Thursday, March 11, 2010

40K Basics: Casualty Removal

One of the posts at Maunderings of a 40K Gamer in his "Back to Basics" series made me think about casualty removal, and how some folks don't take advantage of it.  If you have to take guys off the table in the first place, at least make sure you're taking the 'right' ones.

For more veteran players, I doubt this will be anything new.  But hopefully some newer players will get some benefit.  For ease of example, we're going to assume that the bulk of the unit in question is going to be in one wound group, that all roll their saves together.  These types of units where everyone or almost everyone is the same make these types of removals much easier - Guardians, Kroot, Necron...well, anything, Orks, and so on.  For units with more specialists like Chosen or Wolf Guard it's harder to do, and you have to think ahead more with your model positioning and wound allocation in order to take advantage.

This mainly looks at casualties from shooting, though some of the principles can apply to large units in assault, but with pile in moves you're less likely to be able to take advantage of them, and you're less likely to need to if you're in assault anyways.

So you've been shot and need to remove some casualties.  Just grab some guys and move on, right?  Well, you could do that, but if you take a second to pick the right casualties you'll see your game improve.

How can casualty removal help me?

There are a number of things you can do:

  • If you're moving towards somewhere, like an objective or an assault target, take away the models furthest away.  If you take away the models closest to your target, you've just added a few extra inches you have to cover to get there.
  • If you're partly in cover, you can remove the models not in cover first.  Sometimes this helps you to keep your cover save, other times it helps you to gain one against future shooting if through removal now over half the remaining unit is in cover. 
  • Similarly, if only a few models are in LOS of the enemy, removing them can spare the rest of the unit from fire from other enemy units. 
  • If other units likely to fire at you are at the limit of their range, remove models closest to them, leaving them out of range.
  • Is there an enemy assault unit nearby but it looks iffy as to whether or not they can make it into assault?  Remove the models closest to them and leave them stranded.  Doubly effective if they have to make difficult terrain checks - what seemed like a 'sure' 2" assault that suddenly needs 5" is now much more doubtful.  This can also be used to force bikers to make dangerous terrain tests to assault you.
  • Are you on an objective and the game may end?  For goodness sake, make sure you still have models in range of the objective!
  • Being escorted off the table by an enemy within 6" keeping you from regrouping?  If you have to take losses, remove the ones closest to that escort, allowing you to regroup.
  • Other range dependent abilities?  Make sure you're in/out as desired.  You take your casualties before morale checks - so if your surviving models can get out of 12" from those Pariahs or stay within 12" of your Regimental Standard, you should try to do so (unless you want the unit to break).  Don't find yourself out of Synapse range because you picked up one Termagant instead of another.
 So try to keep everything in mind when you go to remove those models.  Don't let their sacrifice be in vain!


  1. Tactical Casualty Removal, one of my FAVORITE things. I think you covered the majority of cases, but I'd add one more: in relation to an Independent Character about to assault. Squaddies just have to be within 2" of another squad member in base to base contact to get their CC attacks, but an IC must personally be in contact. So removing casualties to clear guys from the IC's charge range will leave him sitting high and dry.

    There's also some tricks that can be done with Initiatives in multiple assaults and others, but these are a little too esoteric...

    Great article and glad I could inspire!

  2. Glad you liked it, good point about ICs.

    A corollary of all this is of course if you're the one doing the shooting, be aware of this. Sometimes you'll need to fire your units in a different order to avoid potential problems, or resist shooting at that unit you want to assault.

  3. Good, basic lesson. One of the first things anyone playing the game should learn. Another one that I would add is in reference to Blast weapons. Accidentally (or unfortunately forced to) bunched up your guys? Take out some from tightly packed parts, keeping you safer from further blasts.

    Another article (or perhaps an addition to this one) might be the dangers of casualty removal, such as accidentally breaking coherency.

  4. Ah yes, knew I forgot something else! Good catch Max. And the corollary for the shooter - use those template and blast weapons first!


Related Posts with Thumbnails