Sunday, 19 October 2014

IA13 - War Machines of the Lost and the Damned

Slight distraction for today.

I had the latest Imperial Armour book arrive yesterday and today I have been nipping in and out of it and putting some thoughts together in my head.

When the last Guard codex came out I started looking at my Militia with thoughts of bringing it up to date and possible re-organising everything. One reason why I didn’t get that far with this was the hope FW would provide an updated list(s) from their Vrak books.

And here it is.

So the first thing that grabbed me was the options you have when picking the sort of army you want. 

The choices given open up many opportunities for you to theme your force and no two armies ever need to be the same.

There are two things which help create your theme.

The first is the option to upgrade your Demagogue (your Warlord basically) who leads the army with one of six ‘Devotions’. 

Each Devotion brings something different to the plate such as affecting the FoC e.g. moving choices from one slot to another or unlocking other choices, it may bring additional upgrades to your force such as turning Vet squads into grenadiers, it can affect the Demagogue itself but there may also be limitations or stipulations you may have to follow.

So thinking out loud here are the Devotions and the sort of themes you can go with each one...

Primaris-rogue WitchA dangerous psyker gathers a coven and twists the minds of Imperial citizens and unleashes his dark desires onto the unsuspecting populace...This devotion makes your Demagogue a Psyker and allows you to take Rogue Psyker Covens as Elite choices (they are normally HQ). Potentially that is 20 of them roaming the battlefield.

Mutant OverlordThe undermasses rise, an enigmatic leader unites the scum and unwanted who lurk in the underhives and they rise to claim their rightful place...basically if you want mutants this is the one. Huge mobs of mutants backed up by Spawn and Mutant Ogryn.

Master of the Hordean unending wave of heretics and traitors...Infantry squads can be 30 strong  and as they are wiped out they turn up again.

Arch-Heretic Revolutionarytrue believers with an unshakeable faith, no mere dupes these but the fanatics who believe they will take their rightful place...With the option of upgrading Infantry and Vet squads to Fanatics and taking up to 10 Enforcers the army will have more chance to stand their ground.

Heretek MagusWhat started as an innocent step to expanding more knowledge led to a dark path of corruption...the closest thing you can get to a Dark Mechanicus list (until FW get to them in the HH series I suppose). Decimators and Defilers plus feel no pain to troops as an upgrade.

Bloody Handed Reaver – When the rock upon which your castle is built turns to sand your castle will soon fall...You want Traitor Guard with added gribbles, this is the one for you.

So the Devotions allow you to tailor your force into a theme or story, you can then add Covenants to your army.

These are dedicated to each of the four Chaos Gods. When applied to the Demagogue it again opens up new options.

No Covenant – This opens up taking Marauder units as an option, think Space Pirates/Mercenaries.
Khorne – Unit of Blood Slaughterers for an Elites choice.
Nurgle – Unit of Blight Drones as Elite and Plague Zombies may be taken as a Troop choice.
Slaanesh – May take a unit of Noise marines and/or Sonic Dreadnought.
Tzeentch – Can take up to 3 Spawn units as Troops.

Covenants give bonuses when purchased for squads, such as Feel no Pain for Nurgle. You don’t have to take the same Covenant for each squad giving you lots of variety and conversion potential throughout the army.

While GW is busy happily ripping out options from Codex books (like being able to use the Ork Codex to field Speed Freaks or a Dredd Mob) FW are happily sticking in as many as possible.

The Devotions remind me of the options you get in the Heresy books to upgrade your Praetor. Each options opens up a theme for the army (planetary assault force, armoured column type and so on). Based on one army list you can create radically different armies in both play style and visual make up.

Now onto the actual army options – these are not all of them as frankly I haven’t got the patience to do all of that, these are just the highlights I have picked out.

The basic trooper is, well, basic, only BS/WS 2 and no armour but with up to 20 men in a squad and up to five squads in one Troop choice. You can create masses of cheap cannon fodder if you want. 

However they can be upgraded to bring them basically on par with Guard.

They have kept the random Leadership value from the Vraks list, attached Enforcers (a HQ option) can give a boost and there is equipment to give you a bit more hope of them staying around.

You lose the option of Special and Heavy Weapon squads (which for me is a big loss) but those big squads can take more weapons, to a point as you have to chose between taking more special weapons or taking the Vox or Chaos Sigil to help keep the squad in place.

More troops come in the shape of Mutants – up to 50 strong. If you give them a Covenant as well these could be a right pain in the arse to face, and if you took the Nurgle Covenant Plague Zombies, again up to 50 strong with the potential to ‘recruit’ more to the fold.

Now one thing that has bugged me is that FW have taken a few weapons out, the squads have the usual options for special and heavy weapons...except no Demo Charges or Mortars (for infantry/vet squads) or Heavy Flamers. To me I find it odd. I can understand, and fully agree, that the Renegades should get some restrictions and not have exactly the same choices as Guard to help show the difference. Renegades may be a rabble, poorly equipped and trained so it makes sense they can’t get everything. However mortars and demo charges are simple weapons which are easily built and maintained. They can be even be improvised and thus seem a perfect fit for this type of force. Yet they don’t get these and instead still get plasma, melta and lascannon – surely high end weapons hard to manufacture and maintain. The only way to take mortars are part of HW teams selected as Heavy Support. So do I take tanks or Heavy Weapons...?

On a personal note my demo charge guys and mortar teams are some of my favourite conversions I did ...

Buy buy Demo Charges...

Other things of note...

Cheap light tanks in the form of Salamander squadrons.

Cheap sentinels, only BS and WS 2, with up to six in a unit. These can be upgrade to WS & BS 3 but I am liking the idea of six cheap sentinels with heavy flamers running amok for about the cost of two chimeras.

While there is the Valk as an option you can also take Arvus squadrons with improvised mounts. Dirt cheap air support with transport capacity.

All the tanks come with the same base of BS2, but with the option of upgrading to BS3. Which in most cases I think you would take.

Heavy Weapons squads can be taken numbering 3 to 6 teams. You can’t take a platoon of multiple squads, so if you want two squads you would fill two Heavy Support slots. Seems very limiting when you consider the options allow you to take things far more powerful such as five Wyverns or four Thudd Guns in each HS slot.

Mortars or Tanks...what a choice to make me make. Bastards.

Rapiers! Enough said.

The Lords of War which are available depend on your Devotion, though many Malcador variants are open to everyone.

So, what are my thoughts?

Keep in mind I have not fully read everything, this is just first impressions.

I like the list, bar the odd thing I find a bit strange what Forge World has done gets a thumbs up from me.

This isn't ‘Guard with Spikes’ - it has its own flavour and has many, many options that allow you to undertake a wide range of themes. This results in many modelling and painting possibilities which is exactly what I want to see in an army list and what I think is missing from the latest round of Codex books.

Am I going to use it I wonder to myself...probably, almost certainly. I will miss some of the things I have in my army that I can't move over and I will have to make some hard choices.

Even though it means having to pull apart some models and some things, like my Marbo conversion are completely dead now (but then he is dead when it comes to the Guard 'dex as well...thanks GW), the list is what I want. A proper Chaos Renegades list. I use the Guard codex at the moment as it’s the only thing available but now I have this in my hands it is hard not to feel the pull.

I'll miss you Mr Chaos Marbo man.
We had fun you and I.

I now need to finish painting the Daemons so I can free up the time to sort the Militia out, then I’ll get to painting the tanks and vehicles while Sheep gets to painting the infantry...

Oh and build the Warhound I've had sitting in a box for years.

This post wasn't meant to be this long or wordy. If you got through it congratulations. Have a biscuit to recover.


  1. Cheapest way to earn a cup of tea and a biscuit.

    It was a good read through for those looking for an independent review. Cheers mate.

  2. Nice quick overview. My friend Andrew should be getting his soon as well, so this gives me an idea what to expect!

    Also makes me curious to see what Forge World does when they update the Eldar Corsair list.

  3. Very cool! Really looking forward to getting my hands on the book - doubly excited now that I've read your review!

  4. Can't wait for the pdf... Wait, is that even legal?

    1. If only...i'd still buy the books but I would also love a pdf version to come with them.

  5. Good review, shame some of the decisions have affected models you've converted, but it always happen with changes to lists.

    Look forward to seeing what you come up with list wise.

  6. Nice, seems like FW did a pretty good job once again.

  7. Cheers for the comments...always happy to provide a service...

  8. Thanks for the overview. Sounds like lots of great options aside from the mortars and demo charges.