I hope you like Raptors and nailing your opponent with terror troops – The Night Lords are here and GW is showing off a new Specialist Detachment!
The Night Lords are under the Microscope with the latest faction focus from Games Workshop. It’s a new Chaos Space Marine Codex but it looks like these heretic astartes are still up to their dirty tricks.
“Night Lords armies are unusual even by the standards of Chaos. Where other Legions destroy their foes directly, the Night Lords Legion Trait reduces enemy morale, allowing you to pick your foes apart and let their failed Morale tests do the rest!”
Terror Tactics still hasn’t changed from the previous version of the CSM codex. It’s still nasty against leadership as you can pile on the -1 modifier up to three times for a total of a -3. That’s a good start (provided you can find a unit where leadership actually matters). But with the Stratagems in Vigilus Ablaze things could get even more interesting.
New Specialist Detachment – Host Raptorial
This new Specialist Detachment adds the Host Raptorial keyword to your Jump Pack units. And while I’m sure there are some more dirty tricks that will be available to this detachment, they have yet another way to attack the opponent’s leadership:
Terror Strike allows Host Raptorial units to cause an additional -1 to leadership IF another Host Raptorial unit has destroyed an enemy unit this turn. Now, GW does have a mean combo they have cooked up that can generate a -6 for a Morale test. Basically, it revolves around taking 3 units of Raptors with Icons of Despair with the Host Raptorial boosts. They also recommend taking Haarken Worldclaimer along for the ride.
That sounds pretty devastating on paper. In practice, I’d be shocked to see that happen consistently. As 8th Edition has ironed itself out stacking Morale checks with negative leadership debuffs hasn’t really panned out for the long haul. And considering your opponent can just drop Insane Bravery on the target unit for 2 CP and invalidate all that hard work you just put in to generate that -6, it doesn’t seem that impressive.
Thankfully, the Host Raptorial isn’t (entirely) a one trick pony.
When a Host Raptorial unit drop in, you can spend this CP to get them re-rolls to hit for their attacks until the end of the turn. That means it would apply in both the shooting and the fight phases. Warp Talons would be an obvious target, provided they can get into combat that turn. This stratagem would pair nicely with their lightning claws to get the re-roll to hit and wound. And don’t forget about Master of Possessions/Greater Possessed for even more boosts and bonuses.
The Night Lord’s Tactic could have been great – but now that we know how much of an impact leadership actually has in 8th the Night Lords have certainly dropped a peg or two. I’m really hoping Host Raptorial does something else besides these two stratagems. Maybe they’ve got a killer Warlord Trait and/or Relic they will be able to take advantage of. I get that this seems tailor made for the Night Lords, but right now I’m just not that impressed. Even with Haarken Worldclaimer and the other Raptor buffs.
The issue I have is that it’s going to take a LOT of moving parts working together in concert to pull off these “tricks” – and then your opponent can spend 2 CP and not care. Or be Tyranids in synapse range. Or be one of the other options that basically doesn’t care at all about leadership.
If you want to run a Raptor-heavy list the Night Lords are certainly a contender. And I’m sure someone out there swears by them. If you can make this work – awesome for you. However, I don’t think this Specialist Detachment, based on the stratagems we’ve see so far, will be shaking up the meta of Warhammer 40,000. We’ll all have to wait and see.
Will it be good for Chaos? Yes. Will it change the game? Remains to be seen…