Relics of Nocturne

Here is my review of the new Salamander relics that came out with the Angels of Death Supplement:

1 – Drake-Smiter (10 MBs) — Basically a MCed Thunder Hammer with one extra rule… Mighty Strike… which allows the bearer to swap all the normal attacks for a single Strength D attack. This is quite a solid capability, since it allows the bearer to bypass FNP/Re-animation Protocols, gives the equivalent of S10 (so ID to anything T5 or below), and inflicts D3 wounds in most instances (and D6+6 wounds 16% of the time). This gives you a great chance of taking out non-EW enemies in a challenge, chipping down wounds/HPs from powerful Close Combat opponents, and even “one-shotting” things like Imperial Knights or Wraithknights if you roll the lucky 6 on the Destroyer table. In terms of employment, I think this is best used on a tough character with good survivability (since they are striking last due to the Unwieldy rule), but actually you get the most value of a character with lower base attacks, since you only get one swing with Strength D anyway, whether you are a 2A Librarian or a 4A Chapter Master.

2 – Nocturne’s Fury (4 MBs) — A flamer with AP4 (vice the normal AP5) that is only available to a unit that can normally take selections from the Special Weapons options. On top of this, it can either be an Assault 1 template weapon (like most flamers) or a Heavy 1 Torrent weapon. Finally, if taken on a model from a Flameblade Strike Force, then it goes up to S5 and it still gets re-rolls to Wound/for Armor Penetration, due to Salamander Chapter Tactics. Employment-wise, the big advantage of this weapon is the extra range from the Torrent option, but that normally means the model has to stand still to shoot (and so be very defensive). If you take this on a Relentless model (i.e. like a Biker or a model in a unit that has Endurance cast on it) or a unit with Slow and Purposeful (i.e. like a Legion of the Damned squad or a model in a unit that has an attached Cataphracti Terminator Captain), then you can still move the squad and use the Torrent option to full effect (i.e. like coming out of a Drop Pod or disembarking from a vehicle or after moving 12″ with a Bike).

3 – The Salamander’s Mantle (6 MBs) — Very simple, this does not replace a weapon and simply gives the bearer EW. Great on an already kitted out Captain or Chapter Master that you want to keep alive at all costs (i.e. if he is your WL and/or if you intend to use him to “tank” for his squad). This also gives you a second, cheaper, alternative to the Shield Eternal, meaning that you can potentially have two different Salamander characters with EW in your army, if you really want to double down on the survivability of your ICs.

4 – The Tome of Vel’cona (5 MBs) — A Librarian only relic, this gives the bearer the Molten Beam power for free/automatically (does not affect Psychic Focus) and increases the strength of all Pyromancy powers used by the Librarian by +1S. Not only is this fluffy for Salamanders, but it greatly enhances the utility of the Pyromancy discipline, with Flame Breath becoming S6 AP4 Template, Spontaneous Combustion inflicting S7 AP3 initial hits, Sunburst becoming a S5 AP5 9″ nova, Inferno becoming a S5 AP5 Large Blast, and Molten Beam moving up to a S9 AP1 Melta beam. Finally, having guaranteed access to Molten Beam can allow for several strategies, such as the Librarian jumping out of a Drop Pod turn 1 and smoking multiple tanks in a single shot (thank you S9 Melta!) or “sniping” key enemy units like commanders, banner carriers, etc, with careful “aiming” of the beam itself.

5 – Vulkan’s Sigil (6 MBs) — Only available to Chaplains, this is another simple, but effective, relic. During one fight sib-phase per game the bearer can activate the Sigil, giving himself and his unit +1A for the rest of the phase. Since close combat rounds can often be decided in a single turn, being able to reliable swing the odds in your favor for a chosen player turn can be decisive. Employment-wise, I think this works best on a Chaplain leading a potent close combat unit, like Assault Centurions or Hammernators or Honor Guard. Combined with the re-rolls from Zealot, +1A for charging, and any other buffs (like +1A for the Banner of the Emperor Ascendant) and you can make a potent assault unit absolutely devastating for the turn when it must destroy a particular enemy at all costs.

6 – Wrath of Prometheus (2 MBs) — The cheapest Salamander relic (and perhaps the best value for its points), this is in essence a MCed Bolter with Rending, 30″ range, and Heavy Bolter equivalent hitting power (i.e. S5 AP4 Rapid Fire). While this can go well with any character, I would argue that the best option would probably be a cheaper character like a Techmarine or Captain with high Ballistic Skill (remember, you can only take one Relic per character, based on the recent FAQs, so better not to use this on a Chapter Master who could take Drake-Smiter or The Salamander’s Mantle instead). Wrath of Prometheus won’t be a game-changer by itself, but with a few lucky Rending rolls, you can take out expensive enemy models or knock the last wounds of a key enemy character. Really, the best way to think of this Relic is like a light-weight, “pocket” Assault Cannon that can be taken by any character you want it on.

Flameblade Strike Force

I have been looking at the rules for the new “Flameblade Strike Force” and here is what I have come up with so far to maximize its benefits:

 

FLAMEBLADE STRIKE FORCE

 

1) CORE — Battle Demi-Company — (Cataphractii TDA Captain; 3 Tactical Squads with Flamers, MBs, and DP; MM Attack Bike Squad; Devastator Squad with 4 x MM, DP)

 

2) HQ — Strike Force Command — (Vulkan)

 

3) AUX — Ravenhawk Assault Group — (Stormraven with MM/LC and “Istvaan V” Legacy of Glory, Ironclad with dual Heavy Flamers, 10 x Sternguard with dual Heavy Flamers, 5 x Combi-Meltas)

 

 

The idea with the Ravenhawk Assault Group is to attach Vulkan to the Sternguard (who are combat squaded), then Turn 2 Deep Strike the Stormraven with no scatter (thanks to “Istvaan V” Legacy of Glory) and unload Vulkan, the Ironclad, and the two Sternguard Combat Squads. You can then precisely hit your opponent with 5 x S6 AP4 Templates with re-rolls to Wound from Vulkan/Ironclad/Sternguard Heavy Flamers (this should wreck anything but the very toughest infantry out there and can even work against light vehicles, since they are S6 Templates with re-rolls to Penetrate). You can also use the Stormraven MM/LC and the 5 Combi-meltas to shoot vehicles, MCs, or elite infantry at the same time that the Flamers are doing their work.

 

The Tactical squads support this with their own flamers and Objective Secured status. Also, the Cataphractii Terminator Captain joins the MM Devastators to make them pseudo-Relentless (i.e. Slow and Purposeful), so they can Drop Pod in and hit a selected target, like Knights or MCs, with 4 x MCed Multi-Meltas at full BS.

Melta Overwhelming!….. Vulkan and 7th edition tactics…

Vulkan He’stan is a solid special character from the Salamander faction of Codex: Space Marines who adds respectable individual capabilities (i.e. Relic Blade, Heavy Flamer, 2+/3++ armor, Captain Statline) to some excellent support abilities, namely making all meltas, combi-meltas, and Multimeltas in his detachment Master crafted. He also comes in at reasonable pricing and unlocks a Command Squad if you need it.

So, in the current environment of 7th edition, how do you make the most of Vulkan’s abilities? I think one answer lies in a combination of Ironclad Dreadnoughts, Scouts, and Assault Marines (I know, I know, all of these are not fluffy Salamander units, but bear with me here).

Now imagine the following:

-Vulkan

-Master of the Forge with Conversion Beamer

-6 x Ironclad Dreadnoughts (Meltagun/Heavy Flamer, Powerfist/Chainfist, Drop Pod)

-1 x CC Scouts (5 scouts with CCW/BP, MB on Sgt)

-1 x Sniper Scouts (5 Scouts with Sniper Rifles, Camo Cloaks)

-3 x Assault Squads (5 Assault Marines, 2 Flamers, MB on Sgt, Drop Pod)

-Stormwing formation (1 Stormraven, 2 Storm Talons)

-Firestorm Redoubt (with 2 x Battle Cannon, Comms relay)

Vulkan joins the CC Scouts and they all ride in the Stormraven from the Stormwing formation. Master of the Forge joins the Sniper Scouts on the battlements of the Firestorm Redoubt, mans the Comms relay, and shoots his Conversion Beamer while the Scouts use their Sniper Rifles.

This task force has a total of nine Drop Pods, so five come in Turn 1 and the rest come in with normal Reserves. Use the Ironclads in the first wave to crack open enemy vehicles and cause mass disruption to his DZ (lots of AV13 walkers coming simultaneously, using their TLed meltas and TLed Heavy Flamers). Simultaneously, Firestorm Redoubt Battle Cannons, Sniper Scouts, and MotF’s Conversion Beamer thin the enemy infantry lines.

Starting turn 2, bring in the Assault Squads in Drop Pods to use their Twin-Linked Flamers on enemy infantry. Also bring in the Stormwing formation to deal with enemy air, provide extra anti-tank, and/or drop CC Scouts/Vulkan on objectives. Comms relay should make these Reserve units more reliable and enable you to “out-mass” your opponent at the critical time and place, starting Turn 2+.

The key to this battle group is mass Ironclad Dreads, made even better by Vulkan and Salamander Chapter Tactics. MotF allows up to 6 Ironclads and Stormwing formation gives critical close air support.