NewHammer 40k Update: The Fight Phase!


The following was taken from the Warhammer Community page.

Let’s get down to the best phase – combat (unless you’re a Fire Warrior…sorry).

This is part of the new Warhammer 40,000 with some of the biggest changes. We’ve already seen in our article on unit profiles that Initiative has gone. Instead, the priority for striking is based on the previous phase, with those units that completed a charge swinging first.

There’s a definite emphasis on making charging into combat effective – these units have gotten all the way across the battlefield, they’ve braved enemy fire and overwatch, and now they’ve finally made it into combat – they will at the very least get to swing.

Units that activate gain a free 3″ move towards the closest enemy. This can be used to get within 1″ of other enemy units, if you’re cunning, dragging more foes into the melee and preventing them from shooting next turn, even if you didn’t charge them directly (giving them no chance to overwatch). Enemy gun lines will need to be careful about how they position their supporting units, so as to avoid getting dragged into the fight too.


Following chargers, players take it in turns to activate units across the board to fight – this can get quite tactical, as both players need to choose the combats where dealing maximum damage will be important to them, while trying to limit enemy retaliation on their valuable or fragile models.

There are a few units that can interrupt this sequence to attack out of turn too – Tyranids with lash whips and Slaaneshi Daemons, for example – and it can also be influenced by Stratagems (more on these soon) if your army is Battle-forged, all of which add a nuanced level of tactical depth to the phase.


Players will have much more influence over the outcome of combat now, rather than purely the stats of the models involved, both in their own and in the opponent’s turns (though we still wouldn’t expect Guardsmen to triumph over a unit of Khorne Berzerkers any time soon – fix bayonets!).

Another thing we have seen is that hit rolls are now fixed. This has the effect of making dedicated combat units generally hit on a 3+, while models representing the most competent warriors of the 41st Millennium (Guilliman, the Swarmlord, Ghazghkull Thraka, to name but a few) will now hit on 2+!


Close combat weapons (which we’ll look at in more detail in future) also gain new rules – some will slice through armour easily, while others will hit with enough force to cause deal multiple wounds that can cripple or kill even powerful enemy models.

Across the board, these changes lead to combats that are more deadly than ever. Generals who successfully coordinate a battlefield-wide charge will be rewarded with a phase of utter carnage, while their opponent will have to work hard to minimise taking damage, and carefully consider their retaliatory options.

Expect combats to be hard-fought, bloody, and tactical – just as they should be.

We’ll be back tomorrow with some new details on morale – and after we’ve seen the damage that shooting, psychic powers and combat can do – can you blame anyone for running away?


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29 Responses to “NewHammer 40k Update: The Fight Phase!”

  1. CWDub May 2, 2017 7:21 am

    Glad to see my lash whip acolyte leaders won’t be useless. Dragging careless gunline armies into CC sounds awesome, also.

  2. Requizen
    Requizen May 2, 2017 7:22 am

    As someone who has been playing so much AoS lately, I’m so happy to see this ported over. It’s a great combat system!

  3. Ytook May 2, 2017 7:24 am

    Interestingly it sounds like the opposite of AoS. In AoS your charging unit only has to have the first model come within half an inch, the rest can move as you wish, then when they pile in models have to move 3 inches towards the nearest enemy model.

    In 8th it sounds like the charging unit has to move towards the target units while the pile in is more free to move how they wish (while still remaining in combat presumably). That’s interesting. Getting to do all that first on the charge and attack first is pretty big.

    • Ytook May 2, 2017 7:40 am

      Whoops, scratch that free pile in move thing, completely misread 😛

      • Ytook May 2, 2017 8:47 am

        That being said that would be a cool thing for Harlequins, like some units in AoS can pile in as they want, moving through enemy units providing they end their move as close or closer to any enemy than when they started. But that’s pure wishlisting 😛

  4. Cephalobeard May 2, 2017 7:29 am

    This article feels like the most poorly worded and vague one yet. Which is a shame, especially for such a potentially* complicated subject.

    • David Hayden May 2, 2017 8:45 am

      We changed a lot! But we don’t have much to say about it…

      I suspect it was a choice between short and to the point or a long complicated article where they might as well just drop in the whole rules section.

  5. Panzer1944 May 2, 2017 7:55 am

    Personally I want to know, since it seems declaring muti-charge has changed and from the looks of it if you can drag in other units that you didn’t declare a charge against, if you win combat if consolidation moves are still in the system were you can get into combat again like the old days.

  6. Davis Centis May 2, 2017 7:59 am

    Really love being able to drag in other people into combat with the 3″ pile-in.

    • Ytook May 2, 2017 8:18 am

      And you only have to get within an inch to be in combat, so units about 4 inches away are in trouble. Hopefully charging units have the ability to position themselves as they want to a degree like in AoS to take advantage of that pile in.

  7. Beau May 2, 2017 8:33 am

    Large base models are going to really be able to lock up a lot of units now.

    What I am wondering is, can I declare a multicharge with my blob of zombies and soak overwatch, then have all my powerfist terminators charge without fear of overwatch, then they all strike first because they charged, potentially wiping the enemy before they strike back?

    • Anvil
      Anvil May 2, 2017 9:37 am

      That is correct 🙂 Units can perform as many Overwatches as they want, provided they don’t get caught up in combat. Once a unit is within 1″, they can no longer Overwatch, making them vulnerable to subsequent charges, even in that same turn. I think we can see some really tricky tactics being pulled with scenarios like the one you pointed out!

    • Fagerlund May 2, 2017 11:17 am

      I’m going to guess that Power Fists have a special rule causing them to strike last though.

      • Ytook May 2, 2017 12:29 pm

        I’m guessing weapons like them will be something like -1 to hit is more likely, alternating unit activations but some models acting later would be very messy and difficult to track.

        • Fagerlund May 2, 2017 1:14 pm

          They’ve already confirmed models activating out of turn order though, so wouldn’t be messier than it already is. Actually, even without that it’s pretty messy with charging models acting first followed by alternating order. *shrugs*

          • Threllen May 2, 2017 1:31 pm

            I think the phase as we know it will be alright once people get the hang of it.
            1) resolve the attacks for charging models first
            2) resolve any out of order attacks (assuming that the examples they gave just mean “unit always strikes first as if it were charging.” which is what it sounds like)
            3) Alternate activation after that.

            “Unwieldy” weapons would throw an additional monkey wrench on that but who knows if they will still be a thing. I could definitely see the “-1 to hit” or something to that effect as an alternative.

          • Ytook May 2, 2017 2:07 pm

            I wouldn’t say so, as long as you’re activating units, those examples of activating out of turn will be the unit not models, as per AoS.

            I don’t know if you play AoS but I’ve always found activating units is easy to keep track of, particularly as you’ll only be dealing with some of your units in cc most of the time.

            Given that you’ve just charged the phase before it’s pretty easy to remember which ones charged, do them and any units that can disrupt, then alternate the rest (though that’ll most of the time just be the rest of your opponents’ units it seems unlikely that combats will last more than two fight phases).

    • Happy_Inquisitor May 2, 2017 11:43 am

      I would think that works unless too many zombies get in the way in which you can’t get your terminators within 1″.

  8. David Hayden May 2, 2017 8:48 am

    I guess I like it. There’s not a lot to go on there and I haven’t played AoS yet.

    The potential is good. I don’t see anyone cramming fragile units close together, so I don’t know if the suck in other units thing will work very often once people acclimate to the new rules. And I would think you’d keep close combat troops near your fragile gunners to protect them.

    • Codi May 2, 2017 9:05 am

      I think the 3″ pile in will be a buff to large units that are charging. Specifically units that take up a lot of real estate.

      I wouldn’t expect a 5 man unit of tactical marine to make use of it, but a 30 man blob of orks could.

    • Ytook May 2, 2017 9:06 am

      I think a lot of it will come down to how charging units have to move. In AoS only the first model you move has to make it into combat, the rest of the units can move as they wish. If that’s the case here then a charging unit (particularly hordes or large based models) could charge a single unit, position itself so that it is spread around enemy units 1inch away from them and closest to them, and then pile in into them without having to have charged then specifically, it’ll actually be easier to do than in AoS as you can get closer to enemy units without engaging them.

      However if charging units have to move every model as close as possible to the target enemy units then it’ll be harder to pull off without your opponent messing up.

  9. Quinn May 2, 2017 9:36 am

    I hope this works to the point where you can tie up multiple gun crews at once, and that you can just target the gunners like in AoS. My least favorite Army to face is Renegades..anything to nerf them I’m in favor of.

  10. Threllen May 2, 2017 10:26 am

    Still waiting on some confirmation that foot-based combat units will be viable in the new edition. The problem with most of those units was never how good they were once they got to combat. As a personal example, things like Khorne Berzerkers and Possessed were plenty deadly to begin with – killing stuff wasn’t their problem. Their problem was actually getting to combat in the first place. And I don’t think adding 1 or 2″ to their movement (if they do even get a boost over the 6″ move) isn’t going to help them all that much.

    Some people think all vehicles will be “assault vehicles” which would definitely help them but we have yet to see anything confirmed by GW that shows us for sure that it’s going to happen.

    • WestRider May 2, 2017 11:12 am

      I don’t have any confirmation, but being able to more freely remove casualties will definitely help, and it sounded like shooting was getting toned down significantly. I wouldn’t be surprised if it adds up to getting into Combat at least a Turn sooner, and probably with more dudes left, to boot.

    • Fagerlund May 2, 2017 11:21 am

      Didn’t they say in the live Q&A that you’d be able to charge from vehicles that didn’t move the same phase alá 5:th though?

      • Ytook May 2, 2017 12:38 pm

        No, nothing on transports yet.

      • Threllen May 2, 2017 1:36 pm

        According to the transcript of the QnA on Natfka, no transports and charges were not mentioned. People have just been assuming it for so long people have started to think it was something GW leaked themselves.

    • Jural May 2, 2017 11:25 am

      The Movement stat should help some of the more fragile melee models, but overall I’m a bit skeptical. On the other hand, as long as you end up within 12 inches of an enemy, you can get a free 2d6″ move at the cost of suffering overwatch. That is huge, as it will make it more difficult for very mobile armies to just keep falling back and shoot you.

    • punchymango May 2, 2017 5:33 pm

      Elite assault troops also suffered from being expensive and unable to hurt superheavy combat walkers. Imp knights or wraithknights both kicked their asses in melee, and you could often just bring one of your own for only slightly more points.

      I’m curious how that’ll shake out, really.