Triumvirate of the Primarch: Grand Master Voldus and Blood Angel Friends

Continuing to look at the Triumvirate of the Primarch as more rules are leaked, next we have Grand Master Voldus of the Grey Knights. Based on what we have heard so far, he as the “standard” Grey Knight Grand Master stats/wargear/rules as follows:

 

WS6 BS5 S4 T4 W3 I5 A4 Ld10 Sv 2+/4++

WARGEAR:

-TDA/Frag Grenades/Krak Grenades/Iron Halo/Storm Bolter

SPECIAL RULES:

-The Aegis/Preferred Enemy (Daemons)/Purity of Spirit

 

On top of these “baseline” abilities, Voldus is PML(3) (he can generate from any disciplines available to the Grey Knights, including Technomancy, Geokinesis, Fulmination, and Librarius powers) and has the “Lore Master of Titan” Warlord Trait (so he can generate an additional Sanctic power above his three normal powers). Looking at him another way, he is basically a hybrid of a the stats of a Grand Master and the Psychic abilities of a maxed out Librarian.

Additionally, and this is important, his Relic is the “Malleus Argyrum,” which is a normal Nemesis Daemon Hammer in every way except for one thing… it strikes at full initiative! So, without any buffs, he as a S8 AP2 Force Weapon that strikes at WS6 and I5… with Hammerhand added in, then it can easily go up to S10 AP2, making it dangerous against anything in the game, including GMCs, Super-Heavies, and extreme combat characters like the infamous Iron Hands Biker Chapter Master of Doom!

 

To really maximize Voldus’ abilities, this is how I am considering running him:

-Voldus (focuses on getting Electrodisplacement from the Fulmination discipline or Might of Heroes from the Librarius discipline)

-Allied TDA Blood Angel Librarian with PML(2) (takes The Quickening power, which is a Primaris power, so they are guaranteed)

-Allied TDA Blood Angel Chaplain

-GK Paladins with Brotherhood Banner and Apothecary

The entire group combines together, either in a transport (like a Spartan Assault Tank, Land Raider Crusader, etc.) or using Electrodisplacment, to get into assault with key enemy units. In a best case scenario, with Force, Might of Heroes, and The Quickening all activated, that gives Voldus 9-11 x S10 AP2 Instant Death attacks on the charge, all at WS6 (with re-rolls to Hit, thank to Zealot) and I8-10 (thanks to The Quickening and Might of Heroes).

Against a Wraithknight, he strike first and gets an average of 10 attacks, 8-9 hits, 7-8 wounds (and no armor saves or FNP, thanks to AP2 and Instant Death)… add in the fact that each Unsaved Wound causes D3 wounds, because of Force being activated, and you are almost guaranteed to kill the Wraithknight before it strikes.

Similarly, against a Stormsurge, Voldus would get an average of 10 attacks, 8-9 hits, 7-8 wounds, and 3-4 Unsaved Wounds after 4++ Invul saves (again, no FNP because of Instant Death)… with some luck in getting 2s and 3s on the D3 wounds inflicted for each Unsaved Wound and you can kill the Stormsurge before it ever gets a chance to hit back or Stomp (the Paladins can strike in here with their weapons as well).

Even against Thunderwolf Cavalry and/or Wulfen, Voldus with get an average of 10 attacks, 8-9 hits, 7-6 wounds, and multiple dead TWC or Wulfen units before they can even strike back (it depends on how many Storm Shields the unit has to stop the S10 AP2 Instant Death attacks).

While this might be somewhat of a “gimmick” tactic, in the right circumstances this battle group, led by Voldus, will be able to deal with almost any enemy unit in close combat it encounters. If Voldus is able to roll up Electrodisplacement, then he also has a very solid chance of getting into combat Turn 1 and not even needing an Assault Transport to ride in (saving you tons of points in your army)… just Deep Strike in a GK unit turn 1 near the enemy target (the closer, the better), then use Electrodisplacement to “swap” places with Voldus and his battle group and follow it up with a (hopefully successful) Turn 1 charge. I think this tactic can be especially useful against Tau Riptide gun-lines, super mobile Eldar forces backed by Wraithknights, Centurion-stars, and pretty much anything else which can put out ridiculous firepower turn 1, since it can begin shutting that down right away with such potent close combat ability combined with an early game charge.

Tactical Debrief: Ravenwing, Raptors, and the Archangels Orbital Intervention Force

I recently played a game with a new 2000 point army list that I have wanted to try out for a while.

Specifically, the list looked like this:

—RAVENWING STRIKE FORCE—

*Interrogator-Chaplain with Bike, Mace of Redemption (Relic)

*10  x RW Black Knights

*RS Land Speeder with TML and HB

 

—RAPTOR COMBINED ARMS DETACHMENT—

*Lias Issodon (WARLORD)

*Chapter Master with Bike, AA, SS, TH, Shield Eternal (Relic)

*5 x Bikes with 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav on Sgt

*5 x Bikes with 2 Grav Guns, Combi-Grav on Sgt

 

—ARCHANGEL ORBITAL INTERVENTION FORCE—

*5 x Assault Terminators (3 x TH/SS, 2 x Dual LC)

*5 x Assault Terminators (2 x TH/SS, 3 x Dual LC)

*5 x Assault Terminators (2 x TH/SS, 3 x Dual LC)

 

I was playing against a Death Guard Traitor Legion force, using their “Nurgle-specific” Decurion (i.e. the Death Guard Vectorium), which had lots of Plague Marines and CSM, plus a unit of Bikes, a squad of Havocs, a squad of Terminators, a Helbrute, and a Spawn (my opponent used the Chaos Warband and the Plague Colony as his two Core choices and the Spawn took up the mandatory Auxiliary choice).

As you already know, all Nurgle forces get +1T (from their Mark), FNP, Fearless, and Relentless as their “Legion Tactics” (but at the cost of -1I penalty to all units too). Additionally, the Death Guard Vectorium allowed them to re-roll FNP rolls of 1 and to gain Stealth against any shooting attacks 18″ away or greater. Finally, the Plague Colony has a 7″ aura of -1WS/-1I to all enemy units (he did not have the max number of units, so he did not get the -1T debuff, which would have been quite brutal). Taken all together, even though I think he was lacking in offensive hitting power (i.e. from Chosen, Obliterators, more Havocs, Heldrakes, etc.), my opponent’s list was VERY durable and ended up shrugging off significant amounts of damage from my army.

In term of my list/strategy, I attached Lias Issodon, the Biker I-C, and the Biker Chapter Master to the Black Knights and infiltrated the entire unit after he deployed, using Issodon’s WL Trait (we were playing The Relic and he had won deploy first/go first roll). I also placed the RW Land Speeder in LOS blocking cover in my DZ (since he has going first) and kept the two Bike squads and the Archangel OIF in reserve.

Looking at each of my units/battle groups, here is how they performed:

[1] Black Knights(Grade: A)/Issodon(Grade: A)/Biker I-C(Grade: A-)/Biker Chapter Master (Grade: B) —

My “deathstar” unit, but one that did not depend on any Psychic Powers to function. I had Infiltrate, Scout, Hit and Run, and Zealot on the unit via the various members and their rules. More importantly, I had a 2+ cover save on all the Bikers (Jink + Shrouded from Issodon), which was re-rollable due to the Ravenwing special rule (well, for all the Dark Angels, but not for the Raptors). Overall, this unit performed quite well, with solid shooting, close combat, and, most of all, DURABILITY… it absorbed all kinds of enemy shooting with no casualties and was able to move to the center of the board, pick up the Relic, and then eventually win combat with a bunch of Nurgle Marines (though I did lose the Chapter Master to his Nurgle Lord in a challenge)… once they won combat, I had Issodon take the Relic and start moving back to my DZ while the surviving Bikers shot/charged more of his remaining units. In the future, I would definitely take them again in conjunction with Issodon, but perhaps take only 5 in a Command Squad (Apothecary for FNP makes them even more difficult to shift) and trade out the Biker Chapter Master for something else. Finally, they also did a great job of “vectoring” in the Archangel OIF for no scatter DS (and charge) on Turn 2, using their Teleporter Homers.

[2] RW Land Speeder (Grade: A-) —

A very solid unit that jumped around all game and provided solid supporting fire with its two missile and 3 HB shots a turn. If there had been Objectives, I think it would have been even more useful, given that it has a 30″ displacement range (i.e. 12″ Move + 18″ Flat Out) each turn, but overall, I would consider taking it again.

[3] Grav Biker Squads (Grade: A-) —

These squads performed quite well also, coming out of Reserve and using their Relentless Grav to destroy his T6/FNP Nurgle Bikers and, in subsequent turns, shoot/charge other Chaos squads (though they were not too spectacular in close combat, especially against T5/FNP Nurgle troops, who were difficult foes for even my Terminators). These were my only ObSec units in the army and, given their relative speed, would have played an even more vital role if we were in a Maelstrom or Objectives focused game.

[4] Archangel OIF Assault Terminators (Grade: B-) —

These guys all came in on turn 2 and used the Black Knight Teleporter Homers to land with no scatter and then charge multiple Nurgle squads that were moving toward the Relic in the center of the table. Two squads charged his Terminators (who had themselves just arrived) and wiped them out in a single turn and the third squad multi-charged two Plague Marine/CSM squads (they had to conduct a Disordered charge anyway). Over the course of the game, I think I lost almost all (if not all) of my Terminators to combat with the Nurgle forces, in part because they had limited attacks on the charge, in part due to their durability with T5/FNP, and in part due to the Plague Colony debuff which made all my Terminators WS3/I3, which allowed his forces to strike simultaneously and to hit on 3+s (versus my hitting on 4+s). While the Assault Terminators did their job by destroying his Terminators and tying up several units, overall they were not as effective as I imagined they would be… I really think they need to “force-multiplied” somehow to maximize their useful in a competitive game…. I have been pondering this and I think I might try and swap them out for a Shadowstrike Kill Team with JP Vanguard, which can still use Issodon’s Locator Beacon for no scatter and do not suffer the drawbacks of a Disordered Charge when they assault from Reserve.

 

Overall, it was a good game with a very nice opponent and I learned a lot about what works (and what doesn’t work) with this new army list.

 

Assault Vehicles for All!

While I think there is a need for “macro-changes” in 8th edition to help rectify the current discrepancy between shooting and assault, one thing I think that would help accomplish this at the more immediate level would be to provide an additional, affordable assault transport for every major faction so that their close combat troop are not stuck with either footslogging, riding in non-Assault vehicle transports, and/or paying 200+ points for Assault Vehicles.

Here is my stab at making this kind of vehicle for each faction (minus Chaos Daemons):

—————————————

RETALIATOR APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Space Marines, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Deathwatch, Sisters of Battle, Inquisition, and Chaos Space Marines) — 100 points

BS4   AV13/11/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models (no Bulky/Very Bulky/Extremely Bulky models)

WAR GEAR:

-Pintle-mounted TLed Flamer (may upgrade to a TLed Melta Gun or TLed Plasma Gun)

-Siege Shield

-Omni Grenade Launcher — Every turn may choose to use Smoke Grenades (not limited to one use, unlike most vehicles) OR Concussion Grenades (enemy forces may not fire Overwatch at any unit that has disembarked from the Retaliator APC for the rest of the turn)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Advanced Repair Servo — Can repair Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed results or a lost HP on itself each turn (instead of shooting or moving Flat Out) on a successful roll of a 5+

—————————————

TELEPORTATION POD — (FAST ATTACK choice for Grey Knights) — 80 points

BS4   AV13/13/13   3HP (Vehicle, Immobile)

Transport Capacity: None

WAR GEAR:

-Gatling Psycannon

SPECIAL RULES:

-Deep Strike

-Drop Pod Assault

-Psychic Pilot (3) — Always knows Force, Banishment, The Shrouding (from Telepathy), and “The Summoning” powers (“The Summoning” is a WC1 blessing with 72″ range and no LOS requirements that teleports one friendly Grey Knight non-vehicle unit or Walker unit to within 6″ of the caster with no scatter, using the rules for Deep Strike; you can upgrade it to a WC3 power which acts in the exact same way, except that the teleported unit can charge on the same turn that it is teleported)

—————————————

CERBERUS APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Astra Militarum and Genestealer Cult) — 75 points

BS3   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 20 models

WAR GEAR:

-Pintle-mounted Quad Heavy Stubber

-Smoke Launchers

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Suppressive Fire — Any non-vehicle units hit by the Quad Heavy Stubber must take a Pinning Check at the end of the Shooting phase

—————————————

CHAMELEON — (FAST ATTACK choice for Craftworld Eldar and Harlequins) — 90 points

BS4   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast)

Transport Capacity: 12 models

WAR GEAR:

-TLed Shuriken Cannon

-Specter Holo-Matrix — Vehicle may re-roll failed Jink saves

-Star Engines

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Assault Vehicle

—————————————

SCORPION (FAST ATTACK choice for Dark Eldar and Harlequins) — 110 points

BS4   AV10/10/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 18 models

WAR GEAR:

-6 x Black Venom missiles (72″ S6 AP1 Fleshbane)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Unrivalled Assault Vehicle — Any units that charge into combat on the same turn that they disembark from this vehicle add +3″ to their charge range and gain +1S to all their close combat attacks during that fight sub-phase.

—————————————

KROOT WAR SKIFF (FAST ATTACK choice for Tau) — 60 points

BS3   AV11/11/11   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 16 models

WAR GEAR:

-2 x Heavy Kroot Guns

SPECIAL RULES:

-War Totems — Only Shapers, Kroot, Kroot Hounds, and/or Krootox may embark on this vehicle. On any turn that a unit disembarks from this vehicle, it gains Hatred, Rage, and Furious Charge for the rest of the turn.

—————————————

DA CHOPPA’ WAGON (FAST ATTACK choice for Orks) — 110 points

BS2   AV14/11/10   4HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 30 models

WAR GEAR:

-4 x TLed Big Shootaz

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per Ork Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-More Dakka! — All vehicle weapons can fire at full BS if the vehicle has moved 12″ or less

-Da Biggest to da Front! — Every Nob, Mega Nob, and/or War Boss in a unit that disembarks from this vehicles gains +1A until the end of the phase.

—————————————

NECRONTYR WAR BARGE (FAST ATTACK choice for Necrons) — 80 points

BS4   AV11/11/11   4HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models

WAR GEAR:

-Gauss Cannon (may upgrade to a Tesla Cannon)

-Quantum Shielding

SPECIAL RULES:

-Living Metal

-Combat Protocol Beacon — Any friendly Necron non-vehicle units within 12″ of this vehicle gain Hatred

—————————————

BROODOFEX (FAST ATTACK choice for Tyranids) — 130 points

WS3 BS3 S6 T6 W4 I2 A2 Ld8 Sv2+  (Jump Monstrous Creature)

WAR GEAR:

-Acid Spray

-Stinger Salvo

[***May take normal Biomorph upgrades, per Tyranid Codex***]

SPECIAL RULES:

-Fearless

-Instinctive Behavior (Hunt)

-Brood Beast — Up to 30 Termagaunts/Hormaguants, 15 Genestealers, or 10 Tyranid Warriors may ride on a Broodofex exactly as if they were embarked on an open-topped transport vehicle (i.e. they can all shoot their weapons, they can disembark 6″ and assault the same turn, they are vulnerable to Template Weapons due to the No Escape! rule, etc.).

Hidden Gem: Centaur Weapons Carrier

Something which all the different Imperium factions have lacked, and still lack, is an affordable open-topped transport that provides their infantry with some mobility and protection, but still allows all the embarked models to shoot and/or assault when required. The closest thing to meeting this criteria is the Land Speeder Storm, but while an excellent multi-purpose transport, it is only allowed to transport Space Marine Scouts, so its utility in this role is quite limited for anything besides those Troops.

Enter the Centaur Weapons Carrier, a Forgeworld Astra Militarum vehicle that can be taken as a Fast Attack option in a CAD or Allied detachment (not to mention as a DT for certain DKOK and Armoured Battle Group units). The Centaur has the following stats/rules:

BS3 AV11/11/10 HP2 (Transport, Fast, Open-Topped)

*Heavy Stubber, Searchlight, Smoke Launchers

*Transport: 5 models

*1-3 Centaurs per Squadron, costs 8 MBs per model

On first glance, this vehicle costs the same points as a Land Speeder Storm and seems inferior in almost every way, with less mobility (Fast Vehicle vs Fast Speeder), less firepower (BS3 Heavy Stubber vs BS4 Heavy Bolter and Cerberus Launcher), and roughly the same survivability (AV11 on the front vs the ability to Jink).

So, why even consider taking a Centaur Weapons Carrier? Well, number one, it is not restricted to SM Scouts, so ANY Imperium infantry that can fit into it can load up as passengers (note: unlike Rhinos/Razorbacks, there is no restriction against Bulky models as passengers) and, number two, since you can take up to three Centaurs in a squadron, you can get a lot of them cheaply with even a “bare bones” AM Allied Detachment. On top of this, Centaurs are Fast Vehicles, meaning they can move 12” and then Flat Out another 12” turn 1, setting up an almost guaranteed Turn 2 charge if they are not destroyed (also, almost guaranteed to be in range of short-range shooting like meltas and flamers on turn 2). Combine this with some Psychic support, like say casting Invisibility on the Centaur squadron, and you can rapidly and reliably have up to 15 models in your opponent’s face by Turn 2 of the game.

So, based on all this, what are some tactical applications for the Centaur and allied Imperium units? Here are some ideas that come to mind for each major faction:

[1] Grey Knights – The Centaur makes an excellent little transport for a 5 man Purifier squad, since not only can the entire unit shoot out of it with SBs/Incinerators/Psycannons, but they can also using Cleansing Flame and assault out of the vehicle all in the same turn, thus maximizing all their different strengths while mitigating their lack of mobility and durability issues.

[2] Dark Angels – A Centaur makes for an excellent “mobile bunker” for a DA Command Squad with 5 Grav Guns and Relic Banner (making them Relentless). The Centaur can move up-field and have its passengers put out 15 Grav shots at 18” all game long, all the while protecting them from small arms fire and even serving as a LOS blocking vehicle for other DA units (i.e. say some RW Bikers moving up behind the Centaurs).

[3] Space Wolves – Whether using Centaurs as cheap Bunkers for Long Fangs (all five Heavy Weapons in a Long Fang squad can shoot out, since it is Open-Topped) or as cheap, mobile transport to “Rhino Rush” Blood Claws or close combat oriented Wolf Guard up-field, the Centaur can synergize quite well with a SW force (and again, the Centaur(s) can form an excellent LOS blocking shield for foot slogging Wulfen as they advance toward the enemy as well). Finally, even Lone Wolfs and Wolf Scouts can grab a ride in a Centaur to make them more effective on the table-top, especially in getting into assault.

[4] Blood Angels – BA Vanguard Vets (whether of the melee or gunslinger loadout) and Death Company without JPs both benefit tremendously from having a mobile assault transport that can move 24” Turn 1 and get them in range to assault the rest of the game. Similarly, basic BA Tac squads (with Heavy Flamers and dual Hand Flamers on the Sgt) and BA Assault Squads (with two Meltaguns and dual Inferno Pistols on the Sgt) get much better when they have a cheap Open-Topped transport to shoot and assault out of.

[5] Deathwatch – Unlike most factions, Deathwatch can take Terminators in squads of 1-2, which means they can load them into a Centaur (despite each TDA model being Bulky) and move safely up-field, all the while shooting with whatever Heavy Weapons they are packing (i.e. CMLs, Assault Cannons, Heavy Flamers, Melta PFs, etc.). On top of this, they can subsequently charge out of the Centaur later on, maximizing their value as close combatants as well. Aside from Terminators, DW Veterans also benefit tremendously from grabbing a ride in a Centaur, whether using it as a static Bunker for a Stalker Boltgun squad, an Assault Vehicle for a squad loaded up with PWs and Heavy Thunder Hammers, or a mobile firebase for a squad with maxed out Frag Cannons or Infernus Heavy Bolters. Even if you just keep the baseline Bolters/Special Issue Ammo or the DW Shotguns, a 5 man Veteran squad in Centaur is much more durable and mobile than normal for a relatively cheap points investment and suffers no loss in firepower in the process.

[6] Space Marines – Honor Guard, Command Squads, Devastator Squads, Vanguard Vets, Sternguard Vets, min-sized Tactical and Assault squads, Crusader squads, and even Sniper Scout squads can all take great advantage of a squadron of 1-3 allied Centaur Weapons Carriers. Of all of these, I think Honor Guard are one of the units that truly get the most out of riding in Centaur APC, as it allows them to rapidly move across the battlefield and assault into combat, thereby maximizing their tremendous points-value while mitigating their weakness, namely lack of mobility and no Invulnerable saves. Alternately, a Devastator squad with max Grav Cannons can move into mid-field and set up a massive, 48” “area denial bubble” with their 20 Grav shots fired safely from within the Centaur “bunker” (at least until your opponent takes out the Centaur itself). Finally, the Centaur makes an exceptional transport for a Librarius Conclave, which can use it to move into position to disembark and cast their powers, cast Witchfires from inside the vehicle, and even assault out of the vehicle if you have Iron Arm and Endurance up on the squad!

[7] Skitarii – Both Rangers and Vanguard can make excellent use of Centaur support, especially since they lack any organic transport of their own, and also because it mitigates their poor durability while simultaneously letting them still use all their firepower to full advantage (especially with their Plasma Calivers, Arc Rifles, etc.).

[8] Imperial Assassins – Whether it is a Vindicare using a Centaur as shooting bunker or an Eversor/ Callidus/Culexus using it as an “assault taxi” to get the quickly across the board into combat, I think Centaur squadrons can be quite a force multiplier for Imperial Assassins (especially in new detachments, like the Castellans of the Imperium, where you can have up to 6 Assassins on the field at once).

[9] Sisters of Battle – Dominion squads, Retributor squads, Battle Sisters squads, and Command squads all can benefit from an extra layer of mobility and protection while they employ their ranged attacks to best advantage. Additionally, Centaurs can take Repentia from almost unplayable to very dangerous, since it protects them from enemy firepower and allows them to get into assault reliably, even against units on the other side of the battlefield.

[10] Inquisition – Henchman War Bands, whether they are close combat oriented (i.e. like DCAs, Crusaders, and Priests) or shooting oriented (i.e. like Acolytes, Joakeros, and Heavy Weapon-toting Servitors), can all benefit from the Open-Topped nature of Centaurs, especially if you take multiple War Bands riding in a squadron of multiple Centaurs (attached Inquisitors can also shoot and/or assault effectively from these vehicles).

[11] Militarum Tempestus/Astra Militarum – Whether as a transport for Scions/Scion Command Squads or as mobile Bunker for AM Command Squads, Ratlings, and/or Wyrdvane Psykers, there are lots of applications for the Centaur with a MT/AM list proper, especially if you flood the battlefield with them (i.e. up to 9 Centaurs if you take three squadrons of them in CAD Fast Attack slots). In particular, I think Scion Command Squads with four Hotshot Volleyguns and AM Command Squads with four Special Weapons are excellent candidates for grabbing a ride in Centaur APCs.

As you can see, there are numerous options for utilizing Centaur Weapons Carriers with Imperium allies, and I did not even touch on using them as a “Hero Hammer APC” to ferry around 1-5 Independent Characters for shooting, Witchfires, and/or Assault (i.e. imagine, say, an AM Priest and four Wolf Guard Battle Leaders with Runic Armor and TH/Wolf Claws all assaulting out of a single Centaur). Bottom line, while this is a little known Forgeworld vehicle, I think it could be a tremendous boost to the competitive lists of most Imperium armies out there.

Champions of Fenris Greatpack

I think the Champions of Fenris Greatpack is quite intriguing, especially with its new version of Logan’s “High King” rule:

1 – All units gets Fearless

2 – WG, TDAWG, and TWC get +1WS

3 – All units from this Greatpack within 12″ of Logan get one of the following rules each turn (you choose): Tank Hunters, Monster Hunters, Preferred Enemy, Relentless, or Furious Charge

With the new “High King” 12″ bubble (which can be extended even further by putting Logan on his sled ), you basically are getting an improved version of the infamous Tau Puretide Engram Chip which affects multiple units at once, instead of just the bearer and his unit.

There are tons of possible applications, but here are some that jump to my mind right out the gate:

1 – Logan Drop Pods in with multiple Plasma Grey Hunter Packs and uses Preferred Enemy to buff all their S7 AP2 Rapid Fire goodness.

2 – Logan rides his Chariot in the middle of multiple maxed out Blood Claw Packs (along with some nearby Wulfen to amp up their abilities even more) and grants them Furious Charge.

3 – Logan rides in his Chariot with multiple meched up Long Fang Packs and grants them Relentless so they can shoot from the hatches of their Rhinos or dismount from their Razorbacks at full BS even after moving.

4 – Logan rides in his Chariot along with multiple TWC packs, granting them either Preferred Enemy (general use), Tank Hunters (assaulting enemy mech), Monster Hunters (for tearing down Tau Riptides and Eldar Wraithknights in close combat), or Furious Charge (for S6 attacks on the charge against T3 enemy like Eldar and Tau).

As you can see, there are many uses for Logan and his Greatpack formation. I think the biggest drawback is the high minimum unit requirement to make this work (i.e. Logan, 2 WG/TDAWG/TWC Packs, 3 Blood Claw variant Packs, 4 Grey Hunter Packs/Land Speeders, 2 Long Fang Packs MINIMUM, which is going to be most of your points right out the gate).

Still, I think the Champions of Fenris Greatpack will make for a competitive, fun, and fluffy option for Space Wolf players. I think this would work particularly well, if you can spare enough points, in conjunction with an allied BA Lucifer Armoured Task Force, which can put multiple armored units (with lots of Flamestorm cannons) up in the enemy’s face before the game even begins, thanks to Scout moves, thus taking target priority away from Logan (who is the lynchpin of this force) and all the Space Wolves escorting him.

Custodes Tactica

With GW releasing 40K rules for the new Custodes models (albeit without a way to field them quite yet, aside from Unbound; I am going off the assumption that that will be corrected soon), I think they have solid potential for competitive play. Looking at their stats/rules, they have the following:

-WS5 BS5 S5 T5 W2 I4 A3 Ld 10 Sv2+

-Guardian Spear (Shoots just like a Bolter and, in close combat, has the following profile: S: +1 AP2, Two-Handed, Block — Gives a chance to block one enemy attack per turn, if you roll higher than their To Hit roll) and Power Knife

Custodes can trade the Guardian Spear for Sentinel Blade (Power Sword with 12″ S4 AP5 Assault 2 shooting profile built in, which also can make Snap Shots at BS2) for free, which means you go down to S5 AP3 and lose AP2 (and the Block special rule), but gain +1A (since the sword is not Two-handed and combines with the Power Knife for two close combat weapons) and the ability to shoot and assault the same turn (unlike the Guardian Spear, which cannot assault after shooting, since it is a Rapid Fire weapon).  More importantly, if you do NOT have a Guardian Spear, each Custodes can take a Storm Shield, giving them a 3++ and counter-acting a critical vulnerability, namely the lack of any Invul Save in their “natural” state.

Special Rules wise, the whole squad is Bulky, can Deep Strike, has Adamantium Will, is Fearless, and (most importantly) has Eternal Warrior! GK Paladins are dying with envy for these kind of stats! 😉 Seriously, though, this makes them quite flexible and reliable, with the option to deploy by Deep Strike or ride in Land Raiders, no danger of every failing a Morale check, and insurance that they will never lose both their wounds to a single attack (except it is a Destroyer attack, of course). One small interesting note is that all Custodes are Characters, not just their “sergeant,” meaning you can choose any of them to take a challenge (great for saving attached ICs) and also any of them can try and Look Out Sir! on a 4+ to preserve their wounds.

Finally, one Custodes in your army can trade his Guardian Spear out for a Custodes Vexilla Banner, giving Fearless to any friendly Imperium units within 12″ and +1A to any friendly Imperium. Combine all this with the Shield Captain “squad sergeant” (who is mandatory and has +1WS, I, and A above normal Custodes) and the option to add up to 5 more Custodes, at 10 MBs per model, and you have an expensive but potent unit, especially in close combat.

OK, now that we have gone over the basics, how do we get the most out of these expensive models? I think their primary weaknesses are lack of an Invul save (unless they drop Guardian Spears for Sentinel Blades and Stormshields), their lower mobility (Deep Striking aside), and their mediocre shooting (basically just Bolter shots at BS5). On the other hand, they strike at S6 AP2 with I4 and WS5, with 4A per model on the charge (5A if the unit has the Custodes Vexilla banner), they are T5 with 2W and Eternal Warrior to make them VERY survivable against anything that is not AP2/1, and they can mix up Guardian Spears/Sentinel Blade + Storm Shield combos to give them both hitting power and durability in the same unit.

Here are some ways I think to “force-multiply” them right out the gate and take them to the next level in terms of competitive game play:

[1] Azrael — Attaching the Dark Angel Chapter Master gives them all a 4++ (even with Guardian Spear), making them MUCH more durable without sacrificing their S6 AP2 attacks at full initiative. Additionally, if they are riding in a transport with him (say a LR Redeemer or a Spartan Assault Tank), then his 4++ is conferred to the transport, making it more 50% more survivable and thus more likely to deliver them to combat successfully. Finally, if Azrael your WL, then he can choose his trait, ranging from adding +3″ to the unit’s Run and Charge moves to giving the squad Furious Charge (so all the Guardian Spear Custodes are hitting at S7 on the charge, making them a real threat to most vehicles) to FNP for the unit if they are close to an Objective.

[2] Brother-Captain Stern — With guaranteed access to both Hammerhand and Sanctuary, he can make the already dangerous Custodes into almost invincible Close Combat monsters. Hammerhand makes their Guardian Spears strike at S8 AP2 (at I4 still) and even models with Sentinel Blades attack at S7 AP3. Better yet, Sanctuary ups any Custodes with Storm Shields to a 2++, allowing them to “shrug off” an average of  83% of all enemy AP2/1 attacks for the rest of the squad. Finally, he adds his own close combat power, especially his Force Weapon, into the mix and also gives the whole unit Preferred Enemy (Daemons) and enhanced Deny the Witch (which synergizes well with the Adamantium Will of the Custodes).

[3] Sevrin Loth — With guaranteed access to Endurance, Enfeeble, and Life Leech (in the Biomancy Discipline), he can double the survivability of the Custodes against anything that is not S10 (or has Instant Death inherently) via FNP(4+), he can reduce enemy Toughness by -1 (so S6 Guardian Spears “double out” T3 Space Marine, for example), and he can restore lost wounds to Custodes via Life Leech. Alternately, he can go Telepathy instead, with guaranteed access to Invisibility, again making the whole unit vastly more difficult to hurt via shooting or close combat. Finally, he is very solid Close Combat fighter himself, especially with his ability to have a 2++ save using the Armor of Selket.

[4] Ulrik the Slayer — While not as dramatic as some of the HQs already mentioned, he gives the entire squad of Custodes he is attached to Preferred Enemy, without any requirement to pass any Psychic Tests, and he also gives them FNP(6+), for a small buff in durability. Ulrik is not amazing as a fighter, but does have a BS5 Plasma Pistol and 5 x S6 AP4 attacks at WS6 and I5 on the charge, so he can add a little more “uummpphh” to the Custodes, especially against vehicles and units with 4+ armor or worse. Finally, if he is the WL, he also gives the unit Monster Hunter, which is quite solid for dealing with enemy MCs and GMCs that are more and more common in the game these days.

[5] Sanguinary Priest with The Angel’s Wing relic — A cheap way to give the Custodes FNP, without any need to roll for Psychic Powers or pass Psychic Tests. Additionally, the Angels Wing allows the entire unit to Deep Strike more safely/accurately and also makes it much less vulnerable to enemy Interceptor fire (mainly thinking of Tau here).

[6] Deathwatch TDA Librarian with Dominus Aegis relic — The DW Librarian can move normally with the Custodes or Deep Strike in with them, depending on the circumstances, and can also use any Psychic Powers he rolls to enhance them (imagine if he got Warpmetal Armor and cast on the Custodes squad, making the entire unit majority T6!). The Dominus Aegis gives the whole unit a 4++ if it does not move, which also activates on the second round of any combat (since they cannot move, by default, if they are stuck in combat), making the entire squad much more durable at a bargain points cost.

[7] Ordos Xenos Inquisitor with Rad Grenades, Ulumeathi Plasma Syphon, and Liber Heresius relic — The Rad Grenades reduce enemy Toughness by -1 on the first round of any combat, making the Custodes more potent in combat than they already are, the Plasma Syphon reduces the threat of Rapid Fire Plasma Weapons significantly, and the Liber Heresius relic allows the squad to Scout at the beginning of the game and gain Counter-attack and Hatred for one turn each later in the game, which can be quite useful in the right circumstances.

 

[8] Two Adepta Sororitas Ministorum Priests, one with the Litanies of Faith relic — The Priests gives the Custodes Hatred for re-rolls to Hit in the first round of combat (the Custodes already have the Fearless portion of Zealot), which is a solid buff in and of itself. More importantly, the Litanies of Faith allows both Priests to auto-pass their War Hymns tests, meaning that as long as they are alive, the whole unit AUTOMATICALLY gains Shred for its close combat attacks and AUTOMATICALLY re-rolls any saving throws (both Armor and Invul) in close combat… taken together, especially with a few Custodes with Storm Shields up front for “tanking” purposes, and you should be able to tear through even the most deadly opponents like Wulfen, Ork War bosses in Mega Armor, Hive Tyrants, GMCs, Iron Hands Chapter Masters with the Gorgon’s Chain relic, etc. etc.

Unsung Hero: Death Company Dreadnought Tactics

In all of the excitement/interest about the new formations and units from the Angel’s Blade supplement, I think it is easy to over-look how good Death Company Dreadnoughts are now, especially after the recent FAQ by Games Workshop which brings them up to 5A base.

Looking at their profile, a baseline DC Dreadnought takes up an Elites slot (or is a 1-3 requirement in the Death Company Strike Force formation) and come in at a cost of 25 MBs per unit. They also come “stock” with 2 PFs (one with a meltagun and one with a storm bolter), Rage, Furious Charge (which only comes into play if they lose both of their PFs/Blood Talons), and “None Can Stay my Wrath” (DC Dreads ignore Crew Shaken/Crew Stunned results).

Between their 5A base, dual PFs, and Rage, on the charge they put out 8 x S10 AP2 attacks at I4. If you replace their PFs with Blood Talons (only 2 MBs to do so), they become 8 x S10 AP2 attacks with the Shred USR, so this is basically an “auto-take” upgrade. Finally, if they are part of any detachment or formation with the Red Thirst rule (or they are within 6″ of Corbulo’s Red Grail relic), they strike at I5 on the charge (and WS5, in the case of Corbulo’s buff).

If you step back and look at this objectively, we are talking Chapter Master Plus level close combat abilities here (i.e. 8 x S10 AP2 Shred attacks at I5 and WS5 if within 6″ of Corbulo)… there are very few units that can go head to head with this and win… just for comparison, a DC Dread charging a Wraithknight (with Corbulo support) has 8 attacks, about 5-6 hits, about 5 wounds, and about 3-4 Unsaved Wounds after FNP rolls… for a model that costs a little over 1/3 the points of a Wraithknight, that is pretty exceptional. A pair of DC Dreads ought to reliably kill a Wraithknight outright on the charge, with the Wraithknight only getting 4 x S10 AP2 attacks back before it, on averages, dies. Similarly, against a unit of enemy Thunderwolf Cavalry, two DC Dreadnoughts (with supporting Corbulo) would have 16 attacks, 10-11 hits, about 10 wounds, and about 3-4 dead TWC this is presuming all the TWC had Storm Shields; if no Storm Shields, then that is 10 dead TWC, all before the TWC get to strike).

In terms of force-multiplying DC Dreads, there are several options. First of all, if the Sanguinor is nearby, then they get +1A. Similarly, if they are part of the Death Company Strike Force and within 12″ of a DC Chaplain, they get +1A as well (these could potentially stack, giving a single DC Dread 10 attacks on the charge!).

In terms of Psychic support, Prescience gives them re-rolls to Hit (making even better use of their S10 AP2 Shred attacks), Unleash Rage gives them +1A, Invisibility makes them VERY hard to damage with either shooting or close combat attacks, Warpmetal Armor makes a DC Dread AV13/13/11, Magnetokinesis gives them a free 18″ move in addition to their normal 6″ move/D6″ run (but takes away the ability to assault that turn), and Forewarning gives them a 4++ Invul against both shooting and close combat attacks (so, in essence, doubling their survivability).

In terms of mobility, there are a couple of different options to mitigate their mediocre 6″ movement each turn. First and foremost, they can take Drop Pods as DTs, putting them in the enemy’s face as early as Turn 1 (although they have to “weather the storm” of enemy shooting before they charge on turn 2). A Baal Strike Force detachment has 4 Elite slots, so if you take a mass Drop Pod force (say, 4 DC Dreads and 3 Tactical Squads, all with Drop Pods), then you could have up to 4 DC Dreads come  in via Drop Pod Turn 1 and overwhelm your opponent’s target priority, potentially. Aside from Drop Pods, DC Dreads can also ride in friendly Stormravens, giving them lots of mobility and protection, but at a high “tax” cost of purchasing a Stormraven for each Dreadnought that needs a ride. Since the Stormraven is an Assault Vehicle and can Zoom before dropping into Hover mode and unloading its cargo, this is a very reliable way to get the DC Dread into combat (but this also means a Turn 3 charge at the earliest, unless the Stormraven starts on a Skyshield Landing Pad).

Finally, while shooting is not the main purpose of a DC Dreadnought, its SB/meltagun provide some decent anti-personnel/anti-vehicle shooting, especially coming out of a Drop Pod. Alternately, against lots of infantry, you can replace both of these weapons with Heavy Flamers, letting the DC Dreadnought put out 2 x S5 AP4 Templates each turn, which can be devastating against anything without a 3+ save or better (i.e. Necron Warriors, Eldar infantry, Tau infantry, Ork Hordes, Tyranids, Dark Eldar, Genestealer Cult, Skitarii, Astra Militarum, Chaos Cultists, Chaos Daemons, SM Scouts, etc., etc.).

Overall, I think DC Dreadnoughts provide very strong value in an army, whether taken singly or in mass and whether used by a pure BA force or taken as part of an allied contingent to another style of army.