LPG - Shooting in melee

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This article is part of Warmachine University's Learning to Play the Game (LPG) series, which is "Intermediate Training" aimed at new players who are still learning the core rules.
(See also Basic Training and Advanced Training.)


Most of the time models that are in melee can't make ranged attacks. In this article we'll go over the exceptions to that rule.

Assault

Assault symbol.jpg Assault - A model with the Assault advantage can make one ranged attack as part of a charge during its activation. This ranged attack must occur after the model ends its movement but before it begins its Combat Action and must target the model charged. A model that begins a charge in melee cannot make an Assault ranged attack as part of that charge. If the target is not in the charging model’s melee range after ending its movement, the charge fails, but the model with Assault can still make the Assault ranged attack before its activation ends. A model can make an Assault ranged attack while in melee.

Basically, this ability lets you shoot your gun once when you charge someone, even if it was an unsuccessful charge. It is a relatively straightforward rule but, as always, there are a lot of corner-case scenarios where it interacts weirdly with other special rules - see the Rules Clarifications (below) if you want to learn more about those.

Aside from the corner-case situations, the other things worth knowing are:

  • You get one ranged attack, that's all. Even if you have multiple guns, or a gun that fires multiple times, you only get one Assault attack.
  • If you have a unit with Assault the correct order of operations is: Move all models in the unit, then make all Assault attacks, then begin their Combat Actions.

See also Category: Assault for a list of models with this ability (it is quite common).

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification:  : Assault      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

General

Step 1: Declare the charge

  1. Are you in already melee? With any enemy, not just your charge target?
    • If yes, you don't get an Assault attack at all (Refer to the latest Errata). Instead it's just a normal charge.
    • If no, continue to Step 2.
  2. Note: You cannot be "in melee" with a stationary/knocked down target. Feel free to declare charges (and Assault shots) in this case.
    • You can even charge a knocked down model you're in B2B with, advance 0", and get your ranged attack and your melee attack(s).

Step 2: Move the charging model

  1. As soon as the movement is finished, determine whether it was a successful charge or not.
    • Do this before resolving anything that triggers on "Ends Movement" (like Admonition, Countercharge).
    • Do this before resolving your Assault attack.
  2. Did you make a successful charge? You get the ranged attack even though you're "in melee" (not yet though). Refer to the latest Errata.
  3. Did you fail the charge? You will get the Assault shot anyway (not yet though).
    • Did you fail the charge, but end your movement in melee with someone different to your charge target? You get the ranged attack even though you're "in melee" (not yet though). Refer to the latest Errata and also this (Infernal Ruling)
  4. Now that you've figured out whether the charge successful, you resolve "Ends Movement" effects (such as Countercharge) before the Assault attack. (Infernal Ruling).
    • If something happens at this point that changes whether a model is in/out of melee range, it does not retroactively change a failed charge into a successful charge or vice versa.
  5. If your charge was successful you may use "any time" abilities between 'finishing movement' and 'starting Assault attack'. (Infernal Ruling)
  6. If you fail your charge, you may not use "any time" abilities before or after making the Assault attack. (Infernal Ruling)
Tip lightbulb.png

Tip !
Assault is not a "triggered ability" and it will never trigger simultaneously with another ability that triggers/resolves at "ends movement". Instead, the other ability is always resolved before the Assault shot.

Step 3: Make the ranged attack

  1. The ranged attack is optional.
  2. Since the Assault attack is outside your Combat Action, you can only do a basic ranged attack. CRA & Special ranged attacks are only allowed during your Combat Action, you can't do them. (Infernal Ruling CRA & Special Attack)
  3. Did you move at least 3" during the charge movement? Who cares, that is irrelevant to the Assault attack!
  4. Make your ranged attack vs your charge target
    • If the charge target is already dead (which can happen when units charge) then you don't get to redirect your Assault attack vs 'someone else'. You simply don't get an Assault attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • A model which can do something "instead of making a ranged attack" (such as the Spriggan's Targeting Flare) then they can do that as an Assault attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If your ranged attacks triggers other attacks/damage that occur "after the attack" (such as Drag or Electro Leap) then those will resolve as per normal, regardless of whether you had a successful charge or not. (Infernal Ruling)
  5. Is the target in melee with the shooter?
    • If yes, then you ignore the +4 DEF bonus (as per the 3rd paragraph of "Targeting a Model in Melee" (TMM) rules)
    • If no, resolve the ranged attack exactly the same as if it were a normal ranged attack.

Step 4: If you miss

  1. If you miss the target, and the target is not in melee with you, then resolve it the same way as a normal ranged attack.
  2. If you miss the target, and the target is in melee with you, do not reroll the attack against another model. It misses completely.

Step 5: After finishing the Assault attack

  1. If it was an unsuccessful charge, your activation now ends.
  2. If it was a successful charge, and your charge target is ...
    • still alive, then you get your charge attack (as per the charge rules)
    • dead, then you get your initial melee attack(s) vs anyone still in your melee range (as per the charge rules).
  3. Either way, you don't get to make more ranged attacks (other than the obvious exceptions like Gunfighter, of course).


Units

  • Move all models in the unit before making any Assault attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Make all Assault attacks before making any Charge attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Each model in the unit is effectively "stalled" while you move/shoot the other models. This "stall" does not create an opportunity to use "any time" abilities. (Infernal Ruling)
  • If a trooper's target dies before they make their Assault shot, they don't get to redirect it. You just skip their Assault shot. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You cannot make Assault attacks while out of formation, as per the regular formation rules about making attacks.
  • Assault & CRA (Edit)
    • You cannot mix Combined Range Attacks with Assault shots, as CRA works during your combat action and Assault shots occur before it. (Infernal Ruling)

Other

  • Warbeasts
    • Warbeasts cannot use Assault during a Frenzy. Refer to the latest errata.
  • Assault vs Countercharge ( Edit )
  • Assault & Drag ( Edit )
    • You determine whether a charge was successful or not before making the Assault attack.
    • If you make an unsuccessful charge but then use Drag to get your charge target into melee range, then:
      • It is still a failed charge and your activation is going to end after the Assault attack is resolved. (Infernal Ruling)
      • You will get the free melee attack from Drag as part of resolving the Assault ranged attack. (Infernal Ruling)
      • Whether or not your charge was successful, this free melee attack is not a charge attack. (Infernal Ruling)
      • You won't be able to purchase additionals (because your activation ended).

Gunfighter

Gunfighter symbol.jpg Gunfighter - A model with the Gunfighter advantage can make ranged attacks targeting models in its melee range and/or can target models engaging it. A model with the Gunfighter advantage can also make free strikes with ranged weapons. If it does not have a melee weapon, it gains a melee range of 0.5˝.

A model with the Gunfighter advantage can make charges. If it makes a charge, the model can make its initial attacks with its ranged weapons, but these attacks can target only models in its melee range. The charging gunfighter’s first melee or ranged attack after ending its charge movement must target the model it charged. If the charging gunfighter did not fail its charge and cannot make its first melee or ranged attack against the charge target, the charging gunfighter can make its first attack against any eligible target. Remember, your first attack after charging is a charge attack only if you make it with a melee weapon, and a model in melee cannot aim.

Gunfighter does not allow a model to make melee and ranged attacks during the same activation.

On the surface Gunfighter is quite simple, but there is one little oddity a lot of players forget when it comes to a Gunfighter which charges, and dozens of odd interactions between Gunfighter and other special rules. The important things for a newbie to learn are:

  • General
    • Gunfighter doesn't let you make both ranged attacks and melee attacks while in melee. (You need a rule like Dual Attack or Quick Work to do that.)
    • Even though you're making the attack while in melee, it is still a ranged attack.
      • You use your RAT (not your MAT)
      • You apply the cover/concealment bonus.
      • You ignore the "Target in melee" penalty, and you cannot gain the "Aiming" bonus
      • You apply any anti-Ranged Attack abilities your opponent has (such as Submerge, Deceleration, etc)
    • You can make free strikes with your gun.
      • You get +2 to hit, and boosted damage.
      • If you make a free strike with a spray weapon or AOE weapon, then you only get the +2 and boosted damage vs the model that triggered the free strike, not vs everyone under the template.
  • Gunfighter charge vs not-charging
    • Quick referesher: Say you have a Gunfighter with a 0.5" melee range, and the Gunfighter is standing 1.5" away from an enemy model. The enemy model has a 2" melee range.
      Both models are in melee with each other.
      The Gunfighter is engaged by the enemy, but it is not engaging the enemy.
      The other model is engaging the Gunfighter, but it is not engaged by the Gunfighter.
    • Normally a Gunfighter can target anyone it is in melee with, so it can shoot the enemy. But when a Gunfighter charges, its initial attacks can only target models in its own melee range.
    1. If you walk into melee...
      • all your attacks can target anyone you're in melee with.
      • if you kill everyone in melee, and still have more ranged attacks to make, then those extra attacks can be made like a normal ranged attack.
    2. If you charge into melee...
      • your initial attacks can only target anyone within your own melee range.
      • if you kill everyone in your own melee range, and still have more initial ranged attacks to make, then you lose those initial attacks.
      • if you kill everyone in your own melee range, and have some way to get additional ranged attacks, then those attacks can target anyone you're in melee with. (Or made just like a regular ranged attack, if you've killed absolutely everyone in the entire melee.)


See also Category: Gunfighter for a list of models with this ability (it is quite common).

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification:  : Gunfighter      (Edit)
(Click Expand to read)

General
  • You cannot Aim if you start your activation in melee. (Infernal Confirmation)
  • A free strike with a ranged weapon still gets the +2 to hit and boosted damage (I'm pretty sure - I'd like to double check it though).
  • If you have a Gunfighter stuck in melee and the Gunfighter wants to shoot a friendly model, then you can only do so if that friendly is within the Gunfighter's melee range. Also, if that friendly model is engaged by an enemy, that friendly model will always get the +4 DEF bonus (because the point of origin of the attack, the Gunfighter, is not "in melee" with the friendly model).

Targeting

  1. Outside of melee
    • If the Gunfighter isn't in melee, and didn't charge this turn, then it shoots just the same as a normal model.
  2. In melee, but didn't charge
    • If it didn't charge, it can target anyone it's "in melee" with.
    • This can be any model in the Gunfighter's melee range, plus any models that have the Gunfighter in their melee range.
    • If a Gunfighter kills all the enemies it is in melee with, and still has the ability to make more ranged attacks, then those attacks just follow the normal Ranged Attack rules. (Infernal Ruling)
  3. Charged into melee
    • If it did charge, its initial attacks can only target models that are in the Gunfighter's melee range.
    • If all models in the Gunfighter's melee range are killed before it makes its initial attacks, it loses any unspent initial attacks. (Infernal Ruling)
    • However if it can purchase additional attacks (via Reload for instance) and/or get free attacks (via Black Spot for instance), then those non-initial attacks can target anyone it's "in melee" with, as per #2 above.
  4. Other targeting notes
    • Remember, you can never be "in melee" with a friendly model, so a Gunfighter can pretty much never choose to target a friend while it's in melee.
    • If the gunfighter is unengaged, it can still shoot a friendly model, which would just be a normal ranged attack.
    • Gunfighter doesn't change the RNG of your gun, it just provides you an ability to use it while in melee and imposes some targeting restrictions.
      • If you're affected by a debuff that reduces your RNG to 1", that will further limit who you can target.
      • If you're affected by a debuff that reduces your RNG to 0", you cannot make attacks (refer 'Weapon Statistics', page 19 of rulebook).

Attack Roll

  • You use the Gunfighter's RAT for the attack roll.
  • Gunfighters do not ignore the Cover/Concealment bonus. (Infernal Ruling)
  • How the +4 DEF bonus for "being in melee" works with Gunfighters is:
    • they always ignore it vs enemies, because the "point of origin of the attack is in melee with the target".
    • they never ignore it vs friendlies, because you cannot be in melee with a friendly target.

Incorporeal Gunfighters

  • Note that enemy models without magic weapons can't hurt you in melee, but they can engage you.
  • If they engage you then you're in melee and your target selection is limited to just models in melee (as explained above).

Gunfighter + an AOE weapon

  • If you miss then the AOE will deviate as per the normal AOE rules. Not very far, though, considering the max distance you'll be apart is 2".
  • If you use an AOE weapon to make a free strike, you get the +2 to hit and you get boosted damage against everything under the blast template.

Gunfighter + a spray weapon

  • Who you can target with the spray is limited as described above, but you get to put the whole spray template down and potentially hit models well outside the melee.
  • If you use a spray weapon to make a free strike, you get the +2 to hit and you get boosted damage against everything under the spray template.

Units of Gunfighters

  • If a unit of Gunfighters successfully charge, but someone else in their unit kills their charge target before they get a turn to attack, then they may redirect their attack.
  • Redirected attack:
    • If they're still engaged, their initial attack (s) must be vs someone in their melee range.
    • If they're still engaged, but no one is in their own melee range, they don't get any initial attacks.
    • If they're unengaged, they are now free to shoot anyone within the gun's normal range.

Other interactions

  • Gunfighter vs Point Blank (Edit)
    • If a model has both Gunfighter and Point Blank, then you should declare whether you're using it as a ranged attack or melee attack whenever you shoot the gun. Because that can limit what other initial/additional attacks you can make. (Infernal Ruling)
    • These two abilities are subtly different, but it's an important difference.
    • Gunfighter allows you to make ranged attacks while in melee.
    • Point blank allows you to make melee attacks with your ranged weapon.
      • Since you can't make both ranged and melee attacks in the same turn, a Gunfighter model has a choice of either initial melee attack(s) or initial ranged attack(s). (unless it has Virtuoso or something).
      • Whereas a Point Blank model chooses to make initial melee attacks, and then gets to make attacks with both weapons.
    • Furthermore, the types of bonuses, penalties, and special effects you (or your opponent) can trigger will change dramatically:
      • Any buffs/triggers on ranged attacks (such as Evasive, Shield Guard, Deadeye, etc) will affect Gunfighter attacks, but not Point Blank attacks.
      • Any buffs/triggers on melee attacks (such as Battle Lust, Riposte etc) will affect Point Blank attacks, but not Gunfighter attacks.
  • Gunfighter & Cavalry ( Edit )
    • A cavalry model that charges then makes a Gunfighter attack will not gain a boosted charge attack roll, because a ranged attack is not a charge attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • You also won't gain a boosted charge damage roll, as per normal for a Gunfighter.
  • Gunfighter vs RNG modifiers (Edit)
    • Unlike what most people might tell you, Gunfighter doesn't have a "range", it just lets the model make ranged attacks while in melee. The gun's actual RNG is unaffected though, until you put something like Windstorm (-5 RNG) on it. Then what happens is:
    1. If the gun is RNG 7, Windstorm will reduce it to 2". Thus it won't affect any Gunfighter attacks.
    2. If the gun is RNG 6, Windstorm will reduce it to 1". Thus you can only make Gunfighter attacks vs models within 1" (if you can - charging Gunfighters may be more limited).
    3. If the gun is RNG 5, Windstorm will reduce it to 0". Thus you can't make any attacks as per 'Weapon Statistics' (page 19 of the core rulebook).
    (Infernal Ruling)

Point-Blank

The Rager has Point-Blank which gives it a total of three melee attacks (sword, shield bash, and the Point-Blank cannon)
  • Point-Blank - During its activation, this model can make melee attacks with its ranged weapon, with a melee range of 0.5". Do not add this model's STR to damage rolls with ranged weapons. Charge attacks made with ranged weapons are not boosted.

Point-Blank is a bit of an odd duck. On the surface it looks like it lets you make ranged attacks while in melee, but in reality it lets you treat your gun as a melee weapon. It's almost like you're pistol-whipping your target.

The tricky bit is that all the melee/ranged buffs and debuffs swap over. If you have a buff giving you +2 to melee attacks, it will affect Point-Blank attacks. If your target gets +2 ARM vs ranged attacks, that won't work vs Point-Blank attacks. And so on and so forth. See the Rules Clarifications below for more in this vein.

The gun(s) counts as an extra initial attack, and if you have focus/fury you can buy extra melee attacks with the gun.

You cannot use Point-Blank to make both melee attacks and ranged attacks in a single activation. Using the gun with Point-Blank just counts as part of your melee attacks.


See also Category: Point-Blank for a list of models with this ability.

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Point-Blank      (Edit)

  • Number of attacks
    • Point-Blank gives you an extra initial melee attack (even though, RAW, it doesn't meet the criteria). (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you can make additional melee attacks, these can be Point-Blank attacks regardless of the weapon's ROF. (Locked Thread)
    • If you have the option of choosing between ranged or melee attacks (for instance you combined Point-Blank with Gunfighter), then you need to declare whether you're making melee or ranged attacks this activation, then declare the weapon and the target. (Infernal Ruling)
  • AOE & Spray
    • Point-Blank AOEs work just fine. You hit with a melee attack, and then place an AOE. If you miss, the AOE will deviate per normal (although only a very short distance).
    • Point-Blank sprays don't work. The rules for Point-Blank overwrite the range of the spray weapon, and the range is/was the spray template. So instead of putting the spray template down, you make one melee attack.
  • Other
    • Since Point-Blank only works during your activation, you can't use it on free strikes or other out-of-activation melee attacks.
  • Gunfighter vs Point Blank (Edit)
    • If a model has both Gunfighter and Point Blank, then you should declare whether you're using it as a ranged attack or melee attack whenever you shoot the gun. Because that can limit what other initial/additional attacks you can make. (Infernal Ruling)
    • These two abilities are subtly different, but it's an important difference.
    • Gunfighter allows you to make ranged attacks while in melee.
    • Point blank allows you to make melee attacks with your ranged weapon.
      • Since you can't make both ranged and melee attacks in the same turn, a Gunfighter model has a choice of either initial melee attack(s) or initial ranged attack(s). (unless it has Virtuoso or something).
      • Whereas a Point Blank model chooses to make initial melee attacks, and then gets to make attacks with both weapons.
    • Furthermore, the types of bonuses, penalties, and special effects you (or your opponent) can trigger will change dramatically:
      • Any buffs/triggers on ranged attacks (such as Evasive, Shield Guard, Deadeye, etc) will affect Gunfighter attacks, but not Point Blank attacks.
      • Any buffs/triggers on melee attacks (such as Battle Lust, Riposte etc) will affect Point Blank attacks, but not Gunfighter attacks.

Dual Attack

  • Dual Attack - This model can make melee and ranged attacks in the same activation. When this model makes its initial melee attacks or a power attack, it can also make its initial ranged attacks. This model can make ranged attacks even while in melee.

This ability is the gold standard for shooting in melee, it lets you do it all. You get all your melee attacks and all your ranged attacks, and you can shoot models that you're not in melee with.

See also Category: Dual Attack for a list of models with this ability.

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Dual Attack      (Edit)

  • If you have multiple ranged attacks and/or melee attacks, you can intermingle them in any order. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You can charge, make a ranged attack, then make your charge melee attack. Even though you made a ranged attack, that doesn't change the fact that your first melee attack is the charge attack. (Infernal Ruling)
  • You must complete all initial attacks before buying attacks. You can't go: Make an initial melee attack, then buy a melee attack, then make an initial ranged attack. (Locked Thread)
  • Dual Attack doesn't let you mix initial attacks with a (★) attack. Dual Attack only lets you make either:
    1. Initial melee attacks and initial ranged attacks.
    2. Power attack and initial ranged attacks.
      Any other combination of (★ Attack) and initials is disallowed. See this thread for full explanation and links to relevant Infernal Rulings.
    • You could theoretically make a special melee attack and then buy additional ranged attacks (or vice versa) ... but the core rules say "The rules for these special attacks indicate the nature of any additional attacks that can be made afterward, if any" so the special attack would have to explicitly allow a swap - and I'm unaware of any that do so.
  • There is no penalty for shooting an enemy you are in melee with.
  • Your ranged attack(s) can target a model you are not in melee with. (Infernal Ruling)
  • Dual Attack & Drag ( Edit )
    • This is pretty-much limited to just the Prime Axiom under Syntherion
    • If you charge model A then utilise Dual Attack to make a ranged attack vs the same model, then you would get the free melee attack from Drag. The Drag attack is a charge attack. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you charge model A then utilise Dual Attack to make a ranged attack vs a different model, then you would lose the free melee attack from Drag. Your first melee attack must be versus the charge target, and you cannot save the Drag attack for later. (Infernal Ruling)
    • If you didn't charge then ... just go nuts. There's no restrictions that I know of.

Gun Platform

  • Gun Platform - This model can make ranged attacks even while in melee.

This ability does less than you think it might. All it does is what it says, lets you make ranged attacks even if someone is in melee with you. You don't have to target the models you're in melee with. Unlike Dual Attack it doesn't let you mix and match ranged and melee attacks in a single activation.

See also Category: Gun Platform for a list of models with this ability.

RC symbol.png

Rules Clarification : Gun Platform      (Edit)

  • This ability doesn't grant you the ability to make both ranged and melee attacks in the same activation.

Huge based models

All huge based models released so far have come with a rule letting them shoot even while in melee. As with Gun Platform this rule does not let them mix and match melee and ranged attacks in a single activation.

However, some huge-based models do have Dual Attack so those ones can mix and match.

See also