Index: Emperor’s Children – the Goonhammer Hot Take

As promised – though with little fanfare – Games Workshop released an Index for the Emperor’s Children today, giving us updated rules for the two missing units in the upcoming Codex: Chaos Space Marines. There’s not a ton here, but it’s still worth talking about what is here, and how this all fits in with the rules in the upcoming Codex. You can find the new PDF here.

Army Rule: The Chosen of Slaanesh

There’s a lot here, but most of it is just adding insane bookkeeping around Keywords. When you muster your army, you can pick EMPEROR’S CHILDREN as your army keyword. If you do this, Lucius the Eternal must be in the army, and he has to be your Warlord. All of your Lucius and Noise Marine units get the HERETIC ASTARTES faction keyword, and you can include HERETIC ASTARTES units in your army except for Khorne, Nurgle, and Tzeentch units. If you take the Pactbound Zealots Detachment, you have to mark all of your units as SLAANESH, and if you take a Daemon Prince, they have to pick SLAANESH as their Daemonic Allegiance.

Also, you get Dark Pacts. There are no Enhancements or Stratagems, as you’ll be using the Detachments from Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Since there are only the two units here, it basically means that Emperor’s Children like the same detachments everyone else does.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The Datasheets

There aren’t any changes to the Datasheets here, which means that Lucius still has a solid melee profile, gives his unit Fights First, and when he dies you get to make your opponent roll a leadership test for the Armor of Shrieking Souls. This could be neat in a Dread Talon Detachment.

Speaking of Dread Talon, Noise Marines also haven’t changed at all, which means they kept their Riotous Cacophony ability. This is huge because it’s one of the only ways in a Chaos Space Marines army to force Battle-shock tests, especially at a distance. Being able to shoot a unit with Sonic Blasters and force them to test at -1 or -2 will let you more reliably set up your full re-rolls with other ranged threats, and also ensure that your raptors can charge something already battle-shocked.

Otherwise, there’s not a ton to write home about here – Battleline Noise Marines under Lucius are interesting, but without AP they lack the requisite punching power they need for handing tougher threats like meganobz. Some early competitive CSM builds were using Noise Marines in Rhinos as solid mobile ranged threats and there’s probably still some value in running them that way if you want to go mono-EC with your build. They’re a decent unit all things considered, but it’s weird that they’re the only Cult unit with OC 1. Sonic Blasters already had ASSAULT so they don’t gain as much from being in a Renegade Raiders detachment, but that bonus to their AP for shooting a unit on an objective marker is huge (see above for the note on their AP). They also make pretty good melee threats out of a Rhino as well.

In a Pactbound Zealots detachment you might be better off just dropping the sonic blasters and giving them chainswords with a single Blastmaster. That gives you a nasty unit which can Advance and Charge via Stratagem, while also adding a Doom Sire and Power Fist and giving you the ability to potentially battle-shock units at a distance before charging. Is this better than Legionaries? Well, if you add Lucius to the unit then the answer is “yeah, maybe, but only by a tiny bit.”

Point Costs

There have been no point cost updates for these units, so I expect we’ll see an update for them when the Munitorum Field Manual receives its update to include Chaos Space Marine point values. Until then, both of these units are pretty reasonably costed, with Noise Marines at 85 points for 5 models and Lucius at 95.

Final Thoughts

I dunno, it’s pretty lazy, but it’s also about what I expected. There’s nothing exciting about this release. I like that it doesn’t mess up my weird plans to try and make a Hear Me Out: Dread Talon list work, but if you were excited about Emperor’s Children getting an army, you’re going to be waiting a while yet.

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