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The Tiger Roars
Apocalypse Wow
Part 1 <> Part 2 <> Part 3 <> Part 4 <> Part 5

Apocalypse Wow: Analyzing a New Way to Play (Part 4)
Okay, off we go again. In the past two installments, we’ve looked at datasheets for the various races. This time out, we’re going to finish up by walking through the ‘sheets for Tyranids, Tau, Necrons, Dark Eldar, and the Forces of Chaos.

Tyranid Datasheets
This section opens with the usual grisly description of how Tyranids attack planets in waves, with larger and more ferocious beasts appearing only if resistance is fierce. Kind of makes you wonder why the “always-evolving, always-adapting” Nids don’t just start leading with the big guys: why burn through hundreds of Termagants and Hormagaunts to take a small fort when a Hierophant Bio-Titan can smash it in mere minutes? But what do I know?

Speaking of the Hierophant, it’s the first datasheet in the Tyranid section. The Hierophant weighs in at 1250 points and is wall-to-wall nasty. It’s a Gargantuan creature, so it can move 12"; tank shock models that aren’t Gargantuans or super-heavies themselves; fire its weapons at different targets; and assault whatever it can reach, not just what it shot at. It can stomp, it’s Fearless, it’s resistant to psychic powers and Instant Death, and being a Nid, it’s just all kinds of bad in hand-to-hand combat. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
 
 


The Hierophant Bio-Titan. Go ahead and run. It likes to chase down its meal.

Well, the Hierophant is even worse than you might think. It has T 9 and 10 Wounds, and has the Warp Field power, so it’s Save is 2+ (that is not, however, an Invulnerable Save—bring forward the lascannons!). The thing is Agile, so it can eschew shooting to move faster, but with two bio-cannons and BS 3 (not bad, for a Bug), why would it give up shooting? Not when each bio-cannon is a 48", S 10, AP 3, Assault 8 boomstick. 

If it gets in close to you, it strikes with 8 Attacks at WS 6 and S 10, with hits counting as power weapons (because it’s a Gargantuan critter). And then there’s the Spore Cloud that surrounds it, which automatically hits any model in base-to-base and always wounds on a 4+. And did I forget to mention that the Hierophant has the Regenerate biomorph? You just know that any Nid being able to “regenerate” cannot possibly be good for anyone fighting said Nids. 

A lot of big, shooty, Nids, like Hive Tyrants without wings, or Carnifexes, are slow and not terribly good shots—thus, they can be ignored at the beginning of a game and dealt with after the onrushing Hormagaunts, Termagants, and Genestealers are dealt with. Not so the Hierophant: you’ll want to make that your top priority. Fortunately, it’s a really big target and lascannons will cook this bastard from a safe distance. 


The Barbed Hierodule, not quite as bad as the Hierophant. In the same sort of way that being crushed 
under a bus is not "quite as bad" as being devoured by army ants. Either way, you're dead.

You’ll want to use the same tactic against the Barbed Hierodule, the next exhibit in the Tyranid Hall of Horrors. Another Gargantuan creature, think of it as the economy version of the Hierophant, just as the Warhound is the scaled-down version of the Warlord Titan. The Hierodule is 700 points, and its stats and bio-cannons aren’t quite as bad as the Hierophant’s. You’ll still want to drop this target quickly, as it also is Agile and is, of course, a hand-to-hand terror (though, curiously, it only has WS 4). Bagging this big boy should be easier, as it’s “only” T 8, with a 3+ Save and 6 Wounds: the nice thing about the Hierodule is you can use your krak missiles (plentiful and cheap in Space Marine armies, and in a lot of other armies, too) against it. Again, still no Invulnerable Save, and no pesky Regeneration, either. Like the Ork Squiggoth, I don’t expect these overpriced babies to last long on the pull-out-all-the-stops battlefields of Apocalypse. 

Next up is the Subterranean Swarm, which is just damned annoying. Annoying not because of the cost (100 points + models), but because to use this, you have to own Forge World’s Imperial Armour Volume 4 for the stats to the mandatory Tyranid Trygon. If you already own a Trygon model, you probably already have this book. If, like me, you don’t, you have to buy another book just to use this formation. Hey, GW: you couldn’t spare part of one page out of the 200 in this book to give us the stats for the Trygon? How about cutting out some pretty pictures to make room? Just a thought.


The Trygon. Don't ask me what it does, because I don't have IA4

As for the Swarm itself, you need the aforementioned Trygon plus at least two broods of three Raveners each. The nice part about this formation is that there is no upper limit on how many you can bring: make your whole army a Subterranean Swarm, if you want! 

The Swarm Deep Strikes in, starting with the Trygon—I’m not sure, but by the wording of the two special rules for the Swarm (and the description of the formation at the top of page 150), it sounds like all the units arrive at the same time. When they do, all enemy units within 6" of a swarming model must test vs. Pinning AND all the Raveners may assault in the turn they arrive (which is not normally the case for Deep-Striking Ravs; note that Codex: Tyranids does not let them do that). 

Wow. Veteran gamers often hate Deep Striking their army because units come in “piecemeal and paralyzed,” as my friend Paul Hill says: units arrive from reserves on different turns, the units Deep Striking cannot move, and the enemy can gun them down or assault them as they arrive. The Subterranean Swarm addresses all those problems: your Bugs come in together; they can charge as soon as they show up (which, of course, the Nid player wants); and odds are good that at least some of the enemy around won’t be able to do anything but soil their shorts, because they’re pinned. All for 100 points “overhead.”

Now if only I had the stats and point cost for the damned Trygon. 

I don’t know why anyone would have more than three Zoanthropes (seeing as how the Nid codex limits you to no more than three in your army), but if you had, say, five, you could field the Hive Mind Brood. This happy formation consists of a Hive Tyrant, three Tyrant Guard, and 3-5 Zoats. For 50 points + the points for the models, you get the Shadow of the Warp power for the Tyrant and “The Terror.” 

What is it? “In the Shooting phase, instead of doing anything else, the Hive Brood may choose  to unleash a wave of alien psychic energy that blasts the foe with nightmarish visions. The range of this wave is 12" for each Zoanthrope in the brood, plus 12" if the Hive Tyrant is still alive, measured from any one of the Zoanthropes or the Hive Tyrant. All enemy units within range must take a Pinning test.”

That’s it? 

So, basically, that’s any enemy within 48" (you have to have at least three Zoats to start off with, and you know damn well the Tyrant is going to be around) and up to 72" takes a Pinning test. Well, maybe this is cool if you’re way out of range of Warp Blasts and the Tyrant’s nigh-mandatory venom cannons or barbed stranglers, or maybe if you’re fighting against an army (like Dark Eldar) with mediocre Leadership, but other than that, I don’t see why one would bother. Just off the top of my head, I’m thinking Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, Necrons, and IG with Senior Officers and master voxes aren’t sweating this power.

Sure, the enemy has to fail Pinning tests sometime (unless they’re Fearless), but it seems like an awful lot of points to spend on Big Brain Bugs when you could be bringing something else…

…Like maybe the Mycetic Assault Storm, consisting of at least five Carnifexes and as many Hierodules as you want. For 150 points + the cost of the models, you get to Deep Strike your Great Big Basher Bugs—and on the turn they arrive, the remains of the mycetic spores give them a 5+ cover save. Invaluable for getting your Big Guys into the fight and saving them from the inevitable [excrement]storm of fire that they’ll catch when they touch down. 

The problem with Carnies is that while they can kick butt, they’re really damn slow: this formation negates that weakness. And if you think having a Carnifex land amidst your lines is bad, just think about a Hierodule or two crashing nearby, spending a turn shooting with its bio-cannons, then—on the next turn—firing again and smashing into close combat. My, it would suck to be you.

I mentioned that I don’t know why anyone would own more than three Zoanthropes, and now I’ll tell you that I don’t know why anyone owns Termagants. The best thing one can say about them is that they’re cheap. But that doesn’t mean they’re any good: they put the “weed” in “weedy.” 

If you’re a Nid player and you want something fast to tie up the enemy’s lines, Hormagaunts will get there faster (because of their 12" charge), more of them will actually get to hit (thanks to the Leaping biomorph), they’ll have more Attacks (thanks to the built-in scything talons), and they’ll be better at fighting (Hormie WS is 4 vis-à-vis Termagant’s WS 3). If you want something that will shoot at close range—well, really, why bother? Building a Nid list around shooting is like recruiting football players to dance ballet. I mean, I suppose you could get them to do it, but it’s not what they’re made for, and they won’t look good doing it…. 

But if for some reason you own 60+ Termagants, you can combine them with 60+ Hormagaunts to field an Endless Swarm formation. For 200 points + the cost of the models, the Swarm gains the Without Number rule, even though Hormies can’t ordinarily use this. As a Nid player, I don’t find Without Number terribly useful: while it’s nice that you get to recycle your guys, they then come in from your board edge, meaning that almost always, they have to run across the board again, as few players are accommodating enough to move their army onto the Nids’s side of the table.

Much more useful, methinks, is the Bodies Over Bullets ability, which actually penalizes your opponent for rolling well. Any enemy unit that rolls five or more sixes “to hit” when shooting at any of the broods in the Endless Swarm inflicts no Wounds: “Whoops! Looks like you ran out of ammo!” Given the amount of dice people like to throw at incoming Nids, you can be fairly sure that your Endless Swarm will arrive in good shape to tear into the enemy.

For those of you following along in your books, flip the page and you find some stunning artwork (pages 154-155) of Tyranids fighting Tau. Conveniently, the next section deals with the Greater Good.

Tau Empire Datasheets
This section opens with an interesting description of how the Tau wage warfare, including the highly unusual (for 40K) policy of “Assimilation, Not Extermination,” whereby potential enemies are enfolded into the Tau Empire. In that vein, Apocalypse would seem to be the perfect opportunity to feature some of the bizarre aliens that make up the forces of the Greater Good: realizing that models don’t exist, the designers could have given vague descriptions and let expert modelers go to town on conversions. Or, at least, the designers could have provided datasheets for Imperial Guardsmen and other defectors (maybe even Space Marines?) who have joined the Greater Good. But, no. None of that is to be found here. Which is a colossal shame.

So, what is here? First up is the Barracuda Air Superiority Fighter, zooming in at 220 points. Like most other flyers found in the book, it has ridiculous armor (AV 10 all around) and mediocre Ballistic Skill (3). The description of the Barracuda talks a good talk about it having more maneuverability than Imperial Thunderbolts, and how the Barracuda is built for dogfighting, and blah, blah, blah.


Anybody else have that song from Heart playing in their head right about now? Or is it just me?

Really, this thing just packs an anti-aircraft ion cannon (not bad!), but if it’s supposed to be so good at dogfighting, why aren’t the other weapons on AA mounts? The other weapons are two burst cannons and a twin-linked missile pod: the ‘cuda can also take up to four seeker missiles. All well and good, but like most other flyers, the ‘cuda can’t take a punch. 

Next up is the Great Knarloc Pack (wouldn’t THAT be a good name for a band?), big bird-beasties used as mounts by the Kroot. At 60 points a pop, each Knarloc has WS 4, S 6, T 5, 5 Wounds, 3 Attacks, can Fleet of Foot, and rends. And you can buy them in herds of 1-10. Keeeembobo! They have nothing to speak of for an Armor Save (6), but they’re durable enough that enemies are going to have to devote some serious firepower to dropping them.

For additional points, you can slap two Kroot and some nifty guns on each Knarloc. The Kroot bolt thrower has a 36" range, S 6, AP 6, and is Assault 1, Blast. The Kroot gun has a 48" range, S 7, AP 4, and has Rapid Fire. But with BS 3, and at +25 and +30 points a pop (respectively) for bolt throwers and Kroot guns, I think the guns are a bit overpriced for what they actually deliver, especially when you consider what army list you’re talking about. You can spend an extra 300 points to give your 10 Knarlocs guns, or you can spend that 300 points on much better Tau guns. I know what I’d go for. 


The Knarloc: Tweety Bird's giant, mutant, carnivorous cousin

Moving along, we find the Armored Interdiction Cadre. Similar to the Eldar Cloudstrike Squadron, the AIC is grav-tank goodness. Consisting of three or more Hammerheads and/or Sky Rays, the AIC costs 50 points + the cost of the models (sound familiar?). For as long as the command tank is mobile, the Tau player gets D3+1 markerlights “hits markers” per turn, to be placed on enemy units within line of sight of the command tank. Given the hoopy benefits that markerlights can provide, there is nothing at all sad about this formation.

Finally, the Tau have the Rapid Insertion Force. Did anyone at GW think twice when they came up with this name? Because several innuendoes—unrepeatable on a more-or-less family-friendly website such as this one—come to mind when I think of “Rapid Insertion Force.” So be it.

The RIF consists of a Stealth Team and 3-5 three-strong Crisis Teams: this is one of those rare formations that puts a ceiling on how many units you can have. For 50 points + the cost of the models, the Stealth Team can use the Scout special rule (if it doesn’t Infiltrate) and the Crisis Suits must Deep Strike. However, if the Tau player has the Crisis Teams come down within 12" of the Stealth Team, he need not roll for deviation, and when the Crisis Teams touch down, all of their firing in that turn can pin their targets. 

Fifty points to get all my Crisis Teams where I want them, and to be able to pin? And my Stealth guys get to Scout? Definitely worth it.

Necron Datasheets
I mentioned earlier that some sections skimp on datasheets, and this is one of them. After skimming through some eye-glazing fluff on “nodal commands,” and after flipping past some kind of flowchart diagram that looks like porn for a computer programmer, one finds the Gauss Pylon. Which could double as a giant “letter C” prop for Sesame Street: Hi-Tech Edition.

The Pylon, a super-heavy vehicle with 2 Structure Points, is 420 points. If you despise the Monolith, you will hate the Pylon with an intensity that will unnerve your therapist. The Pylon is AV 14 all around, uses the Monolith’s annoying Living Metal rule that limits damage done by certain weapons, and is not affected by “Driver Stunned” and “Driver Damaged” results. It has only one gun, but it’s even harder to take out than other Primary Weapons. That gun—the Gauss Annihilator—fires three Destroyer shots a turn (at BS 4), with a 120" range (10 feet—perfect for those big Apocalypse boards), at AP 2. Good for killing flyers, too, because the Gauss Annihilator counts as being on an anti-aircraft mount. Ducky.

If you get your guys close to it, it can, instead of firing the three big, zappy shots, do that really annoying flux arc thing, like the Monolith, to crispy-fry each unit within 18" with d6, S 6, AP 3 hits. And any Necron unit with at least one Toaster within 12" of the Pylon counts as having a 5+ Invulnerable Save thanks to a Phase Shift Generator the Pylon emits in its spare time.

Like Space Marine Drop Pods, Pylons can Deep Strike but are always immobile—no, the Necron player’s opponent doesn’t get any Victory Points for that, but then, Victory Points aren’t much of a factor in Apocalypse games, anyway (see “Victory!” on page 24). The rules for the Pylons’ Special Deployment say that “a Gauss Pylon that lands in impassible terrain is not destroyed but takes an immediate glancing hit. Move the Gauss Pylon the minimum distance possible to avoid the terrain.” 

If you’re allowed to move the Pylon to prevent it from Deep Striking into impassible terrain, and if the thing is immobile anyway after it arrives, why bother telling us about it taking “an immediate glancing hit” when landing in impassible terrain? Were the writers anticipating that some players would want to deliberately land their Pylons in impassible terrain? Who would do that (“What the hell, it’s only a glancing hit”)? And why would anybody bother holding this thing in Strategic Reserves, anyway? Wouldn’t you want it on the table on Turn 1 so it could fire as often as possible?

While the Pylon is a nasty piece of work, I’m not head-over-heels in love with it. Yes, it does what it does very well, but for a super-heavy, it doesn’t, in my opinion, do that much. For 80 points more, the Baneblade just eats up everything around it, spitting out all kinds of big-ass blast markers, and heavy bolter shots, and lascannon bursts. The Pylon just zaps big things dead, dead, dead. This is great if you’re up against armies with lots of tanks and/or big critters, not good at all if you’re up against a horde (“Gee, you killed three of my Gretchin. All my Tankbustas will now fire at your Pylon”). 

After that comes the remaining Necron datasheet, the Monolith Phalanx. Yeah, you heard me right: the Necrons get all of two datasheets. If you only play Toasters, I hope you got a discount on the book.

The Phalanx is another one of those formations with an upper limit on how many models you can use, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You form the phalanx with 2-5 Monoliths, every non-Necron player’s favorite Toaster unit. The rules are a little complicated (see page 165 for details), but basically, the Monoliths in the Phalanx all Deep Strike together and project energy fields (Nightshrouds and Nodal Grids) among themselves. 

Think of Nightshrouds as the line one can draw between any two Monoliths no more than 24" from each other. Psychic powers cannot pass through a Nightshroud, and any shot from a non-Gauss weapon that crosses that line has its Strength reduced by 1. Meaning that your Marines shoot at some Necron Warriors behind a Nightshroud and your bolters become Strength 3; the Warriors shoot back, still at Strength 4. How does a Nightshroud affect indirect fire weapons (like Whirlwinds or Basilisks) that lob shells into the enemy? Don’t ask me, brother: I just work here. 

Nodal Grids are formed as an added effect when you “connect-the-dots” among three or more Monoliths in the Phalanx. In addition to the happy effects of the Nightshrouds that form the perimeter of the Nodal Grid, the Necron player also gets +1 to his or her “We’ll Be Back” rolls for Toasters within the Grid, and no psychic powers will work within the Grid. Yes, this is the formation I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, the formation that makes Necrons even tougher to kill. 

If there’s an upside to this for non-‘bot players, it’s that this formation is damned expensive. In addition to the 470 points this will cost to bring the minimum of two Monoliths, there’s a 250 point “overhead” charge. So, at bare minimum, it will cost the Necron player 720 points to pull this off, and that’s just to have two Monoliths, with no Nodal Grid. To get the Grid, the Necron player will have to have at least three Monoliths, so you’re looking at 955 points, or 53 less Necron Warriors you’ll have to kill to phase him out. Even in Apocalypse games, 955 points is a big chunk of change. That’s a Warhound AND a Hydra Flak-Tank, with enough points left over for fuzzy dice to hang from the rearview mirrors. 

Dark Eldar Datasheets
Does anyone still play Dark Eldar? I mean, besides me? If you don’t—and odds are, you don’t—you’ll have even less incentive to after reading the Death Twinkie section of Apocalypse. 

Do the Elves-Gone-Bad get any superheavies, like an Anti-Revenant? 

No. 

Any flyers, like a way-cool Darkside Nightwing? 

No. 

How about some kind of hideous alien Gargantuan Creature with fangs and claws and such that the Dark Eldar captured and tortured until it was absolutely crazy and then they unleash on the enemy? 

No. 

How about some kind of turbo-charged SuperTalos that tears through enemy troops so fast and so hard, it makes the regular Talos look like a crippled Gretchin in comparison? 

No. 


The Dark Eldar Raven model, from Forge World. No, it doesn't have a datasheet in the Apocalypse book

So what do you get, you diligent and long-suffering Dark Eldar players? You get the ream, my friends. You get the ream. As always. Thanks, again, Games Workshop. What you get is two—yes, two!—underwhelming formations. If the only thing you play is Dark Eldar, I hope that when you purchased this book, you got an even deeper discount than the one owed to the Necron players. 

The first formation is the Splinter Raid Force, consisting of an Archon + Retinue in a Raider, and three or more Raider Squads and/or Reaver Jetbike Squads. During the DE player’s first turn, the SRF is placed anywhere on the table, and until the start of the next DE turn, all those units are treated as flyers. This, for 100 points plus the cost of the models.

Uh huh. As a long-time Death Twinkie player, let me dissect this and fully describe to you just how much donkey meat this sucks. 

First off, having an Archon and a Retinue is almost always a bad idea. Usually, DE players surround their Top Guy with Incubi, which are hideously expensive and awfully slow (by DE standards). Either that, or (rarely) they use Warriors, who basically do nothing but catch bullets. Then, DE players compound their error by putting their Archon and their expensive Incubi (or ephemeral Warriors) in a nice, easy-to-target, easy-to-gun-down basket called a Raider. Raiders, if you’re not familiar with them, are kites with jet engines and laser cannons. They’re fast, they can hit hard, but they die faster than bimbos in a horror movie. 

Then there are Raider Squads. I actually like Raider Squads, and have quite a few of them in my Death Twinkie army. They move fast and they can shoot well. But each squad has only 10 guys, max, on each Raider—and remember, Raiders are kites. In my army, I use them to mop-up or to hold objectives. But front-line troops? Nooooo. 

Then we get to Reavers. As I discussed here, Reavers are expensive, don’t shoot all that well, don’t hit all that hard in hand-to-hand, and die quickly. 


Look, Reavers! Ooooooooh, I'm sooooooooooooooooooo scaaaaaaared...

So what you have is a collection of an Archon (expensive, and will die fast), Raiders (better, but will die fast), and Reavers (expensive, and will die fast) dropping in on the enemy. Because each unit is temporarily treated as flyers (see the rules on page 94), they cannot be assaulted (huzzah!) and anyone shooting at them will have their range reduced by 12" (huzzah!) and will need a “6” to hit (huzzah!). 

And that’s all well and good. But note that flyers cannot assault. And note that the only units you can take in the SRF are an Archon, Raider Squads, and Reavers.

So what’s going to happen when you drop your little SRF on someone is that you’ll get some nice hits on their vehicles (as temporary flyers, you’ll be hitting their side armor). You might, if you’re close enough and/or brought along some disintegrators, get some hits on their infantry. 

And then, your SRF will float there. You will not assault, where your Archon and his Incubi earn their money, and where Reavers fare better (not by much) than by shooting. Why won’t you assault? Because for the first turn, your Raiders and Reavers are flyers, and according to the rules on page 94, flyers cannot land (and thus disembark troops) unless they can go into Hover mode—which is not granted in the description for the SRF. 

Because you are—for a turn, anyway—flyers, you will not able to use intervening terrain to hide your SRF from return fire (see “Shooting at Flyers,” page 94). You will float there. And the enemy will turn all his guns your way and pop your SRF like a balloon.

Down will come your Archon and his very expensive Incubi. Down will come your Raider Squads. They will be entangled. The enemy will not sweat your Reavers—they will be his last priority. The enemy will shoot, and shoot, and shoot, and then assault any DE that survived the crashes. And you will not have any burly Taloses to shrug off the enemy. You will not have any Wyches to tear holes through them. All you were allowed to bring were an Archon, his boys, Raider Squads, and Reavers. All very fragile, all very ineffective. 

And that is why the Splinter Raid Force sucks throbbing, wet, turgid donkey meat, ladies and gentlemen. 

But fear not! You, as Death Twinkie player, have the Ravager Titan-Hunters formation! Oh, happy day! The RTH is 3-5 Ravagers, which one uses to go after Titans. Which is, as one might expect, kind of like using X-Wing fighters to attack the Death Star. Only I wouldn’t bet any money on the little guys in this fight.

For 100 points + the cost of the models you get two abilities, the first of which is called “Shadow Dancing.” To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that Warhammer 40,000 has ever made any reference to the late Andy Gibb. Fortunately, the new rule is not nearly as bad as the song of the same name: Ravagers in the RTH formation ignore “Crew Shaken” results and have a 50% chance of ignoring “Immobilized” results.


You're not really gonna throw these up against a Titan, are you? ARE you?

The second ability is Shadow Beam, which allows the Ravagers to ignore all Void Shields, Power Shields, and Eldar Titan Holo-fields. That sounds all well and good, especially given that Ravagers can pack three dark lances, but there are still those pesky Structure Points to get through. And that’s provided, of course, that the shadow beam hits its target in the first place. It should, because Dark Eldar are BS 4, but if it doesn’t, then the accompanying fire from the rest of the Ravagers will have to deal with the shields.

If you use an RTH, you better hope that you knock out your target with one ferocious volley, because if you don’t, good luck surviving the counter-fire that the Titan will spit back. And because the Ravagers will most likely form one nice, tidy, formation within 6" of the lead Ravager, the Titan probably won’t need to devote more than one weapon to knocking it out. I’m thinking one turn of firing a Vulcan mega-bolter will dust an entire RTH. If you’re a Dark Eldar player, you’re used to this sort of warfare—kill something quickly or die quickly—so it won’t be a big deal to you. And hey, at least the game designers threw us some kind of bone, even if it’s not a very juicy one. Right? Right?

Forces of Chaos Datasheets
As I mentioned in the Space Marine section, Chaos Marines can apparently use every version of the Imperial datasheets (bring on those Chaos Titans!), plus they get four datasheets here. Which means that Chaos actually gets 22 datasheets; meanwhile, you Necron and Dark Eldar players get to suck the hind teat with two each. Nice. 


Hey, looky! A Chaos Titan! Like the bad guys needed more help

So let’s set aside our rancor and take a look at what Chaos gets, shall we? First up is the Plaguereaper of Nurgle, a Baneblade with a bad complexion. At 450 points, the ‘reaper sports similar armament to the ‘blade, with the big difference being the pus cannon instead of the Baneblade cannon. I prefer the Baneblade cannon, but the pus cannon doesn’t suck: it’s a S 7, AP 3 Heavy 1 wad that fires the great, big, Hellstorm template 18" off the tank—meaning that the narrow end of the template is 18" away, so the cannon’s actual range is not quite 35". Not shabby, and it will kill just about any infantry under the template. 


There now: that's ugly as all hell. Which is, I suppose, the point.

For additional gits and shiggles, the ‘reaper has two lascannons, some twin-linked heavy bolters and—ho, hum—a Demolisher cannon. But what’s more interesting about it are the vehicle’s Nurgling Infestation and the Explosion of Filth. Should anyone attempt to assault the ‘reaper, Nurglings crawling over and inside the tank will counterattack, inflicting 3d6 S 3 hits on Initiative 3. Should an enemy be lucky enough to destroy the ‘reaper, its huge vats of slime, used to supply the pus cannon, might rupture, covering nearby models in toxic goo. I’m just sad that I didn’t think of the name “Explosion of Filth” when considering what to name my imaginary cover band….

Reading over the datasheet, I thought for sure that the ‘reaper would come with the option of being daemonically possessed (thus allowing it to ignore “Driver Stunned” and “Gun Crew Shaken” results), but I was wrong. Sehr intressant, nicht wahr?

A vehicle that comes with Daemonic Possession is the Brass Scorpion of Khorne, at 400 points. As you might expect, this thing is a beast: a super-heavy walker that moves 12" and assaults 12", the Scorpion fires 10 S 6, AP 3 shots a round from its tail-mounted cannon; spews out two S 6, AP 3 templates per round; and—ho hum—packs a Demolisher cannon. 


Anybody else have that Beastie Boys song playing in their head right about now? Or is it just me?

The Scorpion’s “Runes of the Blood God” ensure that any psyker attempting to use a power against it will automatically suffer a “Perils of the Warp” attack, and the reactor powering the Scorpion is prone to going “BOOOOOM!” if the Scorp takes a catastrophic hit. These two items are very in keeping with the character of Khorne, who despises psykers and isn’t pressed about his minions dying so long as they take along plenty of other folks with them when they bite the bag. 

If the Scorpion does have any weaknesses, they’re in its stat lines: the Scorp only has WS and BS 3, and I 3. I sneered at its 3 Attacks, until Jungle visitor Charles Cowan reminded me that it can simply Stomp any fools in base-to-base contact. Man, does the Scorpion kick butt!

I’m not impressed at all with the next datasheet, the Tide of Spawn. For 150 points, you can turn a perfectly good squad of your Chaos Space Marines into 10 (maximum) Chaos Spawn, who then run around the board, flailing and frothing. Uh, huh.

In my review of the new Chaos Codex, I said I was undecided about Chaos Spawn, but since then, I’ve taken another look at them and decided that Spawn, while possessing lots of character and being cool models, are simply not worth taking. While it’s nice that they have Strength and Toughness of 5, and 3 Wounds each, their WS is nothing to sweat and they have no armor. On the heavy-weapon-happy battlefields of Apocalypse, there is no way that Spawn will last more than a turn. Bring them if you want, but don’t expect to do anything with them other than yell “RAAAWR!” and pull them off the table. 


Look, Chaos Spawn! Ooooooooh, I'm soooooooooooo scaaaaaaared...

Used correctly, the Warp Rift could be a very, very nasty formation. For 100 points plus the cost of the models, you’re allowed to bring one or more Greater Daemons and three or more packs of Lesser Daemons and—instead of summoning them off Chaos Marine units, like you’re used to—you can summon them through a counter you place at the beginning of the game. Drop the thing in your opponent’s deployment zone, and starting on Turn 2, you can have all kinds of fun as your daemons gallop into the enemy’s army.

If you’re the unfortunate recipient of a Warp Rift counter, I suggest that on your first turn, you surround the counter with troops or park a vehicle on top of it. Remember, no one can come in from reserves if doing so would put them within 1" of an enemy model. If you can’t do that, you’ll want to move back from the Rift and blast away, which shouldn’t be too hard, as the generic daemons in the new Chaos Codex aren’t nearly as bad (or as tough) as daemons were in the previous codex.

That’s it for datasheets. Next time, we’ll finish up our analysis by looking at Strategic Assets. 
 


Apocalypse Wow
Part 1 <> Part 2 <> Part 3 <> Part 4 <> Part 5





Posted February 2008. Images are copyright 2008 by Games Workshop or Forgeworld and are used for review purposes. 

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