The long march of index reviews is nearly over. The last thing outstanding is to look at Imperial Armour, providing a rundown of all the Forge World goodies available to your faction that cost £200 per kit and which your opponent has never heard of before you dropped it onto the table.
For some factions anyway – the gigantic ranges that were previously accessible to Space Marines and their chaotic counterparts have been ushered off into Legends, mostly now for use in Horus Heresy.
Thanks to Games Workshop for sending us a review copy of these Indexes.
Norman: Chaos Knights get some real functionality out of the IA Index. You’ve got your standard “neat but impractical” picks from the Acastus frames. The Porphyrion gets Lethal Hits when it stands still, and comes with 2 Twin Magna Lascannons which are D6 shots BS 3+ S18 AP-4 D6+6 which have Blast and Twin-Linked. The Acastus meanwhile gets the kickass ability Sunderer of Fortresses which gives it +1 damage and strength against vehicles and +2 against fortifications. The twin conversion beamers it gets are also similarly powerful at S16 Ap-2 D6 with Twin-Linked, Sustained Hits D3, Critical Hits at 4+ if you are more than 24” away. These frames of course are gonna be your most expensive knights but they’re pretty neat for a narrative game or if someone wants to be a big hero at a GT. Acastus Knights are not Characters though, so you can’t give them Enhancements.
Wings: I would describe the price tag on the Porphyrion as “alarmingly plausible” for what it’s worth.
The Cerastus knights on the other hand are very fieldable in practical games and some are out right competitive picks. Kicking off with the Knight Lancer, it gets a 14” move, 3 extra wounds over the Abhorrent class knights, and a 4++. That’s right, not a 4++ against ranged, just a 4++. While its ability isn’t as strong as its loyalist brother, it gives nearby War Dogs Assault weapons which can be nifty and free tank shock. Its melee weapons are also no joke, with 5 WS 2 S20 AP-3 D8 attacks with the lance ability, and 10 attacks at S10 AP-2 D3 on the sweep. We’re looking at an improved Rampager here, good thing it’s coming to plastic soon.
The other tall boys are no slouches either, getting a 12” move and 3 more wounds compared to the Abhorrent class knights. The Castigator gets a Twin-Linked version of the Despoiler Gatling Cannon and a Chainsword with a different name but hands out -1 to hit for any non-Vehicle non-Monster it shoots and has an aura of Sustained Hits 1 for nearby war dogs which can be brutal when combined with Executioners and Brigands. The other notable include is the Atrapos which gets +1 to hit against Vehicles and Monsters (and +1 to wound against Titanic or Towering) with some really strong firepower coming out of its lascutter and singularity cannon (hell yeah). Its aura is only ok, giving full hit rerolls against Titanic and Towering, but under the right circumstances that can be devastating.
Lastly we have the Forgeworld darlings of last edition, the Magaera and the Styrix. Unfortunately they have not transitioned to 10th well. Both frames give out an aura of ignoring BS modifiers (whatever, could be good for indirect I guess) and have had their rad cleansers moved to a single D6 number of shots and only going to damage 1. The Magaera specifically, lost all the ap on its lightning cannon, lost a point of damage and is now S9. It gained 4 shots I guess, but it’s not nearly the powerhouse it once was. On the Styrix side of things, it’s not looking much better with its volkite losing all its AP (4 more shots though) and gaining the ability to subtract 2 from move, advance, and charge on anything it shoots with its grav weapon sponson. Its fine I guess, but I’m way more interested in those tall boys
Overall there are a bunch of options in the IA Index for Chaos Knights. I would expect to see Lancers become a common include, especially with the addition of a plastic kit for them. I do love that they all have War Dog auras, making them work more similarly to their standard index brethren. RIP to anyone who bought one of the Questoris frames last year, couldn’t be me.
Wings: The Cerastus Knights look extremely good, and they’re priced to be competitive with the regular ones, which makes sense given that WarCom has specifically acknowledged Knights and Custodes as being the factions where the Forge World stuff matters most. I do think they might be a shade undercosted, maybe needing a slightly higher premium over regular flavours, but I’m not certain on that and kind of happy to wait and see how they play. I will, however, get big mad if the Porphyrion ends up as good as it looks, because I personally hate it when the serious titan tier stuff makes competitive breakouts.
NotThatHenryC: Ok so a lot of the stuff said about Chaos Knights above is true here of Imperial Knights, except that they do it more Gloriously. There’s no need to repeat what everything’s weapons do but we’ll look at the Bondsman abilities and things like that. As for the hated traitors above, these additions represent a major increase in the number of units available for Imperial Knights.
The two big Acastus Knights might not be all that glorious, standing at the back blasting things to bits, but you definitely don’t want them shooting at you. They have exactly the same abilities as baddies above, including not being Characters and not having Bondsman Abilities. They do have extremely enormous guns, however, with which they’d do lots and lots of damage to things. Presumably, the pilot is too busy firing all of these to boss Armigers about. I expect to see people who own these taking them off shelves and wondering how to transport them.
The most Glorious Knight by far is the Lancer, with its “Lancer’s Duty” Bondsman Ability. They get to advance and charge – presumably with a massive HONK from their horns as they do so. If you’ve taken the Reclaim the Realm Code Chivalric I calculate that on average you’ll be able to charge something far, far away from where you started. Indeed it’s not impossible to imagine a Lancer accomplishing a first turn charge that takes an enemy deployment zone objective (over the newly-lanced bodies of whoever was stood there before), achieves its Deed and makes your army Honoured. Oh and you get to tank shock for free when you charge, so do that and enjoy landing 6 mortal wounds, most of the time. If you have Canis Rex you can potentially tank shock three times a turn, causing enough Mortals to kill something like Magnus the Red. It’s especially glorious that a plastic Lancer is on its way for Heresy. Hopefully it’ll come with a 40k transfer sheet too.
The Castigator is an awful lot like a Warden. The difference is that its gun is twin-linked and its bondsman ability grants sustained hits and -1ap, which is great for Helverins. Now the Castigator Bolt Cannon will wound even most armoured targets on a 5+ with a reroll at ap-3, hitting many times. This makes it a solid gun to fire at most targets, except for anything with T12 or more and damage reduction… like a Warden, for example.
The Acheron feels like maybe the weakest of the Cerastus Knights. Its main gun is a weaker version of the Valiant’s flamer. The Bondsman ability is again powerful though, as it makes enemies in melee with it take Battleshock tests at the start of the fight phase, at -1. You can battleshock quite a lot of stuff if you get the Acheron and an Armiger (or maybe two) charging into things. This doesn’t seem quite reliable enough though and it will probably be better to bring something that simply has more firepower.
The Imperial versions of the Castigator and Acheron both have a 5+ Invulnerable Save that works in melee as well as at range. This looks like a typo, as the Chaos versions don’t get it. Enjoy that while it lasts!
The Atropos has a Lascutter that’s identical to a Preceptor’s Las-impulsor, except it has sustained hits. It also works in melee, where it’s a bit worse than a Reaper Chainblade but again has sustained hits, which compensates somewhat. The Graviton Singularity Cannon is pretty frightening for other big targets, with the option of becoming Hazardous in exchange for doing Devastating Wounds. Its Bondsman Ability gives you +1 to hit vehicles and monsters and +1 to wound Titanic, which is a particular benefit to the Lascutter, both at range and in melee.
The Magaera and Styrix’s Bondsman abilities are identical and not amazing amazing: ignore cover. The Magaera heals D3 in your command phase too, while instead the Styrix can “grav pin” units with its graviton crusher, reducing their move, advance and charge rolls by 2”. This only has an 18” range though, so some things will still be able to charge you regardless.
Moirax are the same as the Chaos ones, with the ability to heroically intervene for free. That’s of limited use if you’ve gone for a double-gun backfield load-out, but you might get up to some mischief if you bring a melee weapon. The Siege Claw has a great profile actually, except that it lacks a Sweep attack. Being Armigers, they are eligible to hit with Bondsman Abilities.
Looking at the Munitorum Field Guide, the point costs seem about right. Cerastus cost roughly the same as Questoris, which is surprising but perhaps right once you consider things like roof missile pods and melta guns. The Lancer is the most expensive, and the most interesting with its unique advance and charge ability. Like the Crusader, the double-gun Atrapos might be a bit too cheap for the firepower it brings. Unlike the Crusader it has good melee damage, a 5++ in melee and a sub-400 point cost.
So there’s a lot here. Lancers are awesome and everything else works. If you’ve bought a resin knight in the past you’ll be able to use it now in all your games, no matter how big it is. Hopefully the Lancer will come out in plastic soon, and then things will get glorious, fast.
Wings: Imperial Knights pay slightly more for some of these, which I guess makes sense for them bringing powerful buffs, and on that note I’m pretty surprised that such a transformational Bondsman ability as Advance/Charge lives in here rather than on the Errant or Gallant. Saying that, I think these are basically well pointed, as in Imperial Knights the need to build around Bondsman abilities results in lots of incentives pulling in various directions, rather than things being picked solely for excelling on stats.
Other Chaos Factions
Rob: Alright let me see here, just going to open up my preview copy of the Index and look at the Chaos units.
There’s nothing here.
That’s right – surprise! We get nothing! No Horus Heresy vehicles – not even the ones in plastic – and no daemon engines – not even the ones which are only in Warhammer 40k. It’s as though someone at Games Workshop decided to fuck over Chaos Space Marines specifically. So shelve your Storm Eagles, cancel your Contemptor orders, drop your dreadclaws into a box, and leave your Leviathans in their cases.
Needless to say, I’m not happy about this. Apart from just being a baffingly stupid business decision (really? You have two new plastic Leviathan kits and you don’t want them to be bought by 40k players?), there are also a number of Forge World units which just helped shore up gaps in the Chaos list, such as Dreadclaws, Termites, and Storm Eagles, which were otherwise the faction’s only fast transports. I’m not particularly hopeful that GW will ever correct this.
So yeah, this sucks. As much as I hate my Kytan for that time it blew up in 8th edition at NOVA and killed half my army, I loved the model. Likewise for my Thousand Sons Leviathan and my Black Legion Dreadclaws. And RIP to my Decimator, a model which isn’t available in Heresy.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there won’t be a time when the faction has to turn to triple Decimators again – those were some dark times for the faction – but it feels pretty shitty to suddenly lose out on a bunch of units that offered solid value and great conversion opportunities right after they got new plastic kits.
Wings: Custodes have another hefty Forge World range, comprising a variety of dreadnoughts, tanks and alternative Custodian builds. The big, big standout is my nemesis the Caladius Grav Tank, which is an incredibly good anti-tank platform with blaze cannons, and likely to see tonnes of use. It’s fast, tough and very good at the job it’s designed for, and not too hefty in price. If you were wondering where the good anti-tank was in the main Custodes Index, here’s your answer. It can also use Martial Ka’tah, which honestly isn’t strictly for comedy purposes, because you can use that for -1 to hit in melee. Bob and weave, tank, bob and weave.
We’ve started with vehicles, so let’s move onto the two special Contemptors, the murderous Achillus and durable Galatus. Both of these come in at fairly cheap price tags (155 for the Achillus, 175 for the Galatus) so they’re easy to slot into lists. The Achillus is extra deadly in melee, getting Lance and high damage on the spear (leaving them distinctly superior to the regular Contemptor in a fight) and also hands out some Mortals in the fight phase. Their shooting is kind of whatever – if you take the Adrathic and combine it with the spear you’ve got three mid-quality D3 shots, which is decent but unexciting. The main reason to take this dread is just how cheap it is – it’s a great counter-charge threat into something like Knights, and much cheaper than a normal Contemptor.
With the Galatus, you’re paying a little more for something that’s very dedicated to the role of holding the line in a fight (having both a 4+ invuln and -1 to wound it in melee), and is also decent at clearing out elite infantry. It’s pretty decent at this, but Custodes in general simply do not struggle with either of these things, so it’s probably surplus to requirements, but it looks fine, especially as the option of Lethal Hits from Ka’tahs mitigates the relatively low strength of its sword (only 8). Could also be great if any sort of Marine melee list arises, as it’s perfect for fighting them.
Next up for smaller hulls we have the Pallas Grav Attack, which isn’t very good – its gun does have the slightly eye-catching combo of Twin-Linked and Devastating Wounds, but it’s not going to excel at anything, and introduces a pretty vulnerable target into an army that doesn’t usually have many. Finally for hovertanks, the Coronus Grav Carrier provides a showing-focused alternative to the Land Raider for ferrying your toys around, packing a similar transport capacity and the Fire Support rule seen across a few factions. Wound re-rolls could be pretty nasty if either a Custodian Guard or Sagittarum squad pops their once-per-game ability, and it’s nice that you get a few more seats here (allowing 6-model units to bring a Character and still fit) but in general I think the Land Raider is preferable thanks to Assault Ramp and the anti-tank it provides. Could be convinced otherwise though, and this is definitely looking more appealing than it has at any point in 8th ot 9th.
The final “regular” sized hull is the Telemon, the ultimate grindy dread. It’s monstrously tough with a 4+ invulnerable save and -1 damage, but has had its killing power dialed back a bit to compensate. I think you probably go for a caestus and a storm cannon here, as the storm cannon does a decent bit of Mortal chip damage, and the Caestus means that if this lumbers into the opponent’s line they’ve got to do something about it. It does have pretty low AP, but it’s so tough and not especially expensive, so I expect to see people give them a go.
Last up, two big planes, the Ares Gunship and the Orion Dropship. The Ares is hilariously good at blowing apart vehicles with its magna-blaze cannon, and gets a bit of extra utility from bombs. The Orion is also super-deadly, honestly maybe more useful in its output – it doesn’t get the magna-blaze shots, but still has plenty of anti-hull from eight heavy blaze cannon shots, and then a tonne of anti-infantry across the rest of the guns. Ferrying around large amounts of Custodians (and/or a Dreadnought) is also pretty strong, and this is definitely a powerful unit. Both it and the Ares pay for their power though, and are so massive and unhideable that they’re probably too vulnerable to getting alpha-struck right now, having pretty much the defences of a Knight at a substantially higher price.
Those greedy Custodes aren’t content with just having special Vehicles out of Forge World – they add some additional regular units too.
First up we have the shooty Sagittarum, who look pretty good. Start with the downside here – you have to take these as exactly five models, so they’re always going to be a hefty chunk of your points. The upside is that they have a healthy amount of dakka – their guns are essentially just heavy bolters now, with a once-per-game super move of switching on Devastating Wounds. Pretty nice, and easily the best argument for taking a grav carrier, as that’ll do a good job of obliterating something once per game. Adrasite and Pyirithite Guard are also extra shooty and come in fives, but these are unfortunately not going to see any use currently – you pay a 100pt premium for the better guns, and they’re nowhere near worth it.
Stars of previous metagames the Venatari are next, providing wingèd warriors to swoop down upon the enemy. The sell here is that these get a free Rapid Ingress, which obviously whips, but they’re also pretty pricey at 235pts per three. Free Rapid Ingress is such a strong capability that I think you could still see one unit of these used at that price, likely with the spears, but it’s also possible they don’t quite get there.
Moving on to alternate Terminators (alterminators, if you will). These will basically only see use if Custodes find themselves struggling with hordes, as taking the flamer and talon build makes them considerably better at dealing with those compared to the regulars. I guess the lure of overwatch could just about get them into lists outside that, but you pay a bit of a premium for them, and probably have other things you’d rather get with the points.
Finally, alternate jetbikes in the Agmatus. These come in a minimum of three, but the point premium is much smaller than for other options, only running you ten additional over the regulars. These probably are the better pick if you want a unit of three bikes, as their las-pulsars are a bit more broadly useful than the salvo launchers, and their once-per-game ability of a free Fire and Fade move is probably more useful than the regular Vertus unit’s. Having to take three might be the killer though – as I said in the main review, I think two plus a captain is the most likely build.
Overall for Custodes there’s definitely some spice, the main winner being the Caladius, but plenty of plausible options beyond that. I like the pitching on this a lot, threads the needle of keeping stuff interesting without it ending up strictly better very effectively.
Rockfish: With its 3D6 high strength shots on the Bursta Kannon and bonus accuracy at half range the Kill tank offers to give you a source of semi reliable AT on a tough platform. Unfortunately the gun is still limited by being AP2 and ‘only’ 36″ range making the accuracy buff a little risky to proc, so for its price and bulk the Kill Tank probably doesn’t quite reach the mark when compared to models you can find in other factions. There is the Giga shoota if you feel the need to spend rather a lot of points on a vehicle that is only capable of outputting anti light infantry shooting. Ultimately the scarcity of viable range AT alternatives in Orks might still result in this model seeing the table once again, but perhaps not in trios. It’s pretty tough for how cheap it is, so can at least slow the enemy down substantially.
Wings: The Grot Mega Tank, for those who like their tanks done medium, also seems at least somewhat plausible – it’s pretty cheap at 110pts, crunchy for that price (3+ save reducing incoming AP by 1 being the key bit), and can stack a combination of two twin-linked mega blasters, providing four decent-ish anti-tank shots with re-rolls. They’re still bedeviled by the low AP that Ork guns seem to have, but this density of dakka on a platform with a 4+ BS is relatively rare for the faction. Small Grot Tanks also provide a good way of stacking this up a bit – you get five KMBs in a unit of four, which only runs you 5pts more than the 3 Killa Kans you could buy for the price. Since these get to move when an enemy moves close, and are faster with the same defensive profile as the Kans, this seems very strong. Also worth remembering that new Battle-shock is vastly less risky for these than morale was in previous editions.
Continuing on a clank theme, the Mega Dread and Meka Dread are back. These both look like perfectly decent all-rounders, but the price tag is reasonably hefty, so more of a fun unit than strictly competitive. Much more competitive, mostly because its price tag is hilariously low, is the Big Trakk, which is basically a Trukk++ for only 25 more points. It’s not a dead cert to break through, but it seems pretty likely that these get serious usage.
Also belching out clouds of smoke are the Warboss and Nobz on warbike options. The former seems to be missing the list of units they can join, but we’re assuming Warbikers and Nob Warbikers – at which point this is a pretty great model, because it pushes the former into being a pretty serious threat between the boss’s own attacks, auto-6″ Advances and a boost to melee. To be fair, it doesn’t particularly do any of this better than the Deffkilla trike, but you might want the boss just for a smaller base footprint. The Nobz option is kind of whatever – there’s too much of a price premium over regular bikers to justify what you get, and you’d rather go for a big, nasty biker and boss brick to hurl in a Waaagh turn.
Finally, two flavours of Squiggoth. The smaller variant is 150pts and OK on paper for that price, but in practice here you’d definitely rather either take three Trukks for the same price, or save a bit more for a Kill or Hunta Rig – which aren’t even appreciably less deadly in melee. Obviously the same is not true of the big squig, which will brutally stomp/gore whatever it touches, but it has very poor ranged output, so this doesn’t feel like it makes up for it being quite clunky on the table and Towering so it’s always shootable. The statline looks way more functional than previously, so it isn’t terrible, but there’s likely enough stuff that punishes it, plus not really enough that rewards it, that you want to look elsewhere.
LowestOfMen: The Reaper has shuffled off this mortal coil, but the fricking TANTALUS remains for the Dark Kin. Toughness 10, 18 wounds, 4+/5++, this thing is durable by Drukhari standards but still won’t last in a protracted firefight, or into mass rerolls (thankfully removed entirely in 10th, heh). The Pule Disintegrators are ASSAULT, 12 shots, Strength 10, AP2, Damage 2, solid all rounder material to harm pretty much anything at least a bit. It can deal mortals on the charge and it retains scythe blades (though these are only AP1 now, big sad).
The greatest appeal of the Tantalus is its FIRING DECK 16. Break some Kabalite squads up via Venoms, fill this bad boy with Dark Lances and special weapons, slap a Pain Token on it, and watch the whole thing reroll its hits as you cackle maniacally. Is it good? Maybe. Just maybe. Give in to the pull of the great big boat, give it a try, but remember to sing several loud rounds of ‘WE ALL LIVE IN A SPIKY FLYING SHIP’ good and early, before it gets totalled by enemy fire…
Wings: Necrons retain five of their Forge World options, and honestly do pretty well. The Tomb Stalker and Tomb Sentinel are both relatively inexpensive durable Deep Strike monsters, which means they’re plausibly got some play. Of the two, the ranged Sentinel seems better simply because it’s easier to synergise it with either a Canoptek Control Node or the Sovereign Coronal, as while free Heroic Intervention is nice on the Stalker, it doesn’t do enough when it hits without buffs. Both do suffer a bit from the simple fact of many core Necron Datasheets just being better as well, as the Annihilation Barge is now a real competitor in the same weight class. What might get the Sentinel over the line, at least as a one-of, is that it’s backing a Gloom Prism (aura of 4+ FNP vs Psychic), and is much harder to pick off than a Canoptek Spyder. If you’re creating a shooty castle, it’s good enough on rate that the adaptability the combination of this plus Deep Strike provides means that you probably do want one.
The Tesseract Ark also has a solid niche lined up. It’s a great anti-elite-infantry tool thanks to a combination of a super flamer and being able to take a couple of gauss cannons on top of the main gun. It’s also not completely dead into hull-heavy armies thanks to the big shot mode on the singularity chamber, which is not as high S as you like, but is at least able of pushing a bit of damage, especially with six Lethal Hits D2 shots going in as well. Worth noting too that S9 does get it to wounding on 4s against a lot of Aeldari hulls, and being well set up to fight both Marines, Thousand Sons and Eldar seems like it’s got to be a good spot to be in. It’s inexpensive as well, and you could legitimately put three of these in a list.
Acanthrites, in a move that we’re sure will shock lots of people, are not very good. They do have a small niche thanks to being able to infiltrate, but they’re squishy and inaccurate, so there’s a reasonable chance they just do nothing then die. Skip.
Finally, the Seraptek Heavy Construct and hoo boy. Obviously this is one of those units that needs a big asterisk of “*if this can navigate your tournament terrain set” but this thing is buck wild, only running you 470pts and quite legitimately returning to its 8th Edition stature of Dominus-tier shooting and Questoris-quality melee. There’s also now a real question on which guns to take – do you want 4d6 D4 Devastating wounds shots with both low and high roll potential, or would you rather take a guaranteed 16 D2 shots plus four massive ones at a frankly unholy S24. I’d currently lean towards the latter, but either way expect to see the reasonable number of these that escaped into the wild in 8th Edition make the jump back to serious play in 10th.
Wings: Welp, there’s a whole bunch of stuff here. Some of it has weapons that might certainly be considered areas of concern, given how D-stuff has mostly played out in the index.
On some things the news is actually OK. The Wraithseer is kind of fine but a firmly OK unit in an index full of all stars. This is mostly because someone, somewhere had the presence of mind to look at the statlines on a regular D-cannon and say “absolutely not”, so the one you can take here is essentially a 24” range Wraithcannon (including no Indirect) – still the pick, but not completely busted as it would otherwise be. That’s supplemented by Destructor, so basically a heavy flamer up close, and an interestingly distinct melee profile compared to a normal Wraithlord, hitting for less damage (3 and 1 compared to d6+1 and 2) but getting more attacks on the sweep, Anti-Infantry 2+ on both and Precision on the strike. That makes them very good counters if horde infantry armies with buff characters end up a bit metagame force, so keep them in the back of your mind for that. They also force a Battle-shock test on one thing they shoot each turn, which is no bad thing, and can help set up a key swing Fight Phase.
The Warp Hunter is also good but probably not actually better than the Fire Prism, though access to Devastating Wounds off of a flamer does reduce the number of Fate Dice required to pull nonsense. Obviously, any increase in the Fire Prisms price would need to be proportionately reflected here, but it doesn’t feel any worse. The Cobra feels like it’s in a roughly similar boat when stacked up against a Wraithknight – it has a terrifying gun, sure, but it’s not doing anything for you that the (cheaper) Wraithknight isn’t, and interestingly while TITANIC it isn’t TOWERING, so can’t no-scope stuff through ruins. Speaking of Wraithknights – the Skathatch is here, it has a once-per-game teleport, but none of its guns are even in the same zip code as Wraithknight Classic, so it’s strictly a tool for when you want more than three.
Broadly, the stuff in here that looks pro-actively strong (beyond the Wraithseer, who’s maybe a sometimes treat), in order of most to least concern, are the Hornet, Shadow Spectres, the Lynx, and the Scorpion. Hornets are way too cheap with a couple of lances strapped to them, and look like they maybe dodged some late stage point hikes that hit other, similar things. They also have an honestly pretty good Mortal trick which further boosts their utility. Shadow Spectres are also just way too cheap, bringing inexpensive mixed use fire power and borrowing Drukhari Scourges’ trick of being able to deep strike, shoot then Fire and Fade. You could take Irrilyth and stick him in a unit too, but he doesn’t do that much – it’s the basic unit that’s significantly over-pushed here, and essentially immediately becomes the best shooty Aspect just on the basis that they need pretty much zero support or delivery to be great. I see zero reason these should not cost broadly the same number of points as Scourges, on the basis that while they’re not as good at killing any one target, they get flexibility for free.
The other two promising-looking ones involve big lasers. The Lynx is extremely cheap for what it is, but still only has the T9 hull of other Aeldari tanks, and is hard to hide, so might end up getting shot to bits. My vibe is that it’s so cheap for the speed and firepower it has that it probably does see plenty of play, especially if other stuff goes up in cost. Finally, the Scorpion looks like the best of the superheavies to me on the basis of providing a very strong shooting platform that doesn’t really need any Strands of Fate support, and that has a powerful effect in a metagame with lots of vehicles. Its gun is big, scary and twin-linked, so drop Guide on it and your opponent’s likely running on invulns only, and when it pops a tank (and it’s gonna) Deadly Demises goes off on a 4+ rather than 6+, which can be pretty horrific. If other superheavy stuff fills up the metagame, it feels like a plausible include.
The Titans…look they’re titans, so unlike most of the rest of what’s here, no real attempt has been made to push them to playability in normal games. The Revenant does fit in a normal army, but it’s neither deadly nor durable enough to take it for 1100pts and expect to profit. They also have a mechanic seen on lots of titans, which is that using Stratagems on them costs multiples of the normal cost (here 2x for the Revenant, 3x for the Phantom). The Phantom Titan is extremely funny, but also extremely 2100pts, so not my problem. If you want to play a casual game where you unleash/fight an epic war machine, it seems like a decent choice for that role.
There’s an extra plane. It’s fine, but like the other Eldar planes, wildly outstripped by other options.
Wings: Two choices here – the Land Raider Banisher and the Thunderhawk. The Banisher you flatly won’t take – it’s cool flavour that it’s got the Grey Knights weapons on it, but what the army is hurting for most is good anti-tank, so the idea of putting a Land Raider in your list then taking the godhammer lascannons off it should simply not be entertained.
The Thunderhawk, however. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh.
This is one of my early picks for the big model that’s actually going to make some tournament winning lists (or at least, smash to the 4-1 bracket on a series of extremely lop-sided games) because it’s been pushed way too hard. Apocalyptically deadly, with guns that rock into both heavy and light targets, very durable at T12 30W 2+, and with a special ability that’s especially good in Grey Knights, allowing any unit with Deep Strike to charge after disembarking from this post-move. In Grey Knights, you may recognise that as a category that contains most units, and can include a full brick of Terminators. I don’t particularly think “I move 20” and auto-charge you with my Terminators, while shooting off your best unit,” is a particularly engaging way to start a game, and this is tough enough that even if it goes second, it won’t always die. I hate it, I do not want it to participate in games of Warhammer 40K, and I shall content myself hoping that no one wants to spend over £500 to meta chase.
Liam: They absolutely will.
Wings: The Tau Index is a real rollercoaster here. The alternate Riptides (the R’Varna and Y’vahra) both look pretty mediocre, as their weapons have nowhere near enough AP, and you could just take a real Riptide for the same price, and enjoy a 4+ invulnerable save. The Y’vahra seems somewhat more plausible thanks to having some good mobility plus a decent line in anti-Infantry with its phased plasma flamer, but killing hordes isn’t something Tau struggle with, so it ends up as fun for casual play, but unlikely to make the cut competitively.
Tetras, on the other hand, are very good, and if you play Tau you should get some. They’re dirt cheap (80pts for a unit of two), infiltrate with decent movement and number of wounds (making them kind of fine just as a screen) and have the fantastic High Intensity Markerlight ability, which means that when they Observe for a friendly unit, that unit gets full hit re-rolls (in addition to the normal bonuses for an Observer and Markerlight). To state the obvious, this is something you would like to do.
Snapping back to less exciting, you have the various big planes, all toting comedy guns of some shape or form. These all suffer the intrinsic handycap of being non-Hover Aircraft, and also pack guns designed for a mixture of targets, which is bad for Tau because For the Greater Good wants you to put whole units into the same victim. The Barracuda is at least pretty cheap for what it is, and I guess the regular Tiger Shark can be built to be a very effective horde clearer, but these don’t strike me as something that’s going to blow the metagame open. Remoras also clearly made some enemies last edition, as they’re very expensive for what they do – not totally worthless, as they add a bit of alpha strike potential and some cute movement stuff, but the killer is that they’re OC0 despite no longer being Aircraft, so can’t use those tricks to secure any positions.
Whiplashing back at the end, however, we have the Ta’unar, which is back to being upsettingly deadly and durable for its cost, and is a gigantic winner from the changes to Towering, as it’s now extremely tough to hide from. Absolutely going to make a return to tournament tables, and should probably cost 150pts more than it does minimum. Along with the Thunderhawk, you better believe I am preparing my most acid takes for when these appear in Competitive Innovations.
Wings: The ‘Nids were some of the most prolific Forge World criminals in 9th Edition, but mercifully the single worst offender (the Dimachaeron) has been banished to forever prison. Good riddance. Left behind are several units that caused some problems of their own, however – two flavours of Hierodule and two bio-Titans.
The Hierodules both seem like generically decent centrepiece models, or would be were they not over-vulnerable to getting Oathed. The Barbed option feels like the distinct winner this time around, as the differential in melee prowess is way smaller so the reward of having the big guns does more for you. Because they’re no longer Towering you can also use terrain to your advantage more with the Barbed one, whereas the Scythed has to YOLO it at the enemy where they’ll die messily a non-zero amount of the time. Decently pitched overall though, and if Marines and Aeldari ever go down a notch then the Barbed is a real consideration.
The Harridan probably isn’t as big a factor this time around, after being a seriously strong piece for some of 9th. It’s still big and scary, but lacks a built-in invulnerable save and just isn’t doing quite enough for you to justify the cost at T10. It is still scary, but not scary enough for serious tourney play I don’t think (though fun for casual games).
The Hieorophant probably ends up in a similar bucket, because its offensive output has the notable weakness of the AP only being OK, especially in melee. If something this size and cost ends up in a fight with a Knight you want it to be the likely winner, but that’s simply not the case right now. Couple that with a mere S10 on its shooting attacks, and this is another functional but not turbo-competitive superbeast. Which, you know, in my opinion is where all Forge World stuff should end up, so good work.
Rocco Gest: Similar to Grey Knights, the Space Marine Forge World listing consists of two models: the Thunderhawk Gunship and the Astraeus. The Thunderhawk was already discussed earlier in the Grey Knights section, the only difference being that the Grey Knights Thunderhawk Gunship is 35 pts less. Oath of Moment on the Thunderhawk absolutely justifies that increase in cost, however there are better, more efficient options already available in the Index. If it, for some reason, had a Firing Deck value, then it would be way more appealing.
The Astraeus on the other hand comes in at a whopping 525 points. This thing is an absolute mediocre block of resin that you can put on the table. While I don’t hate any of the gun profiles on it, once again Space Marines already have better, more efficient tools you could be taking for that price. 5 total Lascannon shots is the nicest thing that the Astraeus has going for it. None of those lascannons have Heavy and having a BS of 3+ the points are better spent on 3 Gladiator Lancers. One of the lascannon shots being a twin lascannon means it has Twin-Linked, which is mostly ineffectual as you are probably blasting your Oaths target off the table with this thing. The twin macro-accelerator cannon at 12 shots BS 3+ S12 AP -1 D3 with Sustained Hits 1 and Twin-Linked is a decent gun at least. On average you get two of your shots back, and you might not be firing this at your Oaths target unless you really need to annihilate a squad of marines or something. It has Suppression Fire which is kind of worthless on this platform. It’s nice if your storm bolters are in range, but I don’t see it triggering when you fire your larger guns that are designed to kill their target. The last thing to note about this is that it doesn’t have the Towering keyword, so at least you can try to hide it from a turn one alpha strike. The big change from last edition is that the Void Shields are gone, so now it just gets a 5++ that never goes away no matter how many saves you fail against bolter shots. The final straw here that makes the Astraeus less usable is its complete lack of fly compared to last edition. You’re gonna have a hard time moving this around the board, but thankfully its guns are super long range.
All this considered, it’d be pretty funny to bring an Astraeus to an event, but don’t expect phenomenal results. The Thunderhawk is a more enticing option with its 30 transport capacity with no restrictions.
Wings: Guard have an inexplicably large range of Forge World units that have retained rules, something that’s likely to cause no end of headaches as some of them are very good. I’m surprised and not thrilled about this – Games Workshop laid out their reasoning for culling a bunch of the Marine FW options and it seemed pretty sound, and entirely applies to most of this stuff too. It’s still here though, and is going to cause some pain.
The big offenders are the various cheap crewed artillery options. The Earthshaker Carriage and Medusa Carriage both trade durability and mobility for being very cheap, adding some extra artillery critical mass that gives Guard an alarming amount of dakka overall. Armies with these will end up with huge footprints, which might mitigate things somewhat, but they’re very cheap (though mercifully only one per unit this edition). Also adding to the weight of long-ranged firepower is the Praetor. What is a Praetor? Legitimately not one of us on the team had any idea, but it appears to be some weird resin brick that fires lots of missiles. It brings some potent indirect firepower (ignoring the penalty when under the effect of an Order), with anti-infantry or anti-vehicle/monster options, and is also extremely durable with 18W. It is pricy at 225pts, but that’s not that much for what it does here, and I legitimately expect to have at least one bad proxy of this slammed on the table against me before the year is out.
Then, mercifully, a whole bunch of stuff that’s functional but not actually better than regular options, a bucket that I’m pretty sure includes most variants of the Malcador (except maybe the Infernus because of how good its overwatch is) and some other tanks named after dead idiots like the Macharius. The latter are very cheap for how tough they are, but their guns don’t seem to be up to scratch for the price tag. The Crassus is probably the most likely to cause some mischief, because it combines being very cheap (180pts) with potentially allowing 35 infantry models to get full wound re-rolls via Fire Support. Definitely also going on my bad proxy watchlist.
Then there are a whole bunch of planes. Lots of them. I think the only one that’s in a sweet spot where the combination of price and deadliness is somewhat appealing is the basic Avenger Strike Fighter. Cheap, potent, has a neat trick if you Rapid Ingress it at the right time. The rest? All functional units, but not blowing anyone away.
The last few “normal” vehicles to sweep up are the Trojan Support Vehicle and the Hades Breaching Drill. Both are pretty decent at their designated jobs, which is buffing and repairing tanks for the former, and bringing in reserves nearby for the latter (also murdering enemy tanks with a drill, which is funny). Both cheap enough to be distinctly plausible, the Trojan especially if you bring a super-heavy or Dorn. The Drill also has no limitation on who can buddy with it currently, so if you want to use it to unleash an Ogryn surprise, go wild.
We’re not done, of course – we have an “any other business” section covering weird gun platforms and Krieg stuff. Tarantulas first – super cheap, but also actually stationary, so easy to play around. Rapier Carriages, sadly, are absolutely incredible, being super cheap, still mobile, and very deadly. They are at least fairly fragile and the gun is only medium AP, so maybe that holds them back, but they currently look overpushed.
Finally, Krieg guys. Death Riders are slightly cheaper than Rough Riders, and slightly better at killing hordes in melee at the expense of not having lasguns or the anti-tank lance option. They also get to move 6” when the enemy ends a move near them once per turn, which means their most plausible setup is probably with an embedded Squadron Commander, who lets them infiltrate. At that point, they’re a decent-ish board control option, but you’re paying a lot for them. The unit that will probably still see some use, rolling on from late 9th, is the Death Korps Marshal, a Leader who provides a 5+ feel no pain to their unit, and also a free use of Insane Bravery. They’ve been pointed accordingly at 60, but I’ve seen enough guard players salivating at the Krieg objective bricks they’re going to assemble already to suspect that this has a place.
So that’s Guard, and while I’ve been doing my level best to be the positive one over the course of these reviews, I have to ask – why? I have literally seen exactly one of these tanks in person once over the six years of playing seriously, and in terms of value to the game I’d swap out any (or preferably all) of these datasheets to put Leviathans, Contemptors, or the various Chaos Daemon Engines back in without a moment’s hesitation. These are all broadly functional, there’s a few that I think are too good, and I desperately do not want to have to think about this suite of 20+ units every time a new Guard detachment is released.
Liam: James doesn’t mention it here, but included in the Militarum stuff are several Imperialis Militia/Solar Auxilia tanks like the Carnodon – a range which is only half-supported in 30k, never mind 40k. Why the fuck you would justify taking Leviathans and Contemptors out of Marine factions on the basis of there being Too Many Choices from 30k, and then also include this trash (which you will note is not even mentioned in the WarCom post) is beyond me.
Forge World – it might still be here. If you’re a Custodes or Knights player, you get some interesting rounding out of your range, with the Caladius Grav Tank in particular doing a lot to mitigate the Custodes lack of ranged anti-armour. For most everyone else, you get some functional but not outstanding units that might be usable in a fun list. If you’re Aeldari or Guard, you need to decide just how much snark you want when you go 5-0 and I write about your list in Competitive Innovations. I have to echo what Liam said – given the stated justification for removing Marine options, the Guard and Aeldari ranges seem very out of place – we get another edition where there’s a whole extra set of unneccessary balance pit-traps waiting on each new ruleset.