Psychic Awakening II: Faith and Fury Review, Part 1 – Chaos

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Faith and Fury is the second volume in the new ongoing Psychic Awakening campaign series and where the first volume introduced us to new rules for Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Ynnari, this new book gives us rules for Space Marines, Black Templar, and Chaos Space Marines.

Chaos players have had a weird year. We were treated to a major update in April with the release of Vigilus Ablaze and an updated Codex along with a sorely-needed update of the plastic model range, and then got to see Chaos Knights get a book of their own to bring them into the competitive fold. And that was pretty good! …until the release of Codex Space Marines and its six supplements, which made everything about the Chaos Space Marines update seem well, kind of lazy. Cool, new or unique rules for Chaos were suddenly just as available to loyalist Marines, sometimes in a more powerful form. 

The good news for bitter, salty Chaos fans who are Definitely Not Mad Online is that with the release of Faith and Fury, we’re seeing a portion of that love sent to the Chaos Legions. F&F skips out on psychic powers (oddly, given the campaign name), but gives us Warlord Traits, Relics, and Stratagems for each of the Word Bearers, Night Lords, Emperor’s Children, Iron Warriors, Alpha Legion, and World Eaters, as well as rules for five Daemon Weapons that work across every legion. 

But is this influx of new rules enough to catapult the Chaos Space Marines back into the competitive limelight? Will it make previously unused units strong enough to see regular play? Will it stop Chaos players from complaining incessantly about how they’re forced to play second fiddle to loyalist Marines?

Well, no. But there’s some amazing stuff in here, and some things that are legitimately exciting. Let’s dive in.

 

Army Rules

Faith and Fury includes a recap of the army-wide special rules and errata that Chaos Space Marines have benefit from this year, including the update to Chaos Vindicators making them D6 shots across the board. Additionally, Chaos Space Marines also get:

Malicious Volleys

This is Bolter Discipline with a mall goth edgy name attached to it. So in other words, totally on-brand and perfect for the Chaos faction. The rule allows your spikey lads to shoot their Rapid Fire bolt weapons twice from full range (instead of just half) if the whole unit remains stationary or the model is a Terminator, Biker or a Helbrute. This is a big part of what makes Bikers and Terminators worth considering, and, with the help of some of the Stratagems we’ll see later, will help some factions’ Terminators get there.

Hateful Assault

The Chaos variety of Shock Assault (but with more ‘hate’), which gives a unit +1 Attack in any phase in which it makes a charge move, was charged, or performed a Heroic Intervention. As we talked about in our Start Competing: Khorne Tactics article, this is a game changer for units like Khorne Bezerkers.

Daemon Weapons 

Daemon Weapons are a new set of five relics that can be taken by Characters in any Chaos Space Marines army; four are dedicated to a specific Chaos god (and keyword-locked), and the fifth is open to Chaos undivided. Daemon Weapons are basically Relic weapons except they have the Daemon Weapon rule, which has you roll a D6 the first time you choose a model to fight each Fight phase. On a 1, you take a mortal wound and can’t use the weapon in the phase. On a 2+ you fight as normal. Basically, what Abaddon has with Drach’nyen, and like with Drach’nyen, many of the Daemon Weapons have abilities that key off the roll.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Daemon Weapons

The demon weapons are a home run from a lore perspective, let’s see how the rules shake out. All of them have the new Daemon Weapon rule – when you select a model with a Daemon Weapon to fight in the Fight phase, roll a d6. On a 1 the model suffers 1 mortal wound and can not use this weapon further that phase. On a 2+ the model fights as normal.

Needless to say, you are going to want to keep a re-roll CP on hand to prevent your Chaos Load owning themselves on an almost “Dark Angel Chapter Master killing himself with his gun” level. 

Q’D’AK, The Boundless

Replaces a Power Sword/Hellforged Sword/Force Sword on a Tzeentch model. S User, AP -3 and D3 damage seems pretty meh compared to other relics. However it has the party trick of: “When resolving an attack made with this weapon, invulnerable saves cannot be made”. Great for dealing with nasty smash Captains, provided you get the first swing in.

Starting a trend with these, they’ve also given most of them replacement options so that they can go onto a Daemon Prince, and sticking this onto a Tzeentch Prince would be pretty funny if anyone used those over the (better) Chaos Daemon or Thousand Sons versions. As they do not, this usage probably won’t come up. B

Thaa’ris and Rhi’ol, The Rapacious Talons

Replaces a Slaanesh model’s lightning claws/malefic talons. S User, AP -2, D2. Re-roll the wound roll and add the result of your daemon weapon roll (provided it wasn’t a 1) to your model’s Attacks characteristic this phase. Replacing lightning claws, this is merely neat. Could be comboed nicely with a Flawless Host’s Renegade Trait, Death to Imperfect on a Chaos Lord with Jump Pack with the Ultimate Confidence Warlord Trait. Doing 5+D6 attacks on the charge, causing two extra hits on a 6, 1 on a five creates a fun-to-use blender. 

Where this is absolutely bonkers is on a Daemon Prince, and people actually run Slaanesh Princes as CSM. Malefic Talon Princes are already the go-to option, and this makes them wildly better, as adding full wound re-rolls lets them threaten almost anything (though note that you give up the +3 attacks from the two Malefic Talons, so sometimes you’ll get less output, but on average these are better). Still isn’t quite going to reach the heights of a souped-up Discolord, but one of these as Flawless Host is going to be a firm second place in terms of killing power and have the big upside of getting character screening. A

ZAALL, THE WRATHFUL

Replaces a Khorne model’s Power or Hellforged Sword. S User, AP -5 2 Damage, adding the Daemon weapon’s roll to the model’s strength. I want this to be cool and good but it comes off as a less reliable Burning Blade. B

Wings Note: This statline happens to be specifically very good in the current metagame to the point where I could believe this will see some fringe play. It’s fantastic at going through Assault Centurions and enemy planes, and just Primaris Marines in general, and that makes it worth a look at its low price.

G’Holl’Ax, Fist of Decay

Replaces a Nurgle model’s Power Fist. S x2, AP -3, D3, -1 to your hit roll. Always wounds on an unmodified +2. Thunder Hammers eat your heart out, this relic is going to be great for punching Knights in the face. Remember that you can use Prescience to cancel out the hit roll penalty. It’s slightly tragic that CSM’s fight twice is locked into KHORNE, but this is still extremely potent. A-

Ul’’O’Cca, The Black Axe

Don’t ask me how to pronounce that one. Replaces a Power/Force/Demonic Axe with one that has a profile of S User, Ap 0, D1. Causes a mortal wound in addition to your other damage on an unmodified 4+ on your wound rolls. This is a weird option – throwing out mortal wounds is pretty good, but your damage ceiling is basically the number of attacks you make, and more often than not I suspect you’re just doing half your attacks as mortal wounds with this guy because the base attacks on this are awful. If you want something for cracking powerful characters there are going to be better options – even against stuff that’s in the sweet spot of “has an invulnerable save” and “has few enough wounds to be threatened by this” you’re probably better off just queueing a tonne of saves for them to make against 2- or 3-damage attacks than using this for mortals. Hilariously the best use of this might actually just be to help protect your lines against chaff hordes, but at that point we’re really reaching. C

Thoughts

The Slaanesh Talons on a Prince are the biggest winner here, with G’Holl’Ax coming in close behind seems like the winner of the options presented here. Coda would like to take the time to point out A: These are not swords and B: See A. In sword land, Q’D’AK and Zaall are both at least interesting and could occasionally see some play. Ul’’O’Cca is just doing it’s thing at the end here. 

Overall, more choices is always fine and there are some here that will get picked, but only the Talons play in the big leagues. These are all flavour slam dunks however, which is very cool.

 

The Legion Rules

The six Chaos legions who haven’t seen any supplement support finally get some love. Unfortunately, in the biggest miss of the book, none of them get updated Legion Traits, and the existing ones are very hit and miss, historically leaving most not worth taking full detachments of. However, having a full <LEGION> detachment is a requirement to unlock the new stratagems, so if you want to use some of these new tricks, you’ll now need to at least consider this option. Alternatively, the relics and warlord traits can be used on <LEGION> characters even if they’re in a mixed-legion detachment, so there’s stuff here to help CSM armies of all shapes and sizes.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Word Bearers

Word Bearers still have the worst legion trait in the game, and hilariously it got even worse when the rules team decided it no longer applied to Chaos Cultists. In-line with their fluff, most of their new abilities are related to summoning and possession, and for the most part, they’re really strong. I don’t know if they’re strong enough to overcome a legion trait that’s literally just “a thing Marines get for free that isn’t particularly useful,” but they’re worth a look.

Warlord Traits

The Word Bearers Warlord Traits are OK. Exalted Possession is the clear winner among them, and does exactly the kind of thing that I wish Word Bearers could just do to any CHARACTER as a stratagem.

  • The Voice of Lorgar. Add 3” to the range of this Warlord’s aura abilities. Word Bearers already had this in Codex: Chaos Space Marines and it wasn’t good enough there either. Would be more useful if you could take a second warlord trait to give you a more useful aura to extend. C+
  • Exalted Possession. Your Warlord gains the POSSESSED and DAEMON keywords (if they didn’t already have them), plus they get +1 Strength and Attacks and +1” to their Movement. NOW WE’RE TALKING. This is a very cool ability to give to a Chaos Lord or even a Daemon Prince and besides all that is just extremely freakin’ cool. The modeling opportunities it opens up alone are sick. As an ability, extra strength and attacks are always relevant, and adding the DAEMON keyword opens up great synergies with the Chaos Daemons army that can help make your warlord even better. This works well on any of the characters you’d throw it on — don’t feel like you have to throw it on something that isn’t already a Daemon. Also opens up access to Revered Hosts for the character. A
  • Daemonic Whispers. Roll a D3 before the battle, and you get that many CP. Also, once per battle, if your warlord is on the table, you can re-roll a single hit, wound, damage, or save roll. This is… Good. But boring. It’s definitely not enough of a reason to pick Word Bearers. Becomes an immediate A if they ever give Chaos a general-purpose extra trait ability. C+
  • Master of the Union. Friendly WORD BEARERS DAEMON units within 6” get +1 Attack. Another very solid ability, mostly useful for boosting Daemon Engines and Possessed. Works very well on Winged Daemon Princes and Lords Discordant, who also help themselves to that extra attack. Potentially helps Possessed actually “get there” when you start stacking on other bonuses. B+
  • Diabolist. When this Warlord would lose a wound, roll a D6 and on a 6+, you don’t lose a wound. BUT – add 3 to the roll if the wound is from a mortal wound. This is a nifty rider to add on–ignoring mortal wounds on a 3+ isn’t too shabby. This is probably on par with Unholy Fortitude. B
  • Sacrilegious Regeneration. The Warlord gets +1 Wound and at the start of your turn regains up to D3 lost wounds. I could see this having some value maybe on a Lord Discordant or Daemon Prince if it weren’t for the fact that once they start taking wounds they usually die. It’s… OK. C+

Relics

There are several very, very good Word Bearers Relics and all of them do something interesting at the very least. The only dud in the group is the Book of the Reviler and there’s plenty here to make you consider a Word Bearers detachment.

  • Crown of the Blasphemer. This model gets +1 to its invulnerable save (to a max of 3+), and enemy units within 6” get -1 Ld. The Leadership modifier is marginal at best, but the invulnerable save bonus is great on a Lord Discordant, where getting to that 4++ is pretty valuable for a targetable character. B
  • Baleful Icon Enemy units charging a friendly WORD BEARERS unit within 6” of this model subtract 2 from the result. An interesting ability and the first time we’re seeing this as an aura. We’ve already seen how helpful it is on Repulsors and it’s great for protecting a castle of units like Hellforged Deredeo dreadnoughts. B+
  • Book of the Reviler. Non-Daemons only. Before the battle you can activate this to randomly generate two free Chaos Boons from the table in Codex: Chaos Space Marines, re-rolling Spawndom, Daemonhood, and Duplicates. This is… OK, I guess. Your chances of getting one 7 result (which lets you pick any result) on 2D6 about 1 in 3, where you’re usually looking for specific stat boosts. Otherwise it’s such a grab bag that you’re better off not taking this. C-
  • The Malefic Tome. Psyker only. You know one more psychic power from your chosen discipline (so, Dark Hereticus), and you get +1 to your psychic tests. This is a pretty solid add, since it lets you stack Prescience, Warptime, and something like Delightful Agonies on the same Sorcerer, but the +1 to cast is the real rockstar here. Being able to reliably cast Prescience is huge for Chaos Space Marines. A
  • Ashen Axe. Replaces a chainaxe. The Ashen Axe is a S+1, AP-2 D3 Damage axe that prevents any non-Vehicle, non-Titanic units within 1” from falling back unless they have a minimum Move characteristic. This is fantastic, and almost a reason to strongly consider a Word Bearers detachment. The downside is that the weapon is only OK, but it’ll work just fine on a Slam Lord holding a Thunder Hammer in the other hand. A
  • Epistle of Lorgar. PRIESTS only (so, Dark Apostles). When you chant a prayer, you can re-roll to determine if it’s heard. Also friendly Word Bearers within 6” get +1 Ld. This is better than it looks. I mean, the Ld bonus still doesn’t matter, but being able to stack this with the +1 from your Disciples essentially gives you a re-rollable 2+  for your prayers, which is nifty if you’re planning to upgrade your Apostle to an Apostle of the Dark Council. B

Stratagems

Except for Dark Pact and Vengeance for Monarchia, Word Bearers got some insanely good stratagems. Which is good, because they got shafted on the stratagems list, getting only seven (including 1 reprint) where the other legions in the book got 8.

  • Dark Pact (1 CP). Use at the end of your Movement phase when a Word Bearers character summons, you can re-roll the dice and you don’t suffer mortal wounds for doubles/triples. It’s a reprint from Codex: Chaos Space Marines and while neat, doesn’t do nearly enough to make summoning worthwhile. D
  • Malevolent Covenant (1 CP). Use in the psychic phase, after a Word Bearers psyker fails a test. The power is automatically manifested at the minimum required warp charge value and without a double having been rolled and it can’t be denied. After you resolve the effects, you take 1 mortal wound. This is a very interesting power, and I love it for forcing through a high-cost power like Death Hex or Prescience when you really, really need it to go off. It also seems like, as written, if you have enough psykers, it can also be used to force a D6-wound Smite. A
    Wings Note: Hah, that’s an amazing galaxy brain usage, and yeah, this is real good. Unfailable, often undeniable Warp Time is a hell of a drug. 
  • Apostle of the Dark Council (1 CP). Use before the battle (and only once). Upgrade one of your Dark Apostles to have the Dark Council ability, which lets them know and chant one extra prayer each battle round. So basically the ability that all Marine chapters just got. Let’s put that salt aside for later. This is really good, especially because we can combine it with the Epistle of Lorgar to get near-automatic successes. Another very good stratagem, and helps us pair up powers like Benediction of Darkness and Illusory Supplication to protect a key vehicle. A
  • Cursed Despoilers (2 CP). Used after deployment but before the first turn if you have a Word Bearers unit on the table. Pick a non-fortification terrain feature. That terrain doesn’t give cover. An interesting ability. Probably not as helpful now that so many Marine units you’ll fight have the Stealthy ability, and worthless against Prepared Positions, but situationally useful for making sure a unit deployed in cover is suddenly exposed. Note that this effect hits you too, should you find yourself on that terrain feature. B-
  • Revered Hosts (1 CP). Use in the Fight phase when you pick a Word Bearers POSSESSED or GREATER POSSESSED to fight. Until the end of the phase, add 1 to the damage of melee weapons for models in the unit. Hot damn are they trying to push Possessed and I am HERE FOR IT. Getting to 2 damage is a major threshold for being useful in combat and up til now Possessed have been getting mostly strength and attack increases. This is a HUGE boost and may be the thing that pushes them over. At the very least, it makes Greater Possessed into some absolute beasts with D3+1 damage per attack. This might be why you take Word Bearers. A+
    Wings Note: Normally it is my role to come in and kick over Rob’s sand castles when he gives grades like this, but I’ll let him have this one – I think Word Bearer’s Supreme Command is probably now the best way to run Possessed and this works on a character you’ve buffed with Exalted Possession.
  • Hexagrammatic Ward (1 CP). Use in any phase after you make a save roll for a Word Bearers Character. Treat the result of the save as a 6. You can only use this once per battle on a given Word Bearers character. This stratagem owns. The best part is you elect to use it after rolling your save, so you can wait for when you really need it. It’s very clutch to have and probably a hilarious combo with the Sacrilegious Regeneration Warlord trait. A
  • Vengeance for Monarchia (1 CP). Use in the Fight phase when a Word Bearers unit is fighting. You can re-roll hits and wounds against ULTRAMARINES units. Welp, they couldn’t all be winners. Ultramarines are common enough that you may use this now and again but it mostly reads as a waste of valuable page space for a faction that needs as much help as it can get. D

OK, so out of the gates this book has managed to make an actual honest-to-the-dark-gods Word Bearers detachment look good, and that’s no mean feat. A Supreme Command sampling:

  • A Terminator Lord with the relic Chainaxe and Exalted Possession
  • A double-praying Dark Apostle
  • Either a Sorceror or a Master of Possession (who can immediately power swap to pick up UNFAILABLE WARP TIME).
  • A full Possessed unit in a Rhino.

…gives you a detachment that actually does work and is a very exciting way to try and actually do something with Possessed. Good work so far, GW.

 

Night Lords Chaos Space Marines By Tyler "Coda" Moore

Night Lords Chaos Space Marines By Tyler “Coda” Moore

Night Lords

The Night Lords have been saddled with the second-worst legion trait next to Word Bearers, owing to the fact that in most cases, stacking a few negative modifiers to Leadership either amounts to one extra model dying or the opponent spending 2 CP to prevent any models from dying. The new rules thankfully mostly avoid doing a ton with the Leadership mods angle and focus more on brutal melee combat. If you’re gonna run Raptors or Warp Talons now, you’re going to want them to be Night Lords.

Warlord Traits

The Night Lords Warlord Traits are mostly middling, with the best probably being One Piece At a Time or Murderous Reputation. The rest are either not doing enough or are too situational to be very useful.

  • Night Haunter’s Curse. Once per battle round, re-roll a single hit, wound damage, advance, charge roll or saving throw for this Warlord. Same as the one in the Chaos codex. C+
  • One Piece At A Time. Warlord can charge in a turn where they Fell Back. When attacking this warlord with a Melee Weapon, subtract 1 from the hit roll. This is useful for making sure you’re continually getting the +1 Attack bonus from Hateful Assault, and is nice to have on Slam Lords and Winged Daemon Princes who may want to disengage, jump over a unit, and then charge another more valuable target. B+
  • Murderous Reputation. When resolving an attack made by this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of 6 inflicts 1 mortal wound on the target in addition to any other damage. This is really solid if you can boost the number of Attacks you’re throwing out, and is like a better version of Flames of Spite. Best on talon Daemon Princes, but the “unmodified” rider makes it a tough sell over the next one. B
  • Killing Fury. Add D3 to the attacks of this Warlord in a turn which they made a charge, were charged or performed a Heroic Intervention. These additional attacks last until the end of the Fight Phase. Not exciting, but a good way to get some extra attacks, and the fact that Night Lords can be KHORNE makes this even better. B+
  • One With The Shadows. When resolving an attack made against this warlord while they are entirely on or within a terrain feature, add 1 to their non-invulnerable saving throw. Also, as long as they are entirely on/within a terrain feature add 1 to their invulnerable save to a max of 3++. There must have been a better way for GW to write this rule. Otherwise, it’s just OK, and Chaos is likely to want to use its precious warlord trait pick on an offensive option. C
  • Dirty Fighter. Whilst there are more friendly models within 3” of this Warlord than enemy models, when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by this Warlord, add 1 to the wound roll. This one’s pretty easy to game if you set up your movement right, but it takes way too much work compared to other, better options. C

Relics

The Night Lords have a couple of interesting relics — The Stormbolt Plate and the Scourging Chains, are good, the Vox Daemonicus is interesting, and the rest are just kind of OK. 

  • Flayer. Replaces a Power Sword, so you know it must be cool and good. S +1 AP -3 D2. Each model killed by this weapon counts as two for morale purposes. The morale part is whatever, but a S+1 D2 power sword is good enough to make a model respectable in combat. C+
  • Stormbolt Plate. Infantry Only (cries in Daemon Prince). Give you 2+ armour save and count as always being in cover. I think the weirdness with One With The Shadow’s text can be explained by this relic. It’s pretty good to have on a Jump Pack Chaos Lord, who suddenly looks a lot more durable and has less of a bad time if they get caught out of position and shot with a bunch of bolters. B+
  • Vox Daemonicus. Infantry model only, enemy units within 6” of this model reduce their aura abilites’ ranges to 1”, in addition enemy models coming into the battlefield as reinforcements can not be set up with 12”. A pretty nifty pair of abilities that don’t really synergize at all. I suspect this is going to be more useful for its 12” area denial than turning off auras, but ideally these two wouldn’t be on the same relic. B
    Wings Note: The fringe use of this would be on a Disco Lord you’re planning to send into the enemy’s lines as a wrecking ball anyway. Turning off a bunch of their aura abilities certainly isn’t going to help them repel it.
  • Talons Of The Night Terror. Model that can FLY only. Gives you a D3 additional attacks at S +1, AP -1, D1. Goes up to D6 if you charge, were charged or Heroically Intervened. The extra attacks are interesting, but at low Strength and 1 damage, nothing to write home about. Helpful for trying to pick off an extra Marine, though. C+
    Wings Note: The fact that this doesn’t replace a weapon makes it a bit better than it originally sounds, as it is at least pure upside, but the power still isn’t there.
  • Scourging Chains. Improve the AP of melee weapons this model has by 1. Subtract 1 from the Attacks of enemy models within 1” of a model with this relic. A solid way to improve the AP on either Lightning Claws, Malefic Talons, or Power Fists while protecting the bearer. Going to do its best work making Talons AP-3. B+
    Wings Note: Never mind, this is what my wrecking-ball Disco Lord is taking. Miley Cyrus gonna sue somebody.
  • Misery of The Meek Once per battle at the start of your Movement phase, use this relic. Regain D6 wounds and add D3 to the model’s attacks until your next turn. This effect just isn’t big enough to throw away a relic slot on it. C-

Stratagems

Whoever did these was mainlining the excellent Night Lords trilogy by ADB when writing these as they come off as being extremely lore appropriate. Also a few of them are rather nice, helping boost Night Lords to a more appropriate power level, though most will just make Winged Daemon Princes better.

  • In Midnight Clad (1CP). Use when a Night Lords Infantry Unit is targeted in your opponent’s shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, subtract 1 from the hit roll against that unit. The Codex stratagem gets a reprint and it’s not a bad stratagem to have when you need to protect a key unit. B
  • Vox Scream (2CP). Use this stratagem at the end of your Movement phase. Select one model within 18” of a Night Lords unit. Until the start of your next Movement phase, enemy units cannot use the selected unit’s aura abilities. Holy Crap. You can use this to turn off a Chapter Master. You can deactivate Feirros’ invulnerable save. Turn off a Lord Discordant’s +1 to hit. This is just a fantastic ability for disrupting your opponent’s plans. A+
    Wings Note: Y I K E S. It sucks that you have to have a full Night Lord detachment to unlock this because the power level on this one is just absolutely off the charts. Could plausibly see play unlocked via a triple-Heldrake Air Wing, especially as they happen to be excellent at delivering it.
  • Prey On The Weak (1CP). Use when you pick a Night Lords unit to Shoot or Fight in the Shooting or Fight Phase. Add 1 to your hit roll as long as your Leadership is higher than that of the models in the unit your are targeting. So when you aren’t shooting Marines, Necrons, or Eldar, mostly. Note that this is on a per-model basis, so you’ll have to check for each model attacking. Great when it’s on, though. C+
    Wings Note: It is at least pretty cute that the legion trait means this is much more likely to be active in the Fight phase. It’s also pretty much always available as a character boost.
  • Hit And Run (1CP). Use at the start of your Charge phase. Select one Night Lord unit that Fell Back this turn. You may charge with that unit. Very solid and helpful for picking new opportune targets and getting your Hateful Assault attack back.. B+
  • WE HAVE COME FOR YOU (1CP). Use this at the start of your opponent’s movement phase. Select one Night Lords unit that is not a Vehicle. Until the start of your next turn, enemy units within 1” of that unit can not Fall Back unless they have the Vehicle or Titanic keyword, or have a minimum Move characteristic. Trapping units in combat is great, and goes a long way toward making Night Lords playable. This is aces on a Winged Daemon Prince who wants to protect himself by staying in combat, only to fall back and charge again on his turn. A
  • From The Night (1CP). Use at the start of your Charge phase. Select one Night Lords Infantry unit that is entirely on or within a terrain feature. Until the end of the turn, when a charge roll is made for that unit, add 2 to the result, and when resolving an attack made with a melee weapon by a model in that unit, add 1 to the hit roll. I suppose this is an interesting way to mitigate charging out of/through terrain features that force you to subtract 2 from your charge distance. Otherwise the bonus is strong but difficult to get. C+
    Corrode: This gets better in tournaments with fixed terrain set-ups like LGT or Nova, where you can guarantee having large, central ruins to charge out of – especially if you deep strike into them.
  • Raptor Strike (1CP). Use this stratagem in your Charge phase, before making a charge roll for a Night Lords Jump Pack unit from your army that was set up on the battlefield as reinforcements this turn. Roll 3D6 for your charge roll instead of 2d6. Oh my god FINALLY. Warp Talons and Raptors needed an ability like this to help them make it into combat and this is a huge boost, especially when paired with the bonuses from the Vigilus Ablaze Host Raptorial detachment. A
  • Flay Them Alive (1CP). Use this in the Fight phase, when an enemy unit is destroyed by an attack made by a Night Lords model from your army. Until the end of the turn, when a Morale test is taken for an enemy unit within 12” of a Night Lords unit, your opponent must roll one additional D6 and you get to pick which one is discarded. Meh. The Ld modifiers angle of Night Lords doesn’t really work in the 8th edition rules framework and it’s difficult to imagine this being terribly useful. D

Another round of very powerful abilities, although for purely competitive play it’s a little harder to see how you use them as the best single thing is Vox Scream and that needs a full detachment to unlock. Heldrake Air Wings are likely the best option for doing that.

What needs to be highlighted for this section, however, is how much of a boon this is for people who just want to have fun on the tabletop with their Night Lords, because a ton of this makes them better at doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Raptor Strike in particular gives a ton of iconic units a way to actually reliably do their job on the table, especially when paired with the Host Raptorial Specialist Detachment, and that’s great for Chaos players.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Alpha Legion

The Alpha Legion are probably the one legion that didn’t want to see their traits changed, since “-1 to hit rolls when being shot at from more than 12” away” is one of the strongest traits that a faction could receive in 8th edition.

Warlord Traits

The Alpha Legion get five new Warlord Traits and they’re all at least decent, giving them a very solid list to choose from. Ironically, their original trait loses quite a bit of luster as a result of being rooted to Codex traits in terms of what it can get you, but the others are interesting. Note that the Alpha Legion have the ability to give Warlord traits to multiple characters using the We Are Alpharius Stratagem.

  • I Am Alpharius. A reprint from Codex: Chaos Space Marines. When you pick this, you randomly generate another trait from uh, Codex: Chaos Space Marines. If that model is destroyed, you can immediately pick another Alpha Legion character from your army to get this trait and another one. You can keep doing this until all models are destroyed. This has always been funny and flavorful, but now that you have five better options it looks a lot worse. Also, their commitment to not revising the wording means that you’re stuck with the (pretty bad) options from the original Codex instead of the cool new legion-specific traits. Lame. C
  • Clandestine. When resolving an Attack made against this Warlord, subtract 1 from the hit roll. We’re just starting off with this, huh. OK. This is amazing on a Lord Discordant, who was already a strong choice in an Alpha Legion list. Being able to rock a Lord Discordant who can get -2 to be hit from more than 12” away gives you the ability to soak up a lot of whiffed shots before you close the distance, and the survivability boost is just great. If it weren’t for Lords Discordant this might be a B ability but because you’re windmill-slamming this on one, it’s an A
    Wings Note: Everywhere else in CSM defensive boost warlord traits get a skeptical look from me, but because Alpha Legion can double-dip with We Are Alpharius adding this to a Discolord does, in fact, seem pretty good, especially as it works in melee too.
  • Headhunter. This Warlord can target Character units even if they aren’t the closest. Also when you make a ranged attack, an unmodified hit roll of 6 does 1 mortal wound to the target in addition to other damage. This is also pretty good, but hampered by the lack of high-volume shooting on Chaos Warlord options. Your best bet is, again, a Lord Discordant, where the autocannon gives you two long-range, AP-1, 2-damage shots to play with. Alternatively a Chaos Lord on Bike with a Combi Bolter can put out a pretty good volume of shots, and might be worth considering for this. Lord Arkos might also be a good fit for this, since he’s got a Meltagun. B
    Wings Note: A Hellwright on Dark Abeyant is the other interesting possibility here, giving armies like GSC a real headache. That’s right readers, I remembered the Forge World option today. Up is down, left is right etc.
  • Master of Diversion. At the start of the first battle round, before the first turn, pick up to 3 other friendly Alpha Legion units on the battlefield. Remove them and set them up again following the usual rules for deployment and mission. If you redeploy a transport, the models inside move with it. This is a good ability wherever it turns up, and another one that being able to add as a second trait is real good. B+
  • Cult Leader. When you roll a 6 to wound with Alpha Legion Cultist units within 6” of this warlord, you improve their AP by 1. A neat way to potentially make Cultist shooting valuable marred by the fact that Cultists have been nerfed to the point where it isn’t worth it to take large blobs of them. B-
  • Faceless Commander. Once per battle, at the end of your Movement phase, you can pick up this warlord and set them back down within 3” of an Alpha Legion Infantry unit and more than 9” away from any enemy models.This is a fun little ability and I’m not sure they thought it through entirely given how big some of the warlords can get. Useful for zipping a daemon prince around the table or just helping support specific objectives. B

Relics

The Alpha Legion relics are interesting, but don’t quite live up to the Warlord Traits and Stratagems in terms of power and excitement. What’s here is certainly interesting, but only two — the Hydra’s Wail and the Shadeblade — really stand out.

  • Drakescale Plate. Infantry only. This model gets a 2+ save and when they take a mortal wound, roll a D6; on a 5+ you don’t lose that wound. Most useful on a Jump Pack Chaos Lord. B
  • Mindveil. At the start of your Movement phase, if this relic holder is on the table, roll 3D6 and until the end of the Movement phase, their Move characteristic becomes that result. Also this model can move over enemy models and terrain as if they weren’t there and in the Charge phase it can move over non-building models as if they weren’t there and it can charge in a turn in which it fell back. So kind of like a weird, variable, charge-after-falling-back Jump Pack. Most of the time you’ll be looking at 8 to 12” movement, but it’s gonna feel real bad the first time you roll a 3 or 4. Possibly interesting on a Terminator Lord. C-
  • Hydra’s Wail. Once per battle at the start of a battle round, a model with this relic that’s on the table can activate it. Until the end of the battle round, when an opponent spends CP to use a Stratagem, roll a D6; on a 4+ they have to spend an extra CP to use that Stratagem or else it has no effect and the CP is lost. This is a brutal ability that can really make or break an enemy’s turn and I suspect you’ll almost always want to use it on turn 1 or 2, depending on who you’re facing. It’s a very, very good ability to have. A
  • Viper’s Bite. Replaces a combi-bolter. 24” Range, Rapid FIre 2, S5, AP-2, D2. Solid, and potentially very useful when combined with the Headhunter Warlord Trait. B-
  • Hydra’s Teeth. Model with a bolt weapon. The model’s bolt weapons get the following abilities: This weapon automatically hits its target, wounds on a 2+ unless targeting a vehicle/titanic unit, in which case it wounds on a 6+, and units don’t get the benefit of cover against this weapon’s shots. Another very interesting combo with Headhunter, and potentially hilarious on a Chaos Lord on Bike rocking an extra Combi-bolter for 8 shots. C+
  • Shadeblade. Replaces a power sword or force sword. S+1, AP-3, d3 Damage and attacks against the bearer get -1 to hit. This is good clean fun as relic weapons go – it gets a character to the key break points for “meaningfully contribute to melee in 8th” (S5 and multi-damage) and has another buff too. B+

Stratagems

The Alpha Legion Stratagems are incredibly fluffy, and most are based around redeployment and moving or forcing your opponent to play around some very nasty effects.

  • Forward Operatives (1 CP). Use when you set up an Alpha Legion infantry unit during deployment. At the start of the first battle round you can move them up to 9”, and cannot end up within 9” of any enemy models. Still a shadow of what it once was, but handy for trying to establish early board control. B
  • Conceal (2 CP). Use at the start of your opponent’s Shooting phase. PIck an Alpha Legion Infantry unit in your army. Until the end of the phase, it can’t be shot at unless it’s the closest target. This is another hilarious way to screw with your opponent, and just a common way we’re protecting units now in 8th edition, apparently. It’s good that it only works on Infantry, but it’s still a great way to protect a valuable unit of Berserkers or Obliterators. A
  • Sabotaged Armory (1 CP). Use when an enemy vehicle is destroyed. If you have any Alpha Legion units on the table, your opponent adds 3 to one of the D6 rolled for the explosion roll, and they can’t re-roll the results. This is a hilarious way to punish your opponent for castling, particularly with Forge World units that like to do D6 mortal wounds when they explode. Situational, but hilarious and potentially huge when it happens. B
    Wings Note: I think this ability is much better than this. Possibly it’s because I’m scarred by so many disastrous vehicle blow-ups, but this is going to be absolutely horrendous for your opponent to try and play around a lot of the time, and help you really punch some lists straight out of the game if you get first turn.
  • Scrambled Coordinates (1 CP). Use in your opponent’s Movement phase, when they’re setting up a unit arriving as reinforcements, but before it’s placed on the table. That unit has to be set up more than 12” away from any Alpha Legion units in your army rather than 9”. A neat way to turn all your Alpha Legion units into Infiltrators for a turn, and helpful for preventing charges you don’t want. Incentivizes you to be heavier on Alpha Legion, but may also just mean more Alpha Legion detachments being used as situational Infiltrators. A
    Wings Note: This is super spicy because it goes off once your opponent is committed to putting the unit down. A big unit of Cultists screening out can currently just no-sell one unit of the popular Long Ranged Marksman/Hungry for Battle Raven Guard Centurions. However, do bear in mind that it’s much worse than Infiltrators against heavy deep strike armies like GSC, as it only affects one unit, and in their case the one unit you tag with it can just Perfect Ambush
  • Renascent Infiltration (1 CP). Use at the end of your Movement phase. Pick an Alpha Legion Infantry unit from your army that is more than 1” away from any enemy models and didn’t arrive as reinforcements this turn. Remove that unit from the battlefield. Set it up again at the end of your next movement phase, more than 9” away from any enemy models. Any models that can’t be set up when this happens are destroyed, and if it doesn’t come back before the battle ends, it’s destroyed. This is another cool repositioning ability that allows you to potentially protect a unit for a full turn, then drop it onto an objective one turn later. I like it for protecting Cultists late-game before you drop them on an objective you couldn’t reach otherwise, but I don’t love it for units that would want to shoot things. B
    Wings Note: The other way to use this is to effectively hand the ability to do a turn 2 Deep Strike to any INFANTRY unit, most probably Cultists. Set up a unit out of LOS and pop them into this at the end of your first Movement phase and job’s a good un. This is a little bit less useful that it once might have been thanks to the really dumb amount of no-LOS firepower Space Marines throw around, but still interesting, and could be a good way to get a Cultist unit into position for Scrambled Coordinates (or just to saturate half the board with 30 Cultists and make GSC cry).
  • Ambush (2 CP). Use in your opponent’s Movement phase, after an enemy unit is set up on the battlefield as reinforcements. Pick an Alpha Legion unit within 18” of that unit to shoot at it as if it were your Shooting phase. This doesn’t have the usual -1 rider and man is it strong if you have the firepower to make an opponent pay. I suspect Alpha Legion will handle Genestealer Cults very well. B
  • Feigned Retreat (1 CP). Use in the Movement phase after an Alpha Legion unit falls back. It can still shoot. Wonderful ability, love to have it on some Chaos units finally. A
  • We Are Alpharius (1 CP). Use before the battle to give another Alpha Legion character a Warlord trait. You can’t pick the same trait twice and can only use it once. I don’t know how this works with I Am Alpharius; I suspect that if your Alpharius Warlord dies, you can nominate another character with or without a Warlord trait to get I am Alpharius and the new random trait, which is kind of neat? Anyways this is great for getting Clandestine and Cult Leader and Master of Diversion into the same army, if you want. A

So what are we gonna do with the Alpha Legion? There’s probably two choices. First off, Dreadnoughts are some of the better units across the Chaos range, and spamming them a popular strategy, so doing so with -1 to hit is OK. However, Dreadnoughts don’t get much benefit from most of this new stuff, and The Purge is probably still better.

Where we see this doing work is as a CP farm battalion for Chaos Knights. Currently you can take a cheapo battalion of Cultists to augment these but most people don’t because the Cultists die easily and don’t really do much to contribute. This set of stratagems completely turns that around – being able to use them to screen deep strike, bung them into DS yourself for a turn to redeploy them in a hurry, and unlock all the other nonsense here, makes that detachment (perhaps lead up by a Discolord and Sorceror) a serious value add for Chaos Knights, and probably gives that faction a shot in the arm.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Iron Warriors

Originally saddled with a lackluster Legion Trait (a copy of the original Imperial Fists trait and now just a pale shadow of what Fists get), the Iron Warriors’ ability to ignore cover has become more relevant as the advent of Prepared Positions and the Stealthy Chapter Trait have made cover bonuses much, much more common.

Warlord Traits

The Iron Warriors Warlord traits are OK. The best of them buff nearby units, helping get other units over the hill to respectability. Sadly, without the ability to give warlord traits to multiple characters, Iron Warriors may lack the push they need to really get the most out of these, but hopefully there are 1-trait combos that are good enough.

  • Cold and Bitter. When a Morale test is taken for a friendly Iron Warriors unit within 6” of this Warlord, do not roll the dice, it auto passes. This barely matters. D
  • Daemonsmith. When resolving an attack made by a model in a friendly Iron Warriors Daemon Engine or Cult of Destruction unit within 6” of this Warlord, an unmodified hit roll of a 6 scores 1 additional hit. The sheer number of things this can buff and the high volume of shots you can put out with some of those units makes this a very good ability to have. A
  • Iron Without. Gives the Warlord a 5+ Feel No Pain. It’s decent, but not amazing. Best on a Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant. B
  • Bastion. When resolving an attack made with a weapon that has an AP of -1 against a friendly Iron Warriors unit that is within 6” of your warlord and is in cover, the weapon is treated as AP 0. This is a lot of work to drop AP-1 weapons by 1 and sadly I think just isn’t so useful now that Marines can easily give most of their army AP-2. C
  • Siege Master. Friendly Iron Warriors Havocs and Vehicles within 6” re-roll 1s to wound. Strong ability that turns a Chaos Lord into a combo Lord/Lieutenant. Good to have for Reaper Chaincannons, and just nice in general because CSM don’t get LTs. A
    Wings Note: We’ll have to get Kevin to do a HoM on this vs. Daemonsmith, but my expectation is that you’ll find Daemonsmith to be the better boost when it’s active (especially as meaningfully stacks with Daemonforge) but this is broader, so both could be the correct pick depending on the army.
  • Stoic Advance. Friendly Iron Warriors do not suffer the penalty to moving and firing Heavy weapons while they are within 6” of this Warlord. This is also really neat, and potentially combos very nicely with a Lord Discordant who can give those same vehicles +1 to hit, allowing things like Defilers and Forgefiends to become actual threats. This trait is a “Hear Me Out, Wings” waiting to happen. A
    Wings Note: I can tell you now that I don’t think you’re ever going to want it over Siege Master or Daemonsmith so I’d rate this a C. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s in direct competition with two better aura abilities that are harder to replicate, so I just can’t see why you’d ever want this.
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: Because Daemon Engines have terrible Ballistic Skill and they don’t always have high volumes of fire. There’s a “Hear Me Out” Defiler-heavy list that wants this, trust me.

Relics

The Iron Warriors Relics are pretty good, with all but one of them being focused on doing damage. Note that, unlike with Stratagems, the Codex relics haven’t been reprinted in Faith + Fury, so in addition to these you also get the Fleshmetal Exoskeleton for giving your Daemon Prince a 2+ armor save.

  • Siegebreaker Mace. Replace a power maul or accursed crozius. Gives you a dual-profile melee weapon – Swing or Smash – where Swing is S+2 AP-2 2 Damage and Smash is Sx2, AP-3 d6 Damage and you can only make two attacks, but for each one you roll 2D6 and choose the highest result. This is an OK weapon but now that Chaos Space Marines can take Thunder Hammers to get high damage without giving up all their attacks, there’s a lot less utility in this. C+
  • Cranium Malevolus. A model with this relic can use the Cranium instead of shooting. If you do, you roll a D6 for each enemy vehicle within 9” and on a 4-5 it takes D3 mortal wounds and on a 6 it takes 3 mortal wounds. This is really a really, really good replacement for shooting on a model that will be hanging out in the enemy lines, tearing stuff up. Looks great on a Daemon Prince or Jump Pack Sorcerer as a way to push out extra mortal wounds. B
    Wings Note: Powerful defensive option against vehicles that swarm your lines as well.
  • Insidium. This model gets the DAEMON keyword (if it doesn’t already have it) and gets +1 Strength, Toughness, and Wounds. This is a great way to introduce some extra cross-faction synergy with your warlord and a detachment of daemons but it’s also just very good on a winged Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant, where the bonuses to Strength and Toughness matter. B+
  • Axe of the Forgemaster. Replaces a power axe or daemonic axe with one that’s S+3, AP-3, 2 Damage and whenever you fight a vehicle, unmodified hit rolls of 5+ inflict D3 mortal wounds in addition to regular damage. Pretty dang tasty, especially on jump lords and Daemon princes that can use it to just punch jets out of the sky. At the very least, it’s a great alternative to a Thunder Hammer, since it’s better against hordes and Marines but turns on the pain against vehicles when you need it. This is kind of what Siegebreaker Mace wants to be when it grows up. A
  • Spitespitter. Replaces a combi-bolter with one that’s 24” range, Rapid Fire 2, S5, AP-3, D3 damage. Decent, but boring. Fine on a Terminator Lord you want to place with Obliterators as a way to have him be more helpful on the shooting side. B-
  • Techno-Venomous Mechatendrils. Replaces mechatendrils on a WARPSMITH with a set that does 4 attacks at S User, AP 0, 1 Damage but every hit scores a mortal wound. This is a huge upgrade for Lords Discordant (who have the WARPSMITH keyword) and gives them the ability to add 4 mortal wounds to their already considerable output. Not sure why you’d ever put it on a regular Warpsmith. A-
    Wings Note: I’d probably rate this a B+ just because I’m not convinced a Discolord ever really needs this extra output, but it’s still pretty darn spicy so stays a good choice.

Stratagems

The Iron Warriors have a really strong list of stratagems, and most of them are priced to move. Most are also flavor wins and they really hammer home the idea that you want to run Obliterators, Havocs, and Vehicles in an Iron Warriors army.

  • Iron Within, Iron Without (1 CP). Use in any phase when a unit is about to lose a wound. Roll a D6 for that wound, and each other wound you lose afterward in that phase. On a 6, you don’t lose the wound. A Codex reprint. It’s OK, especially because it can apply to your vehicles. B
  • Methodical Annihilation (1 CP). Use in the shooting phase when you pick an Iron Warriors unit to shoot with. Pick one of the following effects: re-roll damage rolls, or re-roll any or all of the dice to determine the Type characteristic of weapons that models in the unit are equipped with. I have no idea what this second part means. I think it’s meant to refer to re-rolling the number of shots but it doesn’t read like proper English. Anyways, this is great for a squad of Lascannon Havocs and maybe even a squad of something else, once this gets clarified! A
    Wings Note: Pretty certain this is meant to be some galaxy brain new wording for “number of shots”, but it’s a swing and a miss RAW as the rulebook explicitly refers to the number of shots as being written on the profile “after the type”. Regardless, once this is clarified it’s best on Missile Launcher Havocs, as it lets them flex very effectively from anti-vehicle to anti-infantry shooting, and lasts the whole phase to stack with Veterans of the Long War and Endless Cacophony.
  • Dour Duty (1 CP). Use in your opponent’s shooting or your charge phase when an Iron Warriors unit is chosen as the target of an attack. Until the end of the phase, when you resolve an attack with a ranged weapon against the specified unit, reduce the AP of the weapon by 1. Also notably not Infantry-locked, so a fantastic way to blunt incoming damage against a Daemon Engine. B+
  • Unholy Vigor (1 CP). Use at the start of your movement phase to give an Iron Warriors vehicle back up to 3 wounds. It’s a big boost, and helpful when paired with a Warpsmith who can give you another D3, or just good to have in your back pocket to pop over a profile bracket threshold. B+
  • Tank Hunters (1 CP). Use in the shooting or Fight phase when you’re shooting or fighting with a non-cultist IW unit. Pick a vehicle, and until the end of the phase you can re-roll wound rolls against that vehicle. This is another great ability, very strong for taking out enemy vehicles and getting full re-rolls on your wound rolls is hard to come by. A
  • Rampant Techno-Virus (1 CP). Use in the Shooting or Fight phase when you pick an IW Obliterators or Mutilators (lol) unit to attack with.Until the end of the phase, you can re-roll any or all D3 rolls made for that unit’s flesh weapons. A good way to ensure you’re getting the best possible profile from your Obliterators, and a lot cheaper than bringing along a Master of Possession and spending a power on getting the same effect. B
    Wings Note: See this one I like more, this is at least a B+ and maybe creeping towards an A. Combined with all the other stuff here this makes Obliterators seem super attractive.
  • Cannon Fodder (2 CP). Use at the start of your opponent’s shooting phase. Pick an Iron Warriors Infantry unit, then pick an IW Cultists unit wholly within 6” of that unit. Until the end of the phase, enemies can’t target the selected unit if the Cultists unit you picked is a closer visible target. A hilarious and flavorful way to protect your havocs from being shot at, and a great way to ensure that they continue to spit out the volumes of firepower they need while giving them 30 ablative wounds. Also great with Obliterators. A
  • Bitter Enmity (1 CP). The throwaway rivalry stratagem. When you’re fighting an Imperial Fists unit in melee combat, you can re-roll the hit and wound rolls. Useful because Imperial Fists are going to be everywhere, I guess. D

Holy moly is this a pushed set of abilities. Taking an Iron Warriors detachment just to bring like, tanks, Obliterators, and Havocs and stuff is a really hard sell but there’s so many boosts here that it may actually genuinely get there. The Cultist screening is particularly nice, and might let the Iron Warriors get some value out of a Devastation Battery specialist detachment by making it way safer to start some Obliterators or Havocs on the board. Reducing incoming AP also makes both of those look way better as well.

Iron Warriors make out like absolute bandits, and are probably one of the most likely legions to be seen out and about just as a solid army off the back of what’s in this book.

 

The Pure Renegade Chapter Chaos Space Marine by Tyler "Coda" Moore

The Pure Renegade Chapter Chaos Space Marine by Tyler “Coda” Moore. We don’t have any Emperor’s Children right now. Want to send us one to use? email contact@goonhammer.com

Emperor’s Children

While there’s some stuff for boosting squads, most of the Emperor’s Children abilities are geared towards making a single murdermonster warlord and maybe a couple of extra characters who can also do some real damage. This helps them compete a little more effectively with Flawless Host as an option, and we suspect we’ll see more Emperor’s Children replacing Flawless Host just because of the ability to boost Strength and Attacks simultaneously in multiple ways.

Warlord Traits

Most of the Emperor’s Children Warlord Traits are about mitigating incoming damage or counterattacks, and of these the best option is Glutton for Punishment by a country mile. Loathsome Grace is also very good for upping your offensive output.  

  • Stimulated By Pain. Add 1 to your attacks characteristic for each wound suffered (max 3), if you somehow regain the wounds you drop the attacks. There are just many better options than this. C
  • Intoxicating Musk. Enemy attacks made within 3” of the warlord have -1 to hit. Not a bad way to protect the warlord from getting punched back by a target that he either multi-charged or couldn’t kill, but marginal defensive boosts are still not what you want from your traits. C
  • Unbound Arrogance. This one is a fun mini game: When you fight with your Warlord, both you and your opponent pick a number between 1 and 3 on a dice, hiding it behind your hands. Revel the numbers. If the numbers are different add the number you chose to your attacks. This is making you work really hard to get +D3 Attacks and there are just better ways to get more attacks that don’t require you frequently guessing “2” because it’s always in your opponent’s best interests to take away the “3” option. C
  • Faultless Duellist. At the start of the fight phase, roll a D3. Until the end of the phase, subtract that many attacks from enemies within 1” of the warlord. Another way to reduce the damage you take back from nearby enemies and potentially better than Intoxicating Musk against anything with 2+ attacks. C+
  • Glutton For Punishment. Reduce any damage inflicted on the Warlord by 1 (to a min of 1). OK now we’re talking. You want to mitigate incoming damage on your warlord? This is the trait you want to do it with. This thing is a huge boon against Sttalker Bolt Rifles and a fantastic add for your imminently shootable Lord Discordant. A
  • Loathsome Grace. Reroll charge rolls, and add 1 to your warlord’s Strength and Attacks when you charge or make a Heroic Intervention. Pretty much a copy paste of the Imperium’s Sword from Codex: Space Marines, but very helpful to have when it comes to boosting a Lord Discordant or Daemon Prince. Works very well with the Intoxicating Elixir to double up on your Attacks and Strength boosts, but also very helpful on Host Raptorial Slam Lords who want to make sure they nail their 7” charges. A

Relics

The Emperor’s Children get a solid list of relics, with most of their options supporting the strategy of “make some insane melee characters who will be absolute buzzsaws,” though Remnant of the Maraviglia is cool for supporting a longer-ranged shooting strategy with multiple units.

  • The Endless Grin. Enemy units get -1 to their Leadership and roll an additional dice, dropping the one of your choice when they take Morale tests within 6” of the model with this relic. Choosing the die is interesting for when you’re up against daemons, but otherwise this is another worthless Leadership-modifying ability. D
  • Fatal Sonancy. This is a weapon with 12” range, Assault D6, S6, AP-2, 1 Damage that hits automatically and ignores cover. So a nasty flamer in other words. Interesting because it doesn’t replace an existing weapon, acting like an upgraded Doom Siren. Neat for giving your Warlord a little extra short-range damage output, but the range is probably too short and the damage too low to make this worth taking. C
  • Armour of Abhorrence. Enemy units can not fire Overwatch at a model with this relic and if they fail a morale test within 6” of a model with this relic, an additional model flees. The morale ability is whatever, but turning off Overwatch is really good, particularly when you’re going up against Iron Hands that hit on 5s or Tau that can hit on 5s and fire with multiple units. Both are strong in the current meta. A
  • Remnant of the Maraviglia. Priest model only. Once per battle instead of chanting and prayer, the model can broadcast the Remnant. For the rest of the battle round, reroll wound rolls within 6” of the model with the relic. This is great for Chaos, who don’t get access to Lieutenants, and something you’re always going to combine with the Endless Cacophony and Veterans of the Long War Stratagems to have an insane round of Shooting. A
    Wings Note: This, uh, this is bonkers and an easy A, only held back from the coveted A+ by this not being the faction of choice for a gunline. Also, I like to imagine that when this is activated the opening beats of Gangnam Style start playing and then all the Marines start doing the dance while they murder everything.
  • Distortion. Replaces a Power or Force Sword, S user, AP -4, D3 Damage and you can opt at the start of the fight phase to gain -1 to hit and S x2 if you wish, turning it into an AP-4 power fist. Pretty nasty, and the dual mode gives it a lot of utility. B
  • Raiment Revulsive. A model with this relic can re-roll all charge, hit and wound rolls. All of them. Holy moly shitballs give this to a Loathsome Grace Chaos Lord with a thunder hammer and jump pack and you are in for a whale of a time. Spend a whopping 1cp for Honour The Prince and you will make sure he gets into combat almost every time. If you want to make the best murderlord possible, this is where you start. A+
    Wings Note: I…what…you…you WHAT now? OK then.

Stratagems

Emperor’s Children get access to a very good array of stratagems that really make them competitive with Flawless Host and should see Noise Marines actually getting some play based on how much they can improve a unit’s shooting output. These are all at least interesting, and priced to move.

  • Combat Elixirs (2CP). At the start of the battle select one Emperor’s Children unit that is not a vehicle or chaos cultist. You can only use this once per battle. Apply one of the following effects of your choice:
    • +1 Attack
    • +1 Strength
    • +2” to Move
    • +1 Toughness
      Expensive, but very good. Great for pushing a character’s stat over a key threshold. Also great for boosting a squad of something like Terminators or Warp Talons that really need the boost to be viable. The flexibility is just so good. A
  • Excess Of Violence (1CP). Use this Stratagem in the Fight phase, when you choose an Emperor’s Children Infantry Unit to fight. Any time you destroy an enemy model you may make one additional attack with the same weapon against that unit. The Codex reprint. It’s solid ability for clearing hordes, where it can quickly help you rack up more attacks. Note that this also triggers if a unit of yours dies and then shoots something (and kills it) using the Music of the Apocalypse ability, so you can create some fun situations where you chew through units and then, when killed, you pop off 3 shots and if one of those kills a model, you can get another shot (and shoot at things outside your combat). Note that, post-FAQ, this will only work for models killed that aren’t within 1″ of an enemy model when they die, so feel free to get creative with your wound allocations in order to make your opponent pay for causing you harm with more than a bolt pistol shot. B+
  • Incessant Disdain (1CP). Use this at the end of your opponent’s charge phase. Select one Emperor’s Children’s character and give them a 6” Heroic Intervention. Most move towards enemy Character models OR the nearest enemy model. Very useful for creating surprise Interventions, and forces your opponent to play around some very tricky situations if they don’t want to catch a facefull of Daemon Prince when charging into your screening lines. B+
  • Honour The Prince (1CP). Use this AFTER making a charge roll for an Emperor’s Children Slaanesh unit from your army. Change the result of 1 D6 to a 6. As we mentioned above, this is an absolute pearl of a stratagem. With this it’s a mere re-rollable 3+ roll to get deep strikers in and critically you can use it after you have rolled, meaning as long as you don’t roll snake eyes your slam lord is going in hot. A
    Wings Note: So Hear Me Out, Rob – Mutilators with an effectively guaranteed charge out of Deep Strike. Huh? Huh??? Still no? Fine.
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: Just use this with anything you’re putting in a Termite Drill instead, James. Don’t use Mutilators. Jesus.
  • Excruciating Frequencies (1CP). When you select an Emperor’s Children Noise Marine unit to shoot with, use this stratagem to give them +1 S and +1 Damage on Blastmasters, Sonic Blasters and Doom Sirens to the end of the phase. This is exactly what Noise Marines needed as a boost. Getting S5 D2 sonic blasters ignoring cover and firing 3 shots on the move is great, and the Blastmaster loves this just as much. Combined with Endless Cacophony I think this can make Noise Marine Troops viable. A+
  • Cruel Duellists (1CP). Use when you pick an Emperor’s Children unit (no cultists/vehicles) to fight with in the fight phase. Any unmodified 6s to wound will kick up your models to AP-3 for that attack. Solid for a unit of something like Raptors or Terminators where you might have a solid volume of attacks but low strength or AP because of how they’re outfitted. Shame it doesn’t combo with Veterans of the Long War. B
  • Tactical Perfection (1CP). Before the first turn begins, select one Emperor’s Children unit and redeploy it to a new position, following the deployment rules for the mission being played. If it’s a transport with models inside they too get redeployed as well. Solid ability, and priced to move. You won’t use it all the time, but at least it’s not giving you a bonus to fighting a chapter from Istvaan. Though then again, having a bonus to fight Iron Hands right now wouldn’t be *that* bad. B+
    Wings Note: It’s an A from me, especially if we’re going to try and make Noise Marines work.

Good grief there’s some brutal stuff here. Any of murder characters, deep striking melee units and gunlines of Noise Marines all pick up gigantic boosts, and there’s bound to be something you can do with this stuff. The first place we’d look is a Supreme Command of murder characters packing a unit of buffed up Terminators – you kind of have to hope that Terminators with +1A and a near auto-charge from Deep Strike are viable because honestly if they aren’t then they aren’t anywhere.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

World Eaters

As you might expect, World Eaters get a bunch of things to help them fight more effectively in melee. Some of these are great, a lot of them are only so-so. Most importantly, they get some big buffs to Berzerkers and Terminators, and so these rules go beyond just buffing the big, unit-eating characters the faction could already produce.

Coda’s Note: All the traits should be on brand and therefore CAPITAL LETTERS for this one

Warlord Traits

True to form, the World Eaters traits are primarily focused on turning your Warlord into a killing machine.

  • SLAUGHTERBORN! When you kill an enemy Character, Monster or Titanic model with an attack by this warlord, add 1 to it’s Attacks, Strength characteristics. GW sure does think that games involve World Eaters characters tearing through a lot of enemy characters in a game and not watching a bunch of enemy characters run the hell away. C-
  • ARCH SLAUGHTERER! If there are more enemy models within 3” of your warlord than friendly models, they get D3 extra attacks until the end of the fight phase. If Kharn had this as his Warlord Trait it’d be pretty solid thanks to fighting twice. As-is, it’s just OK. C+
  • DISCIPLE OF KHORNE! Re-roll hits and wounds against characters or units that have a model with 5 or more wounds when using the Warlord’s melee weapons. Basically made for going after knights and Riptides, and more helpful for going after enemy characters than Slaughterborn, which doesn’t kick in til you’ve killed them. B-
    WINGS NOTE: This is always-on Daemonforge for a Discolord or Prince against the targets you want buffs against, so I think this is probably a B+
  • VIOLENT URGENCY! When an advance or charge is made for a friendly World Eaters within 6” of the warlord, add 1 to the result. This is very, very good, particularly when you’ve got a squad of Berserkers piling out of a Termite drill looking to make a 9” charge or a squad of Terminator Berserkers dropping in. Going from a 9+ to an 8+ with the ability to re-roll charges using an Icon of Wrath really helps dramatically improve your charge probabilities. A
  • TRUE BERZERKER! Halve incoming damage from melee weapons against your warlord. Cute for when you’re going up against all those characters and Knights, but in those cases the best defense will be an offense that murders them before they have a chance to fight back. B
  • BATTLE LUST! Increases your Warlord’s Heroic Intervention range to 6” and they always fights first in the fight phase, even if you didn’t charge. If the enemy charged or if they have a similar ability, alternate with choosing units to fight, starting with the player whose turn is taking place. Decent, particularly when your opponent makes the mistake of being careless with their charges and allows themselves to be intervened against. B

Relics

World Eaters relics are all about melee combat, and all three of the weapon choices are pretty good. The others are only OK. Not the end of the world, since World Eaters are more interested in having a horde of berzerkers murder things out of the Troops slot.

  • CRIMSON KILLER! Replaces a plasma pistol. 12” range, S 9, AP -3, 3 Damage. Unmodified wound rolls of a 4+ with this weapon inflict a bonus mortal wound. That’s one hell of a profile for a pistol and it beats the hell out of giving the model a chainsword to go with its primary melee weapon. B
  • GOREFATHER! Replaces a chainaxe with an axe that’s S+2, AP -2, 3 Damage but gives -1 to your hit rolls. However, each unmodified wound roll of a 6 inflicts 3 mortal wounds and ends the attack sequence. This is a very tasty weapon, and the fact that it replaces a weapon that costs 1 point is also worth noting. B+
    WINGS NOTE: This is also an extremely good combo with Disciple of Khorne because the re-rolls offset the -1 to hit and give you more chances to fish for the mortals.
    TheChirurgeon’s Note: Yeah but the -1 to hit turns off Death to the False Emperor, which is a big downside for Chaos Marines. In short, Angron is a land of contrasts.
  • BANNER OF RAGE! Priest model only. Once per battle add 1 to the attacks of friendly World Eaters within 6” of the model. This increases the already insane amount of attacks berserkers get. Very solid for a Berserker Horde or just chewing through a very tough or large unit. B
  • BERSERKER GLAIVE! Everyone’s fave 3.5 weapon is back. Sadly you don’t get like, 15-odd attacks with it. Replaces a power axe or axe of dismemberment (the Master of Executions’ Axe). Profile is S +1, AP -2, 2 damage and if the bearer loses a wound, on a 5+ the wound is not lost. A solid upgrade for an Exalted Champion or Terminator Lord. Less sold that you’ll want to replace a MoE’s axe with it. C+
  • HELM OF FURORE! Infantry only (boooo). Add +2 to the Strength characteristic of the model with the relic. You must charge with this model if you are within 8” of an enemy at the start of the Charge phase. Cool way to get a S12 Thunder hammer jump lord and extremely lore-appropriate. As an option I’m not sure it’s worth giving up control of when you do and don’t charge, but you can play around this pretty easily. C+
    Coda’s Note: More like this please GW.
  • BLOODHUNGER! When an enemy model is destroyed by the relic holder in the fight phase, roll a d6. On a 4+ the bearer regains up to 1 lost wound. This is actually a really good way to keep your Daemon Prince or Lord Discordant at full wounds, just because of how easy it is for one of them to chew through 4-6 models per turn. B-

Stratagems

World Eaters get a very tasty set of Stratagems that go a long way toward making the army viable and putting Berzerkers on the table seriously. 

  • SCORN OF SORCERY! (1CP). Use in opponents psychic phase when a psyker manifests a power within 24” of a World Eaters unit, roll a D6. On a 4+ the power is negated. The Codex reprint, and a great stratagem. Negating something 50% of the time (or 75% with a re-roll) is good to have, especially when you have no psykers. A
  • Apoplectic Frenzy (1CP). Use this during deployment when you set up a World Eaters infantry unit from your army. At the start of the frist battle round but before the first turn begins, move that unit 9”. It cannot end within 9” of enemy models. If both players have units that can move before the game begins, take turns starting with the player who has the first turn. This is an ability that looks really good but requires you apply it to a World Eaters unit that’s out in the open (read: Not in a Vehicle), and really banks on you having the first turn to get that turn 1 charge (even then, with no way to Advance and Charge, you’re a long-shot to actually make the charge). I’d like this more if Berzerkers weren’t glass cannons that need to be protected on their way to the enemy, or if it worked on Helbrutes or Daemon Engines. B
    WINGS NOTE: One thing that’s nice about this (if not terribly Khorne like) is that if you activate it and go second you can use it to move the unit into cover or hide them. Can be nice with a smash lord – put him right on the line and use this, if you go first swing for the fences and if you go second skulk back into your own lines while the rest of the army laughs at you. Do watch out for Marine players shutting this down with scouts or Vanguard stuff though.
  • SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE! (1CP). Use in the fight place after a World Eaters Character kills a character with a melee weapon. Gain D3 Command Points. This is a no-brainer, all-upside ability that you will use whenever you kill a character. A
  • RED BUTCHERS! (2CP). Use before the battle (and only once), select one unit of World Eaters Terminators. Add 1 to the Strength of that unit. They also gain the Fight Twice in the fight phase ability that ‘regular’ Berserkers have. Now this is what I’m talking about. Expensive, but a massive upgrade to Terminators, and finally gives me a use for those Forge World kits I’ve got sitting around. Really not sure why they limited this to once per game. I’m also not sure it’s good enough, but it’s worth a shot on lightning claw Terminators who can toss out 5 attacks each on their first fight and 4 in the second. But it’s extremely cool and I wish Emperor’s Children got something like this to make Noise Marine terminators. A+++++
    Wings Note: I want to take Rob’s “+”s away but he’s so happy. This actually is real good, chainaxe Terminators were within an inch of being great out of the book anyway, and this gets them there in style. It also means that any of the rest of this stuff that has synergy with Berserkers works on them as well. Such a cool ability, and hard agree on it being a shame they didn’t think to do something similar for Emperor’s Children.
  • KILL MAIM BURN! (2CP). Use in the Fight phase before you consolidate with a World Eaters unit. Move them 6” instead of 3”. This is a great tactical ability that most players are going to overlook. Consolidating 6” is a great way to shift your Berzerkers into the next target, helping mitigate the downside of wiping a unit out the turn you charge. People are going to sleep on this one. B+
  • WILD FURY! (1CP). Use when selecting a World Eaters unit to fight. Until the end of the fight phase, improve the unit’s AP by 1. The boost that Berzerkers desperately needed. As any Marine player can tell you, improving the AP of a crapload of attacks by 1 is incredibly powerful, especially when it’s applied to models that fight twice and only have AP-1 to begin with. This is going to get Berzerkers to the mountaintop. A+
  • BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! (2 CP). Use when you destroy an enemy unit in the fight phase. Until the start of your next turn, World Eaters units auto pass all morale checks without having to roll any dice. Boy this is just hot garbage. In order for this to be worth using, you need: To have killed a unit in the Fight phase and lost so many models with multiple units that you’re in danger of failing multiple tests catastrophically. Because Insane Bravery is always an easier-to-activate option. And worse, you can’t even decide to use it in the Morale phase, before taking the tests. F
  • STOKE THE NAILS! (1CP). Use when a non-cultist INFANTRY or BIKER unit fights. Death to the False Emperor triggers against everyone for the phase, and triggers on a 5+ against IMPERIUM units. Super good at letting your units punch that much harder and well priced at 1CP. Especially tasty if you decide to betray Khorne and bring a Sorceror to buff up your units. A

As is fitting, World Eaters don’t really need any cunning plans to make the best use of these new abilities. Khorne Berserkers are already OK. These make them fantastic and let them bring some big brothers along out of Deep Strike. Do that. Khorne will get his due.

Final Thoughts

TheChirurgeon

When Games Workshop first started previewing rules for Faith and Fury, I’ll admit I was skeptical that the book was going to be good. Not only did they give us one day of previews with a very “…and the rest” lodged in between three days of previews of rules for a faction that just got 6 books’ worth of new rules, that was coupled with the fact that none of the legion traits were getting a much-needed rewrite and the notion that warlord traits and relics tend to only benefit the units that were already strong in the faction (Lords Discordant, Daemon Princes, Lords, Sorcerers). I wasn’t sold on the idea that this book would really help Chaos Marines or encourage army diversity at the competitive level.

Well, fortunately, I think I was wrong. There’s a lot of great stuff here, and if this book does nothing except put Berzerkers and Noise Marines back on tournament tables, it’ll be a success. There are a ton of good options here that will encourage detachments for each legion in some form or another, and a ton of great new options for Chaos Marine armies to consider. In future weeks we’ll explore some of the strategies and tactics from this book in more detail but for now, this particular Chaos Marine player is at least happy with a book that, while not quite being Traitor Legions Part 2, is pretty damn good. We’ll talk about the other parts in detail tomorrow and Monday but if you’re a Chaos player, you need this book.

James “One_Wing” Grover

So kicking off on a positive note – these rules are a slam dunk. I must admit I came into the review expecting to be disappointed and I’m really not; every legion gets at least something good here, and some of them pick up huge boosts. Locking some of the best tricks behind taking a full detachments has a good impact as well, as it adds a degree of value to anything in the CSM book that is close to cost effective, very much acting as a rising tide to lift all ships. Were I a CSM player there would be multiple new armies and detachments I’d be actively excited to try out at tournaments, and anyone who just wants to have some fun with a pure legion army is going to love this as well.

All things considered, these rules are exactly the sort of thing GW should be printing at this point in the edition. They’re well designed and interesting, shine a spotlight on some options that currently aren’t used, and are potent enough to compete without being broken. This is the best designed set of rules that have been released in ages.

Sadly, that means the contrast to some other recent releases hurts. As an Aeldari player, I’m currently weeping into my over elaborate robes at the comparison between this stuff and Phoenix Rising. I would commit some not inconsiderable crimes in service of getting a set of rules like this for each of the five Craftworlds instead of the crumbs we got, and I can’t even begin to comprehend how annoyed I’d be if I mained Drukari instead of Craftworlds. Corrode: You’d be extremely annoyed.

The other comparison that stings, this time for Chaos players, is to Space Marines. This stuff is fantastic but even in this same book (as you’ll see when we get to it) GW inexplicably felt the need to hand loyalist Marines yet more absurd buffs, including multiple much more broadly applicable versions of abilities that are locked to a single Legion for Chaos. It’s honestly difficult to understand why Marines needed yet more boosts so soon after their codex. I think quite a bit of this Chaos stuff is plausibly tournament competitive, but the Marine stuff definitely is because it just trivially slots into already top-tier armies and makes them better.

Ultimately, however, Marine meta is something we’re going to be stuck with for a while, and the most important thing right now is to celebrate that Chaos fans have been rewarded for their dedication to their legions with six flavourful and powerful toolsets.

More of this sort of thing please GW.

Next Time: Space Marines

Wow, those Chaos rules sure were something! Hopefully this will be what they need and Marines won’t just get an insane boost that wipes out any forward momentum the faction ha… touches earpiece I’m being told that in the second part of our review tomorrow, Jack “BenBooley” Hunter will review the new Space Marines rules and they are some proper bullshit. Cool. This is fine. Everything is fine.

As always if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, hit us up in the comments below, via our Facebook Page or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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