Chapter Approved 2018 is here! The now-annual update to 8th edition sees another book-load of stuff to add to games, much along the lines of last year’s volume, though I think 2018’s book is fairly interesting for the fact it includes the beta-Codex for Adepta Sororitas. But we’ll get to that!
Chapter Approved 2018 is organised much like last year, with Open, Narrative and Matched Play each seeing a significant section, but the Appendix this year includes a lot of stuff, and takes up a major portion of the page space.
In Open Play, we get the rules for looting vehicles for Orks, now that such things are not a part of their most recent Codex arrival. Narrative Play has the rules for Cities of Death, with a few pages of rules, four pages of Stratagems, and warzone rules for urban battlegrounds, followed by six missions. The Cities of Death stuff is really good, with a whole host of ideas for playing missions of a different kind. I think I first came across the idea in the Shield of Baal series, and I’ve loved the idea of a board crammed with terrain ever since – especially when it’s not just there for line-of-sight blocking, though the terrain rules could perhaps be a bit more immersive.
Also in Narrative Play are the rules for adding Battle Honours to your units if you so wish – apparently these have been ported-over from Kill Team, though I suspect Kill Team was the testing ground for these in the first place. It’s a nice idea to allow for some squad customization, and brings something of the RPG-like feel to the game that the original Rogue Trader had.
I don’t mean to gloss over Open and Narrative Play in this manner, as there are some really interesting ideas in the book here for what promise to be really cool missions. I’ve already mentioned that one of my new year resolutions is to play more games, so I’m hoping that I can do so with these things, as well as more regular 40k matched point games. I’ll be sure to report back as and when I do, anyway!
The Matched Play section then gives us twelve new missions – six Echoes of War, and six Maelstrom of War. There’s one such mission, Disruptive Signals, which includes the unique Stratagem for 1 CP that allows you to basically deny your opponent from achieving an Objective this battle round. It sounds quite powerful on first glance, and I think the potential is likely there, but more often than not I could imagine this being in use more as a defensive thing than a “gotcha!”-type moment. Interesting stuff, anyway!
Finally, the Appendix gives us four hefty chunks of important book: revised terrain rules, the beta-Codex for Sisters, the formerly-pdf download Index for Renegade Knights, and all of the updated points values for the armies. These points updates include everything that has been changed – whether it was changed in Chapter Approved 2017, the Big FAQ, or newly-changed in 2018. So at least you won’t need to reference all of these different places to update your points values! I would assume that’s how they will do it from now on, so any points value changes from here on will be included in 2019’s book, but anything that doesn’t change between now and then will still be included because it has changed at some former point in time. Nice!
The beta-Codex has everything we would expect from a normal book, it even has two pages of the lore and the usual ‘Eavy Metal showcase, which is cool! There are 22 datasheets, for all of the Sisters units as well as Ministorum Priests, Death Cult Assassins and the like; 14 Stratagems (including the usual ones such as extra relic stratagems); they get their own Chapter Tactics, called Order Convictions, and a table of Warlord Traits and Relics as to be expected.
I’m not a Sisters player, so I can’t speak to the strengths or weaknesses of the army as presented here, but it is really cool to see the designers giving this much attention to them at last! I’ve previously written a blog (one of my favourites, actually) about the army, and how hard-done-by they have been, so it’s nice to have this kind of reversal. Of course, the Codex does only feature rules for the existing models, but I believe there will be entirely new units created for the Codex release when that eventually happens (sometime in October 2019, apparently), so it’ll be interesting to see if there are any synergies we’re not seeing, or if they have purposefully had to leave some things out. Current rumour mill points to the new units being HQs, though I would hope that they get something more in the way of unique troops choices.
My reasoning for this is that the other two armies of the Inquisition have a similar flavouring. Deathwatch can take Kill Teams as troops, which include bikers, terminators and vanguard veterans as well as more generic marines. For the Grey Knights, terminators are classed as troops, and that’s that. I wonder if the Codex might make Celestians, if not Dominions into troops, so that we have a troops choice all wielding flamers, or something thematic.
The other thing I’d really like to see from a Sisters Codex is more of the Ministorum side of things, so more Preachers and Priests. I’d love them to have a basic troops choice, so you could make a Priestly detachment without getting the battle nuns into the mix, or at least as a supporting role. But I guess the whole point of the Sisters of Battle is the Ministorum being prevented from having specifically men at arms…
I’m looking forward to seeing what the actual Codex will bring, and I hope it’s going to be more in the way of the larger Ministorum, as well as more Sisters generally. I’m guessing Thaddeus the Purifier from Blackstone Fortress will be in there as a named character, though, so that’s one newbie…
Finally, let’s talk points updates!
I’ve not had a proper chance to look through the book in relation to all of my armies, but I’ve been eagerly looking at some of those I’ve been talking about most recently on my blog, and I’m really surprised at how much some of them have dropped!
To start off, let’s look at the Necrons! Back in September, I wrote a fairly in-depth blog that showed off a 1994-point list and the reasons for why each unit was included in the army, along with some thoughts on how I wanted the whole to work. In this brave new world of Chapter Approved, I’ve lost a total of 224 points off this list, as it now comes in at 1770 points precisely. Things like the Triarch Stalker and Annihilation Barge have seen some hefty reductions, and the amount of infantry I use means that I’ve lost a total of 50 points simply because the weapons have dropped slightly! I’ve not finalised my plans for the new force yet, but I’m thinking I may well bring along another Triarch Stalker for the Targeting Relay shenanigans, and then share the remaining points out among things like Tomb Blades or more troops. Alternatively, I could always include the Night Scythe in my list, as I do have it painted up and ready to be used!!
The Deathwatch were featured a bit more recently, with a list that tipped just a little over 1000-points. Well, Chapter Approved 2018 has taken almost 100 points off it, so that it now comes in at 944 points. This is mainly due to the 54-point-drop of the Venerable Dreadnought, which is a theme of my other recently-mentioned force, the Deathwing!
These chaps were very awkwardly placed at 1580 points when I last looked at them, but the total cost of the army as I’ve built it to date now weighs in at 1426, with the Knights being a significant factor in this drop. 190 for a squad of five, rather than 258 points, is a real boon. The Venerable Dreadnought and the Grand Master both also have their contributions to make, but this does mean that I can now much more easily field the army in 1500-point games, rather than trying to make a decision on what I need to cut. Same story with the Deathwatch, really.
I still need to look at the Tempestus Scions army, and the Skitarii force that I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but it looks like the former is mainly going to benefit from weapons point-reductions, while the latter sees more changes across the force as a whole. A job for the next few days, then. Interestingly, Dark Eldar don’t have any changes whatsoever to the main army, while I’ve already talked about the changes to my Genestealer Cult when the points changes had been leaked online. I want to think about my Tyranid army plans, as I’m not sure how I want to expand that just yet. As for my Tau thoughts, well I still need to decide if I even want to keep the army, let alone how I want to field it! But that’s probably a discussion for another day.
Right now, I’m focusing more of my attention on the Imperium (and, increasingly, on Chaos) so I suspect there will be plenty more to come for the various factions here! I’m not abandoning my xenos, of course – the Great Reanimation will continue for a while yet! – but I want to have Imperium armies that I can actually play games with, rather than just odd collections of some Imperium models that are a bit orphaned among the mounds of plastic… So 2019 might well be the year I get round to that!