Wednesday, 14 June 2017

8TH EDITION IS ALMOST HERE PART 2

Last post we looked at the core rules and terrain, in this post we are going to take a look at army building and the missions through all 3 styles of play, Open, Narrative, and Matched play.  Once again, I'm going to thank my good friend and owner of Maxx Collectibles, Garth, for giving me access to these books so I can write this post and not be the last one(as is often the case).  Lets jump right in with...

HOW TO BUILD AN ARMY

Let's start with the battle forged army.  This army is build using the detachments provided in the rule book, or in the upcoming codexes.  Detachments will have a number of restrictions placed on them such as limitations on factions within the detachment, limitations on battlefield role slots, and benefits that are provided if all the restrictions are met.  For matched play there is a suggested limitation on the number of detachments an army should contain at different point levels, but other styles leave that up to you.

Now looking at the types of detachments and the restrictions of having a battle forged army, the matched play style bumps up the restrictions another notch.  All of the UNITS in your army, unless you have an "Unaligned" army, must share at least one faction keyword even if they are in different detachments.  Now this confuses me a little because there is no "Unaligned" faction keyword yet it is written in all caps and in the same font as "Imperium" and "Chaos", the 2 alignments they use as examples.  So what I get from this is that if you have a detachment that has "Imperium" or "Chaos" as faction keywords, then every unit in your army must have at least one common faction keyword.
This strikes me as a bit odd as it gives "permission" to have Tau and Nids as allies.  Open and Narrative play have no such restrictions because if you have Eldar and Slaanesh in the same army you either don't care or your Narrative is broken.

As I have mentioned these detachments several times, I guess I should go into what they look like in a little more detail.  Each detachment has an assortment of battlefield role slots available to it, much the same way the CAD did previously.  Although with 12 different detachments in the main rule book, there is a good amount of variety in ways to build your army.  For example, there is the Battalion Detachment, which closely resembles the CAD we all know and love.  It has a minimum requirement of 2 HQ units and 3 Troops units and has the option to include 1 more HQ, up to 3 more Troops, up to 6 Elites, up to 3 Fast and Heavy, and up to 2 Fliers.  While the Vanguard detachment has a minimum of 1 HQ and 3 Elites with an optional 3 Troops, 3 Elites, 2 Fast, 2 Heavy, and 2 Fliers, that means an all Dreadnought army for some people...

There are benefits to taking some detachments over others besides the different battlefield roll slots. The Battalion Detachment grants you +3 Command Points while the Vanguard Detachment only grants +1.  What are these Command points I speak of?  They are points that you can use to activate stratagems throughout the game.  The basic game has 3 standard stratagems, re-roll a die, interrupt the order of chargers attacking, or auto passing a morale test.  Many of the Narrative missions have stratagems specific to that mission which I will get into later.  These stratagems cost typically 1-3 Command points and depending on your play style have limitations as to how many times and when you can use them.  Matched play limits you to using each only once per phase.


Now that we have discussed the shape of the army, lets discuss the size of the army, because most of the time you don't want to fight an army that is twice your size in power level.  Now the open style of gaming is, as the name suggests, completely open.  Feel free to bring whatever you want and however much of it you can carry.  However be aware that if you are heading out to a local gaming store this method just aint gonna fly.  So GW has come up with 2 methods of limiting the size of the army, Power Level and Points.  Now points is a system we all know and love, each model, each piece of wargear and upgrade is worth a specific number of points and you build an army with a point "cap".
Power level is similar, but different.  Each unit comes with a power level, listed on their data slate, that increases as the unit increases in size but does not change with wargear changes or upgrades.  This is a real simple way to build an army quickly and get it relatively "balanced" for a quick start.  I actually really like this method of army building and I'll tell you why.  For a long time the idea of having a "sideboard" or alternate army lists available, in tournaments and events, has been talked about.  The idea being that an army would adjust it's weapons and/or units dependant on what it would be facing and that a tank wouldn't be missing a dozer blade because Dave over there really needed that Stormbolter.  This gives the game some tactical diversity so that you don't auto lose due to a bad match up because of how the meta in your area is sitting.  In the latest meta from 7th ed, the strong lists were typically Imperial Deathstars, Eldar, Tau, and Daemon summoning.  If you built a list that you could deal with all those lists, but don't have the stopping power to deal with big mobs, one bad match up against a Green Tide trashes your chances of winning an event.  There are several other games that employ ideas like this, Magic the Gathering, Warmachine/Hordes (I think).
With the Power level style, since wargear doesn't affect your power level, you are able to swap out wargear and upgrades on a whim simply swapping out models or magnetised arms to suit the enemy you are battling.  It would make checking and building army lists amazingly easier but it presents a problem in how to determine when and where unit changes can be made.  I think that it would be acceptable to finalise changes to a unit as it is being deployed.  That way as players alternate their wargear changes as they see what the enemy army has brought to the table, giving the game yet another tactical angle.
This does run into another issue, and I think is dependent on a very strict WYSIWYG requirement and a VERY clear understanding in "counts as armies".  In situations like that I would not allow simple swaps like "this dreadnought, that looks just like the other 3 I have, is actually an Ironclad."  If you want it to be an Ironclad, you have to do something to it, modelling wise, to make sure it looks like an Ironclad.
The biggest issue with Power Level is that some upgrades are more expensive than others for a good reason, they are better.  If points isn't an issue, then all armies will employ all the best wargear to the point where armies with the best weapons will have an advantage regardless of the expense of the upgrades.


Along with the army building restrictions, each play style comes with a couple missions designed to aid that play style.  The open play missions are very simple with very few special rules.  I won't spend any more time on these because of their simplicity.  They are great missions for getting people into the game or for shooting the shit with a buddy and having a handful of beers, but they don't have depth or balance for a great story or competitive play.

The matched play missions have not changed all that much.  The 6 Eternal War and the 6 Maelstrom of war missions see a return with some minor changes, mostly clean up and simplifying.  I have not compared the Maelstrom objective list so I can't tell you if your current set of cards is viable, but they seem to be pretty much the same.
The biggest change to Matched play games is the 3 new deployment maps that have been added.  Each of the 3 new maps (actually one is old) leaves the armies with a 18" space between deployment zones, as opposed to the 24" space practised by the returning 3.  I really like this as it bumps the assault armies a little, getting them a little closer right from the start of the game.  I think this offsets the Hammer and Anvil deployment where power shooting lists can avoid combat armies.  The maps are very unique shapes as well, 2 of them being a version of Hammer and Anvil and Dawn of War respectively where the deployment line points towards each other.  It's a little wonky, and I can see how it's going to be a bit of a pain in the ass trying to measure that out, but it's something different and I am ok with that.


Now we come to my favourite part, the Narrative missions.  These things bring back so many memories it give me chills.  For those of you who have played for a while, all the way back to 4th edition, you will remember that in the back of the rule book there were dozens of missions directed around narrative play.  They were not well balanced, probably not play tested, with deployment zones that would make a physics major weep, but the story you could weave with these missions were amazing.
There are 6 of them, and while I am not going to sit here and go over each one, I feel like I would be doing a disservice to "fluff junkies" everywhere if I did not talk about my favourite, AMBUSH!  The narrative behind this battle is that there is a column of army A making it's way along and it suddenly gets ambushed from all sides by army B.  Picture this, if you can.  The defender's deployment zone is a 12" strip that extends from the centre of one of the short table edges to the middle of the table and the attacker's deployment zone is everywhere else that's 18" away.  The mission then suggests how to set up terrain and what type of terrain to use.  As it's an ambush it suggests that the attackers deployment zone be dense with terrain while the defender's be a relatively sparse path to the opposite edge of the table.
In addition to a couple special rules like Dawn Raid, there are 6 dedicated Stratagems, 3 for each player, to use throughout the game.  The attacker can spend point to perform a "Preliminary Bombardment", while the defender can make a reactionary shooting attack with one of his units that was targeted.
The victory conditions are that the defender must try to get as many unit to the opposite short table edge as possible, once they make it there they can leave the table and have "Escaped".  Add up the Power level of all the units that have escaped and if the total is more than 1/3 of the starting power level, the defender wins.

That's it for this one folks.  I'll not spill the beans on everything, besides, I'm sure you've seen everything I've mentioned here on the interwebs anyway.
To say the least, I'm pretty excited for this new edition of Warhammer.  Looking forward to running, and playing in some new events.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Friday, 9 June 2017

8TH EDITION IS ALMOST HERE!

Hey there ladies and gentlemen, welcome a 40K Misfit first.  Since the creation of this Blog I've never really had an "inside scoop" on anything coming down the pipes as far as releases go.  I've always just bought the book and then done my review (albeit sometimes months later) just to get my overinflated opinion out there.

Not this time.  Thanks to my friend and owner of Maxx Collectibles, Garth, I actually have had the opportunity to look over the rules books in their entirety in order to do this review, before the books have actually been released.


I know, right!  It's like I'm somebody or something.
So without further ado, lets get into it...


... starting with the core rules.  We got a couple new phases, making the turn look like this: Movement, Psychic, Shooting, Charge, Fight, Morale.  So the Assault phase got divorced and left us with it's 2 sub-phases who have grown up to become full phases of their own, and we get a whole new phase, the Morale Phase.


MOVEMENT
Terrain no longer effects movement, unless specifically noted.
The FLY special rule is introduced, which seems to work much like jump packs of old
Falling Back is an entirely voluntary thing in which you can simply move out of combat.  If you do so, you may not Advance, Shoot, or Charge that turn.  If the unit falling back has FLY, it may still shoot.
Speaking of advancing, they added the old RUN rule to the movement phase and called it Advance.  Most of us did our run moves in the movement phase anyway.  You are still not allowed to Shoot or Charge if you have Advanced.

PSYCHIC
Each Psyker data slate dictates the number of powers each psyker may cast.
Roll 2d6 and roll equal to or higher the Warp Charge value to cast.
Double 1's and double 6's cause Perils of the Warp, D3 Mortal wounds
Deny the Witch is an opposed roll made by an enemy psyker, against your casting attempt.  Must be within 24" to attempt to deny.

SHOOTING
A model may shoot will ALL OF IT'S WEAPONS.  It may shoot them at the same target, different target, the whole unit can shoot at different targets.  It's like splitfire on steroids.  Regardless of how or where everyone is shooting, all shots and targets must be declared before dice are rolled.
Characters may not be chosen as a target of a shooting attack unless they have 10 or more wounds, or they are the closest enemy unit.
New weapon types: Assault weapons can shoot after the unit advances with -1 to hit.  Heavy weapons are at -1 to hit if the model moves in the movement phase.  Rapid Fire, same as before.  Grenades are no longer used in combat and are purely a projectile weapon.  Pistols may be used in the shooting phase even if there is an enemy model within 1" of you, but they must target the closest enemy unit.
In general, these rules apply to ALL models.  So that predator with the 3 lascannons can shoot all of them with only a -1 to hit penalty if it moves, regardless of how far.
Rolling to hit is essentially the same except the stat line gives you what you need to hit.
Rolling to wound changed up a bit.  If the S and T are equal, you need 4s to wound.  Nothing new there.  If the S is higher that the T, then you need 3s to wound.  If the S is 2x or higher than the T, you need 2s to wound.  This works the same backwards, if the T is higher than the S then you need 5s to wound.  If the T is 2x or more higher than the S then you need 6s to wound.
This tripped me up a couple times in my practise game as the Heavy Bolter Pistols wielded by the Interceptors were not wounding my cultists on a 2+, they required a 3+ to wound (S5 vs T3).
Once the number of wounds are determined, the player commanding the target assigns wounds to models making saving throws applying any modifiers.  If a model with multiple wounds loses one, it must lose the rest of it's wounds before a different model an be assigned any wounds.  After the save is failed, damage is assigned.  Damage may result in multiple wounds lost for each failed save, in any case, if the amount of damage from a single hit exceeds the number of wounds left on the target model, the remaining wounds do not spill over into another model.
Example: The Helbrute's Power Fist does 3 Damage for each failed save.  If he hits and wounds a model with only 2 wounds and that model fails it's save, the remaining point of damage is lost and is not applied to another model.
Note:  Some models are equipped with an Invulnerable save.  These saves can not be modified by any means and may be taken IN PLACE of an armour save.  Only one SAVE may be taken.

CHARGE
This manoeuvre gets it's own phase, but remains primarily the same as it was with a few exceptions, starting with moving the models.  The first model you move must end within 1" of an enemy model.  This can be any of your models, not the closest one as it was before.  After that it's fair game, you can move up to the number of inches rolled on the dice with seemingly only one restriction, that you do not come within 1" of a unit that you did not target with your charge (you can choose multiple targets and receive multiple overwatches).  You don't have to get as many models within 1" as you can, you don't even have to end your charge with all your models closer to the target.

Now there is a neat little thing they have called Heroic Intervention, you may have heard of it before but never used it.  I think you will use it now.  Once your opponent has completed all of his charge moves, any and all of your characters that are within 3" of an enemy model may make a preemptive "counter charge" of 3", ending their move closer to the closest enemy model.  You will want to be careful with this though, and the next phase will explain why.

FIGHT
ALL UNITS THAT CHARGED THIS TURN FIGHT FIRST.  After all the the units that have charged this turn make their attacks, players then begin to alternate making attacks with their units who are in combat starting with the player whose turn it is.
The first step in resolving a fight is to Pile In, and you do that by moving up to 3" in any direction as long as you end the move closer to the NEAREST enemy model.  Now I put nearest in caps because the nearest enemy model may not be in the unit you charged.  If you remember, there are very few requirements on how to move your charging models and you may be able to move your charging unit to just outside of 1" of several other units, then Pile In to them saving yourself from Overwatch.

Now, while you may be able to suck in some nearby units into your combat, when it comes to declaring targets of your attacks, these may only be chosen from the units that you charged.  So you won't be able to attack those extra units you sucked in.

Attacks are resolved the same way as shooting, I won't go into much detail.  You can split your attacks between any close combat weapons you have, and between any eligible target units.  So if your Chaos Lord has a Power Fist and a Lightning Claw, and is within 1" of a squad of Guardsmen and a Chimera, he can send attacks with the Power Fist into the Chimera and attacks with the Lightning Claw into the Guardsmen.

Once the unit has made it's attacks it may make a Consolidate move which follows all the same rules for Pile In.  Yes, that means that you will get another chance to drag in a unit that was not previously part of the combat into the combat and avoiding Overwatch.  This is big for 1 main reason that affects a lot of things.  Lets take a look at a scenario quickly to show how these wonky new Pile In and Consolidate moves could affect a game.

Lets say I have a large unit of cultists, 30 or so.  My opponent dumps a load of fire into them turn 1, with with a good Advance during my turn 1 I get into a good spot to be able to assault 3 of my opponent's units, lets say 3 units of guardsmen with 20ish cultists.  I don't want to get Overwatched by all 3 units so I decide to charge only the one in the middle.  Following the charge rules I move at least 1 model within 1" of the enemy unit, I will actually try and get most of my unit into this one to do max damage, but I will also spread out some of my cultists to the sides so that the closest enemy model to those cultists will be models from the 2 guardsmen units on either side.  When my time to Pile In comes, I will be able to Pile In to the 2nd and 3rd guardsmen units dragging them into the combat without taking any Overwatch fire.
I will not actually be able to direct any attacks against the 2nd and 3rd units of guardsmen, and they will be able to attack me, but I have used the cultists correctly and tied up 3 units of guardsmen.  Since they are locked in combat they will not be able to shoot and I will force them to either Fall Back or get stuck in and stay put for another turn killing the cultists.  This could be so that I can get another, stronger, unit in to kill more guardsmen which would again prevent another round of Overwatch, or to force them to Fall Back away from an objective or just to take table control.  If they stay in combat it will also force them to Pile In, bringing them closer to my models.  I could actually set it up so that their Pile In move, which was only caused because I Piled In to them, will bring some of their models to within 1" of a second unit that I placed that wasn't able to charge due to Falling Back or Advancing, and will then be able to attack.
Basically what I am saying is be aware of the domino effect of having units too close together and getting them all caught up in combat.

MORALE
We have a brand new phase, the Morale Phase.  So this is where the effects of all the killing that has happened in the previous phases rears it's ugly head.  In this phase every unit, on either side of the table, that has taken at least 1 casualty must take a Morale check.  The way this works is, take the number of models that were killed, add D6, and subtract the unit's highest Ld value.  If you have anything left over, you must remove that many models from the unit.

The next couple sections are focused on Missions and army building, which I am not going to cover in this post.  Oh stop whining, you're only here for the funny pictures and captions anyway.  I'll cover them in a another post.

I will talk about terrain though, as there is a fairly comprehensive list of table top terrain that can pretty mush apply to anything and everything I have seen on the table.  I will say that cover is not as easy to get as it once was and not nearly as strong.  A unit must be entirely within a piece of terrain to gain cover, which is only a +1 to their save rolls.  Terrain no longer slows your movement (except where noted) and you can't walk through walls (except where noted).

WOODS
All infantry units entirely within a wood gain cover.  All other units only gain cover if 50% of the model is obscured.  I feel like woods will be the most difficult to represent on the tabletop.  Most woods have movable pieces to facilitate the placement of models so the requirement of getting that 50% coverage seems abstract.
There is also a -2" penalty when charging through woods.
Now I know it's called woods, but remember, on an alien/hive/daemon planet, there are lots of things we could consider woods.  Crystal shards jutting from the ground, large fleshy tubers, forests of cables hanging from a manufactorum balcony could all pass as woods.

RUINS
Here is something new, unless the model has fly, non-infantry units can only go on the ground level of a ruin, they also need to be 50% obscured to get cover.  Infantry can move all over ruins and get cover from simply being in it, again the entire unit must be in, and in this case can move through the walls.

CRATERS
Craters are simple, Infantry get cover, -2" for charging over them.

BARRICADES
Infantry can gain cover when they are behind the barricade, from the point of view of the shooter, and within 1" of the barricade.  It's not entirely clear if the whole unit needs to be behind and within 1".  I'm going to assume that it does because for every other situation the entire unit must meet the restriction or no one does.

OBSTACLES
Obstacles come in 2 shapes.  Tank traps reduce the distance of vehicles and monsters by half when they Advance or Charge over them.  Tangle wire does the same thing to everything else.

IMPERIAL STATUE
Any unit will gain cover when behind the statue and any unit with the Imperial keyword will gain +1 Ld when within 3"

FUEL PIPES
These things are a little tricky as the wording has me a bit confused.  The easy bit is that they follow the rules for barricades.  The weird part is that they will cause a mortal wound on a save roll of 7+.  So, the way they explain it is that a save roll of 6 is actually 7, because your roll is modified by +1.  However, if there is an AP on the attacker's weapon then there is a further modification that prevents a save roll of 7+.  Does this mean that only weapons that don't have an AP will be able to cause the pipes to cause those mortal wounds?

BATTLE SCAPE
Now this one seems very specific, because GW has a specific terrain piece called battlescape.  However I could see this term being used on several different types of debris piles.  The crashed aquila lander, any wrecked vehicle, any minefield, etc etc.  The battlescape follows the rules for a wood, but if you Advance or Charge you roll a d6 for each model and on a 1 the unit suffers a mortal wound.


Finally we come to the odds and ends, the little rules that don't belong in any one specific category, but are no less important.

Wobbly Model Syndrome is still a thing...unfortunately.  I was really hoping they would do away with this.  Especially since movement has become so much more fluent and less restrictive.  No more difficult terrain, fewer restrictions to make successful charges, no movement restrictions on fliers.

Reinforcements have changed drastically.  As far as I have seen, and I haven't looked deep into the missions yet, you can only put a unit in "reserves" if it has a special rule that specifically allows it to providing it's method of deploying mid battle.  Another change is that there is no more roll to bring in "reserves", you simply decide when you want them to come in and then bring them in, but they must come in by turn 3.

Aura type affects will affect the model with the aura as well.

And finally, for my last item of the post, is transports.  There are no more access points or fire points, and any unit that happens to be embarked does not affect the table whatsoever, unless specifically noted.  Models may begin the game embarked on a transport, or they may embark during the game by every model moving to within 3" of the vehicle.
To disembark, you must place all of the models from the unit within 3" of the transport BEFORE it moves.  The unit may then act normally.  You heard right, assaulting from a vehicle is a thing again!  Rhino rush is back baby!  It is important to note that all of the models have to be able to disembark before you move them as if not all of the models can disembark, the remaining models are destroyed.
Likewise, if a vehicle is destroyed, all of the models must disembark, then the vehicle is removed.  For each model that was embarked, a D6 is rolled and on a 1 a model is slain.

Well, there you have it.  Another review done, later than most of the other reviewers, but earlier than most everyone else has the book.  So that's cool.

Thanks again to Garth from Maxx Collectibles for lending me the BRB to do this write up.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

IRON GUTZ: GAME 1


I recently signed up for the Iron Gutz league at the local GW store.  The Iron Gutz is a competitive pyramid style league where you move up a level when you win, and down a level when you lose.

For my first game I played Kyle Plouffe and he brought out Tzeentch Daemon summoning.  He just so happens to be sitting in first place with his mean list that rocks a whopping 30ish psychic dice.  His list looks something like this:


Kairos Fateweaver (warlord)
Lord of Change
Nurgle Daemon Prince
Masque
Tzeentch Herald on Disc with Paradox level 3
Tzeentch Herald on Disc level 2
Tzeentch Herald level 2
Tzeentch Herald level 2
4 units of 11 pink horrors

There are some daemonic gifts and relics sprinkled around but I don't really remember, and they don't really come up in the game from what I can remember.  Kairos and the LoC are a formation and the Heralds are a formation.  Everything else is part of a CAD I believe.

I am playing a Night Lords Murder Talon that looks like this:



Core: Raptor Talon
Lord, jump pack, Claws of the Black Hunt, Sigil, Melta bombs (warlord - Hatred)
5 Raptors, 2 melta guns
5 Raptors, 2 melta guns
5 Warp talons

Core: Warband
Lord, power axe, Sigil
5 Chosen, 2 plasma guns, Rhino
3 Bikers, 2 plasma guns
Helbrute
5 CSM, flamer, Rhino
5 CMS, flamer, Rhino

Auxiliary: Lost and the Damned
Dark Apostle
10 Cultists, flamer
10 Cultists, flamer
10 Cultists, flamer
10 Cultists, flamer

Lord of the Legion
Nurgle Prince, level 3, Stormplate armour, spell familiar

We got Capture and Control with 4 objectives for our mission and Dawn of War for the deployment.  This is fine with me, I've been playing this mission for 15 years so I can focus on dealing with his army.  The objectives are deployed pretty much in a big square, one in each quarter of the table.  Kyle gets first turn and deploys his army fairly spread out across the table.  He puts a unit of horrors on each objective and one he puts deep in his back field.  Kairos goes on my left, the LoC on my right and the Nurgle Prince goes right in the middle.  The Heralds are each given to a squad of horrors, I choose not to seize and he takes the first turn.

Before I get into my deployment and the first turn, I've got a plan.  I know that Kairos and the LoC are most likely going to head for the skies, they have a load of offensive spells and Kairos is far too squishy to keep on the ground.  The Nurgle Prince is going to be scary as fuck and I'm best off to try and either tar pit him with cultists (who would be fearless if I can keep the Apostle near them) or just stay away as much as possible, though it's tough when he has wings.  I also know he is going to be summoning a shit load.  I'm not worried about anything that is just going to add to his dice so if he wastes any time on summoning more pinks all the better for me (he doesn't), but I'm pretty sure he is going to summon as many Burning Chariots as he can, I can see 5 of them sitting in a bin, and they will have to be dealt with as quickly as possible cause their AP3 torrent flamer is bad for me.

I deploy my Rhinos in the middle with the cultists as bubble wrap and on objectives.  The prince is behind a building in the middle, the bikes are off to my left and the Helbrute is off to my right.


Being an objective based mission, I decide I don't want to try to seize and Kyle begins his turn by jumping Kairos and the LoC into the skies right into my face, moves the 2 heralds on discs out of their unit and does some other shuffling before the psychic phase begins.  He uses the 2 flying dudes to nova the crap out of my cultists killing a few in each squad, and he summons a unit of Daemonettes and a Burning chariot.  No assaults.

My first turn I rush all my Rhinos forward.  All those vehicles and the units inside are Obsec, they will be a key target for Kyle and I want to try to keep him away from my objectives with anything really scary.  My bikes move up to hopefully charge some horrors on an objective but they end up failing even with the re-roll.  My Helbrute moves up the right side looking to disrupt more horrors over there on an objective, it will take him a couple more turns to get there though.  My one "big move" was to jump my prince in the air and vector strike his LoC, but I did nothing and now I'm in the sky useless.


This turn Kyle swaps places with Kairos and the LoC and does the same thing as last turn, tosses Novas about and kills a handful of cultists from each squad.  The Masque comes in and dances for one of the cultist units looking to move into mid table.  I believe he does some other summoning, bringing in at least one other Burning Chariot which kills my last biker.  He also manoeuvres his disc Heralds near my objectives to help with the cleansing of cultists and his Prince smashes one of my Rhinos.  Then the Warpstorm table turns my Prince into a Herald of Nurgle...well that fucking sucks.

I roll for my reserves and only get the Warptalons who have the Lord in.  I'm feeling ok with this as I still have a good number of units on the field and my cultists are still at half strength.  Kyle does something that surprises me, he tells me that because my Warptalons are Daemons, I will benefit from the several Cursed Earth's he has scattered around the table which I think is a pretty stand up move on his part.  So I bring in them in right where I want them and they are able to assault a disc Herald, a Chariot, AND the Masque all in one charge killing off the Masque and the Herald but leaving me in combat with the Chariot.  This saves me from some of the psychic powers and the other chariots that will inevitably show up.  The guys that were in the Rhino smashed by the Nurgle Prince high tail it toward the Horrors holding his objective to my left, and another unit in a Rhino get out to take out some Horrors near the middle of the table, I know that they are just going to generate some Blues, but I want to get rid of his Obsec, which only the Pink Horrors have.  My Helbrute continues his march and my cultists on my left objective assault his disc herald who got a little too close and is now stuck.

TURN 3
Kyle drops the LoC to the ground, I don't really have anything that can deal with him as he has typically had a 2++ most of the game thanks to that damn robe he has.  Fateweaver stays in the air keeping as close to the cultists as he can hoping to nova more off the table thanks to all the FNP he has been giving me it's not as many as he would like, but he does finish off the unit of cultists holding my objective, which enter ongoing reserve thanks to LatD.  This turn Kyles dice turn to absolute shit and I don't think he manages to get off a single psychic power.  Maybe Warp speed on the Nurgle Prince, but nothing of any real importance.  He still has a chariot free, and it moves up to flame one unit of marines, while his prince jumps over the rhino he killed to get to another unit of marines, and his Daemonettes move to assault my immobilised rhino that has my 3rd unit of marines in it.  The prince kills all, the Daemonettes wreck the ride, and the chariot kills a dude while my warp talons finish off the chariot they were in combat with.  Overall not a terrible turn for me, him failing all his powers has left a window open for me to capitalise and I have to make it count.

I bring my cultists in on my right side on his table edge, they are going to get me line breaker if they survive, they also shoot the Pinks holding his objective helping the Helbrute who is able to assault this turn and kill a couple.  The cultists in the middle move up and burn down a handful of pinks, and I think assault them.  My marines who were forced out by the Daemonettes prepare to shoot the sexy out of them and my warp talons jump over to mop up what's left and take out another Chariot.  My Raptors don't show up again and this time it's not ok.  I was really hoping they would make it in because I need to kill some fucking pink Horrors.  I'm not sure that there will be enough time to kill everything I need to and get the objective.  On the other hand, with the Prince and LoC running around, perhaps staying off the table another turn isn't a bad thing.

Turns 4 and 5 have gotten a little jumbled up in my head, so I'll run down a couple key factors and wrap up the end of the game.  First of all, one of the major factors was my Dark Apostle tanking 8 out of 8 saving throws against his Nurgle Prince.  This held the prince in place for 3 rounds of combat limiting his bloody rampage.  Next, my Helbrute was able to kill all the Pinks and hold that objective thanks to him having Obsec, which Kyle forgot about.  Third, my cultists who were moving up the middle of the table stop and come back, and after a run roll of 4" they are able to contest my right objective from Fateweaver.  Finally, my Raptors are able to kill off the last of the Pinks on his left objective giving me that objective, and even then only because he rolled high enough on his instability check.  Those last 2 things happened in turn 5, I know that for sure.

After all the dust settles, I control 2 objectives, 1 is contested, and Kyle controls one objective.  Kyle has First Blood, Slay the Warlord, and Linbreaker, and I have Linebreaker.  This means victory for me!

I had a great game vs Kyle and learned a lot about his summoning list and my Night Lords list.  Can't wait to get in game #2.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

GATHERING STORM: RISE OF THE PRIMARCH

Spoilers, it's Guilliman!

Welcome back to my lack lustre and late coverage of the Gathering Storm campaign.  You will notice that there is no coverage of the Fracture of Biel'Tan book, and this is for a couple reasons.  First off, those god damned pointy eared sons of bitches get enough attention and I have less than NO interest in covering the Aeldari.  Second, and far more importantly, the guys on the "Mob Rules" podcast did such a good job that I figured I'd just pitch their podcast here, and they didn't even pay me to say that!  Check out "Episode 44: Gathering Eldar and the tale of the broken gate".

These guys are great to listen to.


ULTRAMAR DEFIANT: CHAPTER I

Our Heroes emerge onto some planet in the Ultramar system, presumably from a Webway gate.  Those fucking things seem to be EVERYWHERE!  Lo and behold, the whole damn system is under attack by Chaos.  I assume that we will learn about how this comes to be when GW goes back to flesh out the 13th Black Crusade campaign they started.  Cawl leads them to a Bastion being attacked by Heldrakes, one of which breaks off and comes to harass the newcomers, who happen to have a Knight who just shoots the thing down.  When a second Heldrake hits the dirt the third takes off.  The Cadians are allowed to enter the compound and with some convincing from Celestine and Greyfax, managed to get plane tickets to Macragge for a handful of their company.  Although the Ynnari depart back through the Webway, Yvraine and the Visarch were to travel with the "Celestinians".  In the long days that it took to travel from that podunk little planet to Macragge, Greyfax got her crabs all cured up thanks to little help from Cawl, all the while remaining wary of Celestines seemingly righteous and miraculous powers.  Yvraine and Cawl discuss something and come to a decision, we don't know what it is though, and the Visarch and Amalrich train and spar.

They reach Macragge and it is under attack.  Again, we don't know how Chaos got there, or how long they have been there, but the capital city Hera is under siege and a daring landing run to break through the forces of Chaos is made.  The next several paragraphs describe the Fortress city of Hera and it's decor before we finally reach Chapter Master, Marneus Calgar.  Now it turns out that Hera was Cawl's destination all along due to the reliquary he's been carrying around since his ship got rekt.


Calgar claims he doesn't know what the fuck Cawl is talking about, Cawl agrees and says he's there for Guilliman.  This is an issue because Guilliman is in stasis after losing a fight to his freaky snake-brother Fulgrim.  Well nobody wanted to let Cawl in to the shrine to see the primarch's body until Tigurius said some bull shit about a dream he had about iron birds, a flaming sword, and a giant bloody maw, whatever.  It gets the party in to see the shrine, under heavy guard of course.  Remember, the city they are in is under siege, there is an actual battle happening outside right now, so all those guards are not defending the city.
This is the time where we find out that Cawl was commissioned by Guilliman before he "died" to build him a suit of armour, which is able to revive him.  There was another thing in that contract which we don't find out about.  Well, this is great news, but before everyone can get all excited, Yvraine speaks up explaining that in order for Guilliman to be resurrected, he must die first.  Well this does not sit well with most, but there are some who actually believe enough to think it will work, but before anyone can really make any kind of decision an Ultramarine Thunderhawk comes smashing in through a window, but it's not Ultramarines that get out, it's Black Legion.  And they start killing shit.  Cawl and Yvraine use this interruption to set up the reliquary and cut the cables keeping Guilliman in stasis.
The next two and a half pages are all about how the Black Legion push their way to the foot of Gilliman's stasis chamber, then the microwave dings and out jumps the 400lb gorilla swinging a giant flaming sword.  Right after that he breaks the siege and frees Hera.


WAR STORM: CHAPTER II

Finally, with some breathing room, Roboute was able to take stock of the situation was not happy.  The religious idolatry, worshipping the Emperor as a god, everything that he knew to be heresy before his nap had come to fruition.  He has a full page where he inner monologues about it.  It's very emotional and even goes as far as saying that Horus would be laughing because this is exactly what he based his rebellion on.  It's a self fulfilling prophesy/conspiracy.  This all occurs during his 4 days of seclusion and when he emerges, the war to reclaim Ultramar begins.  As word got around, as it tends to, armies from every creed came flocking to the Primarch's aide including the Dark Angels, Raven Guard, Space Wolves, White Scars, Black Templars (who bestowed Amalrich with the Black Blade and armour of the Emperor's Champion), Imperial Navy battleships, Barons of Knight worlds, the Adeptus Mechanicus, Titan Legions, and even the Adeptus Ministorum.  The last of which Roboute did not want amongst his allies, and only by the convincing words of Celestine and Greyfax of the Ministorums's power did he allow the proclamation of his Divinity.  Only further adding to the hypocrisy.  After months of battle he realized that the agents of Chaos were delaying him, preventing him from completing the reconquest of Ultramar and keeping him from venturing forth to Terra.  Commanding Calgar, Tigurius, and Agemman to remain and continue the battle for Ultramar, Roboute assembled the Celestinians and any armies they commanded, along with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Companies of Ultramarines with Cato Sicarius at their lead, to join him in he perilous journey to Terra.  The Eldar all fucked off to look for more Eldar to join their cause and to find more planets with those black pylons things they tried to get working on Cadia.


With the Warp roiling and churning with storms, the journey is fraught with danger and the Navigators dare to only make short jumps through the warp.  We all know the terrible things that happen in the Warp and some of them do, though the Terran Crusade never consider turning from their path.  After one such horrific jump the Imperial warships find themselves materializing right in the middle of an ambush staged by Magnus and the Thousand Sons.  Magnus casts a spell that grabs the Imperial ships and drags them deep into the Maelstrom, only half surviving the ordeal.  Once in the Maelstrom, they were fucking lost.  Like srsly lost.

That's how lost they are.
Blindly bouncing from planet to planet, desperately searching for anything they might be able to use to escape the Maelstrom, Guilliman is tormented by the Great Lord of Change, and right hand of Tzeentch, Kairos Fateweaver.  At every turn Kairos is there taunting the Primarch, reminding him of his past failures, and describing failures yet to come, really getting in his head and under his skin.

Only a few of you will really understand this
Finally, on a world made of black marble and blood, Guilliman received a message from a non-daemonic source, and yet it led straight into a Red Corsairs trap.  And I have to say that this trap is the most fucking ridiculous ACME idea of a trap I've ever seen.  Basically, it's millions of ships all chained together making a large web cloud too large to go around.  Think about that, a graveyard of ships so big that it would cause too much of a delay for the fleet to go around, even though it's clearly a fucking trap.
So with the trap sprung, the Red Corsairs paved the way for Kairos to make his way to the Primarch.  See, through all the taunting, and sowing the seeds of doubt, Kairos was actually weaving spells of power into the Primarch's being, and coming face to face he was able to enact these spells and use them to form chains of crystal and bind the Primarch.  With Guilliman bound, the rest of the crew lowered their weapons and were taken to the Red Corsairs stronghold, which turns out to be a Blackstone Fortress.

RISE OF THE PRIMARCH:  CHAPTER III

Suddenly Harlequins AND Cypher happens, gaining access to the Blackstone Fortress from some hidden basement escape hatch and rescues everyone after Guilliman agrees to take Cypher to Terra and the Golden Throne.  Aided by a poorly timed attack by Skarbrand and a well time attack by the Legion of the Damned, they are able to make it to the trap door and into the Webway.

I want to take a second and explain what kind of army was actually saved by Cypher, because they list a whole bunch of shit that just does not fucking compute.  First off they rescue Celestine and her Geminae.  Next is Cawl and his Mechanicus forces which includes multiple Dunecrawlers and ranks of  Skitarii and Battle Servitors.  The last cell contains Voldus, his Grey Knights, and their Dreadknights, as well as the rest of the Space Marines of the crusade and DOZENS OF VEHICLES AND DREADNOUGHTS!  What kind of idiot bond villain decided to keep every one locked up with all their fucking vehicles and super suits?!?  I also keep picturing either Celestine and her two friends in an absolutely massive aircraft hangar size cell all to themselves, or each cell gradually getting bigger and bigger.  And all this shit fits through this secret door that had not been used in thousands of years, and this one leads to the god damn webway.  Now if you have listened to the Fracture of Biel-tan review by Mob Rules, you will know how secure doors are.



They were far from out of trouble however and the forces of the Thousand Sons relentlessly attack them as they travel through the twisting paths to...

The fucking Moon!

This time however, they are unable to close the door quick enough and Thousand Sons were able to step out onto the Moon followed by Magnus.  Guilliman and Magnus fight and Magnus kicks ass until Sisters of Silence show up and surround Guilliman, who charges once again and manages to get Magnus back through the gate into the Webway which is closed behind him.  With Magnus out of the picture and reinforcements arrived it was a short time before the last of the Thousand Sons were destroyed.  The next couple pages describe the trip to Terra and to the doors of the Throne room.  There they meet with Aquila Commander Kalim Varanor who, after much pompous introducing, announced that only the Primarch would be allowed in to the Throne room.  This didn't sit well with Cypher but that didn't really matter because Guilliman had him arrested because while he didn't know who Cypher was, he recognised the blade that Cypher has always carried but never drawn, and it did not give him a warm happy feeling.  And so Cypher was tossed in jail which he promptly escaped from.

Guilliman enters the Throne room and after a day and a night, emerges with "all the enlightenment that he required".  He joins the Lords of Terra, removing and replacing several of them and begins preparing for Abaddon and the 13th Black Crusade to arrive.

The End...


Or is it?


So there it is, the final instalment of the Gathering Storm campaign and as far as the story goes, I like it, but as with the other books the writing isn't the strongest.  It wavers back and forth from full of action to droning on about the architecture to once again describing the miraculous victory that was snatched from the jaws of defeat.  Right up to the end that is.


What the fuck was that about?  He shows up, saves the day, get arrested and disappears.  It's like the writers wrote themselves into a corner and needed a plot hook to save the day and didn't want to use just Harlequins because they fucking popped up a dozen time in the last book.  The last 2 pages of this story quite simply ruin the 90 pages that preceded it and feels like they ran out of time.  It's a piss poor cliffhanger and a piss poor way to leave off the story.  Looking back on this story, as cool as it was up till the end, NOTHING HAPPENS!  Guilliman wakes up and makes his way to Terra.  And while a Primarch waking up and getting back into the game is a big deal, it's nothing compared to the previous 2 books in which 5 NEW characters are introduced, an ancient weapon used to hold back the warp is discovered, Cadia is destroyed along with a Blackstone Fortress, the Imperial forces ally with the Eldar, and new Eldar religion is created along with a new prophesy to save the race and/or kill Slaanesh, and the Craftworld Biel-tan is destroyed (I'm still a little confused on this though).

Well, shit got real there for a minute.  Lets keep that pain train rolling and I'm gonna bitch about the pictures, again.  The art work is cool, it always is, and while I don't have to mention it to you, I feel I have to because once again I'm going to rip on the pics of the models.  What is it with GW and that set up?  Almost every pic has the same 3 "tropes", smoke, a harsh light in the background, and it's taken looking into the face of the good guys over the shoulder of the bad guys with them in the foreground blurry.  Now that that is out of the way, lets talk rules...

I'm going to skip the part about the missions, no one really cares that much although there are some pretty crazy missions for funzies, and get right into the data slates and wargear starting with...

Cypher

While he didn't actually get new rules, there was some additions surrounding him and he got a new bad ass model.  For those of you who don't know, Cypher is a 190pt model with a host of special rules and some bad ass pistols which he dual wields.  During the shooting phase he can shoot with each twice, or shoot with each once and run, he fires overwatch at his normal BS which is 10, and he shoots his pistols in combat making half(rounding up) of his attacks using the bolt pistol and the rest with the plasma pistol at I8.  He also has ATSKNF, Eternal Warrior, Fleet, Hit and Run, Infiltrate, and Shrouded.  Finally, he and his unit/formation of Fallen(basically Chaos Chosen) have been given their own faction which is battle brothers with both Armies of the Imperium AND Chaos Space Marines.

Vandus

Grand Master Voldus is a nobody.  He gets almost no introduction in the story and is quite replaceable, but he gets a model and rules anyway.  He is a super Grey Knight Librarian who can generate an extra Sanctic power and has a Thunder Hammer that doesn't have Unwieldy.  You won't ever see him though cause he is 240 points and he is so forgettable that you probably didn't notice the name under his model is wrong.  You won't see the Bulwark of Purity formation either because they are still over costed and the formation is only really useful against daemons.

Roboute Guilliman

For a mere 110 points more you can get Roboute Guillimen, Primarch of the Ultramarines!  This guy is something else, with a typical Primarch stat line (6's all over the place) he has some serious army boosting rules.  Friendly units from Armies of the Imperium re-roll failed Morale, Fear, and Pinning checks.  Plus you get an additional set of doctrines that affect all Ultramarine models in the army, not just the detachment.  Plus he has ALL of the Command Traits from the rule book.  Aside from that he is a pushover, except for his 2+ armour and 3+ invul saves, and his S10 AP1 sword that is D on a 6 to hit and that he can make attacks equal to the number of enemy models within 1" of him, and he has a 24" S6 AP2 Assault 3 Rending ranged weapon, and his armour can bring him back to life after you kill him, and he has FNP.  His ONLY drawback is that he is a Monstrous Creature.  I think you will see quite a bit of him, mainly used for his army buffs, he is also a formidable anchor and deterrent for armies looking to assault your forces.  I don't see the Victrix Guard being used, as it consists of units that are typically over priced and they are not allowed a transport.  They do allow Guilliman to "Look Out Sir!" some wounds to them, but he is a pretty tough customer as it is and all this does is allow your opponent to target 2 units with one round of fire(sort of).

Which brings us to the new Warlord Traits and Relics.  2 of the Warlord traits are worth it, one giving you +4 to Seize the Initiative, the other giving the Warlord and all units within 6" of him Split fire.  That last one could really come in handy with a Skyhammer.  The relics are rather meh, one of the better ones giving Eternal Warrior.  The big one is 60 points and is a banner that allows models removed to make an attack before it's removed from play, among some other things.

The last rules to grace this book is a new detachment for Ultramarines.  Similar to the Gladius Strike force, Objective Secured is scattered about(minus vehicles), with the additional bonus of getting to use multiple doctrines per turn.

My overall feelings on this book are mixed.  The story is pretty great right up to the last 2 pages and the writing is not the strongest as it dwells on the front thing too often.  The art is really cool, but the model displays are repetitive and become boring.  The rules are strong, but not strong enough to be used all that often to any great results.  The models are awesome, as always, but 2 of the characters that got models are barely in the book.  Both Cypher and Voldus could have been completely removed from the story and it wound't have changed a thing.  I give this book an overall rating of 5.5 out of 10.  It was a real lack lustre way to end a great campaign and I hope they pick up from this point in the next series, or take up where Traitors Hate left off and bounce back and forth like a Tarantino movie.

Thanks to everyone for reading this and if you have any thoughts on the article, want to tell me I'm wrong or an idiot, or have any ideas for future articles, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next time, keep them dice rollin.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

THE GATHERING STORM: FALL OF CADIA

So I had some great ideas for a play on words for the title, as I usually do, like...

Cadia is falling, Cadia is falling!
...but it felt like it really needed the picture to get the idea across so I stuck with the actual title of the book and used the lack of funny title to add some pointless but entertaining content to this post.  Classic...

Before I get into the story and the rules, I want to take a couple paragraphs to talk about the quality of the book.  It's a hard cover book, like many of the codex's, it's got some neat holographic lettering, but the picture is not raised or textured like many of the other codex's.  Good quality paper, well made, all the things you are used to seeing in a Games Workshop book.

Pictures.  Lets talk about these cause I have a rant and a rave.  Lets start with the rave, the artwork is fantastic.  There is a host of new artwork, along with some of the great iconic artwork from the original Eye of Terror campaign, as well as old art from any and everywhere.  With all the amazing art, i have to say that my favourite is probably the depiction of the Eye on 4-5 with the overlay of the Chaos symbols.
Now what is the deal with the dioramas?  I didn't really notice anything was amiss with the pics until about halfway through the book.  I was drooling over them and fan-boying out all over the place, probably the same as you.  Then I noticed something.  Every single picture has the exact same aesthetic.  Over the shoulder of the bad guys, into the face of the good guys, harsh coloured light originating from behind the good guys other wise fairly dark, smoke, everyone neatly lined up ready to deliver and receive the charge.
I understand that the underlying theme of the book is focused on the Imperial characters and the defence of Cadia, but none of the pictures seem to give the impression of fear, desperation, and panic that saturates the story.  It also tends to blur the vision a little as it makes it harder for me to focus on any of the details looking into the sea of faces.  Maybe it's just me, but the pictures actually started to look plain and uninteresting.

So, the book opens with a spoken word poem titled "The Dreamer".  After reading it I have determined that the dreamer is St Celestine although I'm a little confused as to how this works.  What is she?  I had assumed that she was a physical person that continually, miraculously, regenerated after having been killed on the battlefield.  Much the same way that a Perpetual would (see John Gramaticus and Vulcan).  Instead we find that she lies in some sort of stasis in another realm until she is needed and then she goes forth to eliminate the enemy.  Yet every time this happens, she looses a little bit of herself.  Or maybe it's not her, and if that's the case, who the hell is it?  Or maybe I'm batshit crazy...



I'm gonna skip the Age of Darkness cause we already know just how shitty this universe is.  Grim Dark and such.

Chapter 1: The Shadow Descends
Here the story starts in earnest.  "In the Grip of War" briefly goes over the opening assault of the 13th Black Crusade, which has already happened.  It has crippled the Navy and pounded Cadia with all the usual nastiness that Chaos is known for.  Plagues, bombardments, corruption, assault, and taint are all typical weapons found in Chaos's tool box.  Especially taint, Chaos loves the taint.
This opening scene ends with Creed getting a smashed Astral Choir Beacon Jerry rigged up so he can watch re-runs of Happy Days, and send a desperate plea for help, killing 99% of all the Astropaths hooked up to it.  He didn't use enough duct tape.

The story then jumps to "Tatooine" where Belisarius Cawl is digging up some "Buried Secrets" all while being harassed by Orks.  The planet is actually called Eriad VI and, we find out, was abandoned when Abaddon's Fourth Black Crusade swept the surrounding area.  Cawl is about to give up and leave the planet to the Orks when an Eldar woman, whom actually showed up IN HIS forge on Mars telling him to take his precious cargo to it's long intended destination (whatever that means), shows up again and tells him to keep digging.  Her name is Sylandri Veilwalker and she talks about dancers learning new moves, like cramping or something, so I'm guessing she is a Harlequin.


We are now moved to Trazyn's museum where the Bell of Saint Gerstahl gives "A Dolorous Warning" by ringing 13 times.  Each time it rings it not only gets louder, but it causes extensive amounts of damage to Trazyn's Vaults which causes him to toss the thing into the Webway like it's the recycling bin.
Saint Gerstahl was part of a prophesy that says the Saint will rise again when the Eye of Darkness opens for the last time.  Well, during Abaddon's 3rd Black Crusade, the Saints remains were destroyed, potentially ending the prophesy.
This perks Trazyn's interest and he heads to the Celestial Orrery, which is like Cerebro from X-Men, and finds that Cadia is the wellspring of the galaxies woes.  How poetic.  He then has an inner monologue where he hopes to find an ally and head off to Cadia.  All he can think of is the Xenos Inquisitor Valeria who is dead, but it gives him an idea and he heads off looking for one of his Vaults.

Yet again, the story takes us somewhere other than Cadia.  Cadia is in this book right?  Instead, we get this ridiculous story on how Shon'tu, Warsmith of the Iron Warriors, and Be'lakor manage to open a warp rift right into the Imperial Fists battle fortress Phalanx.  This thing is so massive that they are currently using it as a home world and it just so happens to reside in the Sol System, which is where Terra is.  If they can fucking open a door right outside Terra then why the hell doesn't Abaddon just do that?  There doesn't seem to be any kind of price paid, or penalty imbued in order to have this rift opened, and the only thing that saves the Imperial Fists (for now) is they use the weapons of the battle station to shoot off a section of it's self that contains the majority of the Iron Warriors.  Captain Tor Garadon then gets the great idea to jump into the warp and just drive is whatever direction they are pointing with Be'lakor and a ton of Daemons still on board.  You know, lets jump into the place where are enemies are strongest.
It takes the appearance of the Legion of the Damned to save every ones asses but it was the perfect plot hook because as soon as they were about to turn around and head home they manage to receive the message sent by Creed and his duct tape soup can phone, and the Damned tag along for the ride.
You mean like writers and their terrible plot hooks?
Finally we return to Cadia with "The Might of the Despoiler" bearing down on the lynch pin fortress world, and he brought the last know Blackstone Fortress, Will of Eternity.  Now it says that few knew of Abaddon's true purpose of destroying Cadia, and few cared.  Except for us, the reader, who will have to wait still.  Now the number of ships coming out of the warp must be ridiculous because it says that Abaddon could have lost 10 times the number before it even sparked his notice.  Where the fuck are all these ships coming from?  How is it that Abaddon just so happened to have a fucking armada big enough to pretty much ignore when his "...rimward flank evaporated beneath sustained nova cannon fire."?  Lets set that aside cause we got bigger fish to fry.
Ever since the last crusade in which Abaddon used the power of the Blackstone Fortress, the mechanicum had furiously worked to devise an anti-warp beam shield, which just so happened to get smashed during the first siege.  In an attempt to delay the Will of Eternity long enough for the Tech-priests to fix the Null Shield, Sven Bloodhowl of the Space Wolves loaded up his ship, Firemane's Fang, with a bunch of Space Marines and board the fortress.
Creed gave motivational speeches.
The time comes and the Blackstone Fortress dumps a load of warp laser on Cadia, but the beam breaks upon the shield and everyone rejoices.  Except for Magos Klarn who know that some alien scum killed all his priests and fixed the shield.  Bastards.
We also get a rather long text message from Richelieu telling us the penal world St Josmane's has erupted in rebellion.


"The Siege of Cadia Secondus" goes into more detail of the assault.  Since the Will of Eternity can't get the job done they gotta get boots on the ground.  This part of the story reads pretty much like any other bolter porn story, except with not enough detail to make it feel engaging, but enough detail to still get your heart beating.
There are a handful of specific areas talked about.  The downed battle ship Sword of Defiance is assaulted time and again by World Eaters but it isn't until the Terminus Est begins dropping payloads of virus bombs that the Dark Angels decide it's time to leave.  Unfortunately the only place for them to go was directly into the jaws of the World Eaters who awaited them in the plains.
The Shrine of Saint Morrican is defended by the Order of Our Martyred Lady.  The shrine eventually falls when a trio of Lords of Skulls show up and start spewing their gakk all over the place.  Two of the beasts are destroyed by Cannoness Genevieve and a squad of Retributors who Melta one to death which kills it's neighbour when it goes super nova.
The fortress of Kasr Kraf, which contained three rings of curtain walls that defend it's central keep.  Held mainly by Astra Militarum, it seems to be the central structure to which the surrounding areas fall back to.  The first wall falls due to a breach from Baneblade bombardment, the second because Nurgle rotted the mechanism and it couldn't close.  As things began to look desperate, or I guess more desperate, and morale low, Creed left the safety of the command bunker.  Being the ever inspirational leader he is he spends time with the soldiers, actually even fighting with them firing a borrowed lasgun.
While Creed kept the west side in check, the east was being held together but the remnants of the Order of Our Martyred Lady, Dark Angels, and Space Wolves whom all have retreated to this locale. However there isn't much they can do when the Legios Vulcanum come knocking.  Fortunately the the 119 airborne sacrifice themselves in a daring attempt to stop the Warlord Titan Vessel of Damnation and succeed as the last surviving pilot crashed the flier right into the damn things face.  Now it just so happens that through some horrible evilness the traitor Princeps Malas Tiron is able to control the entire Legio of titans and when that Valkrie crashed into the Warlords head it stunned him, which in turn stunned all of the titans giving the good guys a chance to kill a few before the titans regained control.

Urkanthos, the guy on the right.
At this point we are introduced to Urkanthos, one of Abaddon's BFF's who happened to gain prince hood as the Black Fleet approached Cadia by winning a difficult space battle.  Yep, Khorne blessed this guy cause he blew up some space ships.  Anyway, he teleports in, leading the Hounds of Abaddon looking to smash the Kriegan Gates

Thus begins "The Fall of Kasr Kraf" and another thing that irks me.  Urkanthos and the Hounds of Abaddon can take the Krieger Gate but they can't manage to run right over an Aegis line?  I don't care who's manning it.  If the Cadian 8th are that damn good, why the fuck weren't they on the wall defending the gate?  Urkanthos over extends his assault thinking he can do what Abaddon couldn't and claim victory for himself instead of doing what Abaddon sent him to do, which is destroying the null shield preventing the Blackstone fortress from melting everything on the planet.  Thanks to the Baneblade Vicanthrus, he is able to detach himself from the grind and play to the mission.  He runs over a bunch of conscripts and Sisters of Battle and gets stymied for a bit on a couple of Cannoness's but slays them as well.  Not before the writers blunder over Genevieve's head-butt to Urkanthos while he has her by the throat, after he snaps her spine.  Think about the biology and physics of that.  That's 2 sciences against the writer.


The whole time this has been happening, the damn Black Templar have been defending this pile of rubble, having refused to fall back when everyone else did.  They now seem to realise they done fucked up.  They are out in the middle of nowhere defending a completely useless point, completely surrounded, while their allies are getting slaughtered.  So they load up in the Thunderhawk and crash landed it right in the face of the main battle, jump out and start laying waste.

Also, a mysterious shadowy figure sends out some nanites that take over the Baneblade and force it to shoot into the Chaos forces saving the newly arrived Black Templar...yeeeeaaaahhhhh...

"The Echoes of the Past" take us back to Belesarius Cawl and he finally uncovers what he has been digging up.  Identical pylons to the ones on Cadia, but these ones have been bombed to shit.  We find out that these pylons keep the Warp from spilling out of the Eye, and that there are several other planets with these pylons, all of which were carpet bombed by Abaddon during his many Crusades.  Here I am going to plug an older post called "History Repeats Itself".  It's a look back at all 12 of Abaddon's Crusades and what he accomplished during each.  You can now add "Blows up pylons that keep the warp at bay."


Chapter 2: The Fires of Salvation
"The Emperor's Light" shines on Cadia this hour and delivers St. Celestine.  Cannon-balling in like a bat out of hell and cutting down heretics like a farmer cuts wheat.  Now, I need to discuss this a bit more and by discuss I mean talk to myself while I type.  The story says that she was like a beacon to 2 ships full of sisters that had been lost in the warp for 1400 years.  Was she also in a ship?  Was it just her essence that caught the attention of these 2 ships?  Was she flying through the warp on her own?  So many questions...no answers.  Then there is the little story where Urakanthos goes toe to toe with Saint Celestine.  Well, their pre-fight chat anyway.  Here's a hint, Urkanthos dies.
The sister's aren't the only timely reinforcements though as the Phalanx breaks back into reality and takes on the entire Black Fleet driving through them all right to the heart and smashing a giant fucking hole into the Will of Eternity.  The Imperial Fists also have a couple t-hawks that take out the warlord titan Vessel of Damnation.  With that, Chaos needs to take a breather.

With the break in battle, St Celestine takes the time to head up the cremation of the dead.  Meanwhile, Cawl shows up with the "Clarion of Truth" in that the pylons are a means to end this war.  So the new plans of "defend the pylons" were drawn up.
There is an interesting little ditty involving Cawl and Trazyn who, ironically, has more personality than the Archmagos.  It was Trazyn who was the cloaked figure controlling the Baneblade, and he shows up again to show Cawl how to use the pylons.  He was there when they were erected after all.

Thus began the "Battle of the Elysion Fields".  Several pages of great heroic deeds against all odds, completely surrounded by the enemy yada yada yada, Abaddon teleports, kills Kell, who manages to push Creed onto the emergency Valkrie just in the nick of time.
Back to Cawl, with Trazyn directing him, he learns the secret of the pylons only to get assaulted by Abaddon.  Thank the lord that Trazyn tosses out a Pokeball and releases an entire army of Heresy dated Ultramarines, Vostroyans, Tanith, Salamanders, a Custode, and Inquisitor Greyfax.  We never hear from the Custode again.


Chapter 3: The Chime of Midnight
As the battle rages, Cawl sets to work getting the pylons working, and Abaddon realizes what is going on.  Pissed at himself for not just bombing the shit out of the planet and levelling the pylons from space, he re-doubles his efforts only to come face to face with St. Celestine, dramatic music sounds and epic battle begins.  It doesn't last long as the pylons begin to power up and suck all the magic out of the world.  All the daemons being to melt, daemon engine and possessed are destroyed as the daemons are ripped from their shells, but so to with the emperor's light.  Being a psychic beacon, the Emperor's "Divine" power is still fuelled by the warp and it's loss is felt by nearly everyone.
Lets take a minute to talk about this because it made me think REAL hard about everything I thought I knew.  The Emperor's blessings, powers, abilities, his own and those granted to others, are all fuelled by the warp.  The land of the daemons and gods of which he not only denied the existence of, is now in eternal battle with.  Go back and read Flight of the Eisenstein, when Keeler becomes the first Saint, that's daemon power she is using.  Even Celestine's powers are of the immaterium and lessen and the pylons reboot.  Until now, I had always suspected that the Emperor's follower's faith in him was fuelled by something divine and almost "anti-warp", if that makes sense.  This also gives me a really good understanding as to why Greyfax hates Celestine and all the worshipping the Emperor bullshit.  It's almost as if she can see that Warp energies are flowing through Celestine.
Back to Abaddon and Celestine, as their otherworldly powers are sucked from their bodies, the fight swings back heavily in Abaddon's favour.  While he no longer has the blessings of the gods, he's still one of the greatest Astartes to have ever existed and Celestine is a human shell.  Just as he is about to cut her down, Greyfax grabs him in a psychic bind just long enough for the Cadian 8th to throw their lives away to save their beloved Saint.  Denied that kill, Abaddon goes into blender mode and makes his way to Creed, he even gets the Talon on him before Celestine stabs him in the back.  All this time Trazyn is upset he couldn't "catch" Abaddon, and Greyfax can't believe what a bunch of worshippers everyone has turned out to be, especially since she is from a time when the Emperor was NOT a god and to think so was heresy.

With the pylons activated, Abaddon doesn't have time to muck about any more and teleports out before he can't teleport at all, remember teleportation requires use of the warp to pull off.  He now enacts the "Manhattan Project" and throws a chunk of the destroyed Blackstone Fortress at Cadia.  This is not the first time he threw a ship at something, if you remember in the Talon of Horus, he threw a ship at an Emperor's Children city when he went to confront Fabius Bile and the Horus clone.


Cadia dies but for those still on the planet, it's time to abandon ship, cause the death of a world happens in slo-mo.  Creed is not much up to the task as he gapes like a fish, and Celestine is a sorcerous witch, so Greyfax takes up command and starts issuing orders of "Run for your life!"  Of course with the enemy still nipping at their heels, Creed is roused from his stupor and vows to give the survivors enough time to escape and turns the Cadian 8th around to fight one last time and stays behind, and presumably dies, but we can't really believe that as we never see his actual death.

Of the original 850 million residents of Cadia, a mere 3 million limped off the planet, guarded by the Phalanx as they sought safety from the Black Fleet and nearly 1/6th of them survived their travels before it was determined safe for warp travel.  Unfortunately for them Abaddon finds out they have some relic aboard one of the ships that he wants and 10 Black Fleet ships materialise from the warp within firing range.  The timing was perfect as many of the Imperial ships were too close to warp jump to stop the countdown, this left the mechanics ships to their own fate.  Not able to warp jump due to damaged Gellar fields Cawls ship, Iron Revenant, fled with the Vengeful Spirit in hot pursuit closing fast.  The Vengeful Spirit soon overtook it's prey and in its death throes, a number of transport managed to escape, using the dying ship as cover making their way to Klaisus, a nearby ice world.

Celestine led the way through the snow storms, much to Greyfax's chagrin.  There was some end goal unknown to the others, but ever onward she urged but to no avail.  The Black Legion caught up to them in their LAND RAIDERS!?!  Are you fucking kidding me?  This makes is sound like they are traversing the Pass of Caradhras from Lord of the Rings, not a fucking freeway.  Anyway, the Land Raider's door opens, out steps Abaddon chasing the Imperial refugees right into the arms of a whole god damn army of Eldar.  Ulthwe, Commorragh Wytches, Biel-Tan, and many more.  Just behind them stands an open Webway gate.

And that's the end of the story.  It's about time actually as I was getting a little annoyed with the writing.  The story was amazing, but if I had to hear about one more time the good guys were almost over run only to be saved at the last second by some plot device and then regroup and push back at the inspiring presence of some hero I was going to scream "BANANA!"(Safe word)

Speaking of rules...

We start off with some funny mission stuff.  There are the Empyric Storm events and the Echoes of War missions, which are all fun and "fluffy" and should definitely be played with a friend in your basement.



Then there is Belesarius Cawl.  This dude is one tough hombre and force multiplier for any Mechanicum army.  To start, he is durable with T6, W5 and a 2+ save, he also has FNP that he can re-roll and he regains D3 wounds just because.  His wargear is extensive and excels at killing just about everything.  He has the Arc Scourge is a CCW that has re-rollable Haywire, a power axe, the Mechadendrite Hive that gives him an additional 2D6 attacks at S4 and I10, and the Solar Atomizer which is a 12" gun S10, AP1, Assault D3 Melta.  I also said he was a force multiplier and he comes with his own mini brand of "Canticles" that include IWND, an Invul save, and BS increases.  All that for 200 points.

My new vision of "Saint" Celestine, the Emperor's Angel of Death
Speaking of 200 points, Celestine, The Living Saint is the same points cost but she isn't alone.  She has the 2 Geminae Superia with her at all times, which are Genevieve and Elenore, the 2 Cannoness that were slain by Urkanthos.  They form a bit of a mish-mash unit with a handful of different saves and equipment.  Celestine has a 2+ armour save, Eternal Warrior, and 5 wounds and a 4+ Invul save while the Geminae have a 3+ save with a 4++, 2 wounds but no Eternal Warrior, all wounds are allocated to them first, AND at the start of each turn one of them comes back to life if she is dead.  These 3 form a unit which can then join other units like an IC.  As for weapons, Celestine has a Relic Blade, Heavy Flamer, and an Orbital Strike while the Geminae have pistols and power swords.  She still has her resurrection power, but it only works once, as well as hit and run and Fearless, topping off all her special rules is the Saintly Blessings which is a set of one time use abilities that boost the effectiveness of a specific battle field role.  For example, one gives all Troop units 6+ FNP or +1 to their FNP if they already have it.

And because GW can't go 3/3
Welcome to the 41st millennium Inquisitor Katarinya Greyfax.  Now I shouldn't be so mean because for 150 points, she is not a bad choice if you can't manage to get that extra 50 points to get Cawl or Celestine.  She comes with some awesome wargear, a Condemnor bolt gun and power sword (both master-crafted), and psych-out grenades.  She is a level 2 psyker, despite having preferred enemy psykers, and can generate 2 powers from Telepathy and she gets her own special power that stops running, turbo-boosting, and shooting overwatch and can be boosted to become a bubble.  Pretty good vs Tau and their "everyone" can shoot overwatch, Dark Angels who can overwatch at standard BS, and Eldar who love to turbo-boost their damn jet-bikes all over the damn place.  Her strongest ability however has got to be her Warlord Trait preventing ANY infiltrators from being set up within 24" of her.

There are a handful of formations and detachments next, but as I don't play any of these armies I am not going to waste your (or my) time in pretending that I know what i'm talking about.  The Conclave Acquisitorius looks like a version of the War Convocation that could be good.  You can take more than one knight, every one gets Canticles of the Omnissiah, every character can upgrade one weapon to be master-crafted, and if you have the maximum number of units (which doesn't look too hard to do) everyone gets the Doctrina Imperatives (I have no idea what that is) from the Skitarii book.  I also want to bring your attention to the Castellans of the Imperium Detachment, this thing embodies the whole "Imperial Soup".  You can take just about any, and everything, AND all your troops choices go into Ongoing reserves after they die (on a successful 5+ roll).

Lets talk relics...
We get 2 new sets of Relics, one set is centred around Cawl and the other around Celestine.  I'm not going to go through them all cause I'm tired, and I have been writing this article for like 2 weeks now...so I'll just hit the highlights.

The Memento-Mortispex allows the bearer to grant either BS 2 overwatch, monster hunter, tank hunter, or sky fire to himself and his unit at the start of each turn until the start of his next turn.  Omnissiah's Grace is the Mark of Tzeentch.  Saint Curia's Autopurger sounds ridiculous, but it causes the entire enemy unit locked in combat with the bearer to pass a Toughness test at I10 or suffer a wound.  Considering that a "Bark Bark Star" with something like 40 Wolves made it to the finals at LVO, this might be a 25 point deterrent to having that unit get too close to you.

The Castigator sounds like a tool that beef farmers would use, but it's actually an AP2 pistol that ignores Invul saves.  While Desvalle's Holy Circle creates a 12" no Deep Strike zone, and if someone happens to scatter into that 12", MISHAP!

So there we have it, holy fuck was that long.  It might not have been quite as long as the Traitor Legions review, but I was way more excited to do that book.  Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and as always...

Keep them dice rollin!