SRM’s Ongoing Imperium Review: Week 58

Imperium is a weekly hobby magazine from Hachette Partworks. In this 90-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.

I recently played what will be, very likely, my final game of 9th edition 40k. The end-of-edition doldrums have set in to a degree, and the pending excitement of 10th is palpable in my local gaming area, as it likely is in yours. In this tentatively terminal game of what is, in many ways, the most matured version of 40k I’ve been so fortunate to play, I was able to take to the field with some of the heroes we get to read about in this very issue of Imperium. In a rare and glorious turn of events, they kicked about as much ass on the tabletop as they typically do in the fluff.

The Magazine

Marneus Calgar, Credit: SRM

Our first article is a series of 4 Heroic Origins tables for you to roll up on your Space Marine characters. These are a little too prescriptive and tidy for the purposes of SRM’s Nigh-On Weekly D6-Generated Fanfiction Machine, but take heart knowing that these origins range from “rich parents” to “carried a boulder to the top of a mountain”, implying that the Myth of Sisyphus was merely a skill issue.

Black Templars. Credit: SRM

We get a new Chapter exposé, this time about my favorite Imperial heels, the Black Templars. I’m something of a Black Templar collector myself, so I’m happy to see these idiots show up here. I’ll step outside the scope of this review for a moment and say the removal of Bathe Your Blade in the Blood of Your Foe from Matched Play was a huge mistake, as it is the coolest secondary available to any faction ever, in my completely unbiased and authoritive opinion. It is likely the only time I will ever write at length about a single rule. Returning to Imperium, we get a brief overview of the Templar steez. They’re fleet based and interpret the Emperor’s will literally, treating their attendant psykers like garbage and refusing to include Librarians in their ranks. The ends always justify the means for them, and regardless of how many war crimes they commit and how much collateral damage is caused, they are so assured in their own righteousness that they can do no wrong. In spite of what some weird Black Templar LARPers on Twitter would have you believe, they are not the good guys. We do meet a few of their heroes, such as High Marshal Helbrecht, he of banger model and mediocre novella. He’s the archetypical Black Templar, leading crusades and fighting dudes. High Chaplain Grimaldus, he of similarly banger model and much, much better novel, is also given the four sentence treatment here. He too is an exemplary Black Templar, Chaplain extraordinaire and Hero of Helsreach. Lastly, we have The Emperor’s Champion. On the eve of battle, occasionally one member of any given Crusade will have visions of glory and violence, and they will leave their old life and title behind, take up the Armor of Faith and the Black Sword, and become The Emperor’s Champion. They’re transhuman cruise missiles who find enemy heroes and monsters then murder them with extreme prejudice. Despite the text here saying they are rare, I use one in almost every game. Checkmate, Warhamailures.

The Emperor’s Champion vs. Morvenn Vahl. Credit: SRM and Greg

I genuinely can’t believe I have a photo for this exact junction of articles, but here we are. Morvenn Vahl, the Abbess Sanctorum, is the leader of the Adepta Sororitas. Not content to sit behind a desk all day, she leads from the front lines and lets her murder machine robot suit do the talking. She seldom gets out of her personal Paragon Warsuit, Purgator Mirabilis, armed with the heavy bolter, Fidelis, and the Custodes-presented spear, the Lance of Illumination. Her ascension from Celestian Superior to Abbess is charted here in brief, but most interestingly is an in-universe blurb attributed to Cardinal Richel Marveaux. The Cardinal and his ilk were hoping that by promoting a young Sororitas to the position of Abbess, they would be able to control her and wield the Sisters of Battle as if they were their own. Vahl, however, is headstrong and terrifying, so the best this Cardinal can do is shrug and hope for the best.

Also, for the record, The Emperor’s Champion won the fight in that picture. Hell yeah.

The Hobby Materials

Canoptek Wraiths. Credit: Rockfish
Canoptek Wraiths. Credit: Rockfish

This week we get our second Canoptek Wraith, some months after receiving our first. As expected, the construction instructions are largely the same, with some slight variation due to the different snake tail shapes. Most of my thoughts on this model were posted previously, but I still find it to be a distinctive and beautiful model, and a more inspired one than the previous Wraiths, which were just a long metal dude. As I predicted in the last Wraith (W)review, the painting instructions are more detailed, with extra levels of washes and highlights over those printed before. Canoptek Scarabs also get a little update here, bringing them up to the same level. All of the lenses and bubbles that appear on Necron models are still left white, but I imagine at some point in the future we’ll get a green paint to give them that characteristic Necron glow.

The Gaming Materials

Battle Sisters
Battle Sisters. Credit: RichyP

This week we get a new two-sided gaming mat, with one side expanding upon the previous moon mats we’ve received before, and the other looking somewhere between a laser tag arena and actual hell. We don’t use either side in this week’s mission, Conflict in the Crypts. This battle takes place in the catacombs below the Basilica of Saint Marcius, despite looking an awful lot like a certain Moonbase, and we are again given a multitude of armies to choose from. The Necrons get to choose a pretty classic infantry-heavy list with a lot of shooting, or a more monstrous list centered around melee fighters like Skorpekhs and Flayed Ones. Conversely, we get a fairly balanced force of Sisters consisting of everything we’ve received for the faction, or a melee-heavy Marine force to choose from. Deployment zones are marked out in each corner of the map, and players must divide their forces evenly between their two designated diagonal corners. This deployment situation is wackadoo and I’m here for it. Players will scrum in the center over the mission’s single objective, scoring points each turn for holding it and accomplishing their secondary objectives. The unusual deployment zones and choice of secondaries let this mission be more than simply a game of king of the hill, but it seems like a fun scenario.

Final Verdict 58/90:

Newly awakened Canoptek Wraiths. Photo: Chris W.

Fortunately the prices of Canoptek Wraiths have not risen since the previous Wraith-centric installment of this series, so they are still $60 for 3. At $13.95 for just this one, you’re saving $6.05, which can probably buy you a latte and leave a buck for the tip jar. The hobby content this week isn’t the most exciting and won’t tell you much you haven’t already had presented to you, but it’s decent info regardless. I do enjoy the fluff quite a bit this issue, but as a mark for Black Templars, that was going to be a layup anyway.

See you next issue, warhams.

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