SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 51

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 80-week series, our intrepid magazine-receiver will be reviewing each individual issue, its included models, and gaming materials. A Premium subscription was provided to Goonhammer for review purposes.

As this week’s issue has Raven Guard on the cover, I will dedicate this article to my 40k Badcast co-host and bird bro enthusiast Dan Boyd. Like most radio shoutouts and dedications, it will likely never reach its intended audience and will be everybody else’s problem.

The Magazine

Credit: Dan “SexCannon” Boyd

Raven Guard are on the front of this week’s issue, and we will certainly get to my second favorite black-white-and-red Space Marine chapter in a bit. First, we have a page each for the Skorpekh Lord, Plasmancer, and Cryptothralls, as well as a trio of Battle Records for them. (details)

The pair of cylindrical Cryptothralls, so threateningly named “Dreadguards” by their master, Amhut the Shrouded, were vaporized in a burst of plasma fire. While their Protocols dictated they guard the chambers of the Cryptek, their success shielding their Cryptek master was wholly accidental. The lackadaisical fire discipline of the Derek’s Mom’s Dining Table IV PDF, the Karenguard, prioritized the dimwitted constructs over their lordly Plasmancer commander. Amhut the Shrouded, Untrusted Lord of Megaria, Wielder of the Secret Blade, was irritated by the loss of his two favored pets. He had a habit of tallying his slain victims, and he intended to add many to that number today. In classic royal fashion, he did not intend to do so with his plasmic lance, Voidsunder, but by delegating the task to the mad Skorpekh Lord he kept mindshackled for just such occasions. Amhut lazily dodged the imprecise fire of the Karenguard and banged the base of Voidsunder on the ground three times. At that signal, Hatshep the Omnipotent, Conqueror of the Glittering Realm, Wielder of the Secret Blade, burst from the wall. Fortunately, there were many secret blades with which to wield, and “Wielder of the Secret Blade” was a fairly common epithet amongst the Necron nobility, not unlike “Smith” or “Johnson” in human societies. Amhut kept the Skorpekh Lord’s titles in mind, as even mindshackled to his will, Hatshep the Omnipotent was a merciless killer who had cleansed hives and colonies of life in eons past. On this day, Hatshep carved through the Karenguard patrol, and Amhut added a few dozen more kills to his longstanding tally.

Raven Guard Army
Raven Guard Army. Credit: Dan Boyd

After all that Necron hullabaloo, this issue delivers on its cover story with a section on the Sons of Corax themselves, the Raven Guard. We learn about these highly stealthy Space Marines and their official doctrine of “Nothing Personnel, Kid”, the Trifold Path of Shadow. Despite their shadowy tactics, they are written as liberators, and about as “good” as Space Marines are liable to get. Eschewing suicidal charges and last stands for self preservation and subterfuge is unusual for Space Marines, and I think it’s a good way to illustrate how distinct one chapter can be from another.

Our narrative section closes out this week with War in the Scrapheap (emphasis theirs), a short story about a Death Korps of Krieg kill team taking on Ork Kommandos in an Ork scrap city. I expected this to just be a retelling of the beautiful Kill Team trailer, but was pleasantly surprised when it was a new, if not altogether different story. The writing is solid, selling the desperation of this battle and how different these Ork Kommandos are from your typical Greenskins. Things don’t go especially well for the sons and daughters of Krieg, but they’re called the Death Korps, not the Fun Korps, so you probably saw that coming.

The Hobby Materials

Black Templars Desolation Squad. Credit: SRM

This is another paint issue, but fortunately these are two paints I have a lot of experience with so I can offer an experienced account of them both. First is Dawnstone, a reliable neutral grey on the lighter side. I use it on almost every model I paint, either as a drybrush on the rocks on their bases or a final highlight on black armor or leather. The coverage is pretty good, and it’s the kind of versatile paint that should be in everyone’s toolbox. Pallid Wych Flesh is the other color included, and it is generally used as a highlight for Rakarth Flesh, which is frankly more of a neutral bone color. This is a very thin paint – one I often don’t even put on my wet palette – and sometimes comes out kind of chalky. It’s a good color for highlighting bones and parchment, though I find it to be too stark of a jump up from Rakarth Flesh before it. I typically mix it into multiple layers like you can see on the basing and purity seals above. Painters are instructed to use these two colors to highlight parchment and weapon casings across their Space Marine collection, to fairly good results.

The Gaming Materials

Necron Skorpekh Lord
Skorpekh Lord. Credit: Pendulin

The Datasheets missing from last week are presented here, with the Skorpekh Lord, Plasmancer, and Cryptothralls all getting rules and tutorials. There’s even some helpful tips, giving advice on what weapon profiles to use on what kinds of targets and how to utilize the bodyguard rules on the Cryptothralls. You’ll be using all these bots and then some in this week’s mission, Unbound Destruction. The Skorpekh Lord from last week has awoken, and he is leading a Plasmancer, 2 Cryptothralls, a Canoptek Reanimator, 3 Skorpekh Destroyers, and a Plasmacyte against a Canoness, 3 Seraphim, 7 Battle Sisters, 2 Arco-Flagellants, 3 Sisters Repentia, 1 Repentia Superior, a Tech-Priest Dominus, and 3 Kataphron Destroyers. The Sisters force is still suffering from the whole partworks thing, but the Admech reinforcements should help even the playing field. In this battle for the Imperial shipping yards, players score a point for each unit they destroy, with 2 for destroying the enemy warlord. The interesting thing about the wording here is that players only score for units destroyed during their turn, so a prolonged melee where they destroy units in their opponent’s turn won’t count. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not, but it’s an odd wrinkle here.

Final Verdict 51/90:

Credit: PierreTheMime

After the certified banger value of last issue, this one certainly pales in comparison. With a $13.95 cover price, the $9.10 of paint you’re getting is a somewhat raw deal. As with all paint issues, the value comes down to the written material and how much that is worth to you. In many ways, this issue feels like a “part 2” to the one prior, and given the dollar value of that one compared to this one, I’m comfortable with that idea.

See you next issue, warhams.

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