over in the text.

So assuming this why on earth would you ever not shoot the crew? I suppose you wouldn't if you were in range and had a clear line of sight. I know there have been situations where the only thing I could charge was the cannon. The crew were posted up to the rear of the war machine and my charge couldn't quite reach them. The crew ended up piling in anyway and we were having trouble deciding how to allocate wounds in close combat, but I think we were doing it wrong. My opinion as of right now is they are two distinct units- they just have a single war scroll to define how they perform. The war machine is dependent on having the Duradin Crew nearby to function.


  1. You're right... Why say the crew are in cover IF they are within 1" of their war machine? It may make war machines too vulnerable if you can just launch 20 arrows at the crew, though, even with the cover bonus.

    I still think the only target in a charge should be the crew, which again would work fine using your theory.

  2. You can still charge the cannon and attack it. It might put you within 3" of the crew who could pile in on their turn, but they aren't required to. It would be situational. The Dwarf Cannon doesn't have any attacks in melee.

    So far as shooting the crew with 20 arrows- I am all for that. It tied up an archer unit one round. The last game I played it was a ton of missile weapons. Like tanks in 40k.

  3. I agree completely. If you look at Skaven war machines, they have a combined profile. It got me thinking.. Skaven models are all glued to the machine. Therefore they can't run around and do things independently. They are riding the machines and become like other mounted units, a combined statline, making them a unit unto themselves. Empire, Dwarf, Elf, even Hell Cannons have models on bases that can be arranged and positioned in the movement round. These all have multiple profiles on the warscroll. Glottkin has 2 bad-a$$ brothers standing atop his loathsome mounds but it's all one profile.
    In my opinion, profiles are what distinguish units. All the models with that profile fight equally with the weapons listed. High Elf Repeater and it's crew are dependent on each other to function. No crew, no attacks from the Repeater. No Repeater and the crew can still act as a unit listed under their profile, just minus the ranged weapon.
    The additional save or cover modifier for the crew is to represent them diving behind the unliving machine which has no motive to move to shelter itself. This extra staying power is granted because the crew can be independently targeted, otherwise no need to add the cover modifier.
    Any attacking unit, melee, ranged or magic would decide which of the 2 differing groups to attempt to obliterate. Against a Warp Lightning Cannon, there is no way to differentiate since the crew leave no footprint.
    Again with the Repeater, the crew and machine have different keyword panels. The Repeater is not "Highborn" and doesn't receive abilities contingent on that if it's without crew. But the 2 can operate together, therefore giving received bonuses to the crew who in turn operates the machine, just as the machine gives cover.
    I have to finally say that I firmly believe a unit to have 1 characteristic chart. A warscroll can have many or one. Just depends on how many units are in the warscroll.
    Plaguelord of Nurgle

  4. i have seen a lot of discussion around the war machines if they are separate from their crew or not. If you look in the first section of the war scrolls where you get the key to the war scrolls the description explanation clears it up it states"

    "The description tells you what weapons
    the model can be armed with, and what upgrades (if
    any) it can be given. The description will also tell you if
    the model is fielded on its own as a single model, or as
    part of a unit. If the model is fielded as part of a unit,
    then the description will say how many models the unit
    should have (if you don’t have enough models to field a
    unit, you can still field one unit with as many models as
    you have available)."

    under each war machine if you look at the scroll the war machine has no description but the crew does. this the the description under the organ gun for example:

    "An Organ Gun consists of an four barrelled
    War Machine that fires a lethal
    Barrage of Shots and 3 Duardin Crew
    equipped with Tools."