Wrath of Magnus: Scarab Occult Terminators and Psychic Blessings

While it looks like several of the formations that include Scarab Occult Terminators will be very expensive points-wise (and so difficult to build into a normal CSM army), it looks like you will be able to take this unit as part of a normal Thousand Sons CAD, which enables them to benefit from the Thousand Sons special rules (basically, Chapter Tactics for Thousand Sons), in particular the Blessings of Tzeentch rule, which increases their Invul Save by +1 if they have a blessing cast on them and have VOTLW rule (which they get for free, also thanks to Thousand Sons special rules).

This means that, with a blessing cast on them, Scarab Occult Terminators become 2+/3++ Terminators that also have Power Swords, TLed AP3 Bolters, and the option to add a Hellfyre Missile Rack (24″ S8 AP3 Heavy 2) for every 5 models and either a Heavy Warp Flamer (S5 AP3 Template) or a Soulreaper Cannon (24″ S5 AP3 Heavy4 Rending) for every 5 models (so a 10 man squad could have a total of 4 Heavy Weapons). In essence, you are getting the best of both Tactical Terminators (with lots more AP3 shooting) and Assault Terminators (minus AP2 close combat weapons) in a single package. Finally, the Scarab Occult Terminators come with a PML(2) Sorcerer as their squad leader “base,” which gives them lots of options for how to get those blessings off.

Whether using their own “organic” Sorcerer or an attached Thousand Sons IC (like Ahriman), I think these are some of the best Blessing Psychic Powers to use in conjunction with them:

[1] Warp Fate (Sinistrum) — THIS is the single power that you want to roll above everything else. First of all, it is a Blessing, so if cast successfully it brings the Scarab Occult Terminators up to a 3++ save. Secondly, while it is WC2 (Thousand Sons bonuses against Perils of the Warp will help with this), it allows the unit to re-rolls ALL of its saves… Armor, Cover, and Invul saves included. That means that the Scarab Occult Terminators will have a re-rollable 2+ save against all non-AP2/1 attacks and a re-rollable 3++ against any of the attacks that ignore their Terminator armor save. This makes them almost invincible against most types of attacks and even dedicated “terminator killers,” like Grav Cannons/Amps, would take an average of 13 shots to kill a single Scarab Occult Terminator.

[2] Earthly Anathema (Geomortis) — Granting Ignore Cover (and no LOS restrictions) to a unit with tons of AP3 shooting potential makes the Scarab Occult Terminators very strong against common units like Space Marine Bikers, massed MEQ units, Eldar Jetbikes, Necron Phalanxes, and even light infantry armies, like Genestealer Cult and Astra Militarum, that tend to cling to cover a lot for their saves. This is a great power for any shooty unit and Scarab Occult Terminators in particular can benefit from it. Don’t forget, as a Blessing, this also buffs the unit’s save up to a 3++.

[3] Ghost Storm (Ectomancy) — Giving a unit a “free” 18″ move in the Psychic Phase is good for almost any army, but works especially well on Scarab Occult Terminators in a Thousand Sons force, which will likely have mobility as one of its key handicaps. Given that Scarab Occult Terminators’ firepower is pretty much all 24″ or shorter in range, this is a very solid Psychic Power that helps them maximize their combat power and durability, while also mitigating their normally poor mobility (and gives them a 3++ for “free” as well).

[4] Invisibility (Telepathy) — Just like with Warp Fate, this is one of the best powers to make a unit of Scarab Occult Terminators almost invincible to normal attacks, especially when combined with a 2+/3++ profile. If your opponent is not savvy, he might be tempted to pour all kinds of attacks onto an Invisible Scarab Occult Terminator squad and end up wasting all or most of it, thus leaving the rest of the army free to maneuver with minimal interference (just for reference, it would take an average of 72 Bolter shots or 21 Plasma shots to kill a single Scarab Occult Terminator with Invisibility cast on it). Bottom line, Invisibility makes Scarab Occult Terminators an excellent “anvil” type unit that can draw attention away from the rest of your army and still survive to contribute in its own right.

[5] Endurance (Biomancy) — While Scarab Occult Terminators are already Relentless and only have 1W (except for their Sorcerer squad leader, who has 2W, according to the rumors), making Eternal Warrior no real advantage, giving the who squad FNP(4+) is major buff to its survivability against anything S7 or below. Put another way, when combined with 2+/3++ saves, Endurance in essence doubles the survivability of this unit, in turn forcing your opponent to devote twice as many attacks (on average) to deal with it.

[6] Prescience (Divination) — Everyone knows how good this already… combined with strong shooting and solid close combat abilities, plus the ability to Deep Strike in close to the enemy and the 2+/3++ saves from Thousand Sons special rules/a successful casting of this Blessing, and you have a unit that is very good in both shooting and close combat (well, very good against anything that does not have a 2+ save, so most opponents you will face). This probably makes for one of the most versatile combinations for a Scarab Occult Terminator squad, allowing them to be strong at a whole variety of mission sets.

[7] Fleshmetal Hide (Heretech) — Improving Scarab Occult Terminators to T5 is a solid buff against most small arms attacks by itself, but where this can REALLY shine is if you combine it with the new formation that makes Scarab Occult Terminators T5 base if they are within a certain distance of their formation leader… put these two together and then you have T6 2+/3++ Terminators, putting the entire squad on par with Dreadknights (with Sanctuary cast) or Riptides (with Nova Reactor upping its save to a 3++) in terms of durability.

 

Based on all this, the ideal layout for a “mini-deathstar” squad of Scarab Occult Terminators, IMHO, would be something like this:

-Exalted Sorcerer with PML(3), Familiar, and Astral Grimoire Relic

-10 Scarab Occult Terminators with 2 Hellfyre Missile Racks, 2 Soulreaper Cannons, and PML (2) Sorceror as squad leader

 

Starting with the Exalted Sorcerer, I would roll hard on the Sinistrum Table, trying to get Warp Fate, as I think that is one of the single best powers for a Scarab Occult Terminators. If you succeed in rolling that up, then Squad Leader Sorcerer could roll on Telepathy to try and get Invisibility and, if not that, at least guaranteed Psychic Shriek for some AP2/anti-MC abilities. Taken together with the Astral Grimoire Relic, the whole squad becomes Jump Infantry and can either move 12″ a turn or, using its “Jump Packs” in the Assault Phase to re-roll charge distances and get Hammer of Wrath attacks.

Thus, if you get off Warp Fate, you have a squad that can move 12″ a turn, has 2+/3++ saves (both of which are re-rollable), and then has 8 x S4 AP3 Twin-linked shots, 8 x S5 AP3 Rending shots, and 4 x S8 AP3 shots at 24″ to deal with enemy units (and Psychic Shriek for extra damage where required). This is of course would make for quite an expensive unit and would be dependent on getting at least one good Psychic Power from the list described above (again, Warp Fate I think is the best option), but would also make for a highly flexible, mobile, durable, and dangerous unit that would be effective against almost any opponent.

Wrath of Magnus: New Tzeentch Relics

It is looking like it is about to be a big month (or two) for Chaos Space Marines, which is great, since they sorely need some boosting to make them a top-tier competitive faction. Today I want to look at the tactical possibilities for the new Tzeentch Relics that will be available for CSM in the upcoming Wrath of Magnus book:

1 – Astral Grimoire – Makes bearer and nearby friendly infantry unit in Jump Infantry — This Relic has lots of applications and makes all kinds of units either significantly better, or at least competitive, by granting them greatly increased mobility without even requiring a Psychic Test. Imagine Obliterators that can move 12″ before shooting each turn, or Tzeentch Mutilators that actually have the mobility to get into combat reliably, or a horde of 20 Possessed that suddenly count as Jump Infantry, or even the new Scarab Occult Terminators, who can move 12″ a turn and then unleash their S5 AP3 Flamers and S4 AP3 TLed Bolters on hapless enemy MEQ units… there are all kinds of possibilities with this one and I think it will be seen in MANY competitive CSM armies. 

2 – Seer’s Bane – Daemon Weapon (S: User AP2, Force) that uses bearer’s Ld for Strength and target’s Ld for Toughness (uses normal strength against vehicles and target’s normal toughness for ID purposes). A top notch Relic Weapon here, perhaps one of the best  in the game. Given that the bearer will almost 100% of the time have Ld 10, then this weapon will wound basically any opponent on at least a 4+, with many opponents being wounded on a 3+ or 2+. Add in AP2, the Daemon Weapon rule for up to 6 bonus attacks, and Force for Instant Death you have an amazing all around close combat Relic (except against vehicles, of course). I expect to see a lot of armies with an Exalted Sorcerers on a Disc of Tzeentch with this weapon, as this gives you a very fast moving unit (Jetbike, remember) who can dash around the board, activate Force, and then tear up Wraithknights and Stormsurges with an average of 7 attacks on the charge, all with AP2, 4+s to Wound, and Instant Death (so no FNP and D3 wounds lost per Unsaved Wound on these GMCs). This artifact combines especially well with anything that lowers enemy Ld, like the Terrify Power from Telepathy, certain WL traits, etc.

3 – Helm of the Third Eye – Allows bearer and his unit to Overwatch at BS2 (or fire Overwatch normally at BS1, if the unit has Slow and Purposeful). While this is not as amazing a buff as the Seer’s Bane or Astral Grimoire, it is definitely useful on a solid “shooty” unit, like Plasmacide Chosen or Havocs or a 20 man blob of Rubric Marines… combine this with a successful cast of Prescience and the unit in question is firing Overwatch at effectively BS3 (or BS2, if the have Slow and Purposeful, like Rubric Marines), which makes it very dangerous to charge them.  

4 – Staff of Arcane Compulsion – Force Maul (i.e. S: +2 AP4 Concussive, Force) that causes any enemy units charging bearer’s unit to have -2” to their charge range. Like the Helm of the Third Eye, this is not a super-powered Relic, but it can make quite a difference when placed in the right spot. Especially in mid-late game, a failed charge can be the difference between holding an objective and losing it, which in turn can be what swings a game toward one side or the other. A very handy relic, especially since it does not require any Psychic or Leadership tests to work, but is simply always “on.” 

5 – Athenaean Scrolls – If bearer passes a Psychic Check that includes any doubles on the Warp Charge Dice, then opponents cannot stop that power via Deny the Witch rolls. This Relic is useful I think, especially if you are going to throw a lot of dice at a power that you absolutely want/need to go off, and provides that “insurance” potential for the Psychic-heavy gameplay of most Tzeentch based CSM armies. I think you will this in a lot of CSM armies, provided it is not too costly points wise, just because it allows for more certainty when planning out how to use various Psychic powers (i.e. normally you have to pass several hurdles: roll up the ability you want, get in range to use it, successfully harness enough WCs, have enemy fail Deny the Witch rolls, and actually roll to Hit if it is a Witchfire… this Relic removes one of those hurdles, which makes it worth it in many instances, especially with Witchfires). 

6 – Coruscator – Pistol with S4 AP3 Small Blast, Soul Blaze shot at 12”. Probably the least “splashy” of any of the Wrath of Magnus artifacts, the Coruscator is something you can throw on a Tzeentch IC if you have a couple of points left and want to maximize the AP3 shooting of a unit he is attached to, say a block of Rubric Marines or a squad of Occult  Scarab Terminators. With such a short range, this weapon is not usually a major threat (and, being a Blast weapon, it cannot fire Overwatch), but once in a while it causes a couple of extra AP3 wounds when you need them, say just before you charge a large MEQ squad that needs some “whittling down”).

Overall, I’d say that GW did an excellent job with the Relics, making them all useful, with some being especially competitive, but none being “game-breaking” or overpowered like, say, the White Scar’s “Hunter’s Eye” on a Librarian or the Iron Hand’s “Gorgon’s Chains” on a Chapter Master.

 

Black Templar “Decurion”

Here is my idea for experimental rules for Black Templar to get their own Gladius, or Decurion, type detachment, as well as special Relics, etc:

 

BLACK TEMPLAR CRUSADER FORCE (1-2 Core, 0-3 Command, 1+ Auxiliary)

Special Rules:

1 – Litanies of Hate – All Chaplains and High Chaplain Grimaldus in this detachment grant themselves and their squad Shred when in close combat

2 – Vows of the Templar – Before each game, must choose one of the following Vows, which then applies to all models within the detachment for that game:

*Abhor the Witch, Destroy the Witch – All units in this detachment gain Preferred Enemy: Psykers, Brotherhood of Psykers, Pyschic Pilot

*Accept Any Challenge, No Matter the Odds – All characters in this detachment gain +D3 attacks and Initiative when fighting in a challenge

* Suffer Not the Unclean to Live– All units in this detachment gain Hatred when locked in close combat with one or more models from the Eldar, Dark Eldar, Harlequin, Orks, Tyranids, Tau, or Necrons faction

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WARLORD TRAITS

1 – Warlord gains +1A/+1WS

2 – If the Warlord’s Unit fails a morale check during the Shooting or Psychic phase, they run 2D6” toward the nearest enemy unit, instead of falling back

3 – Warlord has Hatred: Psykers and Preferred Enemy: Psykers

4 – Warlord and his unit may re-roll charge distances

5 – Warlord has Fearless and may re-roll failed to Hits when in a Challenge

6 – Warlord and all friendly units within 12” may re-roll failed Morale, Pinning, and Fear checks

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RELICS

1 – Blade of the Crusader – S: x2 AP2, Two-Handed, Massive (always strikes at I2)

2 – Armor of Hatred – Terminator Armor that gives bearer +1T and Eternal Warrior

3 – Black Rosarious – Bearer and unit gain 5++ save, or re-roll failed Invul saves if they already have one, while locked in Close Combat (Chaplain only)

4 – Orb of Antioch – 12” S8 AP2 Small Blast, Ignore Cover, Shred, One Use Only

5 – Chains of Zeal – Bearer and his unit add +3” to Run and Charge distances

6 – Banner of Wrath – All friendly Black Templar units within 12” gain Fearless/within 6” gain +1S when locked in combat (Command Squad/Honor Guard only)

————————–

CORE (1-2 Option)

a) Battle Demi-Company (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Crusade Fighting Company

(*1 Castellan [Captain] or Chaplain)

(*0-1 Emperor’s Champion)

(*0-1 Sword Brethren Squad [Command Squad])

(*4-8 Crusader Squads)

(*2-4 Assault Space Marine or Assault Centurion Squads)

(*0-1 Devastator or Devastator Centurion Squads)

Special Rules:

1 – Crusade of Wrath – Once per game, choose an Assault Phase and all units in this detachment have the Hatred and Fleet rules until the end of the phase (this can be used separately from High Marshal Helbrecht’s ability of the same name)

2 – Unequalled Zeal – Any unit with the Righteous Zeal special rule in this formation gains Counterattack and Rage FOR THE REST OF THE GAME if it suffers one or more casualties in the Shooting phase or as the result of Overwatch

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COMMAND (0-3 Option)

a) Strike Force Command (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Reclusiam Command Squad (see Codex: Space Marines)

c) Council of Zeal

(*3 – 6 Chaplains)

Special Rules:

1 – Reclusiarch’s Vow – All Chaplains in this formation gain +1WS/A for free

2 – Shield of Faith – All Chaplains in this formation grant themselves and their unit +2 to their Deny the Witch rolls (this is not cumulative if there is more than one Chaplain in the same unit)

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AUXILIARY (1+ Option)

a) Storm Wing (see Codex: Space Marines)

b) Land Raider Spearhead (see Codex: Space Marines)

c) Armoured Task Force (see Codex: Space Marines)

d) 1st Company Task Force (see Codex: Space Marines)

e) Marshal’s Hammer

(*1-2 Land Raider Crusaders)

(*2-4 Vindicators)

(*1-2 Techmarine)

Special Rules:

1 – Anointed Armor – Vehicles in this formation ignore the effects of the Lance rule

2 – Awaken the Machine Spirit – All Vindicators within 12” of a Techmarine from this formation have the Power of the Machine Spirit rule

f) Drop Zone Clearance Force

(*1-3 Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts/Ironclad Dreadnoughts – must take Drop Pods)

(*1-3 Thunderfire Cannons – must take Drop Pods)

Special Rules:

1 – Clear the Zone – All units in this formation must start in Deep Strike Reserve and arrive on turn 1 automatically (their Drop Pods do not count when calculating the Drop Pod Assault rule). Thunderfire Cannons gain the Relentless rule and Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts/Ironclad Dreadnoughts count their weapons as Twin-Linked on the turn they arrive from Reserve

g) Templar Lancer Assault Squadron

(*1 Command Squad – All Veterans must take Space Marine Bikes and Power Lances)

(*2-4 Space Marine Bike Squadrons – Must take Veteran Sergeant with Power Lance)

(*0-2 Attack Bike Squadrons)

Special Rules:

1 – Furious Charge

2 – Tank Hunter/Monster Hunter

 

Skyhammer Fist of Medusa Task Force

I think this might be an unusual, but competitive, army build using the Iron Hand’s Fist of Medusa detachment. Basically, you use the following components:

—CORE—

*Battle Demi-Company (Terminator Captain in Cataphractii Armor,  3 Tactical Squads in Drop Pods with Melta/Combi-Melta, ASM squad in Drop Pod with double Flamers, Devastator Squad with 4 Multi-Meltas, Drop Pod)

—COMMAND—

*Strike Force Command (Terminator Captain in Cataphractii Armor with Relic Blade and Auspex)

*Strike Force Command (Terminator Captain in Cataphractii Armor with Relic Blade and Auspex)

—AUXILIARY—

*Skyhammer Annihilation Force (2 ASM squads, 2 Devastator Squads with 4 Grav Cannons, Drop Pods)

*Raptor Wing (2 Stormtalons with TLed Lascannons, Land Speeder with 2 Heavy Bolters)

 

So, the idea with this Task Force is that each Cataphractii Terminator Captain joins a Devastator squad from the Skyhammer Annihilation Force (and the one from the Demi-Company joins the Multi-Melta Devastator squad from the Demi-Company), providing multiple benefits: first, it allows them to continue to be “Relentless” all game long (even after arrival), meaning they can move and shoot to full capacity all game long. Second, the Cataphractii Captains can “tank” for the Devastators with their 3W, 2+/4++ (and re-rolls to Invul saves of 1). Third, the Captain provides some close combat capability in case they get charged (or he can split off and charge an enemy unit preemptively, if necessary). Fourth, the Auspex reduces enemy Cover saves, which is one of the only defenses against massed Grav Cannon shooting. Finally, and perhaps most significantly, each Captain gives his squad (and any nearby Iron Hands infantry) FNP(5+), thanks to the rules of the Fist of Medusa strike force, thus greatly improving their overall durability in the game.

As for the rest of the Task Force, the Tactical Squads (and their Drop Pods) provide more Objective Secured unit and some anti-armor capability via their melta/combi-melta weapons, while the Drop Pod ASM gives you some anti-horde with dual flamers (and even more Objective Secured units). The bare bones ASM from the Skyhammer provide mobile “skirmisher” units to grab objectives, tie up enemy forces, and/or screen your own forces. Finally, the two Storm Talons provide general fire support and anti-Flyer capacity (at least if you are not using the Death from the Skies rules), while the Land Speeder spots for them and also provides some additional Heavy Bolter fire (don’t forget, if any of these Flyers/Skimmers are within 12″ of one of the Cataphractii Terminator Captains from this detachment, then they get PotMS, allowing them to “split fire” for free).

In terms of employment, if your bring in the Skyhammer on Turn 1, then you have a total of 5 Drop Pods arriving with your Alpha Strike, allowing you to hit your opponent with 40 Grav Shots and 8 Melta shots if you want. In subsequent turns, you can bring in the remaining two Drop Pods (with the Flamers on the ASM and the Melta/Combi-Melta on the Tacs) to support your force on the deck or seize other objectives (since EVERYTHING from the Demi-Company is Objective Secured, this can be very effective). You also get to bring in the Stormtalon Gunships automatically on Turn 1, thanks to the Raptor Wing rules, and can employ their TLed Assault Cannons and TLed Lascannons to great effect wherever you need them, especially when you add in Strafing Run (for BS5) against ground targets and the “Priority Target Received” for re-rolls to Wound/to Penetrate against a selected target.

Overall, I think an army like this, based around the Fist of Medusa detachment (and especially the Demi-Company and Skyhammer formations), makes for a versatile, competitive Iron Hands Task Force that can reliably take on almost any kind of opposing army.

 

Counter-Genestealer Cult Tactics: Eversor Assassin

We are just starting to see how competitive the new Genestealer Cult faction is and, from initial impressions and battle reports, it may actually be one of the top tier armies, especially in the hands of a skilled commander. Specifically, the unrivalled mobility provided by the “Cult Ambush” and “Return to the Shadows” rules, coupled with top-notch close combat abilities (i.e. lots of Rending attacks and the ability to Charge when arriving from Reserve/Turn 1), very reasonable unit costs, and highly competitive Psychic Powers all make them a very dangerous army to face.

Based on all this, I think one of the keys to dealing with a Genestealer Cult opponent is the ability to wipe out an entire unit in a turn, before they have a chance to “Return to the Shadows” to reappear somewhere else on the board and also, potentially, replenish their casualties, thanks to the Cult Insurrection rules. Some of this can be done via shooting, especially given the poor armor saves/low toughness of almost the entire army, but if you can beat Genestealer Cults at their own game in close combat, then this is potentially even more effective, since they cannot “Return to the Shadows” if they are within 6″ of an enemy unit (and, thus, cannot do so if they are locked in combat).

As I have thought about ways to effectively deal with Genestealer Cults, the Eversor Assassin stands out to me as a very solid “counter” option for any Imperium armies. Like all Imperial Assassins, the Eversor has the following stats:

WS8 BS8 S4 T4 W3 I7 A4 Ld10 Sv 4++

In terms of wargear, he comes with a Power Sword, MBs, an Executioner Pistol (can shoot with either a Poisoned Shot with no AP or a Bolt Pistol profile and can Overwatch at full BS, thanks to the Eversor’s Sentinel Array), and a Neuro-gauntlet (S: User AP- Fleshbane, Shred). He also has Frenzon, which allows him to charge 3D6″, vice the normal 2D6″, and gives him +3A on the charge, vice the normal +1A.

Finally, in terms of Special Rules, the Eversor has all the standard Assassin Rules (i.e. Fearless, Independent Operative, Infiltrate, Lightning Reflexes, Move through Cover, and No Escape), plus he has Fast Shot (may shoot his Executioner Pistol with 4 shots instead of 1), FNP, Furious Charge, and Bio-meltdown (when he dies, all models within D6″ suffer a S5 AP- hit).

As you can see from all these rules, the Eversor is really geared to be a “one man army” that takes down hordes of enemy light infantry all by himself… which is exactly what most of the Genestealer Cult faction is! 😉 Since almost all Genestealer Cult units have a 5+ save and T3 (the Patriarch is an exception, with T5 and 4+ save), the Eversor can do some amazing damage to almost any squad, if he gets the charge (which his Frenzon drugs help a lot with, giving him an average charge range of 11″).

For example, if an Eversor charges a 10 man squad of Hybrid Metamorphs (with Metamorph Claw upgrades and a Cult Icon), he can shoot 4 times with the Bolt Pistol profile of his Executioner Pistol, getting an average of 3.66 hits (thanks to BS8), 2.44 wounds, and so 2-3 dead Metamorphs from shooting. He then strikes at WS8 and I7 with 8 x S5 AP3 Power Sword attacks, yielding an average of 5.33 hits and 4.44 Unsaved Wounds, so another 4-5 dead Metamorphs, for a total of 6-8 Genestealer Cult models killed total. Assuming 3 Metamorphs survive, they get 9 x S6 AP- attacks back at WS5, yielding 4.5 hits, 3.75 wounds, and 1.25 Unsaved Wounds after the Eversor’s 4++ and FNP. Based on this, the Eversor survives and the Metamorphs lose combat by -7, meaning they have to run unless they roll a double 1… with I7 vs I4, the Eversor is quite likely to win the Sweeping Advance roll, wiping out the remaining Metamorphs if he does so. That is 110 points worth of models destroyed in a single turn by a single Assassin, who himself only costs 135 points… more importantly, the entire unit is wiped out (or at least severely wounded and locked in combat), meaning it cannot Return to the Shadows, replenish its casualties, and pop up somewhere else on the board.

Even against more elite combatants, like the Patriarch, the Eversor’s super high combat stats will allow him to hold his own… if the Patriarch is by himself (say you stripped off his Purestrain Genestealer bodyguard via shooting), the Eversor gets 8 x S5 AP3 attacks on the charge at WS8 I7 (so he and the Patriarch strike simultaneously and the Eversor hits on 3+s, while the Patriarch hits on 4+s), resulting in an average of 5.33 hits and 2.66 Unsaved Wounds, which might be enough to kill him in a single phase, if you roll lucky. Striking back simultaneously, the Patriarch gets 4 x S6 AP3 Shred/Rending attacks, resulting in an average of 2 hits, 1.94 wounds, and .64 Unsaved Wounds after FNP and Invul saves for the Eversor. As you can see, the Eversor is clearly set up to win this fight and, even if he doesn’t finish off the Patriarch in the first round, he should be able to finish off the Genestealer Cult HQ eventually with his WS8, 4++, and FNP shrugging off most of the damage from the Patriarch in subsequent Assault phases. Finally, even against Genestealer Cult vehicles, the Eversor has access to his MBs and, in a pinch, 8 x S5 attacks on the charge, which can wreck even Leman Russes (with their AV10 rear armor) with some luck, meaning he is a threat to everything from transports like the Goliath and Chimera to heavy tanks.

The key to all this, of course, is delivering the Eversor safely across the battlefield to charge range of the Genestealer Cult forces. His ability to Infiltrate can help here, as can tricks like borrowing allied transports (he can’t start in them, but can jump in them Turn 1), using fortifications with Escape Hatches to “sling shot” across the battlefield, and even Psychic Support (an allied Space Marine Librarian can drop in right next to a Genestealer Cult target with a Drop Pod, then cast Electrodisplacement to “swap” places with the Eversor on Turn 1, after which the Eversor can immediately charge the enemy that same turn). Alternately, if you have more of a long-range “gun line” army, you can simply have the Genestealer Cult army come to you and, once they are close, use the 3D6″ charge range on the Eversor to counter-assault them. While the Eversor is certainly not an auto-win choice against an enemy Genestealer Cult, his ability “remove” an entire squad (or Patriarch) per turn makes him a very solid, and decently affordable, addition to your army when facing this dangerous faction.

Black Templar and the Mastodon

Forge world recently released 40K rules for the Mastodon Super-Heavy:

https://www.forgewor…todon-Rules.pdf

Imagine three 10 man Crusader squads (with PF/LC Sword Brother and extra PF on Initiate), plus Helbrecht, Grimaldus with two Cenobytes,  and 6 Sword Brethren (i.e. Honor Guard) with Relic Blades and Banner of the Emperor Ascendant all loaded into the Mastodon… Turn 1, move up 12″, then Flat Out another 6″…. Turn 2, move up 6″, disembark everyone another 6″, then activate Helbrecht’s Crusade of Wrath and charge 2D6″ (with re-rolls because of Fleet) with all 40 models.

Everyone has Fearless/Hatred from Zealot and FNP from Grimaldus’ Cenobyte Servitors, plus everyone within 12″ of the Banner have +1A, so even your basic Initiate has 4 S4 AP- attacks (with re-rolls to Hit) on the charge (becomes 5 attacks if they suffer a casualty from Overwatch), while your squad leader Sword Brethren are rocking 5 x PF or 5 x LC attacks each and the Honor Guard Sword Brethren are hitting with 4 x S6 AP3 attacks each, again, all with re-rolls to Hit.

In terms of survivability, it has AV14/14/14, 10HPs!!!, Immunity to Melta extra dice, and 2 Void Shields (plus Super Heavy rules, which mean that any Explodes result just inflicts another D3 HPs, vice destroying it). Thus, the Mastodon is totally immune to S7 and below attacks (except for Lance, Haywire, and Gauss weaponry, of course), which takes A LOT of the potential enemy arsenal right out of the game.

So, that means that, AFTER stripping the two Void Shields, it would take an average of the following to destroy the Mastodon:

-45 x BS4 Lascannon or Grav Cannon/Amp shots

-90 x BS4 Melta or Krak Missile shots

-30 x BS4 Railgun or Bright Lance/Dark Lance/Blaster shots

-18 x BS4 Haywire Blaster shots

-90 x BS4 Gauss weapon shots

-90 x S8 PF/TH attacks in close combat

-30 x S10 Wulfen TH attacks in close combat

So, really the only things that a Mastodon are really vulnerable to are Assault Centurions (Armourbane S10 attacks really do a number on it), massed Haywire shooting (which is pretty hard to come by in 40K, outside of Kataphron Breachers and Skitarii Vanguard), and VERY massed Necron Gauss shooting… that and of course D shooting/attacks (i.e. Wraithknights, Wraithguard, Imperial Knights in close combat, etc.)… everything else is going to have a very difficult, if not impossible, time bringing down the Mastodon before it delivers it cargo of Zealous BT Crusaders into assault.

Inquisitorial Henchmen and the new Haemotrope Reactors

The Haemotrope Reactors rules are out and they make for quite an interesting new fortification. Basically, for 8 MBs, you get two Haemotrope Reactors (with the option to buy up to two more pairs in the same Fortifications slot for 8 MBs per pair), which give any non-vehicle/non-MC unit behind them a 4+ cover save, with the drawback of any cover saves of 6+ potentially causing a Reactor Leak (on a subsequent roll of 1, the unit in question takes D6 S6 AP- Ignore Cover hits). They also give nearby friendly Void Shields the ability to re-roll failed “regeneration” rolls and and improves the strength of a friendly nearby Plasma Obliterator from S7 AP2 to S8 AP2.

While all these bonuses are nice, this is not the main reason anyone would take this fortification. Any non-vehicle models bearing Plasma weapons (as defined by the Main Rule Book; technically, this means only Plasma Pistols, Plasma Guns, and Plasma Cannons, but according to the recent Facebook FAQ, Skitarii Plasma Calivers, Cult Mechanicus Plasma Culverins, Dark Angel Plasma Talons, Tau Plasma Rifles, Carnifex Bio-Plasma, and Exocrine Bio-Plasmic Cannons are also included in this overall category, as long as they have the word “Plasma” in their name) can choose to “Charge up” their weapons, making all normal shots (i.e. Plasma Pistols and Guns) into Small Blasts and Small Blasts (i.e. Plasma Cannons) into Large Blasts. The drawback to this ability is that, in doing this, they also increase their Get’s Hot! from occurring just on 1s to occurring on 1s AND 2s (so going from a 16% chance to about a 33% chance).

This is obviously a defensively oriented bonus, since units have to stay basically static near the Haemotrope Reactors to take advantage of it, and so has very limited use for Plasma Pistols, with their 12″ range. Plasma Guns are better, with the ability to shoot out to 24″ (or if you opponent is foolish enough to come within 12″, “double tap” with lots of Small Blasts). Plasma Cannons I think are the best here, with 36″ range, meaning they can threaten much of the board without having to move, and a large blast S7 AP2 is quite a solid threat, especially given how reasonably priced Plasma Cannons are compared to other Heavy Weapons.

Based on this, let’s look at what codices have access to Plasma Cannons on non-vehicle units:

-Space Marines/Blood Angels (Devastators, Tactical Marines, Sternguard, Techmarine Servitors)

-Dark Angels (Devastators, Tactical Marines, Techmarine Servitors, Deathwing Terminators)

-Space Wolves (Long Fangs, Iron Priest Servitors)

-Chaos Space Marines (Obliterators)

-Astra Militarum (Tech-Priest Servitors)

-Cult Mechanicus (Kataphron Destroyers)

-Inquisition (Servitor Henchmen)

Of these, the best I think are Long Fangs (can take 5 Plasma Cannons in a single squad, plus Split Fire, plus their Pack Leader can take a Plasma Gun than can become a Small Blast at 24″), Deathwing Terminators (by far the most durable unit that can take a Plasma Cannon, especially against any Get’s Hot wounds), Kataphron Destroyers with Plasma Culverins (two shots per model at 24″!), and Inquisitorial Henchman (most economical option by far… for 12 MBs, you get a squad of three Plasma Cannon Servitors).

Out of these options, I think the clear winner in terms of competitive gaming is an Inquisatorial Henchman Warband, equipped as follows:

-3 Servitors with Plasma Cannons (60 points)

-Chimera with Psybolts (60 points)

Attach an Ordos Xenos Inquisitor with Servo-Skulls (can help with DSing allies and even make the Plasma Blasts more accurate) and Conversion Beamer (80 points total), so the Servitors don’t Mindlock, and you have a very potent little unit that costs 200 points and can bunker in the Chimera (Inquisitorial Chimeras have firing points for up to 5 units) and put out 3 x S7 AP2 Large Blasts at 36″ per turn, as long as it is within 2″ of friendly Haemotrope Reactors.

You can take two of these battle groups in an Inquisitorial Detachment, giving you an excellent little anti-infantry firebase for quite a reasonable price (costs of two squads like this, plus Haemotrope Reactors, is 440 points total). This gives you 6 x S7 AP2 Large Blasts (Plasma Cannons), 12 x S6 AP4 shots (Chimera Psybolt Heavy Bolters), and 2 x S8 AP4 Small Blasts (Conversion Beamers) at 36″ range, which should be able to deal with light and heavy infantry alike (and even light vehicles as well).