Goatboy here and I do have to say it is a glorious time to be a traitor of the Imperium – let’s look at the Legions!
I told a 40k buddy of mine that we would see Traitor legion rules by the end of the year. He informed me that I was in fact a dumb dumb for thinking that. Well guess who is wrong and owes me a Coke. Thankfully GW has decided to give back to their community and bring about some true “Traitor Legion” rules.
Overall I am pretty happy with it because the new book still had to live within the terrible confines of the original Chaos Space Marines Codex. It does do a lot to help “fix” them and while it doesn’t rework any of their unit rules per say – it does tack on enough stuff to at least let these “bad” guys reside at the top levels of the Mid to bottom Good tier. The real interesting thing is that if we actually get a point fixed and updated CSM book – this book will still work as long as all the unit choice stay the same (i.e. Cult Marines, Cultists, etc).
I will end up doing a deeper dive into the book as I eventually give a – Traitor Legion list extravaganza in the coming weeks. Not everything is awesome in this book – but like I said earlier there are enough glimmers of hope to get excited to bring actual Chaos Space Marines to the table top. Most armies either force you to take a Mark based on their Legion or not have a Mark. Veterans of the Long War comes to you free if you follow what your legion needs – Mark or no Mark for those legions not affiliated with a god. From there most of the special army build lists have the Warband as a core, 4 Leaders of Chaos (Daemon Prince, Chaos Lord, Sorcerer, etc), then the same 8 Aux options you have seen in the Black Legion book.
First of all – we’ll start with what I think is the best of the listed Legions. The Death Guard got a real nice boost to their army. They got their own core formation detachment as well as a plethora of rules to help boost them up. Just like every other Traitor legion – if you pick Death Guard you all have to take Mark of Nurgle on any unit that can take them – but you do get Veterans of the Long War for free. From there VoTLW gives you Fearless, FNP, and Relentless all for the tax of losing a point of Initiative. This is pretty dang awesome as your Chaos Space Marines become cheaper Plague Marines without a Knife. The next neat thing is their new Core Formation that if you take a full 7 units of Plague Marines you can make units have -1 Ini, WS, and Toughness. This is the start for a crazy combo that could take down a Toughness 4 models as Nurgle also gets a spell that can cause a -1 T to a unit. Enfeeble, Grotti, and heck Tallyband. Watch a Bark Bark star melt. The Decurion gives some other fun abilities as well – like reroll failed FNP rolls of 1 and even Stealth when an opponent shoots you from 18″ due to the cloud of flies. Overall I give this army a good chance to show up on the competitive scene.
Next up the other army that could see some play on in the competitive scene as it seems simple and fun to play is the World Eaters army. They get the Maelstrom of Gore as a Core choice – and while interesting it is the Warband that I really think has more power here. As per some of the other legions – you have to take Mark of Khorne and you get VoTLW for free. It grants you Fearless, Furious Charge, and Admantium Will. This lets you have “cheaper” berserkers that still have objective secured, decent gun options, and again cheaper. There is also an item that grants the bearer and his unit +3 to his move, charge, and run rolls. This is pretty spicy for sure when you mix it with their decurion that gives all your non vehicle units a free 2d6 move after deployment and infiltrators. Overall the army isn’t amazing but it feels very fluffy and World Eaters. Plus you could set up huge hordes of Angry red jerks who won’t leave your opponent alone.
Next up I do enjoy the new Emperor’s Children rules. They also get their own Core Formation that is based on 3-6 Noise Marines and Lucius/Chaos Lord as your leader. The Noise Marines gain Split Fire (Good to shoot a Blast Master at someone) and if you have a full 6 units of Noise Marines everyone’s sonic weapons get a +1 strength. You can combo this with one of their spells to get another +1 (Str 10 Ap 3 blasts sounds pretty neat). Of course you all have to take Mark of Slaanesh and you automatically get VoTLW. You gain Fearless and 6+ FNP (4+ if you have an Icon of Excess). This is one of those armies that I feel could have a very interesting foot print with loads of fearless troops, lots of FNP, and some decent weapons that can punish an opponent. A few rolls of Endurance could mean wonders for some big units of Noise marines putting down a blistering guitar solo of death. They also get the return of Combat Drugs that the entire army gets. All of them are good and some Toughness 5, Initiative 5 warriors could be pretty awesome on the table top.
From there we get into some of the interesting choices. Alpha Legion seems like one of those armies that someone will bring it and kick the crap out of you. They all get infiltrate, their cultists always come back on a 4+, and you can never get their Warlord as whenever you kill him another Character in the army takes his place. You even get to roll up a new Warlord trait too. The ability for an entire army of Infiltrators is neat – and you even get Chosen as troops. VoTLW is free if you don’t take any marks etc. This again is an interesting army but probably won’t be the best on the table top.
Black Legion & Thousand Sons
These two are the same as before. The Black Legion will end up being a Cabal factory as before. The Thousand Sons are much more a stand alone army and I think will see some Magnus builds based around the newish Tetrad showing up. Still it is nice to have them all in the book and lets you not have to buy the Wrath of Magnus to get all Thousand Sons rules.
The Night Lords might be an interesting army as they get the Raptor Talon as a core choice. The army doesn’t get Fearless for not having a Mark and gain VoTLW for free. They instead gain Stealth, Night vision, and cause fear checks at -2. Raptors become troops and you have he return of the old massed jump pack army of death. Its almost like they mixed in Raven Guard with some old school Blood Angel goodness. The army can reroll failed charges too and has some decent wargear. I think there is something that can done with this list as the Raptor Talon as a core has some strength to it. Mix in some Rhinos from a warband, use some dirge casters, and get mixed in with a ton of evil Chaos Lords.
The Word Bearers seem rather lack luster. They feel like a weird Crimson Slaughter with a neat ability to do Malefic spells on a 3+. That is really kind of annoying as while it is cool they can cast like that – they will still have issues with perils. It would be neat if they had some kind of daemonic cabal option or at last some Daemonkin mix in abilities. It is rather annoying as they are one of my favorite legions and they feel just a little left out of the game play. Its like they are the Salamanders of the Traitor legions.
Finally with have the Iron Warriors. This legion also feels a bit lackluster except for a few interesting things. They all gain 6+ FNP and with no mark get VoTLW for free. It lets you hate Imperial Fists and buildings. If you take the special Army you get Stubborn as well. Overall it is kinda of meh – but the one shining bit of rules changes is the addition of Obliterators or Multilators as troop choices in the army. This could make for some serious nonsense when you have like 18 Obliterators that are objective secured and can shoot the crap out of something. All mixed in a CAD with some Chaos Lords, Sorcerers, and heck some Maulerfiends or two. I doubt it works but it is at least something to think about.
Is this book worth $35.00? If you play Chaos and have any love for the Legions then it is a resounding yes. It is books like these we want GW to come out with as they are cheap, add good but not broken stuff to the game, and finally give the players something they have wanted for awhile. I get the feeling the new 13th Crusade campaign that is getting hinted about will add more and might bring with it a new CSM book that makes this update feel a lot better.
~We shall see. Until then – death to the false emperor!