With the Warzone Charadron Book II finally in our hands, Dan, Liam and James go through our thoughts on whats in it.
Much like the first Warzone Charadron, the Second Act details the fall of the Metallica Forge World and the factions in play within the system. There is a bunch of lore expansion and crusade new rules that on first glance look super solid and interesting and would take a whole other post to go through but it is definitely worth a read.
However, we're just going to focus on the new Army Supplement and Forces of Renown in this book.
Our Martyred Lady are the chosen Army Supplement in this book and the two Armies of Renown are the Skitarii Veteran Cohort and the Disciples of Be'lakor.
These three are all very interesting, the Adepta Sororitas Supplement is a welcome addition to a already fleshed out new Codex, the Skitarii Veteran Cohort gives another way to run a faction that's quickly become very strong with their new Codex and finally... FINALLY Bel'akor has some rules to be used in 40k!
Codex Supplement: Order of Our Martyred Lady
I usually play Valorous Heart but I want to start by saying this is a great little supplement. It provides a nice little boost to an Our Martyred Lady player's tool box.
So lets start with the warlord traits, they all have their place. The Saintly Example is a great one, it gives you another random trait from the Sisters core book and when killed it allows another character to become a warlord and gain a random trait. Just like the “I Am Alpharius” Warlord trait from the Alpha Legion, this is great fun, not the most competitive option but definitely good fun. My favourite however, is Martyr's Strength, for each wound this model has taken you gain +1 strength and attack (to a max of +2). Doesn't sound like a lot but combos with a certain relic very nicely.
Which brings us to relics. There are 3 great relics and... a really odd one. Blade of Sacrifice is the stand out, it replaces a power sword. What you can do is channel the bearer's soul suffering 1-2 wounds (are you seeing the combo yet?) For each mortal wounds suffered equal to the amount you sacrificed your attacks deal that many Mortal Wounds on a successful wound roll. So e.g your Cannoness suffers 2 wounds, then fights and wounds her target 4 times, that instantly deals 8 mortal wounds... this seems a bit bonkers! Candela Scroll is probably the standout one for me being simple but amazing, 6" aura of +1 attack to core and characters.
The stratagems are pretty good too, I think they all have a place. But 2 really stand out. First up it's Death Before Disgrace, used on an infantry or Paragon Warsuit at the start of your movement phase. It prevents them from falling back and grants them obsec all for 1cp, when you're pushing up with your Warsuits this is a great way to steal an objective. The second stand out one is the simple but effective: Exemplar Of The Order, this grants an extra trait to your warlord but has to be an OML one.
Hopefully you have seen the combination evolving from the above. For me this book delivers a very potent (if very eggs in 1 basket style). You take a Cannoness, you give her a power sword and rod of office, you take the Righteous Rage warlord trait, you spend a CP to give her Martyr's Strength, then she takes the Blade of Sacrifice and finally upgrades her to have the Emperor's Grace. All that gives you 7 attacks that reroll all hit and wound rolls, strength 6, each successful wound doing 2 mortals and healing d3 wounds each turn thanks to the Emperor's Grace. You can make this stronger by putting a War Hymn on her and being in the Candela Scroll aura (9 attacks). This is great against elite armies that rely on saves or damage reduction. All for the reasonable price of 85pts and 1 cp. Obviously this has a lot of moving parts but if you even get a few of them off she can be incredibly deadly!
This is a great addition to OML (as a Valorous Heart player I am a little jealous), however OML are one of the weaker orders competitively speaking. Will this make them good? I don't think it elevates them over other orders unfortunately.
What it does do is make them a more interesting choice again, they have some very interesting builds with this book.
Army of Renown: Skitarii Veteran Cohort
"We Veterans now boys"
As the Tech-Priest of the group, I’ve had a good look into the Skitarii Veteran Cohort and my initial reaction is… wow… Did they really print this?
Skitarii have been a bit of a boogey-man since the launch of the Ad Mech 9th Edition Codex. They offer great, cheap bodies that are resilient and pack a punch. The Veteran Cohort asks you to add 20% on top of the standard price but dials that up to 11. Granting all Skitarii Vanguard and Rangers a 5++ Invulnerable save, an extra point of Leadership and an extra attack and grants the army a new warlord trait, relic and 4 new stratagems.
The cost of these benefits is 2pts per Vanguard/Ranger, your entire army must have the Skitarii Keyword and you can only take 1 of each Tech-Priest. As most competitive armies are running 2 Manipulus this could be an issue. I don't think that alone writes this army of Renown off however.
The Warlord Trait and Relic are interesting, The Warlord trait gives an optional up to 4CP discount on the stratagems but it seems a little clunky to use.
The relic however, I can't quite believe is a thing. It lets you put a unit into another Doctrina, even one you have already used. The combinations this can allow seem very strong, for example giving Dragoons 3" movement and +1WS as well as combo-ing with a new stratagem as we'll get onto in a bit. Another combination that instantly comes to mind is the using the Solar Pulse Relic (Teleport a unit 9" away from an enemy) with both the +1 sv and +1BS meaning you can punch even harder in that first turn.
One of the big selling points for me is that 5++ Invuln save. With the top lists running Lucius builds the Skitarii are already golden against the mass damage 1 shots with their Forge World Dogma of +1 to sv’s against Damage 1. With a 5++ it increases their efficiency against Plasma and similar types of weapons.
I’m yet to see whether the additional attack is worth its weight, as they are only S3 0AP D1 attacks… Yet the Extra Ld could really prove to be useful. In a lot of situations it might not matter but at leadership 9 it could prove to be the difference.
Finally, the stratagems are almost the best thing about this Army of Renown. Bionic Endurance stratagem really makes those large units of Skitarii incredibly difficult to shift granting them a 5+++ save for the large price of 2/3CP.
The +1 to wound comes back for the Ironstriders in the form of the Binharic Offense stratagem. It does cost 3CP but giving those Lascannons +1 to wound means you'd be rolling 2's against the majority of things. The main change from Engine War is this stratagem is not restricted to Ironstriders only!
The Skitarii only exclusion is obviously the main weakness to this Army of Renown. However, with Skitarii being the dominant and most efficient sub-faction in the codex. This isn’t a big issue.
The main issue for me comes with the restriction of only 1 Manipulus. Most forces want to be handing the Galvanic Field buff out to at least 1 squad of Rangers and Vanguard. That way it gives utility, really ramps up the damage for the Enriched Rounds stratagem and helps the mirror match-up with the Rangers at -2 AP.
I’m looking at going hard on Skitarii Vanguard and Rangers whilst still utilising the key strengths of the Ironstrider Ballistari and Fusilave. We'll see how it does at the end of the month!
Army of Renown - Skitarii Veteran Cohort
Tech Priest Manipulus - Sonic Reaper
Tech Priest Dominus - Solar Flare, Luminescent Blessing (Transhuman)
Skitarii Marshall - Cantic Thrallnet, Firepoint Telemetry Cache (Cover)
20 Rangers - 1 Arc Rifle, Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Rangers - Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Vangaurd - Omnispex and Data-tether
20 Vanguard - Omnispex and Data-tether
10 Ruststalkers - Temporcopia
3 Ironstriders Ballistari - Twin Lascannons
Army of Renown: Disciples of Bel'akor
Alright! Be'lakor's rules have finally been released, and I'm beyond excited to use him on the tabletop! We also received rules for a brand new army of renown: the Disciples of Be'lakor, but first I'll be talking about the big man himself.
Be'lakor is the new beast on the block, sporting an impressive statline and some amazing damage output. With 6 attacks that hit at strength 14, AP-4 and damage D3+3, all ignoring invulnerable saves, he'll be sure to annihilate whatever poor character he's in combat with. And if he's facing a horde of chaff, he has the option to trade the high damage for 12 attacks at 1 damage. And if you're worried about him making it to combat in the first place, then have no fear. Thanks to his abilities Immortal Vigour and Shadow Form, he is always -1 to hit, -1 to wound from shooting attacks, and you can never reroll hit rolls when targeting him. Combine that with his 16 wounds, toughness 7 and 4++, he's a tough nut to crack with shooting alone!
When it comes to list-building with him, he's also got all 4 marks of chaos, meaning he can slot into any mono-god detachment and not break the benefits you gain in the detachment, in this case Daemonic Loci. Since he's also a character with the respective mark, he also gains the respective Loci. And yes, this means he can advance and charge in a Slaanesh detachment. What a beast!
All this power comes with a relatively high point cost of 360, but I honestly think he's well worth it. Giving Chaos a massive melee beatstick that can reliably make it to combat before being shot off the board is a godsend, and I can't wait to use him! That is, until a unit of Skitarii wipe him in one go with Enriched Rounds... but that's a whole other discussion to be had.
Disciples of Be'lakor
And accompanying the big man himself are his loyal subordinates, arriving in the form of the Disciples of Be'lakor army of renown. This lets you combine both CSM and Chaos Daemon units into a single detachment, and the detachment counts as both a CSM and a Chaos Daemon detachment, meaning all the stratagems, relics etc are all still valid on their respective units.
Instead of the standard Legion trait or Daemonic Loci, it is instead replaced with a brand new ability. For the CSM, the Legion trait is replaced with Disciples of Shadow, which grants all units -1 to be hit if the firer is over 12" away, and +1 to all combat attrition tests. This is a decent trait that helps mitigate morale losses, and the -1 to hit is always welcome. Since this replaced the Legion trait with a new rule, it does apply to all units in the army, even if they wouldn't normally gain a Legion trait.
And for the Daemons half, the Loci is replaced with the Locus of Shadows. As long as a Chaos Daemon unit is within the aura, your opponent cannot reroll any hit rolls against them, and suffer a -1 to hit penalty if targeting them from over 12" away. This is an incredibly powerful Loci ability, but whether it is more powerful than some of the standard Loci abilities is yet to be seen, especially once we get into the limitations that this army has.
Speaking of limitations, building a Disciples of Be'lakor list comes with some pretty heavy restrictions. You cannot include any Greater Daemons, Daemon Engines, named characters (outside of Be'lakor), Thousand Sons, Death Guard, World Eaters, Emperor's Children, Berserkers, Plague Marines, Rubric Marines , Noise Marines or any other Daemon Princes. This is a HUGE limitation to the army and severely restricts what you can actually take. And if that wasn't enough, for the Chaos Daemons, all units must be evenly marked as possible. This means if you wanted to take a 2nd unit of Khorne Daemons, you would need to first take 1 unit from each other god.
These restrictions make me question whether you'll see these guys performing well in the competitive scene. I'm sure there's probably some obscure combination that works really well, but as of right now I'm not seeing it. As a fun and thematic army however, it does a great job. Having a mixed army of Marines and Daemons led by Be'lakor on the tabletop is an awesome sight, and I look forward to seeing what lists people come up with!
For the Disciples of Be'lakor, the Daemon side definitely seems to be the stronger half. With the ability to fling Bloodletters up the board thanks to Shrouded Step psychic power from the Noctic discipline, it saves a lot of CP and gets those 3d6 charges as early as turn 1. Large Plaguebearer units can also see play, with stratagems such as Mortal Boon being a big benefit for them. This 2cp strat allows a Daemon unit to automatically pass morale, and count as having rolled a 1 for the test, meaning most units will be getting D6 or D3 models back. Draught of Terror also seems great for the elite Daemon units, as it lets a Daemon unit heal a wound for every model that flees to morale near them, or if no models are wounded, revive a model at 1 wound remaining to the unit. This can make them a very grindy army, winning wars of attrition that they would normally lose.
The Noctic discipline as a whole is also great, with Shrouded Step and Wreathed in Shades being the biggest standouts. The former lets you pick up a friendly Disciples of Be'lakor unit and immediately deepstrike it, and the latter allows a friendly Disciples of Be'lakor unit that isn't a monster or vehicle to only be targeted if they are the closest enemy unit, or within 12" of the firer. This means you can have a powerful ranged unit, such as Havocs or Obliterators, be shielded from any harm, or maybe cast on a unit of Possessed to allow them to run up the board safely.
It's no surprise here, but the definite weakness of the army are the restrictions of the army of renown. No greater daemons means no Exalted Keeper of Secrets, which are definitely only of the strongest units that Chaos Daemons have as of right now. No Daemon Engines also heavily restricts chaos marines, meaning they can't take Lord Discordants, Maulerfiends, Venomcrawlers etc. I look forward to seeing someone make the list work though!
Also whilst the "chapter tactic" style rule this gives the army seems strong, I'm not sure it's any stronger than others that already exist, such as a Slaanesh daemon detachment giving advance and charge.
Despite the restrictions, below is what I'd probably run if I were to run Disciples of Be'lakor. It combines both a strong objective holding presence with a great turn 1 threat, in the form of Bloodletters that can benefit from Shrouded Step. Obliterators provide some great firepower, and the Possessed benefit from Wreathed in Shades to move up the board safely.
Battalion Detachment - Legions of Be'lakor
HQ 1: Be'lakor, the Dark Master [WARLORD, Shadowed Step, Wreathed in Shades]
HQ 2: Fluxmaster [Flickering Flames, Gaze of Fate]
HQ 3: Master of Possessions [Infernal Power, Mutated Invigoration]
TROOPS 1: Chaos Space Marines x5
TROOPS 2: Chaos Space Marines x5
TROOPS 3: Bloodletters x30 [Daemonic Icon, Instrument of Chaos, Banner of Blood]
TROOPS 4: Plaguebearers x30 [Daemonic Icon]
ELITES 1: Fiends x3 [Blissbringer]
ELITES 2: Flamers x5 [Pyrocaster]
ELITES 3: Possessed x9 [Mark of Khorne, Icon of Wrath]
HEAVY SUPPORT 1: Obliterators x3 [Mark of Slaanesh]