Friday 2 December 2016

Tactica: Dodge in, Dodge out, shake it all about.

Good morning class, it's pop quiz time.

Can anyone here tell me exactly what Dodge, Engage, Change Facing, Alert, Warning and Reset do, where they are different and when/why you would use each of them?

No? Well frankly neither could I. So I did a whole load of research, picked through all the rules, FAQs and forum threads I could find and wrote it all up whilst dispensing tips and suggestions as I went. Hopefully it'll be an interesting read.

Warning: Thar be many words ahead!


"This Common Skill allows the user to attempt to evade an Attack against him. It also gives the user the opportunity to move a short distance as an ARO."

Of all these skills, Dodge is the premier option for avoiding incoming fire. It can only be used if the trooper has Line of Fire (LoF) to an enemy or is being attacked by a template weapon, and it opposes all incoming weapon attacks (i.e. not Comms/Hacking Attacks) either as a Face to Face roll or as a Normal roll (vs Direct Template Weapons). It doesn't help against Hacking/Comms attacks however as you need to Reset against those instead.

During the reactive turn only it also grants the user 2" of movement if the Dodge roll was successful against all attacks which it opposed. As with normal movement you have to decide on where to go before any dice are rolled.

If you Dodge one incoming attack but not another then that isn't good enough to get the Movement (but hey, at least you'll get to make a Guts roll if you live, right?). It is a common mistake among new players to think that it gives active turn movement as well, but that is not the case. Kinematika increases the maximum amount of movement permitted by a Dodge (see the Kinematika section below).

As part of this movement a model may either stand up or go prone and they may use any short movement skill that doesn't require a roll - e.g. Climbing Plus, Super Jump and Activate (Yes, they may stand up and then use Climbing Plus/Super Jump - Forum Thread). Their permitted movement distance is a fixed value and is neither hampered by being Prone nor are they stopped when they reach Difficult Terrain (as that only takes effect during an Order and not an ARO).

This movement cannot be used to enter base to base contact with an enemy trooper. That's what Engage is for.

There are a number of things that give penalties to the Dodge roll including, but not limited to:
  • Deployable weapons (-3).
  • Template weapons from outside LoF, including Guided weapons (-3). Doesn't stack with the penalty from Deployable weapons.
  • Being a REM troop type (-3).
  • Being a TAG troop type (-6). Yes, a Seraph dodges as well as a Fusilier.
  • Riding a motorbike (-3).

A few other things can also affect the Dodge roll such as Surprise Shot, Surprise Attack, Martial Arts, Suppressive Fire and (being declared from, into or through or if the attacker is in/behind) Low/Poor Visibility Zones - I recommend reading the FAQ for that last one!

It's worth noting that it is possible to have a Dodge penalty versus some attacks in a given order and not others. For example a PH10 model dodging a Chain Rifle from inside LoF and a Mine explosion would dodge both on a 7 or less, only the chain Rifle on an 8-10 and neither on 11+. Remember a Dodge must successfully oppose all incoming attacks to grant movement in the reactive turn, so in this example only on the roll of a 7 or less. Equally, it's possible to get a 'critical' Dodge result against some attacks in an Order and not against others.

EDIT: There have been some changes to the FAQ regarding the way Dodging triggers Mines. See below:

This also applies if you dodge through the Trigger Area of a Mine (i.e. across a narrow doorway where you neither start nor end in the Trigger Area) but not if you initially started in the Trigger Area. Reactively Dodging into Mines is now a reasonable way of clearing them out risk-free.

Dodging can also be used to Disengage from a Close Combat. If a trooper successfully Dodges all incoming attacks while in a Close Combat then you may separate the combatants by 1mm to show that they are no longer Engaged. This happens even if the Dodging trooper is completely surrounded (Forum Thread). In the reactive turn the Dodging model may also move up to 2".

Generally a trooper cannot Dodge (or Disengage for that matter) if they are shot at whilst in Close Combat as they will not have Line of Fire to the attacker and so won't meet the requirements for the Skill. This can be overcome using the Sixth Sense Skill (see the Sixth Sense section below). Troopers always have Line of Fire to anyone they are Engaged with however, so it is possible to Disengage an opponent whilst in a Zero-Vis Zone.

Tip: Dodge is the go-to ARO against Guided weapons. All Guided weapons use an impact template (yep, even Guided Sniper Rifles) and so can be Dodged with this Skill, albeit generally with a -3 penalty due to the template attack coming from outside of Line of Fire.

Double Tip: Unlike for Low/Poor Visibility Zones, there is no penalty for Dodging when attacked from being a Zero-Vis/Eclipse Zone. This makes it a good Skill to use when being attacked by a Smoke/MSV2 combo! Don't try and justify this rule, it's just a game mechanic.

Remember that when being attacked through a Zero-vis Zone you don't need Line of Fire to respond to the attacker.


"This Common Skill allows a trooper in the Reactive Turn to move into base to base contact with an enemy."

Engage is a bit like Dodge, but weirder. The sole purpose of Engage is to get into base to base contact with an enemy trooper, which you otherwise can't do with Dodge. It broadly has the same limitations and penalties, except where stated below.

The requirements for Engage are:
  • The active model must pass or start within Engage radius (typically 2" but modified by Kinematika) of the reactive model and be within their Line of Fire at some point during that Order also.
  • The reactive model must have a valid route, however long and convoluted, to the point at which they declare the Engage. This route must follow the standard Move rules and so cannot use (Super) Jump, Climb or Activate, for example. Note that Climbing Plus "allows the user to move along vertical surfaces as if executing a normal Movement on horizontal ground" so would allow a trooper to cross most obstacles.
  • This route might be blocked by impassable scenery - e.g. an infinitely deep chasm or high wall - but these kinds of scenery elements are incredibly rare on an average table. In the vast majority of cases the engage can be successful as long as the requirements in the first bullet point are met.
  • Be aware however that a model with Climbing Plus cannot declare an Engage whilst hanging off a vertical surface because it only "allows its user to declare other Short Movement Skills or Short Skills while moving along or holding onto a vertical surface" and Engage is neither.

If the Engage is successful:
  • The reactive model effectively 'teleports' to their end point (i.e. in base to base contact with their target).
  • Due to this quirk, Engage is not affected by Difficult Terrain, access points that would otherwise be too narrow, closed doors or any need for jumping, climbing, going prone or standing up.
  • The active player places the Engaging model anywhere in base to base contact, including hanging off a wall if desired, keeping in mind that base-to-base is effectively silhouette-to-silhouette according to the FAQ.
  • As there is no pathing involved,Engage doesn't trigger deployable equipment unless the user started in their are of effect and the Engage roll was a failure in which case they would get hit by the deployable.

Tip: It's worth noting that units such as Shikami - with Kinematika L2, Climbing Plus and a solid PH score are incredibly good at Engaging. Putting them prone on a roof and quickly climbing down when someone walks by is a perfectly legitimate tactic.

Double Tip: You can do shenanigans with Sixth Sense to remove the LoF requirement from the Skill in order to Engage people who are hacking you from behind a wall. It'll be Normal rolls all round, but has the potential to be quite funny!

Triple Tip: Engage is how you can get a TAG into an objective room!

Quadruple Tip: Don't try and Engage a close-combat specialist. It is legal for active model to declare Close Combat as their second skill if you try and Engage them, and if they win the Face to Face roll then not only do you get hit, but you end up back where you started too!

Change Facing

"A reaction by which the user turns around to face an enemy who acts outside his LoF."

Change Facing is like a more limited, ARO-only, version of Dodge and follows much the same rules. The upside is that it does not require Line of Fire so it can be declared in response to an enemy carrying out an order anywhere in Zone of Control (ZoC).

The downside is that it suffers a -3 penalty, can only be carried out in response to an enemy within ZoC and only allows a trooper to change their facing so that the enemy is now in their Line of Fire. If it is not possible to turn in such a way then the model can be placed facing any way the player wants.

Note that you cannot go Prone as part of a Change Facing as you are not granted any movement.

Use of this skill will still trigger deployable equipment, such as mines, in which case the Change Facing roll opposes that also. Note that the -3 penalty for change facing does not stack with the -3 penalty for dodging a deployable weapon.

Tip: Unlike Dodge, Change Facing is not affected by Low/Poor Vis as it does not require LoF. This means there may be niche situations, such as being within ZoC and a Poor Visibility Zone, where Change Facing gives better odds than Dodging.

Double Tip: It's always possible to Dodge template weapon attacks rather than using Change Facing.


"This Skill allows the user to warn all allies of an imminent danger so that they may face in the direction of the threat."

Alert is an unusual Skill that only requires LoF to an enemy. Using it allows any number of allied troops to declare Change Facing even if they wouldn't otherwise meet the requirements for the skill - although they may perform no other ARO that order if they choose to do so. The Alerting model doesn't need to have LoF to, or be within a particular range of, these allied troops.

Tip: Note that this doesn't allow the Alerting model to dodge or change facing themselves. This may effectively grant enemies Normal rolls against that model if desired and so it may be best to use this Skill with cheap, disposable troops (such as Warcors).

Double Tip: If you are caught completely out of position by an Airborne Deployment trooper or similar than sacrificing a model bu using Alert can be a good way of hopefully saving the rest of your army!


"When deployed on the battlefield, all troopers are connected with their brothers-in–arms, so if one of them suffers an attack all other troopers close to him will become aware of it and will try to find the source of the attack."

Warning is a rather unique rule in that it doesn't actually require a Skill to use!

Any trooper who was either the target of an attack, or had an ally who was targeted by an attack in their Zone of Control, but has not already activated by an Order or ARO may turn on the spot so that the attacker is now in their LoF (as per Change Facing).

As this is not a Skill it does not trigger deployable equipment (such as mines), won't break Fireteams and doesn't require any kind of roll to perform.

Tip: It's also important to know that it does not require any model to be hit, just that an attack is made, and it can be used in the active turn as well. This can be a good way of getting free 'spins' on models without actually activating them during your turn. It's a handy trick if half way through your turn you've realised that you've mucked up the facing on your troops (not that I do this all the time...).

Double Tip: Be aware that Warning doesn't cancel Suppressive Fire. So if you want a way to change the facing of one of your suppressing models without having to activate them and , then this is it.


"This Common Skill allows the user to sidestep cyber-attacks by quickly rebooting all systems."

For the sake of completeness we should talk about Reset as well.

Reset allows a trooper to defend themselves using a WIP roll from Comms Attacks and Hacking Programs, and cancel the Immobilised-1 state.

It can only be declared if the trooper is targeted by a Hacking Attack, Comms Attack, in the Immobilised-1 state or has an enemy declare or execute an Order in ZoC. It can be declared whilst Engaged and/or without LoF and doesn't come with any penalties to the roll by default.

There is no overlap between things that Dodge/Alert/Engage/Change Facing are effective against and things that Reset is effective against.

Tip: If an Immobilised-1 model is attacked by a Comms/Hacking Attack then a successful Reset roll will remove the existing Immobilised-1 state as well as opposing the incoming attack if the trooper wins the Face to Face roll. This is covered in the FAQ.

Double Tip: A successful Face to Face (but not Normal) Reset roll allows the trooper to make (and presumably fail) a Guts check if desired. Yes, you read that right and yes, it is pretty weird.


"Кинематика was the term chosen by the Special Training Section of the Russian Intelligence Services to refer to a series of tactical movement and in-combat relocation techniques developed by them. Kinematika techniques have the goal of gaining a tactical advantage in combat by advancing towards the enemy or into cover in a way that minimizes the possibility of being hit by enemy fire."

Kinematika is a non-stacking levelled skill that grants +1" of Movement when Dodging and +1" to Engage radius per level. So Kinematika L2 gives a +2" bonus, for example.

It is a skill that is commonly found on martial artists and motorbikes.


"The dodge ability of those who have Hyper-Dynamics is amazing. Studies performed in laboratories reveal that, when a threat is detected, 100 milliseconds before beginning movement the individual shifts his body to change where his weight rests. In this way, he balances his center of mass over his legs, semi-flexed, which he will use to boost his movement and dodge the attack."

Hyper-Dynamics is a non-stacking levelled skill that grants +3 PH for Dodging (and similar skills) per level. So Hyper-Dynamics L2 gives a +6 bonus, for example.

This bonus applies to all rolls made to Dodge, Change Facing and Engage.

Sixth Sense L1 & L2

"Sixth Sense is an instinctive knack—or a recreation thereof by means of a threat-evaluating pseudo-AI—for locating immediate threats to one's safety. Soldiers with Sixth Sense are somehow capable of perceiving the hostile intentions of an enemy without actually seeing him, thus reacting with swiftness and adroitness to surprise attacks."

Dodging also has significant interactions with the Sixth Sense skills. I'm going to go ahead and refer to them as a single Skill, but keep in mind that Sixth Sense L1 only works against enemies inside of Zone of Control whereas Sixth Sense L2 has unlimited range. They both only work when the user is the target of an attack, which includes being hit by a template weapon even if they are not the 'main' target.

Most importantly for this discussion, Sixth Sense removes the LoF requirement from the Dodge skill. This generally allows the use of Dodge instead of Change Facing thereby potentially gaining movement in reaction and ignoring the -3 penalty. This also gives the slightly niche ability of being able to Dodge enemies who are firing into a close combat that the user is stuck in.

It also negates the -3 penalty for dodging a template from outside of Line of Fire and any penalties from Surprise shot, but it does not negate the penalty for dodging a Deployable weapon or attacks made through Low/Poor Visibility Zones.

Sixth Sense L2 is one of the best defensive skills in the game and is automatically granted to all Fireteams with four or more members. I strongly recommend reading up on it.

Closing Comments

As always, writing these kinds of articles is tricky and I'm posting this one up with some trepidation.

There are so many rules interactions, forum threads, FAQs and opinions on basically everything (especially Engage) that it's almost inevitable that I'll have missed something out or that someone will disagree with part of my understanding of the rules or there's some thread that I've missed that clarifies an issue.

If you happen to be that someone, or think something doesn't look right, then please do let me know and I'm more than happy to amend/update as necessary. Either leave a comment or contact me by email (

Also, if you want to to see more articles like this then let me know!


  1. Great art - it convinced me to use dodge much more often, but there is a small clarification to "dodge into the mine" case. Official N3 FAQ ( says that: if you fail the initial dodge roll, the movement is cancelled and the mine does not trigger.

    1. Thanks for bring the recent FAQ to my attention! I was hoping to get some rules clarifications before updating the post, but have now done so with what I do know.

  2. You are very thourough and I appreciate the work you put in. Even if you missed something you helped my brain : )

    1. Cheers, I'm glad you found it helpful. I'm going to try and keep this up to date with any new rulings or FAQs that come out. :)