Hear Me Out, Chase: Night Lords

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Look it’s not some secret that Chaos Space marines are extremely my jam. Luckily, with the release of Psychic Awakening II: Faith and Fury, the Chaos Space Marine forces have been re-armed with lots of great new rules to help the less-loved traitor legions compete. Combine that with some sweet new points drops in Chapter Approved 2019 for many key units in the Chaos Space Marines arsenal, and now we’re suddenly talking about a bunch of new possibilities for wrecking things with Chaos Space Marines.

There are a lot of ways I could go with these new rules, but you may recall that Night Lords were my first army and the one that I get the least use out of these days. So I’ve been aching to look for reasons to play them again, and points drops to Heldrakes and Warp Talons are just what I needed. Now I know there’s a format to these and fear not, dear reader–I’ve brought along someone to bounce my list ideas off of. Someone who’s willing to take a hard line against unnecessary bullshit. Someone who will keep my excesses in check. Someone who will give it to me straight when I’ve gone too far down the wrong path. Someone like Cyle.

But Cyle was busy so I asked Chase to help out. Hi, Chase!

Hello there Rob! As you may know. I am in no way Cyle. I like to have fun in this game, I like to try out crazy stuff, maybe even some stuff that isn’t what most people would call good. So when I was subbed in to put some fun thoughts into this, I figured I’d try to put on my best Cyle impression, which isn’t very good so I might as well just be me, and join in on the fun. To be honest, I am -psyched- for the Night Lords options and think they have some of the newest, most competitive stuff to come out of our recent releases. So, Rob, let’s go on this adventure. 

Ok, let’s start with the basics. There are a few things I am considering for this list:

  • Heldrakes. I’ve got two of these bad boys painted, and that’s the maximum amount of flyers I can put into an Outrider detachment anyways. The 10-point drop on the baleflamer and 17-point drop on their claws means these guys suddenly clock in at 140 points, and now they’re priced to move. I can use them to charge key units on T1 and lock them down/force them to fall back and at the same time use them for activating the new Vox Scream Stratagem. I’m definitely taking two of these. Love Heldrakes. Who doesn’t enjoy first turn charges? 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

  • Warp Talons. The CA changes dropped these guys to 9ppm base plus 10 more for lightning claws, bringing them down to 19 points each. That’s low enough to work with. I can combine these with We Have Come For You to lock units in combat, Prey on the Weak to get +1 to hit rolls, and Hit and Run to fall back and re-charge targets if I get bogged down against something. These guys are daemons, so they work very well with things like Heralds of Khorne that can give them a much-needed +1 Strength. The big challenge will be getting these guys into combat the turn they arrive on the table. That means making a 9″ charge. Fortunately, Night Lords armies now have access to two methods for making a 9″ charge: The Host Raptorial Specialist Detachment, and the Raptor Strike Stratagem, which lets a jump pack infantry unit charge 3D6″ instead of 2D6. These guys got such a massive buff! From points drops to just utility. I’m ready. 
  • Raptors. These guys still suck. They lack an ability to boost their strength and damage. I like the idea of using them to stack Ld modifiers on a target and force it to flee or spend CP to stay on the table, though. Still suck. But totally can be utilized to buff whatever you’re going for. 
  • Butcher Cannon Leviathans/Contemptors – Butcher cannons are already good, and the idea of stacking a -2 to Ld on top of another -3 or so from Night Lords and Raptor buffs is neat. Maybe I’ll even kill a thing or two and suddenly make morale matter. Then again, that’s a lot of work to make a bad mechanic serviceable. It’s hard not to put these into any list. They are tough, they have the output for real damage and the range to threaten the table. What’s not to love? 

After some deliberation, I’ve decided to focus on Heldrakes and Warp Talons. I definitely need a Host Raptorial for this, so I’m thinking something like:

Host Raptorial Outrider Detachment
HQ: Chaos Lord w/Jump Pack + Field Commander (Host Raptorial trait), Mark of Khorne (MoK)
HQ: Sorcerer w/Jump Pack, Mark of Slaanesh (MoS)
FA: Warp Talons
FA: Warp Talons
FA: Bikes
FLY: Heldrake
FLY: Heldrake

It’s a good start, but it needs some additional help. I definitely want some Khorne Daemons in there to boost the Warp Talons, so let’s add a bloodletter bomb and a winged Daemon prince. And Bloodcrushers just went down, so they’re going in too. that leaves me with about 400 points, but my big problem is that I need a way to generate CP, because the bloodletters and herald will cost me 3 CP, plus I need another 2 for the Host Raptorial. That means I need a Spiky 17. Here’s the list I’ve settled on:

+++TheChirurgeon’s Night Lords (1,990 points)+++

Night Lords Outrider Detachment (-1 CP)
HQ: Chaos Lord with Jump Pack, Lightning Claws, Mark of Khorne
HQ: Sorcerer with Jump Pack, Mark of Slaanesh
FA: Warp Talons x10 w/MoK
FA: Warp Talons x10 w/MoK
FA: Bikers x9 w/MoS, Champion has a combi-bolter
FLY: Heldrake w/baleflamer
FLY: Heldrake w/baleflamer

Khorne Daemons Patrol Detachment (+0 CP)
HQ: Daemon Prince of Khorne with Wings, Malefic Talons
HQ: Bloodmaster
Troops: Bloodletters x20 w/Instrument, Banner
Elites: 3x Bloodcrushers

Red Corsairs Battalion (+9 CP)
HQ: Huron Blackheart (Warlord: +1 CP)
HQ: Sorcerer w/Jump Pack, MoT, Talisman of Tzeentch
Troops: CSMs x5
Troops: CSMs x5
Troops: CSMs x5

+++Total CP: 8+++

There we go. The bikers can throw out impressive amounts of firepower, while the Warp Talons and Bloodletters drop on turn 2 to tear through any major targets. The Heldrakes can charge early and tie things up, and the list is overall pretty mobile. Good excuse to take the Recon Secondary.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Okay, I love what you’re doing here. You’ve got the CP you need to support all of your tricks. The daemon presence is a big deal as well, not only that but being able to use the Daemon stratagems is pretty cool. The one thing I think you’re missing here is making the most use out of the leadership debuff. Also, uh this isn’t a “pure” CSM detachment. Let me show you how the pros do it. HEAR ME OUT, ROB! 

+++Gunums’ Spooky Bois (1,719 points w/ 281 points in summoning)+++

Night Lords Battalion Detachment (+3CP, +5CP,-1 CP) Host Raptorial
HQ: Chaos Lord with Jump Pack, Power Fist, Mark of Khorne, Artifact: Chiropteran Wings

HQ: Master of Possession – Unmarked for reasons.
Troops Cultist x10
Troops Cultist x10
Troops Cultist x10
FA: Warp Talons x10 w/MoK
FA: Warp Talons x10 w/MoK

Red Corsairs Battalion (+8 CP)
HQ: Daemon Prince with Wings – Nurgle Miasma of Pestilence, Warlord – Unholy Fortitude

HQ: Sorcerer with Jump Pack – Mark of Tzeentch, Death Hex, Diabolic Strength
Troops: CSMs x5
Troops: CSMs x20 pistol/chainsword MoK
Troops: CSMs x5

HS: Hellforged Deredeo Dreadnought – butcher cannon array, greater havoc launcher

+++Total CP: 14 CP +++
Okay I know what you’re thinking. Summoning? The blob of marines? 

We need a lot of command points for all of our Night Lord tricks we want to pull off. Not only that but with the respawnable blob of 20 guys we can really put the pressure on turn one, putting these guys right into someone’s back zone. Next, the summoning. Using the master of Possession we are able to summon the two things I have in mind, the Infernal Enrapturess and The Contorted Epitome.  Essentially the game plan with them is to get access to the abilities of the Epitome to stop our enemies from falling back and getting it early thanks to the MoP. We have a bunch of -LD access, why not really use it. The rest of the list is still sticking around to be the same. Keeping the mobility, keeping the pressure but adding in a big gun /distraction carnifex with the Deredeo. 

Hm. Yes, this is all good feedback. A bold list. I like how you’re using summoning here. I don’t know where Cyle is right now but I’m sure he’s nodding violently in agreement for reasons he doesn’t fully understand but will become immediately clear when he reads this article. So, something to note: I don’t own any Slaanesh Daemons. Yet. But I’m going to buy some now that they’re all insanely cheap and very good. In the meantime, I’m gonna test my list and see where this goes.

Testing the List

Time to test this bad boy out! For testing, I called up my friend Patrick, who goes by “Kingsl4yer” sometimes, to bring over his Space Wolves for an ass-whuppin. He was also armed with the new points changes for his Space Wolves, which means I’d be facing some Wulfen. Here’s his list:

+++Patrick’s Space Wolves (about 2,000 points)+++

Space Wolves Battalion Detachment (+5 CP)
HQ: Primaris Wolf Lord w/Power Sword, MC Stalker Bolt Rifle, WARLORD: Saga of the Bear
HQ: Wolf Priest in Terminator Armour

Troops: 5 Intercessors w/Stalker Bolt Rifles, Aux Grenade Launcher
Troops: 5 Intercessors w/Stalker Bolt Rifles, Aux Grenade Launcher
Troops: 5 Intercessors w/Stalker Bolt Rifles, Aux Grenade Launcher

Space Wolves Spearhead Detachment (+1 CP)
HQ: Arjac Rockfist
HQ: Wolf Lord in Phobos Armour

HS: Repulsor Executioner
HS: 6 Longfangs, 5x plasma, 1x heavy bolter, Pack Leader has flamer
HS: Eliminators

Space Wolves Vanguard Detachment (+1 CP)
HQ: Arjac Rockfist

Elites: 6 Wulfen, 5 w/hammer + shield
Elites: 3 Aggressors w/Boltstorm Gauntlets
Elites: 5x Wolf Guard Terminators in Cataphractii Armor w/power fists

+++And That’s Pat’s List+++

For the mission, we played the first NOVA mission, with a pretty close approximation of NOVA Ls for the middle terrain using some ruins I built a while ago.

It’s not a huge turn 1 drop, but it’s not likely to get tabled, either.

Dawn of War Deployment. I choose Progressive Scoring and take Recon, Strike the Rank and File, and Marked For Death, picking the Eliminators, the Wulfen, the Stormwolf, and Arjac. Patrick chose Progressive as well and selected HeadhunterOld School, and Breakthrough.

I have a lot of drops (16), but the good news is that 6 of them are going into Deep Strike Reserves, so I don’t have to start deploying for a while. I can use the buildings to hide from the Repulsor when I don’t get first turn, and the Chaos Space Marine squads can hang out with Huron and capture objectives. Wulfen are a nightmare in combat but I can probably kill them with volume bike shooting. The big snag here is that by deploying all his stuff first, Pat is able to drop his Eliminators and Phobos captain in the middle of the table, and the captain prevents deep striking within 12″ of his location. That’s going to be a problem if I want to murder his stuff, so I’ll need to kill that guy. Probably with the winged Daemon Prince. He also infiltrates the Long Fangs, like he always does.

We finish deployment and roll for the first turn. Pat has a +1. He rolls a 1. I roll a 6. Fuck yes. Let’s do this.

Pat rolls to seize: 6. This is bullshit. Fuck this game. Fuck you too, Pat.

Fine. This is Fine. Everything is fine.

Turn 1 is actually relatively uneventful. Pat charges forward with his Wulfen but is too far to make the full distance. His Repulsor opens up on my Bikers and we have a slight hiccup when I use In Midnight Clad only to realize it only works on Infantry. Blech. He takes out four of the bikes with the Executioner’s insane combination of guns. Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, he puts a single wound on my Heldrake and his Eliminators take out a Red Corsair. He also moves forward with his Stormwolf, hoping to drop out some terminator bois next turn.

Time to retaliate. I need to kill that Phobos Captain. Fortunately, an insane run of rolls follows, and my Red Corsairs Sorcerer flies up and rolls a 12 for his smite attempt. Then he rolls a 6 and suffers 3 mortal wounds, then another 6 to do 6 mortal wounds to the Phobos captain, killing him outright. Then he casts Prescience on the bikes, rolling a 12 for his test. I use a CP to reroll one of the 6s, mercifully not re-perils-ing. Huron does a single smite wound to the Jet. I charge forward with the Heldrakes, and put one right into Pat’s lines, charging his Intercessors and using Vox Scream to turn off his Wolf Lord’s aura. He can still shoot with the Executioner, but taking away the re-rolls 1 to hit will help keep my guys on the table. My Bikers fire up Veterans of the Long War and Endless Cacophony and split fire, killing 3 Wulfen and 1 Eliminator. In the Charge phase, I charge with both Heldrakes and the Daemon Prince, and my charge is long enough with the DP that I can make it to the Eliminators and wipe them out, scoring me a point for Marked for Death.

 

OK, now it’s time for shit to get real. Turn 2 arrives. Pat scores 2 points for Progressive, then drops all of his Terminators out of his Stormwolf and brings his Long Fangs up behind me. the Long Fangs pop off a hellfire shot at the Helldrake and put a couple of mortals on it, then shoot down two of the Bloodcrushers. Pat’s Stalker Intercessors fall back and he uses the Executioner to kill the Heldrake, which explodes and does 3 mortal wounds to his Intercessors. The Terminators, led by Arjac and a Wolf Priest, drop out of the Stormwolf and charge Huron. They lose two to Overwatch, then pummel Huron to death with power fists. Goodnight, sweet prince.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

On the other hand, the Wulfen charge the bikes and lose 1 to Overwatch fire. Then the remaining Wulfen fails to do a single wound to the bikers, and fortunately, they do zero back to him and avoid getting murdered on the second round of combat. That’s when we go to morale. The Wulfen lost a model, don’t have their leader, and are within 1″ of a Night Lords Biker, so they are -2 to their Ld this turn. Pat rolls a 6. Hahaha, ok time for the ATSKNF re-roll. Pat rolls another 6. His final Wulfen tucks its tail between his legs and flees. I don’t know what’s more astonishing here. The sheer bad luck on Pat’s part or the fact that the Night Lords Legion Trait was actually useful for the first time in all of the 8th edition.

Fucking perfect. Also, I used a bike’s pile-in move to get within 3″ of that objective marker. Look at me, using the Combat step to play smart!

Now it’s my turn and shit’s gonna get real. I drop in all of the Warp Talons and Bloodletters, plus both characters and the Bloodmaster. I decided to split them up. I can put one squad of Warp Talons on a split charge between the two Intercessor Squads in Pat’s deployment zone, and let the Herald give them the ability to re-roll charges when I use the Stratagem to give them a 3D6″ charge while I keep the other ones near the Chaos Lord to get a 7″ charge using his aura. My sorcerers combine to drop 5 Mortal Wounds on Arjac in the psychic phase, and I use some bike shooting to take out the Stalker Intercessors. Then the charges begin. I make the Bloodletter and Warp Talon charges on the north end of the table, using the Warp Talons to prevent any Overwatch fire.

ROLL TIDE!

 

Before this battle, I had definitely underestimated the Prey on the Weak stratagem — to One_Wing’s point, the Night Lords’ -1 Ld aura worked here to give the Intercessors Ld 7, allowing me to use the stratagem to give them +1 to hit. On Raptors this could be even more useful, with a -2 Ld modifier against whatever they’re fighting. I still don’t think it’s worth bringing them, though. Anyways, they were too far for the +1 S aura but they did more than enough damage with their 3 Attacks each to wipe out one squad of Intercessors and the Bloodletters finished off the rest. On the other side of the battlefield, my second squad of Warp talons made their 7″ charge against the Long Fangs, and the Lord completed his charge against the Terminators. He killed the Wolf Priest and moved on to the final character, which I think was a Lieutenant?

I was using Raptors as Warp Talons. I don’t actually have any painted Warp Talons yet. Shameful, I know.

 

The Warp Talons absolutely mulched the Long Fangs. Meanwhile, my Daemon Prince tried to do some more damage to the Stormfang, but only put a couple of wounds on it. Turn 3 rolls around and Pat destroys my other Heldrake, then falls back and kills the Daemon Prince. But at this point, I’m clearly ahead on the score and while I don’t have a ton that can take out the Stormfang or Repulsor, I can easily hide well enough to just push through a big win. Pat concedes.

Result: Victory, 28-7

So what did we learn? Well, Warp Talons are pretty great. The ability to shut off Overwatch is well worth what they’re packing. Second, I way underestimated Prey on the Weak. It’s a very good stratagem that’s going to help significantly against a lot of troops and infantry opponents. Third, Night Lords need a lot of CP to operate. I’m not 100% on the Khorne Daemons right now because they eat so much CP to operate but on the other hand, they’re a cheap way to augment and get the most out of the Warp Talons. On the subject of Warp Talons, I’m worried that 2 squads of 10 is probably too many — I may look at a squad of 10 and a squad of 5, so I can have one full squad for taking out key targets and a second for just turning off Overwatch if I decide to take Khorne Daemons. The bikes also definitely put in work and are worth bringing in future lists. I’m also going to drop the Bloodcrushers — the do nothing for me and I’ve got enough fightmans as it is. I may see about trying to fit in a squad of Havocs or a twin Butcher Contemptor instead, if I can make the points work.

This was just a -blast- for me to read. You took an idea, brought it to the table, and go to use everything you wanted! Hell, we even got to see the bad* strat Prey on the Weak used to some effect. I was just loving it. Honestly, I don’t know what else your opponent could have done in this game, I think he played well enough and made some good calls. Space Wolves are in a tough spot right now, maybe as bad as Dark Angels. Big shout out to Mr. Pat for making it out to get the test game in! 

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this list’s first test run. Pat’s a fine player and while his list wasn’t the hardest tournament list ever, this game at least gave me an idea of how this list might play and how I might tailor things for future games. I’m looking forward to trying it again and painting up some Warp Talons.

 

Next Time: Iron Warriors, Probably

Before you go, I want to point out that I haven’t won a single game yet in my HMO: Cyle series, and here you are getting the game on turn 3. I am as ashamed as I am proud. 

Now that I’ve tested Night Lords, Iron Warriors may be next. Or Raptors with Haarken. Or maybe Nurgle Obliterators? There are a lot of crazy strategies to try. I’m not entirely sure which one to do next. Got a preference? Drop me a note in the comments, or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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