Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Angels of Death Part 3 - Warlord Traits, Chapter Tactics, Formations & Special Rules, Psychic Powers (Warhammer 40,000 Codex Supplement Review, 7th Edition)

So, you might recall that last time ended on a very abrupt note. Rather than being an expected new listing of rules, only the Salamanders ended up with something wholly original, while the others were a compressed and rehashed version of rules from older books. Well, it might not surprise you to know that this continued again here, and many core chapters end up with more of the same. 

Warlord Traits, Chapter Tactics, Special Rules (Iron Hands, Imperial Fists, White Scars, Raven Guard)

The Warlord Tables, Chapter Traits, Relics/Wargear, pretty much all of it had been taken from previous releases, namely the astartes codex supplements and War Zone: Kauyon. Most of these remain relatively unchanged save for a couple of very minor edits here and there, none of which really alters the outcome of the rules. So, we end up with the same strengths and failings of past reviews, with the Imperial Fists being stuck as the Centurion spam army while the Iron Hands are defined by a vast legion of Dreadnoughts and Techmarines. You can find my personal thoughts on those rules here and here respectively, and opinions on the White Scars and Raven Guard rules here. Oh, and certain Salamanders bits are also found here.

There's really not much which can be added to this, as it's more of what we've seen before. Still, repeating these ideas isn't an inherently bad thing for those after a solid and somewhat cheaper compilation of the special rules for certain chapters. Some people really do just want the rules without the lore, and it's not uncommon for a player to field two very diverse astartes armies these days, even if they're using conflicting ideologies. So, if someone had an Imperial Fists force and a White Scars detachment but didn't want to pay the full £70.00 for both Kauyon and Sentinels of Terra, it's understandable that they might want a cheaper £20.00 alternative. As such, this is one of those rare occasions where recycling a lot of older stuff really was a good move on Games Workshop's part.

So, with that done, onto the "new" stuff.

Warlord Tables (Black Templars, Crimson Fists, Salamanders)

Sadly, despite having a few rules on here, the Black Templars and Crimson Fists don't get much love. While they do retain the Warlord Tables previously released in White Dwarf, there's nothing in the way of special rules, unique equipment or something to really help give them a little more personality. True, they are both secondary armies compared with the First Founding club which makes up most of this book, but at the same time compared with them, this lack of attention or care is keenly felt. Still, it is something we've yet to fully cover in a review, so let's start there with the zealous mob of black clad psychopaths.

1. Master Swordsman - This is your basic steroids option, but my word if it's not a very tempting one to have with the right unit. Offering +1 to the Warlords' Weapons Skill and an additional attack to their basic stat, this is a brilliant option for any Emperor's Champion or duel focused HQ choice. While it's hardly thinking outside the box, given how often Templars armies tend to use their HQ units as bipedal battering rams to break squads and enemy leaders, it's a nice option to have any day.

2. Furious Indignation - This is actually an old special rule which has been transformed into a Warlord trait. Remember how Black Templars armies used to zoom across the board if they failed their Leadership tests? Yeah, it's still here, but you need to hope you A) Get this rule and B) That you don't mind having it limited to your Warlord and his personal squad. 

Should you fail a Morale Test in the Psychic or Shooting Phase, roll 2d6 and have the squad leg it towards the nearest enemy unit. They do need to stop one inch away, so you can't have them enter combat out of turn sadly, and there is also the added problem that you're unlikely to ever make use of this thanks to the high Leadership of HQ choices. It's one of those things which was a good rule when applied to an whole army, but limited to an HQ choice it really seems stunted and unnecessary. Definitely not the best one on this list.

3. Abhor the Witch - This is another previously universal Templars special rule which has been adapted to the Warlord Table. Once a Vow, this instead now gives the Warlord alone gets Hatred and Preferred Enemy against all psykers. Nice to be sure, but useless if you're facing down necrons, tau or a few others, and it would have been better implemented on a wider scale.

4. Honour Demands Combat - Warlord and any unit he is attached to can re-roll failed charges. Extraordinarily useful if you have a tooled out Warlord with a bunch of power sword wielding marines backing him up. Uncomplicated, but useful for an army so close combat orientated as this one.

5. OathKeeper - This is probably the single most useful one for someone wanting to turn their Warlord into either a massive roadblock or a murderer of HQ choices. So, you get Fearless but also re-rolls to hit during challenges, meaning anyone armed with a power weapon and the right tools can become a real headache for certain foes. Nice indeed and a solid bonus to help certain leaders.

6. Unyielding Determination - The Warlord and any Templar within "12 gets to re-roll Pinning, Fear and Morale tests of all kinds. It's good for turning the Warlord into a spearhead, and driving the army forwards with a few key allied units if you're facing down a gun-line and remaining mobile in the face of massed firepower. It does relate more to a couple of very singular, obvious, tactics over some of the more complex ideas, but even if you do opt to Deep Strike in your Warlord and a few others it will still be of use.

On the whole, this is a good and bad one. On the one hand, it does fall back on the old problem of making HQ choices overly important to an army, and focusing far too much exclusively upon them over anything else. As mentioned, what were previously spread about the whole army via special rules or vows are now singularly limited to the Warlord, and the fact they're put down to a random roll on a table hardly helps. On the other hand however, it does avoid the innate failings of other Warlord traits. There's no push to try and cover a wide variety of different roles, no push to make players rely upon them and then be screwed over once they roll the wrong choice. Instead, they're a nice series of bonuses for the typical combat focused Marshall leading  Black Templars force.

The Crimson Fists on the other hand are certainly a little different. You can see where certain ideas cross over with one another, and where traits are kept thanks to their innate link via their primarch, but they do a good job of reflecting their differing status and ideologies. Admittedly though, in the Crimson Fists' case a lot of these are focusing far more upon their hatred in the face of the orks more than anything else.

1. Pain is for the Weak - Your Warlord gains Feel No Pain, and that's about it. Nice to have, but hardly essential and it's not useful to the army as a whole or all that useful in winning challenges. Still, any bonus suitability for an HQ choice is hardly all that bad.

2. Die-Hard Defenders - This gives your Warlord and anyone he's with Counter-Attack and Stubborn, which makes them exceptionally useful for objective focused missions. Give the Warlord Terminator armour and pair him up with some bullet spongy troops and they're going to be extremely tough to shift. Definitely a useful option in most games and nice even if you're working with more of a general army list.

3. Veteran of Rynn's World - This is one of the big ork focused ones here, and the main one which directly relates to them. As you might expect, it  gives the Warlord (and by extension any squad he's attached to) Hatred and Preferred Enemy when facing down orks. Definitely a nice choice for carving your way through some of their more numerous squads and generally giving them hell. Of course, this is only useful if you happen to run into orks, so it's one of those ones which would have better served as an upgrade or bonus over a random chart roll.

4. Experienced Instructor - Your Warlord effectively turns into Telion, gaining his innate bonus special rule. If you don't shoot or don't run during the Shooting Phase, you can nominate a friendly unit within "12 to work with his BS. Much like the previous one this is okay, but it's oddly situational. It only really works if you're fielding a Warlord who isn't made to be a front-line warrior or actually has someone in range to really make use of their guns. While it might serve as a nice bonus if you have a nearby marine with a melta gun or plasma weapon, that's kind of a one trick pony and you're probably never going to use it after that.

5. Unwilling to Die - Your Warlord gains Eternal Warrior. Like Pain is for the Weak, this is really just a singular upgrade, but this one is admittedly a lot more useful in most games. It's almost expected for damn near any HQ choice or named character to have Eternal Warrior, so the added durability is welcome, but it's a damn shame something more inventive or widely useful wasn't thrown into the mix.

6. Heir of Dorn - Like the last option on the Black Templars list, this is one which serves as a major bonus to anyone within "12 of the Warlord. However, instead or resisting certain tests or altering their outcome, instead he and those nearby gain Fearless as a nice bonus. It's okay, but that's about it.

While it doesn't commit any major sins, this one is a lot less focused than the Black Templars list and it falls into the trap of trying to do too much. Options three and four are useful for a Warlord paired up with units of Devastators or raged units, but two, one and five all seem to be more focused upon combat, while three can be a throw-away one if you're facing the wrong guy. It seems oddly directionless, and much of that probably comes down to two facts: The first list re-used a lot of key points from the prior codex and had a lot of key groundwork laid out for it to help with a single, solid depiction of the chapter. That said, the Crimson Fists sadly lack a big bold defining feature which doesn't relate to their near annihilation, and a lot of what writers focus more upon Rynn's World than any old history. Sure, you need to include Rynn's World somehow, but focusing on their relationship with the Inquisiton or commenting upon their own spin of the Codex Astartes would have been nice. After all, Steve Parker's book did make it clear that they had a few key deviations from the traditional structure of their chapter.

Overall, nothing great but nothing too much to complain about either. It just could have done with a bit more personality or focus in covering one type of leader.

So, that leaves us only with the Salamanders now, and they do have the strongest selection of the bunch even if they do re-use certain concepts once again.

1. Anvil of Strength - Your Warlord gains +1 Strength to his basic stats, meaning he's going to be hitting like a truck in close combat. Even without the Strength D hammer of annihilation mentioned in the last part, this means that most armoured or heavy infantry are going to crumple when facing this guy.

2. Lord of Fire - An odd one to be sure, it gives your Warlord a 2+ Feel No Pain save against any flame based weapons of any kind. It's unclear if this refers only to flamers or also meltas and whatnot, but even then it might have still even have been useful when facing certain armies were it not for one fact: This doesn't carry over to the squad he's with. On the one hand, yeah, you can see the reasoning why given this is supposed to be relatively unique. On the other though, this means a couple of heavy flamers will rob your Warlord of any nearby meat shields and then can merrily slaughter him without issue. It's really difficult to say just how useful this might be overall, if at all.

3. Patient and Determined - This is very useful for extending the game a little further to help ensure you get the final kill, or if you need to push things back in your favour at the last minute. Basically, when rolling for Game Duration you add +3 to your end result. This is definitely one of the best options on here, as it does fit with the sheer, stubborn tenacity of the Salamanders without pushing it to Imperial Fists levels or being too overt. Plus, it's rare to run into a game where this wouldn't be nice to have when facing down someone difficult. Really, this is a solid addition.

4. Miraculous Constitution - Your Warlord gains I Will Not Die. Yep, speaks for itself really.

5. Forge Master - So, if you gave your Warlord any kind of master-crafted weapon (which most players will be doing given that this is a Salamanders list) will gain the option to re-roll any missed hits. This includes Salamanders specific relics and the generic versions as well, so you've got a hell of a lot of versatility backing up this one.

6. Never Give Up - Those within 12" of your Warlord are Stubborn and re-roll Morale tests, with the Warlord himself gaining this as well. This is probably the best of both worlds really, as it blends the best elements of the Black Templars and Crimson Fists options without their flaws. You gain their sheer refusal to fall but alongside a nice special rule, so no complaints there at all.

Besides the questionable Lord of Fire listing and the fact it tends to stick to a lot of previous archetypes, it's good. Like the Black Templars choice, it is focused enough to really be of use for most general Salamanders HQ choices, and it doesn't make the mistake of trying to tailor it to every type of leader. Okay, you're a little more close-combat focused, but with so many master crafted weapons and solid relics it's unlikely people will be doing much less at the moment.

Generic Formations

The vast majority of the formations found within this book are fairly general builds, with no specific inclination towards one chapter or another. While certain ones do fit with certain chapter traits or tactics, they're written to be combined and used as just a general overall force. Like the one from the standard Codex: Space Marines, they're structured and built up to reflect the way most codex forces are constructed out of elements from various companies.

The thing is though, most of these are once again taken and re-used from prior books. War Zone: Kauyon's own formations arise again and again here, and the bulk of those on offer are taken directly form that tome. The specific ones are as follows: 

The Stormlance Demi-Company, Hunting Force, Stormbringer Squadron, Speartip Strike, Pinion Battle Demi-Company, Shadowstrike Kill Team, Bladewing Assault Brotherhood, Skyhammer Orbital Strike Force, and Shadow Force. 

Now, you might recall that previously these were all made with the White Scars and Raven Guard specifically in mind, and that most of these are stealth or fast attack focused. That remains the same here, it's they're supposed to reflect the Codex as a whole and the whole relationship with those original chapters has been forgotten. Instead they're just listed as being the ones most famous for using them, which is more than a little infuriating given it's another situation where something unique has been given to everyone. Then again, it makes a change from it happening to the Dark Angels. There's only one relatively new one here, and that's only thanks to the fact it was originally on a dataslate rather than presented in a prior codex; though the copious amounts of cheese that went into its creation might make you wish it had stayed that way:

Skyhammer Annihilation Force - Welcome to the alpha strike formation from hell. You remember those arseholes back in late Fifth Edition who loved using Storm Ravens? You know the ones, the guys who would drop pretty much their entire army directly atop of yours and murder everything before you could respond? This is their wet dream.

What you have here is a combination of two Assault Squads and two Devastator Squads all outfitted with Drop Pods, but the Assault units retain their jump packs. There are four special rules helping back them up here, each one nastier than the last. 
Shock Deployment means you keep all of these units in Deep Strike Reserve, and then throw them down on your first or second turn. There's no rolling for this, you just decide when they arrive and they do just that, and you even ignore the drop pods themselves for the purposes of the Drop Pod Assault special rule. 
First the Fire, then the bitches Blade twists the knife, as the Devastators attached to this formation gain Relentless for the entire game, while the Assault Marines can charge the second the arrive. 
Suppressing Fusillade then means that anything the Devastators open fire on takes a Morale test, but at 3D6, and rather than falling back as usual they immediately go to ground, leaving them open to the Assault Marines. Even if the targeted units pass though, they can't use Overwatch for the rest of the turn.
Finally, Leave No Survivors just helps ensure that anything on the wrong end of this formation dies a horrible and very painful death by ensuring two details: Assault Marines can use their jump backs in both movement and assault. Also, if any targeted unit did Go To Ground, the marines can re-roll hits and wounds while attacking that squad.

There's a special place on the lowest level of Satan's realm for whoever thought up this one, right there with the bloke who did Codex: Eldar Craftworlds. Really though, did someone think we needed to go back to the days of Fifth Edition Codex: Blood Angels? There's something almost admirable about the sheer brazen nature of how outright broken this thing is. Even if it doesn't kill the entire enemy force at once, that's a sizable chunk of likely very important units obliterated on the first turn. Really, there's no words. We should have sent a poet to analyze this damn thing.

Strike Forces

This is the big new thing here, and after so much of the lore had been spent hyping and examining their importance to chapters you better believe they left the good stuff for last. Each one mostly serves as a varied combination angled to reflect the chapter they represent in some way - I.E. Faster more drop centric Raven Guard contrast heavily with the slower but harder hitting Salamanders etc. We've certainly seen this before plenty of times, often in the War Zone books but as always there are a few special rules to consider which makes each of them stand out -

Fist of Medusa Strike Force

This is the Iron Hands option, and for the most part it's largely a copy/paste job of a standard Gladius. This is unfortunately true of a lot of the ones here, as you just have the 1-2 Core choices, 0-3 Command choices, and 1+ Auxiliary choices with the only difference being the certain units on offer. Oh, certain ones do have benefits and you are encouraged to present them in a certain way, but for better or worse it doesn't try to reinvent things.

The key special rules here (Command Benefits) focus upon the presence of commanders influencing outcome of battles or improving the situation. Now, this is mixed for obvious reasons. Firstly, this is once again a push to make HQ choices all the more important, but secondly one at least actuallly fits the Iron Hands and works with their core ideals of being highly hierarchical even by marine standards.

The first special rule is Logical Commander. In essence, if this is your primary detachment then you get to combine two Warlord traits together. One is taken from the standard Iron Hands list while the second is taken from either the Tactical or Strategic tables. Makes sense really, given how they operate and it's a minor but useful addition. 

Reject the Flesh, Embrace the Marine on the other hand is quite infuriating. Any model within "12 of an Independent Character of the same detachment instantly gains +1 to Feel No Pain results. You can guess the main criticism here, but the second one is that this would have been perfect as a special rule for an Iron Father. Really, think about it, it would be the sort of thing which would be perfect for a Chaplain/Techmarine combo, serving to both reflect their knowledge of bionics as much as their inspirational role. It's just frustrating that it's been added to this while they technically no longer exist. "Iron Chaplains" indeed.

Finally, there's Roused Machine Spirits which helps to work with their vehicle angle. Basically it allows any vehicle within 12" of an Independent Character from this same detachment to have the Power of the Machine Spirit Special Rule. See criticisms/moaning about old lore above for the same opinion on this as that choice.

Flameblade Strike Force

As the Salamanders choice, you just know there's going to be some fun stuff in here. Really, of all the chapters present, they've easily come off the best in this book and it seems like a lot of effort and attention went into planning out their style and rules. 

First up we have Vulkan's Teaching, which is the same as Logical Commander, but it it's taken instead from the Personal Traits table. Fair enough, not much to really add to that on the whole.

Second here's then the Scorched Earth rule which adds +1 Strength to any and all flamer weapons used by the Salamanders in this detachment. That roar you likely just heard was a lot of this chapter's fans screaming in celebration at this news, and the very idea of just how monstrous their Land Raider Redeemers will be. Yeah, it's basic to be sure, but given that the Salamanders only have so much they can really work with when it comes to flamer weapons, this is probably one we can easily give a pass to. After all, these rules are intended for basic, relatively widespread upgrades like that.

Then there's Not One Step Back. If a unit doesn't move, it counts as Fearless. There's a lot of big questions which surround this one as to whether it's truly broken when implemented during objective based missions. Okay, making an entire objective holding army fearless is bad enough, but some have pointed out that this only refers to the movement phase itself. This means we're probably going to end up with more than a few people opting to abuse this by having tactical squads run or assault while standing still during the basic movement phase.

Scarblade Strike Force/Talon Strike Force

Both the White Scars and Raven Guard once again have stuff recycled from Kauyon. Moving on.

Sternhammer Strike Force

Well, here we have the Imperial Fists Decurion without a Black Templar or Crimson Fist alternative in sight. Sadly, those hoping to adapt this one into something for those chapters are going to be disappointed, as it's very characteristic to the Imps themselves. The good news is, at least for Dorn fans, it does a damn good job of reflecting their tactics on a very basic level. 

The first rule listed under them is Dorn's Legacy. This doesn't follow the same format as the opening and is instead closer to the last option on the Salamanders list. To put it simply, everything in this detachment is Stubborn so long as your Warlord is alive. Now, this is obviously quite the substantial bonus, but the fact it so heavily hinges upon one figure (often used as a frontline fighter in nearly all lists) to remain alive is a big Achilles' Heel. With high power weapons being so commonplace these days, it's easy to see this ending at the wrong end of a Strength D weapon.

Superior Bolter Drill is one we've seen plenty of times before, and it remains the same again here. Basically, re-roll all failed to hit rolls at range with bolt weapons. It's the same as what we had in Sentinels of Terra, and while it doesn't relate directly to demolishing/fortifying buildings there's nothing too wrong with it.

Demolition Expertise then allows any model from this detachment to add +1 to all armour penetration rolls on buildings or vehicles. Personally, I would have thought that the complete reverse of this would have been more apt given their famed stubbornness and durability, but it still somewhat works with them.

Anvil Strike Force

As the only non-aligned formation on here, this was pretty much made to tailor to an aspect astartes forces tend to be lacking in - Tank companies. Oh, not that they've ever lacked individual tanks themselves, only that they've never gone full Imperial Guard by having almost nothing but the damn things, and few lists exist to support that approach. So, here we have the formation every Aurora Chapter fan has been waiting on.

The formation here is a bit different from usual, and it follows this formation:
1-2 Core choices, either the Armoured Task Force or Land Raider Spearhead.
0-2 Command choices, which are either Masters of the Armoury or Keeper of the Forge. This is effectively Sergeant Chronus or aCommand Tank, and a Techmarine in a Rhino respectively.
Then you have the following 1+ Auxiliary choices for this list, consisting of the Suppression Force, Anti-Air Defense Force, Raptor Wing and Storm Wing. The few remaining others are basically variations on standard choices, with Mechanized Infantry being more or less your standard troops/termies/centurions/scouts/veterans and Recon Outriders being a land speeder mob.

So, what's the special rules for this one? 

We have Master of Mechanized Warfare, which allows any common or garden tank to count as your Warlord. Not a bad option if you want to avoid Chronus or have some specific tactic in mind, and it does open up the army list to a few fun rules listed below it:

Big Guns Never Tire means your Warlord able to nominate himself or another unit within 24" to immediately fire its guns again. It doesn't list an exact turn counter, or timing, only "again" interestingly. This is something which probably needs to be errataed rather quickly before it gets into some seriously big problems.

Then, finally, we have the Armour of Contempt which allows all vehicles to ignore Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned.

Psychic Powers

This was the surprising one. A lot of the effort here went into bolstering this aspect of the army over everything else, and in all honesty it really is something of a surprise. There's certainly nothing wrong with the existing lists, and more work could have been put towards shaping up and changing other areas. That said, some of what we get is still pretty fun.


Primaris: Electrosurge - WC1 S5 AP4 Assault 6 witchfire. A useful horde culler to be sure, especially for a single unit, and the fact it can be used in assault makes it very viable for just about every list.

Electroshield - WC1. The Psyker gains a 3++. A poor man's Storm Shield which only lasts a turn, pretty useless given how cheap said shields tend to be.

Electropulse - WC2. This is a witchfire Nova with a 9" radius, but with the added bonus of S1 AP- Haywire hits. Solid if you want to cause a few light vehicles hell, but otherwise something you'd want to skip again.

Lightning Arc - WC2. Witchfire, S5AP4 Assault D6. This jumps between units within 6" on the roll of a 4+, meaning it's great for clustered forces or mob formations again. So, orks, Imperial Guard or tyranids are all going to be in for a hell of a time.

Fists of Lightning - WC1 blessing. This works on the psyker only, with an additional point of Strength and an additional attack. Fairly standard, until you realise that every hit this guy lands in close combat causes his opponent to suffer an additional two S5 AP- hits. The rules are a little oddly written but it looks like it's another solid mob killer, as is the case with most of this.

Magnetokinesis - WC2 blessing, with an 18" range. Target a guy and cause him to jump forwards 18" at will. Aside from the image of the Librarian playing lightning powered snooker with his allied units, it's good for getting the Warlord and his squad quickly into combat, or pushing a ranged squad away from the enemy. Probably the most useful one on this entire list really.

Electrodisplacement - WC2 blessing or malediction, with a 24" inch range. Basically it's a body swap option. Target an allied unit within 24" and switch places with them and the Librarian. It's not nearly as useful as the above ability, but with a slightly longer range and a little more tactical variety, it could be used to pull some seriously nasty traps with the right list.


A lot of this is really just stuff pinched from the Craftworld Eldar and Grey Knights spells, mashed together as one. You'll find a lot of crossover between the two here and it honestly does seem to just be there to try and give the astartes a slight "one up" over them. It's not like the writers are trying to hide it either, as the primaris ability is just The Emperor's Wrath.

Primaris: The Aforementioned Emperor's Wrath - S5AP3, 18". Assault 1 Blast Witchfire. Nice but nothing overly special, as with a lot of this book.

Veil of Time - WC2. While limited to the psyker casting it, this allows you to re-roll all failed saving rolls, atop of any other bonuses as well. This is probably one of the single most broken options on here, taking some of the usual Farseer traits and turning them up to eleven. Really, if you just have the Librarian paired up with a solid alpha damage dealing force, then they're going to plough right through anything in sight.

Fury of the Ancients - WC1. This is a S6AP4 beam weapon with a range of 24" and causes Pinning. Good for slowing down charging heavy infantry forces and making life hell for anyone with relatively light armour for sure.

Psychic Fortress - WC1. Lives up to its name, as it gives the psyker Fearless and Adamantium will, but turns the surrounding area into a barrier against Witchfire based powers. It's 12" with a 4++ save on offer.

Might of Heroes - WC1. This mashes together a few spells into one, mostly the speedy and strength based ones. Upon successfully casting this, the psyker gains +2 Strength, Toughness, Initiative and also two attacks. Easy to cast and cheap to boot, it's an exceptionally nasty one for anyone to face down at close range.

Psychic Scourge - WC1. This is an odd one, as it's a Witchfire spell which targets other psykers. You focus upon the enemy spellcaster, and roll off against him. Your guy has 2D6 plus his level, the opponent has 1D6 plus his level. If you draw or roll more, he loses a wound and (if you did get higher) also a power. This could very easily be abused and against Tzeentch or Craftworld Eldar armies this is likely to become the bane of many players. Alongside Veil of Time, this is probably going to be one of the most infamous abilities of the entire damn book.

Null Zone - WC2. Now, this is an interesting one as it seriously screws with the invulnerable saves of anything you're targeting. Dropping it by two points (but no further than 6+) it can work on damn near anything, from storm shields to iron halos to even other psychic powers. the rage from others will be most palpable at the sight of this damn thing.


Whoever made this seriously loved the Pit of Shades from the old Warhammer Fantasy rules.

Primaris: Chasm - WC2. This forces a dangerous terrain test without armor save upon a single enemy unit, allowing you to get rid of those pesky Immortals with a wave of this guy's wand. Yeah, against the right target this is going to do some serious damage, and the lack of any range limitation means you're likely to screw with anything from the right vantage point.

Earth Blood - WC1, 18". An odd one to be sure, as it's a rare example of a genuine healing ability here. It's not like a medicae or apothecary where it reduces one wound, this thing outright heals other units. So, target someone nearby, and they instantly regain three whole wounds, also giving the unit he's with I Will Not Die as well. Keep in mind, this can be cast on the Librarian himself, meaning he can overcome wounds lost in Perils failures. So, yeah, damn this thing is nasty. The limited range is the only thing which keeps it from being fully broken, as it means the Librarian is largely close enough to shoot or assault anything he's spamming healing on.

Scorched Earth - WC1 malediction, 24". This is the primaris ability turned into a doomsday weapon, as it deals one S5AP4 hit to any unit within 6" of its intended target, and then this 6" area is turned into dangerous terrain. You do admittedly get a save, true, but it's on a bigger scale and it apparently doesn't disappear either. That's going to be a real headache no matter what luck the guy has on his side.

Land Quake - WC1 malediction, effecting any enemy unit within 18" of the psyker. All effected units are seen to be in dangerous terrain, which they cannot run, move flat-out or even turbo boost out of. This can be more or less effective than Scorched Earth, but it's very situational and depends heavily upon the map itself. If it's formed or shaped in the wrong way, it could easily be useless or push the Librarian into dangerous territory.

Phase Form - WC1 blessing, 24". This effects a single unit, but given what it can do that really doesn't matter. Those given can move through cover, ignore cover of those they're fighting and shoot even units out of their line of sight. Range is the only serious limitation here, so that Devastator squad you had over there? Yeah, they're going to become your best friend if paired up with a Librarian with this spell.

Warp Quake - WC1, 24". This is the Librarian's bunker buster, as the targeted building or ruin immediately gains a glancing or penetrating hit from their attack, and units within gain D6 S6AP- hits, turning them into fine pink goo. Very nasty for Imperial Guard forces to be sure.

Shifting Worldscape - WC3, 24". This is the geoscaping one, as it allows you to target a piece of terrain within range up to 24" in any direction you want. This carried the units within it along with it, but it does force dangerous terrain tests upon them. This could be gimmicky, but it there are multiple very useful ways it could be implemented. For starters, it could be used as a risky maneuver to move your own units around the board at high speed, it could push back enemy assaulting forces or even deny them cover from your guns.


Primaris: Subvert Machine - Malediction, 18". You can hijack the gun on an enemy tank. No really, you target an enemy vehicle within range, you and your opponent roll off for it, and if you win you can fire it as per normal. Even if he wins, he can only fire snap shots with it. Now, this doesn't sound too useful at first save for a well placed autocannon or lascannon. However, consider for a moment that this isn't limited to standard tanks. Imagine what could happen if you got close enough to a Baneblade for just one turn. Yeah, with the right set up, this thing is going to be very nasty indeed.

Blessing of the Machine - WC1 blessing, 24". This is focused purely upon allied vehicles, but is limited to a single tank. That vehicle then ignores Crew Shaken or Crew Stunned results for the following turn, with the added bonus or Power of the Machine Spirit or +1 BS if it already has that bonus. Useful given how many astartes vehicles tend to have that particular rule.

Machine Curse - WC1 Witchfire. Slap about a vehicle with three S1AP- hits with the Haywire effect. There's no range limitation on this one, and the fact it's basically semi-automatic means it's very helpful for pestering and causing problems for certain forces at range.

Reforge - WC1. It does what it sounds like, repairing a single hull point or repairing immobilised or weapon destroyed results on an allied vehicle. It's basically a second Techmarine ability, just with ranged psychic properties, and the added bonus of It Will Not Die once you're done.

Warpmetal Armour - WC1. This is going to be very popular around Land Raiders, Leman Russes and the like. Why? Because on a successful roll you gain an additional point of armour value to all sides. So, yeah, expect to see certain space marine tanks with a value of 15 on all sides. Honestly, i'm not even sure what in the hell to make of this, as the creators are either intentionally making certain vehicles damn near invulnerable, or it has been badly worded.

Fury of Mars - WC1. This is simply a Strength 1 AP1 Haywire Beam. Not very useful in all honesty, especially given how widespread Haywire weapons are these days.

Machine Flense - WC2 witchfire, 18". Short ranged again,but it has some very nasty effects to work with it. Target an enemy unit, get it off, and you rob the enemy vehicle of D3 hull points. Oh, and for every last one lost, you cause D6 S4AP6 Rending hits on nearby enemy units.

Final Verdict

Honestly this one definitely has its place in the game. For tabletop fanatics and those invested more in the tournament scene over lore, or those who missed the prior books, this is definitely one which will interest you. As said before, it has recycled a lot of parts, but it should really be seen as a compilation more than anything else. The bonus bits are largely there to help round things out or even add a bit more general incentive to purchase the codex over past books. Three of the psychic powers are fun on the whole as a nice option, and Salamanders fans will have a field day with this one.

So long as you don't mind some serious limitations in the lore department or even a few general shortcomings when it comes to trying to expand upon army specialties, it's worth a look.

1 comment:

  1. I don't get why some of those Warlord Traits couldn't be upgrades for a unit, or just options, for example instead of their standard Chapter Tactic the Black Templars could get one of several army-wide bonuses (bringing the vows back in), for example choosing between better Deny the Witch or moving 1D6" towards an enemy unit if you failed a Morale test from shooting, with the Warlord getting 2D6" to make them stand out (and given how much Marines need cover now, having them move out of it wouldn't really be a game breaker).
    For the Crimson Fists, when Warlord traits are that iffy I don't get why you can't pick them, or at least swap them for the first one. You can't even claim it's unfair to Orks because I can just bring in Pedro Kantor who already gives me an advantage against Orks.

    I'm genuinely surprised that the Skyhammer Annihilation force is in the book though, given how that was supposed to be limited to people who bought it from their webstore (pay to win and all that, just like the 30th anniversary model). Honestly I'm kind of happy it's in there, since to me that was the logical conclusion to the nerfs the Assault phase had over the years, as well as the logical conclusion to Overwatch, I had always thought it would end in them massively overcompensating. I figure that somebody saw the Tau's army-wide Overwatch, or maybe it was Eldar Strength D Wall of Death Overwatch, of maybe it was the AdMech's BS4 Overwatch (or maybe they played a Horus Heresy game and tried to charge the Death Guard), and just thought this was a problem that could only be solved by breaking the game a little more.

    That being said, I'm surprised they didn't change it at all from the dataslate, which has been out for quite a while now and they should have known how people thought about it however I will disagree in that I think it is an army-killer.
    According to the main rulebook, your army needs to be made up of formations to be battlebound, with the regular FOC being a formation too. When you've fulfilled the prerequisite for one formation, you can take another, or you can take the same formation again, meaning it's entirely possible to have two of these formations on the table turn 1, forcing the enemy to take cover and with four squads into combat without any Overwatch to worry about (let's not forget how your Devastators can sit on objects immediately like this).
    Unfortunately this is also one of the main formations that I think will keep the Marines at a competitive level, maybe someday they'll also get a formation like the ones the Mechanicus got, where all your unit upgrades become free and plasma weapons lose the Gets Hot! Rule.

    As far as the Librarian powers go, they seem neat, but I really wish there was an item Librarians could by that would let them modify the roll by +1 or -1 since I've been stuck with powers I don't need so many times that I would pay a lot just for a better chance at getting some that would help my list (without going the broken nature of letting me pick the powers). It's kind of a shame that Subvert Machine doesn't work on what're technically Monstrous Creatures, but I suppose if it did I'd hear about somebody being upset their Stormsurge suit was hacked.