The Arks of Omen: The Lion Datasheets Review

While our review of Arks of Omen: The Lion covered the book’s lore and the new Boarding Action rules, the book also contains a fair number of new datasheets. Note that these have all been published free on Warhammer-Community over the past week, so rather than looking at a preview of them, we’ll instead be talking about the overall power of these datasheets and how they might fit into lists.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Lion El’Jonson

The Lion marks the fifth primarch to make his way back into the 41st millennium and he’s got a profile that incredibly nasty offensively, if not so much defensively.

Similar to Guilliman, Jonson is a MONSTER, though it’s not actually clear why looking at the model – he’s not bigger than Abaddon, for example. Jonson comes with a 2+/4++ save and 9 wounds, so he can be protected with Look Out, Sir. He can also throw out two Denies per game thanks to having a retinue of Watchers in the Dark, which can be re-rolled against Chaos, adding a little bit of protection against being murdered in the psychic phase. If, instead, an opponent tries to take him out in melee there’s a bit of extra risk attached, as on a save of six he knocks a Mortal Wound back into the attacker (capped at three).

Combat is very much where you want him, because he is an true engine of destruction. Ten attacks at S10 AP-5 D4 or a sweep for twenty at S6 AP-3 D2, augmented by his own aura (granting hit and wound re-rolls of 1 for CORE and CHARACTER Dark Angels), ensures he has options to tear almost anything apart. Unless you’re sporting a wound cap you do not want to be in combat with him, and trying to take him down by ganging up on him is complicated by his built-in Fight First ability – meaning that even if you charge him and have a way of applying Fight Last, he’ll still be able to use Counter-Offensive. He also really wants to get into combat with you, able to arrive from Deep Strike with a charge re-roll via Forestwalk, or use his Warlord Trait to provide a 6″ Heroic Intervention (which he can hand out to one Dark Angels unit each turn, which can be himself). If opponents simply refuse to fight him he does also have a fairly potent pistol, but it’s very much an afterthought compared to his melee capabilities.

And…that’s the Lion, so how does he stack up for 320pts? He’s OK, but because of how pushed the price tag on other Marine units is at the moment, might struggle to find a place in lists. This week’s big nerf to Deathwing certainly makes it more of a conversation than it might have been, but 320pts buys you a lot in Marines at the moment, and the big strike against the Lion is that he’s surprisingly fragile – no damage reduction and no Mortal protection means that if he gets exposed many armies will just pick him straight up, and some nastier melee threats can just charge him down and expect to take him down.

With the Deathwing nerf in mind, the way you might see him is rolling around with one big Terminator unit while Desolation squads and Ravenwing make up the rest of the force. The Pennant still lets you make the first Deathwing unit in your list extremely durable, but additional units are now far more vulnerable, so you might be able to get more mileage out of stashing a Primarch amidst that key unit, especially because he can give them a 6″ Heroic to help dominate the table. He also provides a bit of a deterrant to the kinds of units that can charge the Deathwing and expect to wipe them, as he’ll probably eliminate them on the next turn, and might make his points back when doing so. Alternatively, since his aura is great with Desolation squads, lurking at the back to buff and protect lots of those while some Speeders fight for the board could be viable, though here being a Monster is tricky, as it reduces his ability to navigate the kind of ruins artillery love to lurk in.

Realistically, people are going to try him out – he’s a Primarch, after all, and there’s a particular joy in throwing such a melee monster into opponent’s lines. It’s plausible some builds emerge that use him effectively, but he’s not so clearly busted that he’s immediately going into every Dark Angels list, which is honestly something of a relief after the last few months of the metagame.

Rob: Ironically the Deathwing nerf is the best thing that could have happened to the Lion becuase he was just not going to make it into terminator-heavy lists before. Now he’s a much more interesting tool in an army that uses some Obsec DW terms at midboard to intervene and protect objectives while supported by a heavier contingent of Ravenwing.

Primaris Chapter Master Dante. Credit: Jack Hunter

Commander Dante

Big Dante. He’s big Dante. Dante, but bigger.

As is pretty much standard for the Primarisation process, he’s gained an attack and a wound and had one of his weapons souped up, and pays ten additional points for the privilege. Slightly surprisingly, it’s his pistol that’s been juiced up rather than the Axe Mortalis, now firing a 9″ Beam and always hitting for d6+2 damage. This is hilarious and pretty good, since a flying character that wants to be amongst the enemy’s most precious toys maximises your options for lining up trick shots.

You’d probably rather have D3 on the axe, but it makes Dante a lot more deadly in the shooting phase, and has huge swing potential if you can pick off a couple of valuable models and charge, where he’ll still cheerfully murder most Infantry characters. The only real downside here is the other side effect of the sick gains that crossing the Rubicon Primaris provides – a much bigger base, so no more using the fact that he was still on a classic 25mm to sneak him into gaps in the opposing lines.

That isn’t going to stop you taking him – if you wanted Dante before, you probably want Dante now – better stats and much better shooting is worth ten extra points. Some Blood Angels lists have been running a decked out Chapter Master instead of Dante, and there will probably be a slight increase in how many people are doing that, but he’s still a great leader for a Blood Angels force, and now has a model befitting his stature!

Credit: Dylan Gould

Imperial Agents

In addition to the big marine heavy hitters the book has datasheets for Rogue Trader teams, Imperial Navy Breachers, and Adeptus Arbites.

Astra Cartographica

Rogue Traders return, with basically the same rules they had in the Nachmund campaign books. As with Arbites, they’re primarily here so you can play them in Boarding Actions games, where they make a lot more sense.

The Cartographica Rogue Trader unit is completely unchanged, as far as we can see, still being a cheap, glass cannon character with an optional retinue of weirdoes. That kind of unit is way better in Boarding actions, but remains relatively mediocre in bigger games. Voidsmen maybe get a small downgrade, going up to ten points per model instead of eight, diminishing their main utility as a very cheap backfield troop unit for armies like Custodes, as the difference in cost compared to a squad of Prosecutors. That might not be intended to stick though, as the January MFM changed them to eight points from ten, and the datasheet is unchanged, so we’ll see what TOs end up ruling. Given that GW updated the Agents of the Imperium PDF and the points are not specified in there, we’re going to assume the MFM still takes precedence – so this is a lot of words to say “no change”.

Imperial Navy Breachers

Another unit that’s unchanged, but also another one that’s much more interesting in boarding actions, since Void Armour stacks very effectively with often being in cover.

Adeptus Arbites

Fresh off their debut in Kill Team, the Arbites get new rules for Warhammer 40k, in part so they can take part in Boarding Actions games.

You get three options for how you can run the unit – Vigilant Squads (shooty Troops), Subductor Squads (melee Troops) or Exaction Squads (Elites). The first two options come in fixed units of ten, while the latter is more configurable and lets you use the selection of weirdos that the Kill Team set builds. All benefit from the Brutal Judgement rule, meaning that attacks within half range automatically wound on a 6 to hit. They can also all purchase a tactical dog for 10pts, adding a a bit of extra melee bite, and can upgrade the sergeant with a Nuncio Aquila, providing a chance to debuff nearby enemies.

Vigilants are fairly generic – their shooting is OK, but they’re operating at BS4+, don’t have good ways to pick up re-rolls to boost that, and are fairly fragile, with just a 4+ save. They can take a few special weapons, some of which are free, but at 110pts for a squad you probably won’t use these outside of Boarding Patrols. Subductors are a bit more interesting – they’re carrying shields that mean they’re on a 3+/5++, and can bop people on the head in melee at S5. Not super well, but they’re better at lurking in a home ruin than most of the options here, though not cheap at 120pts.

Finally, Exaction Squads come in a far more configurable format, running you 13pts per model at a size of 5-10, and being able to add some specialists. The most interesting of these are the Castigator, a genuinely dangerous melee model, and the Chirurgant, who provides the increasingly standard medic ability of shrugging off one unsaved wound per turn. You also get two special weapons per five models, and better WS (though unfortunately can’t take the melee loadout with the shield), and I suspect a squad of six of these with a Chirurgant and two of the free special weapons at 78pts is the most likely configuration of Arbites to see actual play in 40K. Not being able to take the Subductor kit on these feels like a missed opportunity, as I think being able to take five with the shields for 70pts would get more of a look as a backfield piece.


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