Twin Linked: The Best Rule in the Game

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In the land of random probabilities, the man with dice mitigation is king.

Warhammer 40K is a game of many things, but one of its most notable factors is that it is a game of dice. We are reminded of this at virtually every possible opportunity during the game itself when we see extremely good or bad luck on rolls, but like with many things it is easy to miss the forest for the trees in this respect. Virtually everything we do during the game is controlled by the dice in some fashion- moving through terrain, casting psychic powers, shooting getting into assaults, determining when the game will end, etc- in fact, even before the game proper has begun, we are at the mercy of the dice for what psychic powers we have access to, what our warlord trait is, and the choices for deployment zones and objective placement. Dice are everything in this game, although contrary to what some people think it is not purely a game of luck- if it were, we wouldn’t consistently see the same names at the top of tournament rosters time after time after time.

So with the understanding that we are playing a game of luck, the most important question we should be asking ourselves is “how do I mitigate the effects of bad luck on my game play?” Because we all have luck affecting us, both good and bad, but if you’re intending to climb to the top tables you’re going to need to find a way to work around that- if you simply lose a tournament because you had a bit of bad luck one game, you’ll never win anything. This aspect of the game is, as I said, often overlooked, but it’s absolutely critical to the sorts of lists you should be bringing and how you should be looking at your unit choices.

See, it’s not just a matter of learning to play around bad luck and having redundancy in your list- these are important things, of course, but they aren’t everything. You need to design your army with bad luck in mind and find every way you can to minimize its effects on your plans. And first and foremost amongst these these is the title of this piece: rerolls, from the Twin-Linked rule or any other source.

You see, the beauty of having a universal reroll like Twin-Linked is that the worse your luck is, the better it gets. If you roll a dozen shots needing 3s and don’t get anything, you’re S.O.L. with things. However, if you have that same pile of dice needing 4s with a reroll, you are in a MUCH better position (even ignoring the minor advantage in raw results you’d get) because missing with every one of them on the initial roll still gives you a solid chance of pulling things out on the second roll- the more dice you fail with, the more dice you get to try again with. I can’t even begin to count the number of times a squad of Broadsides has missed seven or ten or twelve of its initial shots, only to pull things out on the reroll and come up with average or even above-average numbers of hits on the second iteration, and this sort of “second chance” is why rerolls are so wonderful.

And it’s more than just to-hit rolls; the value of rerolls shows through in special abilities like Tank Hunter or Preferred Enemy, in psychic powers like Prescience or Doom or Fortune, and in a multitude of other special abilities across a broad range of units such as Coteaz’s Spy Network or Tigurius’s psychic rerolls. Abilities like Fleet can make or break an assault unit because they are the difference between making critical charges and getting left stranded in the middle of the field to be shot to pieces by the enemy. Rerolls on the more esoteric rolls (such as Seize, ending the game, etc) are valuable enough to very nearly justify the inclusion of characters that have them on their own, as they can be absolutely devastating in the right circumstances.

A related category- and often even more powerful, though more limited- is the ability to simply not roll at all for things and simply decide the outcome. Not having to roll for Difficult/Dangerous Terrain is a very common example- and those who have played with it understand exactly how strong it is to just always be able to move as far as you want, no matter what. Bikes, Beasts, and many Cavalry units all fall into this category, as do Wraiths and Harlequins. Automatically succeeding reserve rolls (as many formations do these days, like the Ravenwing/Deathwing ones) is another common example, but there are others as well- fixed warlord traits and psychic powers are often in this category as well, such as Draigo (whose existence allows the Centstar to function), Lias Issodon (who can enable Infiltration-based strategies), or Sevrin Loth/Be’lakor (who guarantee Invisibility for those wishing to abuse it.)

Whatever your army or whatever your style, rerolls are an immensely beneficial feature to include and can go a long ways towards turning a list from “pretty good” to “a tournament-winner.” Though some armies have better access than others, all armies have at least limited options for dice mitigation techniques in some arena or another and a surprisingly-large number of them fall into the useable or even good category. Next time you’re writing a list to bring to a tournament, stop a moment and think about how you’ll handle poor luck and whether the inclusion of some kind of reroll will give your list the extra something that it needs to do what you want it to.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

29 Responses to “Twin Linked: The Best Rule in the Game”

  1. Avatar
    Hotsauceman1 August 18, 2015 10:17 am #

    The skill in this game is to mitigate your rolls and make them not needed. That is why tau is so feared, they dont need to worry about getting all the hits

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 18, 2015 10:41 am #

      And they ignore cover, too. Mitigating the dice is key to consistently winning games.

      • Avatar
        Hotsauceman1 August 18, 2015 3:14 pm #

        That is why you run Deathstars right Reece?

  2. Avatar
    fluger August 18, 2015 10:35 am #

    Wait, didn’t I write a note here already?


    This is why I like Grukk Face Rippa for my Orks.

    1. He comes with a stock warlord trait.
    2. That warlord trait happens to let me re-roll moral and pinning tests.
    3. He has shred on his power klaw
    4. He has an attack squig.

    So many re-rolls!

  3. Avatar
    AbusePuppy August 18, 2015 12:27 pm #


    Reece, did you steal my article? You dirty, rotten, low-down good-for-nothin’ scoundrel!

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 18, 2015 1:24 pm #

      Haha, sorry! I had to roll the site back to a previous version of it, and then bring it back, so I copied your article and reposted it but it went under my name.

      • Avatar
        fluger August 18, 2015 1:43 pm #

        First you don’t finish your Ork bat rep, now this. :disappointed head shake:

        • Reecius
          Reecius August 18, 2015 4:02 pm #

          Who said I didn’t finish the bat rep, haha? It was a two part series, second part is going up, tomorrow =)

          • Avatar
            fluger August 18, 2015 7:14 pm

            It better be! :shakes fist:

      • Avatar
        Sawyer Z August 21, 2015 10:09 pm #

        Blasphemy! I already read the whole article in a Reece voice.

  4. Avatar
    westrider August 18, 2015 2:19 pm #

    Absolutely. The more I play, and in particular, the more I play seriously, the more I find myself turning to options that reduce the effects of randomness in my Games. Honestly, the more I dig into it, it’s a big part of why I’m not so into Nids anymore. Outside of TL Devs and Lictors, they don’t have a whole lot of options for mitigating randomness except throwing more dice at things. I find it coming up with my Daemonkin a lot, too, wishing they had Hatred as an option on the Blood Tithe at some point.

    Another category of mitigation is things like FNP or Reanimation Protocols, which don’t strictly give you a re-roll, but do give you an additional chance at your desired outcome (in this case, your dudes not dying).

    • Avatar
      fluger August 18, 2015 2:47 pm #

      Another aspect is trying to mitigate the randomness of matchups. TAC lists are the goal for tournament play because sacrificing a bit off the top to get more balance ensures better overall results.

  5. Avatar
    Nightman August 18, 2015 3:37 pm #

    Really enjoyed this article. As a small sidenote regarding luck and variance, we in general have a selective memory and bad luck will stick more than good luck for pretty much any person making our point of view very biased during the course of the game. Ofc. sometimes players get really lucky and are self-aware, but the threshhold is much lower when the results are negative. (Hello bad beat stories in poker).

    For poker player playing many hands can negate this or having a large bankroll, but when playing 40k especially for lists without redundancy (re-rolls or other units filling the same role) the results/variance will be so high going 5-0 is highly improbable even if you play well. When these high variance lists roll well and crush somene it’s often overkill, but the player will not receive a larger reward for tabling someone turn 4 (compared to someone that is getting close wins, but more of them) and his expected value is lost in the warp.

    That being said the movement phase is so huge and requires very little dice rolling one of the reasons 40k is a great game.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy August 18, 2015 7:53 pm #

      >we in general have a selective memory and bad luck will stick more than good luck

      Yeah, very true. To play devil’s advocate here, though: we have a selective memory for a _reason_. Luck “evening out” in the end doesn’t really matter because if you die in the initial round of bad luck, the eventual good luck to come is irrelevant. So in that sense, our perceptions are “accurate” in that we should be more averse to spates of bad luck than attracted to patches of good.

      But I’ll have another article sometime on “bad luck” and why you should essentially ignore it, because it’s a big part of being a good player. It’s something we all struggle with because it’s hard to see the lessons underneath a bad game, though they’re most certainly there.

      • Avatar
        Nightman August 19, 2015 1:28 am #

        Very true, in 40k sometimes a bad round means the game is over. My only counter argument would be due to how the 40k missions works sometimes the player getting crushed can pull off weird wins. I see that more often in 40k compared to other games like magic or chess, where being in a bad spot usually means the game is over.

        I’m pretty convinced that if having bad luck, 99% of players will make worse decisions (of course some less than others) because we are not robots. Shaking that off won’t win you the game, but it will certainly improve your chanses.

        • Avatar
          westrider August 19, 2015 7:55 am #

          I know I definitely tend to start making more mistakes when things are going wrong. I can think of at least a couple of Games that lost me Tournaments over the past year where something went wrong and I lost my cool and made further screwups that just drove the whole thing into the ground.

  6. Avatar
    Variance Hammer August 18, 2015 8:19 pm #

    I couldn’t agree with this more. I’ll confess, given the name of my blog, that this is something of a biased option. But yeah – things that both reduce the variance and increase the average for a random action in the game are immensely powerful.

  7. Avatar
    Axis of Entropy August 19, 2015 6:13 am #

    If only you could reroll your charge distance Reece

  8. Avatar
    PeterRabbit August 19, 2015 12:50 pm #

    To improve the twin linked rule you shouldn’t get the reroll unless you shout DAKKAAA DAKKAAA while roling the dice. Where is the fun in just picking up the dice and rerolling them?

  9. Avatar
    fluger August 19, 2015 1:10 pm #

    Also, I was talking about this elsewhere, but in regards to twin linking, I wish that on some weapons it didn’t increase accuracy, but increased damage, like how it worked in 2nd edition. Basically, for weapons that didn’t use rapid fire dice for every hit you rolled, you got two hits.

    So, a predator with TL lascannons would get a hit and then the model that was hit would take two S9 Ap2 hits. Great for cutting up vehicles or putting two wounds on MCs. I’d call it “paired” instead and have it apply to a few different weapons, mostly single shot weapons.

    Just my thoughts.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy August 19, 2015 1:54 pm #

      Certainly feasible as a rule, although to be honest I would actually avoid a so-called “Paired” weapon like the plague unless the price was quite good- such a weapon would INCREASE your variability, rather than decreasing it, which is sorta the opposite of what you want.

      • Avatar
        fluger August 19, 2015 3:55 pm #

        For sure agree. It was always the issue with it when it was used in 2nd.

        But, as you said, depending on points, it could totally be worth it.

      • Avatar
        westrider August 19, 2015 8:26 pm #

        It would let you double down on the effect with things like Prescience, tho, whereas that’s currently wasted in combination with TL weapons.

        • Avatar
          fluger August 20, 2015 1:52 pm #

          Good point.

      • Avatar
        Variance Hammer August 20, 2015 10:43 am #

        “such a weapon would INCREASE your variability, rather than decreasing it, which is sorta the opposite of what you want”

        Not necessarily. There are some cases where high variability may be a desired trait in your units. It should certainly be something you are mindful of, but it’s not necessarily anathema.

        • Avatar
          AbusePuppy August 20, 2015 5:31 pm #

          Speaking in the context of the article, though. If the Paired weapon was costed the same as, say, a basic version? Sure I’d take it. Or if I had access to plenty of rerolls though other sources? Again, ditto. Or if it was part of a broader strategy (such as using them as AA defense to try and force a Jink), it likewise has uses.

          But, as I said in the main body of the article, what you often want in a tournament list is consistency. Armies that perform either really well or really poorly are not a good way to climb the ranks in a tournament, because you can’t count on winning five games in a row with them. A “Paired” weapon compared to a twin-linked one is giving you damage at the output of consistency, which (depending on BS skill and a bunch of other factors, of course) is typically not a great trade.

  10. Avatar
    Jural August 20, 2015 12:25 pm #

    Yes, no doubt. Mitigating luck is important in 40K, offensively and defensively.

    There are also some cool abilities which simply get around dice rolls altogether (Ignores Cover, Power weapons, Fearless, ATSKNF)) or allows you to make more favorable rolls (Hit and Run.)

    I think that’s one of the key rookie 40K mistakes- looking at things like Ignores Cover, Fearless, Hit and Run, low strength power weapons, and assuming the benefits will be marginal or not come up enough.

    Contrast that with Chaos Warp Talons who seem to pay through the nose for “blind” and a 5++ . Those may seem like cool abilities, but they require you to be very lucky to be useful!

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