Monday, January 5, 2015
Horus Heresy Review: Night Lords Legion Rules
Fear and terror tactics honed to razor's edge. Monsters, even when counted as loyal (and even if you adhere to the viewpoint that they were only punishing the guilty). The Night Lords are a most reprehensible legion built upon the recruitment of the murderous (and worse) scum of the Galaxy from Nostramo.
The rules for this legion are a good reflection of the character and narrative of the marines that form a part of it.
Firstly, we have A Talent for Murder. In origin, it feels like a 3rd or 4th edition rule for how to resolve combat. But it is not. Instead, it provides the Night Lords with a bonus to wound if they outnumber their prey (ahem) opponents. The bit that reminds me of previous editions is the way that outnumbering is computed, with bulky models counting as more than one. This rule, tactically, therefore calls for maximum sized Night Lord assault units whenever possible. And it is a strong rule that cannot be understated - it is just as powerful as the Sons of Horus merciless fighters rule in its own way. Perhaps more so as it effectively means a bonus to S (or penalty to opponent's T characteristic). Therefore its on par with the Iron Hands legion rules -- with the caveat that it only counts inside of close combat. Therefore the second inference here is that the legion wants to be in close combat as soon and as often as possible. Hence we're already favouring large, swift moving units (yeah: you should be thinking jet pack equipped marines already). Really: this is a great rule that I think many players will underestimate.
The second rule is a counter-balance to this bonus. The Notraman Blood rule means a fall back distance further than other legions, on average. But on top of this, they can volunteer to fail pinning tests and flee instead. This can be used to great effect -- falling back, and then re-grouping at normal Ld values on the next turn as required. Heck, it could even help manoeuvre the squads in to better positions. Hence this might be more of a bonus than a detriment, to be perfectly honest.
Night Vision does what it does and is characteristic of the legion's home world that is bathed in darkness all the time. Little wonder these marines are pallid skinned. Combining with this, the legion Rite of War (Terror Assault) can force opponents to fight under darkness for up to the first three turns of the battle.
From the Shadows provides a cover save on the first turn of the game as an added bonus. But this is not terrific and unlikely to generate too much extra survival. Overall, it just a nice balance addition.
Finally, and significantly, is the uber-counter-weight: Seeds of Dissent. Noted for their unruly behaviour and only respecting authority (read: Night Haunter) out of fear, this rule means that when the warlord is slain they might all just say "so long and thanks for the all the fish" and turn tail to save their own hides. Very fluffy, and very annoying. The key here is to keep the commander alive as far as possible. Given that the opponent is usually needing to slay the commander, this is going to happen more frequently than not. The only way to avoid it is to ensure you kill the opponent before they do the same to you. Hence we're looking at a close combat alpha strike where possible.
The Legion has a few extra bits and pieces. Firstly, the Chainglaive (as wielded by, e.g., Sevatar) can be purchased by characters or independent characters for a small fee. An AP3 rending weapon that increases strength and goes at initiative is excellent. That said, the proliferation of 2+ armour saves on squad sergeants means that this will hardly ever be useful for challenges and the like. Hence, its probably better to ignore it and stick to a power fist or power axe all round. Only take it for fluff reasons!
The Teleportation Transponder means that terminator squads can be used with deep-strike. This sets the unit apart from other terminator units fielded by other legions. And as above, in large numbers, can cause real harm in melee.
Finally, the Trophies of Judgement mean that units can cause fear. In 40k games, fear is a bit of a non-entity as there are so many fearless units and ATSKNF rules. In 30k, fear is more significant as space marines can and do flee much more regularly. Hence, an amping up of fear across the legion can be a viable way to play a Night Lords legion detachment. Particularly in synergy with the Night Haunter.
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