Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday FAQ #4

It's Friday again meaning, you guessed it, another Friday FAQ!
This week we'll be touching on a VERY hot issue right now, the question about pinning weapons. Haven't heard it yet? Well here it is:

In 4th edition, any amount of wounds inflicted by a squad with pinning weapons required a single pinning test (4th ed RB pg 32). In 5th ed (pg 31) the wording of the rule has changed substantially. One camp suggests that the changed wording means that if a unit with pinning weapon successfully wounds a unit then that unit must take a single pinning test no matter how many wounds they suffered. The other camp says that the new wording clearly indicates that each weapon that successfully wounds the enemy unit at least once requires a pinning test.

To summarize:

Side A - Multiple pinning wounds from 1 enemy unit = 1 test regardless of the number of pinning weapons

Side B - Multiple pinning wounds from 1 weapon = 1 test; multiple wounds from multiple pinning weapons = 1 test per wounding weapon.

Who is right?

(question courtesy of Deathboon from Astronomican)
Ok, here's what page 31 says:

If a unit other than a vehicle suffers any unsaved wounds from a pinning weapon, it must immediately take a Pinning test.
Well the ambiguity lies with the word "weapon". What the hell does that mean? Weapon type or a single weapon? If I have a squad of three mortars which cause a wound, do they EACH cause a pinning test (assuming they all cause unsaved wounds) or one pinning test since it's one weapon type in a squad? Very confusing and there are excellent arguments on both sides of this. Let's dig a little more through the rule book though, shall we? The term "weapon" is never clearly defined in the rulebook. It is described as a type of weapon in some sections and as a single weapon in others. Thanks for being clear GW!

Well a paragraph down it mentions the effects of pinning and going to ground. Originally Alex and I skipped past it but came back (because there is NOTHING helpful in this rulebook) and noticed something very particular:
. . . going to ground does not protect it against the fire of the pinning weapon that caused the test (or indeed of any other weapon fired by the same unit that phase). . .
Notice something? The term "pinning weapon" is singular, not plural. It references ONE weapon causing ONE test.

Terran Forge final opinion: Never does it specify multiple pinning weapons in a squad, therefore by RAW Alex and I both believe that the wording absolutely, 100% implies that each pinning weapon that causes an unsaved wound in a squad causes a pinning test. That means one squad can cause multiple pinning test. However, that said, we do not believe GW intended it to be this way, but it is what it is (sadly). And as a clarification, that's still one pinning test per weapon, not per unsaved wound!

Disappointing. Alex and I have always believed it to be the opposite of what we have discovered. However, GW did write this book and for tournaments I highly suggest asking the tournament organizer what their official ruling is. Please feel free to send us more questions at!


Deathboon said...

Excellent find Kevin, I've been Looking for that little definitive piece for some time and there it was hiding under my nose.

Mark said...

The problem with your interpretation is, like everyone else that supports this position, that you latch on to the singular use of 'pinning weapon' while ignoring the *singular* use of "a pinning test" and the use of the plural word "any".

The only valid way I can see to read the sentence is that if any of the wounds suffered is from a pinning weapon, then *a* pinning check is made.

If you have to ask an expert on the English language how to interpret a sentence in the 40k rule book, then you are probably doing something wrong.

nihilio said...

The way I read it (and it is from a translated version of the rulebook) is that you take a pinning test after failing to save a wound. So, say a 5 man unit of space marines 4 with bolters and a seargent, gets 5 wounds from snipers. The 4 men roll and fail a save, so the unit tests for pinning. Then the seargent fails his save anf the unit rolls for another save.
Now, what if the 4 identical marines failed two saves? Well, since all saves are rolled at the same time, they fail two wounds (which validates the "any wounds" clause) and only roll one pinning test. But that is just me.

mexican said...

"If you have to ask an expert on the English language how to interpret a sentence in the 40k rule book, then you are probably doing something wrong."

This is a great! So much "controversial" subjects are only that way because some people try too hard to put emphasis on words that wouldn't be there if they weren't so focused on milking the rules for every sort of advantage they could get their hands on. It's borderline poor sportsmanship in my opinion. Just play the game and if you think there's a gray area then give the benefit of the doubt don't try to milk it!

the Goat said...

Wow, you really had to fight to find any evidence supporting your conclusion. What a crazy way to interpret rules.

To me it is clearly, "any number of unsaved wounds generates one pinning test." It is a yes or no question: did the squad take any unsaved wound(s) from a pinning weapon? if so take a [single] pinning test.

Look at it this way somebody asks you, "do you have $5?" (this is a yes or no question) You check your pocket and find $35. The proper response is, "yes I have $5." But by your logic you would answer, "seven." (because you have seven groups of $5)

Kevin said...

@Mark- but that's the problem! If there are multiple pinning weapons you have to take *a* test for each one. Well, that's the question anyways.

@mexican- couldn't agree with you more, but this is why we made the Friday FAQ, to give our spin on controversial rules issues that do not seem clear at all in the rulebook. Many people forget that 40k was never meant to be a tournament game so there will be anomalies in codices and the rules so we just put our spin in on things.

So it must not've been clear in our post, but we don't support the decision that it's a pinning test per weapon, we just feel that that is how it is written RAW. Alex and I will, bar tournies when we will always ask the organizer his opinion, never play it this way because we don't feel it's in good sport.

Personally, I hate our ruling. I really, really do. But this is how both Alex and I read it, sadly. I really like to see all your guys comments against us come in (because I'm really hoping one can definitively overturn our answer :p)!

Dictator said...

I really dislike the decision that Kevin and I came to but it is how it is. The rule really cannot be read any other way in a RAW manner. Which is sad, because I am pretty sure the intent of the rule is not how it is written. So it goes...

Kirth said...

. . . going to ground does not protect it against the fire of the pinning weapon that caused the test (or indeed of any other weapon fired by the same unit that phase). . .

The unit fails it's pinning test and goes to ground. The cover save bonus granted by going to ground does not apply to wounds that were already inflicted by the pinning weapons and the other weapons of the squad. This has nothing to do with multiple pinning tests. For example, a special weapon squad with a sniper rifle and 2 melta guns inflict all possible wounds on another unit. A pinning test is required and failed, the targetted unit goes to ground but does not benefit from the bonus cover save granted by going to ground. Wouldn't you like the bonus cover save to apply given the affected unit is suffering 2 wounds from ap 1? Well too bad, you can't GW put that line in there for that particular reason to prevent players from arguing that they get the bonus cover save. The wording in the book makes clear sense to me.

deathboon said...

There is a simple reason for that, the use of the Singular clause "a pinning weapon" requires the following clause "a pinning test" to be singular for gramatical correctness. This means that the rule as supported in the next paragraph is only defined for the firing of a single pinning weapon and so must be checked for each weapon that successfully causes wounds. The Plurality of "any unsaved wounds" does not invalidate this reading since it is undeniably possible that one weapon can cause multiple wounds. it simply means that one successfully wounding weapon requires one test whether it wounds 1 time or 1 billion times, or anything in between.

I think it was both an intentional and much needed change to pinning weapons in this edition, with out the rule being read this way, Pinning weapons are not at all worth the points you pay to add pinning considering that an average test result is 7 and that is (to my knowledge) the lowest unmodified Ld in the game. Also how is it not in good sport to play by the rules as they are written? In my opinion it would be the person erroneously insisting that he only has to take a single test that is the poor sport here. That said i'm the first person to offer the dice off when these situations occur because I'd much rather get on with the game then spend an hour arguing the point.

william said...

I think that you guys are right. It would totally be broken if I got 4 pinning wounds and you needed to take 4Ld tests! Four! I think that would be broken and crazy to say the least.