Astra Militarum Tactics

Weapon Skill in 40K

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

So I’ve been familiarising myself with the rules for the Assault Phase in 40K. Playing Guard against a mainly Tau opponent means that close combat is a fairly rare occurrence. But over Christmas I’ve acquired Space Marine and Tyranid models which I think are going to be a lot for Assault orientated!

Weapon skill and its role in close combat seem very odd to me. The best you can do is hit on a 3+ and the worst you can do is a 5+. The easier target of 3+ is used if your weapon skill is higher than your opponents, it’s the same 3+ even if yours is 6 points higher. The harder target of 5+ is used if your opponent’s weapon skill is more than double yours – a rare case.

I think this works in most situations as most of the time like-for-like opponents will be hitting on a 4+, but the edge case scenarios seem to suffer and are not very realistic – in my opinion. A lowly, inexperienced, ill equipped and unskilled Imperial Guard Conscript will be getting hit by a super skilled and super fast Tyranid creature on a 3+. While the Conscript will be hitting the creature on a 5+. The Tyranid roll is good but it’s not the best of a 2+ and the Conscript’s is bad, but not as bad a a 6+.

None of that seems realistic as all. The initiative of the Tyranid will of course help as he will strike first and take out a lot of Guard before they get chance to hit back. Perhaps I’m underestimating the abilities of a Conscript’s or over estimating the abilities of a Tyranid. There are other effects of course that will mean the humans are disadvantaged such as Fear and their lower Leadership, but that didn’t effect the rolls and the actual chances of success or failure.

But it’s a game. If the 2+ and 6+ rolls were used then close combat would effectively be a done deal as soon as a charge is declared. The current roll requirements mean you can get a weak unit just, but only just, holding back a tide of creatures against all odds. Locking them in combat and stopping their advance into a higher prize.

It’s all hear say at the moment of course. My mind might change once I play with Tyranids.