Start Competing: Night Lords Tactics

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This is a companion article to our larger Start Competing: Chaos Space Marines article. In this article, we’re looking specifically at the Night Lords traitor legion and how to manage their custom rules and strategies.

In 8th edition the Night Lords had 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 meant either one extra model dying or the opponent spending 2 CP to prevent any models from dying or, more often, a marines player just re-rolling the result. But then with Faith and Fury the VIII Legion got an insane boost in the form of Stratagems that give them some of the best Deep Striking options, the ability to turn off enemy auras, and the ability to lock enemy units down in melee, preventing their escape. Then 9th edition hit and we’re slowly finding out that being able to stack multiple negative Ld modifiers is a lot better when it can be used to punish marines and while the Emperor’s Children may be the strongest of the traitor legions, there’s a good case to be made for Night Lords.

 

Legion Overview

Though not quite as strong as the Emperor’s Children, the Night Lords can do a lot of very nasty things with their stratagems and warlord traits, and their legion trait has gotten much better for punishing marines. There’s a lot to like about the legion now and they may be a bit underappreciated.

Strengths

  • Reliable Charges out of Deep Strike. Night Lords have two pretty solid ways of making a charge out of deep strike with the Raptor Strike and From the Night stratagems. Between them, these give you two great ways of dropping in and surprising
  • Leadership Debuffs. Mostly trivial in 8th edition, the changes to leadership rules in 8th and the changes to Space Marines’ And They Shall Know No Fear rule now make the Night Lords’ legion trait pretty relevant, where the ability to stack modifiers up to -3 for the legion trait (and add on additional -1 modifiers from Raptors’ Fearsome Visage) can make it very likely that even marines will lose another body or two at the end of a turn. Flay Them Alive can help you further push this by forcing units to roll Morale on 2D6 and drop the lowest if you can kill an enemy unit.
  • Melee Combat. The Night Lords have some good relics for melee combat, plus they have the ability to trap non-VEHICLE units in combat with their We Have Come For You Stratagem. Prey on the Weak gives them bonuses to hit so they can get to 2+ easily, and Hit and Run lets them Fall Back and charge in the same turn.
  • Mark Agnostic. You can play whatever mark you like with Night Lords, freeing you up to have Khorne Raptors, Slaanesh Obliterators, and whatever else suits your army’s strategy.
  • Turning off auras. Being able to turn off enemy auras from 18″ away with Vox Scream is very powerful. and the Vox Daemonicus gives Night Lords armies another path for doing this.

Weaknesses

  • CP Thirsty. Having a lot of your best rules tied to stratagems means you’re going to need all the CP you can get, and you’ll have to manage your total pretty carefully compared to other “dumber” lists that can spend the bulk of their CP during army construction and plow forward. You’ll have some tough choices to make about the stratagems you use and when they’re applied.
  • Custom Units. The Night Lords don’t have any units that are unique to them, though they get some extra mileage out of Raptors.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Rules

The Night Lords don’t have any bespoke special characters and their legion trait isn’t necessarily the best of the bunch (though it is surprisingly strong in 9th edition), but they have a number of fantastic stratagems that give them some nasty tricks that make them a surprisingly competitive option.

Legion Trait: Terror Tactics

Models in enemy units get -1 Ld while a unit with this ability is within 6″ of their unit, to a maximum of -3. This can stack with some other effects like Raptors’ Fearsome Visage, Haarken’s Aura, and Warlord traits to get up to -5 or -6, but for the most part getting a -3 is enough to ruin most units’ days. This is significantly better in 9th edition than 8th, where now failing morale is much more devastating on smaller units of elite models, CP can’t be used for morale re-rolls, and marines can’t re-roll morale with And They Shall Know No Fear. The net result is that it’s pretty easy to create a situation where killing 2-3 models can cause a unit to fail a morale test and this also helps ensure that units that you whittle down to a single model will be likely to flee unless your opponent spends 2 CP to automatically pass or rolls a 1. You also don’t really get much out of stacking massive modifiers now – the goal is just to force a failure, since failing by more won’t kill more models. The other big value of this is that it ensures that the Prey on the Weak Stratagem will almost always be active in the Fight phase, since you’ll be giving any units you fight Ld debuffs, giving you the higher Ld value required for the +1 to hit bonus. B

Warlord Traits

The Night Lords Warlord Traits are mostly middling, with the best probably being One Piece At a Time or Night Haunter’s Curse for how they compliment a Warlord who is with another unit. The rest are either not doing enough or are too situational to be very useful. In most armies, you aren’t going to run monofaction Night Lords; they’ll be a detachment that likely doesn’t contain your warlord.

  • 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. This gives you some decent utility and the ability to get a free re-roll on your charge is pretty solid, helping make sure your character can keep up with a squad that may have an Icon of Wrath to help it get into combat. It’s probably on par with most of the Night Lords’ other Warlord Trait options, though that isn’t saying much. B
  • One Piece At A Time. Your Warlord can charge in a turn where they Fell Back and 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. It also combines well with Hit And Run, ensuring that if your Warlord is in a combat with another unit, you can fall back and charge again with both. Extra helpful when combined with We Have Come For You so you can be the one to decide when combat is over. The defensive bit as a nice added bonus. 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 can be a nice buff if you can boost the number of Attacks you’re throwing out, and unlike Flames of Spite works on your ranged attacks and not just melee attacks. It’s probably at its best on Daemon Princes or Chaos Lords with the Rapacious talons (or just malefic talons/lightning claws) or on Lords Discordant, where you can just get outrageous numbers of attacks with a single model that will make this do work. Unfortunately but the “unmodified” rider makes it a tough sell over Killing Fury and means that even with 12 attacks you’re only likely to get a couple of mortal wounds. May also be OK on a Terminator lord with a Lightning claw or something similar, where you can use the 4 combi-bolter shots for a chance at more mortal wounds. 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 – those attacks will stay with you if you decide to use Fury of Khorne to fight again. An extra D3 attacks will be more reliable than 1-2 mortal wounds from Murderous Reputation and while you still have to wound with these there’s a good chance of getting multiple damage out of the extra attacks, which makes this slightly 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, having to be wholly on a terrain feature really limits the utility here, and Night Lords don’t want to to be sitting back on terrain when their goal is more likely to be charging out of it into combat. 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 to get value out of it compared to other, better options and the upside isn’t what it used to be now that wound bonuses are capped at +1. C

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Stratagems

Thanks to Faith and Fury, the Night Lords have an incredible set of stratagems to work with. Almost every one of them is going to be regularly useful, and a couple of them are fully good enough to be worth building around. Pound-for-pound, these are some of the best stratagems that any subfaction gets access to, and they’re good enough to make Night Lords worth consideration.

  • In Midnight Clad (1 CP). The Codex Stratagem. 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. This is great for helping protect a large unit of your surprisingly fragile 1-wound marines or 2-wound Terminators from a deluge of incoming attacks, and it’s a solid buff when you can stack it with something like Delightful Agonies to make a unit a real chore to shift off an objective. That you can wait until you’re being targeted is also helpful. A
  • Vox Scream (2 CP). 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. This is great, and the kind of unique ability that makes Night Lords so enticing. Turning of a Captain’s re-roll hit rolls of 1 aura is nice, but the real money is being able to completely shut off Chaplain litanies like Litany of Hate or Canticle of Hate, turn off Aura Warlord Traits, or even turn off things like a Lord Discordant’s +1 to hit. 9th Edition has also made defensive aura abilities like the Ironclot Furnace very popular, and shutting those down can be a huge beating. That this ability has a range of 18″ makes it incredibly versatile and easy to get off, and Heldrakes are all-stars at being able to tag anything on the table with this on turn 1. A+
  • Prey On The Weak (1 CP). 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. This seems weak on the surface, but remember that the Night Lords’ Legion Trait reduces the Leadership of nearby enemy units, so it’ll almost always be active in the Fight phase and for Night Lords Characters mixing it up, especially if you have more than one unit in combat or you’re fighting with Raptors, who provide their own -1 Ld modifier to units within 1″. This is an incredibly easy ability to forget about in the Shooting phase, but it’s where a unit like Haarken can really shine with his 18″ -1 Ld aura. It’s straight tragic that he’s not a Night Lords character. A-
  • Hit And Run (1 CP). 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 (1 CP). 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. Also great on Possessed, who want to stay in combat to protect themselves. A
  • From The Night (1 CP). 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. This is an interesting way to mitigate charging out of/through terrain features that force you to subtract 2 from your charge distance, making it particularly relevant for tables packing Difficult terrain. It’s also perfect for your deep striking units that arrive from reserves, where you can use it to deploy on a non-difficult terrain feature like a Ruin (or a difficult terrain feature if you have FLY), then get a 7″ charge out of deep strike, making for a pretty reliable charge when you factor in the re-roll opportunity. The “entirely on/within a terrain feature” aspect makes it tricky to use this well with large squads but it’s great for smaller units like Mutilators or single characters that want to make their charge while you use Raptor Strike elsewhere. B
  • Raptor Strike (1 CP). 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. Warp Talons in particular and Raptors need an ability like this to help them make it into combat and this is a huge boost, letting them reliably make their charges the turn they arrive. This pairs wonderfully with the Icon of Khorne on Raptors and it’s solid on Jump Pack characters as well. A
  • Flay Them Alive (1 CP). 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 that Night Lords unit, your opponent must roll one additional D6 and you get to pick which one is discarded. This is better than it used to be, owing to the fact that Leadership modifiers are better now, morale tests can’t be CP re-rolled, and rolls of a 1 always pass. Your biggest challenge with trying to get the most from Ld modifiers will be that your opponent still has a 1/6 chance of succeeding no matter what, and this will help turn it into a 1/36 chance. The barrier to getting it is high but the payoff can be huge. Situational, but very good in the situations you need it in. B-
    Don:
    An alternative take here – Flay Them Alive is a niche stratagem that can be a clutch play. It isn’t for trying to make your opponent’s units run. It is more to try to give your opponent an additional chance to roll a 1 so that he can’t pull himself out of combat in the morale phase. With the Night Lords legion trait and other random LD modifiers, it makes it a bit easier for the opponent to fail morale and pull himself out of combat to avoid We Have Come for You. The more chances he rolls a 1, the more chances you have to break your opponent’s ability to play the mission.

Relics

The Night Lords have some interesting relics — The Vox Daemonicus has a pretty big effect, the Stormbolt Plate and Scourging Chains are both solid, and the rest are all pretty decent.

  • Claws of the Black Hunt. Replaces a pair of lightning claws. S+1, AP-3, D3 Damage and you get +2 attacks and can re-roll wound rolls. The Codex relic for Night Lords, these are solid, but not particularly flashy. Still, if you’re not sold on the mark of Slaanesh or the Rapacious Talons, these are a fine substitute, and each of the bonuses – Strength, AP, and Damage – are things Lightning claws really need to be useful. These kind of directly compete with the Rapacious Talons daemon weapon and are a bit more reliable on attacks and AP (especially now that you can’t re-roll for the Talons with a CP Re-roll), but less reliable on damage, doing D3 instead of flat 2. Thanks to the October FAQ update, they currently give you +2 attacks instead of +1, meaning they aren’t a downgrade from regular Lightning claws, and making them quite a bit better. A-
  • Flayer. Replaces a Power Sword. S +1, AP -3, 2 Damage. Each model killed by this weapon counts as two for morale purposes. This would be a bit better if it got an extra S+1 in the weapons update but alas, no such luck. As is, it’s still a S+1 D2 power sword that will make a model respectable in combat and the added bonus of being able to turn one or two killed models into a -4 penalty to morale before you stack Night Lords buffs makes this pretty nasty. B
  • Stormbolt Plate. An Infantry-only armor upgrade, making it one of the few you can’t give to a Daemon Prince. Give you 2+ armor save and count as always being in cover. With the current Rare Rules from the 9th edition rulebook, this means you count as being in Light Cover, and get +1 to your armour save against ranged attacks. 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 abilities’ ranges to 1”, in addition enemy models coming into the battlefield as reinforcements can not be set up with 12”. This is a nifty pair of abilities, giving Night Lords their second way of turning off auras and a way to prevent other deep striking units from barging in on their backfield fun. The ability to turn off auras is likely more useful than the ability to shut out deep strikers, if only because you’ll often find it more useful to put this on one of your own deep striking units, meaning its value will be pretty limited if you aren’t taking the first turn. That said, it can also see value on a faster warlord like a Jump Pack Chaos Lord or Sorcerer. Ultimately it’s great for shutting down Chaplains’ litanies, Space Wolf sagas, or other pesky abilities that might help nearby units save the character you’ve zeroed in on. A
  • 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. The real bonus here is that they’re additional attacks on top of what are presumably your lightning claws, helping you get your Chaos Lord to 8-10 attacks on the charge and making for a decent combination with something like the Flames of Spite Warlord Trait where you can generate a lot of attacks and then those generate mortal wounds on a 5+. C+
  • 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 Thunder Hammers while protecting the bearer. Going to do solid work making Talons AP-3, and will work great on a Lord Discordant. Works great with a lot of options in the new weapons update, such as making power mauls AP-2 or power axes AP-3.  B
  • Misery of The Meek. Once per battle at the start of your Movement phase, use this relic to regain D6 wounds and add D3 to the model’s attacks until your next turn. Only really likely to get you value on a Lord Discordant or Daemon Prince, the effect is interesting but it just isn’t big enough compared to some of the other options at your disposal. C

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Notable Units

Raptors

Raptors do their best work in a Night Lords’ army, where they both have access to the Raptor Strike Stratagem and the legion trait to stack with their own Fearsome Visage aura, giving any units within 1″ a -2 to their Ld. This combines very well with Prey on the Weak and gives you a more powerful than expected unit that can reliably charge out of deep strike and wreak havoc on the enemy lines, especially now that they have AP-1 Astartes chainswords. Night Lords also have some good tools to boost jump pack chaos lords and help these guys out, and they can get some boosts from Haarken Worldclaimer, who buffs all Raptors, despite the fact that he’s a Black Legion character (make sure he’s in another detachment so you don’t lose access to Night Lords stratagems). They can trap enemies in combat with We Have Come For You and they’re an amazing target for Hit And Run to Fall Back, open a target up to shooting, and then charge again for the bonus attack. If you’re playing Night Lords, you should be considering a squad of raptors, preferably with the Mark of Khorne and an Icon of Wrath to have the fight twice option and the free charge re-roll. Warp Talons enjoy almost none of these benefits and while lightning claws are stronger, they’re too fragile and you should skip them for now.

Heldrakes

Although not much stronger in Night Lords than any other faction, Heldrakes do two things for Night Lords armies:

  1. The are wonderful activators for Vox Scream. Their ability to travel 30″ on the first turn and then dump Vox Scream onto a target 18″ away basically means that one can cover the entire table on turn 1, turning off any key auras you need before the opponent has a chance to act.
  2. They can take advantage of both the Hit And Run Stratagem to fall back and charge, something that really helps them achieve their maximum potential as harassment units, and they can use Prey on the Weak against targets with a lower Ld to get an extra +1 to hit (though note that they don’t get the legion trait so you’ll need another unit within 6″ of the target to get this if they’re Ld 8+).

Mutilators

Kind of a dark horse in the Codex, Mutilators have found a place in 9th edition by virtue of being cheap, durable units able to grab Linebreaker and Engage at All Fronts or Deploy Scramblers. They can double as a melee threat in Night Lords armies thanks to the From the Night Stratagem – deploy them onto a non-difficult terrain feature and them turn your charge into a much easier 7″ attempt. 

Berserkers

Berserkers aren’t bad either in Night Lords – they can take an Icon of Khorne, they can use From the Night to help make charges and get a +1 to hit, or use Prey on the Weak for +1 to hit, they can use In Midnight Clad for shooting protection, and their ability to fight twice with AP-1 weapons makes them great at clearing objectives. They can also trap enemy units with We Have Come for You and can Fall Back and charge with Hit and Run. Almost every Night Lords Stratagem works for them.

 

Playing Night Lords

Building Night Lords means playing around their unique abilities. Most notably, the ability to reliably charge out of deep strike, the ability to turn off auras, and their legion trait’s effects on enemy leadership values. You don’t have to run Raptors in a Night Lords force – they have some neat tricks, but a bunch of AP-1 1W jump infantry aren’t going to light the world on fire, either. Generally, Night Lords armies will do well focusing on melee threats generally, and Berserkers, Bikers (though note these won’t get INFANTRY-locked abilities), Terminators, and Helbrutes all have quite a bit to offer here and Heldrakes are a great accompaniment for what the army wants to do as well. Generally speaking, your army favors speed and melee combat, both being able to win decisively and also trap foes for the long haul and finish units off with morale effects that cause the remaining 1-2 models to flee.

Because you have a lot of great stratagems and you’ll want to Vox Scream multiple turns, it’s important to keep track of your Command Points with Night Lords and have a plan for how you’ll want to use them. While generally you’ll be spending a lot early on to get an advantage over your opponent, you’ll want those expenditures to be part of an overall plan to tie up an enemy and throw them off-balance, forcing them to react to your fast units in their backfield rather than deal with your objective holders. Think about your stratagem game plan before the game starts so you don’t get caught unable to execute on turn 3 when you have no CP left.

Tips and Tricks to Remember

There are a few things you’ll want to remember as you play Night Lords that will help you get the most out of the faction:

  • Pay attention to your Ld debuff auras. Positioning for your legion trait is going to be critical, not just for morale tests but for activating Prey on the Weak in the Shooting and Fight phases. Pay attention to your positioning and overlap these 6″ effects so that you can get the most out of these debuffs. If you can stack them with non-trait effects (like the Raptors’ aura) or rig the rolls with other effects, even better – you’ll find marine armies in particular struggle when they suddenly can’t write off any losses they’ve taken in the morale phase because their Ld 8 and small squad size is no longer enough to keep them out of danger.
  • Don’t overdo it on drop units. Between Raptors, Terminators, Obliterators, and other units that can drop in from reserves, it’s tempting to create an army with lots of these units. Just make sure you aren’t overloading on units that will deep strike – remember that only half your army can be put into reserves in a given game.
  • Prey on the Weak works on shooting too. Easy to forget, but Prey on the Weak can be applied to shooting attacks as well. You may have to work harder to get your target’s Ld down if they’re space marines, however.
  • Pick your shots for Vox Scream. It can be tempting to fire off Vox Scream every turn but 2 CP is expensive and you need all the CP you can get so you’ll want to pick your shots. If you’re on the first turn and you know that chaplain’s plan is to use Canticle of Hate to pull of some deep strike charges next turn, you can wait to shut off his auras. Think about how the auras will be used before you throw out Vox Scream.
  • Be mindful of terrain. Between From the Night and One With the Shadows you’ll want to keep an eye on terrain so you can make good use of it for your approach. Be sure to note where difficult terrain is and where you have to worry about being slowed.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

The List

The Night Lords have been tragically underrepresented at the tournament level but that’s something you can change. They’re certainly good enough to succeed at the RTT level.

TheChirurgeon’s Night Lords

Night Lords Battalion Detachment (0 CP, 1,901 points)

HQ: Chaos Lord with Jump Pack, Mark of Slaanesh, Lightning Claws, Vox Daemonicus (115)
HQ: Sorcerer w/Jump Pack, Warlord: Warp Lord, Force Stave, Delightful Agonies, Prescience, Smite (115)

Troops: Cultists x10 w/autogun, MoS (60)
Troops: CSMs x5 w/bolt pistol + chainsword, MoS (70)
Troops: CSMs x5 w/bolt pistol + chainsword, MoS (70)

EL: Mutilators (105)

FA: Raptors x15 w/MoK, Chainsword + Bolt Pistol, Icon of Wrath, Champ w/L.Claws (290)
FA: Bikers x9 w/MoS, Chainsword (252)
FA: Chaos Spawn x3 w/MoS (69)

HS: Defiler w/MoS, Reaper, Scourge (140) HS: Obliterators x3 w/MoS (140)
HS: Obliterators x3 w/MoS (315)

FLY: Heldrake w/MoS, Baleflamer (150)
FLY: Heldrake w/MoS, Baleflamer (150)

Black Legion Auxiliary Detachment (-2 CP, 95 points)

HQ: Haarken Worldclaimer (95)

 

The Standout Features

  • 15-model unit of Raptors to drop in and charge out of Deep Strike
  • Mutilators for reliable Linebreaker/Engage on All Fronts/Deploy Scramblers scoring
  • Obliterators for extra shooting
  • Haarken Worldclaimer to give Raptors full re-rolls and tack on an extra -1 Ld aura at 18″
  • A pair of Heldrakes to clog up the board early and Vox Scream key enemy units

Playing This List

This list is an evolution of the one I played in my two games in Hear Me Out: Night Lords, focusing on a mobile force with multiple deep strike threats and the ability to score objectives like Linebreaker, Engage on All Fronts, and Deploy Scramblers. With only one psyker, 3 vehicles, and 3 characters, it’s decidedly difficult to pick kill secondaries against, and on the play it can immediately gum up an opponent’s board with the Heldrakes and prevent them from making good movement out of their deployment zone. The Heldrakes will typically zoom across the board and position themselves for a turn 1 Vox Scream and charge, using the fact that they aren’t AIRCRAFT to stop enemy units from moving through their bases. If the Mutilators never get into combat and just help you score linebreaker and deploy a scrambler, that’s fine. They’re only 105 points and their main value is being deep striking infantry who are a pain in the ass to kill.

After a pair of decent games, I further tweaked the list by replacing the Terminators with Bikers, who don’t compete for reserves space and have similar resilience while giving me units that can arrive at midtable faster and pack the same punch shooting, if being a bit lighter on the fighting side (though their astartes chainswords still pack a wallop). That also gave me room for an additional troops choice, which is helpful for extending the number of obsec units the army has to work with. The Chaos Lord with jump pack here can drop with the Raptors and with the right placement use From the Night to help them charge or he can run with the bikes and use his aura to help them shoot, which is the more ideal scenario. Haarken can either support the raptors dropping in, both with his full re-rolls aura and the additional Ld aura – charge him first so you’ll know if he’s dug in or if you have to stretch your raptors to ensure they’re within his aura (and also protecting him with Look Out, Sir.

The list struggles with Infiltrator-heavy lists that can box it out with 12″ no deep strike abilities, particularly if it goes second, so that’s something to keep an eye out for. You’ll almost always want to play aggressively and take the first turn, but you should deploy conservatively since your mobility can make up any lost distance pretty easily. The ideal secondaries for this list are Linebreaker/Engage on All Fronts (depending on how easy it looks to get into an opponent’s deployment zone), Deploy Scramblers, and whatever kill secondary you think is going to score you the most points.

 

Where to Read More

Click here to return to our larger guide on Chaos Space Marines. If you have any questions or feedback, shoot us an email at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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