Thursday, 29 December 2016

CYCLOPIAN CABAL: KNOW YOUR ROLE


With the re-relase of the Black Legion supplement book, and the more current release of the Traitor Legions book, came a host of new formations, few of which are getting as much playtime as the Cycloian Cabal.  So lets take a look and see exactly what makes this formation so damn popular.

It's all about the psykers
This formation consists of 3-5 Sorcerers.  That's it, no garbage units, and the only "tax" is that they have to have VotLW.  Just 100% psykery goodness.  Typically you'll see these guys in 2 rolls, all levelled up to ML3 with Spell Familiars, and with the new bevy of psychic powers (see my Traitors Hate post) these guys have a barrel of tricks up their sleeve, or kept cheap and used just for the special power that comes with them.  The former you'll typically see in Death Star builds, the other will be more likely in an MSU style army.

The special rule that accompanies this formation is a special psychic power that one of the sorcerers may cast, and he will get bonus warp charge dice equal to the number of Cabal psykers within 12" of him.  The power is called Shroud of Deceit and it allows you to pick a non-vehicle enemy unit within 30" and lets you shoot it as if it was in your army.  This is pretty strong against lots of armies these days as a good portion of the meta is leaning towards shooting heavy armies.  Any Grav heavy unit like Devastator squads or Centurion squads, Dark reapers, Vaul's Battery, Tau suit Death Start with all the USRs, Stormsurges, Obliterators (preventing them from shooting that weapon in the next turn also), Flying Hive Tyrants...you get the idea.
This is pretty damn powerful as Chaos Marines tend to lack in the overwhelming firepower department.

With the Traitor Legions book, there is an additional facet to this formation as the Black Legion Detachment has an additional trick, the turn 1 deep strike.  So what you are essentially able to do, is take a series of Sorcerer's in Terminator armour and attach them to a Terminator Annihilation Force, roll to Deep Strike them on turn 1 and hammer the shit out of your opponent with his own guns after shooting them out of their transports with combi weapons BEFORE they can Intercept you, and then shoot them again with your bolters.  Or add them to a unit of Oblits form the Cult of Destruction.  Then you can use the Sinistrum movement shenanigans to get your guys in position and shoot them twice!

Any time you can do something twice for free, do it.

To top this off, the new Tzeentch Chaos Discipline contain a power that is very similar to the Shroud of Deceit with a slightly shorter range.  3 level 3 Sorcerers, plus the Sorcerer that comes with the TAF means you could potentially have 5 chances to steal an enemy unit to shoot his own units with.  If that doesn't make you re-think taking that unit of 2 Stormsurges, I don't know what will.  Now there will, of course, be the required allocation of warp charges, so you won't likely get more than one of each power off as you'll likely need to toss 7 dice at it to successfully cast it, and more if your opponent has a bonus to Deny the Witch.

As for the Death Star, it's pretty self explanatory.  Take all them powers that let you not die, put them on bikes and slide them in a unit of tough fast moving units like Bikes, Khorne Dogs from KDK, Spawn, and then attach a killy Lord to the unkillable unit and tally ho!  All while still yelling "Stop shooting yourself, stop shooting yourself!" to your opponent until he starts to cry.

Something deadly on a bike.
So this post on the Cyclopian Cabal was pretty straight forward.  Good luck and have fun...

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

TRAITOR LEGIONS: MY WETTEST DREAMS COME TRUE


Oh. My. God.  It finally exists.  It took so long for it to happen that I thought GW had some sinister plan for the future of the Chaos Space Marines, but at long last we finally get our Legions back.

So I suppose I could take a couple minutes to talk about all 20-some pages of "fluff" found in the 134 pages of this book, but we both know it all already.  There isn't any thing in there that's mind blowing or crazy.  It gives a quick description of what the Legion did prior to the attack on Terra, during the attack, and after it's failure their flight into the Eye of Terror.  So I guess I can skip all that jazz and go right into the good stuff.  The rules...

Each of the 9 Legions got their own Detachment, special rules, Warlord Traits, and Relics.  As with my other reviews, I'm not going to go through every single thing, but I will discuss the best, or at least favourite items.

LEGION III: THE EMPEROR'S CHILDREN


Yeah, boobs and stuff!
Ok, so as with all the other legions there is a list of shit that a Detachment needs to meet in order to be called an Emperor's Children Detachment.  Only have the Mark of Slaanesh, no unique characters except Lucius, etc etc.  If you wanna know them all look for yourself.  I have better shit to talk about, like if you follow all those restrictions then every model in the Detachment gains FNP 6+ (4+ with Icon of Excess) and Fearless.  Yeah, a whole army Fearless.  Well get used to it cause the EC ain't the only ones.  On top of that, if a model is killed in assault BEFORE it gets to attack, it can make a single attack before it's removed.  And Noise Marines are troops, which is only really useful if you're still using a CAD.  So last week...
Cause now we have the Rapture Battalion Detachment which grants a roll on a table, the effects of which affect all the non-vehicle units in the army, and all the results are good.  Some are better than others, but they are all still good.  All the typical formations are available, with the addition of a new one called the Kakophoni.  It consists of a Lord and 3-6 units of Noise Marines who's sonic weapons gain Shred and if you take all 6 units, the sonic weapons also gain +1 Strength.

The warlord traits aren't stellar, the best being Eternal Warrior, or gaining +1A for each wound lost, the worst being 3D6 Fear.

Their Relics however, are pretty good.  First up is the Intoxicating Elixir which grants the user D3 rolls on the Combat Drugs chart, this is cumulative with the roll should the model be part of the Rapture Battalion.
Next up is the Shriekwave.  While 20 points is a little much for a one use item, it's D6 S8 AP2 shots at 12".  At least 3 shots with this item will make it worth the 20 pts, particularly if it's wielded by a Lord or Prince with BS5.
The Soulsnare Lash is a great weapon is that it's actually 2 weapons.  It has a shooting and combat profile, and they both have a sudo-super Rending that also causes Instant Death (but nothing vs vehicles).  Again this weapon sees best use on a Lord or Prince with their high BS and WS making sure to score as many hits as possible.
There is also bolter rounds that have Blast, Ignore Cover, and Pinning.  Give these to a guy on a bike.
Finally, there is the Blissgiver.  I'm not 100% sold on this one as it requires you to actually inflict a wound first.  Once you do, the model, if it survived, must make a Ld check and is removed from play if it fails.  Removed from play is great, but AP 3 and needing a failed Ld check isn't.  It's also a Daemon weapon, so that's a plus.

Last, the new psychic powers.  There are a couple to make note of, Delightful Agonies gives a unit FNP 4+ for WC1, Aural Onslaught is an 18" Beam that's S8 AP2, but Symphony of Pain is an old power that gets new life when combined with the boost that the Sonic weapons get making them S6 and S10 with Shred.

This is a great boost for the Emperor's Children.  Giving all the sonic weapons Shred, and boosting them up +1S really makes them dangerous.  I can easily see armies showing up loaded with sonic weapons using the new Formation rules which easily comes in under 1000 points with all the upgrades leaving plenty of points for auxiliaries.

LEGION IV: THE IRON WARRIORS


Iron within, Iron without!
If you want to play Iron Warriors, you may not take any units that have a mark of a god, nor can you give any units the mark of a god, you also can not take any unique characters.  You can still take a Prince and dedicate it to a god though, so that's something.  If you can abide by those restrictions then each unit with VotLW gains Eternal Hatred vs Imperial Fists, FNP 6+, re-rolls on armour pen vs buildings, and Havocs, Oblits, and Mutilators gain tank hunter.
The Iron Warrior Grand Company has all the typical formations to choose from plus a formation that consists of 1-3 Fortifications as an Auxiliary choice.  Units in this Detachment can re-roll the scatter dice for Barrage and Ordinance weapons, gain Stubborn, and gain Fearless when they are in or on a fortification.  I'll be honest, it's not the strongest especially since Chaos has no Barrage weapons except for the couple found in some of the Fortifications, and potentially in some of the Imperial Armour books.

The Warlord traits are, like so many others, hit or miss.  FNP 4+, Allowing your Oblits to fire the same weapon they fired last shooting phase, and Split Fire are the top, the worst being Fearless.

Unfortunately, the relics don't make up too much ground.  2 of the items are Warpsmith only, which shouldn't be too hard to get because you will likely be taking the Cult of Destruction.  One gives you the ability to grant a nearby vehicle the Daemonic Possession upgrade, and the other potentially gives his attacks Instant Death.  There are 2 weapons also, both are also meh.  One is a master crafted Power Axe with armour bane, the other is a Power Maul that can do a "Smash" attack.  They do have 2 good ones though, armour that gives a 2+ and IWND, and then theres the Cranium Malevolus.  This delightful 30 pt upgrade deals a Haywire hit to all enemy vehicles within 2D6" during YOUR OPPONENT'S SHOOTING PHASE which ignore cover.

This army is one of the lower tier ones in this book.  A lot of their rules are "fluffy" but not particularly strong.  See this army sporting tons of Obliterators with the Cult of Destruction and a smattering of Fortifications.  Should the tourney your in allow multiple fortifications, look for Iron Warriors to take a handful of the Vengeance Batteries and Wall of Martyrs sets and look to set up a gun line, keeping their units Fearless.

LEGION VIII: NIGHT LORDS


Oooooh, spooky and stuff.
The restrictions for the Night Lords is the same for the Iron Warriors, no marks, no unique characters, Princes are still good to go.  For that you get Fear with a -2Ld penalty, Night Vision, Stealth, and Raptors become Troops for those CAD takers.  Well, Stealth is good.
The Murder Talon is where shit gets real.  The Raptor Talon becomes a Core choice for the Detachment.  The Command benefits are re-roll failed charges, and you can choose for the game to start with Night Fighting with no need to roll.  Now I know your thinking "That's useless cause you already have Stealth..."  Well, GW thought of that because if Night Fighting is in effect you just get a standard +1 to your Cover save.  So at the start of the game you get a +2 to all cover saves.  That's good.  There isn't too much to really think about for this Detachment, you're all jump packy and scary with Raptors being the main focus with a bonus to your cover saves.  Fairly straight forward and fluffy.

The Warlord Traits are all good.  Every one of them is useful in some way, although none of them are game breaking.  Theres Hit and Run, Hatred, re-rolling failed cover saves, and Rampage, to name a few.  Most of them, if not all, feel like they would be really really strong on a Daemon Prince.

Speaking of which...lets talk about the Stormbolt Plate.  This armour is 20 points and gives a 2+ save and +1 to his cover save.  Think of this on a Prince of Tzeentch.  2+ armour, re-rolling 1's, and a 2+ cover save when you Jink, re-rolling 1's.  On a Daemon Prince.  I'll let that sink in for a bit and go on to something else...
The Vox Daemonicus gives you some reserves manipulation with a -1 penalty to the enemies rolls.  It's 30 points, which is a bit much perhaps, but if you happen to be lucky enough to get the Warlord Trait that does the same thing it would be pretty good against the right army.  The rest are really kind of meh.  Really useful on Daemon Princes, but not too much else.

I don't see a ton of these lists making the scene, but if you do see one I reckon that is is loaded down with Raptors and Warp Talons and Tzeentch Daemon Princes.  There are so many relics that make a Prince either super durable or super dangerous.  Good luck.

LEGION XII: WORLD EATERS


Kill, Maim, Burn!
I'm sure you can guess what the restrictions are, all Khorne all the time and NO PSYKERS.  This is a minor issue as you can simply take another detachment and add those models into the Khorne units, so it's not really a big deal unless your are restricted to a single detachment.  Meeting those you get Fearless, Furious Charge, Adamantium Will, and Bezerkers become Troops.  That's all good, but it gets better.
The Butcherhorde Detachment gives every non-vehicle unit a 2D6" move before the first turn starts and you can re-roll failed charges.  It doesn't seem like much but this is a thinker and it involves some math...

Which I will actually get back to in minute, but I have to move on to the Warlord Traits or I will break the order I've established which makes no fucking sense cause I have to flip the pages of the book all over the place.  They are all good.  Really good, so good I have 4 favourites and hate that I can only get one.  First, each time you get a roll on the Boon table, you can instead choose to get an extra attack, this includes the GoM you can buy at the start of the game.  Combine this with the Warband and every time you kill a Character you get 2 extra attacks.  It gets better because the next one allows you to declare a charge at the end of YOUR OPPONENT'S CHARGE SUB-PHASE.  Yeah, you can fucking charge during your opponent's turn, as long as the target of the charge is also in combat, and you count as charging so you get Rage and Furious Charge.  There is still more because you can also get Eternal Warrior and FNP while your Warlord is locked in combat.  And finally, my favourite, your warlord and any friendly units with the MoK within 8" of him may roll 3D6 and choose the 2 highest for charge rolls and that rolls right into the next thing I want to talk about...

The Talisman of Burning Blood.  Yes, there are axes and glaives and Gorefather, and they are cool.  Super killy weapons to go on your Jugger Lord or Prince to make them even more blendery-er, but this talisman makes some magical shit happen.  It adds 3" to the movement, run, and charge distances.  Underwhelmed?  Let me paint you a picture.
Your Butcherhorde is going to be made up of a Maelstrom of Gore(MoG).  Yes, Bezerkers are overpriced, but you get to add 3" to your charge move and once per game you can make close combat attacks at the start of the movement phase and your opponent can't retaliate.  Back to my point.  You line them up on the line, ready to linebacker their  way right into the quarterbacks face.  Before the game starts they move 2D6".  With a half-dozen or so non-vehicle units there should be a handful that get a good roll, you can also use this move to spread them out a bit cause you packed them tight to get each model as close to the enemy as fucking possible.  Then your Lord (from the MoG), who is on a Jugger, or a Bike, has the Talisman, so he gets to move 15".  Then in the charge phase he can charge (hopefully) 3D6 pick 2, +6"(3" from MoG and 3" from the Talisman) giving you a grand total charge threat range of 25"-45" ON TURN ONE.

He charged me from this far away on turn 1!
That's right, I said a MINIMUM CHARGE RANGE OF 25" ON TURN ONE.  Holy fuck that is amazing.  Even the units in the MoG that aren't mounted and not in the unit with the Talisman still have a charge threat range of 13"-33" and the Warband's is 10"-30"
There is also a plasma pistol that doesn't get hot.  Pretty sweet eh?

I pretty much laid out a battle plan above, centred around the Talisman, but there are other things to consider.  Mostly which huge weapon to give your Daemon Prince, since MCs ignore Unwieldy.

LEGION XIV: DEATH GUARD


Hey Doc, can you have a look at this?
All the Nurgle, only the Nurgle.  For your trouble Papa Nurgle blesses your Marines with Fearless, FNP, and Relentless, with an additional cost of -1 Initiative.  So you basically get cheaper Plague Marines (minus some minor wargear).
Now, add those benefits to the ones granted by the Death Guard Vectorium Detachment, re-rolling FNP rolls of 1 and Stealth when being shot at from more than 18" away, and you have a durable army.  We are not done yet though because the Death Guard got their own new formation, the Plague Colony, the rules just keep stacking.  A Lord and 3-7 units of Plague Marines have a funk about them that dishes out a 7" bubble that knocks down the enemies I and WS by 1 in the Fight Sub-Phase.  If you take 7 units of Plague Marines your opponent also loses a point of T (which is the only real special rule that is directed at killing the enemy).  That is a shit ton of rules that directly affect the survivability of your units.

This theme continues into the Warlord Traits, with only 2 of them that don't actually harden your Warlord, and both are not that great.  One boosts the power of a units poison weapons, and the other dishes out hits at I10 in the assault phase.

There are a bunch of decent relics, weapons that are poisoned, other weapons that are poisoned, and a thing that Fear scarier, but there is one that stands out above the others, and if you like Typhus's zombie horde, you'll like the Poxwalker Hive.  At the start of each of your turns, you may nominate one unit of Cultist within 7" and basically turn them into a Plague Zombie.  So why would you take this over Typhus and just make them zombies from the get go?  Well, Typhus is 230 points while the Poxwalker Hive is only 20.  Second, the Plague zombies can't take any upgrades, which means they don't have the MoN so are stuck at T3.  The Cultists that are turned have T4 because they have to take the MoN in order to be in the Detachment.  This makes them significantly more resilient.  Once the Cultists are infected, at the start of each turn, each unit within 7" get D3 slain models back.  Now, it doesn't say that the Cultists need to be part of the detachment, so I've been thinking of the Crimson Slaughter formation Cult of Slaughter in which D6 slain Cultists models are put back on the table.  Of course you could just take the Lost and the Damned and have outflanking zombies.

There are also a couple new powers to add to the stunted set in the Codex.  Fleshy Abundance regains D3 lost wounds to a model with in 14", Blades of Putrefaction gives, or boosts Poison, and finally Curse of the Leper is both a Blessing and a Malediction.  If it targets a friendly unit they gain +1 to S and T, and if it targets an enemy unit it gets -1 S and T.  Combined with the Plague Colony, you could put a -2 T penalty on your enemy.  There are a couple other ways to drop a models T and if you can manage it you will straight up kill a whole fucking unit of T3 models if you drop them to 0.

So I see a shit ton of Infantry in the future.  With them getting all those abilities that keep them alive a little longer and Relentless, look to see a Warband and/or a CAD loaded with Havocs.  Lines of unkillable troops marching forward laying down a hail of bullets, lascannon shots, and plasma blasts blocked by a wall of cultists slowly turning zombies and getting back up.

LEGION XV: THOUSAND SONS


Is this your card?
So I am not going to go into as much depth with this legion as with the others as there have already been several in depth reviews with the release of the Wrath of Magnus, but I'll do my due diligence and go through it quickly.  As with the other god specific legions, it's all Tzeentch and nothin but.  For that, you get Rubric marines as troops, Eternal Hatred vs Space Wolves, but the big one is that any time a unit with VotLW has a blessing cast on it, it gets a +1 bonus to it's invul save.
They have a bunch of new data sheets, a bunch of new formations, and new Detachment that doesn't look anything like all the others in this book.  This frustrates me a little, but I'll get into my likes and dislikes at the end of the post, so keep reading.
The big bonus that is provided by the Detachment is that all psykers are able to cast one additional spell.  Not that big of a deal, but combined with all the bonuses that each of the individual formations provide it could do a thing.  Maybe.  The Grand Coven Detachment is not like any of the others, and doesn't have a single formation in common with the other 8 detachments, so there really is no common ground between all of Chaos and the Thousand Sons, which adds to some of my frustrations.  It's not even very good granting the ability for psykers to cast one power above their psyker level.  This is usually a moot point for me as I either run out of dice or good powers to cast before I reach my limit, although this may affect Magnus as he has 15 powers to choose from being the entire disciplines of Tzeentch and Change as well as the Gaze of Magnus D-Beam.

The Warlord traits are not very exciting either, Eternal Warrior and an additional power being the best ones in my eyes.

What they lack in Warlord traits, they make up for in wargear.  Their wargear is not particularly strong, but they really shore up some of the glaring weaknesses that this army has.
For example, this army is slow.  Slow and Purposeful on most of the units, and the ones that don't have it are cannon fodder or characters you want to keep alive.  So what do they do?  They give them the Astral Grimoire that lets them choose a nearby unit and give it the Jump type.  Yeah, it's not even the carrier's unit, it's any unit nearby.  That's awesome and really lets you move some of those dangerous units with the warp flamers and bolters into range.
Next, this army really has very little close combat punch other than Princes or characters.  So how do you make those characters you have even more deadly?  Give them the Seer's Bane.  It's an AP2 Daemon weapon that uses opposing Ld scores for wounding, but still uses the enemies T for Instant Death.  So your S10 is now wounding everything on no worse than a 4+ and doubling out nearly every other infantry model.
I mentioned Slow and Purposeful before, well that brings me to the second problem it creates which is overwatch.  With the Helm of the Third Eye, it's not any longer.  This item allows you to Overwatch even if you have SaP and allows you to Overwatch at BS 2 if you didn't.
We're not done yet, as since you have all this great shooting, most of it being AP3, you don't really want to get into combat.  So here is the Staff of Arcane Compulsion which is just a Force Staff most of the time but it also subtracts 2 from enemy units charge roll.
Lastly, to stick with the massed psychic power phase this army has, the Athenian Scrolls denies a Deny the Witch roll when the successful psychic test has 2 or more of the same result.  So if you throw 3 dice as a WC1 power and get a 4, 1, and 1, they can't deny it.  This is a HUGE boon to this army as you can use this caster to focus on all the witchfire's and damage dealing spells which are typically easier for the enemy to Deny, particularly if they are a psychic heavy army as well.

Moving on to the upgraded Discipline of Tzeentch we have 3 new powers, like the other 2 disciplines, they are pretty good.  Syphon Magic is a power that you'd cast at the start of the phase, then each successful power that is cast from another psyker within 18" of him give him a bonus Warp Charge dice that he can use later in the phase.  This is awesome, especially if you have Magnus nearby slinging powers like a boss on 2+, or even a War Coven casting powers on a 3+.  Baleful Devolution is a S6 AP2 shooting attack that creates spawn.  But the grandaddy of them all is Treason of Tzeentch, which is basically a Shroud of Deceit with a slightly shorter range, but you can have multiple of them...

Yep, I said multiple Shroud of Deceits
So, I know most of you see tons of psykers and powers and shit and think "Death Star".  However, in this case I'm going to have to disagree.  With the number of powers your going to be generating, I think it might be best to spread the powers out a bit.  Why would I do this?  Because a unit can't cast the same power twice.  So if you have 2 Sorcerers with Treason of Tzeentch in the same unit, they can only cast that power once.  Now the good thing is that you can generate your powers before you deploy your army so you can really mitigate overlapping powers in a unit, but its still going to force you spread your Sorcerers around.  Combine that with the fact you got nothing to actually put in a Death Star, your gonna want to spread the wealth.  Moving on...

LEGION XVI: BLACK LEGION


Who remembers this Codex cover page?
The only real restriction that this army has is that the only unique character that can be taken is Abbadon.  For that you get Eternal Hatred for all of the armies of the Imperium, and both Terminators and Chosen become Troops choices.  That's cool, I love Terminator troops, even if they aren't very good.  This allows you to play an entire Terminator army which again, might not be good, but it would be super fun and fluffy.
And the Terminator fun just gets better with the Speartip Detachment.  This detachment allows you to start rolling for reserves on Turn 1, and if your Warlord can Deep Strike, he can choose whether or not to auto pass his roll to arrive on the first turn.  Now, in this detachment, you can't actually do a 100% terminator force as the 2 Core options are the Warband and the Hounds of Abbadon.  However, you can take Terminators on the Warband and you can really limit the other choices to minimise the "tax" paid.

The Warlord Traits and Wargear I am actually going to skip entirely.  These are all just rehashed from the old Black Legion supplement that has been out for ages.  All the formations from it are in this book also available only to the Black Legion and as part of their Detachment, so the Cyclopian Cabal can all get Terminator armour and null deploy along with the Terminator Annihilation Force deep striking in Turn 1, or how about that Raptor Talon formation coming in Turn 1 and assaulting.  Give the Lord in that formation the MoK and the Axe of Broken Friendships and let the fun begin.

And that is pretty much how I see this army working.  A token force on the table to start with waves of Deep Striking units showing up right from the start of the game.  I see a dozen cheap 3-man termi-cide squads landing all over the place unloading their combi weapons and penning in armies that castled up to keep safe from the onslaught.  I can also see this as a hard counter to Genestealer cults and their shenanigans as they have to start with enough on the board to not get wiped from the initial drop, but also keep enough in reserve to respond to the Deep Strikes, and now that you are close enough to them they can't run away into the shadows.  But beware of rending as it will melt your army and seems to be gaining popularity in the armies in general.  Tau Riptides, Eldar everything, Genestealer Cults, Space Marine Assault Cannons and the Storm of Fire Warlord Trait, I could go on but you get the idea.

LEGION XVII: WORD BEARERS


Amen!
So most of the typical restrictions apply, no unique characters, no cult units but units can take marks. For this you gain Possessed as Troops, Eternal Hatred Ultramarines, casting Conjuration powers from Malefic Demonology on a 3+, and Dark Apostles have a 6" Zealot bubble to all Word Bearer units.  I gotta say, I'm a little disappointed.  If Demonology spells could be cast with only Perils on double 6's would have been a much better ability than harnessing on a 3+.  The Zealot bubble is strong, but Dark Apostles are expensive and kind of squishy.
The Grand Host detachment is just as underwhelming granting free rolls on the Boon table the same way Traitor's Hate granted except that each Character can only benefit once, and each non-vehicle unit gains Crusader.  Not good.  Actually, I may list this Detachment as the worst of the 9.  Lets see if their Warlord Traits and Wargear can make up for some of this suck.

Well, the ones that aren't bad are actually pretty good.  Your Warlord can become a Psyker and generate a Malefic power, he can hand out one of a list of USRs to a unit within 12", and he can modify the second dice result of a Boon roll by 1.  He can also get Fearless and Adamantium will...woo.

The Relics are...ok, one grants you an extra Malefic power, one gives you D6 extra Warp Charges once per game.  The 2 really good ones are the Baleful Icon and the Cursed Crozius.  The icon forces the enemy to re-roll successful charges, and if the re-roll is still successful the charging unit does not gain any bonus attacks.  This only weapon available is a Power Maul that's AP3 and gives Preferred Enemy armies of the Imperium, for 35 points.  It's good, but not 35 points good considering a Power Fist AND a Lightning Claw is 40 points.

As for lists, I don't see you facing one of them.  Perhaps a CAD or specific formation with the intent to ally with Daemons in order to summon more...but Daemons alone do that so much better and the Marine bodies just don't being a whole lot to the table.  Perhaps the Lost and the Damned formation for cheap outflanking units and the Cursed Crozius on the Dark Apostle, but I don't see it becoming mainstream.

LEGION XX: ALPHA LEGION


I am Alpharius
Here we have the final legion, but I think I may have saved the best for last.  As with the other non-god specific Legions, you may not take any cult units or give any unit a mark of a god.  You may still take a Prince and align it to a god though.  For that trade off you gain Chosen as a Troops choice and Chosen, Chaos Marines, and Cultists gain Infiltrate.  That's really good, but we haven't even gotten to the best part yet.  Many Heads of the Hydra allows you to choose a new Warlord, and generate a new Warlord Trait the moment your current one dies.  This can happen multiple times and the enemy does not score Slay the Warlord until all of your characters are dead.  This might not seem like a huge deal, but when you know that your opponent isn't going to score a rather critical point, you can really use this knowledge to your advantage.
The Insurgency Force adds a level of defence to the Alpha Legion in the way of unending Cultists and Turn 1 Shrouding.  The turn 1 Shrouded is pretty self explanatory, but the unending Cultists needs a little more discussion.  Basically, all the Cultists in this Detachment gain the same "place an identical unit into reserves on a 4+" that the Lost and the Damned get, but without gaining outflank (I'm not going to discuss whether the LatD get outflank here, so cool your jets).  So, if you take the LatD formation as the required Auxiliary, you would get 2 rolls to put an identical unit of Cultists into reserve on a 4+ potentially getting 2 units.  Scary.

The fun doesn't end there, as the Warlord Traits are chocked full of happy fun time goodness.  You can get Infiltrate, you can get Stealth, you can get Acute senses and Outflank, you can give all Cultists within 12" Furious Charge and FNP(6+), but there are 2 that are mind blowingly amazeballz. Once per game, at the start of any of your turns, you can choose another Character, with the same unit type, on the table and then swap places with your Warlord.  Made a bonehead move and really need your Character on the other side of the table, no fucking problem...POOF!  There he is.  This does bring up a couple issues though, like what the fuck is my Cultist Champion doing in that unit of Chosen?  Why is there one Terminator Champion in the middle of my Cultist squad.  If that cultists squad dies with the Terminator in it, does he come back with the Cultists if I roll a 4+ for the two unending Cultists rules?  So many questions...but I digress because we still have one left.  At the start of each turn, starting on turn 2, pick a unit in reserve and it passes it's reserve roll.  So simple, so brilliant.  This just takes chance right out of the equation and makes that Helturkey a re-liability instead of a liability.  Does that even make sense?  Who cares cause we still have more awesome shit to talk about...

Relics!  There are some good ones.  The Blade of the Hydra is pretty simple, and only AP5, but it's a Daemon Weapon with Rending and exploding 6's to hit.  That means for each 6 you roll, roll another attack, and if those are a 6, roll another attack.  Now, if you put this on a Prince, they are all AP2 regardless, but it gives him some serious bite against vehicles.  The Viper's Bite is a S5 AP2 Bolter.  The Hydra's Teeth give a Bolter Blast, Ignores Cover, and Poison 2+.  There's an Icon that gives Cultists within 12" Zealot.  There is also a set of armour that grants a 2+ save, ideal for your Prince as it's only 5 more points that the normal armour for him.  And finally, THE good one, not that the other ones were bad, but they were shit compared to the Mindveil.  At the start of your movement phase, you may choose to move up to 3D6" instead of moving normally.  This may take you out of combat and the enemy unit can not consolidate.

I'm not entirely sure that you'll see too many full on Alpha Legion armies, but you will definitely see a detachment just to get the Mindveil, but don't count out the Insurgency Force.  Being able to get right up in someones face with Infiltrate and tons of shooting is strong, and if you don't have the first turn you can Null deploy and outflank the lot keeping a token force on the table and hide them to keep them alive.  There is also the Cultist overload and while not specifically dangerous, floods the table with models and simply doesn't die.  There is some controversy on the LatD formation as it gives units in ongoing reserves Outflank, but Outflank specifically states it can't be used by units in Ongoing Reserve.

So, there we have it, the last Legion is this long awaited book, and they did not disappoint, and yet I have something to bitch about.  Now, before I go into Debbie Downer land let me reiterate, this book is fucking awesome and bring so much life to Chaos that you will definitely see a resurgence of Chaos Space Marines on the table.  Some of them might still be a little dusty but that will wipe right off.  But in order to give a fair review, I have to discuss the couple things that I dislike.



First and foremost, they basically made the Traitors Hate book useless.  Almost every detachment in Traitor Legions is better, and the only thing that is missing is the Renegade Knight detachment.  Now I bought the Traitors hate book, and I even did a review on it, and I liked it.  But it was a waste of $60 for me now that this book came out, and this book was cheaper.  I can't help but feel like I was taken for a sucker...
But at least I didn't buy Wrath of Magnus.  That set is over $100 and is essentially pointless now as that entire book (less the daemons) is in the Legions book.  Even the Tzangors are in it.  Why GW, why?  This has got to feel like getting bent over for some of those guy who bough Wrath of Magnus, and we all know that most of us gamers are on a budget, including me.


Magnus brings me to my next point.  Why is there such an inconsistency in rules?  I see that look on your face, and let me point you to the Maelstrom of Gore.  If you look at all of the other god specific formations, the Thousand Sons from WoM, the Plague Colony, the Kakophoni, they all have a special extra rule if the full number of units is taken from the formation.  Why didn't they add that to the MoG?  It would have been easy and kept in theme with ALL OF THE OTHER FORMATIONS!  Speaking of Magnus, where the hell are the other Primarchs?
Why would you put the rules for 1 Primarch in a book that is essentially dedicated to the life works of said Primarchs?  What now happens in 6 weeks when they come out with the next Black Crusade book and that book has Angron or Mortarion in it?  I'm forced to buy that book to get those rules.  Which is a good sales strategy, but fuck does it suck for the consumer.  And I know they don't have models for the other Primarchs yet, but I will tell you honestly, I will kit/bash/scratch build a model, then buy the actual model that they com out with because their models are fucking top notch.

Ok, I'm done.  If you take a look up, the good far outweighs the bad.  I am greatly appreciative of this book and all that it presents.  Take a look for yourself.  It makes Chaos great again.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Friday, 25 November 2016

WHAT: WARHAMMER AMATEUR TOURNAMENT


November 12th saw me waking my ass up at 5:30 in the got damn morning to drag it 2.5 hours to Brandon in order to participate in the WHAT (WarHammer Amateur Tournament).  Why would I do this to myself.
Well, I love Warhammer, 2 of my friends (Homer and Jason) are the tournament organisers, and I won the tournament last year.  Last year I took a flier heavy Chaos list with a Daemon Prince, 2 Blight Drones, and a Heldrake.  This year my army looked significantly different.  Before I get into that, lets talk venue.  The tourney was held at a local store called I Want That Stuff.  They had room for 9 tables (and a SuperSmash Bros tournament) and they had 16 players, which is an amazing turnout for the Brandon gaming scene.  I've been playing in Brandon for a couple years now and I saw a whole crew of new faces which has me really excited for future tournaments.  IWTS also had a grill and license to serve booze.  I wish I didn't have to drive home that night... oh well.
There are some unconventional systems in play as they try to keep this tournament friendly to new players.  First, each army must contain at lease one CAD.  That's it.  You can take as many formations or detachments, but one of them must be a CAD.  Then there are the missions.  Well, they are wonky to say the least.  I'll get into them a little more during my game reviews...



My army list.  As you might remember from my Twin Eagles tourney report, I've been trying out the Black Legion Detachment and this one was no different, except that my army is 1500 points, and has a CAD, and don't have a team mate.  I'm not gonna go into super detail on the list and just really mention the important parts.
My CAD consists of a Sorcerer, 2 squads of cultists, and a Heldrake.  The Black Legion Detachment has a Warband Core that has a Chaos Lord with power fist, Chosen with 2 melta guns in a Rhino, Havocs with 2 plasma guns in a Rhino, Raptors with 2 melta guns, and 2 Marine squads each with a flamer in Rhinos, and an Auxiliary formation of 1 Spawn.
Finally, to round out my list I had a Cyclopian Cabal with 3 Level 3 Sorcerers.

The Cyclopian Cabal I'm still trying to find a place for without simply slamming it into a death star and pushing everything forward.  I'm utterly convinced that I lost my last game because of poor Psychic discipline choice, and poor casting management, but I'll get into that later.


GAME 1: Space Wolves Jim

This mission is a wonky take on Kill points with each battlefield role being worth a different number of points.  HQs are worth 3, Elites Fast and Heavies are 2 points, and Troops are worth 1.  Since I've got 5 HQs, I'm actually a little worried.

Jim is a great guy and one of the newer players that I mentioned and I smashed him.  Sorry Jim.  His list looked something like this: Wolf Lord on Thunder Wolf, Thunder wolves, Wulfen, 2 units of Marines with a melta gun in Rhinos, Long fangs with Missile Launchers, Predator with trip. las, and a Predator with dakka.

I deploy first with most of my Rhinos behind a big pipe thing and beside a building shielding me from half the table should he steal the I.  I spread the Sorcerers out, one in each Rhino and put the Lord in there somewhere.  Jim deploys across his table edge putting his Wulfen and Thunderwolves opposite my army and his firepower off to the side I was protected from.

He doesn't manage to steal the I and I move some stuff up giving hims a couple options for a long charge hoping he might take the bait at give me some freebie overwatch shots, he doesn't, but he still moves his hammers up as close as he can manage.  Not much happens turn 1.

Turn 2 is when everything and nothing happens.  I have fought Wulfen before and they are hella scary, so I unload the 3 Rhinos that I can and get everyone I can within 12", which looks like this...


Notice a lack of Heldrake and Raptors?
Before I unleash hell I have a ton of psychic powers to unload.  I get off Shroud of Deceit and shoot his Lascannon Pred into a Rhino exploding it.  I know, I cheated.  Shroud of Deceit can't take over vehicles, this was pointed out to me by Homer along with some jeering.  It wouldn't have made much of a difference in the long run as the Long Fangs would have done the job instead.  I also cast Death Hex on the Wulfen making their Storm Shields conveniently located in the front nearly useless, I then Ghost Storm my Cultists meat shield right in the path of oncoming death and don't leave a whole lot of wiggle room.
My shooting is not very effective killing only 2 Wulfen and stunning the Dakka Pred.


Operation Meath Shield

So the Cultists get Mulched.  Jim puts both the Wulfen and the Thunderwolves into the them and I don't even let him roll dice.  He does some hull points on a Rhino and kills a couple Cultists from the other unit.

With my Heldrake in I move up and waste the Wulfen and put a hurt on the Thunderwolves killing 1 and doing some other wounds.  I use a unit of Marines as another speed bump and kill more stuff on the other side of the table and prepare for my next turn.



Around this time my Lord has been given so many boons that He is nearly indestructible.  I charge him and all the other marines left into whats left of the Thunderwolves, which is just an Iron father and the Wolf Lord by now, and manage to drag them down and kill them all.




Meanwhile I kill the rest of his stuff and the game ends.  Thanks again Jim, I look forward to playing you again and next time I'm sure you'll smash me.


GAME 2: Tau Ben.

We both kind of messed up on this mission.  What we were supposed to do is choose 3 pieces of terrain and use them as Objectives, we instead misunderstood this and used every piece of terrain as objectives.  Each turn you rack up points for each piece of terrain you control, and once you control a piece of terrain you can leave it and still control it until it's contested.  If that piece of terrain was controlled by a Troops Choice with Obsec you get 2 points.

Ben has a Buffmander with a unit of suits with missile pods, 2 individual Broadsides with missiles, a Riptide with Ion cannon, 2 units of Firewarriors, a unit of Breachers, and the formation with the Ghostkeel and 2 units of Stealth suits.

We both deploy spread out to take advantage of our misconception of the rules and get as many units on a piece of terrain.  He get the first turn and promptly blows up a Rhino, and that's about it.

I move most of my stuff up and then take over his big unit of Crisis suits with Shroud of Deceit and kills the closest unit of Firewarriors, each of us earning First Strike.



The rest of this game is pretty easy to explain.  I push forward with all my units and he backs up, afraid to engage me in combat and rightfully so, after a couple rolls on the boon table my Lord was pretty beastly, and Tau suck at combat.  He quite obviously won the secondary which was kill points and we both got First strike and Linebreaker as he snuck a Devilfish and his Ghostkeel down to my side of the table, but I won the primary which is worth more points.




Ben was a great guy to play against but he was having some trouble with his dice.  He cut his finger really badly not too long ago and had it wrapped up in a pretty do-it-yourself looking bandage.  This made picking up dice a chore, not very optimal in a game that relies on dice.  Hope it's healing well.


GAME 3: Necron Shaun (that rhymes!)


So this mission was probably the craziest of them all.  There are 3 relics placed along the mid point of the table equal distance from each other.  Then one side of the table is where the sun is rising from.  What does that mean you ask?  Do you remember that scene from Riddick where he’s climbing a mountain or something and if the rays of the sun touched you it burnt you to a crisp?  Well it was sort of like that.  The light would start at one end of the table and move 2D6” across the table at the start of each player turn.  Lastly, you had to try and get the relic off the end of the table opposite the sun, and you can move the relic 18" per turn, instead of the normal 6".

  
So Shaun’s list had some formations, I can’t remember what they are called, but he had the one with the Wraiths, Spyder, and Scarabs.  He also had a decent sized unit of the biker dudes, a couple unit of warriors, a unit of Immortals and 2 of the transport fliers. 
  
I want to start this battle report off by saying that this was probably the most intense, adrenaline inducing, nail biting, and fun game of 40K that I’ve ever played.  At least top 5.  Shaun was an absolute champ to play against, and having both won out previous games, we knew that we were in the running to win the event.  I knew I was going to have a tough battle because I had almost double the number of kill points that he had, which was the secondary objective. 
  
Shaun won first turn and deployed fairly spread out.  He had his Wraiths and Bikes ready to jump on the right relic, a unit of immortals lined up to grab the middle and a unit of warriors set up to get the left.  Most of his army is deployed to support the wraiths and bikes who are going to get the right relic.

I deployed my spawn on the left ready to rush that relic and steal it from under the warriors noses, the rest of my army set the trap.

What trap?  Let me explain.  I had a plan, I got this plan the exact moment I rolled for my psychic powers and got Death Hex, which is the -2 to Invul saves power.  My plan was to let Shaun go first, wait for him to move the Wraiths up and then unload every Rhino and hammer that unit with everything I had and everything went to plan.  He moved the Wraiths up aggressively just as I suspected he would, he grabbed the relic with the bikes, just as I expected he would, and he was too far for a reliable charge so he ran he units in a defencive manner, exactly as I hoped would be the case.  I didn't take a single casualty as his shooting is primarily short range.

This was it, this was the exact thing I was waiting for and I pounced.  I moved the rhinos up, deployed everyone, cast Death Hex, and even managed to steal his bikes and make them shoot the Wraiths along with my entire army...


...and did nothing.  As I figured I should have killed 4 of them and instead, didn't.  I killed 1.

OH NO...
Shaun adjusts the Horseshoe that's tickling his prostate and prepares for his turn.  He grabs the relic with his bikes and assaults me with the Wraiths and Scarabs to pin me down, and it works.

He is able to get the relic off the table and he's got 1 point.  He moves the Immortals up, grabs the middle relic and they jump into one of the flying crescent things all the while I am madly running my spawn along my back field barely staying ahead of the burning sun.

Too many Wraiths left, and Immortals with a Relic
Now here is where things get weird.  He had boarded the transport with his Immortals, and now because he has the relic in it, with the special relic rules, he can only move 18" and it just so happens that the only "safe" place for him to land will fly him into the sun, which ends up crashing the flier, but what happens to the Relic?

The Relic is the glass bead on the flier base.
The Immortals go into ongoing reserve but I figured that the Relic would drop, right where I would be able to pick it up.  After a quick discussion we had to call over Homer to make a ruling.  He quickly decides not to take a side and roll off for it which ends up in Shaun's favour so the Immortals with the Relic end up in ongoing reserve which only prevents me from scoring the point as it's turn 4 and we will only get one more turn.  Turn 5 sees me making a mad dash to pick up the relic that the Spawn finally dropped after being cooked and Ghost Storming my Warlord off the table 

I managed to tie the primary, but lost the secondary, and none of us had any of the tertiaries, which means Shaun won.

I say this with a bitter sweet tone because as it turns out, Shaun won best overall!

I ended up in 5th place, which is not too bad considering I bled kill points in a kill points "centric" tournament.

My list worked exactly how I wanted it to, but I actually found that the Cabal did not pull it's weight. I may go back to taking 3 cheap ass sorcerers instead of tooling them up and just going for the big power, but I felt like a Raptor Talon formation would have helped me far more than the Cabal.  I will have to play around with it a little more and find that balancing point because as it is, this list had a tough time of actually killing anything.

For my next games I am going to look to add a Raptor Talon with 2 units of Raptors with Meltas, a unit of Warp Talons, and a Lord with the Axe of Blind Fury.  I'll try out dropping the Lord on his own to get multiple charges off and then try to get as many multi charges off as I can with overlapping units to get as many units as possible in one huge massive assault.  Then, hopefully the Lord goes buck wild and forces a shit load of -2Ld morale checks.

Anyway, I had a great time, lots of fun, met some new people, and look forward to regaining my title next year.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

TOURNAMENT REPORT: TWIN EAGLES 2016

That's their logo.  Pretty cool right?

Howdy howdy folks!  I am fresh out of the most recent tournament here in sunny Winnipeg and it was a good one.  As with previous years it was held at Comicon, unlike previous years, they they were set up in an awesome space.  There was tons of room between tables, free bottled water, and a god damn massage station!  Yeah, each player got a ticket for a free 15 minute message on one of those fancy message face down chairs.  Oh it was as glorious as it sounds, and we also played Warhammer.
There was a shit ton of prizes, which were all raffled off, and plaques for players who won at stuff.  So not me...

SPOILER ALERT!
The Twin Eagles event is a little different, being a team tournament with some restriction on army creation.  You and your team mate are considered Allies of Convenience regardless of your actual faction, each players bring 1000 points, and that army may consist of only 2 detachments that are from the same faction.  The missions are all custom, and each table has it's own mission and has Maelstrom cards as a secondary mission.
I actually got a call from my buddy and team mate, Garth, about a week before the tourney.  Turns out the Twin Eagle guys had a drop out and needed a filler desperately.  Garth, always one to help out the gaming community stepped up, and dragged me along.

My list was a Black Legion Detachment made up of a Warband Core and a single Spawn as the Auxiliary, and finishing it off was a Cyclopia Cabal with three lvl 1 Sorcerers.
My team mate brought a First Company Task Force with 2 Sternguard units and a Vanguard unit in drop pods, and a flier formation with 2 talons and a raven.


GAME 1:  Sean(Necrons) and Jon(Orks) Heavy Metal Waaagh!  These guys were super fun to play against.  Very laid back and just there to roll some dice and have a good time.  The mission was to kill your opponents 4 wound Vindicate assassin that both sides got for free.

Sean had a Reclamation legion with Wraiths and the Spider that gives them Reanimation so I knew they had to go ASAP.  As we got the first turn we dropped the 2 Sternguard units right in front of the Wraiths in hopes of crippling them and failing that at least pinning them to the corner they were deployed in.

Only one Wraith survived

But before we did that I had to roll for my 2 free boons and Lo and Behold I got myself a free Daemon Prince!

I was using the Mhara Gal as my Daemon Prince
 I also got to use my other neat trick, the Shadow of Deceit.  Since the Necrons had almost no shooting, I decided to take over a unit of Lootas and used them to kill a Wraith.

Our game plan pretty much went as we hoped with the exception that Garth's Fliers didn't come in until the end of the game.  Garth was able to hang on in combat with the remaining Wraith and the Spider for the entire game pinning nearly the entire Necron army in the corner of the table and I was able to take out the Orks in a 1-1 battle.
We were finally able to take out their assassin in the last turn of the game for a fairly sizable win for us.

GAME 2:  Immortal Wolves.  I'm sorry, but I can't remember your guys names.  Looking at their army terrified me.  They were playing Necrons and Space Wolves and the Space Wolf player had a unit of Thunder Wolves and 2 units of Wulfen.  The Necron guy had some Immortals and Warriors, a Ghost Arc, and 2 Doom-flying-pastry things.  A very odd shaped army.
This mission was actually a choice of 3 different objectives that you were to keep secret from your opponent.  One was kill points, the other was something, the third, and the one we chose, was table quarters.  Basically, have more scoring units in a table quarter to control it, Obsec units count as 2, and the player who controls the most table quarters obtains their objective.  They chose kill points and we ended up both achieving our primary objectives.

We gave them first turn as they had very little shooting.  They moved up and I don't think did anything else.  Garth decided to drop is 2 units of Sternguard right in front and hammer one of the units of Wulfen hoping to put enough wounds on them to kill them.  This did not work as a combination of bad rolling for Garth, and good rolling for the SW player sees a single wound put on the Wulfen unit, even with Death Hex giving them a -2 to their Invul save.  All of Garth's units promptly got eaten by Wulfen and the Doom-crescents which both came on on their turn 2.

Now you see them...
Our turn 2 saw Garth's fliers come on, boy was I glad to see that.  They worked on shooting down those damn Necron fliers and did a pretty good job, but not before I took one over with Shroud of Deceit and made it shoot some Wulfen.  That, combined with my units which moved up and fired away with reckless abandon, I managed to kill 1 whole unit of Wulfen and leave the other with 2 models left.

Now you don't.
Turns 4 and 5 saw my surviving Rhino's scatter to the corners as I sacrificed a couple units to keep the Thunderwolves at bay, and we ended up getting our Primary and just squeak by on the Maelstrom secondary which gave us a win.

GAME 3: Kyle(Daemons) and Brendan(Grey Knights) the Fluff Breakers.  These guys showed up to fight.  They had 3 Dreadknights, 3 Soulgrinders, Fateweaver, and some other stuff.  Unfortunately they came off a pretty hard game 2 and were a little disheartened.  Boy did We make them feel better. It turns out that I can't kill 3 Dreadknights and Garth can't kill 3 Soulgrinders!



 In the end we got 1 point, and that was when I killed Brendan's Warlord!  Take that Brendan!  In turn we got tabled.

So there you have it.  My 3 games in a quick recap.  So lets go over a couple things I learnt.
Two free rolls on the Boon table is actually pretty fucking awesome.  I was a little concerned that this just might not be enough to make the Warband formation in the Black Legion Detachment worth it.  However at the end of each game I had a Chaos Lord who started off at a measly 130 points either a Daemon Prince, or with enough upgrades he could kill almost anything.  Except a Dreadknight, he couldn't kill one of those...
Which brings me to my second point, Chaos have a hard time killing shit.  Think on this, the best gun our infantry can get is probably a plasma gun or a melta gun.  What the fuck?  The Warband is geared to be a shooting style army with the massed infantry and lack of assault vehicles but with a lack of really decent firepower.  I'm going to have to add a significant amount of killiness for my next game.
If you have very few psychic levels and you are playing an army with plenty, focus on blessings.  You are not going to get a Psychic Scream off on a Dreadknight when your 3 dice are competing against their 15.  Then when you do cast a blessing, toss all your dice at it and risk the Perils.
Finally, and most surprisingly to me, Raptors are not terrible.  Everyone gives them such a shit rap because Imperial Assault Marines are shit but Raptors have a much better arsenal available to them.  Every game they did something useful and since they were only 115 points, I felt ok to use them as bait and a speed bump.  They are fast and with their 2 melta guns able to get somewhere quickly.  In the last game they deep struck and killed the only Soulgrinder that died.

Now, I know at the start of this post I said I was fresh off the tournament, but a quick peak behind the curtain, it's now a week later.  However, that does not diminish the fun I had, even when I was getting stomped.  I'd like to thank Garth for picking up the dropped ball and handing it off to me for a touchdown...I got lost in a sports cliche there for a second.

Finally I'd like to say thank you and good job to the Twin Eagle guys.  It was a great event and a great atmosphere.  My only critique is to shut up that damn announcer.  Yes we know that William Shatner is here and I don't fucking have time to get my picture taken with him and I sure as hell don't have the cash to get an autograph, I play Warhammer.


Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF: THE BLACK CRUSADES


With the release of Traitor's Hate and Angels Blade, the re-opening of the 13th Black Crusade takes me back to the original that GW release back in 2003 called the Eye of Terror Campaign.  This was like nothing the war gaming community had ever seen before and it exploded to a size that, I'm sure, GW had never thought possible, surpassing that of even the Armageddon Worldwide Campaign.
But I don't want to talk about the campaign, the results, or even the rules.  Many of you may not know this from my previous posts, which are primarily about game play, but I love the story.  So I want to take a trip back in time and have a look at the road to the 13th Black Crusade...



...starting with the first Crusade.

2 movie references back to back, yep, I'm that crazy.
In the year 781M31, 757 years after the fall of Horus, Abaddon unleashed the horde of Chaos he had amassed over time in the warp.  He let them sate their blood lust and hatred on the thousands of worlds outside the Eye knowing full well that their greed and deprivation would stall them and the assault would falter.  These devastating, but doomed to fail, attacks would buy him time to invade the world of Uralan, enter the Tower of Silence and retrieve his great daemon sword Drach'nyen, aka the Shard of Madness which has the power to cut holes in reality.  Abaddon was then confronted by the great hero of the Imperium, Sigismund.  The result of that meeting are unknown to all but him, but as Abaddon is still raging we can make some assumptions.

597M32, 816 years after the first Crusade, Abaddon burst forth once again but this time the Imperium was ready.  Since the last invasion the Cadia sector had been reinforced with fortresses and naval bases which formed a wall around the exit of the Eye of Terror on which the armies of chaos broke against.  While the Crusade was seen as an Imperial victory, Abaddon managed to curse the moon of Belis Corona and free several daemons which were being held captive by the Inquisition at Nemesis Tessera.  So what seemed like a sounding defeat was actually a play for the long game.

The third Black Crusade began a mere 312 years later, 909M32.  Abaddon had convinced the Prince of Princes, Tallomin, to assault the Cadian gate, telling him that the blood of Astartes will grant him the power to defeat his foes within the Eye.  While the Daemon Prince assaulted the great wall of the Cadia Sector, drawing in a dozen Space Marine chapters to the battle.  Once again Abaddon uses the massive battle as a smoke screen and manages to desecrate the Tomb of Saint Gerstahl destroying the prophesy that states that the saint would rise again when the "Eye of Darkness opens for the last time"

1,092 years later, in the year of 001M34 Abaddon once again throws a feint against the wall of Cadia while he takes the bulk of his forces to El'Phanor and assaults the Citadel of Kromarch.  This planet and fortress was a key factor in the defence of the Cadia Gate network and Abaddon was able to not only render the planet a dead planet, he single handedly tore open the gates of the fortress with Drach'Nyen to allow his forces in the city where every single citizen was slaughtered including the Kromarch and his family.  Many believe that this 4th Crusade stalled out at the planet of El'Phanor on his drive to Terra as the Imerpial forces mobilized and pushed the Heretics back to the Eye, but we know better than that don't we?

2,722 years pass until the next time Abaddon shows his face.  Think about that for a minute, 2,700 years go Rome was FOUNDED, Homer wrote the Iliad and The Odyssey.  That long ago.  The thought of Abaddon and the fallen Legions is a myth in the eyes of everyone and as such the year of 723M36 sees a particularly devastating attack with the 5th Black Crusade.  The Despoiler raged such a war on dozens of worlds in the Elysian Sector in the Segmentum Obscurus in hopes of drawing in a response of Adeptus Astartes and a response he got.  The Warhawks and Venerator chapters showed up to the planet of Tarinth and assaulted the City of Kasyr Lutien where Abaddon was ready to spring his trap.  Abaddon had enslaved the population of Kasyr Lutien and as the Space Marines made their assault Abaddon ordered the sacrifice of the 10 million innocent lives funnelling their blood into the canal systems creating a lake of gore.  This opens a rift to the Warp and through it steps Doombreed, greatest of all Khorne's Daemon Princes.  Abaddon had promised him the skulls of a Space Marine chapter, and he had delivered two.  Doombreed proved his might and with a host of other Khorne Daemons eliminated both Chapters to the man.
As if that wasn't enough, the war band The Flawless Host, formerly known as the Shining Blades, reaps millions of souls on 2 agri-worlds raiding temples and shrines and stealing relics as they went.  Not satisfied with their bounty, as they left they destroyed the planet's shipyards and factories.  One last insult like giving the finger to the owner of the house you just burned down.

901M36 was a "me" Black Crusade for Abaddon and occurred a short 178 years after the previous.  He took a vacation, worked on his tan, and took some his warlords and allies on a team building exercise to build his relationships with them.  Well except for Drecarth the Sightless whom he impaled on the Talon of Horus after the invasion of the Forge World Arkreath.  Drecarth was formerly a captain of the Sons of Horus, breaking off after the the Slave Wars and forming his own war band the Sons of the Eye.  It was a good Crusade for Abaddon.

HALFTIME!!
So while the halftime show plays lets take a quick recap of the first 6 Crusades, spanning over 5000 years.  He gets Drach'nyen and kills Sigismund, curses a moon, breaks daemons out of the Nemesis Tessera, destroys a saint's tomb ending a prophesy, kills the Kromarch, wiped out 2 Space Marine chapters and 2 agri-worlds, and eliminated a douche-bag potential rival who tried leaving the family.  What have you gotten done in that last 5000 years?  Got Starbucks?  Awesome.  Good job.

In the year of 811M37, 910 years later, the Black Legion burst forth from the Eye, rushed past Cadia and vanished.  Yep, just disappeared like a fart in the wind.  The years following were plagued with raids and a vicious game of hide and seek spreading fear, deceit, and paranoia.  This would all come to a head when the Blood Angels and the Rampagers chapters would fall on the Black Legion warband on the planet of Mackan.  They would lose this battle severely, Abaddon brutalizing both chapters.  The battlefield would later be found riddled with the mutilated corpses of Blood Angels with they gene seed ruined beyond recovery.  Except for the Death Company and the Reclusiarch that led them.  They some how managed to survive the initial battle a strike back at Abaddon and his personal guard slaying many of them.  The Death Company were eventually defeated, but their bodies were found unmolested displayed upon thrones made from the armour of the Chaos Marines they killed.
Time for a side bar.  What the fuck is this all about?  This does not feel like the doing of Abaddon at all.  He does not give two shits about how amazing the Death Company were or how fiercely they fought.  So why the "honour" of not destroying the body and being put on display?  Because they were Death Company.  Their gene seed is tainted and destined to corrupt the next initiate it's put into. Lets get back on track

The 8th Black Crusade happens 188 years later in the year 999M37.  The forces that spewed forth from they Eye splintered into smaller armies and spread themselves far and wide.  They completed the slaughter of tens of thousands of people in a variety of ways, in specific numbers and patterns all in an attempt to please Tzeentch.  It worked too because Kairos Fateweaver is so good.  The Inquisition manages to figure out the pattern and stop the bloody path, eventually, but not without losing several to insanity brought on by reading into the working of Chaos.

537M38 was the year of the 9th Crusade.  726 years after appeasing Tzeentch and looking to destroy the naval base of Cansephalus, Abaddon attacks the nearby planet of Antecanis assaulting the hive city of Monarchhive.  The IG mobilize and send forces to retake Monarchhive but Abaddon has already left the planet and sits in orbit with his finger on the trigger of a dozen Cyclonic warheads and levels the city and all the IG in it giving the Chaos forces free reign over the area.  There is a brief flash of hope when the Lamenters and Mortifactors show up to stop the Black Legion from running roughshod, except the Lamenters get themselves in a sticky sitch and the Mortifactors leave them hanging because they believed the Lamenters are cursed.  If not for the Ultramarines and White Scars showing up they would have gone the way of the dodo.

Perterabo joined Abaddon in 001M39 for the 10th Black Crusade, 464 years later, leading the army through an unknown path out of the Eye of Terror bypassing the Cadian Gate into the Helican Sector. Their target was the home world of the Iron Hand, Medusa.  Perterabo had a beef to settle and laid siege in the only way he know how razing planet after planet.  Although reinforcements arrived before Medusa could fall, Abaddon learned a great deal about the Iron Hands and his allies, the Iron Warriors, both of which would become useful in the future.

Now, the 11th Crusade barely counts as a Crusade but somehow it made the list.  In 301M39 Abaddon tried something new throwing out that old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".  His great new idea was to strap a Daemon of Tzeentch into the navigator's console and get the daemon to take them through the warp.  Well daemons of Tzeentch are assholes at the best of times, but being exposed to the warp in such an alien way drove the daemon insaner than normal and he dropped off the fleet right in the middle of an Ork Waagh.  So Abaddon decided to make lemonade and captured a shit load of Orks to do experiments on being particularly interested in their innate use of the warp.

Almost done...

Finally we have the 12th Crusade, 1,842 years after the last.  The one before the big "current" one, also known as the Gothic War which engulfed the Gothic Sector, also the stage for Battlefleet Gothic.  Go figure.  In 143M41 a massive warp storm erupted and consumed the entire Gothic Sector and from it poured the Black Legion.  It was during this Crusade that Abaddon unveiled his new toy, the planet killer, unleashing it on the Saraven and re-naming it Alderaan then blowing it to pieces.  It is in this Crusade that Abaddon also managed to capture 3 of the Blackstone Fortresses.  He uses the weapon on the Blackstones to destroy the planet Fularis II and cause the Tarantis star to go supernova.  As things tend to go for Abaddon, the Imperium started to fightback so Abaddon took his 2 Blackstone fortressed and went home, but not before using his universal remote to hit the self destruct button on the other 4.


After a good look at the past 9,362 years it seems that Abaddon in on pretty good standing when going into the 13th Crusade.  2 Blackstone Fortresses, powerful allies, a few less enemies, and countless favours from the dark gods.  I look forward to seeing how the rest of the 13th Black Crusade turns out.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.