Fall of Cadia’s 40K Meta Shake-up


40k was just given another major shake-up from 3 potent independant characters, and two meta-busting detachments. 

Cadia isn’t the only place which has a gathering storm of chaos and destruction hovering over it. The 40k meta was just given another major shake-up in the form of 3 very powerful independant characters, and two detachments that just redefined what an Army list is capable of becoming.

With only 17 pages of relevent rules to work with, and only three new dataslates and 2 new detachments Gathering Storm: Fall of Cadia had a very limited opportunity to leave an impression on the game of 40k. After reading through the book I now know that, not only will GS:FoC leave an impression, it will prison-yard tattoo its name onto the forehead of the competitive meta. We will forever remember this book not only for the amazing fluff (to be covered in another article), and ushering us into the advancement of a plot we all know and love, but also for the beautiful models and powerful rules they brought with them.


Unique Rules: 

This book is different than most other supplements. Instead of using one or two factions to base all of the rules in the book off of, it instead combines multiple factions from one super-faction (Armies of the Imperium) into one book and successfully integrates them into one detachment while still maintaining each factions unique identity. What this means for the game of 40k is, basically this book enables you to take multiple factions in one detachment.

All three Independant characters have rules to be fully integrated into your Armies of the Imperium armies. Bellisarius Cawl is an HQ choice for Cult Mechanicus and replaces a Tech-Priest Dominus in any existing Ad-Mech formation. Inquisitor Greyfax does the same with her respective faction (replacing any inquisitor regardless of ordos). In addition any of these three characters can be taken in an HQ slot for any Combined Arms Detachment or Allied Detachment which features an army from the Armies of the Imperium. Wow.

Finally, the book goes on to mention that the Canticles and Blessings these characters give also apply to other units in your army regardless of faction. Overall GW made it very easy to field these three characters in any Imperium army.


The Characters:

Belisarius Cawl: The grand daddy of all things beep, boop, and bop, Cawl has 5 wounds and a monstrous creature statline (but still not a monstrous creature). He is also extremely durable with the ability to recover d3 wounds every turn and a warlord trait that lets him reroll failed feel no pain tests. Oh, did I mention he had feel no pain? Well, he does. He also has decent damage output with a str 10 pistol that shoots d3 shots, and three different close combat attacks. Lastly, he gives Canticle buffs to Armies of the Imperium depending on how many friendly units you have starting on the battlefield. Some notable ones include, giving units around him a 4++, +3 strength to models with canticles of the omnissiah, +3 ballistic skill within 12, and boosted IWND rolls. One negative thing to note about Cawl is he is only 200 points, and only has a 5+ Invuln naturally which means he could die to grav very easily in one attack, and he really doesn’t do a lot by himself to justify his points cost.

Celestine: You may want to sit down for this. The Living Saint herself has had a bit of a makeover since her exclusion from the Imperial Agents book. She is largely unchanged from her book version in terms of wargear, however she did gain 2 additional wounds, eternal warrior, a str 8 Assault 1 orbital bombardment, and a pair of 2 wound bodyguards on jet packs who she resurrects at the beginning of the turn. Not only do her two bodyguards have power swords, and jet packs, they also follow Celestine wherever she goes. Very similiar to the way Fenrisian wolves follow Space Wolf characters. She also regenerates one of her slain bodyguards at the start of each of your turns and you have to start allocating wounds to her bodyguards before you start wounding her, effectively giving her 9 wounds. On top of that she gives saintly blessings to units nearby depending on their battlefield role. These buffs include, but are not limited to, relentless, it will not die, zealot, and various close combat and leadership buffs. Overall Celestine is an amazing character and will see tabletop use at all levels of the game, especially now that she fulfills more roles other than being a cheap access to hit and run.

Inquisitor Greyfax: Is a great anti-shenanigans inquisitor and can be paired well with Sisters of Silence to perform an anti-psyker role/deathstar role. She is also a lv 2 psyker who always denies the witch on at least a 4+. She comes with two weapons that can cause psi-shock tests, generates from the Telepathy discipline, and has a power which stops one enemy unit within 12 inches from running, turbo-boosting, sweeping, until your next turn. You can also supercharge this power for 3 warp dice to target ALL enemy units within 12 inches. This can be really opressive, but honestly isn’t a real game changer since most units you want to slow down are fast enough to stay more than 12 inches away from her. She also stops enemy units from infiltrating within 24 inches of her but honestly at that 150 point price tag I would rather take a Callexus assassin and an inquisitor with servo skulls. Just my personal opinion.



Triumverate of the Imperium: This formation lets you take all 3 independant characters mentioned above and within 12 inches can obtain either stubborn and auto-pass pinning tests, or fearless depending on how many characters from this formation you are near. Also, each character gets the effects of their warlord trait which is pretty cool since they all have good ones. Overall you are not going to see this formation see play a whole lot, since all three independant characters are just so much better by themselves in CADs combined with armies that require their specific skillset.

Conclave Acquisitorius: This formation is kind of like a poor man’s war convocation. It lets you take Cawl, 1-2 battle maniples or 1 war cohort, a holy requisitioner, 0-1 cybernetica cohort, 0-1 numinous conclave, and either 1-2 knights or a baronial court. Each character gets to master-craft one weapon, and if you contain the maximum amount of units (so a baronial court too?) you get the doctrins from Codex: Skitarii as well to apply to the entire formation. Also, each unit gets the Canticles of the Omnissiah for some extra buffing. Overall this formation is just too expensive to field in anything but the biggest games.

Wrathful Crusade: This formation is an interesting one. I don’t think it will see much competitive use, but it does give two armies a solid formation that could only help them see more play at the casual level. The formation gives each unit the Crusader special rule, and requires you to take Greyfax, and Celestine as well. After those two you have 1 Space Marine Captain, 0-1 Sternguard, 2-4 crusade squads, 1-2 assault squads, and 1 Militarum Tempestus platoon to work with. One thing to note is all the space marines in the formation must be drawn from the Black Templars chapter, which is both a bad thing for the overall formation, but a good thing for the black templars. If you maximise the number of units in the formation everyone gets the Zealot special rule, which pairs nicely with the second formation rule which lets all units in the formation reroll failed charges and give you furious charge if you roll 10 or more. Overall this is a much cheaper formation then the Conclave above, and actually has some potential. You can pop the crusader squads and Celestine, and Greyfax in some Land Raiders and cruise around the board deleting anything with a small toughness value. Not bad.


Unique Detachments:

Before we go into the detachments I would like to note one thing. They really did a great job with combining multiple factions into one flexible super detachment. This isn’t a formation, but you still have to pay a tax of some sort in the form of minimum 4 troops required. Also both formations in a vacuum are solid, but not overbearingly crazy with their special rules. The real craziness is when you start combining multiple units and characters from different armies of the Imperium to create powerful combinations.

Both detachments are basically souped-up CADs that require you to take 2-4 HQs, 4+ Troops, 0-6 of the three other battlefield roles, and 0-3 lords of war, and allow you to reroll warlord traits.

Grand Convocation: Certainly the more tame of the two, this detachment basically limits you to the forces of mars. Each vehicle in the formation gains the It Will Not Die rule, and Power of the Machine Spiritif they start their turn within 6 of an HQ choice from the detachment. Also, in keeping with the trend GW is putting out with there new detachments/formations, if you max out the units in the Grand Convocation (minus troops of course) everyone gets the Canticles of the Omnissiah to use. I won’t go over all of the options you have for this one, but I can assure you if it can be taken in a War Convocation it can be taken in this detachment. One last interesting thing is that in order to use this detachment you must have units from two different factions listed in the detachment. It shouldn’t be too hard to do, but it stops players from just using this detachment to spam Kataphron and Cawl (something no one would do anyways).

Castellans of the Imperium: Oh baby, the grand daddy of all Imperium detachments. If you ever wanted to explain “Imperial Soup” to someone new to the game in just a few short pages, this would be the detachment to do it with. The command benefits are Hatred (Zealot if you max out, lol), the ability to bring back troop choices which have been completely destroyed on a 5+, and objective secured to all non-vehicle units in the detachment….. Wait, oops sorry. That last rule you only get if you take Coteaz from the Imperial Agents book. Yikes. I do like how they list every single possible unit you can take in the detachment, which pretty much includes all armies of the imperium though they do leave out the option to take Forgeworld units with battlefield roles. I was kind of bummed out by this, since GW basically told us “Yeah Forgeworld units can be used and count as a part of the game, except for when we create our own awesome unique rules. In that case you should use our stuff instead because they don’t really count.” Sorry Fire Raptors, Cerastus Knights, Quad-Mortars, and Lucius Drop Pods, I guess you have to wallow in mediocrity a little longer (more sarcasm).


The combinations are endless for this detachment. It really brings out the power in a lot of minor codices and helps out with free virtual points in the form of regenerating troops choices. Here is a list of just a few of the shenanigans I found while running through the detachment.

  • 6 Assassins! Assassins ITC players rejoice! You can take 14 Assassins in a detachment now.
  • This consolidates all the splashable HQ choices into one detachment. For a small 4 troop fee. Which means You can take that Inquisitor w/ Servo skulls, priest, Celestine, and Cataphractii Terminator captain all in one detachment. Deathstars rejoice.
  • Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, and Grey Knights apparently got their Imperium card taken away. About time, they were always off doing their own things anyways.
  • Coteaz makes this detachment insane. Here are just a few of things I find that really benefit from having objective secured. Assassins, Dominon Squads, Scout Bikes, Bike Command Squads, Celestine, Ratlings, Thunderfire Cannons. Also, the HQs can make the allied squads they join obsec as well.
  • You can have 9 Servo Skulls. Smarty pants would argue that you can actually take 12 skulls, but I’ve already crossed out the 2-4 HQ slot and replaced it with “1-3 HQs, Inquisitor Coteaz”.
  • Sadly no named characters other than the Black Templar ones can be used from Codex Space Marines.
  • You can spam warp charges in this detachment if you want. With Primaris Psykers and Wyrdvane psykers. For deathstar players in deseperate need of warp dice and regenerating, objective secured troop units.
  • You can run an all tank army across multiple factions! Imagine Pask commanding an army of Land Raiders, Leman Russ’, Vindicators, Rhinos, and Hellhammers?

What are you looking forward to using out of the new book? 


  • Divergent_Reality

    I play Necrons, so nothing.

    • OldHat

      How about let the expansions unfold before complaining? We know Trazyn has been involved, do we know nothing Necron will happen? No. So how about be patient?

      • Divergent_Reality

        What am I looking forward to from THIS book. Not future books. No complaints here, just answering the question. http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9fb9f380f40a0153af3b94b3ab9fa583952d11c3a47275ed1f8a572d28c4c6ee.jpg

        • OldHat

          Why even answer? Not constructive, just seems like passive-aggressive complaining.

          • Divergent_Reality

            Because I can. Everything reads deadpan and flat on the internet, it is the nature of the text medium. It strips off all tone. I am excited about the progression of the story line. I am less thrilled as a Xenos player.

          • OldHat

            Well, Xenos are getting new stuff. Allegedly some sort of Eldar Triumvirate equiv is coming along, maybe more. Necron stuff is lacking, but I am hoping they go for a stand-alone setting campaign for them. I would hate for GW to try to shoehorn in all the factions into this.

          • Karru

            Next up will be Eldar x Imperium detachments, maybe then we get to add Tau and Necrons into Imperium as well. Great times ahead for 40k, yippee.

          • Shawn

            But in all honesty, wouldn’t all the factions be involved? At the very least Tyranids would be involved indirectly and orks will go wherever there’s a major fight. I see everyone getting involved. With the exception of Orks and Tyranids, and perhaps some nihilist DE, no one wants Chaos to win.

          • OldHat

            Shoehorning in every faction just to appease those players tends to make a story clunky and overdone. Orks don’t care about Chaos unless its a good fight and ‘Nids aren’t anywhere near the Eye. DE are involved, apparently. So really, it already covers a large range of factions. The next expansion could be Orks vs something or Nids vs something without adding that extra clunky layer to this story.

          • Shawn

            Well, true no one wants a clunky story, but it’s the beginning of the end. Everyone will be involved, I think, in one way or another. And just watching a review on the Fall of Cadia, orks are involved in the prologue.

          • OldHat

            Its not THE End, though, just the Fall of Cadia. No need to shoehorn in everyone. And Orks are everywhere… because fungus. 😀

          • Shawn

            True Enough. Although, I am pretty sure at this point it is only Imperials and Chaos Marines, with agents (or liasons?) of the necrons and eldar present.

          • OldHat

            The Eldar make a showing when they flee Klaisus. I expect they will make a big impact in the next book and maybe the ‘Crons (under Trayzn) will come into the picture (or at least one dynasty) to help build new Pylons to push back the growing Eye. Pretty excited to see how things turn out and I am only mostly through reading the fluff thus far. It is intense! Good on GW for such a huge shake-up.

          • Shawn

            No doubt. I am just at the point in the fluff where Trazy releases the UM, the salamanders and the Inquistor and her retinue. It’s been a truly awesome read. Not easy to get so many different factions and space marine chapters together in one place and still tell an awesome tale. I especially like how the narrative is split up by sidebars with a quick snapshot of what the characters are doing and saying in each chapter.

          • Carey_Mahoney

            Orks vs. Tyranids ==> ensuing awesomeness!!!

          • John Bower

            Exactly, with the way GW are/seem to be going I think eventually all factions will get something similar in the end, even dare I say it the Tyranids. Would be nice to see them get some love.

            Necrons in my experience don’t need much, they are already incredibly powerful. For less than 2k they can field a pretty dirty army.

      • ZeeLobby

        Eh. As a Xenos player things have been boring. Just let him express his boredom. Nothing wrong with that. Not everything has to be constructive. Its just a comment.

        • OldHat

          Its just so taxing dealing with the saltiness here sometimes. And I can see Ork or ‘Cron players being a bit annoyed, but Xenos players of the Eldar persuasion should be pumped! Clearly they will be getting some love shortly.

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah. Personally I like communities with both salt and sugar. Complacency results in stagnation. Really hoping this campaign results in a new era of splash releases where faction-lovers don’t have to wait years to see anything new. It’ll reduce GW’s bandwagoning sales, but would result in consistent year round sales, a more evenly spread player base and a more diverse community.

          • OldHat

            Oh man… so much rides on 8th ed. I hope they realize that and make it something truly spectacular. I am with on the splashes too. That is vital to keep interest going. It worked for PP for years, really. GW seems to have learned because the last few campaigns have been decent releases. I just hope they keep up this momentum and continue with solid releases.

          • ZeeLobby

            Totally agree. While I love WMH for its competitive aspects, I do miss the cinematic events of 40K. With some fixes in 8th I could see 40K even scratching my itch to the point where I rarely play WMH anymore (still love the 40K fluff more than anything else). It’s an excited dread at the same time though, because if they don’t really hit the two points I listed above, it might mean my complete departure from the system to look elsewhere. I’ve just been waiting for 2 editions for things to get smoothed out. Not sure I can do a third…

        • Carey_Mahoney

          Exactly! That’s the spirit!

    • DeadlyYellow

      It’s like being an Ogre Kingdoms player during the End Times.

      • Karru

        Did they get anything from it by the way? I know basically everyone else di, but did Ogres get something?

        • DeadlyYellow

          Just overshadowed.

          • OldHat

            Savage! 😀

  • James Eggers

    One thing I find interesting about the 3 being able to be HQs for any Imperial CAD or AD is that it allows Skitarii to be used in a CAD and thus gain ObjSec. This, plus the fact that taking Celestine and/or Cawl as HQs open up 1-2 more relic sets would allow even greater combinations for Skitarii since Alphas and Princeps have access to the relics already. Celestine has probably more flexibility than Cawl for Skitarii but still is interesting to think of.

    I can also see some interesting combinations with Cawl as well – especially when mixed with Guard. +BS would be deadly for gunline/heavy weapons teams IG players. If the player is heavily armored, the ITWND buff could also be crazy. However, to pull this off, IG would need to be a secondary detachment so that you get enough Cult units to boost the buff properly.

    I’m curious to see how things go. Celestine is amazingly powerful and resilient. Cawl is powerful and can be resilient; however, without Eternal Warrior, it can be brought down with ID weapons still. If not ID, then you almost need to approach him like you would a Stompa. Just keep firing.

    Overall – I’m excited to see how things go. The only imperial army i have is AdMech and the rules that Cawl and Celestine provide is pretty crazy for any imperial army. I’ll be curious to see what comes from the presumably Eldar-heavy book 2 next month.

    • Mr.Gold

      the Canticles of the Archmagos only affect: all Cult Mechanicus, as well as any vehicles in the armies of the Imperium.

      • James Eggers

        I’ll have to double check my book once I get home. I could have sworn it affects friendly units of the imperium within 12″ and not just vehicles. I could be remembering wrong.

      • Shawn

        And I’ll be running Cawl with my Skitarii and Iron Hands! Woot!

        • James Eggers

          Cawl is pretty good. I played a game with him last night with combined admech. I am looking forward to trying Celestine with Skitarii tonight. Blade of the Worthy on a Ruststalker or Infiltrator sounds like fun.

  • John Traupman

    I though that Imperial agents book got rid of servo pls?

    • Blinghop

      The entry specifically lists units can be taken from codex inquisition and codex sisters of battle as well as from imperial agents.

  • Damistar

    Basically you can now do a practically unbound Imperial army as a CAD. Undoubtably may will say the game is now hopelessly broken, but for a fluff player like me the Castellan list is awesome.

    • ZeeLobby

      Unbound. It has always been there for fluff players!

      • Spacefrisian

        Running all formations is unbound as well, it just has a fancy name and laughs at no scoring and no re-roll on warlord trait. But many havent figured this out yet.

        • ZeeLobby

          It’s how you sniff out the closet win-seekers. Thank God GW finally gave us these formations to take what we’ve always wanted! Well what about doing it with unbound? Well I don’t get cool rule bonuses with that!

        • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

          No it isn’t. Read the BRB.

    • I think that its very narrative. I don’t have a problem with it.

  • Iron Father Stronos

    You can run an all tank army across multiple factions! Imagine Pask commanding an army of Land Raiders, Leman Russ’, Vindicators, Rhinos, and Hellhammers?

    Can someone explain this bit for me? I want Pask to give my IH tank army a punisher!

    • Inquisitor Valeria

      IG can take a Tank Commander as an HQ choice. 1 Leman Russ (commander) + min. 1 Leman Russ (squadmate). So if you want to do your 2 HQ choices in this detachment as tanks, you can take 2 Leman Russ tank commanders. Pask could be one of them. Or if you already have tank HQs in your list and just want to take a Leman Russ squadron as a Heavy choice, you can do that too. Not sure where you’d get Tank troops, though, besides Dedicated Transports for footsloggers.

      • Blinghop

        as far as dedicated transports, crusader squads get you land raider crusaders, that could potentially come back from reserves on death.

    • Grumpy Scot

      Exorcists as well.

  • foulestfeesh13 .

    “You can pop the crusader squads and Celestine, and Greyfax in some Land Raiders ”
    No you can’t Celestine has the jump infantry type so cant go in a Land Raider. Pg 80 of the rule book tells you this.

    • Jordan Cafolla

      She counts as bulky but she should be able to ride in a raider. Just not a rhino or razorback or immolator or drop pod

      • foulestfeesh13 .

        The second paragraph under transport capacity says only infantry can embark upon transports ( this does not include jump or jet pack infantry) unless specifically stated otherwise.
        The Land Raider varients do not have any rule that allows jump or jet pack infantry to embark on them unlike a Storm Raven gunship or Corvas Blackstar.

        • Pablo Martinez

          They count as infantry…. Jump is their subtype. You can hop in transports.

          • foulestfeesh13 .

            No they can’t. As I pointed out pg80 of the rule book says they can’t unless the transport says it can carry them.

    • ZeeLobby

      A good example of the current rulesets complexity hehe.

  • Old zogwort

    How is this Castellans of the Imperium thiny complicated ?
    Its a huge simplification no need to puzzle all the different detachments together ( if you want to play mixed imperium but do not want to spend too much points on tax units), just use this one and you are done.

    • Pablo Martinez

      It can get complicated when you start adding in units and rules from 5+ books. The idea is pretty simple.

  • generic eric

    Howzabout dem tyranids?

    • Victor Hartmann

      The genestealer cults are calling them, they are coming.

      Maybe they have been effected by the pulse of the Eye of Terror following the Fall of Cadia, resulting in new and terrifying powers. That’d be cool.

      In game, I’m thinking a campaign could draw from both the Tyranid codex and Genestealers to make some pretty amazing formations and/or detachments. GSC has shown that GW can make fun and powerful rules for Tyranids. I’m hoping for even more from them.

      • OldHat

        I hope they leave ‘Nids off for their own campaign. No need to shoehorn them into this already rather epic tale.

  • LordKrungharr

    I love the idea of having 14 assassins running around! What an easy army to pack for a roadtrip tournament 🙂

  • Eric Etheridge

    So the imperial super friends just got cozier bug whoop