Pariah Nexus – The Nephilim War Crusade Rules Review

Last year Games Workshop released 10th edition with a companion Crusade supplement – Tyrannic War. This weekend preorders go live for the second Crusade supplement of 10th edition, Pariah Nexus.

After roughly half a year of playing Crusade games set in the Tyrannic War, the next Crusade supplement, Pariah Nexus, is here to shake up your narrative games. But games set in the Pariah Nexus come with more than just a change in scenery: This new supplement comes complete with 15 new missions, new Battle Honours and Agendas to spice up your games, and a new set of Campaign rules that promise to make running and playing in Crusade campaigns easier and more fun than ever.

But while there are a lot of changes here, the core they’re building on is the same as ever: Generate an Order of Battle, track your units’ experience across games, and–hopefully–watch as your force takes on a life of its own as you play games with it. So is the new content here enough to justify a whole new book? Read on to find out.

As always, thanks to Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy.


What’s In This Book

There’s a lot in here to cover, but it’s worth talking about the book’s contents and what you can expect to find in here.

  • A ton of fluff around the Nephilim War, including some interesting new content around Vashtorr and Belisaurius Cawl and their shenanigans in the Pariah Nexus.
  • The basic rules for Crusade, such as how to build rosters, core requisitions, and battle honours.
  • Custom rules for the Nephilim War, including a new Blackstone Discovery mechanic, Battle Traits, Crusade Relics, Agendas, and Crusade Blessings.
  • Rules for running a Pariah Nexus campaign, with support for a three-team setup.
  • 15 new Crusade missions

What’s Not In this Book

The big omission here is the Core Rules. Players who purchased a copy of the Tyrannic War Crusade supplement likely noticed that book also had the game’s core rules in it, giving you a handy, lighter single book to play with if you needed a rules reference for narrative games. Removing them makes this book a bit lighter, but also means you may need another rules reference around. That’s less of an issue with the new 40k app, but it is worth noting as it keeps the book from having that same “this is all I need for my games” feel.

Crusade Forces

First off, the basics: Creating and maintaining your Crusade Force remains largely unchanged from the Core Rule Book and Crusade: Tyrannic War beyond a couple of cosmetic additions to track Blackstone Fragments. The rules for gaining and spending RP are unchanged, and all the standard Requisitions are back. Similarly, Battle Traits and Battle Scars are earned and removed in the same way, and the generic Weapon Modification and Battle Scar tables here are exactly what you’re used to.

This is of course a Good Thing, since you’ll have easy access to how to manage your Crusade force in the same book with the missions you’ll be playing.

Beanith: I believe Rob and myself probably harped on about the various 9th Edition Crusade Mission Packs reviews missing this key bit of information so you’d also need to lug around the 9th BRB (big rule book) as well. Excuse me for a bit as I commence backpatting and smugfacing as I take undeserved credit for this.

But while we’re very happy to see Games Workshop including sections like this to lessen the amount of books you need to carry around with you to games days, they’ve taken a step backwards from Tyrranic War by not including the Core Rules. On the one hand, those rules are accessible for free on Warhammer Community, so as long as you’ve got a phone handy you can get to them if you need to. But on the other hand, if you’re playing somewhere where reception is spotty, which is the case at many larger events, you might wind up needing to bring a print copy of the Core Rules, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

Illuminor Szeras
Illuminor Szeras. Credit: Rockfish

Blackstone Fragments

While playing in the Pariah Nexus, you won’t just be chasing victory on the battlefield: you’ll also be hunting for Blackstone Fragments, a resource specific to Pariah Nexus games. These are basically just another doodad counter to track for your roster or in Administratum. You’ll generally gather these by completing Pariah Nexus Agendas, but you can also get them from certain mission rules and even some of the cooler Crusade Relics mentioned later in this article.

These Blackstone Fragments could be used to create a unique rockery or really creepy pet rocks… or you could be boring and use them to upgrade characters with Blackstone Battle Honours and Crusade Relics. Or you can salvage excess Blackstone Fragments by spending 5 of them to give a character 5 XP – though you can only salvage like this once per Campaign Phase (more on that later). There are three Blackstone Battle Honours to earn and three Crusade Relics, and both of these can only be given to characters.

Note that spending your blackstone fragments for immediate benefit may not always be the best play: Campaign Managers may decide to use leftover Blackstone Fragments totals to help settle ties when it comes to decide which Alliance wins the campaign, so it might pay off to stockpile and build the rockery of your dreams after all. Most players probably won’t opt to go this way because of how cool the stuff you can buy with Blackstone winds up being, but in a contested campaign, your ability to play to your Agendas in the home stretch could bring home victory for your entire alliance.

As far as generating Blackstone goes, both the Agendas and mission rewards are usually good for 2-4 fragments each if you lean into them, so you can probably expect to gather 5 or so fragments in an average game. And while you might be able to push for more if you’re dominating on all fronts, there are plenty of agendas here that will let you generate at least a couple of fragments even if you lose the game. In other words, you can probably expect to leave any given game with at least some fragments, so you’ll generate them at a pretty good clip.

With that in mind, the cheaper Blackstone Upgrades will probably take you 2-3 games to unlock, and anyone saving for the most expensive 20-Fragment options may need to play 4 or 5. They come in two flavors: Battle Honours can be handed out multiple times to as many of your characters as you like (though you have to buy it again if you want to apply it to someone new), while the Crusade Relics can only appear in your Order of Battle once. Choose the recipient of your Crusade Relics wisely unless you want to waste Requisition to free it up, or are fine with just bumping a character off the roster completely whenever you want to move the thing.

Blackstone Battle Honours

As mentioned, there are three of these, and each will cost you a different amount of blackstone to purchase for one of your characters. They’re mechanically parasitic, meaning that with the exception of Nodal Map they largely depend on/only work with rules from Pariah Nexus.

Acquisitive Opportunist is the best of the bunch here, but only while you’re playing Pariah Nexus games. As long as the bearer is your Warlord, it gains a bonus based on your Strategic Footing, a new feature in Pariah Nexus games that adds something similar to the Scouting Phase from Kill Team. Depending on which you chose, your model can gain Lone Operative, or give itself and models in its unit your choice of Scouts 6″ or Stealth.

Condit: This one can be a bit weird, though: the choice of rule you’ll want for a particular character may not line up nicely with the Strategic Footing you want to choose for the mission you’re setting up for. But on the right character, any of the three could be very powerful. Just be sure you’re sticking it on the right character.

The other generally useful upgrade is Single-Minded Seeker, which just gives you a chance to get 3 Blackstone Fragments on a roll of 6+ after each game where the bearer is your Warlord, adding a +2 to the roll if you won. Not incredible, but at only 10 fragments it’s the cheapest option here, and it works even if the bearer bites it during the game.

Finally, there’s the Nodal Map. It’s very situational, as it only comes into play when the bearer’s unit is within range of an objective and is Battle-shocked. When it comes into play, models in the unit only see their OC dropped to 1 rather than to 0. Not something that you’ll need all the time, but definitely something worth having when you need it: stick it on a character attached to a unit of models that already have OC 1 and you don’t have to worry about them coughing up a key objective because the Tyranid player popped Shadow in the Warp.

Blackstone Crusade Relics

Do you ever find yourself missing the 9th Edition Legendary Relic, the Null-field Disruptor? If so, Noctilith Armament is the store-brand version on offer here, and it’s almost as good, letting you upgrade one of your melee weapons to a Relic that can ignore invulnerable saves during one Fight phase per battle. It’s pricey at 20 fragments, but the effect is worth it. Beanith: Just don’t forget to give it a suitable and powerful name like… Steeeeeve the pointy stick.

On the other hand, if you’d rather watch your opponents punch themselves in the Fight phase, look no further than the Blackstone Amulet. This nasty little number dishes out a mortal wound to an attacker when you roll an unmodified 6 on the save against a melee attack against the bearer. Bonus points if you’ve got it in for your local Grey Knights player: attacks made by melee Psychic weapons get deflected on an unmodified 5+ instead.

Finally, there’s the Empathic Disiniclinator. Pick an objective marker, and while the bearer is alive and kicking anywhere on the battlefield, any friendly units get a 5+ invulnerable save when they’re within range of that objective. Simple, but powerful, and not too expensive at 15 fragments.

Beanith: Some lovely Relics on offer here, nothing too crazy and can be of actual use outside of the campaign setting for those that continue to campaign with the same force over multiple campaigns. Not a fan of the Battle Honors as nothing there tickles my fancy.

My biggest gripe however is that the Blackstone Fragments can only be spent these three admittedly cool relics, three meh battle honours, or just converting them into XP for your characters (once per campaign phase too if that matters). I would have loved to have seen some ideally more thematic upgrades that also came with drawbacks in the abilities and not just in the flavour text due to the nature of collecting spooky pebbles.

Overlord with Translocation Shroud. Credit: Rockfish
Overlord with Translocation Shroud. Credit: Rockfish

Battle Traits

Good news for those continuing with the same Crusade Force from the Tyrannic Wars: we have a bunch of new battle traits and a couple with the same effect but with different names. Necron players in particular will now have access to three separate possible Battle Traits that will grant Mounted units +2” move (Necron Codex, Tyrannic Wars and Pariah Nexus). Beanith: Tomb Blades are going to be wild

In Tyrannic Wars, CHARACTER and INFANTRY units had easy access to Scout upgrades, which made for some interesting pre-game manoeuvring based on whether you won the die roll for first turn. Pariah Nexus goes down a different route this time by handing out the Infiltrator ability, making things a lot more dicey in deployment. Do you risk the first turn charge with your meat grinder units set up just outside their deployment zone?

With four separate tables, each with six traits on offer, there’s a lot to unpack here, so we’ll just hit some of the highlights. Beanith: But rest assured that almost every single one is an excellent result from RANDOMLY DETERMINING on a D6 roll like the good people I know you all to be.

Rob: If you looked at Tyrannic War and weren’t a fan of having dedicated skill trees for buying your unit upgrades, Pariah Nexus gives you a much simpler alternative, with just a set of traits to work with. Overall this is a good thing – the Tyrannic War trees ended up being a bit too complicated and also it meant we just didn’t get a full slate of battle traits to work with in what was the only Crusade supplement. This time we have that, and it really makes Pariah Nexus feel more like the supplement we should have had when 10th launched.

Character units

As mentioned before, you can get the Infiltrator ability via Lead from the Front, pair that with the Infantry Wraith of Ruin that does the same thing for a bodyguard unit, and you’ll have a very nasty combo ready to pop off first turn on some unlucky chump. Beanith: I’m already picturing this on some Eightbound and a World Eater Lord on his angry pony.

If that’s not your cup of tea, Arch Acquisitor gives your character powerful “Sod off, this is mine” vibes by increasing their Objective Control characteristic by 3, while Duellist will let you reroll melee hit rolls against other characters on the off chance you want to fish for Lethal or Sustained Hits, or just want to make a nasty character hunter.

Monster and Vehicle units

Tyranids players rejoice: Games Workshop has remembered that Monsters are a thing this time around! But they still have to share billing with the Vehicles. And good news for the Walkers this time, as they get to roll on this table as well.

Feel No Pain returns with Hardened Defences granting the unit the ability on a 6+. Beanith: Just try not to roll too many 6s saving the Rhino that was doing sweet FA on the battlefield though, That Guy will have a hissy fit and accuse you of weighted dice before flouncing off for a proper sulk in the middle of the event.

Tank Hunter makes you better at wounding other Monsters and Vehicles by letting you reroll 1 to wound and Reaper lets you hit Infantry and Mounted units more reliably by letting you reroll 1s to hit. Both are solid options if you’re looking for a boost to damage output rather than durability.

Infantry units

Wraith of Ruin lets your Infantry pop out of the woodwork and make a nuisance of themselves early in the game with Infiltrator, and United by Adversity lets the unit Heroically Intervene for 0CP even if the ability was used by another unit that same phase. Both can be nasty options on the right unit.

There’s also the chance to make your Death Guard feel like proper old school Death Guard once more with Battle-scarred Resistance to give the unit a 6+ Feel No Pain. Beanith: Again, don’t get too lucky with the 6s as That Guy will try to ask your other opponents about your cheating ways despite taking the wooden spoon almost every month and everyone openly laughing in his face hurts his feelings.

Mounted units

Nothing quite says Stealthy like a 10-foot tall superhuman on a monstrously oversized bike, but somehow Blur of Speed will give the unit Stealth. Crushing Charge hands out mortal wounds like candy when a Mounted unit charges, letting each model that makes it deal a mortal wound on a 4+. Beanith: Aeldari and Genestealer Cult players not picturing this on full sized squads of Windrunners or Jackals and laughing maniacally are clearly nicer people than I.

If you want to add a different flavor of offensive spice, check out Linebreakers, which gives the unit’s melee weapons Sustained Hits 1. A solid upgrade that can be downright mean on a unit with enough attacks.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgoen” Jones

Crusade Relics

Pariah Nexus has restocked the store with some truly amazing relics meaning you’ll be faced with some very difficult choices when it comes to choose what six possible Battle Honours (Traits, Relics, Weapon Mods etc) you want to equip each of your characters with.

Artificer Relics

  • Blackstone Compass – When I said amazing relics I clearly didn’t mean this one, this boring doohickey grants you an additional 2 Blackstone Fragments if you win the battle and this poor chump is still alive.
  • Veil of Ancients – Who doesn’t love a cheap and cheerful 4+ Invun? Your opponents typically.
  • Treasure of the Technomandrites – How the hell isn’t this a Legendary Relic I’ll never know. Choose a weapon equipped by the character (excluding already modified weapons and relics of course) and slap on Lethal Hits, Precision & Sustained Hits 1 to just really make sure enemy characters have a Bad Day. Just don’t forget to give the weapon a suitably cool name… Steeeeeve the extra pointy combi-melta springs to mind.
  • Armour of the Soulless Sentry – Improves the bearers Toughness and Save characteristic by 1. Perfect for the character who already has a Invun save naturally and you’ve already used the Treasure of Techno elsewhere… or you’re a monster stacking both relics on the same character. How dare you steal my idea?

Antiquity Relics

  • Noctilith Sigil – Is one of your opponents a Grey Knight player? Witness their blood pressure rise as your character Feels No Pain on a 4+ against any Psychic Attacks.
  • Dolmen Key – Not only does this grant the bearer’s unit the Deep Strike ability, you can also use the Rapid Ingress Stratagem for 0CP and plop your stabby lads anywhere on the table more than 6” away from enemy units. However you’ll need to be within range of an objective marker and you can’t use any sneaky method to charge that turn.
  • Vantachren’s Mirror – Stealth for everyone, well at least for everyone in the bearer’s unit. Far more importantly, anyone attempting to charge this unit subtracts 2 from the Charge roll.
  • Eye of Mars – This fancy necklace reeks of pointy ear space elf trickery allowing you after deployment is finished to select any of your units and redeploy them or stick them in Strategic Reserves.

Legendary Relics

These three lovely Legendary Relics truly deserve their rank and almost achieve Vortex Grenade levels of chicanery awesomeness. While each one has a bonus ability depending on if you’re using the matching Strategic Footing, they’re still amazing Relics well worth carrying into the next campaign setting without them.

  • Blade of the Dynast is a sucker punch waiting to happen to your opponent. This increases Strength, Damage & Armour Penetration characteristics of the bearer’s melee weapons by 1. And once per battle if you’re in the Aggressive Footing you can add 2 to Charge rolls for the bearer’s unit. This one Campaign Managers may want to keep an eye on as it’s a Relic itself and thus could be seen to also affect weapons with Weapon Mods and other Relics such as Steeeve the point stick as it is missing the standard disclaimer.
  • Noctic Shield struggled over the line into the cool toy category as all it did was increase the bearer’s Toughness and Wound characteristic by 1. Luckily it is saved by the Defensive Footing where once per battle when the bearer’s unit is attacked, for the rest of that phase the entire unit subtracts 1 from the Damage characteristic of every attack. Please pay special attention to the complete lack of “to a minimum of 1” because that is amazing.

Update: Thankyou to the keen eyed Redditor and Goonhammer Patron for reaching out to me point out that this is too good to be true. Page 17 of the Rules Commentary does point out that Damage can’t not be reduced to 0 unless stated. My dreams are crushed. But thanks for the feedback.

  • Rod of the Omnissiah Do you look at the Necrons and wish you too could regain D3 lost wounds at the start of each of your Command phases? This fancy magic wand does this and so much more! Well one other thing if you’re in the Balanced Footing, you can push the big red button at the start of your Command phase and dish out a number of mortal wounds equal to the number of wounds the bearer has regained as a result of using the relic to an enemy unit within Engagement range of the bearer. Someone is going to be a very lucky person one day on their final turn by dishing out a possible 15 mortal wounds wiping out an enemy squad holding a crucial objective and win the game… and then bore everyone shitless for the next 3 months retelling this story to anyone not able to run away in time.

Crusade Blessings

Replacing the Crusade Blessings from the Tyrannic War to help out the Underdog with some new blessings, a some returning, and a handful that are just the same with different names. Plus they’ve also included Faction-specific blessings. And by “Factions” they mean the catch-all IMPERIUM, a special shout out to the NECRONS, and everyone else.

Compartmentalised Plans lets you take an additional Agenda which is always welcome, while Fortune Favoured lets you use the Command Re-roll Stratagem for 0CP. Reward your units that survive with 1XP by selecting Defiance Undimmed and piss away a blessing by taking Blackstone Bounty which will net you 1 Blackstone Fragment just for taking part, win the game however and you get 1 more on top of that.

Factional Crusade Blessings

IMPERIUM players are Empowered by Faith, which you can trigger once per battle at the start of your Command phase. When you do, you can remind your entire army that not only is the Emperor pretty neat, he’s also watching so don’t disappoint him by failing Battle-shock or Leadership tests. You get to reroll those until the start of your next Command phase.

NECRONS players are of course the Rightful Heirs to the Pariah Nexus, and this allows them to select a Necron Infantry unit once per game in their Command phase, then add 1 to the Objective Control characteristic of models in that unit until the start of your next Command phase, allowing you to contest or recapture a crucial objective.

Everyone else are considered to be Unexpected Meddlers and their pointy-eared chicanery (or shameful imitation thereof) allows them to redeploy two units including back into Strategic Reserves regardless of how many units are already there.

Belisarius Cawl
Belisarius Cawl
Credit: Pendulin


The Tyrannic War Agendas are out and the Pariah Nexus are the new cool hip thing (Beanith: kids still say hip right?) And by that I mean they’re mostly the same, maybe under a different name for a couple but every one of them include ways of earning Blackstone Fragments.

For example, Tyrannic War’s Headhunters is now King Slayer, and comes with the same XP rewards for killing characters and Warlords. But now you also find a Blackstone Fragment each time (to a maximum of 4 per battle). Same with Critical Objectives and Recover Mission Archives, they are now Critical Resources and Recover Blackstone Data, and they’ll cough up some precious, precious fragments if you succeed.

Battlefield Survivors was the Tyrannic War Agenda you could only take when not fielding Tyranids units. It is now To the Last and has dropped the Tyranid keyword lockout so they can play too. It still has the same XP rewards for three units chosen at the start of the battle, 2xp for surviving plus 1XP if the unit wasn’t Below Half-strength, and now you also gain a Blackstone Fragment for each of the surviving units.

New Agendas include Central Position rewarding your characters XP and Blackstone Fragments for loitering around the centre of the battlefield. Psykers that survive games to the end may want to look at taking Psychic Beacons where two or more Psykers that are wholly within different table quarters (one per quarter of course) will gain 2XP and more stones for whatever hellish Zen Garden you may be building.

Strategic Footing Agendas

Rounding them out are three Strategic Footing Agendas available only when the corresponding Strategic Footing is in play (once again, say it with me “covered later I promise”).

For those on the Aggressive Footing who don’t like to keep track of things over multiple rounds, First into the Fray happens at the end of the first battle round. Pick up to three units from your army within Engagement Range of an enemy unit, then give them 2XP and 1 Blackstone Fragment each.

If you took a measured approach with the Balanced Footing can take Calculated Destruction. This gives a unit 1XP every time it kills an enemy unit that was within range of an objective, to a maximum of 3. Collect 1 Fragment for every 3 units murdered in this fashion to a maximum of 2 Blackstone Fragments.

And finally, anyone holding the line on a Defensive Footing can opt for Hold Steady, which much like First into the Fray is easy to keep track of: all you have to do is have units alive at the end of the battle. Choose up to three survivors, and they’ll all gain 2XP and you can bank 3 extra Blackstone Fragments. This will pair very neatly with To the Last, letting you either spread the XP further among the survivors or simply give them all to the same three and watch them power their way to the next rank.

Pariah Nexus Campaigns

As a call back to the 9th Edition and the various War Zone books, Games Workshop has included another awesome campaign system that you can customise to suit your gaming group, letting you fight with and against each other in a multi-game campaign spanning however long you desire.

In a Nephilim Wars campaign you’ll form alliances consisting of Seekers, Protectors and Interlopers. There’s bugger-all difference between them and no special abilities you get from being in any group, so feel free to change up the Alliance names to something other than off-brand Quidditch positions. The important thing is try and balance out the teams and come up with a reason why the six Imperium players aren’t all on the same team ganging up on the three Chaos, Ork, and Aeldari players. Here’s a hint: it’s 40k, blame an Inquisitor or Tzeentch for various miscommunications and move on. Condit: If it’s good enough for the Grand Narrative, it’s good enough for me.

As always, the rules strongly recommend electing someone to be the Campaign Master, and we agree: it helps to have someone keep track of scores and the current standings of each Alliance, as well as help keep the campaign on some sort of vaguely even keel.

The campaign length and number of battles fought in each stage of the campaign is entirely up to your group. Games Workshop suggests 2 weeks for each stage, but to be fair you can’t throw a stone in Nottingham without hitting someone keen for another game or three. Anyone not living within spitting distance of Warhammer World will want to take into consideration how often their group can meet up and have a rough idea of how many games can be played in a particular time frame. It is suggested each Alliance pools their Blackstone Fragments so a member can grab one of the Blackstone Relics or Traits early on in the piece, but given how often you’ll be collecting them thanks to all of the Agendas handing them out like rock candy, I don’t think that’s really needed.

Campaign points are earned for your Alliance by Winning, Losing or Drawing games with more importance placed on the larger scale games at Strike Force or Onslaught levels. At the end of each phase you tote up the points total for each Alliance with ties being decided by number of battles won. If that doesn’t solve anything then the Campaign Master flips a coin to decide. After all that the Campaign Master rewards Strategic points to the winner and runner-up for that campaign phase before we move to the Blackstone Alliance Upgrades.

At the start of the second and third campaign stages, each Alliance gets to decide among themselves, starting with the dead last and working the way back up to first place, on which Alliance Upgrade that they will have which remains in play that entire phase of the campaign. Each is unique and mostly powerful except for Hoarded Noctilth (your alliance gains 2 Blackstone Fragments) which I assumed is there so the Alliance in first place can just flex on the others.

Underestimated Threat is fun allowing you to take an extra Crusade Blessing if you are the underdog, or deny the underdog by forcing them to take one less blessing to a minimum of one. Might of Antiquity gives everyone in your Alliance one free Crusade Relic for one of their characters. And Orbital Bombardment lets you draw a scary line on the board and deal out a possible number of D3 mortal wounds per unit caught out by it.

There are a couple of others that hand out extra Requisition, extra points for your Crusade Force and even one for an extra Strategic Point to possibly steal the Campaign for your Alliance. There’s plenty of hard choices here to decide what is best for your Team.

Pariah Nexus Strategic Footings

As promised throughout the article, we now will explain what Strategic Footing is all about. It’s all about footwear. Ok, now let’s talk about the missions.

Condit: He cannot keep getting away with this.

Fine. Simply boot (Condit: oh my god he can can’t he)–sorry–put, when you’re about to play a game and you’re running through the Playing a Crusade Mission sequence, step 4 would normally be used to determine the attacker and defender. Here, it is instead replaced with “4. Select Strategic Footing.”

Each player secretly chooses from one of the three modes, Aggressive, Balanced or Defensive. They then reveal at the same time both results which are compared on the Strategic Footing table. This decides who is the Attacker and who is the Defender and, more importantly, one of the players will gain the Mission Advantage. Sometimes even the first turn is decided this way as well, but most of the time it’s still a roll-off at step 13. Determine First Turn

That said, if both players decide to use the same Strategic Footing, neither player gets the bonus advantage unless they are both on the Balanced Footing, at which point you roll for it. You will also simply revert back to rolling for Attacker/Defender as well.

Aggressive footing will always be the Attacker against players selecting Balanced and Defensive, and gains the Advantage over Balanced footing but not the Defensive. Balanced takes the Advantage against anyone who doesn’t pick Balanced (in which case you’ll roll for it, the only situation where this happens), and will be the Attacker in a mission against someone opting for a Defensive footing. Finally, choosing the Defensive footing will make you the Defender if your opponent picks a different footing, and takes the Advantage against someone on an Aggressive footing.

Some of the mission Advantages are simple things, like one of your units gain the Infiltrator ability for the battle but can’t start the game within range of an objective, or adding 1 to the Objective Control characteristic to a unit for a single round. Others allow you to ignore a mission rule when interacting with an objective; or use the Epic Challenge Stratagem for free once per battle. And then you have the weird and wacky missions where you get to decide deployment zones that force the Defender to set up in the middle of the table, but then it also gives them the first turn.

And on top of all that there are also Victor Bonus that depend on whether the Victor was the Attack or Defender. Luckily, you can see all of this information as the mission selection still happens at step, 3. Determine Mission, to make that Strategic Footing selection a little more tricky.

Pariah Nexus Crusade Missions

There are 15 missions on offer with 12 of them based around Incursion & Strike Force sized games and the remaining 3 are perfect for giant Onslaught games to close out each of the Campaign stages.

There are a couple of missions forcing you to try and remember how triangles work for deployment and the Incursion/Strike Force missions may have extra objective markers depending on the game size being played but these are labelled clearly on each map.

Pointy eared murder clown enthusiasts will be thrilled by the return of the Nullification Field that turns off invulnerable saves within a 24” circle with all of the objectives in said circle but luckily that only shows up in the Nullification Field mission.

Tortured Worldscape is a fun mission with three fissures running the width of the table causing a possible D3 mortal wounds each battle round if units caught in them fail a Leadership test. Normally not an issue but some silly sausage left all of the objectives in the fissure areas so you may have to risk it for the biscuit.

Almost all of the missions reward points for holding objectives but for added spice there are missions like Unstable Archeotech where you are trying to move two objective markers (one on your side and the other on theirs) into your opponent’s deployment zones by having any number of your units within range of that objective at the start of your shooting phase using the Delivery mission rule. Those units are required to give up their shooting and are unable to charge this turn. After all that, at the start of your next Command phase simply don’t be in Engagement Range of any enemy units, the objective will then trundles 6” in a direction closer to the opponent’s battlefield edge for every unit that was using the Delivery mission rule on that objective

So not only are you trying to shove theirs back into their zone, you’re also making sure to shift the one closest to your deployment zone away as well. You could sacrifice your first turn of shooting with enough units and yeet that objective far into the back corner of the opponent’s deployment zone assuming your opponent is also trying to do the exact same thing.

Final Thoughts

Beanith: The Pariah Nexus – Nephilim War is a fantastic successor to the Leviathan – Tyrannic War campaign. Games Workshop has done an excellent job filling out this book with all sorts of new and interesting Battle Honours to pick up and add to your Crusade Roster without running afoul of power creep which is mostly to do with the 3/6 Battle Honour limits and the deadly Battle Scars.

The missions are a great mix of interesting new challenges. You are still focusing around holding objectives for the most part but there’s also typically some weird stuff happening nearby to keep you on your toes/hooves/tentacles. I love the Strategic Footing and Mission Advantage mechanic adding in a bit of Rock Paper Scissors to the mix as you try to second guess what your opponent will choose and what you need to counter with to get the Advantage. But in saying that, you know that your opponent knows that as well so they try and double bluff you back but fear not as you are the crafty devil and were triple bluffing all along! That or you’ve known Coda for years now and you know damn well he’s going to choose Aggressive every time because Swords.

I think they missed a trick with the Blackstone Fragments; I would have loved to have seen double-edged Battle Honours with flaws which slowly sap away at the unit due to the toxic soul-warping traits of Blackstone forcing you to make difficult decisions on what characters and elite units to grant powerful abilities but are then doomed to slowly wither away as they wrestle with the nightmare effects of the Stilling.

Condit: This book is a huge step up from Tyrannic War: the missions are great, the Battle Honours are cool, and the Blackstone Fragments system is both more broadly-applicable and better thought-out than the Striding Behemoths and Monster Hunters skill trees from Tyrranic War. And as a bonus, the fact that Fragments largely come from Agendas mean that even players who don’t win many games have something worthwhile to work toward as they can generate the fragments needed to pick up a cool Crusade Relic, or just pick up some additional XP to supercharge the character of their choice.

But if I had to pick a favorite part of this book, it’s the Strategic Footings rules. Moving the Attacker/Defender from a simple roll-off to a rock-paper-scissors style minigame is super cool. Combine that with the asymmetric tables that are common in Crusade events and the Advantage rules for each mission, and you can find yourself having to make some very difficult decisions. After all, how badly do I want that deployment zone? Badly enough to windmill-slam the “Defensive” footing? Is the Advantage rule going to throw enough of a spanner into my plans that I should consider a different play in case my opponent tries to take it by choosing Balanced? I love this rule, and can’t wait to play with it.

TheChirurgeon: This is really the book we should have had when 10th launched. It has a much better set of traits, solid rules for running campaigns with friends and teams, and mechanics for team bonuses between rounds. If you want to run a Crusade with friends, this is the book to do it with. You can ignore the blackstone aspects pretty easily if you like (they don’t add much in my opinion), but the biggest prize here are the missions – the missions in Tyrannic War were terrible, and these are a marked improvement.

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