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

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!

Be’lakor Needs You (or more appropriately, you need him)

photo

How does the Dark Master benefit your army?

  • He is the only Daemon Prince to come with Eternal Warrior (nice try S10). This is a big deal as though he costs a lot of points he is surprisingly survivable, which brings me on to…
  • He’s a flyer so he can jink for that sweet 4+ cover save (and in 7th ed he can jink even when he’s not swooping around the battlefield). Whoa! Hold on, we are by no means done here. He comes with Shrouded as standard because, well, he’s the shadow master. This buffs his cover save up to a hefty 2+ when he jinks. Just try taking this monster down when he’s swooping and jinks (opponents will only be able to snap shot and he’ll have his cover save).
  • We’re looking at a Lvl 3 psyker that comes with ALL the telepathy powers. Yep, you can be that guy. Just consider a flying survivable powerhouse who can cast invisibility on friendly units. Please note I did say ‘you can’, as in you could be the better man (unless you’re losing, in which case, use those special rules to pull it back!).
  • You’ve a 4++ when caught with ignores cover or when you’re in close combat, which isn’t great. However you’re S7 with fleshbane, armourbane and master crafted at AP2; which is truly boss when you consider Be’lakor rocks in at WS9, I8 with 5A. I think Master B makes a great tank hunter, you are tearing AV14 open on 7’s to glance (which is the average roll on two dice) and 8’s or above to penetrate. Bearing in mind you have 5 attacks with MC, most of the time you will hit with 4 attacks. Then you use the burning wreckage to bump your cover up without the need to jink or try and massacre out of line of sight (he’s not the biggest of Prince’s out there but damn is he cool).

Summary

Be’lakor is a monstrous flying character (so can challenge to pulp sergeants and squad leaders which will normally help lower the leadership of enemy squads, plus excess wounds roll over on to the squad anyway) that really rewards the tactical player. He’s a hefty investment in points however if used correctly to buff your army and take down high value targets he can more than make up his points. He can be an HQ in a Chaos Space Marine or Daemon army (I usually take Daemon allies; I really rate Plaguebearers) and with Imperial Armour 13 the forces of Chaos just got a massive expansion to their ranks.A risky but hilarious tactic could be to have a squadron of 3 Leman Russ tanks with Invisibility cast on them, if you want to be really evil make them all Demolisher variants and laugh as they trundle up the field blowing holes out of everything.

Are there downsides to Be’lakor, yes. Would I ever take a regular Prince over him (even just for fun), no. Mainly because I don’t like the idea of losing my 200+ Prince to one lucky instant death shot. I think there is a place for the generic Prince in a very carefully put together army and I would almost always take them from the Daemon Codex (but that’s post for another time).

Cool, well I hope this has been an enjoyable read.

Kind Regards,

E J Henries

NB These are my opinions based upon my gaming experiences