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Characters, no matter their rank or race, crave the chance to prove their battle skill. There is no more certain a way to do this than to vanquish enemy characters – preferably in full sight of one’s allies.

Issuing a Challange

Challenges are issued at the start of the Fight sub-phase, before any blows are struck. Only one challenge can be issued per close combat – the side whose turn it is has the opportunity to issue a challenge first. If that side chooses not to, then the other side can issue a challenge.

To issue a challenge, nominate a character in one of your units locked in the combat to be the challenger. We can then assume he’s issued a suitably insulting challenge to the foe, probably impugning their courage, battle skill, heritage, devotion to questionable gods and overall slovenly aspect. You’ll now have to wait and see whether a character amongst the enemy ranks chooses to step forwards and accept the challenge.

Once one challenge has been made, no further challenges can be issued in that combat that turn. If the challenge is accepted (see below), no further challenges can be issued until that challenge has been resolved. If there are no characters in the enemy units, then a challenge cannot be issued. Characters that cannot fight or strike blows (including those that are not engaged with an enemy model) cannot issue challenges.

Accepting a Challenge

If your opponent has issued a challenge, you can now accept it – nominate a character in one of your units locked in the combat to be the challengee. Your opponent has probably decided which of your characters he wants to fight, in fact, this bias might affect how the challenge was framed (‘Brother-Captain Minyos challenges thine craven Warlock to single combat!’), but the final choice is yours – he can’t challenge a specific enemy, he just issues a challenge to the foe at large and sees who steps forwards. Characters that cannot fight or strike blows (including those that are not engaged with an enemy model) cannot accept challenges.

Refusing a Challange

Alternatively, you can simply refuse the challenge and choose to have your character slink away with sullied honour but beating heart(s). If you refuse, your opponent gets to nominate one of your characters from those that could have accepted. The chosen model cannot strike blows at all this turn, as he is thereafter putting all of his effort into staying clear of the vengeful enemy character. Furthermore, his Leadership cannot be used by the rest of the unit for the remainder of the phase – skulking amongst the ranks is not the stuff of heroism!

Once a challenge has been refused, the model that issued it fights normally.

Heroic Stand

A unit that consists only of a single character cannot refuse a challenge. He’s got nowhere to hide.

Fighting a Challenge

If a challenge has been accepted, it is time to move the two combatants into base contact with each other. Note that these moves cannot be used to move a character out of unit coherency. If possible, swap the challenger for a friendly model in base contact with the challengee. If this cannot be done, swap the challengee for a friendly model in base contact with the challenger. If neither of these moves would result in the two models being in base contact, ‘swap’ the challenger to as close as possible to the challengee and assume the two to be in base contact for the purposes of the ensuing fight. In case you were wondering, models that are moved to satisfy a challenge are not subject to Difficult or Dangerous Terrain tests. Furthermore, neither the characters in the challenge nor the models that have made way to allow the characters to get into base contact make a Pile In move when their Initiative step is reached.

For the duration of the challenge, these two models are considered to be in base contact with each other and, when rolling To Hit and To Wound, they always use the Weapon Skill and Toughness of their opponent. When allocating Wounds caused by either of these two models, they must be allocated to their opponent first. These Wounds cannot be reallocated by the Look Out, Sir rule.

Combatant Slain

If a character that is involved in a challenge slays his opponent, each excess Wound inflicted by the victor is then allocated, one at a time, to the next nearest enemy model that is locked in the combat. When one of the combatants in a challenge is slain, regardless of which Initiative Step it is, the challenge is still considered to be ongoing until the end of the phase for the purposes of Outside Forces (see below).

Outside Forces

Whilst the challenge is ongoing, other models locked in the combat can only allocate Wounds to the models involved in the challenge after all other enemy models that are locked in that combat (if any) have been removed as casualties, even if the models fighting in a challenge are the closest models.

Assault Result

Unsaved Wounds caused in a challenge count towards the assault result, alongside any unsaved Wounds caused by the rest of the characters’ units.

Round Two

If both competitors survive a challenge, and neither side fled from the combat, then they continue to fight in the next round of close combat. Note that, if a character with the And They Shall Know No Fear special rule is caught by a Sweeping Advance, the challenge does not continue.

Even though further challenges cannot be issued in a combat until the existing challenge has been resolved, there is the possibility that another character in the fight might intercede in a Glorious Intervention.

Glorious Intervention

Even in the darkness of the 41st Millennium, there are still tales of personal heroism and glory. A plucky Astra Militarum Sergeant might throw himself into the path of a rampaging Ork Warboss in an attempt to preserve his officer’s life. An Eldar Warlock, about to be cloven in two by the sweep of a Tyranid bonesword, might be saved as an Autarch darts in to parry the blow. These are the kinds of situations that the Glorious Intervention rule is here to represent, where one character hurls himself into harm’s way in order to defend another.

A character can declare a Glorious Intervention at the start of his own Fight sub-phase, before any blows are struck, if a friendly character in the same combat is about to fight a second or subsequent round of a challenge.

A character cannot declare a Glorious Intervention in the first round of a challenge or during the enemy turn. Nor can a character that cannot fight or strike blows (including those that are not engaged with an enemy model) declare a Glorious Intervention.

To see whether or not the Glorious Intervention has been successful, the intervening character must take an Initiative test.

If the test is failed, nothing happens – the character has not been quick enough. He fights the current round of close combat as normal.

If the test is passed, the character making the Glorious Intervention takes the place of the friendly character in the ongoing challenge. The character thus displaced now fights in the close combat according to the normal rules, whilst the character that made the Glorious Intervention fights in the challenge. The two characters now fighting the challenge should attempt to move into base contact with each other following the same rules as when the challenge was first accepted, with the character performing the Glorious Intervention as the challenger.

For example, Idrion, a Space Marine Sergeant has, through skill of arms (and lucky dice), survived the first round of a challenge against the infamous Daemon Prince Volgarax. Fortunately for Idrion, Brother-Captain Dantarion (Initiative 5) charged into the same combat this turn, and is now attempting to make a Glorious Intervention to save the sergeant from his dread foe. Dantarion takes his Initiative test and rolls a 4, passing it with room to spare. He now fights Volgarax in this and subsequent rounds of the challenge, while Idrion fights in the rest of the combat as normal.

Note that, whilst it is possible for several Glorious Interventions to occur within the same challenge over the course of the game, only one character can attempt a Glorious Intervention for each challenge per turn.