|Whoever did this picture; thank you. It is beautiful.|
Firstly, the problem. If I cause say 6 wounds on a mulit-wound model squad (my beloved Shrikes maybe) from a unit of Grey Knights with force weapons who passed their psychic test how many models do I remove?
A - You remove a monstrous 6 as they are all Instant-Death wounds and as such remove a whole model each.
B- You remove only 2 as they are only power weapon wounds until the psychic test is taken AFTER allocating the wounds and taking any available saves.
I agree with scenario B. Here is my reasoning. Pg.50 of the rulebook is my main source as under 'Force Weapons' it says: 'Roll to hit and wound as normal, allowing any invulnerable save throws the victim may have. The psyker may then take a psychic test to use the force weapons power against any one opponent that suffered an unsaved wound by the weapon in that player turn.'
This says to me that until the wounds are distributed, any invulnerable saves taken and models even removed (suffered an unsaved wound implies it is not dead to me hence meaning it has more than one wound but that is not hard evidence) that the force weapon does not count as applying Instant Death.
Hence the rule which people usually refer to in this case to be found on pg.26 which states: 'Once you have determined the number of unsaved wounds suffered by a group of identical multiple-wound models, you must remove whole models as casualties when possible' does not come into effect as at this point the force weapon wounds (though unsaved) are not considered instant death until a model actually already suffers a wound from the weapon. That is the crucial and contentious part of the whole mess.
So in our previous example the warriors only lose 2 models as the sequence is as follows: The Grey Knights hit, wound, armour saves are ignored, the unit suffers 6 'unsaved wounds', the Tyranid player allocates 3 wounds each to 2 models (6 to the entire identical group) as they would if that were struck by normal power weapons or even unsaved normal attacks, the 2 warriors are removed as they both have 0 wounds left, no model still alive now has suffered an 'unsaved wound' so now (the time for the psychic test) there is no point in making the test as it would only Instant-Death already dead models.
Where the instant death part would play a role is if the unit had more than 1 group or only suffered 4 wounds; situations where models are left alive but have 'suffered an unsaved wound'. In this case at the end of the long sequence I detailed above during the time of the psychic test there are models alive but wounded so would be affected by the instant death aspect of the weapon which is then activated.
What it really boils down to is whether the allocating of 'unsaved wounds' occurs before or after the psychic test. From my view and understanding it occurs after as it clearly says 'an opponent that suffered an unsaved wound'. However I equally understand that those rules were written with the intention of only being used by one model against one other model and as hence the phrasing/tense of each word is thrown into doubt. Also the second rule I quoted does say that the group as a whole suffered 'unsaved wounds'. However, it never indicates to when or how you apply wounds to a multi-wound group besides saying 'you must remove whole models as casualties when possible'.
What makes this rule even more confusing is when you start mixing in different initiative values. In the Grey Knights codex the rules for the Nemesis Force Weapons on pg.54 say: 'Any further wounds caused by the unit's Nemesis Force Weapons that phase will be bound by the result of that psychic test' meaning that from the moment the first psychic test for the unit's Force Weapons Instant Death ability is rolled and passed then whole squad counts as having Instant Death weapons. Nowhere does it say however that the weapons count as Instant Death weapons as it says in the Force Weapon entry that: 'The enemy model suffers instant death...'.
So with that in mind, what if a unit has a few Halberds? Now if they wound then you make a test, kill a few models even if it isn't from instant-death, but the whole unit now counts as having weapons that apply instant death basically. So does what I said previously change as now the order changes so they do remove one model per wound as they count as instant-death before they are distributed? Very confusing....
So overall it is very contentious and can go either way depending on personal understanding and interpretation of the rules.