The Necron Codex

Hey everybody!
My Necron Codex arrived about twelve hours early, so I’ve been spending some quality time with the new book, building up my new list and enjoying getting back to my first love of 40k. I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I thought I’d pop along here and share some ramblings with you all!

First of all, I think I should share my initial disappointment with you all. Having taken the decision last summer to re-paint my dynasty in Thokt colours, I was saddened to see that they don’t have their own Dynastic Codes (the Necron version of Chapter Tactics) in the new book. I’m sure I’ll live with it, for sure, but still!

While I have played with Necrons a few times in 8th, I’ve predominantly been playing with Dark Eldar, so don’t have a wealth of expertise to share as regards what has been good, what hasn’t, etc. I usually prefer infantry-heavy lists, anyway, and will never use so much as a single Warrior because I dislike the sculpts so much. This has been true throughout 7th Edition and remains so now! I don’t have a tremendous range of big Necron models in my collection, truth be told, as while I’ve built a Triarch Stalker, a Monolith, and the like, I’ve never really found it in me to paint them. I think I just love the look of the infantry so much that I don’t really rate anything more.

That said, I have been thinking about my options for a few things, and I’m now set on getting both an Annihilation Barge and a Doomsday Ark for my collection. I have the minis for both, naturally, but they’re in some state of partial assembly (and have possibly been sprayed green, my previous colour scheme for these chaps). So I definitely need to get a move on!

The List
As it stands, my army is looking decidedly infantry-heavy, like I said, but I do have the Catacomb Command Barge providing a nice centrepiece model for the whole. I’ve extended my list to 1500 points, having only been playing at 1000 points for the time being. I do feel that I’m in the mood for some larger battles now, though – especially now that the rules of the game are more firmly in my mind!

So, let’s take a look at what I’ve come up with:

I do admit, I lack some decent heavy firepower. The list was primarily written in order to combine to Battalion detachments with a Vanguard for all of the Command Points, but I’ve got it in the back of my mind to perhaps either drop down to one, bigger Battalion that has a larger reach – that is, one that will incorporate the heavy slots mentioned earlier – or else re-write the whole thing as a Brigade! There are a couple of things that are swirling about in my mind about this right now:
– a Brigade only requires three HQs minimum, and I’m using five here for the three separate detachments. So I could save some points by cutting stuff there. That said, I do need three Fast Attack and three Heavy Support in addition to the troops and elites incorporated into the list as it stands;
– this list is netting me 10 command points, whereas a Brigade will only get me 12 anyway, so I’d be doing a lot of messing about for only an additional 2. That said, if I dropped the second Battalion in order to have more variety in the first, I’d be down to just 7 CPs anyway, so a Brigade would look better;
– the sort of Brigade I’d want to field costs 2050 points, and includes Wraiths and a Spyder along with six squads of Immortals, some Lychguards and Deathmarks, all headed up by a Command Barge and a pair of Crypteks. I’d be able to get it to fit 2000 points by swapping the Barge for Orikan, which is nice to know. (In case you’re interested, the cheapest Necron Brigade detachment is 1293 points, and looks absolute garbage…)

I’d be better off using the list above as my base, then adding in a Spearhead detachment as follows:

This would avoid wrecking my list too much, as well as keeping things well within 2000-points. But this is definitely a lot of theory-hammer that I don’t think I’ll be doing much with for the time being. I mean, there’s still a long way to go before I have all of these models ready for battle!

The units
For HQs, then, I’ve got the good old Barge, which has come down a little in points thanks to the Staff of Light reduction, and the gauss cannon has gotten a little better at Strength 6 now. Crypteks have the double boost of a points reduction as well as the nice little piece of wargear, the Canoptek Cloak, which allows them to fly and double their movement, as well as giving a boost to nearby models with Living Metal. This is possibly due to the new Cryptek model from the Forgebane box, which will undoubtedly be sold in a clampack soon enough…

I’ve actually got enough points in the main force to swap out that Lord for a second Overlord, which I have been considering, arming him with a voidscythe because S10, AP-4 D3 sounds amazing, even if I have to subtract 1 from the hit roll! I have a “converted” Lord, however, made out of the spare Overlord when I made the Annihilation Barge, so I suppose it would be nice to keep him in for the time being.

Reanimation Protocols have had a slight tweak now, in that they don’t work for models who have fled from the unit. Of course, everything is Leadership 10, so things don’t often flee anyway, but it’s probably worth mentioning. Otherwise, though, there isn’t really a huge difference to the meat of the army. Immortals are still pretty much the same solid troop choice, and Lychguard carrying swords and shields have come down a little thanks to the points reduction on the shields. Dispersion shields are a fairly cool addition now, thanks to the Dispersion Field Amplification stratagem, that allows you to bounce back shots fired at them if you roll a natural 6 for your save. It’s 2 command points, but it’s incredibly fluffy, and what they used to do anyway, so I like that a lot!

The fancy stuff
Because I have Orikan in the army (and, to a lesser extent, because he’s my Warlord), my Dynastic Code is the Sautekh dynasty. This allows me to treat all ranged weapons as Assault weapons, and I don’t suffer the penalty for moving and shooting with Heavy weapons (unless I advanced). So the gauss cannon on the Barge is fine 🙂

The Warlord Trait, Hyperlogical Strategist, allows me to re-roll a single hit, wound or damage roll once per battle, which I’m not particularly thrilled by as I tend to treat all once-per-game effects with some caution, but the Trait is also the Command Point refund one.

As I said, I already have 10 Command Points, and there aren’t a lot of Stratagems that I feel will be key to my battle-plan. See, a lot of the Necron Stratagems are quite specific as to who they affect, which is nice if you have a good spread of units of course, but it does mean that of the 22 generic Necron Stratagems, I can only use 12 of them. I like that a lot of the flavourful rules of yore are making a return in Stratagems, but some of these are so specific, they would perhaps be as well to have been included as a specific rule on the datasheet of the unit in question. Just my thoughts there!

Finally, the Artifact of the Aeons (that is, the Relic) I have chosen is Sempiternal Weave on the Overlord, which grants +1T and +1W. Going back to what I was saying about a second Overlord with the Voidscythe earlier, I think this would be an ideal relic for him, as he wants to get stuck into combat after all. But there is another relic that actually affects Voidscythes, and it might be worth giving that to him instead. But I digress!

The plan
I’m no strategist, of course, so don’t take this as some kind of amazing hidden secret for the Necrons, but the basic idea of this army is that of a gunline, six squads of Immortals shooting the place up, being buffed by the Lord and Overlord, while Lychguard protect Orikan. The Command Barge is basically a mobile gun platform, and the Cryptek is on hand to repair things as required. If Orikan manages to become Empowered (I’ve used him once, and it happened, so I have a 100% success rate at getting this off!) then his little blob of Lychguard can become more of a mobile threat on the board, hopefully allowing the Immortals to remain out of combat and thus free to continue shooting up the board.

A lot of folks have remarked on the fact I tend to avoid the tesla Immortals, which is indeed a curious state of affairs. It’s mainly due to the fact that I’m rubbish at rolling 6s, so I prefer the reliable AP of gauss over the potential exploding dice of tesla. I’ve got some in there just in case, for sure, but I’ve previously run these two five-man squads, rolling 20 dice for shooting, and not getting a single six, no matter what people say the odds should be!

I mentioned earlier the lack of any real firepower, but until I venture up to 2000-points and the prospect of adding in those serious cannons, I think I’m going to be reliant on having weight of firepower above all else.

This post is getting really long already, so I’m going to call it a day there. All in all, after a first glance through it, I think the Codex is fine – it’s not really making me want to get out there right now and try out all of the amazing newness, as I don’t honestly think a great deal has changed for me. It’s good to have the book, with the options that Stratagems and the like offer for the army – I’ve talked before about feeling out-classed by playing Codex vs Index armies. Definitely nice to have, anyway!

Drukhari Codex Previews: Wyches and more!

Hey everybody!
Let’s continue with a look at the final previews of the Drukhari codex prior to tomorrow’s pre-order, starting with yesterday’s article on the Wyches!

This article kinda blew me away, I won’t deny. I’d been hoping for Wyches to have something that would make them worth investigating, having only tried out cult units once or twice so far in 8th and not having been too impressed. Well, it looks like I’m finally going to be revising my opinion!

Three distinct Wych Cults get the Obsession treatment, meaning this Codex is giving us a total of ten distinct possibilities for armies, which I like!

Cult of the Cursed Blade increase their strength by 1, and only lose one model when failing morale, no matter what. I like this a lot, as one of the things I disliked about fielding Wyches was the fact they only have human-style strength. The article goes on to mention Hellions having strength 5, which sounds like they could be fantastic (depending on points!) as well as showing off a Cursed Blade relic that just sounds wonderfully fluffy, potentially taking out the model that kills it in the fight phase!

Lelith Hesperax’s Cult of Strife get an additional attack if they charge, were charged, or perform a heroic intervention. Also nice! It’s kinda nuts to think, as they say, 20 Wyches can make 81 attacks – and, with the “No Method of Death Beyond Our Grasp” stratagem, you can immediately attack again if you destroy an enemy unit – so give out an additional 81 attacks! Jeez. That’s, like, Ork style dice throwing!

Dark Eldar Wyches

Finally, the Cult of Red Grief gets to charge even if they advanced, and can re-roll failed charge rolls. Wow! Splendid stuff. While I like the increased strength, and I really like the increased attacks, I think I’m going to go with this one. Not only are Cult of Red Grief most similar to my own colour scheme for Wyches (above), I like the idea of being so damn fast!!

Another cool stratagem for the Wych Cults is Hyperstimm Backlash, which doubles the combat drugs ability for the unit chosen until the end of the round, at which point each model suffers a mortal wound on the D6 roll of a 1. Again, super fluffy, allowing us to overdose during a battle!

Dark Eldar

Today‘s article is all about new Stratagems for the Dark Kin, and I must admit to feeling a bit disappointed by it. I think because Crucible of Malediction is now a once-per-battle stratagem. I only used the Crucible once, but it did some serious work, so I was quite impressed! The fact that Soul Trap is also now a Stratagem makes me think they’re trying to eradicate the memory of the finecast versions of the Haemonculus and Archon, respectively. But that’s probably very unlikely!

Lightning-Fast Reactions is interesting, as it allows you to subtract one from the hit rolls that target vehicles. It’s interesting, because I wonder if vehicles will still have Night Shields or Flickerfields. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

If nothing else, though, I think I’m going to make a serious effort to look into Incubi, as they’re another unit that I’ve never been that bothered with before. I recently picked up some Wildwood Rangers to proxy as Incubi, but haven’t actually started painting them yet. Now might be the time to start!

So there we have it! The Codex pre-orders go live tomorrow, so I’ll be making sure to get mine in and then spend an impatient week waiting for it to land in my hot little hands!!

Drukhari Codex previews: Haemonculus Covens

More previews for the upcoming Drukhari codex are out today, with a look at the flesh crafters of the Haemonculus Covens! Three distinct Covens get their own Obsession (Chapter Tactic), which is a nice way to keep things distinct without going too crazy, in my view! So, without further ado, let’s take a look at what’s on offer!

Dark Eldar showcase

The Prophets of Flesh, Urien Rakarth’s own coven, improve the Insensible to Pain invuln that all coven units get to 4+, which is very handy. Even better if, like the article says, you have a nearby Haemonculus granting those units +1 toughness, too! Prophets of Flesh Wracks can be brought back to full strength through a very powerful 2CP stratagem, which shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off if you’re fielding loads of patrol detachments for their additional command points – to say nothing of their Warlord Trait, that allows you to get D3 additional CPs before the battle begins!!

The Dark Creed have a sort of Fear-effect, subtracting 1 from the Leadership of enemy models within 6″. I mean, sure, there must be a lot of different things you can do with this, but I’m just not the sort of player who wants to try and make my opponent’s army run away. There are other ways to reduce Leadership that stack with this Obsession, but I’m just not sure it’s going to be an effective strategy overall – we’re Dark Eldar, if we need to survive to get to the Morale phase, we’ll need a lot more!

What I will say about the Dark Creed, however, is their stratagems are some of the best-named in the entire game! “Pray they don’t take you alive” reduces leadership army-wide if the Warlord is killed in the Fight phase, and “An esoteric kill, delivered from afar” allows you to target characters in the shooting phase, even if they’re not the closest enemy model. Wonderful!

Finally, we have the Coven of Twelve, who improve the AP value of all weapons (except relics) by 1. This is something that I like, and they have a nice stratagem that allows you to shoot into melee, so long as both friendly units are part of the same Coven. The downside here is any hits of 1 are resolved against your own guys, but hopefully that won’t be happening too often!

Wrack Raider

While I do love the Haemonculus Covens as part of my Drukhari army, I’ve never really gone for a specific paint scheme to match an established Coven as I have with my Kabal. I think the coven of the Black Descent is probably the closest in terms of the paint scheme, though I’m leaning quite heavily towards making them Coven of Twelve after today’s preview!!

Let’s see what comes along tomorrow then – it’s got to be Wyches, right?

The Drukhari Codex is coming!!!!!

I am so excited for this! It’s really all that I’ve been waiting for since 8th Edition dropped last summer – I know I have my Necrons on the go, but I’ve been wanting the Drukhari codex for so long, I can’t begin to say. They’re definitely the army I’ve had the most fun playing so far in 8th, and as other factions have had their books, I’ve found myself thinking in odd moments of what tricks and treats we’ll be in store for the Dark Kin.

Well, in a little under two weeks’ time, we’ll all know!

So, let’s talk about the previews!

On Sunday, we had the first tease, showing off nothing particularly unexpected from the book, but we are getting a new Start Collecting box, which goes heavily into the Wych Cults.

My first reaction, like many others’, was that I’m quite unimpressed. Sure, Wyches are nice models and all, and I do love me a Venom, but I think the current box, with an Archon heading up ten Kabalite Warriors, a Raider, and three Reavers, was nigh-on perfect, and I’ve actually bought four of them so far in building my force. Warriors are also a really fantastic basis for a Drukhari army, and do all of the things that you can expect from the Dark Kin. Wyches, while they’re nice, just don’t quite feel the same for me.

But then, I was thinking – I’m partially allowing the way these models play in the Index to colour my thinking. The preview does tell us that these models have been greatly improved, so maybe we’ll see something completely different for the Cults. Only time will tell, I guess!

On Monday, we saw the peculiar ways in which you can build a Drukhari army, which takes account of the fact that we’ve got several, very distinct sub-factions within it. It’s almost more uncommon to see an army devoted entirely to Covens, Cults or Kabals, as mainly armies of the Dark Kin tend to blend all three (and more, of course!) As such, it can be difficult to thematically build, say, a Battalion Detachment if you want to use Warriors as the troops, but Hellions as Fast Attack. Well, with the Raiding Force special rule, if you have at least three Patrol Detachments with the DRUKHARI keyword, that gets you +4 Command Points. Nice! If you have six Patrol Detachments, you get +8 Command Points. Even nicer! Of course, with tournament limits on the number of detachments you can take, this has caused almost no end of gnashing of teeth on the many forums of which I’m a member, but I guess we’ll see how it works in practice once the book is actually out.

Another nice touch that I really like is the fact that, if you use an Archon as your Warlord, but also have a Haemonculus or Succubus within your army (or, indeed, both), then you can also generate Warlord Traits for them for just 1 Command Point. Additional bonus awesome for the fact this stratagem is called “Alliance of Agony”!

It’s certainly giving me thoughts as to how I’m going to be fielding my Dark Eldar once I have the Codex in hand!!

Dark Eldar showcase

Tuesday brought us the first look at the Kabal rules, or Obsessions, which are basically Chapter Tactics. Four Kabals are given specific rules here, including the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose! The Kabal that I’ve spent just over a year building and painting! Fantastic! But let’s take a look at each…

Kabal of the Black Heart can treat the round number as one higher for anyone that benefits from Power from Pain, something that was a thing in 7th edition, so is nice to see it come back. It’s also really nice to see Power from Pain confirmed as still being a thing. They also have the now-standard Warlord Trait that allows you to re-gain Command Points when you or your opponent spend them. Fairly standard stuff, but good to have in the force all the same.

Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue allows you to re-roll wound rolls of 1 for both melee and Poison weapons, which is handy for someone like me, who likes to have a lot of Warriors with splinter weaponry and Wracks brandishing haemonculus tools. However, the most exciting part of this part of the preview is the return of splinter racks!

I’m very excited! Poisoned Tongue also have access to an extremely exciting relic splinter pistol that adds 2 to wound rolls, and allows you to target characters even if they aren’t the closest enemy model. I’m quite tempted to switch my allegiance, even if the paint scheme is completely different to my own!

Kabal of the Flayed Skull has a lot going on from the off. First of all, you can add 3″ to the maximum distance of flyers. Any flyers (or models embarked on flyers) deny cover to the enemy, and any models embarked on flyers that are shooting rapid-fire weapons (ie, splinter weapons!) can re-roll hit rolls of 1. If that wasn’t enough, they also have a stratagem that allows you to add 1 to the hit rolls for all flyers, for just 1 Command Point. Whoa!

Finally, Kabal of the Obsidian Rose! We’re in, boys and girls! And we’re famous! I haven’t been this excited since I discovered the transfer sheet has a transfer for them!

This is nice. I mean, it’s the same sort of thing that I gravitated towards when choosing a T’au sept recently, and given my experience of playing Dark Eldar so far, I think having the additional range will be really helpful. What’s more, they have a stratagem that allows you to shoot or fight with models before they run away as the result of a failed morale test – though if they kill anything when doing so, they don’t flee! Sure, you don’t want to be failing morale tests to begin with, but I guess it’s nice to have in the back pocket there!

Furthermore, the Obsidian Rose has the Armour of Misery relic all to themselves, which is kinda cool. It’s a classic Dark Eldar relic of course, and is nice to have it under the banner like this.

While I might be feeling a bit like the Poisoned Tongue fits my play style a lot more, I’m nevertheless looking forward to seeing how my kabal gets along once the book comes along!

So that’s the previews up to now, but I’m hoping to get blogs written up with my thoughts after each of them coming out this week, so stay tuned!

Let’s pause for a minute…

Wow. Just, wow.

As you probably know, if you’ve been keeping up with my blog for any amount of time, I’m a big fan of Warhammer 40k, and really enjoy what’s been happening with all the new stuff right now. But I feel a bit like there’s almost too much coming at me right now, that I can barely keep up with it all and contain my excitement! Let’s recap, first of all.

Kill Team was announced at the GAMA Trade Show, as an updated version of the skirmish game, and I was extremely excited. I love the idea of small-scale games, and I’m really intrigued as to what they mean with making it a fully supported and distinct game system. Should be a lot of fun, not least because it will also be coming along with more terrain, which is always good!

Overall, very much looking forward to getting some of this in my life!

At the same time, we also had House Van Saar announced as the fourth gang coming out for Necromunda, and I was also incredibly excited by the look of these guys. I do love the biker aesthetic of House Orlock, as I’ve mentioned on this blog already, but there’s something about Van Saar that I can’t quite put my finger on. What I do know is, I’m going to be getting these chaps, too!

I think I’m pretty much dedicated to following Necromunda for all of the new gangs, as I’m just really in love with the feel and the look of them all. But yeah, there’s something I can’t quite put my finger on about this gang that is making me really intrigued to try them out.

So that’s another resounding success!

While they were also announced at GAMA, we had to wait until Adepticon this week for the reveal of the next faction for Age of Sigmar, the Idoneth Deepkin. And my goodness me, what a reveal it was!

This video, and stills from it, seemed to take over my facebook feed for 24 hours straight, it was quite amazing! While they’re not the Fishmen we’ve been waiting for all these years, the Deepkin take as their basis the Black Ark Corsairs subfaction of Dark Elves from the World-That-Was, and they really go to town with it! GW’s miniatures have improved so dramatically since the Corsairs were a thing, and it really shows with these guys.

I’ve not played Age of Sigmar since 2016, and I believe it’s come a long way since then. While I haven’t really kept up with it, there have been numerous things coming out that have really got me wanting to invest in the game system, not least of which the Daughters of Khaine release that came out recently. I think the new-style fantasy miniatures from GW are just stunning, and while it is a subjective thing, I do think that anyone who says these things look terrible is just being ridiculous. However, my heart does truly belong to 40k, so I doubt I’ll be buying into a fantasy army (despite having made some purchases of late…)

But it won’t stop me getting some of these Deepkin to convert for my Dark Eldar…!

I’m still pretty excited for these guys, anyway!

Of course, lots of other tidbits have come out of Adepticon, such as the next three Codexes after Drukhari (rumoured to be out on 7 or 14 April), news of some huge Knight that mocks the idea of this being a miniatures game, an Age of Sigmar CCG, and of course, the confirmation that plastic Sisters of Battle will be coming out in 2019.

Of course, I’ve been feeling pretty burnt-out on the Sisters rumours for quite some time now, so even despite this news, I’ll still believe it when I see it. However, it’s nice to see the community feedback finally taken seriously on this point! And no doubt, when they come out, I’ll want an army of them like most other people!

Along with all of this, we have the Forgebane game coming out tomorrow, and the Necron Codex is due over the Easter weekend. I’ve already been excitedly starting a Tau army, which is once more vying with my Necrons for my attention. To say nothing of adding yet more miniatures to my Dark Eldar, which I’ll doubtless be in the mood for in another couple of weeks when their Codex comes out!

All of this stuff has got me feeling a little bit like I’m on some kind of hobby treadmill, and I’m in actual danger of falling off!

See, like many folks, I have a whole load of hobby projects that I’d like to get on with, but it’s getting to the point where I’m not sure where to begin with tackling it all. Off the top of my head, and in no particular order, I have:
– get on with painting the Tau that I’ve been building up recently;
– get moving with painting/re-painting my Necrons in Thokt Dynasty colours;
– finish painting all of those half-complete Dark Eldar models;
– paint the Orlock and Escher gangers for Necromunda;
– also think about building and painting the Goliath gangers;
– think about the terrain for Necromunda;
– paint all of that Sector Mechanicus terrain I built last summer;
– carry on with the AdMech/Tempestus Scions army;
– finish painting up those Deathwatch miniatures;
– finish painting up those Novamarines, too;
– finish building and paint the Thousand Sons and Death Guard models;
– make a more serious effort with painting the Genestealer Cultists;
– decide if I want to have all of those Tyranid models, as well…

I’m sure there’s plenty more on the agenda that I’m just not thinking about right now!

First-world problems, for sure, but I think I’m in danger of getting into some kind of hobby overload once more, and I think I need to take a step away and almost move all the half-complete projects to the side while I concentrate on just one! I had a real issue when trying to paint the Genestealer Cultists that I discussed in my Tau blog here, in that I felt like I was out of practice with painting in general. I still haven’t yet made any concerted effort to remedy this, but until I do, I’m not feeling confident enough to get moving on things like the Deathwatch, Thousand Sons, or Necromunda minis. I need to focus on a much smaller array of stuff, and in fact I think I need to actually fully paint up a single unit to get my head back in the game, as it were!

Something that is increasingly difficult with all of this wonderful new stuff coming out left and right!

But looking at it from the opposite side: what a glorious time to be in this hobby!!

Rogue One: Catalyst

Rogue One: Catalyst

Rogue One: Catalyst is, as the name might suggest, a tie-in novel to the standalone Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Written by James Luceno, I had high hopes for this novel, which were sadly not borne out by the end. Let me explain…

The story is basically that of Orson Krennic’s ambition to oversee the Death Star project, and details his machinations as he climbs the corporate ladder. Along the way, he makes use of a variety of people, notably Galen Erso, a former school friend (unlikely though that may seem), to advance his career. Galen is portrayed as that typical scientist-type who is so wrapped-up in his own work, he’s barely aware of his surroundings, including his own family. Which I thought was weird, based on his portrayal in the movie…

The novel begins while the Clone Wars are still in full-flow, though Galen is notably undertaking research far from the front line, attempting to synthesize kyber crystals to create a renewable energy source. He is soon wrapped up in the fight between the Republic and the Separatists, however, and it is Krennic who comes to his rescue. Over time, Krennic manages to seduce him into working indirectly on the Death Star project, as Galen researches the energy output of the crystals that is then weaponised by a separate team of scientists.

During this time, we do get to see the fascinating upheaval from Republic to Empire, which is something that I enjoyed. It’s interesting how quickly people seem to forget the Jedi – I’d always liked the alternative idea that is often hinted at within the Dark Times comics, that the idea of the Jedi carried with it such inherent danger that people chose not to involve themselves. Anyway!

Another strand to Krennic’s ambition is his use of the smuggler, Has Obit. Has is used to basically deposit weapons on the so-called Legacy Worlds – worlds that are the Star Wars equivalents of National Parks. With this, Krennic is able to claim the worlds were arming themselves against the Empire, and so their Legacy status is stripped from them – and the strip-mining of all natural resources can begin. Over time, Has sees what he is doing and, thanks to Galen’s wife Lyra, turns against Krennic and helps the Ersos escape Coruscant for good.

There’s more to it than that, of course, but the basic gist of the story is here. So what’s so bad about it? Well, first of all, Galen Erso has got to be one of the most infuriating characters ever to grace the pages of a Star Wars novel. He just annoyed me so much, I found myself wishing his bits were over so that we could get back to Krennic, who is actually quite interesting, for all his naked ambition.

While the book is a really nice marriage of the Prequel era and the Original Trilogy era, these ties are somehow relegated to the background in comparison with other Luceno novels. There was a nice sequence with Krennic and Poggle the Lesser, as he tries to get the Geonosians to construct the focusing dish for the battle station. Also, Krennic’s patron throughout the book is Mas Amedda, who comes across as slightly more competent in this book than, say, his Aftermath appearances. Tarkin also has a significant role, though he serves more as an obstacle to Krennic than anything – he doesn’t quite come across the same as he does in, say, Luceno’s Tarkin.

Which is a bit weird, as they’re by the same author, but I think herein lies the main gripe I have with the book: it feels a bit rushed. I can’t quite decide if I mean it feels like it was pushed out to meet a deadline, but the action sometimes feels entirely too glossed-over. True, a battle station the size of the Death Star is going to take years to build, which could be tedious if we had to have all of that detailed to us, but there were several instances where I felt we could have done with more detail. Whether all new canon novels need to conform to a certain page length, who knows, but I definitely felt like we could have benefited from a bit more.

So, while I did feel a bit let-down overall, there were still some good bits to be enjoyed. Mentions of the Corporate Sector and COMPNOR were particularly nice, as it’s always fun to see the old canon being referenced. And the way the novel straddles the Prequel and OT eras was nicely done, too. While the Jedi stuff could have done with more time spent on exploring how they just dropped out of the galactic consciousness, I guess this book isn’t trying to tell that particular tale.

I don’t think it really adds anything to Rogue One, save perhaps explaining Saw Gerrera’s relationship to the Ersos (which itself seemed a bit forced). Which brings me on to my final point – why can’t we have Star Wars novels for their own sake anymore? It feels like everything that has come out so far has been trying to tie into something, either a new movie or an appearance by a beloved character in a cartoon. Why can’t we just have a book for its own sake? Heir to the Jedi springs to mind as perhaps the only one, so far, and that was originally planned as the third in a loose trilogy prior to the abolition of the old EU. I’d love to have something that tells its own story, that can run to 500 pages or more, and just brings back some of the old Bantam magic. We still don’t really have that feel right now, I think, where the galaxy feels like a cohesive whole. Where’s the new canon’s Mara Jade, or Talon Karrde? The novels feel like they exist in some kind of weird vacuum, and I’m really not sure that I like it. Sure, plenty of them are good, but they’re good by themselves, with no real reference to the wider galaxy. The hipster in me is thinking, this is what happens when a franchise hits the big time, and everything has to have a mass-appeal. Whereas previously we could have novels that reference comic books, which reference other comic books, which reference other novels, which reference RPG material. There was an expectation that people reading these things would be immersed to the next level at least. Now everything seems to need only the films – the widest audience for this material – to rely upon. It’s just feeling kinda fractured, and I’m not sure how much longer I can keep myself interested in this way of doing Star Wars.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be quite so down on the book, or the franchise as a whole, but sometimes I do wonder what’s happening to the GFFA…

More Tau ramblings!

Hey everybody!
Yes, that’s right, I thought I’d write another blog post here, rambling about my newfound love for the space communists of the 41st millennium, the T’au! I’ve been busy building up the Start Collecting box, along with a few other bits and pieces on the side, so have been thinking a lot about what it is that has drawn me to them after all these years of having no interest.

Well, let me start with this:

It’s a marketing video for the new T’au range that came out in 2013, so sixth edition, and showcases a host of models that are, to be frank, rather sexy. They’re also virtually all plastic, as well. Within that six minutes of Greater Good, only two of the miniatures shown are finecast – the two named characters – which is always a huge plus to me when looking at an army range.

While I do have some for my other armies, flyers are something that I tend to avoid in game terms, as they don’t really fit with my overall playstyle of wanting to command waves of infantry. However, there is something quite sumptuous in the T’au range of (actual) vehicles, and I find them quite alluring. Okay, that sounds weird, but all of the sweeping lines and rounded corners do feel quite aesthetically pleasing – as much as the Dark Eldar are quite spikey, there are also a lot of sweeping lines in that range, and it’s one of the reasons why I like them so much. While it’s true that all armies share a common design principle overall, some of them just look a great deal better when you assemble them all together than others do. Bravo to the army painting team for coming up with this truly awesome panorama:

I can only hope that I can get my own force looking this good when the time comes! True, I’m not going for the desert camo of T’au ochre, but even so!

Something that I always look for in an army is the cross-compatibility of bits, be they just weapons and heads or anything else. Dark Eldar have this in spades, and it’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed building my force of them so much. While I’m still new to the whole T’au thing, it does seem like the infantry has the potential to have something similar, so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can get out of them all as time moves on – I’m still quite excited by the fact the new Fire Warriors kit has three extra legs that I can do something with, I’m sure!!

Battlesuits are probably what most people think of when they think of T’au, and while the idea of a Riptide or two does strike me as rather fun for the centre of my force, I’m more looking forward to getting some Hammerheads in the middle of it all, much like the picture above. That looks like it should be an amazing-looking army!

Speaking of which, I’ve settled on my first 1000-point list to build! Naturally, with the Codex out at the weekend, many of you may wonder why I’ve even bothered to write this up, but I thought it might be interesting to see how the army compares from Index to Codex. So without further ado, here’s what I’m building:

It has the infantry base that I enjoy so much, as well as some vehicles to fly around and do what they do. I’m anticipating being confused by having so many drones zipping about as well, though it does seem to be the thing to pack in as many as possible, and they could be a useful screen, so why not?

I’ll be back next week with an updated look at this list, to see how it fares in the transition from the Index, and whether I can bulk up that Breacher Squad to a full ten-man unit.

Stay tuned!