Warhammer 40’000 8th Edition: A Bloody Battle Report(ish)

Greetings all,

So today (Sunday 18th June, which is now most definitely in the past) I played my first game of 8th edition and I figured I’d do a quick battle report, well, more of a battle synopsis really. We decided to go for a classic game of 1500 points.

The Armies

Chaos Daemons and Chaos Space Marines

It had to be the heretics for me. Although I used far less true-scaler’s than I was originally going to.

I went for a Battalion Detachment that consisted of:

x2 Bloodthirsters (1 Insensate Rage & 1 Unfettered Fury)

x1 Renegade Knight (Avenger Gatling Cannon & Reaper Chainsword)

x10 Bloodletters

x10 Plague Bearers

x10 Cultists

x5 Raptors (Pair of Lightning Claws and two meltaguns)

My opponent James went for:

Necrons

Overlord

Cryptek

x10 Deathmarks

x12 Necron Warriors

x10 Warriors

x10 Immortals

x2 Triarch Stalkers

x1 Monolith

The mission was Only War with four objective markers and we had to hold the markers to gain VP. Deployment was your standard Dawn of War on a ruined industrial table.

I kept my Raptors in reserve, as did James with his Deathmarks.

Turn 1

The Necrons awoke quick sharp to the sound of roaring monstrosities, taking first turn James wasted no time in moving forwards with his warriors and Triarch’s to fire all hell in to the towering Renegade Knight. Under a blistering weight of firepower it lost several wounds. The potency of the new wound chart was not lost on me, as it allowed the Immortals strength five weapons to cause a surprising number of wounds.

The towering Bloodthirsters on each of my flanks beat their mighty wings and took to the sky, making full use of their 12” move to get as close to James’ line as possible. The Knight loped forwards. As did my Bloodletters, while the Plaguebearers and Cultists caressed their sweet objectives (Knight face masks, as my Knight was bereft of one). I opted to bring my Raptors on at the end of my movement behind James’ Necron warriors on my right flank, this I was to learn, was a colossal error. No sooner than the Raptors taloned boots touched the rubble a unit of Deathmarks materialised next to them, in a spectacular out of turn sequence they head shot disintegrated four of the Raptor squad. On a roll of a 6 to wound the Deathmark’s weapons cause an additional Mortal Wound. The Raptor champion proceeded to take several armour saves, of which he failed more than enough and so my only reserve unit evaporated in their own movement phase! Note to self, Deathmarks are king-shit. Bring on reserves after they have entered play. The Knight charged forward, revved it’s Reaper Chainsword and found that when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object, in this case a Triarch Stalker, not much happens.

Although, like James, I controlled two objectives, so the score was still 2 – 2.

Turn 2

As the (Raptor) dust settled the Deathmarks prepared to fire all hell in to the approaching Knight. My fear levels shot up, as I realised they were in rapid fire range and so could do a staggering amount of damage to the war engine. The ‘Crons advanced and blew chunks of the Knight away, by this point it was rattling forward with only a few wounds left. My grey Bloodthirster, who we’ll call Ash’anhar, bellowed as Gauss weaponry reflected off his Daemonic visage. While my red Bloodthirster, who we’ll name Impotentus, took several wounds from the nearby Monolith and Warriors.

James continued to bag his objectives 4 – 2 to the ‘Crons.

Ash’anhar’s blood boiled at the deaths of his post human slaves. He soared forwards, ignoring the lesser warriors beneath him and surged toward the Deathmarks. While on the left, Impotentus charged the other Triarch.

NB Triarch Stalkers have something called Quantum Shielding. It. Is. Insanely. Effective.

Impotentus managed to shear a few layers of metal off a Triarch Stalker. However the beast, the myth, the legend, Ash’anhar, slew a few Deathmarks’ and consolidated in to the Necron Warriors that he had casually charged past. The Knight went after less survivable prey and stomped a unit of Immortals in to the dirt. Morale plays an important role in 8th and entire units can evaporate if you’re not careful. The way it works also encourages you to focus your firepower on one unit, as the negative modifier is how many casualties a unit has suffered in that turn.

Turn 3

The Necrons pulled back thanks to the new fall back rules, however as you cannot shoot when you fall back Jame’s shooting was greatly diminished. He still managed to fell the Knight, it fell to the ground oddly silent. While Impotentus took yet more wounds, by this point he was down to 4 wounds and was rocking a somewhat pathetic 2 attacks. I will say this, he was a good fire magnet. That is all. Ashanhar remained locked in combat with the Deathmarks, who fell bitterly to his great axe.

The Bloodletters loped past the ruined Knight and sprinted toward the Necron Overl… no wait, in an unheard of moment of tactical clarity, the Bloodletters ran for the objective in the center of the board.

NB At this point in my write-up I’ve lost track of the score, however I do remember the result!

Ash’anhar having obliterated the, frankly terrifying Deathmarks, charged and proceeded tonbatter the Triarch stalker that the Knight had failed to harm, he tore each of its legs off and severed the rider in two with savage ease.

Turn 4

The Necrons retaliated and blew the Bloodletters of their objective, with the Overlord sweeping in to kill a couple. Combined fire from the Monolith and the Warriors felled Impotentus, a name aptly earned as his kill tally was two Necron Warriors, of which both got back up! The warriors that Ash’anhar had largely ignored on the right flank advanced towards the Cultists. However the subservient humans simply scattered behind an old munitorum crate out of sight. Ash’anhar took a few wounds, yet remained fairly unscathed.

By this point my army was technically in tatters, however I’d doggedly hounded the objectives and continued to charge in to combat at every opportunity. This had the impact of drastically reducing the Necrons firepower.

Turn 5

The Overlord charged forwards and with the combined firepower of the Monolith he tore apart the unit of Plaguebearers’ that had been steadily reaping me a harvest of victory points. I imagine that the site they had claimed was a foul smelling warped mess (not that the Overlord could smell anything mind).

At the start of my turn 5 we called it a game, the Daemonic forces of Chaos had scored a crushing victory.

11 – 5 in favour of the Dark Gods.

End Game

That said, the only units that James had lost were the Deathmarks’ and one Triarch Stalker. Whereas my force was bloodied and battered, having lost a Bloodthirster, a Renegade Knight, one unit of Bloodletters and one unit of Plaguebearers! My win really came down to the fact that I focussed all my efforts on to claiming objectives. The notable highlight being when the Bloodletters advanced on to an objective, rather than charge the Overlord.

MVD (Most Valuable Daemon) for me had to be Ash’anhar, he took a lot of damage and stayed in the thick of the fight for the whole game, plus he destroyed two units. Which accounted for the sum total of units my army destroyed!

Greater Daemon of Khorne

Ash’anhar, yep, he’s still WIP despite it having been months since I started painting him!

MVA (Most Valuable Automaton) for the Necrons has to go to the Deathmarks. They blew away the Raptors, stripped a shed load of wounds off the Knight and even survived a round of combat with the Ash’anhar.

It was a cracking game and James has threatened my heretics with his Tau for our next encounter. Speaking of, next time I’ll take some snaps of the battle, I’d just rather have pictures when more of the board is painted, along with my army. Perhaps I’ll just keep it black and white till it’s all ready.

Cheers all, have a great one.

Ed

Warhammer 40’000 8th Edition: A Heretic’s Overview

Greetings all,

The Warhammer Community site has had some ace articles, recently their focus has rightly been on 8th edition and now the rules have hit, I think it’s time we looked at what 40k is now.

First off, seventh edition is ace, if you’re playing 30k that is. The Forgeworld lists compliment seventh’s rules and it is a shockingly balanced system. I mainly play Heresy and I have two active armies, my Night Lords and their less bastardly yet more nefarious brothers, the Alpha Legion.

I rarely play seventh 40k as the system is incredibly imbalanced. The trouble is that there are a number of units that just outperform other units to such a degree that there is no point taking certain entries. Wraith Knight, I am looking at you with death in my eyes. Gargantuan Monstrous Creatures are insane, they’re are such bastards of colossal proportions that I had nightmares about them before I knew they existed.

That said I’m not here to rant and I have played some bloody good games of 40k in seventh, they just required a number of gentleman’s agreements beforehand.

So what is 8th?

Well 8th edition is the lovechild of 40k in it’s glorious 3.5 edition and Age of Sigmar and this is a damn good thing. The rules are deceptively simple, around 8 pages gives you the basics, that and a few datasheets and you’ll be detonating mass reactive bolt rounds in to the faces of  the Imperial dogs in no time.

Movement and maneuvering is going to become an art form. Movement values are back, those badass Cataphractii, well they’re still hard as nails. Hell, they have 2 wounds apiece now. They’re sat on a move value of 5” though, so you’re going to be some kind of hero if you try foot slogging them across the board. Whereas Eldar troops predominantly have movement 7”, those filthy Xenos will be dashing across the battlefield in the blink of a third eye. Another major change is that you can now assault from transports, just only if the transport hasn’t moved. So thinking one turn ahead with the placement of your forces is vital.

Another major change is that it looks like units arriving from reserve can assault the turn they arrive, they can even be placed without scatter now. The caveat though is that reserves cannot be placed closer than 9” away, so a charge of 2d6 makes it a gamble of long odds that your dangerously close unit will make it in. Again, this adds to the maneuvering and emphasis on careful deployment of your army. Sure you could Deepstrike a unit of Assault Marines in, get lucky and charge a Chaos Terminator squad, strike first (as that’s how chargers roll now) and hell, let’s say you decimate several of them. Well done, you sir are a consummate badass. Now it’s your opponents turn. The Chaos Terminators fall back. A squad of Chosen disembarks from the Rhino to your left hefting Chainswords. The one to your right opens up and out charge a squad of Berserkers, followed closely by a hulking Marine clad in baroque armour. A world of hurt is just a couple phases away. You realise that your Assault Marines have been lured in to a trap. Shit just got real. Good thing you have some Predators rolling up, lets hope those canons are packing some serious firepower.

Chaos Space Marine

I threw a couple World Eaters together like Eternal Hunt had.

Speaking of, armour piercing is now back to modifying an armour save, rather than just flat out ignoring it. Which is ace, as now the weapons you arm your awesome models with involves a greater degree of thought (at least I think so). Whereas before the option of Powerfist vs Power Axe was somewhat of a no brainer (unless you were seriously running low on points), now each weapon has a slightly different advantage. Do you want more attacks? A sharper blade to slice through armour? Maybe something weighty to bludgeon your enemies with? Dual wielding? Or a pistol to blam your adversary in the face, because your blade is too good for that gutter trash’s blood? Well the options are there, which is ace. Even the Chainsword has it’s own benefit, it generates an additional attack. Which is ace, as having a pistol and combat weapon no longer gives you the bonus attack in combat. So often you’ll be relying on your profile.

Profile’s are rather different from 7th, I won’t go in to them in detail. Basically WS and BS are straight up dice rolls. Initiative doesn’t exist, if you want to strike first then attach bayonets and chargle like the lad King you were born to be. Leadership is now absolutely vital, as morale checks cause you’re hard as nails Marine’s to flee off the board (most likely to join the eight fold path). Even And They Shall Know No Fear has become a ‘re-roll failed Morale checks’, so still insanely useful, just not the powerhouse of 7th.

Chaos Space Marine True-Scale

Right, I’m going to call it a day there. My first game of 8th edition should be tomorrow (Sunday 18th June, which at the time of publishing is now today!). I’ll be bringing my True-Scale heretics out to slay some filthy Xenos and there may well be some lapdogs of the False Emperor too. So I shall try and jot some notes down and report back in the week.

Have a great one all.

Ed

Warhammer 40’000: 8th Edition: 1 Minute to Midnight

Greetings all,

I know, I’m as irregular posting as the public transport in London is at running on time (to those not native to this smog filled Capital, the chances of public transport running on time is incredibly slim).

Still, a new edition of 40K is enough to stir me from my own insular world. Now I’m sure that there is going to be a lot of information on the net. So I figure I’ll not regurgitate what’s been said, instead here’s my stance:

Sweet, new Marines! Awesome, more Chaos! A stream lined ruleset, hells yeah. Guillaman, our spiritual liege and some random Adeptus Mechanicus dude (who is 10,000 years old!) redefining the entire way the Imperium functions and improving upon the genetic handiwork of a man-God who has literally been called the Master of Mankind… yeah, um alright.

Primatrs Space Marine

Hyper post-human Astartes badass

I am a GW fan boy, I freely admit it and I do mean fan in its literal sense. I am fanatical about my adoration of GW. Anyone that’s perused this blog will no doubt have seen my scrawlings, as I attempt to emulate authors like Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Dan Abnett, Graham McNeill and Simon Spurrier (author of Lord of the Night, a Night Lords novel that was a cracking read and the reason I have converted the protagonist Zso Sahaal more than a few times). So I’ll try to be objective, however my adoration of the plastic crackorium means I’ll always have a positive bias.

I really like the new Astartes, I think the models are pretty ace. Mark X armour is not my favourite, however it combines elements of 30K and 40K armour in a pleasing manner. The Bolt Rifle will never replace the glorious Boltgun, however it is a perfectly acceptable weapon and fits the aesthetic of an Astartes firearm. Admittedly the Inceptor’s aren’t my cup of tea, the jump pack cowl, the exoskeleton and the gun shields just don’t do it for me. I’m afraid to say that the Gravis armoured Captain also does nothing for me. I like the concept of a cross between power armour and terminator armour, however I sort of feel like that bridge is gapped by the Tartaros Terminator pattern armour. That said the Intercessor and Hellblaster squads, along with power armoured command are awesome. I feel like they’ve nailed some of the poses as well. You really get the sense that these Marines are striding through battle, unleashing salvo after salvo of mass reactive bolt rounds in to the midst of the, misunderstood heroes of the Imperium, traitorous filth.

It just bugs the hell out of me that these hyper post-humans are superior to their Astartes counterparts in (as far as we know) every way. I can get over Roboute Guillaman being the architect of this new horizon. I’m willing to accept Cawl as the Mechanicum Messiah, dude has serious skills. I just don’t like the idea that in a galaxy where technological advancement for humans has stagnated, that this one guy (perhaps with the help of a few assistants) has absolutely smashed his way through biological and technical advancements. Of which this sort of flies in the face of the Emperor’s commands, basically, don’t f%*k with Astartes genetics. Instead Cawl not only has a dabble with Astartes genetics, he apparently improves upon it in every way. Now sure, we know that Astartes are not the pinnacle of humanity’s genetic perfection, that award goes to the Custodes. We also know that the brutal precursors to the Astartes, the Thunder Warriors, were superior in the sense of their raw brutality, however they were genetically unstable and that’s what I wish the Primaris Marines were; genetically unstable in some way, flawed, defective, whatever, just something that makes them both greater and less than their Astartes counterparts. Hell, if they were a resurrection of the Thunder Warrior programme in humanity’s darkest hour that would be awesome. Instead we have the superior superior Astartes. Alright, rant over. I just feel like it was a small misstep in an otherwise awesome narrative. The Dark Imperium sounds awesome and I’m totally on board this Great Rift that divides the stars, the grim dark of the far future just got a whole lot darker and that will undoubtedly be the catalyst for yet more amazing stories.

Side note, I’ll be interested to see how the scale of a Primaris marine stands next to a True Scale marine. Of course I didn’t want to lose my super special unique True Scale snowflakes, however then I realised that this is potentially an amazing resource of scaled components. Definitely a win right there!

I’ve heard a fair few ramblings that Primaris Marines are the beginning of the end of the 28mm Marines that we know and hoard. My guess is, perhaps, maybe in a year, five or ten. Perhaps this is the beginning of all Marines being upscaled. Yep, even the heretics, as hilariously there have been hints that the Primaris Marines are resistant but not immune to the predations of Chaos. Which I think is a phenomenal caveat:

 

Guillaman: I want Astartes but I want them bigger.

Cawl: Done.

Guillaman: Stronger?

Cawl: Check.

Guillaman: Smarter?

Cawl: You betch’ya.

Guillaman: Better weaponry? More organs? The ability to genetically alter existing Astartes to make them hyper post-Astartes?

Cawl: Nailed it.

Guillaman: Incorruptible?

Cawl: Hm?

Guillaman: You did make them immune to the temptations of the dark pantheon?

Cawl: Have any of them turned traitor?

Guillman: Not to my knowledge?

Cawl: Then yes. They are 100% incorruptible. Now I think I left something on in my laboratory, or as I call it, the Cawlatorium.

Guillaman: Good enough for me.

 

On that note, I feel I’ve shoved enough words on to the net. I’m looking forward to 8th edition, I’ve been so hard for Heresy that it will be great to game in the grim darkness of the slightly further than far future.

Have a great one all.

Ed

Disclaimer: The pictures in this article are not mine and are for entertainment purposes only, to help illustrate the awesomeness of post-humans in advanced power armour.

The Daemon’s in the Details

Greetings all,

Shock horror it’s been an age since I last posted. I was never the most regular of bloggers but my last post was way back in November 2016! I haven’t even posted that Inquisition short story up that I finished last year. Yes, shake your head in shame at me, I deserve it.
So what do I have for you today. Well I’ve not been completely idle, I actually cracked opened a few paint pots over Christmas. Here are a couple sort of WIP shots. They’re basically done (tabletop standard I’d say but I’m too lazy to go much further, haha).

BloodthirsterThey’re all stock models, accept for a weapon swap on the crimson’Thirster, because two axes is hardcore and vastly easier to transport than the whip. Oddly I felt like painting over the winter and I figured I’d work on some solid centre piece models. The paint jobs were quick and dirty. I’m talking a dry brush spectacular with plenty of washes to cover up some filthy painting.

Sweet, well I’ve finally smashed out my first post of 2017. I’ll try and work myself up to the glory days of two posts a month but let’s face it, I ain’t no hero, haha.

Have a great one all,

Ed

P.S. I will base them all, really, I will.

Change is in the Air: Updated

Morning all,

Most days I check Faeit212, as I like to keep up to date on the hobby. This morning I was stunned to see the Thousand Sons leaks. It looks like the automatons in blue are getting the army treatment and they look stunning. I believe the links are thanks to War of Sigmar and The Eldar Thoughts.

I’m not going to repost all the pictures here, as the links above will take you to all the regal blue glory you need. However, I will post my favourite of the leaks…


First off the above Terminators look stunning, just the right amount of ornate gilding and custom decals. Whereas the trio pack of sorcerers, though nice, are a bit cluttered in my opinion. One of the serious draws about this unit for me is that they look like they would fit perfectly in to a Heresy army. We won’t know what unique units the Thousand Sons will have access to until Forgeworlds Horus Heresy book seven arrives but until then you could easily use this unit as a generic terminator squad. There is also the benefit of mixing weapon options from the Terminators included in the Burning of Prospero set (and accessories if this new kit contains spare heads and the like).

Overall I think this is a cracking release and though I already have far too many projects on the go I will definitely have a small Thousand Sons force. Sidenote – those Terminators will make my True-Scale Thousand Sons force an absolute doddle now! I mentioned a while back that Grey Knight True-Scalers were the easiest to make, while I think that is still true (thanks to the weapon options), Thousand Sons now take second place as the easiest True-Scale space marines to convert.

Till next time all,

Ed

Update: Rather than write a fresh post I thought I’d mention a few further bits on here. GW have uploaded the full pictures of the Thousand Sons release on the Warhammer Community site. I’m quite new to their site, having only recently bookmarked it, but it’s pretty ace for official news.

One picture of theirs I found particularly interesting…

I have a hunch that 40k marines are being up-scaled. The 32mm bases were the first subtle sign, then the Deathwatch release gave us marginally larger marines. At first I was willing to put this down to the revamped MkVIII Errant armour they wore, however now, seeing 30k Ahriman next to his new 40k variant, I think we’re seeing a deliberate shift in scale.

This makes sense if 3ok is the ‘Legion’ wars, after all many smaller scales are used to represent larger grander battles. Whereas traditionally larger scales focus on more heroic conflicts fought by individuals. Now 32mm is not a huge shift but it would make marines scale up better against humans and Eldar, far closer to how they are portrayed in the narrative than the current models do. Which is not such an issue with 30k, as the conflict is a civil war and so most of the armies are power armoured.

Of course, I could be completely off the mark and Ahriman is simply larger because he is a centre piece model. Time will tell…

Rise Together: Genestealer Cult Codex Review

Greetings all,

A little later than I thought it would be, nothing new there, but here’s a review of the recent Genestealer Cult Codex.

Overview

Right on the armoured heels of Deathwatch we have the insidious Xenos menace of the Genestealer Cult. The Codex is pretty gorgeous it must be said and is filled with some great artwork, as usual the book is well bound and feels sturdy; which is a good thing, as I can see this Codex being damn popular.

For those who are shady on the details, the Genestealer Cult has been in the narrative of the Warhammer 40’000 universe for some time, they’ve just never received this sort of attention before, making them a stand-alone fully playable race with dedicated plastic models. The age we live in. The Cult is an offshoot of the Xenos race known as the Tyranids, which we shall look into a bit further below.

genestealer-overkill

The Narrative

The Tyranids are an alien race in the purest sense; able to traverse the void in huge bio-form ships and bound by a hive mind consciousness.  The Tyranids purpose is to consume all matter in the universe and currently the various hives seem driven toward the Sol System (where Terra and the Carrion God reside).

The vanguard of the Tyranid Hive Fleets are often made up of the Genestealers, they are ferocious predators in their own right but individually they present a small threat, one even an Imperial Guard platoon could take care of, probably with the words ‘first line fire’, thrown in for good measure. However the Genestealer can infect a human (or any biological race technically) with its DNA, this process serves a dual purpose; first to taint the host and second to instil loyalty to the Xenos.  The first Genestealer to perform this vile intrusion on a planet will begin to evolve in to a Patriarch, the alpha of its kind, and will be venerated by those infected with its DNA. When the infected procreate the progeny that follow will be hybrids of the host race and the Tyranids.  At this point I should mention that the Codex has a great two page spread that illustrates the generation cycle from the first of those infected, their mutated offspring to the fourth generation that look almost identical to the host race and how the cycle begins anew with the fifth generation being pure strain Genestealers.

So that’s the rough overview of what the Genestealer Cult is, a hybridised sub race of the Tyranids formed from a parasitic-like bond with a host race. The reason for this is so that a Cult can infiltrate a planet and eventually destabilise it, making it easy prey for the real threat, the Tyranid Hive Fleet. What happens to the Cult once they have achieved their purpose, when the old regime has been toppled, the Imperial Eagle smashed upon the ground and in its place flies the banner of the Wyrm devouring itself. The adulation of the baying hybrid’s roars ascend in to the sky, even as more bio-organic spores descend on to the planet. Well, now the Tyranids turn upon their temporary allies and devour them, their purpose is done and so generations of hybrids that worshipped the Tyranids are consumed, nothing more than biomass for the Xenos creatures. Quite tragic really, what’s worse are the brief tales the Codex gives us of the people that voluntarily venerate the many limbed Star Gods, how could they possibly know that though the Cult preach salvation will be had once the Star Gods arrive, that they in fact know nothing of the Tyranids true purpose to consume all life.

neophytes-2

The Rules

Units wise you have the following:

HQ

Patriarch – Fast and hard hitting, this thing will tear through Astartes.

Magus – He’ll get torn apart in combat but the Broodmind psychic powers are excellent.

Primus – Half decent in combat and provides Hatred to his unit.

Acolyte Iconward – Similar to the Primus, adds to the FNP of units within 12”.

Troops

Acolyte Hybrids – First and second generation hybrids, rending in combat with 4 attacks each on the charge, dirt cheap as well!

Neophyte Hybrids – The mainstay of the army, plenty of small arms weaponry. They can have a nice mixture of short to medium range gear and some interesting heavy weapon choices.

Elites

Hybrid Metamorphs – Like the Acolytes but even nastier in combat for barely any extra points.

Purestrain Genestealers – Say hello to a five plus invulnerable save and the army wide rule can be pretty nice for getting these chaps in close to the enemy.

Aberrants – An odd unit, in theory they should dish out some punishment. However they only have a 5+ save; even with 2 wounds and FNP they’re not all that resilient.

Fast Attack

Chimera – One of the most glorious transports, basically identical to the Imperial Guard variant.

Armoured Sentinel – Cheap armoured support, only BS 3 so perhaps go for broke and take Plasma Cannons on them for heavy infantry liquidation.

Scout Sentinel – Cheaper than their armoured cousins but a strong gust of wind can take these lads down, only take these if you’re including a lot of them and even then expect early losses.

Goliath Truck – A gloriously cheap open top transport (so an assault vehicle), however it explicitly states no Genestealer Purestrains or a Patriarch can ride in it (though they could hop in the Chimera, not a lot of point in that but they could).

Heavy Support

Goliath Rockgrinder  – A sturdier version of the truck, this one’s a tank with some fairly good ramming capability. Lower transport capacity (6 as opposed to 10) with fairly ‘meh’ ranged weaponry (though mildly better than the truck).

Leman Russ Squadron – The armour of choice, although less variants in this list: no Demolisher, Punisher or Plasma spewing variant. Still, a solid choice for firepower in a very close ranged army.

goliath

The army wide rule is what really sets this force apart; these are Cult Ambush and Return to the Shadows. These rules apply to all of your infantry, including the characters. Cult Ambush allows your unit to arrive from reserve (or if they have infiltrate) using the Ambush table. To do this you roll a D6 and consult the chart for each unit arriving in this way:

1 – Enjoy coming on from your own table edge (not so bad thanks to Return to the Shadows and could be useful anyway).

2 – Basically Outlank, which is a good thing.

3 – Set up the unit anywhere up to 9” away from an enemy unit, or up to 6” if no enemy unit can see them.

4 – Set up the unit anywhere up to 6” away, regardless of if the enemy can see them.

5 – Same as 4 except you get to make a bonus shooting attack with the unit, as if it were the shooting phase and you can still shoot in the shooting phase!

6 – Set up anywhere up to 3” away from an enemy unit and you can charge that turn!

As you can see this table is pretty phenomenal for allowing you to dominate the table strategically. It should be noted that these units will need to dish out the hurt because this is an army of 5+ saves, even Ork firepower could see them off in swift order.

This brings me on to Return to the Shadows, in the movement phase, as long as said infantry unit did not arrive from reserve that turn and is not within 6” of an enemy they can be taken off the board and placed in to Ongoing Reserve. They could then arrive next turn using the Cult Ambush table if you wished (which let’s face it, is probably a solid option).

I have to say I really like how this army can play and the first thing that my best mate said was ‘wow, they’d be perfect for an Alpha Legion counts as’, which I definitely agree with. Stick an Astartes with cut down power armour in as your Patriarch, have your Hybrids as mutants and your Neophytes as cultists, job done. This army really works for general rebellious themes as well, not to detract from the awesomeness of the Genestealer Cult, but you could have a Fallen leading them or an Imperial uprising led by a Primus (modelled as a disgruntled General, Governor, etc). A Tzeentchian Cult would be an interesting take as well, grab those Tzangors from Silver Tower as your Hybrids, the Ogroid would make a cracking Patriarch, with the Gaunt Summoner as your Magus. Such possibilities…

However, back to the true Cult, this is not an army for beginners. The flexibility of the Cult Ambush rule is counter balanced by poor armour saves across the board and moderate armoured support. This list would definitely function better if taken as hordes of infantry with some armour; otherwise it may as well be an Imperial Guard list. That said, Tyranids are not your only Allies of Convenience, you can ally with Imperial Guard as AofC as well; this opens up your list building options a lot if you like to take allies.

The relics are alright, there are some fun ones but from a competitive stance I would always opt for the Crouchling, a unique familiar that gives you the two additional S4 rending attacks in combat but more importantly allows you to generate one additional psychic power.

broodcoven

Speaking of, the Broodmind psychic powers are pretty ace, some highlights are: the Primaris Mass Hypnosis a malediction that reduces a units WS, BS, I and A by 1; Psychic Stimulus WC 1 unit gains Relentless, Fleet and can charge even if it ran; Might from Beyond unit gains +1 S in combat and gains Rage; Mind Control WC 2 where you can target an enemy non-vehicle unit (Focussed Witchfire, so only one model) and have them/it shoot at a different target of your choosing. Oh and there’s one where you can summon more units on to the board, so pretty nasty really. I know the summoning of units is a pretty controversial topic but in casual games you’re unlike to summon more than one or two units successfully.

The Codex contains a few Imperial mining tools that have been repurposed as weaponry which is a really ace touch and I like how the mining gear of the Imperium has been designed to blend in with the Tyranids ridged carapace armour.

There are some good formations however I shan’t go in to detail as I’m almost at the 2000 word mark. There are two of particular note though: Subterranean Uprising, which consists of infantry and a Primus (compulsory Metamorphs and Acolytes, the first and second generation cultists). The benefit is that you may roll two dice and pick the result on the Cult Ambush table and the unit with the Primus may roll three dice and pick the result! Then there’s the Doting Throng, basically a Magus with a bunch of Neophytes and/or Acolytes. Units within 12” of the Magus gain Frenzy and the unit with the Magus in can re-roll to hits in combat every round. Also, Blessing powers from the Magus that target units from this formation can be re-rolled if the test was failed.

Overall this is a great Codex; the art is ace, the narrative very enjoyable and the rules offer a refreshing take that should be fun to play with and an absolute mindbender to fight against!

Have an ace one all.

Ed

Quick disclaimer, the photo’s are from the Games Workshop website and are used solely for illustrative purposes to provide a bit of colour to an otherwise word ridden review!

The Watch Has Just Begun: Deathwatch Codex Review

Greetings all,

Well, it’s been a while. You can thank life for that. I still have that short story to share with you all, however I have done almost nought in the way of hobbying since my last post, so no story until it has some pictures to go with it (for those that have no interest in amateur fiction).

Enough! On to the review…

Overview

Codex Deathwatch is the latest in cut down army books that give you access to fewer options but just enough that it could be used as a force in its own right, unlike say Militarum Tempestus, which is fine as the Imperium of Mankind functions at its best when disparate elements work together (at least, if you’re willing to carry several Codex’s around to field all of the detachments you could use in a single force).

codex-deathwatch-cover

As always the high standards of GW’s printing press means you have a solid book on your hands, filled with some pretty cool pictures of post humans slaughtering vile aliens in their droves. The artwork does vary in style but overall its top notch, however the section beginning’ Knights of the Long Vigil’ I could happily do without. The basic 2D style of the marines and bland colours seems out of place in an otherwise excellent book. I feel like this section could have been done using the ‘Eavy Metal shots that appear a few pages later. Filler is what I would call the Vigil section. However, let’s not be unkind, some of us may well like this style, as it does present the Astartes in a clean uncluttered way for those that wish to look at the iconography on the Marines in detail.

The Narrative

In brief, the Deathwatch are made up of Space Marines from hundreds of Chapters to specifically fight the threat of aliens (or Xenos as they’re known), within and without the domain of mankind.  These marines are seconded to the Deathwatch for a variable length of time, until they return to their Chapter or more likely die in battle. They are not led by the Inquisition of the Ordo Xenos, though they do have such close goals that they fight/work together and bear the seal of the Inquisition where normally their Chapter symbol would be.

The book covers the lore well and from reading it you gain a good handle on who this force is and why they fight the way they do against the specific threat presented by Xenos races. There is a timeline (esque) section of battles fought, a map showing some of the main Deathwatch fortresses located within the various Segmentums, a breakdown of some of the different Chapters that make up the Deathwatch along with the narrative about the various positions within this faction (like Librarian).

One of my favourite pieces was about the Black Shields, Space Marines who have forsaken any past allegiance to permanently join the Death Watch. This is not a new thing, there are Black Shields in the Heresy that are similar, but this is a specific twist that could definitely be greeted with mixed reactions, here goes:

“Some may be the last of a Chapter all but destroyed in the line of duty. Others may be the last loyal warriors of a Chapter who have turned renegade, or even those legendary few lost in time – those who would be instantly executed were their former allegiance known.”

Now, I believe this is more in direct reference to the Fallen, the traitorous element of the Dark Angels. However, I prefer to think that some cacophonous Emperor’s Children could roll up to a Deathwatch fortress and the Watch Master would be like ‘well… you’re a loose cannon but you get results, switch out that armour with the writhing faces for this sleek black number and you’re in.’

deathwatch-logo

The Rules

Brass tacks now, units wise you have the following:

HQ

Watch Master

Watch Captain (no Captain Artemis, he’s in the Death Masque specific rules)

Chaplain

Librarian

Troops

Veterans

Elites

Terminators

Dreadnought (regular and venerable)

Vanguard Veterans (not a mistake, they are elites)

Fast Attack

Bikers

Rhino

Razorback

Drop Pod

Corvus Blackstar (the new flyer)

Heavy Support

Land Raider (regular, Redeemer and Crusader variants)

One of the main oddities of this force is that as the Deathwatch do not follow the Codex Astartes, the unit size of Vanguard Vets, Terminators and Bikers is one to five. That and the upgrades in the squad state ‘any model may choose one of the following’ for some of their options. So you could have a squad of Terminators consisting of just one Terminator and he could have an Assault Cannon, or feel free to have five Terminators in a squad, all with Cyclone Missile Launchers! Likewise with the Vanguard Veterans any of the squad can switch their weapons out for special weapons as well, including the devastating new Heavy Thunder Hammer.

Of quick note; Captain Artemis can be used in place of a Watch Captain however his rules are not in the Codex, they are in the Death Masque rules for what’s in the box. Shame but it’s done now. He is a fairly standard Watch Captain, however one of his best rules is that he carries a one use Stasis Bomb, if you hit it’s strength D. Bonus points if you have a stasis fight with Lukas the Trickster from the feral marines.

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Now in heroic 28mm scale for your 40K Xenos killing pleasure!

The Deathwatch also have a unique way of forming the army, this is by the way of Kill Teams (be the formations or part of the detachment to gain further army wide rules), interestingly you can have mixed squads working as one unit and you are pretty much covered however you want that unit to be made up. A perfect for instance:

Aquila Kill Team

  • 1 unit of Veterans
  • One or more choices in any combination from the following list:
  • Librarian
  • Terminators
  • Vanguard Veterans
  • Bikers

The above would form one unit (of no more than ten models excluding transports), they must stay as one unit (Librarian cannot leave, cannot combat squad) but they also benefit from the Aquilla doctrine ‘Non-vehicle models from this formation can re-roll any to wound rolls and armour penetration rolls of 1’. This is your base Kill Team that you can really customise to form specific battlefield functions.

You could…

Take one unit of vets with four Deathwatch Frag Canons, two terminators with Cyclone Missile Launchers and one Librarian with Divination (so that you get Prescience, re-roll to hit in combat and shooting). Then load said squad up in a Drop Pod, watch as first turn you can land next to a target and potentially dish out 8 strength 9 armour piercing 2 shots (if within 12”) from the Frag Canons and four strength 8 AP 3 missiles from the Cyclones; probably with a bucket load of re-rolls thanks to the Librarian and Aquilla Kill Team tactics. Keep the Terminators and Librarian in the middle of the squad so that the marines are the first to fall and you might even make combat with a couple of Power Fists and a Force Weapon. Sure it’s a few points but the damage output and flexibility of this squad is obscene, if used correctly with a bit of luck, and that’s just one squad!

The formation rules rack up pretty quickly, every type of Kill Team has their own variation and focus for what they are better at. The Malleus team has to have a couple of Thunder Hammers but you flat out get to re-roll to wound or armour penetration against your enemies’ heavy support (note that is still in combat or with your shooting as well).

Every Kill Team, barring the HQ and vehicle choices, must have a unit of Veterans as its minimum compulsory element. So if you are planning on playing the force using the detachment tree you would not be able to take a separate unit of Terminators on its own. However, you could take a regular army and still take most of the Kill Teams as their rules are included as standalone formations. It’s a minor point but it’s worth keeping in mind as effectively the detachment way of assembling a force means you will be taking a lot more Veteran Marines than you otherwise might.

I highly recommend having clear ways of telling your squads apart as it could be pretty easy to forget which team is which and this is an army where all your special rules can make a massive difference.

The army wide rule is Mission Tactics, which is basically more re-rolls in combat and shooting for your army. You pick it at the start of your first turn and can change it once in the battle (this can be increased), so really you should always be getting some kind of re-rolls for your units, making them damned accurate and devastating  at times.

Better get this out there quick though, no smash monster HQ for you, unless you get Endurance from Biomancy. There are no items of wargear or relics that give you Eternal Warrior, which I think is a good thing, for all this army has to offer it is not over powered. You pay the points and you get a highly flexible army were composition really matters. Every unit needs to over achieve and to do so you need to hit hard early on. Drop Pods and transports should be your go too.

Speaking of, the new flyer, the Corvus Blackstar:

Standard marine BS.

Armour value Front and Side 12, with 11 on the back (small arms mean squat to this bad boy), plus it has armoured ceramite. On top of that there’s an upgrade that lets you re-roll jink cover saves!

I don’t use Death from the skies but it has Pursuit 3, Agility 2 and is an Attack Flyer.

Armed with a Twin-Linked Assault Canon, Blackstar Cluster Launcher (Bomb 1 with either S4 AP6 Large Blast or Bomb 1 S5 AP 4 Blast, Ignores Cover) which you can switch for a Black star Rocket Launcher for 15 points (S6 AP4 Heavy D6 with Skyfire or S4 AP5 Heavy 1, Large Blast, Ignores Cover) and four Storm Strike Missiles.

Lastly, the Corvus has a transport capacity of twelve, can carry bikes and jump infantry is an assault vehicle and has multiple access points.

This flyer is obscene, base cost is 180 but it’s a solid all-rounder that should not go down quickly and it could be a really great way of getting your Vanguard Veterans in to combat if you play an assault heavy list. Alternatively the Corvus Blackstar is 70 points cheaper than a Land Raider Crusader, a Terminator squad with attached character/s could fit in it; or perhaps a Kill Team consisting of a Veteran squad, a couple Terminators and a character or two.

As I mentioned if army composition is an element of the game you enjoy, then this Codex really caters for you. It’s at its best when allied with regular Inquisiton (cheap versatile acolytes and access to the Chimera for medium strength ranged weapons) or the Imperial Guard, again for cheap infantry and more varied tanks. Of course you could use the Deathwatch on their own and there is plenty of scope for some mean lists.

A few last bits, as mentioned Vets can have several special or heavy weapons in one squad, this includes the new combi Heavy Bolter/Heavy Flamer (not one shot) and the awesome new Shotgun with three firing modes, crowd control at its finest! The Shotgun can be S4 AP- Assault 2 Shred, S4 AP 4 Assault 2, both ranged 16” or it can be S3 AP6 Assault 1… Template!

The Stalker Pattern Boltgun is a Heavy 2 AP5 SX Sniper weapon and you have special ammunition for almost all Bolt weaponry (excluding the Infernus Heavy Bolter) used by infantry.  I shan’t write them all down but you have your regular with some ignores cover, your poisoned 2+, an AP4 variant and even an AP3 variant that can get hot.

Ace new Xenophase Power Sword that’s AP3 and successful invulnerable saves against it must be re-rolled. Heavy Thunder Hammer that is strength 10! And to wound rolls of 6 have Instant Death!! They’re two handed and only Veterans and Vanguard Veterans can use them.

There are some cool relics, one stand out being the Beacon Angelis, basically at the start of the movement phase you may remove one friendly Deathwatch unit, then deep strike them next to the bearer once per game (bearing in mind you won’t scatter as you place the unit within 6” of the bearer).  This is an ace way of bringing a slow moving unit close to the enemy or providing fire support in overwhelming force. Probably best used on a character that has a decent bodyguard, Biomancy Librarian in a Terminator or Vanguard unit with Storm Shields, I am most definitely looking at you.

Right, that should do it for now. As you can tell I think this Codex is great, could there have been more in it, well yes but what it does it does nicely. We have ace new models (though bizarrely they are scaled up ever so slightly but noticeably when compared to regular Marines or Heresy Marines). The story of the Deathwatch is pretty cool and it is great to be able to field them as a viable force or ally on the table top. I know I will definitely have a force and this might spur me on to finish a few more of my true-scale Deathwatch as well; what with the Codex and ally system being so versatile I could easily have one of the Kill Teams in an Inquisition themed army. Decisions, decisions…

Have an ace one all.

Ed

P.S.

Genestealer Cult! Complete with multi-part Neophyte Cultists bedecked in Imperial mining gear, oh ho yes, I have plans for you my friends.

codex-genestealer-cult

I’ll more than likely be picking a copy up, so expect a review soon.

genestealer-neophytes

I have some -erherm- radical plans for these chaps. It’ll be great to see the community have at ’em.