In a world where there is (apparently) only war, there’s going to be a fair amount of damage flying around, and it’s therefore important to understand how that damage should be treated. In this Rules You Didn’t Know Existed, I’m going to take a look at the various kinds of damage within the Warhammer 40k: Conquest LCG and how they differ from each other.
The kinds of damage in Conquest are as follows:
- Damage inflicted when a unit attacks another defender
- ‘Indirect’ damage dealt by some card effects
- Damage that is ‘dealt’ by some card effects, such as Area Effect
- Damage that is ‘moved’ between cards
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of each kind of damage, let’s just recap the baseline process for damage within the rules of the game.
The Rules Reference p. 8 (under “Dealing Damage”) outlines the three steps for damage. This process is used for all types of damage delivered to a unit, except for damage that is ‘moved’ between cards (which cannot be reduced in any way, including by shields).
Step 1: Assign damage. Place tokens equal to the damage value next to the unit(s).
Step 2: Shields. For each unit assigned damage, its controller may discard 1 shield card from his hand to prevent an amount of damage up to the number of shield icons on the card.
Step 3: Take damage. Assigned damage minus shield icons used is placed on each unit, up to the unit’s hit points. If equal to hit points the unit is destroyed.
Few key notes:
- Only 1 shield card per unit can be used; therefore, the most damage that could be shielded is 3 damage as this is the highest shield value in the game
- It’s possible (and in some cases advised) to deal more damage than needed to kill a unit to allow for shield cards
- Damage gets re-assigned at Step 1 of this process, i.e. before shields (and damage can only be re-assigned once in total)
- Usual rounding applies to damage; always round up fractional values
- Any point a unit has damage tokens on it equal to its hit points it is destroyed or defeated (for a Warlord)
So let’s take a look at each of the kinds of damage in turn.
Unit attacks another unit
This is the stereotypical attack and follows the process outlined above with no exceptions. Some card abilities on units will use taking damage as a trigger for an interrupt or a reaction, but this doesn’t change the sequence outlined above.
For example, a 10th Company Scout (2 Atk) swings at a Stormwind Farseer (2 hit points) with no other shenanigans. The Farseer player will place 2 damage tokens next to his unit (assign step), choose to shield (he doesn’t) and then place the damage tokens onto the unit. When the second is placed it has tokens equal to hit points and is destroyed, heading to its owner’s discard pile.
In most real games, players will usually shorten this sequence; for example, shielding before they’ve picked up tokens and in the example above, just removing the unit from the game once the maths has been worked out.
Indirect damage dealt by some card effects
This follows the same sequence as outlined above, though it is the owner of the units that decides how to assign the indirect damage. So, if a Choas player hits their opponent with a Fetid Haze dealing (say) 3 indirect damage, it is their opponent that gets to choose how to assign the damage amongst affected units. As the Rules Reference states (p8) you can’t place more indirect damage on a unit than they have health and any indirect damage that cannot be assigned is ignored.
The damage then follows the same process: it’s been assigned, players choose to shield 1 card-per unit, and then take remaining damage.
Damage dealt by card effects
Any damage that is dealt by a card effect (not from a unit attacking), follows the same steps of assign > shield > damage.
However, in Conquest the source of the effect can be important, hence why this distinction is in place. For instance, The Fury of Sicarius states that: “After a SM unit damages an enemy non-warlord unit by an attack, destroy the attacked unit.”
You could not play this against an enemy unit that had been damaged by Area Effect damage, for instance, as that is a card ability and wouldn’t trigger the “after a SM unit damages an enemy non-warlord unit by an attack” requirement.
Note this is also true for indirect damage, and understanding the source of damage is an important part of successfully playing in combat event cards.
Damage that is ‘moved’ between cards
This type of damage does not follow the standard, in that the damage token from one unit is picked up and placed on the other unit and is NOT assigned and there is NO opportunity to shield.
If the damage tokens equal the health value, then the unit is immediately destroyed.
This makes moving damage very powerful and allows a Warlord such as Ku’gath Plaguefather (ask Joe what he thinks of that name!) to tank planets on his own, particularly as the act of moving the damage also effectively heals the card it was moved from.
A note on ‘target’ and ‘targeted unit’
Whilst strictly not part of this article, I thought it was worth touching on the wording on a number of Conquest cards. Quite a number of card abilities (e.g. Backlash, Land Raider’s ability) trigger from a unit or units being ‘targeted’.
In Conquest, a unit is only ‘targeted’ if the card that is the source of the effect explicitly says ‘target’ as part of its effect.
So, if you’ve got some indirect damage flying around and you choose to assign that damage to a unit, that’s not considered targeting it. However, if you’re hit by a Klaivex Warleader your Land Raider will protect non-vehicle units.
I hope that you’ve found this article to be useful and informative; please leave any feedback in the comments below.