8th Edition and Rerolls – let confusion reign!

With any new edition of a game, there is always some time spent trying to unlearn old rules and integrate new ones into your knowledge. Games don’t often change in massive ways and 8th edition still feels familiar enough to existing players that picking up the core rules should be pretty straight forward… but what about the rules that get taken for granted… like Rerolls …

Up until now, 40k (and just about every other game I have played) have incorporated modifiers and rerolls in some capacity and they all followed roughly the same process

  1. Establish your base target number
  2. Apply modifier
  3. Roll dice and compare roll to target number
  4. Reroll (if possible) and compare again
  5. Resolve the result

This process is fairly intuitive as you are modifying your target number and comparing the dice roll.

40k in 8th edition has decided to change this system and it is certainly going to create some confusion!

We have a clause on page 178 of the rule book (in the side bar) that tells us that “rerolls happen before modifiers – if any – are applied. This is a massive change in the success rate of a rerolled dice – and in a game where lots of dice are rolled, it can affect results to the table at large.

Lets set the scene… 10 Space marines with bolters engage a dark eldar venom with their bolters. They are getting to reroll missed to hit rolls thanks to a nearby captain while the Venoms night shields are applying a -1 to the hit dice. The Space marines are BS3+ (ie they hit on 3 or greater on a d6).

So, using the old system the marines roll 10 dice. They get the following results…


With the venoms -1 the results of 4 or higher hit and the space marine rolls the 3’s or less again.


The marine player adds 3 more hits to the pool for a total of 7 hits.


Using the same dice results but having to reroll BEFORE modifiers as per 8th edition we get a different set of results…

So, using the new system the marines roll 10 dice. They get the following results…


This time, they hit on 3+ so all these results are kept. The marine player then rerolls the 1 and 2 results


We now have a pool of dice as follows


The venoms nightshields come into play and the -1 to the dice is applied. The marine still needs 3+ to hit when you look at his BS.

This gives us 6 hits from the pool of 10 dice as follows


The space marine player got 2 less rerolls (for his two results of 3) because they do not ‘miss’ until after the modifiers are applied and we are told to not apply these until after rerolls. Rerolls are done on misses and in the shooting section we compare the dice to our BS – a miss is any result not meeting or exceeding this profile number.

It’s a fairly significant change and one that’s going to require a good understanding of process, not just scooping up misses and hits from the dice rolled and actually slowing play down in some regards while it’s resolved. This also applies to combat so things like power fists (who suffer a -1 to the dice roll) but who might get rerolls also will see less hits on average when compared to the mod then reroll method of older editions.

I have seen plenty of conversations this week around this change – the most common comments being “that’s not what they meant” or “that makes no sense” or “they will faq it”.

I don’t think any of these are true or likely.

“Not what they meant” – The rules in this case are pretty clear cut – we have explicit rules telling us to reroll before applying modifiers and the shooting process tells us how to work out hits and misses. It means exactly what it says

“Makes no sense” – I actually agree with this in some regard. Its confusing for sure but that’s as a result of prior learning and knowledge of the game – I wonder if it would still make no sense to a brand new player with no bias and no teacher to ascribe bias.

“It will be FAQ’d” – I have to ask why? Its actually pretty clear. If you claim this result was not the intent then why does the clause about rerolls and modifiers exist at all? In this case, intent can be taken at face value – if this clause was excluded I would expect the majority of gamers would follow the old and known process. With it added, it’s a significant change to the rules. If you change the clause to modify then reroll, you make rerolls better in general and again – the clause is probably not needed.

I expect this change is one that many, many people will miss or gloss over but you can bet your bottom dollar that top tourney players will be aware of it and use it as is. Yes, it still might be changed via an FAQ but I would not expect so given the way its written and all the play testers coming out and confirming this is correct.

Either way – the game is changing and this is just one of many changes to keep you on your toes!

PS – check out the new Objective Secured dice! Coming soon!

6 thoughts on “8th Edition and Rerolls – let confusion reign!

  1. If you’ve been watching the Warhammer twitch stream, with all the live games leading up to 8th edition, the commentators have repeatedly said that they are not sure exactly how this rule is meant to be played out(while playing the game), since it is fairly clear cut once you wrap your head around it, but it is also quite clunky, so they are going to get back to us and FAQ it.

  2. “I expect this change is one that many, many people will miss or gloss over but you can bet your bottom dollar that top tourney players will be aware of it and use it as is.”

    Where can we find a list of the top tourney players?

    1. With 8th edition just out – I think the pecking order around the world is probably going to take some time to settle. Checking out the larger events around the world (US & Europe) will likely give you some indicators from previous editions. I don’t think there is actually a list of players as it were since every event will run a little different and bias can take place with players from different countries often not able to play each other.

  3. Is a re-roll forced if you would have hit because of a bonus but missed on the raw WS/BS vs dice roll? It would seem so “…rerolls happen before modifiers…” Not nearly as common as a negative modifier but would be frustrating.

    1. Yeah, rerolls apply first so it’s possible to have to reroll a 2 despite having +1 to the dice result. It depends on the wording of the rerolls – may or must

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