Want to double double check I ruled correctly. If a model uses Thresher and destroys 4 models under Wolfe Feat, Thresher generates 4 attacks, yes? Or does the attacks being simultaneous constitute 1 attack that hits 4 targets?
I ruled that Wolfe gets 4 triggers. If this is incorrect, does anyone have a rules reference other than the paragraph in the app saying special attacks are melee or ranged based on the weapon they’re on or neither if on the model?
Note how attack and damage ROLLS are called out, not separate attacks like thresher states. So while thresher attacks are simultaneous like sprays they do not resolve the same way and will trigger mulitple feat moves/attacks by the Wolfe player.
Previous editions have ruled that abilities like Thresher and Flashing Blade, even though they generate multiple attacks, are treated as a single attack for purposes of triggering additional effects such as Overtake.
Just some historical context, and food for thought.
While that is accurate as far as I remember, because the old rulings in the old rules forum no longer exist, it is impossible to find any explanations or rationale provided for why that was the case.
“Thresher attacks are simultaneous” was not present in the Thresher rule in MK II, was added in MK III, and carried over verbatim to this edition. I feel that the base rules have changed sufficiently between editions that there’s little point in trying to suss out the differences.
If Thresher was worded like sprays are worded (thanks to Septic for the explanation), then I would be wholly on board with the “it’s a single attack” interpretation. But, until that time, my best guess is what I provided above.
Essentially: the concept is “this model takes a big ol’ swing with the weapon, potentially hitting everything in its path all at once.” I can’t really think of any way to phrase the rule differently to keep everything resolving simultaneously while remaining compact, and in my mind, the sentence “Thresher attacks (plural) are” is what seals the deal for “they are separate attacks even though they’re created by a single * attack.”
Happy to hear how an Infernal or dev wants to rule it and explain it, though.
It was explained to me (correct me if I’m off) a Special attack has a name and a rules description of what that attack does.
e.g. Thresher (name) : Attack all models in Melee range. (description)
The special attack is always a single attack even if the rules contained within call for multiple attacks simply because the rules are only there to tell players how to execute the named attack; whether that be making multiple attack and damage rolls (thresher, ground pounder, etc) or simply applying something like Armor Piercing to the attack in exchange for losing your other initials.
You execute all the special instructions in the attack’s description and then the 1 attack of that name is completed. That’s when you finally move into the trigger effects step of the timing chart.
Let me present a counter example to that line of thought.
Butcher 3 casts Flashing Blade while 18 enemy models are in his melee range.
How many melee attacks does he make?
Would you argue he makes only one melee attack as a result?
I absolutely agree up front that he’s only casting one spell, but that spell generates multiple attacks.
Mechanically, how is this example meaningfully, substantively different from Thresher?
(Edited to add: my point of contention is that Thresher’s wording itself leads to the conclusion that one makes multiple attacks while resolving it. Sprays mechanically spell out a way to resolve one attack that hits multiple targets. Thresher is not worded the same way.)
Thresher is, itself, a single (special) attack. Flashing Blade is a non-offensive spell and so is not, itself, an attack.
The trouble is, though, that they are treated the same for the purpose of triggered abilities like Overtake, Cleave, etc, that resolve when something destroys “one or more models with a melee attack.”
The reasons we’ve been given in the past have varied between phrases like “Thresher is a single attack even if it generates multiple attacks” and “Flashing Blade attacks are all simultaneous so they only count once, for reasons.”
Really, effects like Overtake, Wolfe’s feat, etc need to be expanded to something like “destroys one or more enemy models with one or more simultaneous melee attacks” if they’re only intended to trigger once like that, as there’s nothing inherent to simultaneous attacks that would make them trigger such an effect only once, as worded.