Cover save madness?

In a recent game against a good player and very nice guy, I encountered an issue with cover saves. I thought I would open it up to discussion here. No offense to you big C. I just wanted to get some input!

Here is the situation. For most of the game, my opponent was shooting at my tanks from across the board, over terrain and whatnot. Every time I asked him if the stuff in between granted cover saves, his answer was no after getting down and looking down the gun sights. No problem, game on! Then he started putting his speeders directly in front of his tanks, in between my tanks and his. Now, a speeder is just about the same hight as the turret on a predator. Again, my requests for cover saves were denied. Finally, one of the shots was so questionable that I went around the table and looked for myself and sure enough... in my opinion, over 50% of the facing of my tank was obscured by the speeder. Looking down the top of the barrel, you could see just over the bottom of the smoke stacks on my predator. He claimed that he could see more then 50, argument ensues, he gets down and directs me to look down the side of the barrell, not the top, that will give me more of the target etc. Blah blah.

Sure, it was close. Short of getting a digital photograph from the barrel of the auto cannon and using a computer to give a definitive answer as to just how much of the tank is visible, there was no real way to answer it. It was that close, and when I play, I would always grant the cover save. But my opponent still refused, at which point I got angry, told another guy to get lost who was throwing in his unrequested two cents (sorry Burt), then out of frustration invoked the rule where if it is unclear whether or not the model is 50% obscured then it is a 5+ save. My opponent continued to disagree even with that, and I rolled a 3 so it mattered not what so ever.

What is the big deal? This is just an example of things we always encounter in 40k. After the call in question, I realized he had been doing it all game with las cannon razorbacks across the table. The first 4 or 5 shots I just shrugged off, the next was at a tank that was almost entirely behind a ruined building, then this speeder incident. It seemed his denial of cover saves was part of his strategy, as was his shooting under his speeders with well practiced angles. It does not matter in pickup casual games which is what this game was, but in tournaments, if it seems a little wonky, it probably is. It is good sportsmanship to take his word for it, but at what point do you get fed up and go have a look for yourself? And am I a poor sport for flatly disagreeing with him and invoking the 5+ save rule? I know that rule encourages guys to always argue a cover save, therefore always getting a 5+ even if it is not even close at all... How do you guys play cover saves? Do you grant them easily or are they something only granted if 50% can be proven with a laser caliper.

On another note, I wanted to commend my opponent on doing something I have never seen before! He had 11 or 12 small base models inside a Land raider crusader. The gun sponsons were on the front facing doors, leaving the back doors available to disembark, as well as the front ramp. In front of the left door I had a terminator in close combat with a couple of models, blocking that one. On the right door was a tank eating up a lot of room, and there was lots of space in the front, which happened to be in assault range for my thunderhammer death squad. I popped the land raider with Blood Lance, forcing the models inside to disembark, and I chuckled to myself as he was going to have to get them out right into the jaws of my blood hungry terminators. Oh was I wrong! Using the 2" deployment from the back doors of the LR, he managed to get almost every model behind the damn thing! It was a tight fit, but he managed to deply them all out of the reach of my assault squad by measuring that 2" over the back of the land raider as the crow flies. I thought it was funny and was not in the mood to debate, so after looking at the distances congratulated him. He then assaulted my terminators with that squad and wiped them out on his turn. It was a bunch of space wolf close combat dudes with an couple of special characters. I didnt stand a chance getting charged! :)

Now the question. Since my model was directly in front of that side door, was he allowed to disembark out of it at all since he would have been passing within an inch of my model in order to do so? I didnt bother bringing up the question then because my head was already spinning from the cover save debate. He was able to place models 2" away from it (behind the land raider), and keep them 1" away from mine, but could those models go out through that door at all? It is something I will certainly employ with my own land raider if the need ever arises!

A couple of other things I realized during this game. No, sanguinary priests do NOT have two wounds. For some reason I have been playing them with two since the new codex came out... maybe that is because Corbulo has two or something? Also, I got myself confused with movement. I was mistakenly, and temporarily I might add under the impression that when moving a squad in the movement phase you had to move them all in coherency, so after each model moves it has to be within 2" of another that has already moved. (this is the case with assault by the way) The answer to the question is no, you can move two models in a squad so that they are 10" apart and so long as at the end of moving, you have chained the rest of the squad between them, you are fine.

Why was I confused? Honestly it has been so long since I actually moved a squad that was not assaulting that I mixed up the rules! It is funny how we absolutely know a rule, but still mess it up. :)

Ahh well.

The game itself was very enjoyable. It came down to turn 6 and he tank shocked onto my base objective, denying mine and controlling his. Half way through the game I realized I was not going to be able to contest his objective, so switched to defensive mode and took down all but one of his tanks and speeders that could threaten me... and of course it got in. I failed to pop it with my meltagun, so had to assault it with 10 marines and a priest and no fist. It moved 12" so I needed 6s to hit it, got just three out of 35 attacks or so, and of those few, only one managed to hurt with a penetration roll of 6 because of my furious charge. I needed a 5 or 6 to destroy the tank! And the dice gods smiled upon me with a 5! Great stuff. A hard fought draw.

More to come.



suneokun said...

Getting it wrong is all part of the 40k rules. Cover saves are a particular headache ... I can't count the number of times that opponents of mine have got confused about cover saves:

1. If its infantry, bikes or cavalry and 50% of the models have a toe covered by a tuff of grass ... that's a cover save.

2. If its an MC, it has to be covered 50% to get a cover save. Shooting through 'gribblies' doesn't count as they are not infantry. So termagaunts do not give cover saves to Trygons...

3. If its a vehicle, it has to be 50%+ from the POV of the tank. Twisting POV's is tricky ... but the fairest 'decider' to to stretch a string from the barrel end to the target. If its still too close to call I usually opt for a 5+ or a 4+ to gain the cover save.

4. Pointy bits don't count. Banners don't count on infantry etc ... wings shouldn't count. Only the 'bulk' of the model should count. Likewise, the 'decorations' on a Soulgrinder doesn't count. His arms, legs, head, body and guns do however.

5. If you are playing a player who says 'no' every time. Then all you can do is offer to say no all the time too. It's a petty downhill from there really...

Mike and Jeanine said...

If this was a friendly game, your opponent is an asshat. There is absolutely NO reason to be such a hard-ass about whether you are granting a cover save or not.

The best way to handle the situation, both offensively and defensively, is BEFORE you set up the situation, declare your intent.

"Hey, jawaballs--here's the deal. I'm going to move this tank here, and then put this land speeder in front of it. My intent is that I am NOT granting you a 50% vehicle cover save to that predator over there. Do you agree? If you don't, let's talk about if/how I can achieve that goal--if possible."

"Hey, opponent--I am putting my tank HERE, in order to grant a 50% vehicle cover save from your set of tanks over THERE. Do you agree I will have a 50% cover save? If not, what do you think I can do to get the cover save?"

If he can't manage the cordiality involved in a FRIENDLY game to handle the situation this way, go to the next step:

(1) Opponent says no cover save. Owner of tank says yes cover save.
(2) RULES say, defending player can get save at -1 lower than normal--so, 5+ instead of 4+ in this case. End of story. If opponent is still major ASSHAT, move to:
(3) Dice off.
(4) At this point, if the guy is still an ASSHAT, tell him the game is over, thanks for being a dick, enjoy your ass-hat-ness.

Steven Beasley said...

Disembarking through a unit. This is a big point of contention on the boards. Some say because you are placing the model you are not moving through, but I disagree with this stand point, and is really using semantics to twist the true intent of the rules. Sure you could view it that way from a purely isolated bubble point of view, but it doesn't make any sense. I view all deployment as movement as the INATFAQ does as well, unless they are teleporting they are moving through the unit. Otherwise you would be able to "deploy" on the other side of solid walls and impassible terrain with your opponents interpretation of the rules. This doesn't make sense, and I would not allow it. He was clearly using every trick in the book just to get an advantage. Basically he was bending the rules, and possibly even cheating just to win. Intentionally or not he isn't making very many friends playing like that, and probably wouldn't have many opponents in the future.

Michael said...

Doesn't sound like a fun game to play when it's described like that . . .

Onto what is important, if my opponent ever disagrees with me, and we didn't set the groundwork from the beginning of the game, then I offer a roll off. I don't try to argue one way or the other. We both checked LOS down the weapon, and we disagree, so I just say 1-3 I'm right, 4-6 you are right and I just roll it before they even answer me. It rarely ends up in my favor, but at least we aren't arguing over plastic space men.

I rarely get to play, and when I do, I don't waste the time arguing over the game.

And if the other guy has to be a douche to enjoy the game, then he can enjoy it without me.

And disembarking "through" an opposing model is a bit disengenuous to me. Sure it might not be covered in the rules, but it is a lame play, and against "intent" IMO.

Brent said...

It sounds like a pretty frustrating game to me.

I'm having a hard time visualizing what you're describing. Was the Land Speeder right in front of him? As in, giving him a cover save?

In general, you measure from the POV of the weapon. If you can see the vehicle, you can shoot it. If 50% of the vehicle is obscured, you get the save.

I can visualize a situation where he can see over his own troops to more than 50% of your vehicle, if those models are close to the shooting vehicle.

I can't visualize that happening if a Land Speeder is between the two vehicles, shooter and target, in the normal course of the game.

Regarding disembarking, I wouldn't have a problem if my opponent placed all his models so they were within 2-inches of a viable exit and over 1-inch away from one of my models, regardless of a block door. It's a permissive set of rules (learned that term recently!), so as long as he meets the requirements, we don't have to assume he got out that door at all.

I think you should do a followup of this post, with pictures. It sounds like a good learning experience. Take care - Brent

jawaballs said...

I will set up some pictures to illustrate when I get home tonight. First of all, the game was fun. Sure the cover save was a point of contention, but I am known for my own points of contention as well from time to time. A lot of us at our club play each other very cut throat. Brother Captain James and I shout at each other every time we play. In fact, I often try things I would not do in a tournament because it may not be legal and a tournament is not the time to debate them.

The two tanks were about 20 inches away from each other, and the speeder is right in the middle. If I tried to shoot the tank with mine, I would have not even questioned whether or not he got a cover save, or even bothered to look. The speeder was clearly in the way.

And Brent, I thought like you. As the rules are written, so long as you can place a model within 2" of an access point, and 1" away from any enemy model, you are good to go.

Steven Beasley said...

Wait wait wait. You think this is legal. So you would be perfectly happy if you assaulted my vehicle completely surrounding it and wrecked it with krak grenades. You would allow me to emergency disembark on the other side of your unit effectively leap frogging over your unit. Pass a simple pinning test then on my turn assaulting you and destroying you. You can do this with your interpretation because a 25mm base is less than 1" and only the smallest fraction of my base has to be within 2" of the hull and I would still be more than 1" away from your unit. Do you see how broken that is?

It doesn't even make sense.

The only way that it does make sense is if you view deployment as movement. Then you may not deploy through a unit, and would be destroyed.

Otherwise you get all these wonky scenarios that break not only the intent but in my opinion the rules.

If you allow your vehicle to be surrounded you deserve to lose that unit, not the other way around.

Kevinmcd28 said...

The awsner is according to the rules He could have been 2 inches away from a door being blocked if hes still one inch away from your model, so the awsner is to be a 1/4 inch away from the door to deny it.

Land raiders dont have rear doors.....thats not legal in tournament

Finally theres a sign in my local sotre that has an illustration that says "Ass hats are never in style, dont be an ass hat"

jawaballs said...

Right there are no rear doors. But when you measure from the back edge of a side door, across the corner of the land raider towards the back of it, you can fit models there and have the base within 2" of the edge of the door. I agree, this is completely beardy and goes against the rules as intended. If you were to move your model out and around the back corner, it would be farther then 2". In a tournament, I would have called over a judge, but it is hard to argue the rule... measuring a straight line from the model to the edge of the door was 2". I shrugged and moved on.

jawaballs said...

And yes Steven, if I have the tank completely surrounded with 25MM base models base to base with the tank, he could abuse the rules and maybe get away with disembarking them all 2" away from the door, and 1" away from my models. I don't like it, and would fight it if some guy tried it, but dudes who love to preach about RAW would beat me over the head with their lawyering.

Steven Beasley said...

on the tournament seen if someone tried to be a dirt bag like this I guess you can just get the game to a point where you are winning regardless of turn then just be in decision mode. No rules on how long you can take on your turn, I'm taking the rest of the game time deciding what model to move next. Oh darn time ran out. I win.

Really though. Deploy by definition means to move, and I know all those RAW people scream over that. Oh really how did you get to that location from the tank. I "moved" them. But it's not movement. Right.

Kroxitau said...

In tournament games ya get the judge's ruling, in laid back "pick up games" you learn to just smile and nod and not play against those kinds of people.

There are tons of nice people who turn into complete jerk-offs when they start playing a game because they get competitive. Arguing about cover denial through angles of tanks is the same as arguing semantics, it may seem valid, but in the end it is just annoying.

Besides, if his tanks got you with out cover saves, you should have been able to hit him without cover saves if you stayed in the same position.

Then again, what do I know, I play Tau and all my tanks have cover saves even if there isn't any terrain on the board :D


MorbidlyObeseMonkey said...

Sounds like that guy was a douche. I've never understood why people are competitive outside of tournaments. People like them are why beer was invented. He was correct though about the disembarking.

Ryanjsmall said...

With regards to the cover save thing. If there is usually contention between a cover save or not with our games we just instantly do a roll off 4+ you get the 4+ cover save. We have found it better than reverting to the 5+ because its usually quicker and how many games do you have arguing over something like that and it ends up failing and its a waste of 20 mins. Keep up the good work jawaballs. One word "Signum" ;-P used it yet

Gonewild said...

This is my favorite blog post because you put Burt in check. Good work, Jawa!

In regards to the cover save issue: Were your units in a position to fire upon his armor in kind? Did the skimmers affect your shot(s) or decision to shoot?

At the very least, I like Ryan's suggestion and how his club resolves similar issues. It seems like many of your club's members compete in tournaments, so I'm a little surprised that this level of competition doesn't bring the same level of rule acknowledgment and etiquette required in tournaments.

However, seeing as you (and Fritz for that matter) have a reputation and are very well known internet 40K gangstas', this guy's behavior isn't all that surprising. Let me ask you this; who wouldn't love to beat you in a game of 40K for bragging rights? What a feather for the cap! Billy the Kid had plenty of challengers try to better him with a six gun because of his reputation. Bruce Lee was challenged by martial artists' on a daily basis while walking around Los Angeles and even Seattle. Fortunately, your 40K matches aren't life and death- but you get the idea. Like these men, you have established a reputation for yourself playing 40K- naturally there will be despots testing your limits just for the oppurtunity to say, "I beat Jawaballs!"

Glad to hear you forced a draw in this match. At least you will know what to expect from this player next time, and plan accordingly.
Keep up the good fight, Jawa!

Adam said...

with disembarkment, if all entrances are covered and the squad can't be placed within two inches of the door without coming within an inch of the opponent then the opponent may make an emergency disembarkment. which means they are placed WITHIN 2 inches of the hull if there's no room then the model is gone, the fallback to this is that they can't do anything for the rest of the turn, the book doesn't clarify if that includes the opponents following turn or what.

If the transport is completely surround the squad is wiped as there is no place to disembark.

This is why people run full squads of necron scarabs with disruption fields.

Michael said...

1. The 5+ cover save comprimise should only be used when there isn't someone around who you can trust to call it as they see it. Too many times people know they don't have the cover save but create the argument to get the 5+. On halvzies it should be 4+ or nuthin'.

2. If this Burt guy is okay, the two of you should have had him resolve it.

3. The disembarking model doesn't actually move out of the access point. It magically appears at any point up to two inches away from it. This is a game of abstraction, so the rules as written do not necessarily need to be consistent with the imagery. If you feel like having a game with "hey, that sci-fi isn't realistic, let's change the rules", why not? I like the abstraction.

3. I know we all got responsibilities, but maybe you should keep your codex in a down space, like say a bathroom - the only place a married man with kids can have privacy. We played a game at Grim where I later found out you got a ton of your rules just wrong. Part of sportsmanship is knowing your codex well enough to help a player who doesn't know it at all. While I believe your mistakes were honest ones, it's a bit of a disappointment.

4. What were you thinking in thinking you could beat Space Wolves? Effeminate, Sparkly, Vampiric Sepharim will always lose to the Butch, Hairy, Norsemen every time.

5. So with this style trend we've been seeing in the Marine codexes, who wants to wager that the Grey Knights will be Faa-bew-lus?

Jawaballs said...

Michael, instead of making a general statement, like "you got a ton of your rules wrong" give me some specific examples. Even though you throw in your "I believe your mistakes..." disclaimer, you still paint me out to be less then genuine. If I made mistakes, tell me what I did wrong. Maybe I am still doing it. I believe I played my Sanguinary Priest with two wounds that day for example...

Jawaballs said...

And from what I heard, the GK dex was done, but the GW brass sent it back because it was TOO over the top!

Martin said...

i hate these stupid mofos arguing about cover saves. If you see anybody having vehicles in their army, you can be 90% sure that he will be using every trick to get the save. The aforementioned fvcks are the most notorius problem in wh40k and the only reason i stopped playing it a few years ago. (now i am back again and i get to read this ... :/ )

Jawaballs said...

Hey Martin, Im not sure if you are calling me or my opponent a stupid mofo here. You can be sure that I will wrangle every cover save I can out of my army. I am playing 11 vehicles in my Hard Boys army for example. But Im not gonna pull silly tricks to try to do it. And I'm not gonna argue some one out of a cover save if it is close. If it is close to 50%, but not clear one way or another, I will give the cover save. It actually makes the game go quicker and easier. If I easily grant a few "close calls" without bitching, the guy is more likely to take my word for it when I check LoS and say nope, thats not a cover save!

Martin said...

no Jawaballs, i mean people who think they are the only ones chosen to deserve a cover save. I just got suck into playing 5th ed. again , found this page and can't stop reading :D Rarely am i so interested like that. Thank you. I also think , that GW should cease the struggle against fan pages and closing down various fan projects, as they have immense influence on players. I could have been watching GW main page for years without any action, but only a few moments reading your posts already convinced me to buy a few of the units. In fact im rushing just right now to get the LRC :D Cheers mate, you got yourself a new reader ><

Martin said...

i think , i can not edit or modify the messages here... Maybe i overreacted a bit on the subject but i can justify this very easily: i stopped playing during 3ed after countless cases of "imaginative terrain interpretaion". In the shootinh phase the 1 lone tree would turn into impenetrable jungle, small slope would be a mountain where a titan could hide, and a green grassy filed would without doubt give a cover save against a tank. Ah , the pleasant memories of the past :D

Jawaballs said...

Glad you enjoy! Without tooting my own horn, I think that I was a major force in selling Blood Angels for GW during the PDF era. I have gotten literally hundreds of emails from guys who started 40k because my videos and blog got them into it, and started Blood Angels. Even better for GW, I have also gotten a lot of emails from dudes who already had an army, and switched over to Blood Angels. Even more sales for them! It is impossible to prove, but I would estimate that I have had a direct hand in tens of thousands of dollars of profit. Maybe even well over 100k of profit they would not otherwise have made. That is free promotion.

Hopefully they will consider that if the GW banhammer ever swings it's way in my direction!

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