Friday, 6 December 2019


No one is comfortable about this but it had to be done
I know Chaos Space Marines just got a bunch of new material from the last campaign, Vigilus, but they still suck, yes it's awkward, but with the "Good Guys" getting a serious boost with their new codex and all their supplements, GW has to give the iconic bad guy something or they just look like the idiot henchmen from Inspector Gadget.

A 10 year old and a dog...C'mon guys.
However, after having a quick look through this book there are some things here that can really give us an edge.  The first thing I'm going to say, which is disappointing, is that none of the Legion Traits changed and its still only Characters, Infantry, Bikers, and Helbrutes that can benefit from them.  What they did get was a full set of Warlord Traits, Stratagems,  Relics, and a set of non legion specific Daemon Weapons although 4 of them are god specific.  Before we get into those we have a couple official printings of Malicious Volleys and Hateful Assault.  The former allowing you to "double tap" your rapid fire bolt weapons at full range if you are an infantry model that did not move that turn or all the time if you are a Biker, Terminator, or Helbrute, while the later gives +1A when a unit charges, is charged, or makes a heroic intervention.  Keep in mind, Hateful Assault does not have the same restrictions on who can use it so it's available to any unit with the Heretic Astartes keyword which is a nice little boost to Daemon Engines.

So lets start us off with the Daemon Weapons which all have the rule that you roll a D6 before you fight and if you roll a 1 you take a mortal wound and can't use this weapon.  The nice thing about these is that many can all also be taken by a Daemon Prince by replacing the appropriate weapon.

The first weapon is Q'D'AK and it replaces a power sword, helforged sword, or force sword on a Tzeentch model and is S user, Ap-3, d3D, and ignores invulnerable saves.  We all know what ignoring invulnerable saves can do (Death Hex), well now we don't have to rely on that sorcerer to be int he right place at the right time, or we can push opposite sides of the table with 2 ways to ignore those invulnerable saves.  Of course since the Thousand Sons Prince is still significantly better than a CSM Prince even with this weapon, I don't see it making a huge splash.

Next up we got the Rapacious Talons for a Slaanesh model that replaces a pair of lightning claws or malefic talons which is S user, Ap-2, D2, allows you to re-roll wound rolls, and grants you additional attacks equal to the roll for your Daemon Weapon ability, so 2-6.  I'm at odds with this one, on one hand it's awesome to have 6 extra attacks on my Prince that re-roll wound rolls, on the other hand, I don't get the +3 attacks that the malefic talons give me so I'm only getting more attacks 50% of the time and if I roll a 1 for the Daemon Weapon rule I don't have a back up weapon to make any attacks with which means I'm hitting with the basic stat line.

The 3rd weapon is Zaall, a sword for Khorne models that replaces a power sword or helforged sword and is Ap-5, 2D, and adds the result of the Daemon Weapon roll to the model's S.  So this one sounds really interesting, but only doing 2D makes it a little lacklustre even if you do get +6 S.  You're more likely to take a Daemon Prince from the Daemons book for the axe of titan killing.

Next in line is the Fist of Decay, a Nurgle replacement for a power fist with flat 3D and always wounds on a 2+.  I'm not sure why they give it a x2 S modifier if it always wounds on a 2+ though.  This one can not go on a prince, but it basically turns your Nurgle character into a Blood Angels Smash Captain.

Finally we got the Black Axe that is not dedicated to a particular god, maybe because no one wanted it.  It's got a stat line of a basic combat weapon but has the special rule that it deals mortal wounds on an unmodified 4+ to wound in addition to normal damage.  So you're looking at dealing 2 mortal wounds and that's about it.  If you can put it on a character that's guaranteed to get a mess of attacks it might be worth it, maybe a Flawless Host character with the Ultimate Confidence warlord trait.

There we have it, 5 new decent weapons to slap on your characters for busting heads.  The Nurgle fist is my top pick even if it can't go on a prince, with the talons coming in second.  On to the legions!

Let us pray...
First up we have the warlord traits and the first one they present us with is the Voice of Lorgar, which is the one that's currently in the CSM book, you get +3 inches to your aura abilities.  After checking the FAQ this extra 3" also applies to Prayers to the Dark Gods which is pretty amazing.

Exalted Possession is next and possibly the best of the 6, it gives your warlord the Possessed and Daemon keywords and +1 to S, A, and M.  Now it's not these bonuses on their own that make this one superb, although an extra A and S to a Prince with talons makes him S8 with 8A, which is a great set of stats for taking out marines.  It also pairs well with a stratagem I'll mention shortly, see if you can guess which one it is.

Daemonic Whispers gives +D3 CP and 1 re-roll for a hit, wound, damage, or save roll, so kind of an extra CP.  Pretty average but not great with Red Corsairs available.

4th on the list is Masters of the Union, a 6" aura that gives Daemon keyword units +1A.  Pretty good, especially on Possessed which will now have D3+2 attacks when they charge and have this ability nearby.  Now of course Possessed are not great, but every time they get a little boost they get deadlier and deadlier.  You can also take them in a Daemonkin Ritualist detachment from Vigilus and use the Vessels for the Neverborn Stratagem with gives them another attack.  Plus a field commander can also hand out those mortal wounds from the Shepard of the Truth detachment warlord trait.  Layers upon layers.

The Diabolist gets a 6+ FNP which turns into a 3+ FNP against mortal wounds.  Could be useful depending on who your playing.

The last one, Sacrilegious Regeneration gives the warlord +1 W and they regain D3 wounds at the start of their turn.  Not bad for a Prince as that one wound won't put him over the threshold to be targeted, but once units like that start getting targeted, they usually die.  Potentially decent on a Disco Lord, but again, once it's targeted it's not likely to survive.

If only summoning was good...
Malevolent Covenant is damn good, for 1 CP you use it when you fail a psychic tests, the test auto passes and you suffer a mortal wound.  There was something else too...what was it again...?  OH YEAH, THE POWER CAN'T BE DENIED!  What the fuck?!?  This one is brilliant for Death Hex as it's high casting cost means its likely you'll fail or roll high enough that makes it difficult to deny anyway.  Careful though as there are some stratagems out there that negate the effects of the power and not actually deny it, such as Scorn of Sorcery.

I've mentioned Apostle of the Dark Council before, it's 1 CP and it upgrades one of your Dark Apostles to gain and chant an extra prayer.  Do you want to give a 5++ aura AND +1 to hit to a friendly unit?  Now you can.  How about give yourself +3A AND +1 to wound, you can do that too!  Combined with Word of Lorgar these are all getting an extra 3" range also.

Cursed Despoilers is 2CP , used at the start of the game after deployment and it makes a piece of terrain no longer give cover.  I don't think it will stop Marines and their Stealth ability, and it does nothing to help about Prepared Positions.  This would be worlds better if it said something along the lines of "unit don't gain benefits of abilities that require a piece of terrain to activate while on this piece of terrain.

The previous strat was 2CP but Revered Hosts is only 1CP and it gives a unit with the Possessed or Greater Possessed keyword +1D on their melee attacks.  You heard me, Possessed can now have 2D attacks.  Oh, do you remember that warlord trait that gives your warlord the Possessed and Daemon keyword on top of buffing their stats, well you can add another layer to the parfait.

You know what sucks, when that one shot gets through and does a whole mess of damage to kill one of your key characters.  Well now for the low low price of 1CP carve a Hexagramic Ward and turn that save roll into a 6.  This is a limited time offer and only one per customer, or character.  Ok, this one is bad ass, I don't think I have to go into any more detail.

Vengeance of Monarchia is only good against Ultramarines, it allows you to re-roll all hit and wound rolls for a unit in the fight phase.  At least it's only 1CP, and fuck the Ultramarines anyway.

The relics are a real strong point for the Word Bearers and the Crown of the Blasphemer gives the wielder +1 to their Invulnerable save to a max of 3+ and enemies within 6" get -1 to Ld.  This one is pretty good on a DiscoLord as it would increase his survivability by quite a bit and your Lord gets to pretend he has a storm shield.

The model with a Baleful Icon get 6" aura that hand out a -2" penalty to enemies charging units within the aura range.  Really good against those units who are coming right at you like Orks and Assault Centurions, especially if you're also in a piece of terrain that also reduces charge ranges, but situational at best.

The Book of the Reviler should have been a one use Stratagem as all it does is allow you to make 2 free rolls on the Chaos Boon Table, but you have to re-roll duplicates, Spawndom, and Daemonhood. Not worth the use of a Relic.

The Malefic Tome is for psykers only and lets you choose an additional power and give you +1 to cast.  This is fantastic as we all know how awesome Arhiman is with his +1 to cast.

The Ashen Axe is where shit gets bananas as it replaces a chain axe and prevents enemy units from falling back.  Units that are Vehicles, Titanic, or have a minimum movement are exempt from this, but everything else is in a tight spot.  Oh, it's also +1S, Ap-2 and d3D, so better than a chain axe plus it traps unit in combat.  You could pair this with something a little more deadly like a thunder hammer and put it on a Jump Lord or Terminator Lord, charge them into something that shoots really good like a Riptide or Devestator Centurions and watch them sit there and not run away while you pound the snot out of them and not get shot.

The last relic is the Epistle of Lorgar and it allows Dark Apostles to re-roll the die to see if their prayer was successful.  This one is absolutely amazing when you make him an Apostle of the Dark Council with a stratagem I will talk about in a minute.

So I think the Word Bearers might fit best as a Supreme Command detachment.  One guy with the fancy axe of you can't run away, a Dark Apostle praying double time, and a Sorcerer who can't fail backed up with a bus load of Possessed.  Speaking of, it's combo time.  If you take that Dark Apostle and give him the Exalted Possession warlord trait in a Daemonkin Ritualist detachment.  Then you give him the Epistle of Lorgar relic and make him an Apostle of the Dark Council and take Omen of Potency and Soultearer Portent.  All this means that, on the charge, with the Vessels of the Neverborn your Dark Apostle will have 9 attacks at S7 with Ap-4 and +1 to wound, +2 if you use VotLW, at 2D, 3D if you also use the Revered Hosts stratagem.  It's 2CP pregame to set it up, and 2CP each turn to pull off the rest but that single dude will seriously chew through some shit.

Are you afraid of the dark?
Night Haunter's Curse is the first warlord trait, right out of the book, once per battle round you can re-roll a thing.  I have to say that with some of the boosts to charging that the NLs got this one is not that bad allowing you to re-roll charges.  This can go along way to get your jump lord into combat to support the Warp Talons you will likely, now, take.

One Piece at a Time gives you a double whammy being able to assault after you fall back and enemies have a -1 to hit in combat when targeting the warlord.  That's a pretty good one, making sure you get that +1A for charging and letting you jump deeper into the enemy lines picking off those more critical units and models.

If you're looking for mortal wounds, Murderous Reputation deals them out on unmodified hit rolls of 6 in addition to normal damage.  So if you can jack up the number of attacks, perhaps with some daemon weapon talons, you'll reap some rewards for sure.

So you know how you get +1A when you charge, well if you have a Killing Fury you get another +D3A.  Well thats just straight up good right there.  So a Lord with a jump pack and the Rapacious Talons will get 4+1+D3+D6(as long as it's not a 1) for a total of 8-14 attacks.  RE-rolling 1's to hit and re-rolling wounds your looking at killing around 6 infantry models on his own.

One with the Shadows has got some janky wording but there is a good reason for it.  To put things in basic terms, while you are on a piece of terrain you get +1 to your save roll, and your invulnerable save is improved by 1 to a max of 3+.  The reason they worded it the way they did is so that they can put a cap on your invulnerable save and so it can't stack with Weaver of Fates.  If they just said you get +1 to your save roll, you could essentially get a 2+ invulnerable save, and no one wants to go back to those days

Or you can make your warlord a Dirty Fighter which gives him +1 on wound rolls if there are more friendly models within 3" of him than enemy models.  I love this one mainly because of how thematic it is but also because getting +1 to wound is darn good.  Stack that with a nearby Dark Apostle and VotLW and you are getting +3 to wound.  Insert evil laughter here...

I like this one for that "surprise" on overcharged plasma weapons.
Vox Scream is 2CP and is used at the end of your movement phase, so after your reinforcements come in.  Pick an enemy unit within 18" of any Night Lords unit and all of it's aura abilities stop working until the start of your next turn.  Yeah, just turn off all their aura abilities.  This is worth throwing out a cheap fast moving unit like bikes who move 20" and sacrificing them for the cause.  It would be worth it to shut down a Chapter Master for a turn, especially if it's turn 2 and you've brought in all your reinforcements to charge.

Prey on the Weak is 1CP and gives you a +1 to hit if your Ld is higher than the targets.  This works pretty well with your legion trait and it's nice to get a little boost to hit.  You can use it for shooting attacks too, but with the legion trait it's far more likely to be useful in the fight phase.  I actually kind of like this one if you have a Character with the Fist of Decay as it cancels out the negative to hit.

Another nice cheap 1CP strat is Hit and Run, which lets you fall back and still charge.  We talked briefly about this ability in the warlord traits, but those 2 abilities work wonders when paired with the next strat...

We Have Come For You prevents non-vehicle, non-titanic units with no minimum movement (fliers) from falling back.  This is unbelievably good, and when you couple it with Hit and Run or One Piece at a Time it gets better yet as you don't have to rely on being able to wipe the unit in their turn to move on to your next target.

One of the biggest problems that assault heavy armies have is making it into combat and avoiding overwatch.  With From the Night you get an additional 2" to your charge move if you are entirely within a piece of terrain and you get a +1 to hit for 1CP.  This pairs well with the Tip of the Claw warlord trait form the Host Raptorial detachment which provides another 2" to the charge but if you think that's good...

1CP for Raptor Strike will give a unit that arrived as reinforcements a 3D6 charge.  Now, if I do my math right, you can get a 3D6+4" charge if you drop into a piece of terrain and are part of the Host Raptorial detachment.  Warp Talons baby, coming back with a vengeance.

This last one is very situational but it has potential at the right time and could swing the tide if played right.  You spend 1CP to play Flay Them Alive when a unit was destroyed by a NL attack and then for every morale test that is taken within 12" of ANY Night Lords unit an extra die is rolled and you get to choose which one they take.  Now the first thought is that you pick the highest one for max damage, but that's not always the case.  You may want to keep a unit around and then play We Have Come for You to keep them from falling back.

First relic on the table is the appropriately named Flayer, a power sword replacement with +1S, AP-3, and 2D.  Further more each model killed counts as 2 for morale purposes.  This might not seem like a huge boost but with 5 man squads of primaris marines becoming so damn popular, and with the Killing Frenzy warlord trait giving you D3 more attacks, it wouldn't be unreasonable for you to be able to kill 3 marines with this weapon, with your Legion Trait that puts the morale test at -7.  Now you just have to be careful that you don't wipe out the whole unit and leave yourself hanging in the wind.

The Stormbolt Plate is some cool ass armour that gives an infantry model a 2+ save and they always count as being in cover, so they actually get a 1+ save.  Now if you combine this with the One with the Shadows trait and are actually on a piece of terrain you would essentially have a 0+/3++ save.  Fuck you and your -2 bolt rifles

Continuing to mess with your opponent's aura abilities is the Vox Daemonicus.  This relic reduces the aura range of all enemy units that are within 6" of the bearer to 1".  Now this is an awesome ability, but being able to pull it off is tricky and probably not worth the attempt.  However, there is a secondary ability that prevents anyone from "deep striking" within 12" of the bearer and depending on the army this could be a big game changer.

The Talons of the Night Terror had me flummoxed for a second until I realized that they do not replace a weapon.  They are straight up D3 additional attacks, or D6 if the model charged, was charged, or did a heroic intervention.  The profile is +1S, AP-1, and D1, so not great, but these could really go a long way to help clear out some weak chaff or adding to your chances at getting mortal wounds with Murderous Reputation.

Next up are the Scouring Chains which improve the AP of all melee weapons AND reduces the number of attacks of enemy models within 1" by 1.  This sounds perfect for a Lord Discordant who will be cannonballing across the table.

Last on the list is Mysery of the Meek which is a once per battle relic that regains D6 wounds to the bearer and gives +D3 attacks.  This should have been a once per battle stratagem as no one is going to sacrifice a relic slot for this.

I picture an Outrider Host Raptorial detachment with a decent sized unit of Warp Talons, a couple units of Raptors, and some jump characters.  They drop in, the Warp Talons charge first avoiding Overwatch and touching as many units as they can, then the rest charge in mixing and matching Raptor Strike and From the Night to maximize charge potential and touch multiple units.  Then use Flay Them Alive and We Have Come for You to keep a key enemy unit alive and prevent it from falling back while maximizing failed Morale against other units.  You're looking at spending a handful of CP to pull it off, but it would really disrupt your opponent's battle lines and give time for other aspects of your army to get into place.  You can also tool up your characters turning them in little whirling balls of death.

Knock Knock.  Who's there?  I am.  I am who?

Do you see what I did there?  It's from when the Alpha Legion infiltrated those 3 legions after killing thousands of them on Istivan V.  Remember that?  That was fun times... where was I?

Warlord traits, well as per usual the first one is the same as the one in the CSM book, so when your warlord dies you pick a new one and randomly generate another warlord trait.  It sucks because you can't choose one of these new fancy ones, you're stuck with the ones in the CSM book, but you don't give up slay the warlord unless all of your AL characters are dead, so that's pretty sweet.

Clandestine gives enemies a -1 to hit the warlord against all attacks.  So if your more than 12" away your at -2.  This is great for DiscoLords as they can't hide behind other units.

You can turn your warlord into a sniper with Headhunter as it lets him target characters and deals a mortal wound on an unmodified hit roll of 6.  Now most characters don't have a ton of shooting, but a DiscoLord has an auto cannon which is not bad, but a biker lord can take 2 combi-bolters for 8 shots at 24".  Plus there is a relic bolter we will get to.  I like this one, taking out enemy characters is becoming a key component of this game with all the buffs they provide and this can go a long way to help with that.

Master of Diversion lets you re-deploy up to 3 Alpha Legion units before the first turn starts.  If you pick a transport the units in side move also.  I've been fooled by similar abilities before, it's really good for switching up tactics after you see your opponent's deployment and messing with his tactics.  This can work great with Forward Operatives so you can re-deploy then move that 9", keeping all your units out of range or LOS until you know who has the first turn.

Cult Leader could become useful after Chapter Approved bring the points down for cultists.  This improves the AP of an attack on an unmodified wound roll of 6+ for cultist units within 6".  I don't think one does enough to make it worth taking.  Even with a horde of 90 cultists all double tapping this only generates around 3 extra wounds against most infantry.

Another great little movement shenanigans warlord trait is Faceless Commander.  At the end of your movement phase you can pick up your warlord and place it anywhere within 3" on an Alpha Legion infantry unit and more than 9" from an enemy unit.  Unfortunately this one is only once per battle and you can pull of a similar move with a stratagem we will see so it's not high on the priority list.

Now, I don't know if this is ironic or not, but I could not find a picture of the Forward Operatives stratagem like I had for the previous stratagems that were in the CSM book.  Anyway, it gives an infantry unit a 9" move before the game starts.  We all know how it works now.  It's not as good as it once was, but it has it's uses letting you get that much closer to the enemy or giving you a chance to find a hiding spot when your opponent seizes on you.

Conceal has shown up in plenty of other books, it's 2CP and it prevents anyone from targeting the selected unit with shooting attacks unless it's the closest unit.  This one is particularly awesome because you use it at the start of your opponent's shooting phase potentially fucking up all his carefully measured movement.  Great for keep those Obliterators alive for a couple more turns, as long as you have the CP for it.

Sabotaged Armoury is just plain old hilarious.  If an enemy vehicle is destroyed, and you have any Alpha Legion units on the table, you can spend 1CP and add 3 to their explosion roll AND it can't be re-rolled.  Let those Iron Hands and Imperial Fists castle up with their Leviathans and Redemptors in a nice little cozy ball of death.  It doesn't even have to be an Alpha Legion unit that causes the kill, just be on the table, so have a Renegade Knight in your list pop a vehicle and watch it rip a hole in the enemy lines.

Scrambled Coordinates is another fun one that can mess with your opponent's plans.  When they declare that a unit is arriving via reinforcements you play this stratagem and pay 1CP, they can't place that unit within 12" of ANY Alpha Legion unit.  Now, if you happen to have some fast moving units you could potentially make it impossible for them to land on the table, basically killing the unit.  This is not very likely, but it is possible.  The real kicker is that you play this once they have committed to deploying the unit, so they have to place it on the table if they can.

They really pile on the movement mischief with Renacent Infiltration which allows you to pull an Alpha Legion Infantry, that is more than 1" from enemy units, off the table and re-deploy it at the end of your next movement phase with the typical reinforcement restrictions for 1CP.  This is great for those times when you have a unit that has somehow found itself way out of position and you really need it on the other side of the table next turn.

Ambush lets you shoot a thing that arrived via reinforcements if it arrived within 18" of an Alpha Legion unit.  That's 2CP and is pretty potent against the right army.  Pairs really well with Scrambled Coordinates as it separates units planned on landing together for support.

Feigned Retreat is another great 1CP strat that lets you shoot after falling back.  This one is incredibly powerful as there is no restriction on what unit can use this ability, meaning your opponent can't simple touch your leviathan dread and stop it from shooting.  This makes nearly every shooting unit that much better, Havocs, Oblits, Forgefiends, Helbrutes of all shapes and sizes.  This is something Chaos has needed for a while.

Last one on the list, We Are Alpharius, allows you to buy extra warlord traits.  That is always handy especially when you look at the premium ones that we get in this book.

The Alpha Legion also get a new piece of armour that provides a 2+ save.  The Drakescale plate also gives the bearer a 5+ FNP against mortal wounds.  It's only available to infantry models but it's not bad if you're sick of getting picked off by snipers or psychic powers.

The Mindveil is a tricky one.  At the start of your movement phase you roll 3D6 and the result becomes your movement stat.  You also ignore terrain and models during movement and non-building models during charge moves and can charge after you fall back.  This one has potential to be back breaking for both sides.  When you get that 14-16" and fly across the table it's awesome but roll a 4 and it could ruin your day.  Still, I could see it having some use on a Terminator character, jumping around all nimbly bimbly like a cat.

I honestly have a hard time finding a better relic than the Hydra's Wail.  It's only once per battle but you activate it at the start of a battle round and it lasts for the entire battle round.  Each time your opponent uses CP to use a stratagem roll a D6, on a 4+ they must use an additional CP.  Yes it's only once per battle, but every army has that key turn that they end up spending half of their CP and this could royally fuck up their plans.

The Viper's Bite is the relic combi-bolter I mentioned earlier that goes really well with the Headhunter warlord trait.  It's Rapid Fire 2, S5, AP-3, and 2D.  Toss that on a biker or a Terminator lord to make sure he's getting all 4 shots all the time.  Use Renascent Infiltration to move him around the table and pick off characters at will.

I just want to say that I love the Hydra's Teeth, which are basically bullets that turn a bolter into a super poisoned flamer.  All the bolt weapons the carrier has auto hit, wound on a 2+ (except against vehicles and titanic units), and ignore cover.  When you really want to force saves this is the way to go, especially when a biker lord can take 2 combi-bolters for 8 shots.

The Shadeblade not only has an awesome name, it also adds another -1 for attacks directed at the bearer.  It replaces a power or force sword so put this on a Clandestine Chaos Lord with the mark of Nurgle and Miasma of Pestilence and you are looking at a -4 hit modifier for shots more than 12" away and -3 in combat.

I really like the combo of Renascent Infiltration and Scrambled Coordinates.  On turn 1 you remove a large unit of Cultists and on turn 2 you deploy them back on the table in a way that completely blocks off anywhere your opponent can arrive, then you play Scrambled Coordinates to push that bubble out even further.  You could even bait your opponent by leaving a hole somewhere in your lines where a unit could fit under normal circumstances, then you Scramble them and they can no longer put that unit in that hole you left.  Gotcha.

That kid who knocks down everyone's sand castles at the beach.
Cold and Bitter, auto pass morale.  It's not great and if your building a list around it then just go Black Legion and take Abaddon.

Daemonsmith is pretty good.  When a daemon engine or cult of destruction unit within 6" of the warlord score an unmodified hit roll of 6 they get an additional hit.  Not an additional attack, an extra hit and considering the number of shots some of these units can put out it's pretty impressive.  Works well with the re-roll 1's of a Lord or Prince.

Iron Without comes with a 5+FNP which is not great on an Infantry character but increases the durability of a Disco Lord quite a bit.

Bastion gives a 6" aura of "ignore AP-1" while you are in cover.  Not that great now that marines can easily get AP-2 on just about anything they want.  Decent against some other units though like Ork Lootas.  The stipulation that you have to be in cover really detracts from this and forces a castle style build with minimal movement although could really help if you get the second turn.

Siege Master turns your warlord into a marine Lt giving him the 6" re-roll 1's to wound aura.  The downside is that this only applies to vehicles and Havocs, so things like Oblits and Noise Marines get left out of the equasion.  This initially sounded really awesome until you start to realize the limited use this warlord trait actually has.  It could gain some potential depending on how Chapter Approved treats some vehicles.

Stoic Advance works amazing on a Disco Lord as it allows friendly IW units within 6" to ignore the negative hit modifier for moving and shooting heavy weapons.  With the DLords +1 to hit for daemon engines, this makes defilers a real mobile threat.  For things that have higher volume of shots you'll probably want Siege Master or Daemonsmith, but those things are not likely to be moving a lot.  Defilers can shoot and fight and don't have a high volume of fire which gives a defiler list some viability with this warlord trait.

Iron Within, Iron Without is a reprint from the codex.  Use it when one of your units loses a wound, that unit gains a 6+FNP until the end of the phase.  1CP and could save you a couple wounds in a pinch.

Methodical Annihilation teams up with Slaanesh marked Havocs with missile launchers real well.  For 1CP you can re-roll damage rolls OR the number of shots for a unit.  It lasts for the whole phase so you can double up VotLW and Endless Cacophany.  This lets them maximize their number of shots if they use the frag rounds, or damage if they fire the krak rounds.

A little while ago we talked about how the warlord trait Bastion is easy to overlook because so many armies, particularly Marines, can get AP-2 shots.  Well thanks to Dour Duty and 1CP you can reduce the AP of incoming fire by 1, when paired up with Bastion you can basically ignore all those bolt rifles, assault cannons, thunder fire cannons.  This can be played in your opponent's shooting phase, or during your charge phase.   Doodie....hehehehe

Iron Warriors are also good at healing vehicles, Unholy Vigor gives back up to 3 wounds to a vehicle.  Like a fucking 1CP magic potion or something.  Then a Warpsmith can heal D3 more, but no one takes Warpsmiths so...

Tank hunters lets you re-roll wound rolls against a target vehicle in the shooting or fight phase.  Full re-rolls on the wound roll for when you really need that Executioner dead.  This works really well with Methodical Annihilation for ALL THE RE-ROLLS.  MUAHAHAHAHA...cough...cough...excuse me.

Have you ever rolled for Obliterators or Mutilators and got all 1's?  Ok, so maybe not Mutilators, but either way it sucks.  Well, for 1CP you can play Rampant Technovirus so you can re-roll any or all of those and just watch those knights fall down, especially when using Tank Hunters and near a Daemonsmith Chaos Lord.

Cannon Fodder may be 2CP, but it's a wonderful way to keep your key infantry unit alive and give it a shit load of "extra wounds".  Basically, at the start of your opponent's shooting phase, you pick an IW infantry unit and an IW cultist unit wholly within 6" and the IW infantry unit cannot be targeted if the cultist unit is a closer target.  I think the limitation of needing a cultist unit wholly within 6" makes this stratagem a bit over priced at 2CP, as there are others that do something similar but act more akin to giving the unit the "character" targeting rule.  I think I would have preferred if this worked more like Grot Shield.  Regardless, it'll keep your key infantry unit shooting which is a good thing.

The last one is another army specific 1CP strat called Bitter Enmity.  It lets you re-roll all hit and wound rolls against Imperial Fists in the fight phase.  This one is not entirely useless as since the IF got their supplement they have become vastly more popular.

The relics are mainly damage dealing related, and the first one up is the Siegebreaker Mace which gives you a dual profile for killing different things.  The first profile is S+2 AP-2 and 2D which is not terrible but it's second profile is Sx2 AP-3, and 2D6-pick-the-highest damage.  That sounds amazing but this is where we fall flat because you can only make 2 attacks with this second profile.  This is not enough attacks to generate any damage worth noting.  Especially when Chaos Characters can now take thunder hammers which statistically do more damage than both versions of this thing.  This weapon should have doubled the number of lower profile attacks and gave the basic number of attacks for the heavier swing.

The Cranium Malevolus sounds like a Norwegian black metal band but what it actually is is a aura shooting attack.  You use this instead of shooting and roll a D6 for every enemy vehicle within 9", on a 4-5 the vehicle takes D3 mortal wounds and on a 6 it takes 3 mortal wounds.  This one is awesome because no Chaos characters shoot particularly well and this one just dishes out mortal wounds in an 18" diameter.  Great on characters that are going balls to the walls and can move quickly, like a jump lord with thunder hammer.  Get right in that parking lot and cause some damage.

The Insidium gives the wielder the Daemon keyword and +1S, T, and W.  Not bad on a Prince or D-Lord where that buff to T7 can really help.  This can also give you the option to play on some of those Daemon codex rules combos such as the loci and psychic powers.

The Axe of the Forge Master replaces a power axe or daemonic axe and is +3S, AP-3, and 2D.  Which is not that bad but gets even better when you're fighting a vehicle as you also do an additional D3 mortal wounds on unmodified hit rolls of 5+.  This is decent, especially in the world of flier spam, just put this on a Jump Lord or Prince with wings and watch them get work done.

Spitespitter is just nasty sounding, like an angry old hooker from a weird D&D campaign.  Anyway, in this universe its a rapid fire 2, S5, AP-3, D3D combi-bolter.  Kinda cool for that Lord who's babysitting some Oblits.

This last Relic is awesome, but I wish it could be put on more characters that it can be.  The Techno-Venomous Mechadendrils replace mechadendrils on a keyword Warpsmith.  They do 4 additional attacks at S user, AP0, D1 but for every hit they deal a mortal wound.  Sure you can put them on a D-Lord, but he doesn't really need the extra damage output and this only makes him a higher priority target.  You could put it on a Warpsmith, but then you're only hitting on 3's unless you put in the effort to buff him.

So I think Iron Warriors got a real significant buff and there is a good chance you will start to see some Devestation Battery Spearhead detachments full of Oblits and Havocs.  I talked about the Bastion Warlord trait paired with Dour Duty, but there is also Cannon Fodder and Iron Within, Iron Without to boost durability as well as Methodical Annihilation, Tank Hunter, and Rampant Technovirus to boost lethality.  Combine all this with ignoring save bonuses from cover and you got a real solid death ball albeit fairly static or at best, slow moving.

When I think about you I touch myself...
Stimulated by Pain, get an attack for each wound lost up to 3, but you lose the attacks if you regain the wounds.  The limit of 3 really keeps this one from making it into the decent pile.  There are better ways to get attacks and I'm going to show you...

Intoxicating Musk is neat as it's a 3" aura that puts a -1 to hit on enemy attacks.  This is nice in that it can also protect friendly units around the warlord, and they don't have to be EC to get the protection.  But all in all, its a rather minor buff with a limited use.

Unbound Arrogance is a little mini game in where you and your opponent secretly pick a number from 1-3 and reveal it at the same time.  If you chose different numbers your warlord gets a number of attacks equal to the number on your die, if they are the same nothing happens.  Your opponent will likely always pick 3, so you will likely get +2A.  That's not bad considering some of the weapons and other abilities available.

Faultless Duelist reduces D3 attacks from enemy models within 1".  Again, decent for protecting not just your warlord but nearby units.  Unfortunately it's short range makes it far less useful that you might think as the "second rank" of enemy models are unaffected.  This would have been much better if it was -D3 attacks from models that direct their attacks at the warlord.

Now if you're looking to protect your warlord, Glutton for Punishment is the way to go.  Reduce all damage that has been inflicted to your warlord by 1, to a minimum of 1 of course.  This is really good for Disco Lords who are able to be picked off and generally have the big guns aimed at them.

Loathsome Grace lets you re-roll charges and nets you +1S and A when you charge or HI.  All those things are good.

Combat Elixers.  This 2CP strat is used at the start of the battle and you choose a non-cultist, non-vehicle unit and give it one of the following: +1A, +1S, +2"M, +1T.  This one is pretty good on murder focused characters, but is an easy option for boosting a unit that almost does a ton of damage, like Warp Talons, Terminators, Possessed, etc.  Lets not also forget a huge unit of Noise Marines all T5.  The bigger the unit, the more value you get.

Excess of Violence is a reprint from the book.  Make another attack when you kill an enemy model in the fight phase using the same weapon against the same target.  Now here is an interesting combo using Music of the Apocalypse.  You resolve the MotA after all enemy attacks have been completed, then before you remove the model it makes a shooting attack as though it were the shooting phase.  This means that they are stuck using pistols until you remove enough models so that the unit is no longer within 1", then you can start using your sonic weapons.  Then, if you kill an enemy model, your Noise Marine can shoot the same weapon again be it pistol or sonic weapon with Excess of Violence AND these extra attacks can also spark Death to the False Emperor as it's only restriction is that it must occur in the fight phase, not by a melee weapon.
Here is a step by step breakdown of a potential situation:
1.  You charge with Noise Marines
2.  Each NM killed from overwatch may shoot a weapon and pretty much ANY target.
3.  You declare Excess of Violence strat.
4.  You attack in the fight phase.  DttFE takes affect for hit rolls, EoV takes affect on models killed.
5.  Your opponent fights back.
6.  You shoot pistols, then remove models until you have no one witin 1".  These attacks don't have to be directed at the unit you are combat with and will proc DttFE and EoV.  These extra attacks have to be directed at the same unit as the original attack
7.  Once the models with pistols are removed you may start shooting sonic weapons or throwing grenades.  Each of these attacks don't have to be directed at the unit you are no longer in combat with and will also proc DttFE and EoV.  These extra attacks have to be directed at the same unit as the original attack.

KEEP IN MIND:  DttFE states that it can not generate extra attacks, so models killed from DttFE attacks will not proc EoV.  There will be some confusing dice rolls and I suggest you practice rolling this before hand so at least you know what you're doing even if your opponent is confused as hell.

Incessant Disdain is 1CP and allows one of your characters to HI up to 6" as long as it ends within 1" of an enemy character OR the nearest enemy model.  The "OR" in that sentence is very important meaning that if you can get to within 1" of a character, you don't have to move toward the nearest enemy model.  This is a nice little tidbit for those times when your opponent doesn't know about it.  You'll catch some people as they meticulously measure outside of 3" from your character only to get a Daemon Prince in their face.

Honour the Prince is fucking fantastic for anything looking to charge.  It's 1CP and you play it after you roll for a charge move.  You can swap one of the dice for a 6.  So, this is not a re-roll, it's a straight up swap which means if you have access to re-rolls you can still use this strat if you fail your re-roll.  This makes a Host Raptorial unit with Tip of the Spear auto pass their charge roll and pairs really well with a Daemon Prince with Armour of Abhorrence (see below)

Excruciating Frequencies are something that I have endured a couple times during my youth listening to angry people play angry music really loud.  This 1CP strat is not much different and increases the S and D of sonic weapons in a Noise Marine unit by 1 during the shooting phase.  This lasts until the end of the phase so you can double shoot and retain the buff.  For a little perspective, a unit of 10 Noise Marines with 2 Blastmasters, and 8 Sonic Blasters will do 7 damage to a knight with no other buffs.  You can make them hit on 2s with Prescience and re-roll both hits and wounds with the Remnant of Mariviglia relic, which doubles the damage to the knight and you can shoot them again killing the knight.  From 10 models.  If you fire this combo into a unit of Primaris marines you kill 17, and you ignore cover.

If you like the idea of having a massive unit of close combat marines buffed up with Combat Elixirs you may also want to think of spending 1CP for Cruel Duelists.  Pick a non-vehicle, non-cultists unit when they are chosen to fight and on an unmodified wound roll of 6 their attack is -3AP.  You probably won't want to get into combat too often though as you can do all the cool shooting.

Last we come to Tactical Perfection which lets you re-deploy a unit for 1CP.  Since this is done before the first turn starts you can basically re-deploy your entire army if you have the CP.  I can think of a couple times where I could have used this...

If this doesn't give you an Endless Grin your not human.
The Endless Grin is an interesting relic and copies something from the Night Lords book, it reduces enemy units within 6" Ld by 1 and then have to roll a additional D6 for morale and you get to choose which one they use.  The Ld shenanigans just don't really work in this edition, and this isn't going to fix it.  Skip.

Fatal Sonancy is a 12", assault D6, S6, AP-2, 1D weapon that auto hits.  Kinda cool but there are better relics out there...

Speaking of which, we come to the Armour of Abhorrence.  Enemy units can't fire overwatch against the model with this relic.  It also causes one additional model to flee when enemy units with 6" fail a morale test.

The Remnant of Maraviglia possibly has the highest potential, but at the same time can be utterly underwhelming if not timed right.  Only a Priest model has access to this and they can reveal it once per battle instead of chanting a prayer.  EC units within 6" can re-roll wound rolls until the end of the battle round.  I think this has some potential in a Devestation Battery Battalion with some Noise Marines sprinkled in.  Because this takes affect at the start of the battle round the Punishing Volley can benefit form it, as well as the Music of the Apocalypse rule that let Noise Marines shoot when they die.  See Excess of Violence.

Distortion is an Ap-4 power/force sword replacement that does D3 damage and can turn into an AP-4 power fist.  Nice weapon with decent utility.  Works well with Loathsome Grace and the Combat Elixers for 7 attacks on the charge.

The last relic is the Raiment Revulsice which give the bearer all the re-rolls.  You can re-roll hit rolls, wounds rolls, and charge rolls.  Pick a character, any character, they could use this relic, but I think it's probably best suited for a Disco Lord as he doesn't come with his own re-rolls.

So there are a handful of warlord traits that go toward keeping your warlord alive, this bodes well for Disco Lords.  Combat Elixers work well on any big unit making them deadlier, faster, or tougher, while the Remnant of the Maraviglia combined with Excruciating Frequencies make a unit of Noise Marines absolutely murderous.  While there isn't too much to make a terrifying death machine character, there certainly are a couple things that help your characters along like the Armour of Abhorrence and Honour the Prince for start.  I think the best likely use is a battalion with a bunch of Noise Marines and some hard hitting, fast moving characters.

Blood for the mother fuckin Blood God!
Slaughterborn gives your warlord +1S and A for each character, monster, or titanic unit he kills, permanently.  Nice if your facing armies that play into this, but you don't get anything until you start killing and honestly, if your World Eater warlord is in their lines killing their characters you're doing something right.

To continue with the slaughter theme, Arch Slaughterer gives you an extra D3 attacks if there are more enemy models within 3" of the warlord than friendly models.  These attacks last til the end of the phase so if you kill a bunch of models and are no longer outnumbered, you can still Wrath of Khorne to attack again and still have those bonus attacks.  Again though, as with the last one, you don't get any buffs until a condition is met and depending on the army you are facing, it might be tricky to meet that condition.

Disciples of Khorne get to re-roll hit and wound rolls against any character or a unit with a wound characteristic of 5 or higher.  Again, stipulations in order to get anything.  This one is surprising especially when there is a EC relic that does this and more with no stipulations.

Violent Urgency is the only unit buffer and it gives an extra inch to advance and charge rolls to WE units within 6" of the warlord.  There is no stipulation on what unit benefit, so a WE Disco-Lord Soulforge Pact party would benefit form this increasing their movement even more, combine that with the Talisman of Burning Blood on the Lord and the advance and charge strat from Vigilus you're looking at a surprisingly fast couple models.

True Berzerker halves the damage the warlord takes from a melee weapon.  With shooting being so dominant you really need to survive the trip to the front lines before you can worry about getting punched out.  So it's critical to avoid getting shot for this warlord trait to become useful which is tricky.

Battle Lust lets your warlord HI up to 6" and always fights first in the fight phase.  Being able to move that 6" is a pretty big deal, especially if you have a blender character who can really chew up the enemy.  Just like Incessant Disdain it's great for those times your opponent doesn't know about, or forgot about it.  Otherwise it can be played around.

Burn the Witch!
The World Eaters take a page out of the Alpha Legion play book with Apoplectic Frenzy which is 1 CP and played when you deploy an infantry unit.  That unit can make a 9" move at the start of the battle round but before the first turn begins.  If you have the first turn then you can use this to close the gap, if you don't you can use it to try and hide.

Skulls for the Skull Throne is an interesting way to earn a couple extra CP.  This is a 1CP strat that you play when you kill an enemy character and you gain D3 CP.  At worst it's a waste of a couple seconds, at best it's 2 CP.  Think of all the things you can do with 2 CP...

Like make a unit of Terminators Red Butchers.  Ok, this one is done before the battle, you got me.  So you'll have to make up the CP with Skulls for the Skull Throne.  What it does, for the 2CP, is it gives a unit of Terminators the Blood for the Blood God rule that Berzerkers have allowing them to attack twice in the fight phase.  You can only do this to 1 unit of terminators but Heaven's to Betsy could this be pretty scary.  Potentially fighting 3 times with all manner of weapons really makes this unit deadly and their 2+/5++ will help ensure they stick around to fight all 3 times.  Keep in mind they are not invincible and can be beat down by something competent at shooting or fighting, assuming they live long enough to fight back.
KEEP IN MIND:  This one is keyword dependent, not unit dependent, so you could put this on a character in terminator armour and give him a decent weapon and have him go ape-shit in the fight phase.  Getting him into combat will be the trickiest part, as it always is.

Now if you've ever found yourself killing an entire unit and not being able to consolidate far enough to do anything this next stratagem is for you.  Kill! Maim! Burn! is only 1CP but allows a unit to consolidate up to 6".  Now this lasts until the end of the phase so those triple attacking Berzerkers or Red Butcher Terminators can really move across the table in the fight phase.  This is a bit of a double edged sword though as you will want to start declaring everything in range as a target of a charge, which means you will eat a ton of overwatch.

Wild Fury improves the AP of a unit's melee weapons by 1.  This is done in the fight phase for 1CP and is pretty damn amazing.  It's almost like their very own little temporary combat doctrine.  In general, this increases the damage output by around 30%.

Stoke the Nails is an interesting one for 1CP that affects a non-cultist Infantry or Biker unit.  Until the end f the fight phase the Death to the False Emperor will generate extra attacks against all enemies, not just imperium units.  If you are attacking imperium units you will generate extra attacks on 5+.  This one is pretty good, if a little situational and probably best saved for when you have a mess load of attacks going into even more models.

The last one is Blood for the Blood God which is a little confusing because it has nothing to do with attacking twice in the fight phase.  However it is used in the fight phase when a WE unit kills an enemy unit.  Spend 2CP and until the start of your next turn all WE unit automatically pass morale.  Swing and a miss, even at 1CP.  The trouble with this one is that you don't even get to see if you will need to make morale tests.  Yes, it could potentially be a huge saviour in very dire circumstances, but I challenge you to play a game where it does anything of use.

Hey, wanna borrow my axe?
Well, it's relics time and I have to say that I was disappointed.  The best one by far is the Crimson Killer.  It replaces a plasma pistol, removes the chance of killing yourself, is S9, AP-3, flat 3D AND deals a mortal wound in addition on an unmodified wound of 4+.  You also can't forget that you can use this weapon all the time, in combat, out of combat, the only thing that's limiting you is it's 12" range.  Happy hunting.

Gorefather had such potential to be such a very powerful weapon but there are a couple things that hold it back.  First off, there is a -1 to hit when using it, but it's +2S does not really warrant that penalty.  It's only AP-2, but it does 3 mortal wounds on an unmodified wound roll of 6, but it's not in addition to normal damage.  I think that if you change either the S modifier, the AP, remove the hit penalty, OR having the mortals in addition, this becomes a great weapon.  As it is, it's only pretty good.  There is some merit to putting it on an Exhalted Champion or a Disciple of Khorne warlord as you can fish for those 6's to wound.

The Banner of Rage has potential, but it can only be taken by a priest model, so a Dark Apostle.  It can only be used once per battle and is used in the fight phase to give every WE unit within 6" +1A.  Again, it's got potential because since it doesn't stop the Dark Apostle from chanting a prayer you can double up that buff aura with one of the combat prayers.  This is not as good as it sounds though because you can't boost the mobility of a Dark Apostle with a jump pack or bike.  So he's stuck either foot slogging it or riding in a transport, but if he's in a transport he can't use his prayers, so it's a lose lose situation.

Hey, do you remember a couple editions ago where the Berserker Glaive was the best, granting an extra 2D6 attacks(unless you rolled a 1 on one of the dice)?  Well this isn't it as this one grants you no additional attacks, is only S+1, AP-2, and 2D.  It's special rule is that it gives you a 5+ FNP.  I could see this going on an Exhalted Champion as you'll need those re-rolls to wound, otherwise it's just not strong enough.

Speaking of not good, the Helm of the Furore forces you to charge an enemy unit with 8" for the trade off that you get +2S.  Oh, and it's only available to infantry units.  I only see potential for this one on a character with a multi damage weapon like a power fist or axe of dismemberment where the extra S is only going to help against things T8 or higher.

Lastly we have the Bloodhunger, and while most of the other sets of armour grant a 2+ save plus have an additional effect, this one lets you roll a D6 for each model killed and on a 4+ you regain a wound.  Again with the theme of "you get nothing until you meet this requirement" although it could go a long way to keeping a Prince alive if your opponent couldn't manage to finish him off.

Wow, I'm finally done.  That was a long one, thank you sticking around this long.  It's time for some final thoughts.  I think this book went a long way to closing some of those glaring gaps in the Chaos Space Marines game plan from getting into combat quicker and safer to making our shooty units more lethal.  We can also affect the enemies game plan with movement shenanigans and messing with their CP usage and increasing our durability.  There is something for everyone in this book and I am really excited to see what comes from this.  Paired with some of the points drops that we have seen in Chapter Approved, I can see Chaos Space Marine finally stepping into the light, even if it's not to the top podium.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

This review has been brought to you by Maxx Collectibles.  This shop has almost everything you could possibly want in a collectibles shop.  Card games, comics, toys, D&D, minis, you name it.  It also has the largest selection of Games Workshop product in Winnipeg (other than the actual Games Workshop store).

There are also tables in the back room for playing said games.  While Warhammer is a pretty popular game in the shop he often has a variety of games being played.  There was even a long running multi party D&D game that was being run where 2 groups of players were playing in 2 different rooms at the same time in the same campaign but separately from each other.  It was quite the undertaking that is wrapping up the campaign with the 2 groups coming together.

There is also a Blood Bowl tournament being held in the shop on Dec 14th.

Monday, 11 November 2019


Ok ladies and gentlemen, I went a DEEP dive on this one.  With the new Space Marine codex and Supplements I started to think about Codex Creep.  Previous editions were ruined by the continued ramping up of Codex's in order to attempt to balance the game and bring some semblance of order to the system of chaos.  The problem at the time was that GW was investing so little time into actually fixing any issues that you ended up with huge units that could get 2++ saves, could only be hit on 6's, had FNP, and could pass around wounds willy nilly to maximize survivability.  Not only could these things survive anything you threw at them they could dish out an incredible amount of damage and were typically regarded as "Death Stars".

This edition has something similar to Codex Creep going on but up until recently it wasn't quite so apparent because there are a couple books that sit at the top of the heap and have been there for a while, Astra Militarum, Dark Eldar, and Craftworld Eldar come to mind.  However, there are still little bumps that each army get when their book comes out and you tend to see more of them place well at events until everyone can get a handle on dealing with the new "hotness" or the FAQ rectifies some broken aspect.

So lets get into our way-back machine and head for June 2017 and start to draw some connections to book releases and the results at tournaments.  Now, this is a shit ton of information to process, so I have only decided to focus on the top lists of some of the Major Events in the ITC system, and all of this info I found on Blood of Kittens, from June 2017 until September 2019.  So there may need to be an asterisk next to these findings as they are not "all inclusive."

GW starts off the codex release with the Space Marines in July and there are a number of events starring a Space Marine Captain or Chapter Master with a jump pack following around several fliers.  It was not uncommon to see 4-5 Stormravens with very little to no ground presence.  As we all know, this was quickly "kiboshed" with the "Boots on the Ground" rule.  This is also the time that we see the first Ynnari Dark Reaper list with several units of Dark Reapers and Brandon Grant introduces us to Conscripts and massed drop units loaded with plasma weapons, at the Bay Area Open, which will not be the last time we see it.

The Grey Knights and Chaos Space Marines codexes and a couple of Strike Squads make an appearance at GenCon paired with Elysian drop units while a bunch of Berzerkers, a Fireraptor, and Magnus take the Brawl.  The North West Open shows us what 10 deep striking Tau Commanders can do while Ynnari Dark Reapers make another appearance at Wargames Con.

September gives us a Death Guard codex which helps Matt Root win Iron Halo by giving him the Fetid Bloat Drone to go along with his Alpha Legion Berzerkers and Slaanesh Cultist bomb amidst a bunch of Astra Militarum Conscripts, drop troops, and smite.  The Adeptus Mechanicus book is also released, no one notices.

The Astra Militarum and Craftworld Eldar get their books in October and dominate the scene for the next couple of months despite Tyranids being released in November and the Chapter Approved arriving in December along with Blood Angels and Dark Angels.

For the first couple months we don't have any clear Codex Creep until we get the Eldar and AM books bringing Scions and Conscripts to the forefront along with multiple units of Dark Reapers in a Ynnari detachment for that oh-so-sweet double shooting with one of the most effective and deadly units in the game to this point, combined with the fact you can move them again after they shoot with Fire and Fade.  You can see in some cases that armies get little bumps when their books come out, but the majority of the armies are still using index books so this is to be expected.

2018 begins with Ynnari Dark Reapers and Shining Spears dominating the tournament scene with sporadic occurrences of Hive Tyrant/Mucolid Spore spam and Poxwalkers backed up by Plagueburst Crawlers and Typhus.  Our first big FAQ is release in April and that kills a bunch of lists with limitation to arriving from reserves, the "Rule of 3", Battalions and Brigades getting more CP, and the change that prevents you from charging units on the second floor of ruins if there is no room for the charging model to sit.

Now in May is where I see a very obvious spike in codex power as people start to explore the world of triple Dark Eldar Ravagers as that codex was release in April.  6 of the 7 majors held in May and June are won by Drukhari with 3 Ravagers.  Although that is the only real constant as some lists have Wytches, others have Talos, and some have Eldar allies.  One of them even incorporates Skyweaver Jetbikes form the Harlequin book that is release in May alongside Deathwatch.

Our next spike in Codex power comes in July due to the Imperial Knights codex released in June, which brings in the Catachan Brigade paired with a Castellan and a couple "Smash Captians" from the Blood Angels book.  This is a perfect example of not only Codex Creep, but how a single model can change the entire meta of the game not only bringing back Astra Militarum, who have been out of the lime light for months now, but also finding a place for the Blood Angel Captain.  This list requires a ton of CP and thus the CP battery is also created.  This is not the last change that the Knight codex brought to the game, due to the Castellan being able to put out such a huge amount of damage with it's Volcano Lance the game starts to shift to a "kill denial" meta.  Large vehicles and monsters are too easily picked off by the Castellan so armies begin to adopt ways to either negate the Knight's effectiveness or to take it out pronto which we will see evidence of.

The Space Wolves codex is released in August but no one cares and in September we start to see a couple armies that have learned to deal with the AM Brigade/Castellan list with the Genestealer slingshot and Tau Riptides covered by Drones.  Genestealers don't really care about the high AP and high damage characteristics, and can avoid the small arms fire before being thrown across the table and charging headlong into the soft bodies of the Astra Militarum.  In a similar fashion, the Tau Riptides can shrug off all the large damage weapons on the Drones and soak up the small arms fire themselves while pumping out tons of bullets killing the soft squishy targets.

September also sees us get a FAQ that has some huge changes to it that increase the CP on many Blood Angels and Knights stratagems and limits the number of CP that can be "farmed".  It also changes the FLY rule so that units no longer ignore terrain or models when making a charge move which kills the Smash Captain who can deep strike on top of a building but only need a 3" charge.

Harlequin Skyweaver Jetbikes start making a showing as they can put some serious damage on a Knight with their haywire weapons, as can Dark Reapers and Shining Spears as Eldar make a resurgence in October but the AM Brigade/Castellan still win SoCal and Barn Yard Brawl.  Orks round things out by winning Renegade Open in November.

So 2018 comes to an end with a couple of very dominant builds.  Eldar Dark Reapers and Shining Spears lists, Drukhari triple Ravagers with Haywire weapons mixed in, and Astra Militarum Brigade with Castellan Knight and fast moving hard hitting characters(typically Blood Angel jump captains or Custodes Shield Cpatains on jet bikes).  We have seen a little evidence of Power Creep in Eldar, Dark Eldar, Astra Militarum, and Orks all started winning games shortly after their books came out AND kept winning in the following months.  The Chapter Approved came out and gave us a couple changes, one of which increases the required psychic test for subsequent castings of Smite excepts of units that have "Brotherhood of Psykers" rule, or something similar.  This primarily affects Thousand Sons which we will see very soon.

2019 starts with some really wacky lists that we haven't seen before like 8 Eldar Fliers, Adeptus Mechanicus, and Tyranids spamming termigants backed up by GSC Genestealers just before the GSC codex is released.  The Catachan Brigade is still winning games although Bullgryn are becoming more popular over the Smash Captains.  This is where we see the first Daemons list with big units of Plaguebearers and a Thousand Sons Command Detachment which pops up frequently.  The next couple months are pretty spread out without too many wins by a single army.  Tank Commanders, Talos with Haywire, and the T-Sons Command Detachment being the most popular but we also see Broadsides, GSC flamer bombs, and Deathwatch with Assassins.  Genestealer Cults got their new book in February and Chaos get their updated book in March and the 2 Vigilus books are released.  This is also the time where Ynnari got their White Dwarf rules and that's why you're not seeing them any more and why Daemons are making a surge.

This brings us to the second half of this year and what we are seeing now.  I'm going to take a look at a handful of the more popular armies and take a quick look at what makes them so powerful.

One of the top contender armies continues to be the Daemons and Thousand Sons combo.  Neither of these book are particularly new, and neither seems to use any Vigilus units or detachments, but since the update to how TSons use Smite they have become pretty good.  Psychic powers cause mortal wounds, you don't need to roll to hit or to wound and they ignore most saves so it's not really a surprise it pops up so often.  Plaguebearers are the other main part of the army and we all know why they are good.  Penalties to hit them, 5++ save which can be boosted to 4++, and 5+FNP ensure they stick around.  Not to mention the Bilepiper who lets them roll 2D6 and pick the lowest for Morale, and the banner that brings models back if a 1 is rolled for Morale.  There are a couple differences in certain builds, one has a big unit of Death Guard Terminators, another has some Pink Horrors and Bloodletters.  When you look at them, they pretty much do the same thing but one has it's shooty and punchy in 2 units instead of 1 unit.

Orks are doing really well with some help from a Vigilus relic Shokk Attack Gun.  Most armies have this relic and a couple non-relic SAGs along with a ton of Boyz and Smasha Gunz or Lootas, or both!  This list has some limited mobility with Da Jump, durability with numbers, the ability to kill big things with the SAG and the ability to kill heavy infantry with the Smasha guns.  What else could you ask for?

Eldar Fliers are becoming a fucking nuisance.  While some lists have lots of them, all of the lists have some, and there are a ton to choose from so you have options for what you want them to do.  We all know they have been around for a while, but why have they not been popular in the past?  Well probably because Ynnari Dark Reapers don't really care about their negatives to hit them and would just shoot them out of the sky, and Ynnari Shining Spears could still assault them not to mention Smash Captains.  Funny how that works out huh?  In general they are tough to kill because they are hard to hit, and can pump out a ton of really decent quality firepower perfect for taking out large targets.  The Drukari ones focus a little more on taking out infantry, but still do it really well.

Those are the main winners, but there are still Tau, Chaos Disco-Lords, Astra Militarum, Genestealer Cults, and Custodes who are finding top place in more than one major tournament over the last couple months.

So this has brought me full circle to the idea of Codex Creep and as you can see, while many armies do get a bump when their book comes out, for the most part it actually seems like GW is just trying to keep up with some of the overpowered original codexs they released like Craftworld and Drukari.  The one outlier that may come to pass is the Space Marine codex which is definitely going to change up the Meta, but as we saw from the SoCal Open, that Meta change simply made it possible for Tau to step up to the bully who's been beating everyone else down and push back.

Well I hope you guys have enjoyed this little look back in time as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Til next time, keep them dice rollin.

As usual this article has been brought to you by Maxx Collectibles.  Check out the Workbench Wednesday post on their Facebook page.  Every week a person who has posted up a work in progress on that post will win a free pot of GW paint.  You have to show up in person to claim your prize though so you kind of have to be local.