Hear Me Out, Wings: 9th Edition Night Lords

There’s more to 40k than just grinding out endless RTTs and rolling on endless maelstrom tables for wacky results. In Hear Me Out, Goonhammer authors (usually Chase) explore building offbeat lists and playing with new concepts, and put those concepts to the test in a game environment. This week, Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones is following up on some some Discord arguments he had about Night Lords by trying to make them work in 9th edition.

Sometimes “Hear Me Outs” are the result of lots of mad tinkering, thinking, tweaking, and twisting. You come up with a weird idea for a list and you just have to test it out and see if it works. Other times, they arise out of a desire to prove someone wrong. Spite, even. This is one of those times, and it starts with a conversation on the Goonhammer Patron Discord. We had just created a Horus Heresy channel in the Discord following some positive feedback for our Night Lords Legion Focus article on Tuesday, when one of our Patrons (thanks, btw) had this to say:

OK first off, Special Agent Orange (SAO), how dare you. Second, not necessarily true – the Night Lords have good rules and have been relevant recently. I was quick to point this out:

My counter was that the current Faith and Fury rules were as good as anything we got in the (admittedly decent) Traitor Legions supplement, which SAO promptly blew off, saying Night Lords were only really taken as Heldrakes for access to the stratagems. Well, buddy CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. I set out to create a list that I felt could realistically compete (albeit at the RTT level) with Night Lords. Hey, this sounds like a great premise for a HEAR ME OUT article!

 

Building Around Night Lords

If you’re going to build around Night Lords, you have to build to the legion’s strengths, fundamentally, I felt like that meant taking advantage of two stratagems for the army:

  • Raptor Strike, which lets a Night Lords JUMP PACK unit that arrived as reinforcements roll 3D6 when charging instead of 2D6, and
  • From the Night, which lets a unit of Night Lords INFANTRY that’s entirely on or within a terrain feature add 2 to its charges and get +1 to hit with its hit rolls that turn.

The net result is that between the two of these, Night Lords have two pretty reliable methods for getting a charge off for units arriving from deep strike. Combine that with the buff to Raptors suddenly getting AP-1 Astartes Chainswords and Warp Talons having +1 attack per claw, and you’ve got some relatively scary melee units that can drop in on turn 2 and wipe something off an objective, then stick around to score Linebreaker or Engage on All Fronts points. They’re also able to use We Have Come For You to trap enemy units in combat, which can help protect them if they get stuck in. Likewise, Mutilators make a good companion unit option for From the Night, since they’re small enough (3 models) to drop on a terrain feature like a ruin, then charge out of it and use the +2 to make an easy 7″ charge. And Night Lords can still make great use of Heldrakes, which can assault the enemy on turn 1 and use the Vox Scream Stratagem to turn off key auras on turn 1 and mess with your opponent’s game plan.

With some of these ideas in mind, I built the following list:

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List: Night Lords Terror Drop

Night Lords Patrol Detachment (0 CP, 1,884 points)

HQ: Chaos Lord in Terminator Armor w/MoS, Rapacious Talons (105)
HQ: Sorcerer w/Jump Pack, WL: Warp Lord, Force Stave, Delightful Agonies, Prescience, Smite (115)

Troops: Cultists x10 w/autogun, MoS (60)
Troops: CSMs x9 w/bolter, MoS, 1x Autocannon (136)

EL: Terminators x10 w/MoK, 7x Combi-bolter, 5x Chainaxe, 2x Power Fist, 2x Heavy Flamer, Champ w/L. Claws, Icon of Wrath (318)
EL: Mutilators (105)

FA: Raptors x15 w/MoK, Chainsword + Bolt Pistol, Icon of Wrath, Champ w/L.Claws (290)

HS: Defiler w/MoS, Reaper, Scourge (140) HS: Obliterators x3 w/MoS (140)
HS: Obliterators x3 w/MoS (315)

FLY: Heldrake w/MoS, Baleflamer (150)
FLY: Heldrake w/MoS, Baleflamer (150)

Black Legion Auxiliary Detachment (-2 CP, 95 points)

HQ: Haarken Worldclaimer (95)

Note: I didn’t intend to make this list 1,979 points; I was a bit quick picking things in Battlescribe and didn’t notice I was paying for a couple of things I didn’t take. On a second pass, I’d give the Terminators the Mark of Slaanesh and take their icon, freeing up 30 points that I’d use to add another few models, possibly to the cultists.

The list focuses on having a lot of Deep Strike threats between the Raptors, Terminators, Mutilators, and Obliterators, which can combine with the Heldrakes to make for easy scoring of Engage on All Fronts or Linebreaker, while also giving me a way to harass enemy deployment zone objectives from the first turn and help mitigate the go-first advantage if I find myself losing the roll-off.

The Raptors come in a max-size squad (15), and have the Mark of Khorne and an Icon of Wrath so they can re-roll charges (on 3D6″ thanks to Raptor Strike) and fight twice if I need to. Being a unit of 15 helps maximize their attacks, and with the Night Lords Ld modifier plus the Raptors’ inherent -1, they’ll almost always have Prey on the Weak active as an option to get an extra +1 to hit. Only being S4 isn’t great, but they can use Veterans of the Long War to help shore up the gap against tougher targets. The champion gets to go a little harder with a pair of lightning claws. The plan almost every game is to deep strike these guys and have them charge out of deep strike to clear an objective, or end up in the opponent’s deployment zone where they can help score LinebreakerEngage on All Fronts, or, in a pinch, Deploy Scramblers. Ultimately I chose Raptors over Warp Talons because they’re significantly cheaper on a per-model basis and because they can have an Icon of Wrath, helping guarantee that I’ll be able to deliver them into combat without spending CP. Warp Talons are real blenders, but they’re also just as fragile, and that 5+ invuln is nice but not as nice as having a half dozen more bodies.

Haarken is here as support for the Raptors. I’m probably getting too cute with him since he has no way of reliably making his charge, but with a 6″ re-roll alll hits aura he can be money for the Raptors and his -1 to Ld for enemy units within 18″ gives him a huge boost to stack with Raptors and the Night Lords trait, helping me get as high as -5 with the right units nearby, which also helps get off Prey on the Weak against high-Ld targets.

The Terminators are going to be my midfield objective holders. A full squad of 10 with a couple of heavy flamers to keep enemies off objectives and a couple of power fists in case shit gets real. They’ll probably walk most games, since I’ll want them at mid-table and I can’t deep strike everything in the list according to the game rules for reserves. They’re accompanied by a Terminator Lord who has the Rapacious Talons and is available to intervene and help clean house.

The Jump Pack Sorcerer is here to boost units and Smite. He’s got Delightful Agonies to help keep the Terminators, Heldrakes, and Defiler alive and he has Prescience to boost the accuracy of the big Raptor and Terminator Squads. Given they’ve already got Haarken/Chaos Lord support however, this may be more than I need, and Warptime might be the right call. Worth testing.

The Mutilators are the ugliest models ever but I have some old resin and metal obliterators that work as stand-ins for them and they’re very cheap, reasonably durable Linebreaker points if I need them to teleport in and do so, or they can be a real chore to handle if they drop in and act as a melee threat, using From the Night to get +2 to their charges.

The Defiler is just a decent unit all-around now. Fairly cheap, good in melee combat against multiple kinds of targets, big but not massive, and able to shoot OK with the battle cannon and reaper autocannon. He can be even more durable with Delightful Agonies and he’s a good target for Prescience and the Chaos Lord aura if he’s firing at a unit where the battlecannon’s Blast effect can max out. Also he’s just a monster in melee combat against characters.

The Obliterators are another surprise drop unit, able to drop in and put out some silly amounts of firepower, shooting twice if they have to. They’re also just good to have.

The Heldrakes do a lot for me – they’re fast and able to reliably drop into combat on turn 1, plus they can be in range of nearly anything in an opponent’s army to Vox Scream on turn 1 and turn off auras. I think they’re significantly better in 9th edition as well; baleflamers are still relatively cheap, plus they can be shot now while the Heldrake is in melee, making them even nastier, and the fact that they aren’t AIRCRAFT means their bigass flying bases can be used to block enemy movement and generally just be obnoxious as hell. They’re also great for being a Linebreaker or Engage on All Fronts unit.

Taken in whole, there’s a lot I like about this list. It can be all over the board quickly with both vehicles and infantry, giving it a good options to take with Linebreaker, Engage on All Fronts, and Deploy Scramblers as secondaries, and it has the hitting power to reliably score Assassinate or Bring Them Down if it needs to. It’s also difficult to pick secondaries against – it only has three VEHICLE targets, it only has one psyker, three total characters, and nothing much to work with for Thin the Ranks.

For my practice game, James “One_Wing” Grover volunteered to take me on. James is a tough opponent, and beat me senseless the last three games we played, so I was a bit apprehensive when he took up my call for takers.

Wings, what do you think of this list and general strategy?

One_Wings

Definitely feels like there’s something here – the list has a lot of ways to cause opponents headaches, has strong ways to score points and doesn’t give up secondaries easily. It’s very much the kind of list 9th Edition’s missions have enabled – many opposing armies are going to be able to out-kill it, but it’s flexible enough that it can potentially out-score the enemy on the way to that, and benefits hugely from the game being one turn shorter, as otherwise I’d be worried about running out of steam. The only thing I could confidently look at and say I’d want to do differently is that I prefer Warptime to Delightful Agonies – it gives you a vast array of options on the table and helps things like the Defiler keep up with the rest of the army. That’s especially true because as we ended up discovering during deployment, the other challenge is that as things stand you have >1000pts of stuff you sometimes want to deep strike, so at least one of your hammer units is foot slogging. I’d consider seeing if the equipment on the Terminators could be dialed back enough (or a model cut) to get things so that they plus the Raptors, Oblits and Mutilators totalled <1000pts. That would force you to deploy Harken on the board, but in general he’s going to be able to move to where he needs to be on a key turn.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Putting it to the Test

As usual, in a Hear Me Out we don’t just theorycraft, we put that shit into action and play some test games. To test this list out, I slammed it against two of the best players in the Goonhammer offices: James “One_Wing” Grover, famous for his ability to digest codexes and lists and immediately understand them, and Jon “Seekingasaga” Kilcullen, known for his punishing board control with Space Wolves and single-handedly moving 2 million Impulsors for Games Workshop this year with his lists.

 

Game 1: One_Wing’s Necrons

With my list built and James’ sound advice fully ignored, it was time to put this to the test. James was playing his Necrons – Novokh with a heavy emphasis on melee combat. That was on the whole, good for me – I think my Night Lords can melee a little bit better than Novokh, though the Skorpekh Destroyers will be rough to handle, and I’m dreading facing the Nightbringer, since taking it down in one turn is going to be very difficult and it can basically kill anything in my army it wants to take on.

Wings’ List

Novokh Patrol

HQ
Anrakyr the Traveller, Warlord 140
Szeras, Extra Warlord Trait 160

Troops
20 Warriors, reapers 260

Elites
5 Skorpekh 175
Plasmacyte (no slot) 15
Cryptothralls (no slot) 40

Novokh Patrol

HQ
Chronomancer, Nanomines, Veil of Darkness 110

Troops
20 Warriors, reapers 260

Elites
Nightbringer 350
Cryptothralls 40
Cryptothralls (no slot) 40

Fast Attack
5 Wraiths 175

Heavy Support
3 Lokhusts, 1 Heavy Lokhust with gauss exterminator 235

The goal here is just to grind the opponent down. As Novokh and with Anrakyr backing them up the Warriors are a genuine melee threat, and are backed up by some heavier hitters for targets that require them. The list also doesn’t give up max points on any secondaries, and has Cryptothralls aplenty to be chucked into Strategic Reserves to score objectives.

The mission was 21. Surround and Destroy from the GT Missions pack.

Picking kill secondaries against Wings’ list is pretty tough. He doesn’t have any vehicles and while he has four characters, one of them is the Nightbringer and taking down all four is pretty big ask. For secondaries I took Linebreaker, Surround Them from the Mission – this rewards holding objectives in my and my opponent’s DZ, which I think is doable given that Wings will want to charge forward with most of his army – and Deploy Scramblers, which also plays into my plan of being in the enemy DZ.

For deployment, I put the Raptors, Haarken, the Mutilators, and the Obliterators in Reserves to teleport in and left the Terminators on the table, planning to have them walk to the midtable objectives. Wings doesn’t have anything that can reach me turn 1 if he wins the roll-off but it will mean I’ll have to worry about being in charge range and he’ll be dictating where my units go. The upside to going up against his melee-heavy list is that on the Nightbringer and the Lokhusts can do real ranged damage, which will mean that my Defiler and Heldrakes are mostly safe if they aren’t in melee combat. That’ll allow me to be a bit more aggressive with my deployment, though the Heldrakes can be anywhere.

Terrain-wise, this map is basically perfect for what I want to do – there are lots of ruins and no Difficult terrain features, which means the Mutilators can deep strike into buildings and then get the +2 to their rolls charging out of them if I need them as melee combatants. It’s also got several choke points coming out of the deployment zone I can use – if I get first turn or Wings doesn’t move fast enough, I can use the Heldrakes to bloke those, tying up his warriors and preventing them from moving around, trapping him in his Deployment Zone. This is a double-edged sword, since it’ll make it harder to deep strike in there, but the payoff will be that I can control where he goes on the table. This seems like a good plan.

I win the roll-off and immediately windmill slam the MF button to take the first turn. Hell yeah.

Turn 1

Let’s execute that plan. The Heldrakes sweep up mid-table, positioning themselves to block the Warrior squads. and box Wings in. There’s room on the upper left to teleport in a unit for Linebreaker if I need. The Terminators Advance toward midtable but don’t reach the objective, while the Defiler moves up. The Cultists deploy a scrambler. I’m not sure it’s worth it to Vox Scream Anrakyr (it probably was), so I save the CP. Now it’s time to get aggressive. In what is likely the biggest mistake he’ll make all game, Wings has deployed his Nightbringer right on the edge of his deployment zone, giving me the opportunity to put my Jump Pack Sorcerer in position to Smite it. If I can pull this off, it’ll be a whole different ballgame. The Sorcerer moves up, casts Smite, and I get 3 mortal wounds. Hell Yeah. That’s fairly lucky (though not insane), and it allows me to be very aggressive here – now that the Nightbringer can be killed this turn, I have to finish him off. The Defiler levels all its firepower at the Nightrbinger and scores four wounds on it, taking away another 3 thanks to its cap. Then the Heldrakes charge. They both tag warrior squads and the one at midtable tags the Nightbringer. I use Daemonforge fighting the Nightbringer to get re-rolls on hits and wounds with the Heldrake, who has 5 Attacks on the charge. This ensures he pushes through 4 wounds, and while Wings saves 2 of them, the resulting wounds do 4 damage, killing the Nightbringer. Score! The Heldrakes each lose a wound in the ensuing fights, but I’ve already secured a big leg up on this game.

Wings: So yeah, I just totally mind-blanked on there being a smite caster and punted this turn like an idiot. The sinking feeling when the Smite damage dice came up with a 3 was quite something.

Wings retaliates. He uses the Veil of Darkness on his Chronomancer to teleport one squad of Warriors out of combat and moves his Destroyers – Lokhust and Skorpekh – forward. The Warriors power up their Reapers and fire at the Terminators. I use In Midnight Clad to protect them, but 6 of them still bite it, then they lose another model to morale, while the Lokhusts kill 3 marines in my Deployment Zone. In the Fight phase, the Wraiths and Destroyers each charge in and here’s where the mix of invulnerable saves and Delightful Agonies pays off – the Heldrake at mid-table survives with 4 wounds left, while the one on the right manages to avoid taking any damage from the Hyperphase reap-blade (Wings rolled like total shit and scored no successful wounds) and ends up surviving the fight with 3 wounds remaining. That’s a huge win for me at this point. Wings deploys scramblers with his Cryptothralls. There’s not much else to do and it’s still 0-0 so on to turn 2.

Turn 2

I move up my Terminators and Sorcerer, and since there are only three of them left, they deploy scrambers. The Sorcerer casts Delightful Agonies on the Defiler and Prescience on the Raptors. Meanwhile the Defiler sees an opening to attack and remove Anrakyr, so I plow forward with him. Both Heldrakes fall back, one to Wings’ Deployment Zone and the other toward the Lokhusts. He’ll be charging them this turn with the Hit and Run Stratagem. They aren’t particularly great in melee, so my goal is to just keep them from shooting anything of note. If Wings has to leave the midtable objective to chase them with his Destroyers, that’ll put them out of position to do much and if he doesn’t, I’ll lock up the Lokhusts all game. The Raptors arrive on the flank to take out a warrior blob along with Haarken, while the Obliterators arrive in Wings’ deployment zone ready to rumble. The Raptors make their charge pretty easily, while the Obliterators do too with a CP re-roll. I get a bit lucky when Haarken makes his, but that’s just icing on the cake at this point. The Heldrake charages the Lokhusts, the Defiler charges Anrakyr and the Warriors (but not the Wraiths), and the Obliterators fail their charge against the Lokhusts.

Time to see what the raptors can do. It’s… OK. The Warriors here have a 5++ from the Chronomancer nearby so the lightning claws are capping out while the swords are in their element. The big thing here is that I didn’t pop Veterans of the Long War and I probably should have – I rolled awful on my wounds rolls and ended up only taking out 8 warriors, and a few of those stood back up. Haarken took out a few more, which helped. But despite having -3 to morale from Haarken and the Raptors being nearby plus casualties, Wings rolled a 1 for morale on the squad. Curse you, Wings!

At midtable the Defiler makes quick work of Anrakyr, who stands back up at end of turn with Resurrection Protocols. Wings uses Counter-Attack to intercede with the Skorpekh Destroyers, who kill two Mutilators (again, Wings rolled like shit), leaving the third one alive to kill one, but he ends up standing back up immediately (d’oh!). Meanwhile, the Heldrake manages to take out another Lokhust. At this point we’ve both scored 10 points for Objectives but I’ve got 4 from Linebreaker on my turn.

On Wings’ turn, he’s been boxed out pretty much anywhere he’d want to bring in his Cryptothralls and so he has them arrive from Strategic Reserves, landing them in combat with the Heldrake. They’re actually quite the blenders with a Chronomancer’s buffs and they end up shredding what’s left of the Heldrake in the fight phase when I fail all 8 saves with him (I needed to roll four 4+s on 8 dice to survive another turn). Meanwhile the Wraiths charge my Terminators and Sorcerer and are able to wipe out both, leaving only my Terminator Lord there out in the open, and the Skorpekh Destroyers finish off the Mutilators. On my end, the Raptors finish wiping out the Necron Warriors, which works out well for me. Now it’s 24-20 in my favor but I’m in a really good position to take things from here.

Turn 3

At this point it’s getting late for Wings and he’s in a bad spot. I start positioning my Raptors to take out his cryptothralls while Haarken is in a good position to kill the Chronomancer while the Defiler can fall back and charge Anrakyr. We decide to call it. I’ve got a much bigger board presence at this point plus I’ve got easy Linebreaker again and next turn I’ll start scoring Surround Them now that there’s nothing that can really stop my Raptors and Obliterators from holding the backfield. Wings can still cause some problems with his Wraiths and Skorpekhs but I’ll put a dent in them with the Defiler and the Obliterators can whittle them down as well. The final result is probably something that looks like an 84-50 victory on my end.

Result: Victory!

Thoughts and Optimizing the List

That went really well for me, though I definitely got a huge bump off killing the Nightbringer on turn 1. That’s as much a bad decision on Wings’ part as it is a good one on mine. And I got a little lucky with Wings’ bad rolls early on, though Heldrakes are harder to kill than they look. I think we called it at the right time and I had some good presence to work with from there.

Wings: Obviously the game changes quite a bit if I don’t throw the Nightbringer away out the gate, but I think the matchup did show off the power of the list – getting both big warrior blobs tagged by Heldrakes out the gate is a huge problem for me, and you can pull something similar against any list relying on similar units – 10-model Intercessor blobs are popular right now, and similarly don’t want this happening to them. Even if the Nightbringer had still been up, the Skorpekh punting the first turn kill on the other Heldrake left me with huge issues. This was definitely informative for me – if I take out the list again I’ll be swapping out Szeras for a Royal Warden and Technomancer, giving me an out against enemies that can quickly tag the large units. Definitely not mad that I discovered this while about 50% through the complete nightmare that is painting Szeras. I’m laughing, actually.

 

Game 2: Taking on Jon Kilcullen’s Space Wolves

JONK hit me out of nowhere the next day to play a second game and I was happy to oblige, having learned a few lessons about my list. I made some quick adjustments, dropping the Icon of Wrath and putting the Mark of Slaanesh on the Terminators, dropping 4 Chaos Space Marines from the 5-man squad, and putting a unit of 3 Chaos Spawn into the list. The spawn can be super annoying and their ability to move through terrain combines with 7″ movement to be a unit that can get around and help score Engage on All Front points while also harassing enemy units and being a chore to shift, albeit not as tough as the Death Guard variant.

Like Wing’s List, JONK’s list was very melee-focused, and a much harder matchup for me. It wants to do a lot of the same things but it’s arguably better at doing them, in part because it can start on objectives at midtable with the Infiltrators and box me out.

JONK’s List

Space Wolves Battalion Detachment (-1 CP, 1,995 Points)

HQ: Primaris Chaplian on Bike: Chapter Command: Master of Sanctity, Litany of Hate, Power fist
HQ: Librarian: Chapter Command: Chief Librarian, Force stave, Jump Pack
HQ: Chapter Master: Chapter Command: Chapter Master, Jump Pack, Power fist, Storm bolter

Troops: Infiltrator Squad x5 – 4x Infiltrator: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
Troops: Infiltrator Squad x5 – 4x Infiltrator: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
Troops: Infiltrator Squad x5 – 4x Infiltrator: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Marksman bolt carbine
Troops: Incursor Squad x5 -. 4x Incursor: 4x Bolt pistol, 4x Frag & Krak grenades, 4x Occulus bolt carbine, 4x Paired combat blades

EL: Wolf Guard w/Jump Packs x9 – 7x Power Fist + Storm Shield, Lightning claw + Storm shield, Pack Leader – Storm shield, Thunder hammer
EL: Wolf Guard w/Jump Packs x10 – 7x Power Fist + Storm Shield, 2x Lightning claw + Storm shield, Pack Leader – Storm shield, Thunder hammer
EL: Wolf Guard w/Jump Packs x10 – 7x Power Fist + Storm Shield, 2x Lightning claw + Storm shield, Pack Leader – Storm shield, Thunder hammer

FA: Fenrisian Wolves – 9x Fenrisian Wolf: 9x Teeth and claws
FA: Fenrisian Wolves – 9x Fenrisian Wolf: 9x Teeth and claws

JONK: This list was designed with the idea that Thunder Fire Cannons are an issue for the new standard of Thunder wolf cavalry spam. It was a bit of an out of the box list that I really wanted to put through several test games to see if it had any legs before I move on to my next “bright” idea. The list is extremely aggressive and projects threat well while controlling the board. The Fenrisian wolves are there to do several things, but their main role is to live through 1 turn to screen my characters before the 1-3 Vanguard Vets drop in and go to work. An Armour of Russ captain along with a Wulfen stone Primaris chaplain on bike give me a lot of options and cause a lot of issues for other combat armies looking to engage on me first. The chief Librarian adds immense utility while giving me denies against any time of psyker-heavy list. Overall the idea is pretty simple, the execution is pretty difficult though and requires a lot of practice so reaching out to Rob was a no brainer. 

The mission was 23. The Scouring. Probably one of my least favorites. The Deployment Zones on this one are weird as hell (Corrode: for anyone who’s finding this one troubling, it’s worth noting that the map in ITC battles is, or was, scaled wrong. Rob’s version below is correct) .

For secondaries, JONK’s list also doesn’t have a lot of targets for me to go after and maxing secondaries will be difficult. The Deployment zones are small and the Infiltrators are a pain so I took Engage on All Fronts instead of Linebreaker on this one, with Deploy Scramblers again and Assassinate. Maxing out at 9 points for a kill secondary isn’t great but I didn’t have the units to double up on actions and I felt like I could kill all three of JONK’s characters during the game, and 9 points seemed like an OK deal. Fortunately, JONK helped me out by taking While We Stand, We Fight, which made each of his characters an 8-point swing waiting to happen. He also took Oaths of Moment and Engage on All Fronts to round out the secondary set.

The downside is that both JONK’s list and the table we’re playing on are bad for me and my gameplan. There are 10 terrain features here and 6 of them have the Difficult Terrain keyword, which means they’re awful for landing in and using From the Shadows to charge out of. The list is full of Infiltrators that can deploy forward and box out my deep strikers and if JONK wins the roll-off and goes first, there’s a massive chance I just can’t recover from losing the roll-off and the primary objective points. The smaller deployment zones also box me in and make it harder to Deploy Scramblers in the opponent’s DZ. The upside is that Jon’s strategy relies heavily on his Chaplain’s multiple Aura litanies, which I can turn off with Vox Scream for a turn or two until they just don’t matter any more. JONK won the roll-off, and because he likes to practice playing games where he’s behind or something, decided to go second.

This game was a real slobberknocker. I had hoped to wipe out both units of Jon’s infiltrators on turn 1 and instead I was only able to kill 5 total models, leaving one squad with a single model that luckily survived (JONK popped Transhuman on the other so it lost much less). The Cultists dropped a scrambler in my DZ, while the terminators, defiler, spawn, and characters all pushed forward. The Heldrakes zoomed forward to try and take out the Infiltrators and got pretty unlucky to not wipe out either squad, but dropped Vox Scream on the bike chaplain. The upside is I end the turn with Engage on All Fronts scoring for all four quarters. JONK responded on his turn by having the vanguard veterans absolutely demolish the Heldrake on the top half of the board and had his wolves rush the one on bottom, but some bad placement and being a little too conservative meant it only ended up taking 3 wounds from the charge. The rest of his movement was spent spacing his models to prevent me from dropping all over his backfield, but there was enough space for my Raptors to drop in.

So on my Turn 2, the Raptors dropped in at the back of his deployment zone next to the crater while the Mutilators and Obliterators dropped in my deployment zone and Haarken dropped at the top of the table 9″ away from Jon’s wolf lord. At this point JONK begged me to charge his wolf lord, where the Armour of russ would ensure I’d fight last, but Haarken failed that charge. Meanwhile the Raptors charged in and demolished the Incursors and put 4 wounds on the bike chaplain while the Heldrake struggled to kill more wolves but threw a Vox Scream at the Bike Chaplain again. The Terminators pushed forward and wiped out the Infiltrators in the middle of the table, and the Chaos Spawn charged the Vanguard vets that killed the heldrake, but were Counter-Attacked into oblivion. 69 points (nice) for 2 CP from the opponent isn’t my favorite tradeoff but I’ve had worse. On JONK’s turn the other two squads of Vanguard Vets arrived to wreak havoc (both of them made the 9″ charges they needed to reach my units!), charging my terminators and raptors, while the Wolf Lord charged Haarken, whiffed all his attacks, and then was killed by Haarken for his trouble in one of the most amazing swings I’ve ever seen. I take it all back. Haarken you totally rule. Meanwhile the Vanguard Vets wiped out my Terminators at midtable but decided to consolidate into my Chaos Lord and Defiler and were wiped out with a mix of melee and morale (those stacked Night Lords modifiers are brutal for marines), but not before he took out my sorcerer and the other Heldrake.

I was able to whittle JONK’s forces down, wiping out the remaining Infiltrators and wolves and killing the bike chaplain and even though he got my Terminator lord and Haarken by the end of T3 all he had left were two squads of vanguard veterans, one with 7 models and one with a single model remaining while I still had a full health Defiler, 3 Obliterators, 5 CSMs, the 3 Mutilators, and a squad of Cultists. While dropping a scrambler in JONK’s deployment zone was likely out of the question, I had the range to reach his 7-model squad with the Mutilators and drop them to almost nothing, and the other Vanguard Veteran was not going to survive another round of combat against the Obliterators’ mini power fists. JONK conceded the game, resulting in a 74-27 victory on my end.

Result: Victory!

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

What Worked

Wow, I did not expect to be 2-0 with this list, especially against James and JONK. The Heldrakes were great. They were able to control Wings’ movement all game, and let me direct where the game would go, and I think that would have probably been true even if I’d gone second, since Wings wouldn’t have had quite enough movement to get fully out of his deployment zone. The Defiler was also solid and the combo of a squad of Mutilators and Obliterators was decent, even if the Mutilators didn’t do much overall. Charging the Skropekhs with them was probably not my best idea, especially when they could get counter-attacked. The secondary choices were correct, and the Raptors did what I needed them to. In all, the list performed mostly how I expected it. I need to be more aggressive about using Veterans of the Long War with the Raptors against T4 targets, though – I ate shit on my wound rolls against the Warriors. I used almost every Night Lords Stratagem this game – they’re truly an A+ bunch of stratagems and they give the army a ton of flexibility.

What Didn’t work

Haarken was probably getting a little too cute. He did some work, and it’s great that he has an extra attack now, but given how easy I can get the Raptors to a 2+ to hit it doesn’t seem like I need to spend 2 CP to have him around. I could probably move those points to something else, though I’m going to run up against issues with taking a single Patrol detachment if I want to try and add another Defiler. More Mutilators or Chaos Spawn could work here, though. The Terminators also probably want the Mark of Slaanesh instead of Khorne, which would have let me cast Delightful Agonies on them and improved their resilience and I that was the right call in game 2. That’s another area where swapping will save me points, since I won’t take an Icon of Wrath. Also, this list really wants to go first. I’d have been completely blown out if JONK hadn’t deferred and taken the second turn. Against Wings I’d have probably done OK but JONK had all the tools necessary to stop my board-controlling, charging-out-of-combat scheme. But on the whole, I think this list has legs. Or wings, if you prefer.

 

Next Time: Chase’s Adventures Continue, Probably

We’ll be back in coming weeks with more crazy ideas from Goonhammer authors. I’m pretty sure Chase is cooking something up for a future installment that’ll be worth looking at. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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