Saturday, September 24, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Army of Dark Compliance

On the one hand, the Armies of Dark Compliance are a direct antithesis of the Shattered Legions Army Theme, as well as (arguably) loyalist Blackshields. They can represent any number of occurrences during the Horus Heresy. Perhaps it is an Alpha Legion force raised up to terrorise some important sub-sector. Or maybe its a sub-set of Mortarion's Death Guard on their conquest campaign under Horus' orders. Whatever it is: its about space marines herding mortals in to the mouth of war for the sake of the Warmaster.

Fundamentally, this army theme means that you can take a cultist army (militia army) without needing to take allies. Hence its a great way to represent space marines plus their cult armies being forced forward by uncaring Astartes.

The Warmaster's Due means that space marines gain a one pip bonus to cover saves when there's militia in the way. This is very fluffy and can make a difference to those space marines in the long run. Its not that strong turn to turn, but over 6 turns might be a solid bonus. The flip side of this is that the militia unit suffers d3 wounds for the privilege.

Sure, its traitors only here. Since the loyalists clearly are the only ones that care about mortals (not entirely true!). However, they cannot use a rite of war associated with any legion. This is a fair counter balance realistically, and its fluffy. And of course: a legion praetor or consul needs to be the warlord. Plus is has to have more mortals than Astartes. And no discipline master cadres either.

The Disposable rule is optional and needs to be declared if being used. It can mean denial of victory points to the enemy under certain circumstances. However, the counterbalance of not even being able to deny objectives is harsh for the other elements of the mortal army.

Whether the Warmaster's Due is actually worth it or not is something I'm uncertain on. The extra wounds caused to militia units will rapidly wipe them out, but it could mean a few marines survive plasma shots where they would not otherwise thanks to low AP. In the long run, those militia were probably going to die anyway. But perhaps in the long run, it could save a valuable space marine or two over the course of a game. And that could be critical.

Disposable is a bit hit and miss and depends on the enemy, and the mission.

Overall, this is a great way to make a themed army without having to take official allies. This allows a third faction (mechanicum perhaps?) to be readily included. Otherwise, its not really as appealing as the shattered legions in the slightest to me. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Shattered Legions

A shattered legions force is one that is drawn from two or more distinct legions in the aftermath of various events of the Horus Heresy. The most cited example of a shattered legion force is that of the Salamanders, Iron Hands and Raven Guard following the Isstvan V campaign and represents the survivors banding together to exact revenge on the traitors. Other less obvious ones might be Alpha Legion working with almost any other loyalist element to bring about victory for the loyalists; certain elements of the White Scars getting together with other traitors following the internal schism in the White Scars, World Eaters and Word Bearers left behind after the Shadow Crusade, Lutherian Dark Angels plus others, and the list goes on and on.

The whole is greater than the sum. Literally, this rule means everyone in the army plays nice -- they're sworn brothers. So long as the warlord lives.

Beyond this (which, admittedly is just a nice way of having a coherent force), they can have access to legion specific rites of war that will apply to everyone in this army, and have their rules modified. For example, the Night Lords will no longer suffer from the Seeds of Dissent special rule, but can apply the night vision rule to all units in the entire army which is nice. Its the best of all worlds really!

The most obvious thing to state about Shattered Legions is that playing them requires the agreement of both players. This makes me a bit sad, but I can see why the designers wanted it that way since there's got to be some broken combinations in there! (or at minimum: very powerful ones! I'm looking at the Death Guard for that personally!).

Beyond this, there is a price of redemption: units can never be denial units. Oh well. Better go for the alpha strike then and take as many heads as possible!

Rites of War.
There are two specific listed rites of war for shattered legions: After Isstvan (for the RG, IH and Salamanders) and the Hunter-Killer mission (for the EC charged with tracking down survivors). The former is reasonably nice (and fluffy), but the latter leaves a bit to be desired as there's little positives going for it.

The Shattered Legions forces are a great way to expand a collection. They can be used as either traitor or loyalist, and feature any unit from any legion (plus generic ones). There's little not to like here and I could certainly be tempted to go down that route for some fun games.

I'd just advise avoiding having Death Guard as the warlord … because it can be a bit over-powering! Unless you're facing eldar. In which case: go right ahead. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Genestealer Evolution

There has certainly been a lot of evolution in genestealer models over the years.

The picture below shows the very original plastic genestealer from Space Hulk days of yore compared to a more "modern" model (well -- from the 2000's at any rate).

I've noted this before on different posts, but ignoring the different plastic technologies, it is readily clear that the newer version is much more dynamic and can be posed in a variety of ways. The sculpts are also subtly different: the new version's exoskeleton appears stronger with fewer weak-spots compared to the older counterpart that has exposed flesh in the centre of the back. This has been replaced with a more boned exoskeleton along the back that looks radically different. Clearly the hive mind has been at work over the years. The new model's rending claws are also better looking to me, but the more human, rear pair of hands are broadly similar. I might go as far as to say that the older genestealer's human-like hands are preferable given their dynamic look; the newer one can appear like it is about to slip on a pair of mitten gloves before venturing out in to the dank, chilly service tunnels of the Space Hulk. Regardless, I still have a few very old genestealers knocking about the collection. I think I might even have a lead patriarch in the mix somewhere as well.

With the new codex about to be released, I might well dust off some of my very old models and see if I can re-purpose a few of them for a genestealer mini-cult.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Knight-Errant

The Knights-Errant are a diverse bunch, selected from promising and "inquisitive"individuals from across all the possible legions. More than this though, they are very loyal to the Emperor, the Throne World, and all that the Imperium stands for. They are the elites of the legions who are also the cast-offs, regardless of the loyalties of their primarchs or not (and Forge World, if you happen to read this, please let Omegon be Janus! Pretty Please?!). 

Much like the legion praetor, these characters can be very customisable depending on what battlefield role that their controlling player desires to go in.

I think there are multiple (and good!) ways to build them. But all of them come with the standard Oaths of the Moment that should be thought about, the paragon bolter as well as the falsehood for pin-point accurate teleportation needs. The latter makes a number of possible Oaths of the Moment rather attractive. In particular, the Crusader objective is very easily attained by such a Knight-Errant. Others are tougher. 

In their favour, that also sport 2+ armour coupled with an Iron Halo and a master crafted power weapon of their choice. Power Axes are probably going to be favoured here, but I can see cases for others potentially as well depending on the role that one sees for these characters.

The temptation with a customisable Knight-Errant character is to spend too many points making them in to some kind of uber unit. This needs to be avoided as an army is categorically not an army of one (despite novels of the same name!!!). The question is then: what battlefield role should your character have.

To try to answer the above answer, here is a few suggestions to consider and muse over.

Knight-Errant; Librarian, Level 2 Mastery (175 points).
This is a way to work in a psyker in to your army. Presumably, it will already have a couple of them in it already though? Frankly, at this points level, I'd be thinking of Tylos Rubio instead who is tremendous value by comparison! (maybe this will be FAQ'ed?). 

Knight-Errant; Jump Pack, Power Fist, Melta Bombs (145 points).
Teleport in. Move around fast with the jump pack. Hit people in challenges with a power fist. Simple, but effective. Note the points cost -- its very reasonable for its purpose as well and can accommodate multiple Oaths. Take a Narthecium to taste.

Knight-Errant; Servo Arm (135 points).
Cheap enough to be a viable way to have a "repair" character in an army that needs to keep plenty of tanks at their peak performance. 

Knight-Errant; Nuncio-Vox, Sniper Rifle (125 points).
With precision shot, hopefully this Knight can take out key figures in an open (i.e. not inside a tank) blob of troops?

Knight-Errant; Narthecium, melta bombs, lightning claw, combi-melta (140 points).
Place in a land raider with others and get the charge in? Not much point in the falsehood here though.

Knight-Errant; Narthecium, jump pack, melta bombs, power fist, combi-melta, plasma pistol, Librarian, Level 2 Mastery (215 points).
A near-ultimate build that can take on almost any role. Don't take it though: use something more specialised instead as this one is too general -- its a little bit too much of everything!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Genestealer Cult Codex Excitement!

Seriously? A genestealer cult codex?

You know, I would not quite have believed it unless it was Games Workshop themselves announcing it. But: it was Games Workshop themselves! Horrah! I'm stoked!

As my very ultra long term readers might know, I harbour a love for the genestealer cult army, having had a range of figures from my earliest days in the hobby. I guess I got hooked on Space Hulk, that later turned in to the Deathwing expansion that included all the hybrid models. And I still really love them. Even if they don't come with a cult limo, I'm still very likely to purchase the new codex to be honest!

And to demonstrate just how far I travelled down the genestealer cult road ... here's a little conversion that I created many years ago -- its of a genestealer-ork hybrid model! I'm still fond of this idea personally, but can certainly see that its not the most common kind of xenos that one expects! (Yet it certainly was in the earlier publications; or at least hinted at within them that such hybrids could be created; along with Khorne worshipping orks!).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Tylos Rubio

Rubio was the first to be recruited to the Knights-Errant by Garro in his quest to assemble his team of misfit, yet unquestionably loyalist cousins from across all of the legions.

It was during the Betrayal at Calth that he finally agreed to join up, having been forced to use his psychic powers to save his brother Ultramarines against the edict of Nikaea. Ironically enough, Guilliman had just concluded that breaking the edict was necessary to fight the warp space aliens at the same time. But too late for Rubio. He was shunned. And left with little option but to join Garro.

I really like Rubio in the sense that he is a psyker that can be teleported with perfect precision on to the battlefield to cause all sorts of chaos where he is needed thanks to the falsehood.  But to be fair, I like this about all the Knights-Errant to be honest!

He's a level 2 psyker, so he is not exactly earth-shattering like we would expect of (say) Ahriman of the Thousand Sons (let alone Magnus the Red or Lorgar Transfigured). But he does get a very attractive re-roll of failed psychic tests for the divination discipline. Hence even though he has access to telekinesis, he will most likely be generating all his powers from divination.

Using his force sword, he can boost his strength from left over warp charges which is also very nice. His equipment is otherwise standard fare for the Knights-Errant.

Overall, he is nothing too special to be honest. Despite this, he has a good role to play in either being a strong distraction when he teleports in to play deep in the enemy deployment zone, or by supporting other units on the field through his divination discipline focus.

A solid choice if you want an extra psyker in your army and you don't care too much about the Edict for some reason (remember he's loyalist and so must your army be!). What does mark him out is how relatively cheap he is in comparison to other psykers and librarians. As such, he is a bit of a bargain in literal points cost terms for a level 2 psyker, but that's about it.

I would be looking at most Oaths of the Moment except for King Slayer … and I'd be tempted to look twice at Headsman unless he is absolutely going to get in to base to base contact and use that force sword with lots of spare warp charges to power up. 
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