Tuesday, 18 October 2016


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.

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.

Sunday, 2 October 2016


Good day ladies and gentlemen, today we go back to Traitors Hate and have a closer look at the Chaos Warband.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I believe that the Warband will be the second most popular Core choice as recycling cultists with outflank is both cheap and really good.  However I think we can't overlook the flexibility and the ObSec that the Chaos Warband provides us.  One thing I notice that many people make the mistake of is thinking they need to take 2 to get a Chaos "Battle Company"  This is not so, the Warband's minimum requirements bring it on par with a Demi Company, but the flexibility allows it to be anything in-between a Demi Company and a Battle Company, and even go beyond.

Lets break it down section by section.  First up, the HQ units.  You are required to take a Chaos Lord, and really theres no going wrong.  You can keep him as cheap or as expensive as you want.  Want him to live, give him the Sigil and MoT for a 3++.  On top of that you can give him the Skull of Kerngar for Eternal Warrior, add a power weapon and he sits at 160 points.
Want him to kill, Axe of Blind Fury on a Jugger or Bike.  The Sigil and MoK take him to 170 but adding the Skull for EW will keep him alive while pushing the points to 210.
Or you can give him a combi-melta and just use him as a meat shield.

Unlike the Imperial version, our second AND OPTIONAL HQ is a Sorcerer.  With the new powers added to Chaos arsenal he is almost a no-brainer.  Making him useful will run you around 125 which makes him ML3 and gives him a familiar.  Now you may have other plans and wish to take a Cabal.  If you were planning on taking more than 3 in the Cabal, I would consider taking one in this formation and dropping the other as the one in this formation gives you ObSec which in turn gives the whole Cabal and the Deathstar it's in ObSec.

In the Elites section you have your choice of 1-3 of Terminators, Chosen, or Possessed.  Now I, like most people, like Chosen in this instance because you can take a shit ton of special weapons with them.  I prefer to take 2 as it saves you points and doesn't reduce their effectivity after a casualty or 2.  You won't likely take terminators as you will probably be running the Annihilation Force along with the Warband and we all know how expensive Possessed are.  However, a unit of 3 terminators is your cheapest option at 112 pts with some combo-weapon upgrades.  Chosen are initially cheaper, but their upgrades begin to add up real fast and if you're looking to limit cost in order to fill out something else, termis are cheapest while still being useful.
If you are interested in taking the Possessed, I would consider taking either the Disciples of Manon, the Favoured of Chaos, or the Tormented.

Here we have the first "tax" as I see it.  Bikes, Raptors, and Warp Talons are all pretty overpriced and/or not very good.  Although the Raptors and Warp Talons got a boost in the Raptor Talon formation, they don't get the same boosts here.  I see the possibility of taking Raptors or bikes with maxed special weapons as a suicide squad.  A unit of Raptors with melta guns and a combi melta is 125 points that can deep strike and nuke something.  A unit of bikes with plasma guns and combi plasma is 110 points and it can harass the flanks, both are cheap enough to be expendable yet still cause enough damage to not be ignored.

In the heavy slot we got 2 units, Havocs and Helbrutes.  Well if you're looking to take Helbrutes there are a couple great formations that would do it, but there is something to say for an ObSec Helbrute.  Otherwise a unit of Havocs with special weapons is always a good thing.  I particularly like the Havocs for the same reason I like the Chosen and honestly, I like them better than regular marines.  You can take 10 and a Rhino, but you can take 4 special weapons in a unit and it's one of the few things we got going for us over our Imperial counterparts.  True, we don't get Grav, but that is something that you will just have to deal with.  Either way look to spend 100-150 points in this slot at a minimum.

Well, there's only one choice here, Chaos Space Marines.  I know it's a little underwhelming but if you wanted cultists you picked the wrong Core choice.  So here we are with our 2 (at least) units of Marines.  What do we do with them?  Well, you've got 2 choices, neither one of them great but both have their merits.
You could take the minimum 2 units and give them a Rhino for an extra ObSec unit, then maybe give them a melta gun and call it a day.  240 for both units, not much of a penalty and hey, it's a couple melta guns.  This will ensure that you can take both the TAF and the Raptor Talon and still have a handful of ObSec.  But...
...what do you think makes the Gladius Strike force to strong?  The unending ObSec MEQ bodies and vehicles.  Well, Chaos can do this now and there are a couple ways in which Chaos can do it better.  No I'm not high.  Our Assault squads have better weapon options and our Devastators have access to special weapons and are not limited to Heavy weapons, but the big one is units of 20.  You can get get 60 Marine bodies for ~1000 points.  That leaves plenty of room for upgrades and still points for 2 Heldrakes.

So, there we have the run down on the Chaos Warband.  Take what you have learnt and play test the shit out of it.  Good luck.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.