New 40k Reveals!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks for seeing more new awesome models coming for Warhammer 40k, as we’ve seen some new terrain features that I’m sure will be gracing Armies on Parade, if not actual battlefields for a while yet! Then yesterday, of course, we had some very exciting bits shown off as part of the inexorable marketing campaign for the upcoming Indomitus boxset. What a time to be alive!

I’m very excited about this new Necron stuff, I have to say! As I’ve said many times already on this blog, Necrons are my first love, and they’ll always have a place in my heart – even if some of these new models that we’re seeing are a little bit… strange. Necron terrain is something that I never thought I’d see, though, even with the promise of faction-specific stuff coming. Just goes to show, doesn’t it?! These “starstele” sound like they’re going to be really useful to the faction, as well, packing a punch in and of themselves while also supporting the army with buffs and movement shenanigans. Excellent stuff! Price dependent, of course, I’ll take a few!

I think we all need to pause for a minute, and realise that the Silent King himself now has a model that can be used in 40k. I mean, I don’t know whether he’ll be usable, as defined by the tournament elite, but he has a model that you can put down as a part of your army, and that is just bonkers!

I never thought I’d see it, and now that I have, I can’t believe I’m seeing it! It’s a beautiful model, and I cannot wait to have it as a part of my army – even if storage and transportation are going to make this thing an absolute nightmare!

Szarekh isn’t the only big dude coming, of course…

If the Silent King looks like a delicate model… this one looks nigh-on impossible! The C’tan Shard of the Void Dragon is stunning, let’s be real here, but he’s also going to be an absolute nightmare, worse even than the likes of Nagash (from whom he seems to have taken a lot of inspiration).

It’s an incredible piece, and in some ways could almost be more striking than Szarekh there, too. Am I going to get one? Probably. But not just yet, methinks…

Of course, it’s not all about the Necrons, as the Space Marines are seeing an extension of the Primaris range, as well. Chaplain on a bike is a nice addition, although that gives us three Primaris Chaplains, as the Indomitus box is coming with a new one, too! Clearly someone in Nottingham has decided that Chaplains need some love and attention, after all! Of course, this has got me wondering if we’re going to be seeing Librarians on bikes… maybe Techmarines on bikes… well – speaking of that last…

So then, we’ve got Primaris bikers, the start of Primaris Devastators, and new Primaris characters coming out, in addition to the assault Primaris marines… I suppose the question now becomes, how long have the mini-marines got left? Their time has got to be limited now. I’m guessing we’ll see more tanks to bring stuff like the Predator up to date, and then that’ll be it! Move them to Legends, their time is done!

It’s been three years since the Primaris line was launched in Dark Imperium, and this expansion for Indomitus has been huge, so I don’t think we can expect the Tactical Squad to last. Which is a shame, really. Though I suppose we can’t really be surprised…

Man of Steel

Man of Steel

Hey everybody,
Yesterday, I finally made the time to watch Man of Steel, a full seven years after its theatrical release! I had been put off this movie for a number of reasons over the years, but I have to say, my short review is that it certainly was an entertaining film, and succeeded in making me both interested and invested in Superman, something I’d previously not thought possible!

The Story
This is an origin story for Superman, but following the initial sequence on Krypton with the birth of Kal-El and the military coup of General Zod, pretty much the entirety of Superman’s origins is told through flashbacks. It was probably the best way of doing this, really, as the origin of Superman is probably the most well-known of any superhero by mainstream audiences, I would have thought.

The first story catalyst seems to be Lois Lane stumbling across Superman’s Fortress of Solitude while pursuing a story, leading her to meeting Superman and wanting to find out more about him. She does so, though it’s hardly the expected montage that we might have expected at this point, and she decides to keep his secret for him.

However, General Zod appears with his followers in pursuit of Superman, attempting to recover a Codex of Kryptonian genetic material that will ensure the survival of their race that Jor-El had sent to Earth with his son. He gives the world 24 hours to turn Superman over to him, or face the consequences, launching a massive FBI/military action to find Lois Lane – who is revealed to know who Superman is.

Seeing the danger he has caused, Superman turns himself over to Zod, but he and Lois manage to escape the Kryptonians, Lois along the way receiving the knowledge of how to defeat them from a projection of Superman’s father. Zod learns that the Codex he seeks has been genetically imprinted within Superman’s DNA, and so attempts to recover him, dead or alive, while launching a direct attack on Earth with his World Engine – a device that will terraform Earth to be a New Krypton. The attack is centred over Metropolis, but Superman manages to destroy the World Engine in the Indian Ocean, which foils the plans over Krypton.

This just makes Zod mad, and so a massive brawl ensues with Superman and Zod coming to blows quite spectacularly – a fight that only ends when Superman breaks Zod’s neck.

Man of Steel

I think I’d been avoiding this movie for far too long! I was under the impression, for some reason, that it was something of a sequel to Superman Returns, though I don’t know where I had that from! The movie effectively launched the DC Extended Universe back in 2013, and made no attempt to connect to previous Superman movies, being entirely its own thing.

Now, I am not a Superman fan, although in recent years I have come to enjoy certain aspects of the character. I think the idea that he embodies the best of humanity, and provides a shining example of goodness, is certainly something to admire. Henry Cavill does a pretty good job, as well. There is something of a repressed/frustrated aspect to his portrayal, where he is holding back his power in order to appear more normal, but his introduction and some of the flashbacks to his youth show him to be not above using his power to help others when he can, even as a teenager. There’s a quiet side to the guy that I really enjoyed, and thought fit in with him as a good person. Seeing him bullied at school, it adds a lot of nuance to the guy, as you know he could have just wrecked those kids with ease. But he is dedicated to using his powers for good, and that is definitely something to admire.

We don’t spend a lot of time on Krypton, but it is shown to be far from the utopia that it was in the Christopher Reeve movies. There’s an excellent article here that shows the influences from the comic books for this movie, and it seems to be The Man of Steel from 1986 that first depicted the planet as a sort of sterile world, where children are grown and not conceived naturally. It’s an interesting idea, and adds an extra layer of depth to the classic discussion of Superman as an alien trying to be a man. It also makes you question Zod’s motives a little bit, when we learn that he’s trying to remake Earth as a New Krypton – why would you want to do that? Zod tells us that he was genetically predetermined for his role as a military leader, and that was all he was ever intended for in life – why would you want a society where free will doesn’t exist?

Man of Steel

I think this movie has got a lot to commend it. The climax, with the attack on Earth and the Superman vs Zod fight, is a bit of an orgy of destruction, for sure, and we were a bit surprised, watching it last night, how badly the CGI effects have held up over the years, but even so! As a Superman origin story, it works really well in terms of the pacing, and I certainly didn’t grow bored waiting for something to happen. Indeed, the pacing felt quite relentless, while somehow still allowing for some character moments to come through. There are some nice flashback scenes of Superman witnessing his adoptive father’s death, for instance, in the middle of the movie where the American government is trying to track him down to appease Zod.

It also works pretty well as a launch pad for the DC movies to come. DC of course were seeming to play a bit of catch-up with Marvel in terms of the movie multiverse, and by the time Man of Steel was released, Marvel had already released the first Avengers movie. However, the whole Marvel vs DC debate has already been done to death, and will no doubt rage on for a while yet. I do like my DC guys, of course, but when it comes down to a consumer level, I think we’re perfectly allowed to like both, if we so wish, without need for infinite comparisons and “Marvel/DC is better because…” There is certainly a darker tone to the DC movies from Zack Snyder, but I think it kinda works for them. Not because they need to be set apart from the Marvel films, just because the stories that they’re telling are, at times, pretty grim. Man of Steel – and Batman vs Superman after it – deals with humanity’s inability to deal with their saviour because they don’t feel they can control him. I mean, that in itself is a fairly grim idea, don’t you think?

8/10, would watch again!

Genestealer Cults: A New Army for 9th Edition

Hey everybody!
So with the news of the new edition coming out this summer, I’ve been going through my vast collection of 40k miniatures, and seeing what I can get rid of, trying to thin out the ranks as we start anew. In doing so, however, I’ve decided to finally make a proper go of things with my Genestealer Cult! I’ve been here before, of course, but I’m currently feeling really positive about this new project, so decided to announce things here, and go through it with regular updates as I proceed!

Genestealer Cults Hybrid Metamorphs

As always with these things, I’m building a list by starting with a unit from the codex, and seeing what I can do to build out from there. I’m starting with the Hybrid Metamorphs, a unit that I’ve always liked the sound of, and had originally built up two years ago for Kill Team. The Hybrids are those cultists who have begun to mutate with more Tyranid bioforms than the usual Acolytes and Neophytes, and are seen as particularly blessed by their fellows. These saint-like creatures are usually deployed very near to the day of ascension, in time to wreak havoc among the planet that has been chosen for the Tyranid invasion.

In the game, these chaps are quite the blender, pretty wholly close combat-orientated, with three attacks base (and four for the Leader). I’ve always found their upgrades quite confusing, as they are swapped out in pairs – talons and claws for whips and claws, or talons and claws for bigger claws… The Metamorph talon gives the bearer one additional attack, which is always nice, as keeping the squad at their basic load-out gives them 21 attacks. However, two of mine have traded their talons for Metamorph claws, so I’m doing myself out of 2 attacks. Sad face.

Genestealer Cults

But things can get really interesting when you start pairing these guys up with stratagems, psychic powers, and the like. Let’s start with the Primus. This guy has got four attacks of his own, but gives +1 to the hit rolls of friendly <cult> models within 6″ in the fight phase. Now, the Metamorph talon allows you to add 1 to hit rolls as well, but a natural 1 will always fail, so let’s put this to the side for now. So my Metamorphs are making 19 attacks, and they’re hitting on 2s. I’ve got a cult icon with my squad, as well, which allows me to re-roll any hit rolls of 1. Nice!

Now, they’re only S4, for sure, but there are two guys in the squad with Metamorph claws, those massive crab things which are S+2. So there are 19 attacks, six of which are S6. Nice!

Without trying to get too far ahead of myself here, I want to include a Patriarch in my list, so he will have to be the warlord. However, I’m planning to spend a command point before the battle for the Broodcoven stratagem, allowing me to pick warlord traits for the Magus and Primus in the list as well. For my Primus, I’m taking the Biomorph Adaptation for +1 strength and +1 attacks. So the Primus is making 5 attacks of his own, hitting on 2s, and his attacks are at S5. Handy!

Let’s leave the Primus for a moment, and turn to the Magus. His sole use here is as a Psychic powerhouse – he knows 2 powers from the Broodmind discipline, but can only attempt to cast one per turn. I’m giving him Might from Beyond, which gives +1 to strength and attacks of units within 18″, and then Psychic Stimulus, which allows units to charge even if they have advanced, and also fight first in the fight phase. For one command point, I can use the Cult’s Psyche stratagem to attempt a second psychic power in my turn. I’m up to 2 CP used now, but my Hybrid Metamorphs are now making 24 attacks, eight at S7 with sixteen at S5.

But I’m not done yet!

In The Greater Good, there is a Hybrid Metamorph-specific stratagem for 1 command point, Violence Unleashed, which gives the unit +1 attack. What’s that, 29 attacks? I’ll take that, thank you very much!

I’m running my army as Cult of the Bladed Cog, whose unique strategem (1 command point) gives exploding hits on 6s. How nice! So that’s a total of four command points used, and I’m sort of banking on two psychic powers going off – the two powers have a warp charge value of 7 and 6, respectively, so I’d hope that it would work out, but I could potentially take a Familiar with the Magus to allow me a third bite at the (psychic) cherry.

I have no real head for probability calculations, so have used a dice roller to give it a try, and rolled an average of six 6s. Now, if you remember that I’m hitting on 2s and re-rolling 1s, so I’m going to be hitting on a lot of these attacks! Assuming that 32 attacks will hit, against T4 models, I’m going to be getting roughly 20 wounds in. My favourite tactic of drowning a unit in saving throws might well work out here!

On top of this, of course, we’ll have the Primus in close proximity, probably making his own five attacks. Interesting…

Of course, this is all fairly theoretical stuff, but it’s always nice to see what sort of things you can do with a unit like this. For info, my Metamorph – Primus – Magus combo costs 209 points (I did think about throwing in a Clamavus for an extra 55 points, to give +1 to advance and charge rolls, helping them get closer, but I’m thinking now that I’d prefer to throw them into a transport to ensure they get to combat unscathed), but I’m now considering making a max-unit of 10 Metamorphs, which would be purely with talons to get that 20 attacks base (30 attacks with all the buffs, which generated an average of three 6s for a potential +33 attacks in the unit, hitting on 2s and wounding MEQ on 3s).

Who knows how 9th Edition will change this up? Genestealer Cults were one of the last codexes published for 8th Edition, of course, so my guess is that they will be hanging around in this form for some time to come.

I’m going to be looking at using some Aberrants, and I am for sure going to be investigating the new Atalan Jackals, as they are some very cool models. I have two boxes of them, so it’ll be fun to see what I can come up with there! I think I’m going to do these sort of update-style blogs as I decide on the pieces of the list, rather than going through a massive run-down once I’ve got the whole thing decided (as I have done for Necrons before!)

So Genestealer Cults will be my 9th Edition army, although Necrons and Drukhari will definitely see play, and I hope that I can continue to paint my Grey Knights, and get started properly with the Sisters. Those are my current plans, but who knows if the AdMech or Black Legion, or any other project will get in the way?!

Thanks for reading, and check back soon for more musings on our four-armed saviours!

Scars

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while! I’ve been working my way slowly through the twenty-eighth novel in the Horus Heresy series, Scars. Written by Chris Wraight, one of my favourite Warhammer novelists, it’s actually a really good read, albeit a bit of an odd one. Originally serialised online back in 2013, the story does have some elements that mark it out as such, such as the occasional recaps.

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The novel, unsurprisingly, features the White Scars legion front and centre (I think the only time we’ve seen them previously was the sixth novel, Descent of Angels). The legion is a bit of an anomaly, as they are still almost always deployed as a single unit, rather than in multiple warbands to multiple fronts. The legion has, up to this point, been deployed on Chondax. We get a lot of background on them, following in particular two initiates and their careers in the legion – one a Chogorian called Shiban, and a Terran called Torghun who was originally intended to join the Luna Wolves. We also follow the primarch himself, Jaghatai Khan, as the pacing is quite broad during the beginning. The system has been cut off with Warp storms, however, leaving the Khan awaiting orders, and his legion subsequently restless.

In contrast, we also see the Space Wolves dealing with the aftermath of the battle on Prospero. While they are licking their own wounds, they are set upon by the Alpha Legion, some of whom board the Wolves’ ships and, when confronted, state that they are doing the Emperor’s work.

When the White Scars emerge from the storms, they receive multiple conflicting orders, including from Rogal Dorn asking for them to join him on Terra for the defense. The Khan, going against all of the orders that he has received, decides to go to Prospero to see for sure if Magnus has been defeated, and in an effort to learn the truth of what is happening in the galaxy. The planet has been utterly devastated, and teleporting down to the surface with his keshig guard, the Khan is beset by psychic ghosts and separated from his bodyguard. He discovers a psychic projection of Magnus however, who confirms that the Space Wolves attacked his legion, although he understands now the reasons for his censure.

While in orbit, it emerges that there are several warrior lodges within the legion, however, and as the novel goes on, it transpires that these lodges are in communication with the Sons of Horus, and believe that their true purpose is to join them in their rebellion. One of the lord commanders of the legion, Hasik, effectively leads a coup on the ships, awaiting the arrival of the Sons of Horus to join them. However, the legion who arrives to support the coup is the Death Guard, with Mortarion joining Jaghatai on the surface in an attempt to convince him to join Horus’ cause.

Needless to say, Jaghatai is not to be swayed, and things are finally made clear as regards what is happening in the universe when Targutai Yesughei, the legion’s chief librarian, arrives with news that the Warmaster has indeed gone over to Chaos, having himself come across some survivors from Isstvan III in the course of his travels across the galaxy.

Horus Heresy Scars

This is actually a really great book, one that I enjoyed a lot. The atmosphere of uncertainty in the galaxy at this time is captured really well, in particular with the use of the Alpha Legion launching their attacks on both the Space Wolves and the White Scars. The inclusion of the Alpha Legion, and their misdirection, was quite a masterstroke really, as their presence is often guaranteed to add to the air of confusion.

There is a fantastic battle sequence when the White Scars punch through the attack of the Alpha Legion – we get to see that they are really a unique legion for their use of speed. They use a lot of pseudo-Mongolian throughout the book, which I was surprised didn’t interfere too much with the telling of the story as things went along. Often with such things, I find them hard-going, but there was obviously just the right amount used that meant it wasn’t hard to keep track!

The book is a little odd in that the story seems to just forget about the Space Wolves around halfway through. Of course, I’m not a Space Wolves fan at all, so I’m not really missing that side of things, but it did feel a bit strange how they were just left out. Anyway! It was really interesting to see the events of the burning of Prospero revisited, too, and to see what has happened to the planet since the attack. Of course, it was a little bit contrived how one Thousand Sons legionary had managed to survive and led the keshig guard to safety, etc, but I suppose the narrative needed something!

Something that I keep coming back to, though, is just how effective the atmosphere of the unknown is here. The Khan really doesn’t know who to trust, and so reverts to his old friend Magnus, with whom he had pushed so strongly for the use of the librarius within the legions. There is a moment of great irony when Yesughei remarks how the Edict of Nikea has effectively hamstrung the loyalists, removing their greatest weapon against the traitors and their Warp-craft. Even though we’re still roughly around the mid-point of the series, there is a sense already of trying to pull together several plot elements from across the wider Heresy, and making a cohesive narrative out of things. Whether that was intentional or not, I don’t know, but it’s really quite remarkable how the author is able to make the book feel like the legion have been sidelined, keeping them apart from the rest of the goings-on in the galaxy, but at the same time pulling together these plot threads to make it all feel like one long story. Bravo, that man!

Overall, though, I thought this was a really fascinating look at the legion that has been somewhat on the sidelines for the series up to now. We’re 28 books in, and only now seeing yet another “new” legion – crazy! Of course, we haven’t really met the Night Lords or the Iron Hands in proper novels, either, which just feels ridiculous now that I think about it!

Black Legion

Hey everybody,
Following on from the first book in the series a few weeks ago, I thought it about time to get on with the second novel in the Black Legion series, simply named Black Legion.

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I must say, while I thought the first book was a pretty slow burn, this one was a lot more dynamic from the start. We’re back with Iskandar Khayon, as he tries to assassinate Thagus Daravek, a warlord of Chaos who has been bringing several warbands to his banner in the way Abaddon has been doing. We’re several years on from The Talon of Horus, and Khayon has been acting as Abaddon’s personal blade, though Daravek has been proving to be particularly difficult to kill. When his most recent attempt on the warlord’s life also fails, Abaddon sends Khayon to the mausoleum world of Maeleum, the world where Horus had initially been buried, on a nonsense mission that led the sorcerer to discover the existence of the Black Templars Chapter, and the seer, Moriana.

Moriana insists on being brought before Abaddon, and causes a slight rift between the new warmaster and his ruling council, the Ezekarion. This is especially true when Abaddon announces that he will lead a crusade into Imperial space, finally breaking the bonds keeping the Black Legion within the Eye of Terror.

Initially, this attempt does not work, as the stresses of the Warp destroy several ships from the armada. What’s more, Daravek catches up with them and a mutual annihilation looks likely. However, Daravek offers to parlay with Abaddon, and the two groups meet on the dead Craftworld of Taial’shara. There, Khayon comes very close to understanding the reasons why his attempts on Daravek’s life have failed for so long, as the warlord appears to have a peculiar hold over him.

Daravek demands Abaddon pledge himself and his forces to his own warband, which Abaddon scornfully refuses, but before anything further can happen, the Warp Ghost Saronos appears, offering to guide either group to Imperial space. While Daravek offers them ships and matériel, Abaddon simply offers them whatever they require, and wins their support. As it happens, Saronos wants their navigators, and while the Black Legion makes it out of the Eye, Khayon’s mentor Ashur-Kai is among those sacrified in the endeavour. However, when Khayon demands that Saronos removes his helm, he reveals himself to have the same face as Ashur-Kai…

Upon escaping the Eye, the Legion is confronted by the Black Templars fleet under the command of Sigismund, whom Abaddon determines to kill in single combat. The Vengeful Spirit is left under the command of Khayon, and Abaddon led the boarding action on the Eternal Crusader. Khayon psychically possesses one of the marines of the boarding party to witness the duel, but is forced to pull back. While the Black Legion has indeed made it out of the Eye, Daravek’s armada has also managed to make it through.

It transpires that Daravek has possessed a piece of Khayon’s soul, which has enabled him to exhibit a particular control over the sorcerer, as well as track him through the Warp. Daravek boards the Vengeful Spirit and massacres his way through the ship in search of Abaddon, who is still aboard the Eternal Crusader duelling Sigismund. Khayon is able to kill Daravek, and while Abaddon kills Sigismund, he is himself grievously wounded.

Black Legion

What a book! I felt like the first book didn’t really get going until Abaddon himself appeared, around two-thirds through. Here, however, the Black Legion is already formed and we’re in the thick of Khayon’s attempt on Daravek’s life. Of course, it is still slow in parts, as we still have the narrative device of the interrogation scenes.

A lot of the characters from the earlier book, such as Lheor and Sargon, are somewhat relegated to bit parts this time around, which on reflection seems a little disappointing. The novel has a much tighter focus, revolving around Khayon’s dealings with Abaddon and Daravek, with little time for much else. We do learn a little more of Khayon’s history, though, and we get some really excellent set-pieces, such as the opening chapter that sees Khayon using a breathtaking array of psychic powers.

Oh, and the void battle scenes… my goodness, there are some fantastic battles!!

I was hoping for a little more lore from the Maeleum section of the book, maybe more on the relationship between the Sons of Horus and the Black Legion. Of course, that section was there to get Moriana to Abaddon, but I feel as though it would have been perfect to see more of that meshing of the two. The fact that this is all I can say against it, though, really attests to how much I enjoyed it!

It’s a really good book, and I feel like it was along the same lines as The First Heretic as being classic Warhammer fiction. It’s making me really excited to see what happens next in the series, and I’m hoping that it comes out sooner rather than later!

All of this talk of Chaos has made me look again at the miniatures that I have for my own Heretic Astartes army. With 9th edition on the way, of course, it’ll be interesting to see how this force (indeed, any force) will work, but I’m hoping that it will be possible to bring along interesting armies with odd bits peppered in. I’m still sticking with the Chaos Cult idea, though perhaps with a few more Marines along the way.

Though I’m really hoping for a Renegades and Heretics army in the new edition!!

#New40k

Well folks, here we are – the prophesied coming of the new age… 9th Edition. I’d heard rumours a few months ago, though a lot of that sounded like speculation. However, today’s the day that we’ve had it confirmed!

What a way to launch a new edition!

From how I understand things, this isn’t strictly a new edition in the sense of 8th Edition, however. More like Age of Sigmar 2.0, this will be a sort of improvement on 8th, streamlining the rules and amalgamating a lot of the new content from Psychic Awakening with the existing codexes, and giving us a new narrative system called Crusade. This last seems like the new thing, providing a way for armies to grow over a campaign, where previous battles matter. That sounds really cool, I must say!

New models are of course a given, and it seems that we’re going to be getting Space Marines vs Necrons in what is likely to be a starter box for the new edition. However, this little beauty is, well… something else…

I honestly never thought we’d get a Silent King, and even with the teaser from a couple of days ago, I was still thinking of the ways in which we might see something else besides a model. But no!

Oh my…

It looks like we’re possibly in for another of these centrepiece models like Katakros for the Ossiarch Bonereapers, or the Triumph of St Katherine. Despite having read a few complaints about these types of diorama-models from the more competitive crowd, who mainly seem to dislike them for transport, they’re clearly quite popular as eye-catching focal points for a collection. I really hope it’s going to be magnificent, and I can’t wait to get one for my collection!

So, this is very interesting. 8th Edition was the first edition I was there for the launch of, having gotten into 40k a couple of months slightly after 7th Edition had landed. There were a lot of promises for the rules to be streamlined in 8th, and by and large that held true for a while, but obviously the additions of the Vigilus campaign, and now Psychic Awakening, have caused a lot of bloat. So we’re definitely in need of some fat-trimming. The video talks about more command points for all, though the stream seemed to imply that you’ll have to use CP to pay for out-of-army allies, which is fine with me because I’d still like to try to play allied armies. We’ll see how that plays out though.

There are definitely some interesting ideas in this preview, though I’m not entirely sure just yet how I feel about the new edition. I mean, I don’t plan on getting out of the hobby, so it’s not like I’m mad about it or anything. But I’m feeling a curious sense of relief, or a sense of having a fresh start… I mean, it seems like the perfect time to thin out the ranks of some of my models, and focus down on those armies that I want to keep…

Necrons are, of course, top of my list, as they always will be, and I’m excited that we’re getting new stuff at last. Grey Knights and Dark Eldar will also be staying with me, and I think I might keep those Primaris Marines after all. But the Tyranids, the AdMech, even the Scions that I’d recently been building a list for – they’re all fair game…

It’s like I’ve got the perfect excuse to have a really good clear-out!

How about everybody else? Excited? Mad? Indifferent?

Psychic Awakening: Ritual of the Damned

Hey everybody,
I’d like to get back to looking through the Psychic Awakening books today, as I work my way backwards from the last installment. Let’s take a look at the Ritual of the Damned!

Psychic Awakening Ritual of the Damned

This fourth book showcases the Dark Angels, with the Grey Knights and Thousand Sons taking something of a second fiddle. As we’ll see when I get to the third book, these Psychic Awakenings have served to provide the Space Marines with access to all of the Shadowspear stuff, the phobos-armoured goodness that was missing from the Dark Angels codex because it hadn’t been released at that point. There are a lot of pages of this stuff, providing the lion’s share (pun intended) of the new stuff really.

I suppose this is only in keeping with the fact that the sole new miniature to come out alongside this book was the new Lazarus mini:

While I have previously attempted to produce a Dark Angels army, mainly centred around the Deathwing, I’ve recently decided to move my focus from the first legion as I’m trying to thin out the collections into something a lot more manageable – so, while this is almost certainly a Dark Angels book, I don’t really have a great deal to add on this point!

By contrast, the Grey Knights have just one new datasheet, for the Chaplain. However, they have a lot of new rules! For almost the entirety of 8th edition up to this point, Grey Knights had suffered from being a distinctly bottom-tier army from a competitive point of view. Mainly this was to do with the cost of units, which successive Chapter Approveds sought to remedy, but the lack of real fancy rules has proved to be their detriment. However, no more!

Space Marines these days have access to new Doctrines that give them bonuses from round to round. Well, Grey Knights now have their own version of this – Masters of the Warp. You can choose one of four effects (“Tides”) to be in place at the start of the first battle round, and then in subsequent turns you can attempt to change it through the use of the Warp Shaping psychic power, which is part of the new Dominus discipline. In addition to the Sanctic discipline from the Codex, Grey Knight character models have the option to pick their psychic powers from this discipline – they must choose either the Sanctic or Dominus disciplines, they cannot mix and match. However, there are some really nice powers here, and I do appreciate having more options for my units. Previously, I’ve found myself fielding 12-13 units, meaning the powers were doubled up in an almost random manner. At least now we have more to think about, and I like it!

Especially as one of these new Psychic Powers gives the Grey Knights the chance to replenish command points!

But that’s not all that we have! There is another page of relics to choose from, one of which allows for re-rolls on Psychic Tests and seems to be all the rage in the competitive scene, from what I’ve seen. But that’s not all!

Two more pages of Stratagems, following the pattern that we’ve seen in other books where specific unit types have specific stratagems. Every one of the Grey Knights specific units has their own stratagem, for better or worse – while there are plenty of stratagems that can target across the army. There are quite a few that look really nice, and I’m excited to try some out, like Empyric Surge that seems like it might take some setting-up, but could be good to try!

But wait, there’s more!

Are you getting the impression this book is a must-have for the Grey Knights? Yeah…

The sole datasheet for the Chaplain is here because of the new Litanies of Purity – similar to the Prayers of the Dark Apostle that we’ve seen. The Chaplain knows three Litanies – the Litany of Hate that he had from the codex, plus two from the new list of six in the book. Litanies are “recited” at the start of the battle round on a d6 roll of 3+. Some of them are a bit meh, which is a shame as I’d initially felt like Chaplains were getting a wonderful boost in this series of books, but there a couple there to add range to some weapons, or increase the AP of some weapons which, when combined with certain of the Tides, could give some great effects.

Oh, and we get the now classic name generator that, I’m sure you’ll all agree, is the most important part of any of these books.

The Thousand Sons have the least number of pages devoted to them, with just a couple of pages devoted to the different Cults within the Legion. Each Cult has specific warlord traits and assorted other special rules, which is quite nice but, not being a Thousand Sons player, I can’t really speak to how good these are. But even with only a few pages, it’s still nice to see that GW are giving attention to everybody in these books.


I am really excited to see the addition that the Grey Knights have had from this book. It does leave me with the distinct impression that the Codex is now an incomplete book, though, as there is just so much new stuff in here for them, you can’t really have one without the other. Especially when it comes to the Chaplain, which has perhaps the most benefit here.

As it happens, I’ve recently painted up my special collector’s edition plastic Chaplain in Terminator Armour that is available to new stores when they open. Having set me back around £35 on ebay last December, I knew I wanted to give him to the Grey Knights but had only now gotten round to painting the little devil. I’m quite pleased with the result, anyway – my local GW has got an HQ/Hero painting competition for next Saturday, and I’ll be entering him to see how he gets on!

I’m still working on drawing up a new Grey Knights list, one that might provide me with something interesting to play, so stay tuned for news on that one soon! For sure, I’ll be including another Purgation Squad since they can Overwatch on a 4+ thanks to their new stratagem!

The Emperor’s Legion

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Earlier this week, I finished reading The Emperor’s Legion by Chris Wraight, which I have to say now, was absolutely cracking!

The story is told from the point of view of three characters – a Custodian Guard, a Silent Sister, and the Chancellor of the High Lords of Terra. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has more than one point of view character where each chapter is in their own first person! It was really interesting to me, I must say!

The Emperor’s Legion takes place around the time of the Great Rift, which initially gave me some pause as I have read quite a lot of novels set during this time, and the coming of Guilliman etc. However, two-thirds of the book is set firmly on Terra, which gives the book a different flavour on it, as we’ve not yet seen what happens there. Turns out – quite a lot goes on!

The Chancellor of the High Lords, Tieron, is quite the interesting character, as we see something of the power behind the throne at first. This is, perhaps, where the advantage of telling the story in the first person comes to the fore, as we see Tieron’s attitude to his own position degrade as the novel progresses. We learn that Tieron has been attempting to reverse the decision that was taken to keep the Custodian Guard bound to the walls of the Imperial Palace. There is a lot going on in the politics of this decision, and I found it fascinating to learn about all of those goings-on, I suppose in part because of the way in which we learn about it.

From the Custodian Valerian, we see more of the Adeptus Custodes and their own attitudes towards their long vigil. Something I found quite intriguing was seeing the history of the Imperium from the golden boys, as they clearly know more of the history of the universe than we’ve seen from, say, the Space Marines of other novels. The story told from the point of view of the Silent Sister, however, is much more interesting to start with. Aleya is a very capable warrior, who dismantles a Chaos cult when we first meet her, only to return to her convent to find it has been decimated by the Black Legion. This drives her to return to Terra, wherein ensues a hectic race through the Warp as she attempts to defy the constant daemonic incursions through their failing Geller field.

It turns out that the Silent Sisters have been allowed to become forgotten over the thousands of years since the Heresy, as many cannot abide their anti-psyker presence. Aleya burns with the injustice of this, and the narrative from her perspective is really quite vicious at times as a result! Since the Silent Sisters were a part of the Burning of Prospero game back in 2016, it’s been a bit weird to me how GW would attempt to re-integrate them into the 40k game. We did see something back in 7th Edition, with the Talons of the Emperor box set, but it was really quite disappointing as it turned out. When the Custodes made their appearance in 8th Edition as a major force, and subsequently the Adepta Sororitas, I know there were plenty of folks who were a bit put-out by the fact the Sisters were left out of things.

At any rate, the book brings all three of the main characters together when the Great Rift has opened across the sky, when Cadia has fallen, and things are looking even worse for the Imperium than ever. Enter – the Grey Knights! Oh man, I was so excited when these guys turned up, not least because I’m currently back to working on these guys! I definitely had a bit of a tingle when they first mentioned turning to Titan for help, and when they arrived in force – oh, man!

The arrival of the Grey Knights poses an interesting insight into how the Custodes are meant to fight. I think both Aleya and Valerian talk of how the Sisters and the Custodians pair up, as there is no physical enemy the latter cannot defeat, but in the case of the Archenemy, they require the null-maidens to deny any demonic nonsense, anchoring them to the physical plane for the Custodes to then destroy. By contrast, the Grey Knights fight against the Ruinous Powers on their terms, making things that much more difficult. It’s really quite incredible when they Grey Knights win, because the odds are so stacked against them even before battle has been joined!

Another thing that I really like about this novel is how it seems to blend a lot of things that we’ve seen up until now – the attack on Fenris, the fall of Cadia, etc. We get something of the mechanics of news in the Imperium here, as the fall of Cadia might have happened months ago, or worse. It’s something that we’ve had hints of in other books, of course, seeing the perils of having an Imperium held together by telepathic thought-impressions or physical messages being sent.

The Emperor's Legion

The book culminates with a massive daemonic incursion on Terra itself, which brings all three of the protagonists together. Guilliman appears on Luna, and takes command of the Council of the High Lords, some of whom had suspected as much and attempted to prevent it – serving as a kind of metaphor for how stagnant the Imperium has become, really. Valerian and Aleya discover that the Ruinous Powers have been attempting to cut off Terra from the rest of the galaxy by using the Cadian pylons to essentially nullify the Warp at strategic points. They head off to the only remaining conduit through the Warp from Terra, and thwart the forces of the Black Legion before they can carry out their nefarious plot.

It really is a great book, giving a tremendous look at the Imperium at the time of the Great Rift. In many ways, it serves to sum up so much of my love of 40k right now, taking a look at the various aspects of the Imperium, predominantly the Adeptus Ministorum. They’ll never really make an army for these guys, of course, but it’s always fascinating to me seeing the inner workings of the Empire like this.

Wonderful stuff, definitely recommended!

Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good

Hey everybody,
So it’s been a while since the fourth book in the Psychic Awakening series was released, but I’m only now trying to catch up with these things, so hopefully there will be something of a flurry of blog posts in the next few weeks as I make every effort to see what’s been going on over the last few months! As it happens, the global lockdown has meant this catch-up is a lot easier, as the releases coming out of Nottingham have stopped – otherwise, I’m sure it would be months before I could have properly caught up with things!

Psychic Awakening The Greater Good

The Greater Good focuses on three factions – the T’au, the Astra Militarum, and the Genestealer Cults. Let’s first of all take a look at the crunch in this book, which is a little bit disappointing if I’m being perfectly honest…

The T’au get the lion’s share here. While previous books in the series came with a single model release, The Greater Good technically had quite a few. We saw a Start Collecting box for the Genestealers, as well as the new Kelermorph model that was previously only available via a Kill Team set, and we had Shadowsun released in a new plastic sculpt. I’ve moved away from the T’au Empire, having sold all of my models off last year, but I still think this new model looks amazing, and would have for sure picked her up if I had been collecting those models still.

The new T’au rules therefore have an entire page devoted to the new Shadowsun’s datasheet – she is clearly a busy girl these days! They also have the standard name generator, and new Sept Tenets that you can use in place of those provided in the Codex. There are also new relics and stratagems rounding out the mix, which follow the now-established routine for these books by providing more model-specific stratagems – for instance, there are quite a few Kroot-specific stratagems, as well as one for the Firesight Marksman, etc. Interestingly, we then get the supplement for The Eight, Commander Farsight and his buddies that was originally printed back in Chapter Approved 2018. I guess they wanted this supplement to remain viable, much like that for the Ynnari that had appeared previously in a White Dwarf. I don’t recall if the CA2018 supplement had full rules for the Enclaves, including warlord traits and stratagems, but we get the full mini-dex treatment here, which is nice!

Astra Militarum are next up, and while they don’t have as many pages devoted to them, they still get the usual name generator, new stratagems, new Regimental Doctrines, and a couple of pages of Tank Aces which are a little like warlord traits but for tanks – you can choose one of them instead of a warlord trait, and there is a stratagem that can give you access to them if you choose to keep the warlord trait (or want a second Ace in the army!)

There is then something that I didn’t see coming – a mini-dex for the Militarum Tempestus! Back in 6th edition, these guys had their own book, but obviously they have since been enveloped into the wider Astra Militarum, with the result that the rules can sometimes be a bit clunky. Well, they’re still a bit clunky now, but at least we get more rules for this small sub-set of the army, which I think it really pretty cool! There are six different Militarum Tempestus Regimental Doctrines that you can choose, instead of the Storm Troopers doctrine from the main book, as well as relics and warlord traits, and two pages of Tempestus-specific stratagems! It’s a really nice addition, and I’m really pleased to see them doing this!

Finally, though, we come to the Genestealer Cults, who have the least new stuff. Sure, we get the expanded rules for Cult Creeds, allowing for us to pick our own rather than stick with those from the Codex, and we get more Stratagems and Creed-specific psychic powers (not forgetting, of course, the name generator!) But there are almost two pages devoted to errata for the Cult Ambush and Brood Brothers rules, and that’s that. I suppose it’s kinda nice to have this in a book, and not have to also carry around a printed FAQ, but even so. It definitely feels like Genestealer Cults get the short end of the stick on this one. But I suppose the Codex is fairly new in comparison to the other factions in the book, so they have the least to be added… maybe…

The lore is an interesting update to that presented in the T’au Codex, as we learn more about the ill-fated Fourth Sphere expansion. There are some interesting details about battles with the Death Guard, and we get some info on a Cult uprising led by the Pauper Princes. The atmosphere of some of these stories is quite claustrophobic, which is echoed in the mission included in the book, which includes Theatres of War rules, aptly named “Cavern Warfare”.

All in all, it’s a nice book, and I do enjoy seeing the various updates that they’re providing for the various factions throughout this series. I guess, being a Cult collector, I’d have liked to have seen more for them!

However, I thought I’d take the opportunity in today’s blog to talk more about the project I mentioned briefly in my last blog – the resurrection of my Tempestus Scions army! This is a project that goes back years, and I had started to make some progress with it at the start of 8th edition, where I planned an army split roughly 50/50 with Scions and Skitarii. Well, things have moved on a little now, and I’m thinking of something a little different.

This list has a core of Tempestus Scions, but adds on a bit of the more weird and wonderful aspects of the Imperium, without (I think) breaking the battle-forged rules. I’ve decided to use the plastic Commissar as just the regular elite choice, and have the finecast Lord Commissar for the HQ choice. Doing so, along with the Bullgryns and Command Squad, I’ve got a separate Vanguard detachment for the additional command points. I do plan to build out the Scion squads to 10-man squads each, which may involve reducing them from 4 to 3 squads in total. Not decided yet. I also need to buy the parts for the second Tempestor Prime, though that might be dropped anyway.

My plans for the list had always been to see wave after wave of orders being transmitted across the table, though I’m not 100% sure it will work as I see it in my mind! I guess time will tell on that one!

As well as using the psyker model from Blackstone Fortress, the list will allow me to resurrect another long-dormant project in the shape of these girls – looking forward to getting them painted up at last!

A catch-up!

Hey everybody!
It feels like it’s been a while, doesn’t it? After celebrating my blog’s sixth birthday, it seems like other things have come into play, and I’ve not had a great deal of time for much else… well, let’s see, shall we?

To start with – check it out! I’m calling these chaps done for now – last weekend, there was a painting competition at my local Games Workshop (that is, a competition that was held via facebook, given the current climate). The brief was to paint an infantry unit at minimum squad size, and while there are perhaps a couple of details I could improve upon, I still like the fact that I’ve managed to get these done! The start of my Blood Angels – so let’s see what comes next, eh?

In the meantime, I’ve decided to resurrect this old project, and have been putting some details on to the chap in the middle there with the plasma gun. They’re real nice models, as you can see, and while the trim there is quite fiddly, it’s nevertheless really gratifying when these things start to come together like this! Of course, it’s going to make it difficult to keep going with the entire platoon, for sure, but it’ll be worth it!

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This week, I’ve started to read The Emperor’s Legion, the first book in the Watchers of the Throne series by Chris Wraight. I’m only about a third of the way through it, but already it’s gotten me really hooked! I’ve felt a little let-down with some of the 40k novels that I’ve read lately, so it’s really nice to finally be enjoying one again! The book has three point-of-view characters, one of whom is a Silent Sister, and one a Custodian Guard. I’ve been considering building up the Custodians that came with the Battle of Prospero box back in the day, and I’ve also thought about getting on with the Sisters of Silence that have been built since 2016!

Yet again, lovely models!

Let’s move away from plastic now, and instead take a look at some paper products! Arkham Horror LCG is something that I want to keep playing, but haven’t really had a great deal of time for since baby Phoebe came along last year! I did manage to get through the entire Dunwich Legacy campaign before her birth, though, and it’s certainly whetted my appetite, and while I’d been buying all of the cycles without playing, the most recent cycle, the Dream Weavers, was the first one that I didn’t get. I was actually thinking about calling it a day with the Circle Undone, but now that we’re off to Innsmouth, I’m thinking I may need to invest in this one, as well!

The expansion feels like it’s a bit of a return to some aspects from the classic board game, with blessings and curses, and flooding locations!

As the Lord of the Rings LCG appears to draw to a close with the Vengeance of Mordor cycle, the fourth pack of which arrived last week, I think it’s time to get back into this game above all, and get playing more once again. I’m hoping that I can persuade Jemma to join me on this venture, as well – husband and wife against the shadow of Sauron, what could be better?

I’ll be sure to update you all with progress, at any rate!

Magic the Gathering is something that I’ve definitely moved away from in the last year or so. I think War of the Spark was the last set I bought cards from, and haven’t actually played the game for a long time! However, Ikoria has caught my eye because (a) it has massive creatures, and (b) we’re seeing a return of the Tarkir shards! There’s a massive creature in the Mardu colours (red, white and black – my favourite!) that is a “dinosaur cat nightmare” – I mean, what’s not to like?!

The Shards also get Ultimatums, there are new tri-lands with the land types so that you can tutor for them; the Tarkir dual lands are back, and we even get a new Narset planeswalker card! There are a lot of nice cards in this set, and a lot of them would fit nicely into decks that I remember playing and enjoying from back in the day. I need to fight the impulse to get some of these cards!! But they’re so nice…

Oh, Ikoria is testing my resolve not to buy more cardboard crack!


Finally, let me go off-topic now, and fill you in on what I’ve been doing in the couple of weeks since my last blog. I’ve started work on another blog – though don’t worry, I’ll still be sharing my ramblings with you all here! I’ve been learning French once again, after having gone sixteen years since I did my A levels, and thought it’d get me into doing a lot more with it, as I try to put everything that I’m learning into practice! So I’ve started a blog as I try to make sense of it all, which can be found here, if you’re interested in that kind of thing!