How to play warhammer 40k. 40k for Noobies: Dealing with Independent Characters in Close Combat

Ash asked a question about my last post and brought up Independent Characters. How do you deal with them? There are a few tricks that I pull. I will go over them now.

Ignore them! If you are charging a squad that has an IC attached to it... ignore the IC! Put all of your attacks against the squad. If you have a higher initiative, even better since you can wipe them out and they cannot hit you back. I do this all the time with my assaulters since I use Corbulo who grants them Furious Charge (+1 initiative and Str). My guys go first most of the time. So, if I am running 10 assault marines up against a squad of marines with an IC attached, I put all of the attacks against the squad and ignore the IC. Now, hopefully I will kill the squad out right, or at least do a lot of wounds. Yes, the IC will nail me back... but hopefully I do so many wounds to the squad, that I still end up winning combat. This will force the squad I attacked, and the IC to make a morale test modified by the number of kills I won by. Hopefully you won by a lot and the IC will fail his morale test... If he is a non space marine, you can kill him with a sweeping advance having never even laid a finger on him. If he IS a SM, he will fall back. You have the choice, do NOT choose to sweeping advance since that will just force him to remain in combat. You want him to run. Let him go.

What you do now is simply follow him off the table. Do not assault him again... Space Marines automaticlly regroup, but NOT if there is an enemy squad within 6" of them. He will not be able to regroup, and you can just follow him until he is off the table edge. Of course if he is fearless that is another matter.

Another option: REALLY ignore him.

Sometimes you will find yourself in the position to completely ignore the IC. What I mean is that the squad he is attached to is so big, or other circumstances like terrain prohibit him from getting into Base to base contact no matter which way he goes. For example, a huge squad of Ork Boys has a Warboss attached. He is leading the charge. Jump your assault marines to the back of the squad and assault... he will probably not be able to get into base to base since he can only move 6". Just make sure your guys are 6" away from him but still B2B with the orks. He will still be in the combat, but unable to attack, and will still be forced to make a morale test if you win combat. And orks ARE vulnerable to Sweeping Advance. Win that combat by 6 or 7 kills, and he is done. (Orks are fearless until their squad is reduced below 11... do a lot of kills.)

Use force against force.

Do whatever it takes to get YOUR IC into B2B with his. Hopefully you are packing a bigger punch and will kill his IC with your own. OR if you have a weak chump almost dead IC with one wound left, sacrifice him. Send in your IC against his. He will be too tempted to not kill him. He has to choose between your IC and your squad. He lays his 8 attacks down on your IC and kills him. That is still only 1 wound towards combat resolution. Your squad attacks his squad, wipes them out, you win combat, the IC has to make a modified leadership test. If he is not a marine, you can sweeping advance and kill him. If he is, again, chase him off the table.

So, when dealing with enemy IC. Look at the bigger picture... or 5th dimension. If he is attached, slaughter his squad and force him to make a test. If he is not attached, send one model to assault him and drag him in, but focus the rest of your shots on the squad. If you have a more powerful IC, let them fight it out, maybe even help him with the squads power fist or sword. If your IC is a chump, sacrifice him. Kill the squad, force a test, kill him in Sweeping Advance or chase him off the table.



eriochrome said...

Another thing to remember when determining how to deal with an opponent IC is his roll in the unit. If he grants the unit some bonus important in the immediate combat turn(Pedro's +1 attack, Dante's preferred enemy, Necron Lord with Res Orb) you can make your life easier if you can kill him before his squad benefits from the granted abilities.

This is a tough call since instant death is the best way to kill characters but most weapons which can do this strike last(big nasties excluded).

Docrailgun said...

Good post! Thanks!

Ash said...

Thanks for the post!!

Also, a follow up from yesterdays great discussion, IC can split their attacks, does that effect the choice to sacrifice my chump IC he can send fewer attacks at the IC and the rest to my squad.

Here is my new thought, can I fly a Daemon Prince behind two vehicles that are close to each other ie. providing each other cover. and move to b2b with both and assault both by splitting his attacks. As a monsters Creater with a large base this is easy and the str plus 2d6 and 6 attacks - 3 each would make this an easy two vehicles killed.


jawaballs said...

Still sacrifice your chump IC. he will probably have an invul save, and your opponent will probably throw most of his attacks against him to make sure he dies. Most people cannot resist that blood. If he does live, great! Maybe he can deal a couple wounds to your opponent.

Getting a monstrous creature into B2B with multiple tanks is next to impossible if he is not attached to a squad. If he is alone, he has to go to the nearest point of your opponent. He cannot angle himself perfectly to get into B2B with both. But, if he is attached, and you have gotten closest model B2B with closest model, the rest of the squad, including the IC may move up to 6". You could concievably get him B2B with two vehicles since you do not have to do 'closest to closest'. I do not know if Daemon Princes can attach... But I believe things like Carnixes can... and they can take advantage of this.

Good idea though!

eriochrome said...

Hive Tyrants can be parts of unit with tyrant guards so they could pull this off provided they are not the nearest model but they are only Str 5 base(+1 with toxin sacs) but they can get a ton of attacks if outfitted correctly(6 on charge with two sets of talons)

eriochrome said...

Fexes cannot attach to another unit but Tombspider can make scrabs to be part of their unit so they could try this along with Hive Tyrants. There are probably a few more but neither of these examples are actually independent characters. They are just MC's who can get a unit of more than 1 through some trick or ability.

Ash said...

If the vehicle has not moved you hit on everything plus as a monstrous creature he gets 2D6 for amour pen that is two or three tries each to kill the Vehicles. Average 2D6 is 7 plus 5 is 12 that will KIA most with a little luck 8 or 9 gets you to 13 and 14 that covers all but Land raiders and I am not sure I would try this on them.


Ash said...

Also, what are your thoughts on joining to IC's into a squad of two.

I can see this working in order to share the highest toughness when being shot at, also if one is hide the other can be in the open and get a cover save. At the same time share the higher toughness of the two.



Ash said...

*sorry, Two IC's into a squad of Two

jawaballs said...

Don't monstrous creatures get 2d6 for armor pen?

jawaballs said...

Ahh, Ash beat me to it. And two IC joining each other is legal and a great way to improve both! Joining Chaplain Cassius to another character to raise his toughness is smart! Nice idea. Now to figure out how to use this for my Blood Angels.

Ash said...

Yep, 2D6 plus str for armor pen.

I am trying to figure out tank killing for my Daemon list. If I run three DP'w with Wings I think they can be very effective tank killers. If I can figure out away for them to assault two tanks each it would be very competitive, maybe?


Dalton King said...

Ash I think that your best bet would be to move the Princes in such a way to maintain the base to base or one inch. In other words if your opponent is foolish enough to leave vehicles bunched up, make him regret the mistake and wreak some tank havoc. Most vehicles, with the exception of land raiders, can get crushed in close combat. I don't know many tanks that have an armor value above 10 on the rear and for the assault you always attack the rear. I like to do something similar with assault marines (one having a fist). With strength 8 a 2+ is easy to get atleast a glancing blow.

FOLrOBOT said...

You can't choose not to Sweeping Advance...

jawaballs said...

Wow you're right! I've been playing it wrong. Nice catch!

Jordi said...


Sorry, I'm a newbie. Very good post, but please could you solve me this doubt :

I thought that in the shooting phase as well as in the combat phase is always the owner of the squad who distributes the wounds. So how could you decide not to wound the ennemy's IC? He chooses.

After the post I really read the rules again and I don't figure out where this rule is.

Could you help me plase?

Thank you very much!
By the way, this blog is very helpufl for beginners!


Ash said...

You need to read IC in Assault and Multiple Assaults,

Both of these talk about even though an IC is joined to a unit in CC he stands out as the warrior that he is and is treated differently.

When Assaulting a unit with an IC any unit B2B with him or 2 inches from a unit in B2B with him can allocate there attacks to him or the unit but they must decide which before any dice are rolled.

This is the same way it works when there are multiple units involved, you assign who is attacking which unit before you roll the dice.

If you are attacking the unit then yes the owner of the unit will assign the wounds, If you are attacking the IC then he is a unit of one and takes all of the wounds.


jawaballs said...

Ash nailed it! In close combat, base to base is what matters.

Coolhand said...

remembering that if the IC is in a retinue, you can not pick them out even if you wanted to. so worth taking note of this when working out your plans for domination if your IC is just attached to a standard unit.


Ash said...


You can in close combat. You are right you can't pick him out to shoot at him, but in close combat he stands out and in fact has to move second in the assault or reaction/fall in phase of combat to insure he is in the front and he can be targeted by anyone in B2B with him or within 2 inches of someone B2B with him.


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