Traitor Legions: Fixing Cult Troops

Now that Traitor Legions is officially out (and is an outstanding release overall, I’d say, breathing whole new life into both the tactical abilities and rules-reflecting-the-fluff aspects of the 9 original Traitor Legions), I think there is a pretty obvious shortfall that needs to be addressed whenever the “base” CSM book finally is updated: the obsolescence of Cult Troops.

Given that even basic CSM now get buffs to bring them into almost complete parity with Cult Troops (i.e. Khorne CSM now get Fearless, Furious Charge, and Adamantium Will for “free,” meaning that they have everything Bezerkers have except WS5/access to Chainaxe upgrades and cost 4 points less per model; or, Nurgle CSM also get Fearless, FNP, Relentless, and -1I, just like Plague Marines, but cost 8 points less per model, with the only compensation for Plague Marines being their Blight Grenades, Plague Knifes, and access to 2 Special Weapons when at minimum squad size; etc., etc.), I think GW really ought to provide some improvements to the 4 different iconic Cult Troops to make them worth taking, and not just providing some special formations that give them buffs like they have already.

Based on that, here is  my idea for how to improve Cult Troops in a reasonable manner (while keeping their current points costs the same) so that they are not auto-take, but also are still a competitive option as compared to basic CSM with their respective Marks:

[1] Khorne Bezerkers — Give them back their old 2A base (so, that would be 3A base on the Bezerker Champion) and make Chainaxes a S: +1 AP4 Rending weapon.

*Rationale — Between WS5 and 5A on the charge, I think this would justify the 4 points/model higher cost of Bezerkers over basic Khorne CSM. Additionally, if they paid the extra 3 points/model for the Chainaxe upgrade, not only would they gain +1S and AP4 (so S6 on the charge), but the addition of Rending really increases their versatility and overall close combat hitting power, making them a more expensive, but more capable, close combat option to Khorne CSM (which is what they should be, as an elite unit).

 

[2] Plague Marines — Increase their FNP(5+) to FNP(4+) and add Poison (4+) Bolter ammo to their Wargear.

Rationale — At 8 points/model more expensive than Nurgle CSM, Plague Marines need a bit to justify taking them over their less “elite” counterparts. Based on this, I think they definitely need more than Blight Grenades and Plague Knives to set them apart from basic Mark of Nurgle Marines. Increasing their FNP one “step” I think would give enough of a boost in survivability to make them a strong option for taking/holding Objectives and giving their Bolters/BPs Poisoned (4+) ammo makes them kind of like a CSM version of Sternguard. Overall, with Defensive Grenades, Poisoned (4+) for both close combat and shooting, and enhanced FNP rules, I think Plague Marines would be worth considering over “normal” Nurgle CSM.

 

[3] Rubric Marines — Improve Inferno Bolts to (S:4 AP3 Armourbane, Rending), improve Soulreaper Cannon to (S:5 AP3 Armourbane, Rending), and improve both Warpflamer/Heavy Warpflamer to Torrent (6″) weapons (this would obviously impact Scarab Occult Terminators as well).

*Rationale — Like Plague Marines, Rubric Marines are MUCH more expensive (8 points/model more expensive) than their Tzeentch Marine counterparts, but also are a lot better than them out the gate (i.e. 4++ instead of 6++ save, AP3 Bolter ammo, access to Psychic Powers via their “sergeant,” etc.). What Rubric Marines really need, I think, is better shooting versatility, instead of being limited to just AP3 Bolters. Adding Armourbane to both the Soulreaper Cannon and their Inferno Bolts makes them MUCH more versatile against light-medium vehicles and adding Rending to the Inferno Bolts gives them a chance at dealing with Terminators, Heavy Vehicles, MCs, etc. Finally, making the Warpflame weapons into Torrent (6″) gives much more reach and versatility for these anti-horde options, especially since Rubric Marines are so slow outside of Rhino/Land Raider transports.

 

[4] Noise Marines — Give them BS5 and allow them to take one Blastmaster (30 points) or Doom Siren (20 points) per 5 models in the squad.

*Rationale — Noise Marines are currently only 2 points/model more expensive than their Slaanesh Marine counterparts, but they also have nothing to show for it, except access to Sonic Weaponry (which they have to pay even more points for, and Slaanesh CSM have access to normal Special/Heavy Weapons that Noise Marines cannot take). Giving Noise Marines BS5 would justify taking them instead of normal Slaanesh Marines and would make purchasing the Sonic Blaster upgrades even more worthwhile. Also, giving them options for up to 4 Blastmasters/Doom Sirens in a max squad of 20 (or 1 in a squad of 5, 2 in a squad of 10, etc. etc.) would help “customize” them as a solid option in competitive play.

Ideas for Deathwatch Special Weapons

I think Deathwatch is a very interesting and challenging faction to play right now, especially given some of the really good things GW did in designing the codex and also some of the pretty significant missed opportunities that exist in that book.

One of the best things about the new Deathwatch book, IMHO, is the unique weapons like DW Shotguns and Infernus Heavy Bolters, which really set this army apart from all the other “Marine equivalent” factions, is true to its fluff and style, and also helps it be competitive.

Based on that, I think GW should have gone “all the way” in giving Deathwatch an entire armory of unique, better-than-average weaponry, both to reflect their fluff of getting access to the best/rarest equipment and to make them more competitive in the niche as a “glass cannon” army.

Here are my ideas for a “complete overhaul” of the DW armory along the lines of what I described above:


—DW RANGED WEAPONS—

*”Deathwatch” pattern Bolters and Combi-Melta/Flamer/Plasma/Grav (with Special Issue Ammunition) – No change except all Combi-weapons only cost 5 points to upgrade and all of these weapons gain “True Grit” rule (model that has a Deathwatch Bolter or Combi-Weapon and another, non-Specialist CCW get +1A)

*”Deathwatch” pattern Storm Bolter – Gains access to Vengeance (18″ S4 AP3 Gets Hot!, Assault 2), Kraken (30″ S4 AP4 Assault 2), Dragonfire (24″ S4 AP5 Ignore Cover, Assault 2), and Hellfire (24″ S2 AP5 Poisoned (2+), Assault 2) Special Issue Ammunition.

*”Deathwatch” pattern Bolt Pistols/Hand Flamer/Grav-Pistol/Inferno Pistol/Plasma Pistol – All gain “Quick Fire” rule, which enables them fire Overwatch at full BS (vice normal BS1) and, for template weapons, to automatically get 3 hits from Wall of Fire (vice normal D3 hits).

—DW SPECIAL WEAPONS—

*”Deathwatch” pattern Shotgun – No change

*”Stalker” pattern Boltgun – No change

*”Brimstone” pattern Flamer — Torrent (6″) S4 AP5 Assault 1 (5 points)

*”Hellion” pattern Melta Gun — 18″ S8 AP1 Assault 1, Melta (10 points)

*”Nova” pattern Plasma Gun — 24″ S7 AP2 Rapid Fire, Blind  (15 points)

*”Spectre” pattern Grav Gun — 18″ S* AP2 Salvo 2/3, Graviton, Concussive, Monster Hunter (15 points)

–DW HEAVY WEAPONS–

*”Infernus” pattern Heavy Bolter — No change

*”Deathwatch” pattern Frag Cannon – No change

*”Cyclone” pattern Missile Launchers (available only to DW Terminators) – No change

*”Beowulf ” pattern Missile Launcher (25 points) – Missile Launcher with multiple special ammo types “organic” to the Missile Launcher:

(a) Firefang Missiles – 48″ S4 AP5, Small Blast, Ignore Cover, Heavy 1
(b) Ironspear Missiles – 48″ S8 AP2, Sunder, Heavy 1
(c) Skyfury Missiles – 48″ S7 AP3, Skyfire, Interceptor, Heavy 1
(d) Venomcraft Missiles – 48″ S2 AP3, Fleshbane, Heavy 1

*”Wolverine” pattern Assault Cannon (25 points — available only to DW Terminators) – 24″ S6 AP3 Heavy 4, Shred, Rending

*”Draken” pattern Heavy Flamer (10 points — available only to DW Terminators) – Torrent 6″ S5 AP4 Heavy 1

–DW MELEE WEAPONS–

*”Deathwatch” pattern Close Combat Weapon (Free) – S: User AP5

*Heavy Thunder Hammer (30 points) – No change

*”Reaper” pattern Lightning Claw (15 points) – S: User AP3 Shred, Specialist Weapon, Deadly Precision (user gains +1WS when fighting with this weapon)

*”Xenophase” pattern Power Sword (15 points) – S: User AP3, Molecular Realignment Field (enemy units must re-roll success Invul saves taken against wounds caused by this weapon)

*”Furion” pattern Power Lance (15 points) – S: +1/User AP3/4, Swiftstrike (gains +2I on the charge)

*”Direblade” pattern Power Axe (15 points) – S: +1 AP2, Bulky (always strikes ay I2 with this weapon)

*”Shieldbreaker” pattern Power Maul (15 points) – S+2 AP4, Concussive, Sunder (re-rolls failed Armor Penetration rolls)

*”Bellator” pattern Power Fist (25 points) – S: x2 AP2, Unwieldy, Rampage, Specialist Weapon

*”Xenosbane” pattern Thunder Hammer (30 points) – S: x2 AP1, Unwieldy, Concussive, Specialist Weapon, Master-crafted

*”Praetor” pattern Relic Blade (30 points, only available to a DW Watch Captain) — S: +2 AP3 Two-Handed, Champion Bane (gains AP2 and “Pulverize” when bearer is in a Challenge)

*”Redemptor” pattern Crozius Arcanum (DW Chaplains only) – S: +2 AP4 Concussive, Rending

*”Vigilance” pattern Guardian Spear (DW Watch Master only) – S: +1 AP2, Two-handed, Block, Armourbane (Shooting portion has profile of a DW Storm Bolter with Special Issue Ammunition)

—DW SPECIAL ISSUE WARGEAR—

*”Durendal” pattern Combat Shield (5 points) – Gives model a 5++ save

*Omnispex (5 points) — Bearer’s unit gains Split Fire and Night Vision rules

*DW Locator Beacon (15 points) — Any friendly unit arriving by Deep Strike within 9″ of the bearer does not scatter

*Long-ranged Auspex (10 points) — If bearer does not shoot, he may nominate one enemy unit within 24″ during that shooting phase. That enemy unit has -1 cover save against all friendly shooting during that Shooting Phase.

*Digital Weapons (5 points) — No change

*Melta Bombs (5 points) — No change

*Rad Grenades (15 points) — Same as used by Ordos Xenos Inquisitor from Codex: Inquisition

*Blind Grenades (5 points) — Same as used by Vindicare Assassin from Codex: Assassins

*Psykout Grenades (5 points) — Same as  used by infantry units from Codex: Grey Knights

*Orbital Strike Relay (25 points, DW Watch Master only) — Same as carried by Inquisitor Karamazov from Codex: Inquisition

Shield of Guilliman Strike Force

I have greatly appreciated the effort GW has put into providing Gladius equivalents for White Scars, Raven Guard, Salamanders, Iron Hands, and Imperial Fists.

I realize that the Gladius Strike Force, and pretty much everything in C: SM, is supposed to be the Ultramarine’s version of things, since they are the most “Codex-adherent” chapter out there, but I still think it would be neat for the Sons of Guilliman to have their own unique Detachment, Relics, etc.

Here is my stab at that concept:

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SHIELD OF GULLIMAN STRIKE FORCE

*1-2 CORE

*0-3 HQ

*1+ AUX

RULES:

1 – Rites of Command — If WL from this detachment is alive, all units from this detachment may use his Leadership value instead of their own for any Morale or Pinning tests.

2 – Veteran Skill — Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Tactical squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Relentless. Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Assault squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Shred for their close combat attacks. Once per game, Veteran Sergeants in Devastator squads from this detachment may give their squad and any attached characters Interceptor for their shooting attacks.

3 – Battle-Tested Leaders — If this detachment includes 2 CORE choices, one with a Captain and one with a Chaplain, then any Tactical, Assault, Devastator, Scout, Scout Biker, Assault Centurion, or Devastator Centurion squads may upgrade their Sergeants to Veteran Sergeants for free.

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CORE

1 – Battle Demi-Company (See C:SM)

2 – Assault Demi-Company (1 Captain or Chaplain, 0-1 Command Squad, 0-1 Dread/Ironclad/Venerable Dread Squadron, 3 Assault/Bike/Attack Bike squads, 0-2 Assault Centurion squads)

**RULES — Assault Doctrine (can choose to use once per game for models in this formation), free Eviscerators in Assault squads

3 – Devastator Demi-Company (1 Captain or Chaplain, 0-1 Command Squad, 0-1 Dread/Ironclad/Venerable Dread Squadron, 3 Devastator squads, 0-2 Devastator Centurion squads)

**RULES — Devastator Doctrine (can choose to use  once per game for models in this formation), free MMs and HBs in Devastator squads

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HQ

1 – Strike Force Command (see C: SM)

2 – Librarius Conclave (see C: SM)

3 – Command Tanks (see Angels of Death Supplement)

4 – Guardians of Ultramar (Marneus Calgar, 1-3 Honor Guard squads, one of which must take a Chapter Banner or Relic Banner)

**RULES — All units in this formation have Preferred Enemy and Fearless as long as Marneus Calgar is alive

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AUX

1 – 1st Company Task Force (See C: SM)

2 – 10th Company Task Force (See C: SM)

3 – Stormbringer Squadron (See Angels of Death Supplement)

4 – Skyhammer Annihilation Force (See Angels of Death Supplement)

5 – Ravenhawk Assault Group (See Angels of Death Supplement)

6 – Raptor Wing (See Angels of Death Supplement)

7 – Armoured Task Force (See C: SM)

8 – Centurion Battle Group (1-2 Devastator Centurion squads, 1-2 Assault Centurion squads)

**RULES — Monster Hunter, Tank Hunter, Overwhelming Fusillade (any unit hit by shooting from Devastator Centurions from this formation may not fire Overwatch if charged by Assault Centurions from this formation)

9 – Armorium Support (2 Land Raiders/Land Raider Crusaders/Land Raider Redeemers, 0-1 Chronus)

**RULES — Blessed Hulls (Lance Weapons only reduce armor to AV13, Melta Weapons only gain +D3 to their penetration rolls, and Haywire weapons suffer -2 on the Haywire Table against vehicles from this formation)

10 – Talon of Ancients (3 Contemptor Dreadnoughts, 1 Techmarine)

**RULES — Battle Doctrines of the Great Crusade (all Contemptors from this formation within 12″ of the Techmarine from this formation may enact EACH of the doctrines once per game at the start of each friendly game turn: i) Advance Upon the Foe! — May move 9″ this turn [or] ii) Smite the Foe — Gains Rampage this turn [or] iii) Decimate the Foe — May shoot twice in the shooting phase this turn, but must shoot the same target)

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ULTRAMARINE RELICS

1 – Victorum Laurels  — Bearer may choose his WL trait, instead of rolling for it, as long as it is from the Ultramarine WL Trait Table

2 – Helm of Varthion — (Veteran Sergeant from a Tactical squad only). Gives Bearer and his squad one free use of Tactical Doctrine

3 – Mantle of Ultramar — TDA that gives bearer +1W

4 – Marian Blade — S: User AP2 Swiftstrike (gives bearer +1WS/+1I)

5 – Orbital Command-Link — Bearer may bring in one friendly unit from Reserves automatically each turn

6 – Banner of Macragge — (Command Squad/Honor Guard only) All friendly Ultramarine units within 12″ gain Preferred Enemy

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ULTRAMARINE WARLORD TRAITS

1 – Champion of the Blade —  Warlord and his unit gain +1 WS

2 – Eye of Precision — Warlord and his unit gain +1 BS

3 – Master of the Vanguard — Three friendly units chosen before deployment gain Scout

4 – Master of the Keep — Three friendly units chosen before deployment gain Objective Secured

5 – Indomitable — Enemy units must re-roll successful To Wound rolls made against the Warlord

6 – Unequalled Warrior — Enemy units must re-roll successful Armor and Invul saves of 6+ made against the WL’s close combat attacks

Genestealer Cult as “Counts As” Catachan Jungle Fighters

This is a bit out of the box, but I think the new Genestealer Cult rules are quite fascinating and I would be interested to find a way to try them out as an Imperium player… then it hit me, I think Codex: Genestealer Cult would be an excellent surrogate codex to represent a Catachan Jungle Fighters army:

-Neophytes — Catachan Guardsman squad

-Acolytes — Catachan Sapper squad

-Metamorphs — Catachan Devils squad

-Aberrants — Catachan Ogryn squad

-Goliath Truck/Rockcrusher — Catachan “Brawler” Jungle Assault Vehicle

-Patriarch — Colonel Ironhand Straken

-Primus — Catachan Officer

-Magus — Catachan Primaris Psyker

-Iconward — Catachan Regimental Standard Bearer

-Chimera/Leman Russ variants/Sentinel types — Same as they currently are

As for the Cult Ambush and Return to the Shadows rules, you could just rename them with Catachan specific names and they would perfectly reflect the Catachan “Regimental Doctrine” if you will. Finally, you could represent the unusual weapons as follows:

*Clearance Flamer — Catachan “Demon Flamer”

*Mining Laser/Heavy Mining Laser — Catachan “Jungle Lascannon/Heavy Jungle Cannon”

*Seismic Cannon/Heavy Seismic Cannon — Catachan “Fury Missile Launcher”

*Webber/Web Pistol — Catachan “Snare Rifle/Snare Pistol”

*Heavy Mining Drill — Catachan “Breacher Drill”

Experimental Rules for Marks of Chaos

With the recent release of the Traitor’s Hate supplement for CSM, it got me thinking about how the overall faction can be improved/brought up on par with top-tier factions in 40K.

While many have proposed creating “Chapter Tactics” equivelants (or more appropriately, “Legion Tactics”) for the different Chaos Space Marine Legions, and this is definitely one possible way to approach the problem, I thought about how the different Marks of Chaos/Chaos Gods are really the defining aspect of this entire faction. I also thought it would be neat to introduce unique options for Marks of Chaos on vehicles and all Independent Characters/Monstrous Creatures.

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, in this proposal, no CSM units (vehicles or troops or MCs) would pay for their Marks… rather, they would choose which ones they get and have them for “free” at their current base points cost, basically taking the place of the “free” Chapter Tactics that Loyalist Marines have. CSM with no alignment to any God (i.e. “Mark of Chaos Undivided” forces) would get their own bonuses for free instead of what the units with a Mark of a specific Chaos God gets, to make sure everything is even in terms of competitiveness on the tabletop.

Based on that, here is my idea on how to revamp the Marks of Chaos (and even Chaos Undivided) to improve the faction without otherwise changing any points costs or rules/wargear in the Codex as it currently exists:

 

–MARK OF SLAANESH–

**Troops and Walkers — +1 Initiative and Weapon Skill

**Non-Walker Vehicles — Gain “Fast Vehicle” status

**ICs/Monstrous Creatures — +1 Initiative/Weapon Skill and “Hit and Run” USR

**Icon of Excess — Grants FNP to unit

**Changes to Noise Marines — +1 Weapon Skill, plus replace their Bolters with Sonic Blaster for free and have an extra CCW included in their Wargear for free.

**Changes to Lucius — Gains “Hit and Run” USR

 

–MARK OF KHORNE–

**Troops and Walkers — +1 Attack (loses Rage/Counterattack)

**Non-Walker Vehicles — Gain “Scout” USR

**ICs/Monstrous Creatures — +1 A (loses Rage/Counterattack) and Rampage USR

**Icon of Wrath — Grants Furious Charge and Fleet to unit

**Changes to Khorne Bezerkers — +1 A (loses Rage/Counterattack), Get Chain Axe for free, Chain Axe now S: User AP4 Rending

**Changes to Kharn — Gains “Rampage” USR

 

–MARK OF NURGLE–

**Troops and Walkers — +1 Toughness (or +1 HP if a Walker)

**Non-Walker Vehicles — Gain “Shrouded” USR

**ICs/Monstrous Creatures — Gain +1 Toughness and IWND (4+)

**Icon of Despair — All enemy units within 12″ of the Icon have -1 Ld

**Changes to Plague Marines — Can take 1 Special Weapon OR Heavy Weapon for each 5 models in the squad.

**Changes to Typhus — Gains IWND (4+)

 

–MARK OF TZEENTCH–

**Troops and Walkers — +1 Invul save (or 5++ if no save)

**Non-Walker Vehicles — Gain “Psychic Pilot” and the Boon of the Iron Beast power automatically

**ICs/Monstrous Creatures — +1 Invul save (or 5++ if no save) and can harness Warp Charges on a 3+

**Icon of Flame — Grants “Shred” USR to unit’s shooting

**Changes to Thousand Sons — Inferno Bolts changed to S5 AP2 Armourbane

**Changes to Ahriman — Gains ability to harness Warp Charges on a 3+

 

–MARK OF CHAOS UNDIVIDED–

**Troops and Walkers — Once per game, may choose to either shoot twice or double their attacks for a single player turn

**Non-Walker Vehicles — Once per game, may choose to shoot twice for a single player turn

**ICs/Monstrous Creatures — Once per game, may choose to either shoot twice or double their attacks for a single player turn; also, gains “Preferred Enemy” USR

**Icon of Vengeance — Grants unit “Stubborn” USR and the ability to use its “double attacks or double shooting” a second time during the game.

**Chosen  — Once per game, may choose to either shoot twice or double their attacks for a single player turn; also, gains “Preferred Enemy” USR

**Changes to Huron Blackheart and Fabius Bile — Once per game, may choose to either shoot twice or double their attacks for a single player turn; also, gains “Preferred Enemy” USR

**Changes to Abbadon — Becomes a LORD OF WAR Choice; gains “Hit and Run,” “Rampage,” “Preferred Enemy,” “IWND(4+)” USRs; once per game, may choose to either shoot twice or double his attacks for a single player turn

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While this would not solve everything, or provide a perfect solution, I think it would make Chaos Space Marines significantly more competitive on the tabletop, still preserve the authenticity of their fluff, and also make them unique from other factions (i.e. not just “Marines, but with spikes and worse rules”).

I especially like having Marks for Vehicles, as I think this would make them more enjoyable to use and more effective as well (e.g. imagine “Fast” Land Raiders due to the Mark of Slaanesh, or Helbrutes with +1A because of the Mark of Khorne, or Maulerfiends with Shrouded because of the Mark of Nurgle, or Rhinos that generate “free” Warp Charges because of the Mark of Tzeentch, or Vindicator Squadrons with the ability to shoot twice, once per game, because of Mark of Chaos Undivided).

I also like how even “basic” Chaos Space Marines would be a lot better, since they are getting their Mark for free… while CSM would still lack the ATSKNF and Chapter Tactics of their Loyalist brethren, they would be cheaper overall (13 points/model, compared to 14 points/model for most Loyalist Marines) and would be able to have real advantages of their own built into that cheaper price (i.e. double shots/attacks once a game, or +1WS/I, or +1A, or a free 5++ Invul save, or +1T).

Finally, I think the new versions of the Icons of Chaos are significantly better, with Icon of Despair (-1 Ld aura for enemies), Icon of Flame (Shred for shooting attacks), and Icon of Vengeance (Stubborn, plus ability to use the “double attacks or double shooting” ability a second time during the game) in particular being more competitive than they used to be, I think (even Icon of Wrath got a little better, with Fleet replacing re-rolls of charge distance)

Deathwatch Codex… Wish List

So, I actually am very pleased with the new Deathwatch codex and am excited to try it out, both as an allied element to my current armies and even potentially as an entirely new army in its own right (I particularly like the fact that, unlike the Harlequin or Militarum Tempestus codexes, I think you really do have the ability to run a competitive force using just this book, without any allies).

That said, I also love coming up with experimental rules/improvements, even for the best armies and even for books that just came out (or, in the case of Codex: Deathwatch, are not even officially out yet 😉 ). Based on that, I think Codex: Deathwatch is great, but I also think GW missed a few opportunities and also had a few things that ought to be Errata-ed…. so, here is my “wish list” for improving the, still not even officially released, Deathwatch codex:

 

[1] – WATCH SERGEANT/BLACK SHIELD OPTIONS FOR BIKES, VANGUARD, AND TERMINATORS — I think these two characters provide a lot to the DW Veteran squads and would be fluffy, fun, and competitive options for these squads. Can you imagine a Black Shield Terminator or Vanguard Vet going to town against a Monstrous Creature or IC with WS5 and double attacks as these squads storm into combat? Also, a character/sergeant option, with access to Special Issue Wargear and unique “Xenos Weapons” (see below) in all of these squads would make them even more customizable/flexible, which is great for the army.

 

[2] – DW TECHMARINE (HQ) AND DW APOTHECARY (VETERAN SQUAD UPGRADE) OPTIONS — Not only are these two very prevalent in the Deathwatch fluff, as many have pointed out recently, but they would provide further flexibility and diversity to the army. The DW Techmarine could repair vehicles, tank AP3 shooting with his AA, and have a special Cognitar wargear that grants a friendly nearby unit +1BS, making him a force-multiplier for DW squads, and the Apothecary upgrade could ensure that the relatively fragile DW Veterans have a little more survivability (and that their precious Gene-Seed gets back safely to their parent chapters, fluff-wise).

 

[3] – HEAVY WEAPON CHANGES — The unique DW Frag Cannons and Infernus Heavy Bolters are brilliant, being both unique to the Deathwatch and competitive/versatile. I would keep these two, but drop the Heavy Flamer and Heavy Bolter options (redundant with the Infernus Heavy Bolter) and modify the Missile Launcher into the “Beowulf Pattern Missile Launcher” for +25 points, with multiple special ammo types “organic” to the Missile Launcher

(a) Firefang Missiles – 48″ S4 AP5, Small Blast, Ignore Cover
(b) Ironspear Missiles – 48″ S8 AP2, Sunder
(c) Skyfury Missiles – 48″ S7 AP3, Skyfire, Interceptor
(d) Venomcraft Missiles – 48″ S2 AP3, Fleshbane

Just like Special Issue Ammo for Bolters, this would give Deathwatch a superior, multi-purpose Missile Launcher that could fulfill multiple functions and allow them to be competitive, despite their high points cost/small army size.

 

[4] DIVERSIFIED XENOS BLADE OPTIONS — I think making the “Xenos Blades” that are available to Watch Captains and Watch Sergeants into more varied types would be fluffy and competitive, as each Watch Captain and Watch Sergeant (Veteran, Vanguard, Biker, or Terminator type) able to pick a “Xenos Blade” type that works for them:

(a) Necron Phase Blade (25 points) — S:User AP3, Shred, Molecular Re-alignment Field (enemy units must re-roll successful Invul saves against this weapon)

(b) Eldar Void Lance (30 points) — S:+1 AP1, Lance (on the charge); S: User AP4, Lance (after the charge)

(c) Tau Fusion Axe (30 points) — S:+1 AP2, Armourbane, Bulky (user always strikes at I2 when using this weapon)

(d) Tyranid Venomspine (20 points) — S:X AP-, Fleshbane, Whiplash (+1I/+1A to bearer when using this weapon)

Not only would this give diverse options to the DW leaders, but it would also represent how the Deathwatch pragmatically makes use of any effective weapons it gets it hands on, even weapons taken from the Xenos enemy.

 

[5] HQ UPGRADES —

(a) Watch Captain — I would allow him to take a Space Marine Bike in addition to the AA and Jump Pack options and I would also give him the option to purchase Blind Grenades (5 points). I would also give the Watch Captain (not wearing TDA, of course) access to the Special Weapons wargear list (i.e. so he could take a DW Shotgun, Stalker Boltgun, Flamer, etc.), enabling the build of a more “shooty” HQ and also making the Banebolts of Eryxia Relic actually useable with the Stalker Boltgun.

(b) DW Chaplain — I would allow him to take a Jump Pack and have the option to purchase Rad grenades (+15 points).

(c) DW Techmarine — I would allow him to take a Space Marine Bike and to purchase Haywire grenades (+5 points).

(d) DW Librarian — I would allow him to purchase Psykout Grenades (+5 points).

All of these upgrades would give a little more versatility to the various HQs, while also providing unique reasons to be included in a DW army/lead different elements of that army (i.e. the JP Chaplain could lead Vanguard Vets, the TDA Librarian could attach to Terminators,  the Techmarines could lead a squad of DW Bikers, and the Watch Captain could be configured for any role).

 

[6] WATCH MASTER UPGRADES —

(a) Indomitable Commander Rule — I would give the Watch Master a special rule called “Indomitable Commander” which grants him and any Deathwatch models in his squad the Relentless USR. This allows him to shoot his Guardian Spear and still charge in the same turn and also makes him a enhanced force multiplier for shooty DW squads or Kill Teams that he is attached to.

(b) Orbital Array Option — I would also allow the Watch Master to purchase a miniature Orbital Array for +35 points (like the Rhino Primaris, this would allow him to call down a One Use Only Orbital Bombardment and, starting turn 2, bring one friendly unit in from Reserve automatically each turn).

 

[7] VEHICLE UPGRADES —

(a) DW Land Raiders — I would allow any DW Land Raider variant to be able to purchase Armoured Ceramite, Refractor Fields (gives vehicle a 5++), and/or Enhanced Cognitars (gives +1BS when shooting, including to Snap Shots, so BS5 normally and BS2 for Snapshots) in addition to their “normal” options. I think these options would reflect the Deathwatch’s access to unusual/superior wargear compared to other Space Marines and also would make the Land Raider variants much more viable/competitive options game-wise (i.e. better survivability, better firepower, etc.)

(b) DW Dreadnoughts/Venerable Dreadnoughts — I would give these two the option to purchase a Veteran Skill upgrade (Venerable Dreads could purchase two of them) that gives the Dreadnought either 1) Interceptor; 2) Tank Hunter/Monster Hunter; 3)  or Hatred/Fleet. This hearkens back a bit to the old Veteran skills that Dreadnoughts used to be able to get,  many editions ago, and I think would be particularly useful for DW Dreads, both to make them unique from their “vanilla” counterparts and to provide some flexibility to their role in the force. Finally, instead of the normal Missile Launcher, DW Dreads/VDs would be able to replace their PF/SB with a Beowulf Pattern Missile Launcher with all four types of Missiles (see above).

(c) DW Rhinos/Razorbacks — I would allow both of these vehicles to be able to purchase a Locator Beacon, in addition to their normal Wargear options, and come with the Scout USR as part of their Special Rules. I think this would make both vehicles more viable, especially compared to the Drop Pod and Corvus Blackstar, and thus have more reason to be fielded. Weapons-wise, I would allow DW Rhinos the option to purchase a Pintle-mounted Infernus Heavy Bolter and I would allow the DW Razorback, in addition to the TLed Heavy Bolter/Assault Cannon/Lascannon options it currently has, to alternately take a TLed DW Frag Cannon. These would be fluffy with respect to Deathwatch-specific gear, would give these vehicles more versatility in gameplay, and would further distinguish the DW faction as a whole from the other Marine-type armies.

 

[8] ADD CEREBERUS FIRE SUPPORT DROP POD (HEAVY SUPPORT CHOICE) — Kind of like the Deathstorm Drop Pod, but instead of deploying Assault Cannons or Whirlwind Launchers, this would mount an automated Thunderfire Cannon which could provide artillery support to the Deathwatch units all game long, starting turn 1. Not only would this give a little more variety/flavor to the Heavy Support section of the Codex, but I think it would be a fluffy addition and also a competitive one to the entire Deathwatch faction as a whole.

 

[9] CHANGES TO DW VETERANS, DW BIKERS, AND DW VANGUARD —

(a) DW Veterans — All models in squad (including Watch Sergeant and Black Shield) gain a Bolt Pistol for free, in addition to their other “baseline” Wargear. This makes them more versatile and helps account for the fact that the entire army has a very high base model price, even for the “cheapest” units.

(b) DW Bikers — All models in squad (including Watch Sergeant and Black Shield) gain a Bolt Pistol for free, in addition to their other “baseline” Wargear. Additionally, the bikers gain Infiltrate USR for free (would apply to any Kill Team they are a part of as well). This makes them more versatile and lethal in close combat for their points (see above about DW Veterans) and also enhances their flexibility, especially pre-deployment, allowing them to maximize the contributions of their DW Teleporter Homers.

(c) DW Vanguard — Gain Scout USR for free (would apply to any Kill Team the are a part of as well). This provides them enhanced deployment versatility and helps emphasize their mobility, which is one of the key reasons they exist beyond the normal DW Veteran squads, furthering enhancing their “unique” role in the army.

 

[10] SPECIAL ISSUE AMMUNITION FOR STORM BOLTERS — Any Deathwatch models using Storm Bolters, be they characters in TDA, DW Veterans with the SB upgrade, or DW Terminators, would get access to the following Special Issue Ammunition to use with the Storm Bolters:

—Dragonfire Bolts — 24″ S4 AP5 Assault 2, Ignore Cover

—Hellfire Bolts — 24″ S1 AP5 Assault 2, Poisoned (2+)

—Kraken Bolts — 30″ S4 AP4 Assault 2

—Vengeance Bolts — 18″ S4 AP3 Assault 2, Gets Hot

 

 

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:

——————————————
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

—————————————–
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

—————————————–
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.

————
***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.

————
***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.).

————
***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

————
***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.

————
***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

————

***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″.

—————————————-
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

—————————————–
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