Leveraging the Cataphractii Terminator Captain

With the release of the Angels of Death supplement, Space Marine Terminator Captains now have the option to replace their “normal” TDA with Cataphractii TDA for free.

This option provides a couple of benefits and a couple of draw-backs:

Cataphractii TDA Captain Benefits —

1)Terminator Captain’s with this armor may re-roll failed Invul Saves of 1, to represent the interaction of their Iron Halos and the 4++ force fields from the Cataphractii TDA
2)Terminator Captain’s gain Slow and Purposeful, which also applies to any squad they join, making the entire unit “quasi-Relentless” with the ability to move and still shoot Heavy/Ordnance/Salvo weapons at full BS and even charge after shooting these weapons.

Cataphractii TDA Captain Draw-backs —

1) On the flip-side, Slow and Purposeful means that the Terminator Captain (and his unit) cannot Run/Turbo-boost/Flat Out, cannot make Sweeping Advances and, significantly, cannot fire Overwatch.

So, looking at these characteristics of Cataphractii Terminator Captains, I can see two main applications for them in the game as “force-multipliers” to the rest of your army.

First, they can make the Terminator Captain into an excellent “tank” unit for his squad, especially when combined with a 3++ save from a Storm Shield (I am assuming for this article that Cataphractii Terminator Captains can access all normal Terminator Captain Wargear, despite the RAW issue with this) or Relic that grants a 3++ (Shield Eternal, Gorgon’s Chain, and Salamander’s Mantle all come to mind). With a 3++ and re-rolls of 1s for Invul saves, that gives the Cataphractii Terminator Captain a 77% chance of passing its Invul saves, vice the normal 50% chance when just equipped with a regular TDA and an Iron Halo. If you can some how bring that save up to a 2++ with Sanctuary (i.e. an allied Stern, friendly Librarius Conclave, etc.), then the Cataphractii Terminator Captain basically becomes invincible, with a re-rollable 2++ (or a 97% chance of passing his Invul save), making him an unequalled “tank” to absorb enemy combat power away from the rest of the army.

Secondly, with the “quasi-Relentless” he conveys by giving Slow and Purposeful to any unit he attaches to, the Cataphractii Terminator Captain enables allied units to employ their heavy weapon/salvo weapon firepower on the move. Here are some tactical applications I can think of for this ability:

1) SM Devastators in a Drop Pod or similar unit (i.e. Long Fangs, SOB Retributors, etc.) in a transport — Attaching the Cataphractii Terminator Captain to Devastators means they can Drop in (or fire after their vehicle has moved and disembarked them) without Snap-Firing, making them much more potent. The obvious application of this is Grav Cannon/Amp Devastators, which can fire to full effect and range coming out a Drop Pod with a Cataphractii Terminator Captain attached, but you can apply it to many other applications as well.

2) Allied AM Heavy Weapons Squads/Blob Squads — Attaching a Cataphractii Terminator Captain to these units allow them to move and shoot their heavy weapons freely (except for no Overwatch, don’t forget) and thus get LOS to their targets while still maneuvering to best effect (i.e. grabbing objectives, moving away from enemy assault units, etc.). If you are desperate, you can even have the Blob squad with attached Captain move up, shoot their Heavy Weapons, and then charge all in the same turn.

3) MT Command Squad with 4 x Hotshot Volleyguns — Following the same principle as above, except the Tempestus Command Squad with attached Cataphractii Terminator Captain can all Deep Strike together and then unleash 16 x S4 AP3 shots at max range of 24″, making them an effective anti-MEQ unit.

4) Grey Knight Power Armor Squads (i.e. Strike, Interceptor, Purifier, or Purgation) with max Psycannons — Allowing these units to move and shoot a full 4 x S7 AP4 Rending shots at 24″ (so a net range of 30″) each turn is a big buff and makes them much more viable and potent the entire game, starting turn 1 (Strikes and Interceptors can even DS in with the attached Cataphractii Terminator Captain).

5) Inquisitorial Henchman Warbands with Heavy Weapons Servitors and/or Jokaeros, all riding in an Inquisitorial Chimera — Since these Chimeras allow up to 5 models to shoot out of their Fire Points (unlike AM variants), you can move them us and shoot out the hatch with up to 5 Heavy Weapons a turn without Snap-Shooting, making for an excellent mobile “bunker” all game long.

The “Titurion,” or a Decurion for Grey Knights

Here is how I would “modernize” the current codex to give Grey Knights their own Decurion and bring their units in line with other Astartes armies:

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OVERALL CHANGES

1 — Dreads/Venerable Dreads gain 4A base, the ability to squadron 1-3, and Psy-amplifiers (makes them “project” Sanctuary to all friendly units within 6″ when successfully cast)

2 — Purgation Squads lose Night Vision, gain Astral Aim rule (add 12″ to the range of all their shooting weapons; if the weapon is a Template weapon, then it becomes a Torrent (6″) weapon instead)

3 — Strike Squads gain the Scout rule

4 — Paladins gain “Indomitable” rule (enemy units must re-roll successful to Wound rolls against Paladins; if the enemy targeting the Paladins has Shred or some other rule that grants re-rolls to Wound, then these two rules cancel each other out)

5 — Brotherhood Champs and Crowe gain the Herald of Titan rule (grants their squad, but not them, +1WS)

6 — Techmarines upgraded to 2W, 2A, BS5, and Ld9 base (just like C:SM Techmarines). May also take up to 3 Servo-Skulls at +5 points each

7 — Grand Masters gain +1W, but cost +10 points

8 — Brother-Captains cost -10 points, may exchange TDA for artificer armor for free, and, if wearing artificer armor, may take a Personal Teleporter for +20 Points

9 — Stern gains a unique Brotherhood Banner for free in addition to his other Wargear (“Banner of the 3rd Brotherhood” — Normal Brotherhood Banner, except that it gives Stern’s unit +1A AND Furious Charge)

10 — Crowe may use ONE stance in normal close combat and BOTH stances when in a challenge

11 — All GK vehicles that have/can take Assault Cannons lose them, but get Psycannons in their place (replace for free or, if an upgrade, same cost as the old Assault Cannon upgrade)

12 — All GK vehicles that have/can take Heavy Flamers lose them, but get Incinerators in their place (replace for free or, if an upgrade, same cost as the old Heavy Flamer upgrade)

13 — GK Teleporter Homers remove DS scatter for friendly Grey Knight Strike Squads, Nemesis Dreadknights, Nemesis Dreadmages, and any unit with a Personal Teleporter, as well as any friendly units in Terminator armor

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NEW FOC

HQ
-Grandmaster
-Brother-Captain
-Librarian
-Brotherhood Champion
-Techmarine
-Grandmaster Mordrak
-Brother-Captain Stern
-Chief Librarian Verithar
-Castellan Crowe

TROOPS
-GK Terminators (Justicar Thrawn)
-GK Strike Squad

ELITES
-GK Paladin Squad
-GK Purifier Squad
-Nemesis Dreadmage
-Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought Squadron

FAST ATTACK
-GK Interceptor Squad
-Stormraven Gunship

-Stormshadow Dropship
-Xiphon Interceptor

-Rhino

-Razorback

HEAVY SUPPORT
-GK Purgation Squad
-Nemesis Dreadknight
-Land Raider
-Land Raider Crusader
-Land Raider Redeemer

LORD OF WAR
-Lord Kaldor Draigo
-Nemesis Dreadknight Furion

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NEW UNITS
***Grand Master Mordrak — Infantry, Character, Unique — (HQ choice) — 210 points
WS6 BS5 S4 T4 W4 I5 A4 Ld10 Sv2+/4++
*WL Trait: First to the Fray

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-Teleporter Homer
-Iron Halo
-SB
-Ghost Hammer — MCed Nemesis Daemonhammer that forces enemies who suffer wounds from it to re-roll successful Invulnerable Saves

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-IC
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(2)
-Purity of Spirit
-Eternal Warrior
-Ghostly Bodyguard — At the end of each phase, for each unsaved wound that Mordrak suffers, one “Ghost Paladin” (with baseline Paladin Wargear/Rules/Stats and the Shrouded USR) immediately joins Mordrak (these Paladins count as Wargear, just like Space Wolf Fenrisian Wolves, so Mordrak may still join other units due to being an IC). If Mordrak is slain, then all Ghost Paladins summoned in this manner immediately are removed as casualties as well.

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***Chief Librarian Verithar — Infantry, Character, Unique — (HQ choice) — 175 points
WS5 BS4 S4 T4 W3 I4 A3 Ld10 Sv2+/5++
*WL Trait: Lore Master

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-SB
-MCed Nemesis Warding Stave
-Hood of Malcador — Psychic Hood that allows Verithar to harness WCs on a 3+ for casting Powers and a 5+ for Denying the Witch

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-IC
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(3)
-Purity of Spirit
-Master of the Librarium — Verithar may choose one of his powers instead of rolling for it before the beginning of each game.

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***Justicar Thrawn — Infantry, Character, Unique — (Upgrade option for a single GK Terminator Justicar) — 40 points
WS5 BS4 S4 T4 W2 I4 A3 Ld10 Sv2+/5++
*WL Trait: Locus of Power

*Wargear:
-TDA
-Frag/Krak/Psykout Grenades
-SB
-Halberd of Justice — NF Halberd with Swiftstrike rule (grants bearer +2 Initiative in close combat)

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-PE (Daemons)
-Brotherhood of Psykers
-Purity of Spirit
-The Undying Knight — Thrawn has FNP(2+). Additionally, Instant Death attacks directed against Thrawn are treated as normal attacks (i.e. they cannot remove all his wounds at once, they do not cancel out FNP, etc.).

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***Nemesis Dreadknight Furion — Gargantuan Creature, Character, Unique — (LOW choice) — 350 points
WS6 BS5 S6 T6 W6 I5 A5 Ld10 Sv2+/4++
*WL Trait: Unyielding Anvil

*Wargear:
-Personal Teleporter
-2 x Gatling Psilencers
-Emperor’s Justice — SD AP1 Nemesis Greatsword

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-Deep Strike
-PE (Daemons)
-PML(2) — Always knows Banishment, Sanctuary, Vortex of Doom powers
-Enhanced Force Shielding — Gives 4++ save

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***Nemesis Dreadmage — Monstrous Creature, Character — (Elite choice) — 170 points
WS4 BS4 S6 T6 W3 I4 A2 Ld10 Sv2+/5++

*Wargear:
-Truesilver Gauntlet — S: User AP-, Warpbane (causes ID to any Psykers and Daemons)

-Aegis Great Shield — Gives Dreadmage a 5++ save and gives the Dreadmage and all friendly GK units within 12″ re-rolls to any Deny the Witch Rolls
-May take a Personal Teleporter for +30 points

*Special Rules:
-The Aegis
-ATSKNF
-Deep Strike
-PE (Daemons)
-Purity of Spirit
-PML(3) — Always knows the “Warp Quake” (WC2 malediction that causes enemy units DSing within 18″ to scatter 4D6″ and re-roll any “Hit” results), the “Summoning” (WC1 blessing that causes one friendly non-vehicle units in reserve with The Aegis rule to instantly Deep Strike onto the table within 12″ of the Dreadmage with no scatter), and “Warp Rift” (WC3 witchfire power that is S: D AP1 Template) powers.

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***Xiphon Interceptor — Vehicle, Flyer — (Fast Attack choice) — 150 points
BS4 AV11/11/11 HP 3

*Wargear:
-2 x TLed Lascannons (may replace with 2 x Heavy Psycannons for +20 Points)
-Xiphon Rotary Missile Launcher — 60″ S8 AP2 Heavy 2, Twin-Linked, Cluster Warhead (if it causes a Penetrating Hit, then it removes D3 HPs instead of 1 HP), Terminal Tracking (target must re-roll successful Jink saves)
-Armoured Ceramite

*Special Rules:
-Deep Strike
-Supersonic
-Agile — Add +1 to Jink Saves

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***Stormspectre Dropship — Vehicle, Flyer, Hover, Transport — (Fast Attack choice) — 160 points

BS4 AV12/12/12 HP3

*Wargear:

-2 x Psystrike Missiles (48″ S6 AP4, Large Blast, One Use, Psyshock)

-Ceramite Plating

-Extra Armor

-Locator Beacon

-Shrouding Generators — Grants Shrouded rule to Stormspectre

*Special Rules:

-Transport — Can carry 20 models and/or up to 2 Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts

-Assault Vehicle

-Skies of Fury

-Deep Strike

-Precision Arrival — Stormspectres may always choose to roll to enter from reserves starting turn 1, even if they are part of a detachment that does not normally allow this. If they do not choose this option, then they roll to enter from reserves normally starting turn 2. If they choose to arrive via Deep Strike, they only scatter D6″.

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WL TRAITS:
1 – Daemon-slayer — WL and all friendly GK units within 12″ gain Hatred (Daemons) and harness WCs for Banishment on a 2+ (Draigo has this)
2 – Hammer of Righteousness — WL and his unit have Hammer of Wrath and Fleet (Crowe has this)
3 – Unyielding Anvil — WL and all friendly GK units within 12″ gain Stubborn and Counterattack (Stern and Furion have this)
4 – First to the Fray — WL and his unit automatically pass their reserve rolls and scatter D6 less inches than normal if they DS (Mordrak has this)
5 – Lore Master — WL gains +1 PML and must roll for one more power on the Sanctic table. This does not affect Psychic Focus (Verithar has this)
6 – Locus of Power — WL and his unit harness WCs to activate Force power on a 2+ and, if the Force Power is activated, the WL gains Shred for his melee attacks (Thrawn has this)

RELICS
1 – Curaiss of Sacrifice — TDA that grants +1T and FNP(4+)
2 – Fury of Deimos — SB that is S4 AP5 Assault 3, Purge — On 6+ to hit, automatically inflicts an AP2 wound, regardless of toughness, and is a Precision Shot
3 – Soul Glaive — NF Halberd with AP2, Master-crafted
4 – Domina Liber Daemonica — (Librarian only) Reroll one failed Psychic test per turn
5 – Bone Shard of Solor — Bearer must re-roll failed Invul saves. If bearer is within 12″ of a model with the Daemon USR, then he also gains +1 to his Invul save (to a max of 2++)
6 – Nemesis Banner — All friendly GK units within 12″ gain Fearless and +1A

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NEMESIS STRIKE FORCE DETACHMENT
-Has 1-2 Core, 0-3 HQ, and 1-10 Auxiliary options
-Grey Knight Commander — If WL is in this detachment, he may reroll his WL trait
-Rites of Teleportation — May roll for units in DS reserve starting turn 1. Units from this detachment may run/shoot or shoot/run on the turn they DS.
-Might of the Brotherhood — If you take two Demi-Brotherhoods, one with a Brother-Captain and one with a Brotherhood Champion, then you have a full Brotherhood and all units in the Brotherhood only scatter D6″ when deep striking and harness WCs for Hammerhand on a 3+.

DEMI-BROTHERHOOD (CORE)
-1 Brother-Captain (or Stern) or Brotherhood Champion, 0-1 Dread/VD squadron, 3 Strike Squads or GK Terminator squads, 1-2 Interceptor squads or Purgation squads, 0-1 Nemesis Dreadknight
-Objective Secured
-Psybolts — The SBs, Psilencers, and Gatling Psilencers on units from this formation gain the Shred USR

COUNCIL OF THE GRANDMASTER (HQ)
-1 Grand Master (or Mordrak), 0-1 Brother-Captain (or Stern), 0-1 Brotherhood Champion (or Crowe), 0-1 Librarian (or Verithar), 0-1 Techmarine
-Grand Strategy — May select 3 friendly GK units before the game begins. All three units gain either Scout, Objective Secured, or Preferred Enemy (must all get the same rule)

LORDS OF JUSTICE (HQ)
-1 Supreme Grand Master Draigo or Nemesis Dreadknight Furion

CONCLAVE OF SANCTITY (HQ)
-2-4 Librarians (may replace one Librarian with Chief Librarian Verithar)
-Each Psyker from this formation may re-roll ONE result when rolling for powers and may harness WCs for any Sanctic powers on a 2+ if within 12″ of another Librarian from this formation

CHAMPIONS OF TITAN (AUX)
-1 Grand Master (or Mordrak/Draigo), 1-2 squads of Paladins, 0-2 Nemesis Dreadknights or Nemesis Dreadmages (may replace one of these with Nemesis Dreadknight Furion)
-Heroes of Legend — All units in this formation gain Eternal Warrior
-Uncanny Precision — Units from this formation may re-roll the scatter dice if they arrive by Deep Strike

ORDER OF PURITY (AUX)
-Castellan Crowe, 2-4 Purifier Squads
-Azure Flame — Cleansing Flame cast by units from this formation cause 6 +D6 hits (instead of the normal 2D6 hits)
-Implacable Purity — All units in this formation gain Adamantium Will and Zealot as long as Crowe is alive

ANCIENTS OF TITAN (AUX)
-1 Dreadnought/Venerable Dreadnought Squadron, 1 Techmarine
-Adepts of Mars — Techmarine gains +2 to his Blessing of the Omnissiah rolls when attempting to repair a Dreadnought from this formation
-Machine Fervor — The Techmarine from this formation may grant one of the following rules to the Dreadnought unit from this formation, as long as it is within 12″ of him, at the beginning of each friendly Movement Phase until the beginning of the next friendly turn: Interceptor, Skyfire, Fleet, Rampage, or IWND.

WARPGATE INTERDICTION FORCE (AUX)
-1-3 Interceptor Squads, 0-2 Nemesis Dreadmages (Dreadmages must take the Personal Teleporter upgrade)
-Storm from the Skies — Units from this formation may charge on the same turn they arrive by DS, but they may only charge D6″
-Rites of Interdiction — As long as at least one Interceptor Squad from this formation is still alive and present on the battlefield, enemy forces suffer -1 to all their Reserve rolls. Range of the Warp Quake power is increased by 6″ for the Dreadmages from this formation.

BRIMSTONE STRIKE GROUP (AUX)
-1-2 Purgation Squads, 1-2 Stormraven (Purgation squads must start the game in a Stormraven; must take equal number of Purgation Squads and Storm Ravens)
-Vanguard Arrival — Stormravens from this formation gain Deep Strike. All units in this formation must start in Reserve and all units from this formation come in together on a single successful Reserve roll
-Storm of Retribution — Purgation squads from this formation gain the Relentless USR any turn they disembark from a Stormraven from this formation

WAYFINDER COHORT (AUX)
-1 Brother-Captain (must be in Artificer Armour and cannot take a Personal Teleporter), 2-4 Strike Squads (Justicars must take Teleporter Homers)
-Wayfinders — Units from this formation have Infiltrate and Acute Senses
-Cloak of Secrecy — Brother-Captain from this formation always has The Shrouding power automatically (he does not roll for any other powers)

EMPERORS JUDGEMENT STRIKE GROUP (AUX)
-1-3 Land Raiders (any type), 1-3 GK Terminator squads
-Blessed Artifacts — Land Raiders of any type from this formation only have their armor reduced to AV13 by Lance weapons and melta weapons only gain +D3 to their penetration rolls when used against vehicles from this formation.
-Relentless Assault — GK Terminators from this formation gain Furious Charge on the turn they disembark from a vehicle from this formation

SIGILITE ATTACK WING (AUX)
-1-3 Xiphon Fighters
-Abomination Slayers — All Xiphons in this formation have +1BS when shooting at a Monstrous Creature, Flying Monstrous Creature, Gargantuan Creature, or Flying Gargantuan Creature
-Monster Hunter USR

SPEARHEAD OF MALCADOR (AUX)

-1 Stormraven Gunship or Stormspectre Dropship

Waaaghing with the Great Waaagh!-band

,The Waaagh! Ghazghkull supplement for Orks provides multiple additional Relics, formations, and options to the Ork armies. It also provides an Ork “uber-detachment” similar to the Necron Decurion or Space Marine Gladius Strike Force… the “Great Waaagh!-band” detachment.

This detachment provides several additional rules, including changes to the Mob Rule table, a requirement to accept challenges and bonuses if you win them, and Hammer of Wrath for any units with 10 or more models that successfully charges. Most importantly, it allows a Warlord from this detachment to call a Waaagh! every single turn, EVEN THE FIRST ONE!

In terms of a “tax,” the Great Waaagh!-band requires one or more CORE choices, 1-10 AUXILIARY choices, and 1 HQ choice per CORE choice. The CORE choices both require a significant points investment, but are decent, the HQ choices range from small/flexible (Oddboyz) to large/powerful (Council of the Waaagh!),and the Auxiliary choice are generally quite versatile, allowing you to take several effective formations or customize your army with multiple specialist units like Tankbustas, Stormboyz, Deffkoptas, Battlewagons, Mek Gunz, etc. etc.

So, how do you maximize the special rules of this detachment, namely the ability to declare a Waaagh! every single game turn? Here are some of the key ideas I have right out the gate:

1 – Mechanized Ork Boyz — If you take the Waaagh-band CORE choice, then you have to take at least 6 squads of Boyz and 1 unit of Nobz/Meganobz. Mount them all in Trukks with Boarding Planks, declare a Waaagh! turn 1, then move up 6″, disembark 6″, run D6″, and finally charge 2D6+2″ (with the ability to re-roll one charge dice, thanks to “Ere we go)… that translates into an average charge threat radius of 23-24″ on turn 1, giving you multiple opportunities to charge any opponents deployed on the edge of their DZ in the first game turn (or at least the second, if they are deployed deep in the DZ). This of course is exactly where Orks want to be, especially when combined with potent AUXILIARY choices like Mek Gunz for efficient supporting fire, Gazghkull’s Bully Boys for Fearless WS5 Meganobz with potent CC hitting power, or lots of cheap Gretchin to take objectives all game long.

2 – Stormboyz — With the ability to declare a Waaagh! turn 1, Stormboyz can move 12″, run another 2D6″, and finally charge 2D6″ more, for an average charge threat radius of 26” on turn 1. While not the most powerful CC units by themselves, the Stormboyz can tie up enemy units until slower elements of the Ork army (like Meganobz) can catch up and lay the smack down in assault.

3 – Ork Flyerz — Since all three of the have the Waaagh! Plane rule, allowing them to fire +1 shot with any Assault type weapons when a Waaagh! is declared, then they all benefit significantly from being able to call a Waaagh! every single game turn. This is especially true of Dakka Jets, which can put out 12 x S6 AP4 shots with their TLed Supa Shootas a turn (combined with BS3 via Strafing Run and the Flyboss upgrade and you are averaging 9 x S6 AP4 hits a turn, which can do some serious damage against light vehicles and infantry, just ask Eldar Jetbikes with Scatter lasers!).

4 – Ghazghkull himself — If you take the big ole War Boss (the only way to do so is via the clunky Council of the Waaagh!, unfortunately) as your Warlord, then you can pile on benefits from being able to declare a Waaagh! every turn. First off, this means that Ghazghkull and his unit can ignore their Slow and Purposeful and still run/charge when Waaaghing, which means you can potentially get him, his S10 AP2 attacks, and his unit into combat as early as TURN 1 if they ride in a Battlewagon with Boarding Plank to start the game. Second, Ghazghkull’s gains a 2++ save, making him RIDICULOUSLY tough to kill, as he then has T5, 4W, Eternal Warrior, FNP (thanks to the Mad Dok), and 2++ save to boot! Finally, with Ghazghkull as your WL and the ability to declare a Waaagh! every game turn, you basically make your entire army Fearless the entire game, as long as Ghazghkull is still alive… this is AMAZING for Orks, as low leadership/Mob Rule is one of their biggest “built-in” weaknesses and this completely negates it (i.e. even your humble Boyz squads will never run and fight to the death against enemy Wraithknights, making them very useful as tarpit units and/or objective seizers).

As you can see, there are multiple ways to leverage the “Great Waaagh!-band” detachment special rules (probably several I haven’t thought of to mention here) and, while the CORE and HQ choices of the detachment can be somewhat restrictive, I think a savvy Ork War Boss can craft a pretty competitive army using these rules.

Grey Knights with “Angels of Death” powers for each Unit Type

I was thinking about it and one way to bring Grey Knights back into “competitive” form is to, in addition to their current rules/psychic powers (like Hammerhand and Banishment, etc.), give each unit one of the new Psychic Powers from the Angels of Death supplement.

Here is how I would do it and a little explanation of why for each unit (NOTE: Librarians would not get a specific power, but would still have access to roll on any of the Disciplines, while Grand Masters/Brother-Captains would lose their ability to “roll” for a power and just get the ones below):

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1 – Grand Master/Brother-Captain/Draigo/Stern — Fists of Lightning

*RATIONALE: While all these models already have solid uses in the codex, giving them the ability to increase their Strength/Attacks by +1 and generate more “chain” attacks would really kick them up in terms of close combat prowess, reflecting both the fluff and improving their gameplay usefulness across the board.

2 – Brotherhood Champion/Crowe — Might of Heroes

*RATIONALE: Nothing says “I am THE champion one-on-one fighter” like buffing Strength, Toughness, Attacks, and Initiative by +2 for a whole turn. Game-wise, this would really make the BHC and Crowe individual models to be feared, especially in a challenge, with the potential for VERY high initiative, multiple S8 attacks.

3 – GK Techmarine — Warpmetal Armor

*RATIONALE: Right now, the Techmarine is a pretty mediocre HQ choice, despite being cheaper than most GK options. Warpmetal Armor is, in my opinion, one of the top useful powers out there as it can buff either vehicles or troops significantly (i.e. AV15 Land Raiders, T5 Paladins, T7 Dreadknights, etc.). If the Techmarine had access to guaranteed Warpmetal Armor, then he would go from a mediocre choice to an exceptionally versatile and useful one.

4 – GK Terminators — Electropulse

*RATIONALE: Terminators are already one of the better options in the codex and so do not need much buffing. One thing they (and GKs as a whole) do lack is the ability to deal with mass mechanized armies (like SM Battle Companies or Mechdar) outside of close combat. Combined with their ability to begin Deep Striking turn 1 in the Nemesis Strike Force, Electropulse gives them a solid 9″ nova power than can strip HPs off multiple enemy vehicles in a single turn, thus making GK Terminators slightly more versatile in the overall game.

5 – GK Strike Squads — Null Zone

*RATIONALE: Currently considered one of the most inferior units in the army, especially compared to Terminators, giving Strike Squads guaranteed access to Null Zone would make them a VERY useful support choice for the rest of the GK army (or even allies, for that matter). Being able to reduce a selected enemy unit’s Invul save by -2 is tremendous, especially if used in conjunction with superior GK melee and Psychic capabilities and would really give players a reason to include Strike Squads in their army lists.

6 – Paladins — Veil of Time

*RATIONALE: Another top notch power, Veil of Time helps the Paladins themselves be much more survivable (which they need, considering their high points costs) and also would accurately reflect their fluffy role as “body guards” for attached Grey Knight ICs. Against non-AP2/1 weapons, Veil of Time would make Paladins almost invincible and even against Grav/Plasma/melta etc. being able to re-roll their 5++ saves would give them a fighting chance to survive and contribute to the army’s overall mission.

7 – Purifiers — Psychic Fortress

*RATIONALE: Already a strong unit, pound for pound, Purifiers don’t need an uber additional power to make them worth taking, but a moderate defensive buff like that provided by Psychic Fortress make them a force multiplier for the rest of the army, especially when fighting Psychic heavy opponents like Chaos Daemons, Eldar, SM Librarius Conclaves, etc. Fluff-wise, this power would represent the strengthening of the Purifier’s comrades against the horrors of the Warp via their sheer purifying prescence.

8 – GK Dreadnoughts — Electroshield

*RATIONALE: Right now very over-priced and underperforming compared to Dreadnoughts from other armies, by giving GK Dreads the ability to get a 3++ save (or even a 2++ save, if they successfully case Electroshield AND Sanctuary), this would more than justify their higher points cost and make them on par with the Space Wolf Great Axe/Blizzard Shield Dreads in terms of raw survivability. In turn, this would give GK players a reason to actually take them since they can provide solid fire support/melee support and absorb A TON of damage away from other parts of the army, playing basically a “tank” role for other GK units.

9 – GK Interceptors — Electrodisplacement

*RATIONALE: Already a very decent unit, this would give Interceptors even more capacity to use their amazing mobility, since they can DS, Shunt, or normal “jump pack move” into position, then “switch” with a friendly unit and get that unit where it needs to be for shooting/psychic powers/combat. Given that GKs lack Drop Pods, I think would be a great role for Interceptors and would also enhance their fluffy status as the mobile “skirmishers” of the GK Chapter that set conditions to bring in the rest of the strike force.

10 – GK Purgation Squad — Phase Form

*RATIONALE: Very similar to, but actually better than, the old Astral Aim power that Purgators used to have, guaranteed Phase Form would make this mediocre unit a very competitive choice for a GK commander, whether they use it on themselves to give their Psycannons/Psilencers Ignore Cover and the ability to shoot without LOS or they use it to buff friendly units to do the same thing with their shooting. Overall, I think this power would make Purgators significantly more useful, both individually and to the army as a whole, and would result in many players including at least one or two squads of them (unlike now, where basically no one takes them).

11 – Nemesis Dreadknights — Landquake

*RATIONALE: Since NDKs are easily the best unit in the codex already, they really do not need a buff in terms of Psychic powers. That said, Landquake provides a small little boost to their versatility, enabling them to force Difficult Terrain tests and prevent key types of units (i.e. Wulfen, Slaanesh Daemons, Eldar Aspect Warriors, etc.) from being able to run within a very large 18″ bubble. This means they can do more than just be the shooting/combat “beat stick” for Grey Knights, but also work to supplement the synergy of the entire army as a whole (or, rather, “de-synergize” the enemy’s army).

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So, those are my thoughts on adding powers from the Angels of Death supplement to each GK unit (non-Walker vehicles not included)… I think it would make them much more competitive, without changing anything else, and would also keep them on “theme” as a small, elite army that wins through skilled play, psychic domination, and close combat prowess.

Thoughts?

Blackmanes + Skyhammer

This may seem like an obvious one, but based on the new rules for Ragnar’s Blackmanes and the already outstanding rules for the Skyhammer Annihilation Force, I think you can have a really potent Drop Pod army as follows:

–BLACKMANE GREATPACK–

*Ragnar (rides with Grey Hunters)

*5 man TDAWG Pack (combi-Meltas)

*4 x 5 man Blood Claw Packs (Flamer, Drop Pod)

*1 x 5 man Grey Hunter Pack (Meltagun, Wolf Banner, Drop Pod)

*3 x Land Speeders (Dual Heavy Bolter)

*1 x 5 man Long Fang Pack (4 x ML, Drop Pod)

–Allied ULTRAMARINE SKYHAMMER ANNHILATION FORCE–

*2 x 5 man ASM Squads (Jump Packs, dual Flamers, MB)

*2 x 5 man Devastator Squads (4 x Grav Cannon/Amps, Drop Pod)

–Allied RAVEN GUARD 10TH COMPANY TASK FORCE–

*2 x 3 man Scout Biker Squads (Locator Beacon, MB)

*1 x 5 man Scout (Camo Cloaks, Sniper Rifles)

So, total, that is 8 Drop Pods (Long Fang pod is empty, but can be used to grab objectives or block LOS), all coming in automatically turn 1. Also, all Blackmane units in this formation are Fearless and have FNP(6+) that first turn, plus they have Counterattack, the Blood Claws get re-rolls to Hit as long as Ragnar is alive, and any units within 6″ of the Wolf Banner get +1A.

That same turn, this battle group can put out 6 Melta shots, 8 Flamer Templates, 40 Grav-Cannon/Amp shots, 4 Krak/Frag Missiles, and 18 Heavy Bolter shots (remember, UM Skyhammer can use Devastator doctrine to twin-link all their Grav Cannon shots turn 1)

Scout Snipers, Land Speeders, and Long Fangs can sit back in cover and provide long-range fire support while RG Scout Bikers use their Locator Beacons to bring in all the Drop Pods precisely between their Infiltrate and Scout abilities (remember, even if you go second, they have a 2+ Jink save because of their first turn access to Shrouding).

Defeating Wulfen/Thunderwolves

I recently played a 2000 point game with what I consider a competitive Ultramarine/allied Astra Militarum list featuring Skyhammer Annihilation Force with Grav and Multi-meltas, Grav Centurions in a Drop Pod, dual Stormravens, and AM Mech Vets plus Wyverns.

I played against a Space Wolves player who ran the following:

COMPANY OF THE GREAT WOLF

-Wolf Lord on TWC with RA/SS/PF

-Iron Priest on TWC

-2 x Blizzard Shield/Great Axe Venerable Dreads

-Murder Fang in a Dreadnought Drop Pod

-Large TWC Pack with Storm Shields on everyone

WYRDSTORM BROTHERHOOD

-3 x Rune Priests on Bikes with PML(2) (and Helm of Durfast on one of them)

WULFEN MURDERPACK

-2 x Wulfen Packs, each with two TH/SS models, two dual Frost Claw models, and Pack Leader with Frost Claws

Despite a pretty potent alpha strike with my Centurions/Skyhammer Devastators that took out a Wulfen Pack, Murderfang, and a decent “bite” out of his TWC/Rune Priest death star, I ended up being defeated pretty solidly, with the remaining TWC and Wulfen munching through my Grav units, the Wyrdstorm Brotherhood taking out my Wyverns with “The Living Storm” witchfire power, and his Blizzshield Dreads guarding the Biker Rune Priest who had seized the Relic.

Since I thought I had a pretty strong list, this has made me really step back and look at things. Part of the problem could be my own game-play/generalship, but I have also re-worked my army to make it more potent against this kind of opponent and (hopefully), better as a general 2000 points “all-comers” list.

Here is my latest iteration:

SKYHAMMER ANNIHILATION FORCE (Ultramarines)

-2 x Assault Squads with Jump Packs (bare bones objective seizer/skirmisher “speed bumps”)

-Devastator Squad (1) with Drop Pod, 4 x Grav Cannon, 10 models total (can combat squad for flexibility, either splitting the Grav shooting or having all Grav on one target and Bolters on other for suppressive effects)

-Devastator Squad (2) with Drop Pod, 4 x Plasma Cannon, 5 models total (general fire support than can be used against light and heavy infantry, plus light vehicles in a pinch)

COMBINED ARMS DETACHMENT (Ultramarines)

-Tigurius (flexible Psychic support, based on who I am facing; rides with one Centurion squad generally in a Drop Pod; can also use Storm of Fire WL Trait to hand out Rending to a friendly unit)

-2 x Scout Sniper Squads (Objective Camping and light fire support)

-Storm Talon with CML (solid fire support and, in a pinch, shooting against enemy flyers/FMC)

-Fast Attack Drop Pod (ride for Centurions)

-Centurion Squad with Grav Cannon/Amps and Hurricane Bolters (more Grav and Bolter support)

-Battery of Rapier Quad Mortars with three Guns (lots of anti-horde, anti-vehicle, and anti-Wulfen shooting at either S5 AP5 Small Blasts or S8 AP4 Sunder shots)

ALLIED DETACHMENT (White Scars)

-Librarians with PML(2) and Hunter’s Eye Relic (rides with Centurions or joins Quad Mortars to provide TLing via Prescience and Ignore Cover via Hunter’s Eye, plus 2 more WCs for my force)

-Scout Squad with BP/CCW and Heavy Bolter Land Speeder Storm as a DT (some more anti-infantry capacity, plus very rapid Objective Secured objective grabber units)

-Fast Attack Drop Pod (second wave of Centurions ride in this, or, in a pinch, Scouts can ride this to get to a require objective)

-Centurion Squad with Grav Cannon/Amps and Hurricane Bolters (even MORE Grav and Bolter support! 😉 )

Basically, the idea of this force is to bring LOTS of Grav so I can kill Wulfen/TWC, use the Quad Mortars and Storm Talon to help against light infantry/light vehicles spam, use the Tigurius/WS Librarian to buff units as required, and use the Scouts/ASM to grab and hold objectives, as required.

The Plasma Devastators provide “generalist” support against a wide-variety of targets and can even attach the WS Librarian (at the cost of losing their Chapter Tactics, of course) after they arrive to make their S7 AP2 Blasts ignore cover, thanks to the criminally under-costed Hunter’s Eye relic! Finally, the Drop Pods ensure I can basically null-deploy and react to my opponent’s moves accordingly, or at least keep my forces safe until they can deliver their initial strike.

So, those are my current ideas, but I would love to hear from you all… any ideas on how to take on Wulfen/TWC mix and still maintain a strong all-comer’s list? What has been your experiences facing a force like this? Thoughts and ideas are quite welcome! 😉

 

Belial: Master of the Deep Strike

So, reviewing the rules of Belial, he has all the standard Deathwing rules (Fearless, Hatred (CSM), Grim Resolve), plus some bonuses to fighting in challenges and the option to use a Relic Sword (Sword of Silence — S: User  AP3  Fleshbane, Master-crafted)

What really stands out about him, though, is the Tactical Precision rule which states “Belial and his unit do not scatter when arriving by Deep Strike.”

As you can see from the rule, there is no restriction on what unit Belial is joined to, and thus no restriction on what friendly units can benefit from his “no scatter” deep strike ability.

This opens up numerous tactical possibilities across all armies that can ally with Dark Angels as Battle Brothers, specifically all the Imperium codices/supplements. Below is a list of allied units/formations that could benefit from having Belial attached and conferring his “Tactical Precision” rule when they come in via Deep Strike:

(1) – Ultramarines Strike Force Ultra — Attach Belial and Marneus Calgar to one of the 10 man Tactical Terminators squads equipped with dual Heavy Flamers, then Deep Strike in with no scatter and release 4 Flamer templates and 24 Storm Bolter shots (Strike Force Ultra allows the formation add one more shot to all weapons when the unit arrives by DS), all with Rending (thanks to Calgar using the Storm of Fire WL Trait)… even Wraithknights will have trouble absorbing that kind of firepower and “normal” infantry will just evaporate… plus you will have a massive Terminator squad right where you want it in the enemy’s face turn 1, thanks to no scatter DS.

(2) – Deathwing Knights and attached Brother-Captain Stern — While they cannot put out any shooting the turn they come in, they are super tough with the potential for 2++ saves and T5 all around, thanks to Sanctuary from Stern and the Fortress of Shields rule. They should be able to absorb all kinds of enemy shooting (even Grav weapons, with a 2++ save), and then charge turn 2, using Hammerhand from Stern to strike with WS5 in either “Normal mode” S8 AP3 I4 or “Smite mode” S10 AP2 I4 (but only one attack per model), which will bring down just about anything they encounter.

(3) – Wolf Guard Terminators with Combi-meltas and attached TDA Rune Priest — The ability to land EXACTLY where you want is invaluable for this combo, as it means you can put the WG Terminators precisely in melta range of whatever high-value target you want to bring down (i.e. Imperial Knight, Monstrous/Gargantuan Creatures, AV14 vehicles, Grav Cannon Centurions, etc.). You then use the Rune Priest to cast Prescience on the Terminators, twin-linking their meltas (and making them better in assault if they are charged in the next turn) for even more reliable destruction.

(4) – GK Paladins with 4 x Special Weapons — Being able to put a squad of Paladins exactly where you want them provides exceptional flexibility and offensive capacity, whether you equip them with four Incinerators and “burninate” down a unit with multiple S6 AP4 templates or four Psycannons and cut loose with 16 x S7 AP4 Rending shots into a vehicle squadron’s rear armor. On top of this, like with Strike Force Ultra, DW Knights, and WG Terminators, you also have a dangerous CC unit right on the enemy’s doorstep with no risk of scatter.

5 – GK Terminators/Strike Squads/Interceptors with dual Incinerators — A cheaper, more “economy” version of the Paladin build above, this still is a viable battle group that can put multiple Incinerator templates and lots of SB fire right where you need it, plus provide lots of threat from force weapons in the next turn, with Belial attaching to the squad and bringing them in precisely.

6 – Sanguinary Guard with multiple Inferno Pistols and JP Sanguinary Priest — A combo that is perhaps not very conventional, this unit benefits greatly from being able to get all of its Inferno Pistols within “3” melta range because of Belial’s DS accuracy and then, in subsequent turns, use its superior 2+ armor and 12″ Jump Pack moves to continue to deal significant damage to the enemy lines.

7 – JP Death Company with attached Astorath — Similar to the Sanguinary Guard, you can add Inferno/Plasma pistols or Hand Flamers to taste, but the real benefit is having up to 15 bloodthirsty Death Company models on your opponent’s doorstep, ready to charge with 5A per model and re-rolls to Hit/to Wound, thanks to Astorath’s buffs.

8 – JP Vanguard Vets gun slinging massed Grav Pistols and attached JP Librarian — A more mobile alternative to Grav Centurions or Grav Bikers, you can potentially have up to 20 Grav shots at 12″ with this battle group, all twin-linked via Prescience from the attached Librarian.

9 – Blood Angel JP Assault Squad with dual Special Weapons and dual pistols on Sgt — With only 5 members, this squad can pack quite a bunch of specialized firepower, be it two flamers and two hand flamers <or> two meltas and two inferno pistols <or> two plasma guns and two plasma pistols/Grav pistols. Any way you do it, Belial can bring this squad in precisely and deliver all the firepower exactly where it needs to be.

10 – Militarum Tempestus Command Squad with 4 x Special Weapons — You have multiple options here, including Flamers, Grenade Launcher, Meltaguns, HS Volley-guns, and Plasma Guns (plus a Plasma Pistol for the Tempestor Prime, if you want it), all of which combine well with Orders that either Twin-Link the shooting or give the squad Preferred Enemy. Add in the fact that the squad has Move through Cover and you have Belial Deep Strike them into terrain with no scatter and no risk of Dangerous Terrain tests, significantly improving their survivability as they deliver all that shooting exactly where you need it.

11 – Sisters of Battle Seraphim with 4 x Inferno Pistols/Hand Flamers and attached Celestine — Another great utility unit that can be configured for clearing hordes (Hand Flamers/BPs and Celestine’s Heavy Flamer) or bringing down vehicles/MCs (Inferno Pistols). On top of this, the whole unit has Hit and Run and, between Belial and Celestine, is actually quite a dangerous close combat threat in subsequent turns.

12 – Cult Mechanicus “Holy Requisitioner” formation — A bit of an unusual battle group here, this formation consists of a Tech-Priest Dominus and 2-3 Kataphron Breacher squads and gives them all the ability to Deep Strike. Additionally, they all come in on a single Reserve Roll (which can be re-rolled if desired) and the Breachers do not scatter if they DS within 6″ of the Tech-Priest Dominus. Now, the Tech-Priest can “organically” deep strike with no scatter, provided he lands within 6″ of an Objective, but attaching Belial to him means he has the option to deep strike ANYWHERE, objective or not, and then bring in the Breachers around him with no scatter, making for a much more flexible battle group. Once they arrive, the Breacher can put out significant anti-vehicle firepower with Heavy Arc Rifles (i.e. 2 shot Haywire weapons) or anti-MC/TEQ shooting with Torsion Cannons (S8 AP1 shots that inflict D3 wounds for each unsaved wound or D3 HPs lost for each penetrating hit). Also, while not exceptional, the Breachers have decent close combat capabilities for future turns, especially if they take the Hydraulic Claw upgrade for S10 AP2 attacks.