Warhammer 40,000/7th Edition Tactics/Fortifications

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General notes[edit]

Here are the general tactics about fortifications so that we don't have to type, update and manage the same thing for each codex.


For buildings only[edit]

Small buildings can take one, medium buildings can take two and big buildings up to three of these upgrades. But you can only take one of each, so no double/triple void shields for you.

  • Ammo store - Re-roll ones to hit when firing out from the building's fire points (but not the battlements). Useful, if you for some reason have a plasma gun team hiding in the bunker, instead of driving around in a transport. Unfortunaltely this also doesn't affect emplaced weapons, so you can't use it to ignore the Plasma Obliterators "gets hot".
  • Booby Traps - The first unit to occupy the building would be blown up with 2D6 bolter hits (they also ignore cover saves). Only should be considered if you're planning on leaving the building unoccupied. Gets slightly better if you combine it with Magos Machine Spirit. Generally should be avoided.
  • Escape Hatch - Extra access point for a building, you can place anywhere within 12", with the downside that you cannot assault out of it. One of the uses for it is to provide your shooty squad a nice escape route once the enemy comes close and personal, but generally ammo store is preferable for that purposes, as it allows you guys to kill things faster, rather than escape them when they cannot kill it fast enough.
    • The escape hatch can be used offensively by some armies. The hatch is placed in a forward position, allowing the embarked unit to go 12" forward, disembark 6", then shoot. This option is slightly cheaper than a drop pod if you were taking the building anyway and can be used by armies without access to drop pods to great effect.
  • Magos Machine Spirit - BS3 for unmanned emplacement guns. Great. Good for giving Orks a source of BS3.
  • Searchlights It's searchlights. Mostly useful for the shooty armies without their own sources of searchlights or night vision. By which I mean Necrons, especially with the Imotekh.
  • Void Shields This is often forgotten but all buildings can buy personal void shields, giving them and any models embarked within or on battlements a layer that must be popped before the target inside can be hit, making them immune to small arms fire. Any hits scored by shooting attacks that strike the building (or its occupants) will strike the shield instead and have to be resolved against AV12. The rule does say that "after this" any further hits strike the original target, but because you are supposed to resolve all attacks from one weapon simultaneously, leftover hits after popping the shield cannot be reallocated to the original target, meaning that the building is completely protected from at least one single weapon for each void shield.
    • Ranged D weapons don't even roll to penetrate, they just remove the shield. However, even if a D-weapon fires multiple times, they all strike the shield simultaneously, so excess hits are lost.
    • Smart opponent would pop the shield with S6-7 guns before unloading the heavy hitters on your building. But even then, the shield should take that autocannon or scatter laser fire from your other units for a turn or two.

Battlements & Battlefield[edit]

You can only take one, so choose wisely.

  • Ammunition dump Re rolls 1's to hit this is a great upgrade in combination with units that like to use overheating weapons, but even without overheating weapons, it adds a sizable chunk of firepower to the squad holding it. Also remember that models with BS 5+ still get to use their full BS on a reroll.
  • Comms Relays Cheap upgrade that modifies reserve rolls, these are a must for each army that relies heavily on their reserves such as flyer heavy army or drop pod one.
  • Gun Emplacement With Quad-Gun - Nice little piece of anti-air. Being twin-linked and packing a lot of dakka, it can overcome the BS2 of being unmanned, if you don't want to waste the shooting of an entire squad holding it. Thanks to RAW, models using Interceptor to fire this and the Icarus during your opponent's phase can still use their own guns to shoot in your phase, enjoy the fun.
  • Gun Emplacement With Icarus Lascannon - cheaper, punchier and longer ranged cousin of a quad gun, it suffers from being one-shot and non-twinlinked. Unless you are absolutely certain there will be flyers with AV13 (!!!), it generally should be avoided.
    • A single penetrating hit with +1 for AP2 can cripple a flier rather than plinking away at hull points. However with the lack (the moment you think about "lack" of them the Caestus Assault Ram will punish you) rarity of AV13+ flyers in the game, stats says that 4 TL S7 shots are always superior to 1 S9 shot, pretty much regardless of user BS or hull points lost per points spent. On the other hand, monsters with 3+ and T6/7 will laugh at Quadgun, while Icarus at least can make them jink.


Any fortification can take up to SIX of any of these in any combination. All of can be up to 6" long, and can be placed anywhere within 6" of a fortification.

  • Tangle Wire - Lines of dangerous terrain that grants 6+ cover. Meh. Take these if you just want to slow an enemy down while they try to approach since they don't give (good) cover to the enemy so you can just use these as a speed bump. Tangle wire is also cheap so basically any model that dies in the wire makes all the points back on your investment.
    • While they're basically shit for cover, they can do wonders for your overwatch. Adding dangerous terrain casualties on top of the 2" loss to charge range can be a big boon to forces with strong overwatch and less need of cover (Dark Angels).
    • Alternatively, saturate portions of the board with dangerous terrain to make deep striking difficult.
  • Barricades - Line of difficult terrain and 4+ cover. Basically a sections of ADL without that GtG cover bonus that you can spread more freely. Nothing regulates their height, so make sure yours are high enough to hide at least 25% of your tanks' profile.
  • Tank traps they give a 4+ cover thats great, but not the real reason. The real reason to use these is hilarious, as they are Impassible terrain for all non skimmer/flyer vehicles, including super heavy walkers.


  • If you really want to be "That Guy" take any fortification with a nice gun that isn't automated, then have a Vindicare Assassin shoot that (non-blast) weapon, thus giving it BS8, Precision Shots, and Ignores Cover (goodbye jink saves). Sadly the Precision Shots only applies to the Aquila Macro Cannon; Vortex Missiles, Plasma Obliterators, and Battle Cannons don't roll to hit. A Callidus Assassin provides the same BS while messing with enemy Reserve Rolls. Or just bring Cypher at BS10 and (almost) never scatter off target.
  • Support units can help to improve the longevity and efficacy of fortifications, as well, particularly if you're already dropping a land raider in points on them, anyhow. Tech priests and equivalent can now repair lost structure points (thunderfire cannons in particular like hiding behind big buildings). Also, any fortification can take advantage of psychic powers. Giving them invulnerable saves can make them even harder to take down (Force Dome, et all). Divination, likewise, ramps up the shooting aspects of a building. Punisher cannons in particular like re-rolling hits.
  • Repel Invaders is a fantastic rule for aggressive, elite melee units. Your buildings function like very, very tough assault transports that can shield your objectives from enemy drops. Fill them with genestealers, harlequins, bloodletters, or anyone else that wants to hide behind AV14 until it's time to charge.
  • All Skyfire weapons are now snap shots against ground targets regardless of how much Intercept you have. Fortification AA guns are effective at downing fliers, but very expensive pieces of hardware if used for anything else. Carefully evaluate your needs before buying in on quad guns or the like.
  • Actual artillery units make great additions to buildings. Techmarine gunners, as noted above, but also Orc kannon, etc. The guns resist most building damage rolls and enjoy the extra safety and height of the firing possition.
  • The big thing to keep in mind with buildings is the building damage table. Av14 is pretty great' but one meltabomb is destroying your shiny bunker on a 4+ (if it pens). Keep your buildings well defended from anything that can cause a penatrating hit. Seeing your 250 point fortification take 500 points of the special units you put inside and on top of it down to a 5 point meltabomb is hard for any force to come back from



  • Imperial Bastion: Ridiculously cheap, can mount a Quad Gun that can pop transports and flyers, gets 4 free heavy bolters which can be legally placed all on one facing, gives your men the advantage of height and cover.
  • Void Shield Generator: Big ol' 12" AV12 bubble to hide behind and shoot from with impunity. 50pts. Want two more layers? 100pts. Goody gumdrops. Just remember, the Void Shield bubble does not block movement or Deep Strike, so remember to fill the gap with Terrain (tangle wire works really well) or bodies, lest your limited edition terrain piece gets Alpha Struck from enemies who get inside the field.
    • Like the building based void shield, these Projected Void Shields cause shooting attacks to strike the shield instead; protecting defenders from at least one shooting attack fron any given source per shield.
    • This is somewhat corroborated by the Dec 2015 FAQ which cleared up how blast/template weapons work against targets within the shield: You simply ignore however many hits you might otherwise have scored against the unit and roll to penetrate once. So savvy opponents should leave his 15" Apocalyptic Mega Blasts (which could concievably hit every single model underneath the dome) until after the shield is popped by Meltaguns and Lascannons.
    • It also has battlements, so small units parked on top of it also gain a 4+ cover safe in addition to the protection from the shields.
  • Wall of Martyrs Imperial Bunker: Cheap, tough with 14 armour, you can get inside, on top and it has holes for up to 8 dudes to fire out. And pretty safe to fit a squad in. Put inside someone like Noise Marines, or Dark Angels with bolter banner, (gone forever) throw in an ammo pile inside for extra accuracy and you can bet no troops will wanna get close to your dakka box.
  • Wall of Martyrs Firestorm Redoubt: For a few points less than a Land Raider you get an Imperial Bunker but bigger and with anti air guns. (though you may change either of the Icarus Quad Cannons for different weapons if you own them) with four twin-linked 96" range interceptor/skyfire lascannon shots. While being forced to fire at BS2 seems like a pain, being twin linked means that you hit approximately 55% of the time, but you can upgrade it to BS3 if you want to pay more points on the machine spirit, but then any enemy aircraft on (or coming on to) the table has to worry about the incredible amount of dakka heading its way since massed S9 AP2 skyfire is extremely rare. Remember that while 96" sounds great on the paper the guns always have to fire at the closest Flyer (Automated Fire). Even with 'Priority Target' the enemy just hast to keep his expensive units behind a screen of cheap units. Even interceptor fire can be screened just by deepstriking a drop pod closer than the flyers. Sadly, only six models can fire from the inside, so it's more suited for heavy weapon teams.
    • Second Option: Two punisher gatling cannons and the magos machine spirit provides a serious level of anti-infantry firepower. The automated firing is balanced by the shorter range of the guns, shooting at whomever has the audacity to get close to it. This can create a bubble of death around your building, making it one of the premier "stay off of my lawn" setups.
  • Plasma Obliterator: Oh my...a simple building at AV14 all around, you can get inside, it has fire holes and has a Plasma Obliterator which fires a 7" Massive Blast at S7 AP2. Want to obliterate its point cost in heavy infantry? Look no further. However, it still gets hot (luckily since it's a fortification it gets a 4+ save against it), and it has a new rule called Plasma Overheat which means if it takes a glancing hit due to Gets Hot! a unit embarked takes D3 randomly allocated wounds (just as with classic Gets Hot!, this allows saves). You'd think a building the size of a Bastion would have an external cooling system to prevent this fucking rule...still, at land raider cost it's quite an expensive Fortification, but oh man will this thing melt hordes, regardless of how good their save is. You will not want this building to use 'Automated Fire', especially later in the game so keep it occupied at all times.
    • After running this building a couple times you have to be very careful what you attack first, because the building damage chart is unforgiving to this Fortification, a lot of results force you to Snap Fire which neuters the purpose of this building. So take care of any threats to it quickly, and run it with void shields that are purchasable through Stronghold Assault. That said it's a hilarious, if expensive, DISTRACTION CARNIFEX.
  • Wall of Martyrs Vengeance weapon battery You can't get in or on top but it is cheap, you can fit two in a single slot and fires clasic battle cannon or punisher cannon shots. But they can only fire using automated fire so keep your own guys away if you use the battle cannons, lest they get hit by a bad scatter roll.
    • One can also exchange battle cannon with Quad Icarus Lascannon for free, since release of Stronghold Assault. It might not be the best anti-air choice for its price and BS2, but twin-linked skyfire interceptor with two lascannon shots can be still very useful against flyers and most skimmers. Also, armies without dedicated AA might really love this.
  • Fortress of Redemption: Expensive both in points and actual cost, this huge model doesn't exactly bristle with guns as you would expect. But now, you are able to dominate everything on the table - tanks will be sniped with the 96" lasgun, fliers will be destroyed by AA guns.
    • It's also the tallest goddamn thing any table is likely to see, so feel free to hide your entire army, including knight titans, behind it.
  • Macro-Cannon Aquila Strongpoint: 2-shot Str D AP1, large blast or apocalyptic mega blast a weapon on a large imperial Bunker with AV15. It is even more expensive than the fortress of redemption. Comes with a bunker annex, which is mostly useless other than to provide more battlements. Despite being a blast weapon, the shots actually have an effect on flyers by FWOOMing past them, so the whole thing has a lot of utility.
  • Vortex Missile Aquila Strongpoint: Its all in the name. It's the Aquila strongpoint except this version fires vortex missiles that linger on the battlefield and have the potential to cause havoc behind enemy lines. Don't use them anywhere near your own units for that reason.
    • Because of the changes to Vortex in 6th and 7th, the missiles are objectively weaker than the macro cannon in that it fires only a single D template to the cannon's two. The trade-off comes from the templates moving on to new units and preventing units from moving. Both of these effects become much more relevant to the sort of massed combat found in Apocalypse than from standard games.
  • Plasma Obliterator Aquila Strongpoint: The Plasma Obliterator can also be taken as an "upgrade" making the whole thing 115 pts. cheaper and for some reason it also loses the annoying plasma overheat rule (it still gets hot though).
  • Primus Redoubt: The bigger brother of the Aquila strong point. Forgeworld sells it as a terrain board, but there's no need to model it as such if you wanted to make your own. Comes standard with a 2-shot D large blast, and rather than suffering BS2 like most buildings, the main gun has BS3 as standard (BS4 against superheavies). It is incredibly survivable, being AV15, with a 4++ save against shooting attacks (3++ against indirect-firing barrage weapons), the gun can never be destroyed or made unable to fire short of removing the entire building or having an enemy hole up inside which counts as killing the crew. It also has 10 hull points which is more than other large buildings. Added to that all of the options: you can put a single turret on it, choosing from a variety of options that range between inconsequential (heavy flamers) to downright awesome (battle cannons and Icarus quad guns). You can also buy building upgrades, so give it a void shield which coupled with the inbuilt invulnerable saves will mean very few things short of titans can ruin your day. On the downside, it will cost you most of you army's allotment of points and unless your opponent fields death star units or expensive lords of war (like knights), it's unlikely to make its points back by the end of a game. But it will still be there at the end of the game unless you do something stupid like leave it unmanned.


  • Aegis Defense Lines: This is the standard wall of cover for all gun line armies, and generally the most useful of all fortifications. It gives 4+ cover, which is boosted to 2+ if you go to ground, and is cheap. As of the latest (December 2016) FAQ you have to put all the pieces together again. As a bonus you can also buy comm relays or the anti air guns. Sections are precisely high enough to grant the cover to most imperial vehicles save Sentinels, but if you're playing xenos, try to mount your skimmers as low as you can.
  • Wall of Martyrs: Defence Line The 40k version of a trench, Rules wise a larger aegis Defence line that gives stubborn, but have no access to Battlements & Battlefield. Unless you're expecting giving a last stand in a glorious trench close combat Krieg-style, go for ADL instead.
    • You can also use these trenches for a Zone Mortalis board set up if you don't have the money to blow on Forge World tiles but still want a smart-looking map.
  • Wall of Martyrs: Defence Emplacement Smaller version of Wall of Martyrs with a bonus on overwatch. ADL with an ammunition dump can do the same thing better.
  • Skyshield Landing Pad: This is one of the cheapest cheesiest things around. It gives a 4++ against shooting to anything on top of it. ANYTHING from guard blob, to tzeentch deamons, to Ork Stompa's. Just put it on there and it is 2x as tough.
    • With "Ready For Take-Off", free since Planetary Assault, this becomes a very good fortification that is probably a must have if you planned to use it and a Vendetta. Deploy the Vendetta(s) in it (in Hover mode for the first turn) and don't move it/them. You now have AV12 4++ Twin-Linked full-BS lascannons all around with a very good LOS. Next turn (it is quite unlikely a Vendetta has been taken down by now), zoom out and do Vendetta stuff as you would normally. This gets you a guaranteed 2nd turn Vendetta for the "cost" of having it sitting on the landing pad with a 4+ invulnerable save on first turn, during which it will still be able to fire its payload at full BS. If you plan on taking Vendettas but don't like spending points on reserve roll trickery (which puts you on par with Skaven concerning reliability), you can easily rationalise incorporating that Skyshield into your army (park your officers, heavy weapons teams, tanks, artillery on it, whatever: 4++ is GOOD - AV14 4++ isn't going anywhere) for a fine piece of fortification that will act as an excellent Vendetta force multiplier.
    • Many pieces of terrain, fortification or otherwise, can give a 4+ cover save. The invulnerable save is most useful to units that are easy to strip of cover, or which cannot reasonably benefit from it (superheavies), or which get specific benefit from being invulnerable (chaos).
    • Also, as far as I've seen (so I could be wrong), there is nothing stopping you from dropping other buildings on this (could be awesome with enough bastions, say 8-12 Heavy Bolters covered by AV14 4++).
  • Munitorum Armoured Container Cache: GWs newest Fortification is actually a collection of separate objects. Namely 1 container 4 ammo boxes and 3 fuel drums, which all need to be placed within a 12" radius but other than that can be placed any way you like. The ammo boxes give the standard 5+ cover save and rerolls of 1s within 2". The fuel drums work similar to the pipelines except they only give a 5+ cover save but you also only risk 1D3 S4AP5 hits. They also give the same torrent upgrade to any non-vehicle Flamer weapon within 2". The containers are big armoured containers (duh) you can hide behind but not inside. They can take two optional Storm Bolters for free that can both be fired by any unit in base contact. The first time any unit has base contact with a container you roll a D6 just as with Mysterious Objectives. The Containers can in fact also be used as Mysterious Objectives. In both cases they use the following table. 1: you take 1d6 S4AP6 hits, 2: Nothing (better luck next time); 3: every Armies of the Empire unit within 6" gets +1 Ld, 4: all Assault and Rapid Fire weapons within 6" get +1S (this includes the containers own Storm Bolters), 5: 4+ invul. for every model within 6", 6: a single use orbital strike that scatters 4D6 on an arrow.
    You can take up to two additional Munitorum Armoured Container Caches at 40 points each with this fortification. Each cache can then be set-up separately.
    • Considering the sheer amount of bonuses this gives your army for its points, this could be considered auto-include for just about any army that hasn't already used its fortification slot.
    • Some armies, such as the Skitarii, get bonuses to identifying mysterious objectives. Re-rolls to identify can turn a crate of hats into an orbital strike.
  • Promethium Relay Pipes: 4+ Cover save, like the Aegis but can burn those behind them if they are unlucky. Now the good part. If a non vehicle model within 2" of a pipe is armed with a Flamer weapon then it can be used as Heavy and Torrent. May be incredibly effective with flamer-heavy squads, like Legion special teams, Crisis suits, Burna-boyz, or even Pyrovores (don't ask how they managed to use promethium pipes - It's obvious, they slurp out all the fire-juice and spew it out at enemies), or Grav-cannon Kataphron Destroyers, who ignore the Heavy restriction with their pseudo-Relentless, creating a 20" bubble of fiery doom that no infantry save TEQs and Wraiths would dare to close on. The common trick is to buy a few sections of barricades to hide behind, leaving pipeline to your back, so it doesn't go boom.
  • Haemotrope Reactor: Comes in pairs for 40 points. You use these to buff certain nearby units and fortifications in a similar way to Promethium Relay pipes above. Firstly, any model armed with a Plasma Weapon (as defined in the BRB) can get the Blast rule or upgrade their existing blast template to Large Blast. This potentially turns Plasma Devastator squads into unholy dischargers of hot steamy wickedness. The Lion's Roar just became a god-gun. Note that this does not remove other rules on any given plasma weapon. As such, a plasma gun is now a rapid-fire plasma cannon, a combi-plasma gun will make MEQs shit themselves and the oft-hated plasma pistol is now a 12" assault plasma cannon. Let that sink in for a minute. However, if they do so their weapons Get Hot! on a roll of 1 or 2, so unless you can pair it up with some sort of reroll (or removing Gets Hot! entirely) you're likely to melt your own face off eventually.
    • In addition, any Plasma Obliterator within 6" of two or more Reactors (or is connected to them via Promethium Relays) gets to increase its strength to S8, ALSO any Void Shield generator within the same range or connection gets to reroll the dice when regenerating lost shields.
      • The problem with this is that unless you're playing certain missions or multiple CADs, you don't have enough fortification slots to take the reactors as well as a Plasma Obliterator/Void Shield as well as Promethium Pipes. The current trend of "decurion" formations also tends to neglect the existence of fortifications as part of army selection. So unless new fortification formations come into play soon, squeezing all of these into your army must be left to Unbound Players of 40k. (Ex. Iron Warriors Grand Company allows some...lots).
      • Players of 30k using the "Castellan Force" Organisation chart or the "Garrison Detachment" do not suffer this problem, since they have multiple fortifications available.

Race specific[edit]

  • Honoured Imperium: Ok, no. While it might be nice to place a giant statue or church rubble and receive Stubborn for your Imperial Forces (actually the statue gives Fearless to models in 2" as per the 'Imperial Statuary' rule, so it gets interesting for blobs), think about your choice. If you are playing Xenos or Chaos well, just skip this thing... For your ONE fortification choice, you would take one statue that CANNOT fire back over fortifications THAT CAN FIRE BACK! And while fearless is nice for guard, units have to be within 2 inches to even benefit from the Stubborn rule. Best used with gun-line guard and even then you will have the problem of blast templates. You do get a 3+ cover save if behind the fortification, but chances are you are using the giant statue that breaks LOS making the cover save basically unnecessary. Use your points on a Commissar. If you are truly wanting to use this fortification, then go all in and get the Imperial Strongpoint. In fact, if you want Stubborn, get a Commissar!
    • This might be slightly useful with vehicles, if you have a predator positioned just right that you don't ever plan on moving for example, otherwise you will never use this cover save ever. Fuck everything- park a Baneblade behind it and laugh maniacally.
  • Tomb Citadel (Forge World) - Broken. Stupidly so. Two AV14 Structures, killed on a 5+ with a penetrating hit. One has Eternity Gate and Scarab Hive, the other gives everything (including the structures and emplacements) on it a 3++ invulnerable (does not specify Necron Units), and all Necron units on it a re-roll to RP of 1. This is ridiculous considering it is nearly 2x2 foot, so you can now reliably bunker down and NEVER DIE. It can have emplacements (up to 2) with Skyfire and Interceptor - Twin-linked Tesla Destructor for 65pts, or Gauss Exterminator for 100pts. The Fortification without the upgrades (and it can have Comms Relay for 20pts) is 300 POINTS. Give your Warriors a Lord with Resurrection Orb, stick them on here, and THEY WILL NEVER DIE.For maximum cheese bring the lawbringer phalanx formation, give the praetorians particle casters, then stick a lord with as res orb in each unit. be ready to catch your models as your opponent flips the table in response to your 2+ REANIMATION, RE-ROLLING ONES!!!(Sorry, new codex says RP can never be better than a 4+) remember, this thing is 2x2 feet so you can reach a pretty large area even with the praetorians crappy 12 inch range.It's important to note for only 200 more points, you can bring a second one. A Tomb Fortress is only 500 points, offers you a second Power Crucible, which means if for some reason the enemy wants to remove the 3++ effect, they have to burn through both of them to do so. 2 Eternity Gates. 2 Scarab Hives. It's madness for only 200 more. And then finally of course, there's the City of the Dead, but at 1500 points, you won't be bringing it at sub-5000 games. Still a fun version though, since you deploy the City anywhere on the field, oh and that whole 4x4 Fortification is considered your deployment zone. Trolltastic. Also notable for being the only *stationary* fortification so far that isn't affiliated with the Imperium somehow.

Formations of Fortifications[edit]

  • Imperial Strongpoint:
    • Can't decide whether you want the Imperial Bastion or Aegis Defense Line? Why not take both. With the Stronghold Assault expansion, you can take both and more. For just one Fortification slot, you get a required Aegis Defense Line, an Imperial Bastion, an optional Skyshield Landing Pad, optional Honoured Imperium, and options to include more of the listed. For IG gunline armies, this is beautiful. This is basically the poor man's Fortress of Redemption. The major problem though is IG ballistic skill. With all this heavy ordnance, you want to get as many Vets as possible to man these guns. Also, don't expect to move that far. With most of your cover and weapons unmovable, you will just have to wait for the enemy to reach you.
  • Wall of Martyrs Defence Network:
    • Do you like your entire deployment zone to be filled with imperial trenches? If so, this is the formation for you. 1-3 bunkers, 1-4 defence emplacements, 1-4 lines, 0-2 batteries, and 0-2 firestorms (take this with Imperial Fists and/or Death Korps for fluff overload).
  • Void Relay Network:
    • Formation of 1-3 pipelines, 1-3 void shield generators and 0-1 imperial statue. This is for you if you like safe gun lining with lots of torrent flamers.