Kill Team: Rogue Trader

Hey everybody!
I’m continuing my week of celebrating 800 posts on my blog by continuing to ramble about all things 40k right now, and thought it about time to get round to the big box expansion for Kill Team that came out in September: Rogue Trader!

Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

So as you probably know, this box was something pretty special. Named for the space privateers that plough the galaxy under the Emperor’s own Warrant of Trade in search of new planets to plunder for the Imperium, the name not only conjures up adventure and glamour but also hearkens back to the original, first edition of Warhammer 40,000. It was certainly something special that captured the minds of hobbyists all over the world, and while I was away on honeymoon when it actually came out, I wasted no time once I was back home in picking up a copy for myself and getting all of those miniatures built!

While I did manage to get a lot of stuff built in a short space of time, I have only now started to paint up the Imperium half of this box (stay tuned for some progress shots of those models coming at the end of the week!) But I’ve been talking about the expansion (and Kill Team in general) a lot, so I think it’s about time I got round to taking a proper look inside the box here on the blog!

The box is divided into the Elucidian Starstriders, led by the Rogue Trader Elucia Vhane, and the nasty Gellerpox Infected, a subsection of her crew who have been infected by the Gellerpox and now look even worse than some of the Nurgle gribblies. Not only do we have the rules and cards for using these miniatures within the Kill Team game, but GW have also kindly provided two mini-Codexes for each of the teams, so we can use them in regular 40k! I’ll be taking a look at those later in this post. For now, let’s talk about the Kill Teams themselves.

The box comes with 33 miniatures, ten for the Starstriders and twenty-three mutants, as well as two frames of scenery comprising bulkhead doors and computer terminals. The game board features, on one side, the Rogue Trader shuttle Truehawk, and on the other a Ministorum shrine. The narrative booklet that is included features some background on both Rogue Traders and the gellerpox, and tells the story of the shuttle being overrun and crashing on the planet Arcadia Neos. There are enough missions included in the book to allow you to play through the storyline, as well as more generic mission types that allow you to use the maps and scenery included for one-off style events.

New rules include fighting in close confines, a first look at the Commanders rules that later came out as a separate expansion, and the new Strength specialism that currently only applies to one model as far as I can tell, Vulgar the Thrice-Cursed. Finally, there are some advanced rules that let you combine Kill-Zones and link missions together to create a “Historical Campaign”.

For a 56-page booklet, it crams a lot in!!

The models are, as you’d expect, stunning. The Gellerpox Infected faction look disgusting in the tradition of Nurgle, but whether due to the fact that I was building them all up at the same time or if something else was at work, I really found these miniatures to be difficult on the eye when building them. I mean, they’re Nurgle-y, so it’s to be expected, but still. Something about them just put me off, so I can’t imagine I’ll be doing a great deal with these anytime soon! The entire warband comes to a total of 258 points in Kill Team, if you use all 23 models (193 points if you leave out the Commander).

The Starstriders, however, have just got a delicate grace about them that really excites my imagination. They feature so many design references to the larger Imperium, and what makes 40k so incredibly interesting to me as a setting, that I can’t begin to say just how much I like them. There are three named characters within the Kill Team that each have a set specialism, but each of them does not count towards the total number of specialists that you have – an interesting point that I thought it worthwhile mentioning. The total team comes to 145 points (100 points exactly without the Commander).

We only get ten of them – nine people, and a dog – which is such a shame, and has led to me really wanting to see more models in this style. When Blackstone Fortress was originally announced, I’d hoped we’d get a second Rogue Trader style crew that could potentially be combined with this to create a decent-sized force, but obviously now we know we’re only getting one Rogue Trader in that box, with the only other mini related to this style being the Navigator. It’s a shame, but the fact that GW have said they’re using these kinds of releases to explore hitherto unexplored corners of the setting does give me hope that we’ll be seeing more of them in the future.

As it stands, I don’t even think I want them particularly for regular 40k – I just want them because they’re an amazing band of miniatures!

But we can use them in regular 40k, thanks to the mini-dex, and that’s something I want to talk about now.

The Gellerpox Infected are all Chaos, and have the Nurgle keyword that will allow you to ally them in with a bunch of regular Nurgle daemons for added disease and disgust. They form a patrol detachment that is built around Vulgar the Thrice-Cursed, which comes to a total of 238 points. As a complete detachment, they are set up en masse when Vulgar is set up, and not only does the Thrice-Cursed give you access to seven distinct Gellerpox Infected stratagems, he comes with a warlord trait that gives you +3 command points to use on those stratagems.

There are only a couple of stand-out units in the Gellerpox Infected list, for me – the Eyestinger Swarms that allow you to keep adding slain models back to the unit at the start of every turn sounds annoying, but they’re probably more annoying than actually dangerous. The Glitchlings could similarly be annoying, as they subtract 1 from ranged attacks that target them, while the Hullbreakers, with S5 AP-2 weapons, could be quite the bothersome unit. If I were to take any of these in an army, I think it would be the Glitchlings and Hullbreakers, with the inevitable Vulgar tax to make it work.

Kill Team Rogue Trader

On the other hand, the Starstriders are a much more interesting force, for my money. Much like the Gellerpox, there are rules that allow you to set up the whole detachment at the same time as Elucia hits the table, and gain +3 Command Points for using Elucidian Starstrider stratagems (of which there are eight). The Rogue Traders have the Inquisition rule that allows them to use any Imperium transport vehicle, which is nice and fluffy.

Elucia Vhane herself feels like a much more useful HQ unit than Vulgar, allowing friendly units within 6″ re-roll hit rolls of 1. She’s fairly decent in terms of BS/WS, though otherwise has generic human stats with 4 wounds. The Voidsmen are generic soldiers, though the heavy rotor cannon is a nice addition. The Lectro-Maester, Larsen van der Grauss, provides a nice buff to the force, giving everyone a 5++ who is within 6″. He also has a unique stratagem that allows him to better hold objectives. There’s also a healer, and the Death Cult Assassin for some added meat, both of whom also get their own unique stratagems.

All of this comes in at 145 points. It’s definitely a smaller force, but it feels a lot more tight-knit than the Gellerpox, and I can see it working fairly well within a larger Imperium army. Unfortunately, there is a real mix of keywords here, meaning that you can only slot them into an existing army within their own detachment. Larsen van der Grauss will also fit within the Adeptus Mechanicus as a Tech-Priest, while Knosso Prond will fit into a Ministorum faction list as an additional Assassin should you feel the need. What’s even more disheartening, the new models from Blackstone Fortress won’t really slot in here, either – Janus Draik is basically Elucia Vhane with different grenades (and his multi-spectral auspicator only works on himself) but he could fill in as a second HQ if you wanted (you can’t use this to create a Rogue Trader battalion, sadly, as the only troops on offer – Nitsch’s Squad – have a limit of one-per-army) while Espern Locarno the Navigator, who would fit in the army on theme with no problem, has no keywords in common besides Imperium, so he’d currently have to sit in his own detachment. If you wanted to add in these two, though, it would only be an additional 70 points, so still not bringing it up to the realms of the Gellerpox!


I am incredibly guilty of demanding more of these miniatures to create an army for 40k – both here and with Blackstone Fortress – while almost overlooking the fact that this box has got so much to commend it. Kill Team has felt to me recently like it was getting bloated, with all the Commanders stuff that has been released lately – but I failed to see past the initial fact that yes, there may well be 108 individual products on the webstore for Kill Team right now, but all of these are merely adding in options to the game, and it really is something of a toolbox for you, to do with as you will.

I think this is a valid point that I need to learn – new GW isn’t always using board games to stealth-release new models into the tabletop game. Even things like Deathwatch Overkill were decent enough as regular board games, they just get a bit overshadowed by the fact they herald a new range of miniatures. While there have been a lot of releases for Kill Team that repackage existing miniatures and have led to something of a flooding in the market for content, I think it’s important to note that, to date, Kill Team as a game has only got two actual expansions in the traditional, board game sense: Rogue Trader, and Commanders. The army expansions are more like additional bits, nice-to-haves that aren’t really required to play the game (certainly not if you’re only using the starter box armies). The environment expansions are maybe more in the vein of a traditional expansion, although again, they only offer variations on the core theme. When you look at the line more as a traditional board game, I think it feels a lot more contained and, actually, quite a fun experience.

Rogue Trader adds to that experience by bringing with it two extremely thematic teams that make use of the Commanders rules while providing additional content for the close-quarters fighting. I believe that Commanders was supposed to be released first, but somehow the image of Rogue Traders fighting Gellerpox Infected was leaked too soon, forcing a switch-up of the release schedule. Ignoring the fact that there are rules for Necrons and Deathwatch and goodness knows who else to play in this game, if you just bought the core set, the Commanders expansion, and this, you’d have a really thematic set that would provide a whole lot of fun and enjoyable gaming for a long time. The modular expansion model of new armies with their own tactics and terrain to fight over, and the Kill Zone expansions that change up the battlefield, these are all really nice to have, but I think it helps tremendously to see these as very much ancillary to the main product.

If you think of it as a board game line that just happens to use existing GW products, it helps a lot!

Don’t forget to come back later in the week to see how I’ve been getting on painting up the Elucidian Starstriders! I’m posting every day this week to celebrate 800 posts, so come back soon!

Let’s talk about the Primarchs…

Hey everybody!
Wordpress tells me that this is my 800th post, which is quite phenomenal when you think I started this blog back in 2014 as a way to pass the time! Anyway, to do something monumental to mark the occasion, I’m trying to get posts out every day this week, starting with yesterday’s visit to Warhammer World. Will each of these posts be confined to the realms of the grim dark of the 41st millennium? Well, it’s entirely likely, but you’ll just have to keep checking back to see for yourself!

This blog stems back to last December (which is actually when I started writing it, but had left it as a draft for eleven months…) when the Blood Angels and Dark Angels Codexes came out. At the time, there was a lot of chatter about more Primarchs coming back in Warhammer 40k, and back then I couldn’t quite decide whether this would be a good thing or not – probably explaining why I never got round to finishing the post!

I might as well catch up with what’s been going on, along with weighing in with an opinion of my own about the whole situation. It’s certainly been an exciting time in the 8th edition story landscape, don’t get me wrong, but let’s try to make some sense of what’s happening here…

 

While people have been talking about Primarchs coming back for a while already, I think it was the announcement of these two that moved that talk into another realm, as people began to furiously debate whether or not Lion el’Jonson would be included in the Dark Angels book. The fact that the loyalists are currently outmatched by heretic Primarchs by two to one seemed to be a powerful indicator that the next new plastic Primarch would be a loyalist, and so that narrowed the list appreciatively, before the very fact that Dark Angels were getting a book seemed to be proof enough that the Lion would be the one.

Of course, the book arrived, and there was a distinct lack of Lion el’Jonson. For a time, it seemed, the talk of returning Primarchs died away as the much vaunted (yet almost entirely fan-made-up) year of the xenos got underway.

The line-up
For completion’s sake, the loyalist Primarchs we have are:
Lion el’Jonson – he’s said to be “sleeping” somewhere deep within The Rock, recovering from his psychic battle with Luther. However, only the Emperor himself is aware of the Lion’s survival.
Jaghatai Khan – he’s off fighting Dark Eldar in the webway, and it is unclear whether he is still alive or dead.
Leman Russ – he disappeared during a feast, some believe he has journeyed into the Eye of Terror on some quest or other. It’s possible he has succumbed to the Wulfen curse, as some mystery surrounds his disappearance.
Rogal Dorn – confusingly, Dorn was said to have died while repelling the first Black Crusade of Abaddon, though this has since been retconned so that, whereas initially his body was discovered, now all that remained was his fist.
Sanguinius – he’s dead, but more on this in a moment.
Ferrus Manus – he’s also dead, decapitated by Fulgrim on Isstvan V at the opening engagement of the Horus Heresy.
Roboute Guilliman – currently the only loyalist Primarch running around the galaxy in 8th edition.
Vulkan – a curious fish, Vulkan is said to be a perpetual, so he cannot truly die. He’s currently MIA, however, waiting for the last four of his nine artifacts to be recovered by his sons, at which point he will deem them worthy of his return. Hm.
Corvus Corax – deeply disturbed by the events surrounding his attempt to rebuild his Legion following the Isstvan massacre, Corax simply left his sons, plotting a course for the Eye of Terror.

A mixed bag, don’t you think? Some of those Primarchs, such as Leman Russ and Jaghatai Khan, are said to be waiting for their chapter’s time of greatest trouble, at which point they will return to lead them, very much in the manner of King Arthur. But there are also clearly a good number of these chaps who could be brought back into the story with no huge retcon required, as they’re merely “somewhere else” as opposed to, say, decapitated and dead. For these, it may well be more a question of “when” rather than “if”.

Returning from the dead
Last December, there was a mention by one of the writers that Sanguinius may not actually be dead after all, however. I came across this mention by Chapter Master Valrak back in the day, where the suggestion was made that the winged angel is merely in stasis.

Sanguinius, in case you weren’t aware, teleported up to the Vengeful Spirit along with his father, the Emperor, and Rogal Dorn, during the climactic battle of the Horus Heresy. Sanguinius became separated from the others, and was the first to find Horus, whereupon they dueled. Sanguinius knew he was no match for his brother, and had already foreseen his own death at Horus’ hand, but nevertheless knew he had to do what he could to help take down the arch-traitor, and it was the Blood Angels’ Primarch who managed to land a blow on Horus that opened up the chink in his armour for the Emperor to eventually get in and destroy him.

However, during this confrontation, Sanguinius is very definitely killed by Horus. Sanguinius’ death was so painful that his death screams left a psychic imprint upon all Blood Angels through both time and space, the echo of this remaining to this day as the Black Rage. Would the Black Rage exist if Sanguinius hadn’t been slain? Possibly, but to keep Sanguinius alive in the lore does definitely cheapen his sacrifice here, and I wonder – if he were to return – how that would make the Primarch feel… Sanguinius foresaw his own demise at the hands of Horus, and yet still went through with it all, knowing he would die, because he saw the possibility that his sacrifice could help the Emperor to destroy the Arch-Traitor for good. To bring him back after that would be to lessen the events aboard the Vengeful Spirit, and would likely torture the Primarch himself, as he is once again alive while his father the Emperor is entombed on the Golden Throne.

Unless we see the Emperor return as well, but that’s a whole other barrel of monkeys…

The whole Sanguinius thing faded into memory by the time the Space Wolves got their Codex earlier this summer, and once again there was talk of the return of a Primarch. But the book came out, and no Leman Russ came with it, which did indeed seem quite odd, but it happened, and the chatter about Loyalist Primarchs seemed to ebb away. Do GW just not want to bring any Loyalist Primarchs back? What’s going on there in Nottingham? We’re 2-1 in favour of Chaos at this point! Has Duncan made a pact with the Dark Gods?

So we’re currently at the point where, for now at least, it seems like the return of any Primarch has died down somewhat. Of course, no new Primarchs on the horizon isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though the new Imperial Fists battle force box coming out this Christmas has now got me wondering if that is testing the waters for a second Loyalist Primarch making a return…

See, while I don’t think I’m definitely in that camp, I’m certainly leaning more towards the idea that the Primarchs belong in the 30k age, and especially after having read The Beast Arises series, I think it’s good to have that sort of mythical age of heroes to look back onto. If the story made sense, then I would absolutely back the return of the Lion, or even Russ, but I don’t think we particularly need to see every single possible Primarch come back just because. They belong in 30k, because that was their time; now, I think they should only appear because the story demands it.

But Chaos has got two Primarchs now!

The Traitor Primarchs are a lot easier to bring back, as all of those surviving Primarchs fled into the Eye of Terror following the Horus Heresy. With the Cicatrix Maledictum now tearing the galaxy apart, the storyline does seem to naturally follow that we’d see more of them, and they may think the galaxy is now ripe for another incursion.

I’m very curious about this whole turn of events, though, which is one of the reasons for this blog anyway. See, Magnus and Mortarion coming into the game does kinda make sense, because both Primarchs lead traitor legions of models that are both very specific within the lore, and had models in dire need of a proper upgrade. However, I am very curious if we’ll ever see Perturabo, or even Lorgar, because those guys just seem to lead generic Chaos Space Marines. And I really doubt we’ll ever get Alpharius/Omegon (not just because one may or may not be dead). I’ve been kinda interested in Iron Warriors ever since reading The Beast Arises and Storm of Iron, and so would really like to see what they would do with a Daemon Primarch Perturabo – but there wouldn’t really be any Rubric/Plague Marine equivalents for these chaps, instead a bit of a generic CSM kit with hazard markings.

This point does beg the question, though – where are Fulgrim and Angron?

Fulgrim had been thought to be coming out prior to the Morathi model being released, as daemon-Fulgrim is a giant snake. There have been several suggestions online about a Fulgrim release coinciding with the upcoming Slaanesh release in Wrath and Rapture, which pits Khorne against the Dark Prince, and it would be entirely fitting if the daemon models that cross between AoS and 40k then led to plastic Noise Marines and so forth. I do feel that the Noise Marines in particular need an upgrade along the lines of the Rubric Marines we’ve seen, as they’re currently in the same position as the Thousand Sons, having a resin upgrade kit and some sonic blasters that are just embarrassing at this point…

At least you could, at a push, invest in some Kakophoni if you wanted to go for a more civilised look, but even these look poor when you compare them with the glorious plastics for the Sons of Magnus!

But what about Khorne? There had been rumours of an Angron model coming out in some kind of Armageddon-themed box set, World Eaters vs Orks, which would have coincided with the Ork codex. But that book is now out in the world, and we don’t have any Angron. However, Khorne Berzerkers are in nowhere near as bad a shape as Noise Marines – they actually have a plastic box, even if those plastics are really very dated now!

But where’s my Big Bad?
All of this begs the question, of course – do we need the Primarch to come out just to provide an update for the range?

From a business point of view, we absolutely need that. The promise of a huge plastic centrepiece model is what drives a lot of GW releases these days, and that’s for the simple reason that we’ve all been conditioned to want an army that is built around one big bad boy. I say that like it’s a bad thing, of course – it isn’t, at least not always. It looks fabulous on the tabletop, and it’s a bit part of building a collection for a great number of people. It also helps that they tend to have ridiculously strong rules so that, no matter how many points they cost, people still want to use them. Having these kinds of centrepieces is a badge of pride for many, and the way they’ve been designing plastic models of late really helps to draw a collection into a wonderful, cohesive whole.

I’m banging on about this, because it’s an important point to be made for the Chaos Primarchs. Their armies are quite distinct from one another – you’d never mistake a Plague Marine for a Khorne Berzerker, and that’s not just because of the colour scheme. It’s therefore easier to provide Chaos Primarchs, I would think, because they each have a distinctive force to build around them. Even bringing out Perturabo or Lorgar as mentioned earlier would be entirely possible if it meant we got new daemon engines or cultists, respectively. For the Loyalists, however, most of the time they’re just different flavours of the same kit. Dark Angels may look a bit more Catholic, and there may be a few more topknots among the White Scars, but by and large, they don’t really have a great number of differences to really mark them out as unique.

In this respect, then, Loyalist Primarchs coming back are really very much a one-off release, and can pretty much come out in any kind of rag-tag box of miniatures – you only have to look at the one and only Loyalist Primarch’s release to see that… Does this mean GW will be keeping Lion el’Jonson for some random release by himself, rather than putting him in his own Codex? Well, possibly.

They’re probably likely coming anyway, so what’s the deal?
This blog is already getting long and drawn out, so I’ll try not to ramble on much longer. But I do think that GW might be keeping any future Primarch releases more for narrative-style games, rather than keeping them in the main line of the game. Let me explain a bit.

Primarchs can warp the game. There’s no doubt that Guilliman had been a problem, leading to a couple of attempts to correct him with both Chapter Approved and the Big FAQ. He’s now a significant points investment if you want to include him in your army, although at 400 points he’s still the cheapest of the plastic Primarchs to date (Mortarion is the most expensive, in case you were wondering). I feel that there is a balancing act going on with the first three, whereby GW want to make them appealing to both collectors and to gamers, and yet they don’t want to make them so powerful that it’s simply a case of a player putting down Magnus (for example) and their opponent giving up before deployment has ended. Maybe it was too much of a balancing act to really want to bother with anymore, and so the Dark Angels didn’t get Lion el’Jonson, and the Space Wolves didn’t get Leman Russ, because it was too much hassle to bring out such a potentially game-changing unit that would cause headaches for months.

Instead, why not go with the Armageddon-themed narrative box style, and release a Primarch as part of some narrative adventure thing, with the rules for that model in a supplemental book rather than in the main Codex. It would mean that they wouldn’t have to keep re-releasing Codexes and angering the player-base with a sixth Space Marines Codex in one edition, but instead having the Drukhari vs White Scars campaign book to bring out Jaghatai Khan, for example (along with plastic Incubi and a Dracon HQ choice for the Dark Kin, which will allow for a double Kabal battalion without having to resort to using Drazhar). Would there really need to be a full-on Emperor’s Children Codex, or could they perhaps just bring out some new plastic Noise Marines, and then plastic Fulgrim, and it’s a supplemental rulebook to be used alongside the Chaos Space Marines Codex proper.

I do strongly feel that, once the Genestealer Cults have their Codex, we’ll be moving into a more campaign-play-focused 40k, with Codices coming out for things like the Sisters whenever the release schedule warrants it. Stuff like the Rogue Trader release for Kill Team, and the upcoming Blackstone Fortress stuff, makes me think that we’re already seeing GW gearing up for this, and the mini-dexes we got in Rogue Trader will become something of the norm as we move forward.

Does this explain why the Lion and Russ were left out of their respective Codexes? No, not really. So let me elaborate further with my crazy ideas.

I think there was some kind of master schedule drawn up for the release of 8th edition, where GW made a list of all the Codexes they wanted to bring out, and all of the releases they wanted to bring out with them, and by necessity some armies were winners while others were, to some degree, losers. Those winners were, of course, the Space Marines and Death Guard – the focal point for the 8th edition storyline – along with the Custodes and, to a lesser degree, Imperial Knights and Orks.

I made a handy table to illustrate this, because that’s the sort of thing I do.

I think that GW had set this all up ready, and had already decided that they were going to bring out the books for Dark Angels and Space Wolves as they were – to a large degree, I think they were driven by the need to get the books out as quickly as possible, as it’s a fairly short window to release this many things in one go, after all.

If we go back to the question above, then, and assume it is a question of “when” the Loyalist Primarchs come along, I think it’s pretty safe to say that GW never had any plans to bring the Primarchs along with their Codex, as their principal driving force was to get the updated 8th edition rules out there. New models could wait for just a small handful of releases, but the majority of armies are just getting a book, and that is it. Which is fine, really, as it means we get to play games and all the rest of it.

I’m almost looking at this period as a trial, a time period that just needs to be gotten through, and once we’ve got all the existing armies with their respective book, we can then start looking at advancing the storyline with narrative campaign boxes that bring us a few new models at a time. We’ve seen this already with the three Vigilus story boxes, and I think we’ve very much been experiencing something of a testing bed for GW as they move into that as being their primary product delivery method. These boxes appear to have done quite well, probably in the main due to the fact the new models were awesome and the actual value was quite good. Moving forward, we may see boxes that are less about a pair of new character models, but also including new units (much like the Aberrants in Tooth & Claw, although they were an existing unit that just had a massive update. Hm, Chaos Space Marines are an existing unit that could do with an update).

So maybe we’ll get one of these narrative boxes that includes some repackaged stuff, for instance Primaris vs Heretics, where we see the 42nd exclusive Primaris Lieutenant model, and maybe a plastic Chaos Lord, new plastic Chaos Space Marines, and then there will be a narrative Codex-length book available separately, and there’ll also be some models like the Marines available separately, and then we’ll get Angron as a separate release. I could easily see them doing this, having almost an army-sized release that covers two or three weekends, but rather than being a single force, we get two distinct factions seeing smaller updates respectively. The Primarch wouldn’t be in that campaign box, but it would form a part of the larger release that would still serve to drive excitement up to new-army-style levels, while not having to release a whole army for the price.

I could see that happening, certainly Jaghatai Khan could be included in the same release window that gives us Primaris bikers. Corax could come out with Primaris Vanguard or Assault Marines. (Are Reivers supposed to be the new Assault Marines? I feel like they’re more like Scouts…)

But what about…
Yes, I’ve managed to write over 3200 words without mentioning the proverbial elephant in the room. When is the new Abaddon model coming out?

As the leader of the Black Legion, he’s not quite the poster boy for Chaos anymore, but he’s certainly still a huge name in those ranks, and he desperately needs a new model. I bang on about a lot of my favourite armies and how I wish they would get new stuff a lot, of course, but I don’t think there’s anything within the realms of 40k right now that so desperately needs a new model like Abaddon does. What makes this worse is that GW have missed quite a few opportunities to do so, significantly when The Gathering Storm storyline came out nearly two years ago. He doesn’t necessarily need new rules, he just needs a new goddamn model! That finecast monstrosity just cannot be allowed to lead forces when you have models like Typhus and Ahriman running around. I would field a generic Chaos Terminator Lord before getting that bloody Abaddon model, it’s an affront to all that is amazing about Citadel miniatures right now.

I’ve talked about the time not being right for new Primarchs when I was rambling about the Codex release schedule, but I think now, as we look beyond the Genestealer Cults to the next phase of 40k releases, Abaddon should be top of the list for some new sculpting to be done. It is a very sincere hope that we will see him with a new release very soon, before we get any sniff of a further Primarch being released. He doesn’t even need to be a huge model; as a Chaos Lord who has always rebuffed the daemonic enhancements of Chaos, he’s just a regular space marine – albeit pretty huge anyway – so we don’t need anything quite so spectacular as Magnus or Mortarion.

Urgh!

Anyway, I think it’s definitely time I wrapped this thing up now. How are you all doing? Made it this far without skipping to the end? Well, you definitely deserve that biscuit, in that case!

In summary, I’m not a huge fan of bringing back any of the Primarchs just because they sell. If there’s a valid story reason for their return, then all 18 of them can come back, so far as I’m concerned! I do like the fact that they are models that can form the centrepiece of a collection, and so far each of them has been quite staggering in their own way. While I think they belong to the age of mythical heroes that is 30k, I still wouldn’t shout anybody down for wanting to include them in their army. My Marine armies are all Successor Chapters, so I don’t feel a particular need for “my” Primarch to come back (they’re actually Ultramarines Successors, and I still haven’t bought Guilliman yet!) but I do have a not-insignificant Deathwing army, and could see myself picking up Lion el’Jonson if and when he arrives. I suppose the look is a big factor for me, and if he has that Gothic, Catholic vibe to him then he’d fit right in with the First Company.

I did toy with the idea of getting Mortarion for all of the Death Guard marines that I’ve found myself with after the Dark Imperium box, but I’ve since decided not to go down that route and will be selling off my Plague Marines at some point. While I do still love the Rubric Marines, I actually have no desire to pick up Magnus as I just don’t love the model enough. Weird. The only Traitor Primarch I could see myself picking up would be Lorgar, as I think we would fit in well with the ideas I’ve recently been talking about for a Chaos Cultist army. But I suspect he might well be a very long way off…

Anyway, at 4000 words, it’s now time to stop typing, I think!

Warhammer World!

Hey everybody!
That’s right, I went to Warhammer World today! I’ve been before, but I don’t think I’ve really written up much about the tabletop Mecca on this here blog before, so I thought I’d share some of the photos I took while I was wandering around the exhibition area!

Warhammer World

The exhibition hall is a bit smaller than it was when I first went, back in 2015, partly due to the extension of the shopping areas. It’s broadly divided into two, of course – Age of Sigmar and 40k – with some of the smaller games like Blood Bowl and Necromunda having some floorspace along the way. The exhibition is partly a museum of Citadel miniatures, featuring cabinet after cabinet of all the minis that we know and love (those shown on the box-fronts and within Codices), and partly a display to fire the imagination, with set-piece exhibits that show you what can be done with the models – as well as providing a little bit of imaginative realisation, showing to us all what we see in our heads every time we play a game!

The Age of Sigmar stuff feels like it’s a lot smaller, confined to just one hall but with about five major exhibits. The older, Fantasy models have been pushed away, in favour of the new Age of Sigmar stuff, which has the majority of the display space. I remember my first visit there, in July 2015, when Age of Sigmar had just come out – pretty much everything was still on square bases, and things like the Tomb Kings still had a place. Well, not anymore, but when you look at the models on display here, today, it’s hard to feel like that’s a bad thing…

40k is what I always enjoy seeing when I come to Warhammer World, and there have been a couple of new exhibits added since my last visit.

There is something really quite amazing about seeing all of the war machines and ranks of soldiers among the variety of battle-scapes here. The amount of models is stunning, of course, but the finished products are well worth seeing. My personal favourite, probably because it is so close to my long-held idea for an Armies on Parade board, is this Sector Mechanicus-inspired piece:

It’s quite the showcase for just what can be achieved with these terrain kits, and I had to stop myself really quite hard from buying any of them when I emerged!

There are a lot of Tyranids on show as the adversaries in many of the display boards – we see them going up against the Space Wolves and the Eldar, as well as the Genestealer Cults in the Mechanicus display I mentioned earlier. However, centre-stage has got to be the two-storey diorama of Ultramarines vs Daemons of Khorne, in the Battle for Angelus Prime:

There are all manner of lighting-effects on this board, making getting a photo of it really tough. It really needs to be seen to be believed!

There are sadly no displays that feature my beloved Dark Eldar, but there are some Necrons and some Tau, so it’s nice to see my other xenos armies getting some love!

Finally, there are a couple of display cabinets in the main foyer, the 40k one of which again captures that essence of what I want for an Armies on Parade board, with all the Mechanicum scenery on it:

All in all, it’s a fantastic place. Tickets for the Exhibition Area are £7.50, as of this writing, and while I think I was only there for an hour, this place is tremendous and well worth it for any hobby enthusiast to come and get lost among the models for a while. I live about 2 hours’ drive away, so I’m hardly local, and when I do go I tend not to want to hang about there, but it’s always been so worthwhile going to have a look at all of the stuff on display.

While I’m not currently in anything like a hobby slump, I have been feeling a bit all over the place lately with my painting, so I think today’s trip has really helped to focus me on getting down to finishing some models off now. There are a lot of things I want to get done, and quite a few things that I can probably try to offload, so I’m definitely feeling more focused now!

As for the swag… well…

Warhammer World swag

Falling to Chaos…

It wouldn’t be the first time

Since the whole Blackstone Fortress thing has gotten me in a froth about playing with miniatures that are more esoteric, and yet somehow a lot more close to what, for me, Warhammer 40k is all about, I’ve been thinking about getting myself a small Chaos force. Well, it might not be that small, after all, as I’m thinking principally about using Chaos Cultists.

The Dark Vengeance cultists are no longer available, sadly, because the box has been replaced with Dark Imperium, and the goodness that is available there. Which is a shame, because the generic cultists that you can get now are a bit sad if you’re trying to build up a huge Chaos-worshipping cult. The Dark Vengeance lot only include a couple more variants, but between squad Anarkus (on the left) and squad Tetchvar (on the right), you get some really nice-looking sculpts that, with a decent-enough paint job, could be made to look quite varied and rag-tag. Which I suppose is what you want out of a Chaos cult in the Underhive…

What’s even sadder is that I’ve currently lost my Dark Vengeance bits in moving house! They’re bound to be somewhere, so hopefully I can get them sniffed out soon. As a side note, there’s a bunch of Necrons stuff hiding from me as well, so it might be high time to have a sort-out and see where everything has gotten to…

Anyway!

I spent a huge chunk of my time on Friday planning out my Cult for Necromunda games, as I thought it would be a simply splendid idea to build some of these chaps up for the skirmish game as well. That I was basically devouring the rule set like some sort of fanatical zealot was entirely on point, as well! The fact that the rules for these guys are free online is even better! As another side note, how amazing are GW for doing this? Free rules for stuff is amazing! I know they do it for Age of Sigmar, but the fact they also do it for other stuff is really good. Anyway!

So I worked out a starting gang list that includes a Demagogue (Tetchvar) and a Witch (Anarkus), along with two Disciples (the special weapons chaps) and then five Helot Cultists (the basic five-man box that is still available) for a grand total of 960 points. I’m currently not 100% sure on the Witch, as I could replace him with two further Helots, but I’ll see on that one for now.

Chaos Cultists

The Necromunda plans are all well and good, and I’m looking forward to trying them out soon, but the main point of today’s blog is to talk about my plans for 40k, and combining the Cultists with the contents of the Blackstone Fortress box…

There is, of course, a lot to be excited about with the upcoming Blackstone Fortress release. I just can’t seem to express how much this stuff speaks to me! For the most part, I’ve been ignoring the heroes, but even there we have such amazing ideas as Ministorum Priests and Navigators – yes, Navigators! I’m still trying to figure out the best way to include these in my Imperium army without seeming too cheesy…

But I’m thinking about Chaos today, and so I’m thinking about running a Servants of the Abyss patrol detachment alongside a second patrol detachment of Cultists, which would bring me to 496 points in total. If I can somehow work out 1000 points of Thousand Sons (ha!) then I would have a pretty great starting Chaos army, I reckon!

For informational purposes, then, the Servants of the Abyss detachment contains the following units:

This little band of wonderfulness comes to a grand total of 327 points. Not bad really, though as a lot of folks have pointed out online, the fact that they’re so prescriptive – especially the Traitor Guard – means that it’s unlikely many people will want to field them very much. Personally, I have no problem with fielding weird and wonderful stuff, and the flavour of this warband is just too irresistible for me to do anything else!

As an aside, I’m really hopeful that we’ll see these things realised as full plastic kits sometime in the future. My fervent hope is for some kind of Agents of Darkness Codex that would allow us to field weird off-shoots like the Negavolt Cultists and Chaos Beastmen without having to go fully into the Dark Mechanicus or whatever. I suppose this is what this army list is all about, for me; having a weird collection of Chaos and mutants that is more fluffy than anything else, but could still offer some really nice and flexible support to a Chaos army.

Anyway!

The second patrol detachment in the list contains two groups of ten Cultists – the aforementioned squads Tetchvar and Anarkus – headed up by a Dark Apostle. I have toyed with the idea of creating some kind of kitbash instead of going with the finecast model, but on reflection, he doesn’t look entirely too marine-y so I hope he can fill in quite nicely for me in the role of heading up the bands of Cultists.

While I’m not about to start drawing up massive lists already, I have been giving a little vague thought to eventually expanding this force out a bit more along the thematic lines and, while I hope to have more random Chaos stuff like the Blackstone Fortress miniatures coming out soon to bolster the list, I’m thinking about including a couple more Dark Apostles and Cultists just to keep the flavour going. I might eventually include some Black Legion marines, but that’s a long way off.

I want the army to feel more like a Chaos Cult rather than an army, so I think having actual marines in there would take away from that a bit. The Traitor Guard are perhaps a bit of an exception, as they are supposed to be an army force, of course, but I think they look weird enough with the furs and whatnot that they don’t appear overly regimented.

Anyway!

So those are my thoughts on building up a small 500-point Chaos list! It’ll help me a lot with both small games of 40k and also Necromunda and Blackstone Fortress, which is always a delight, so I think it should be a decent project to keep me going through the winter!

The Deepkin

If you follow me on Instagram, you’re not only a very discerning individual, but you’ll likely be aware that I’ve recently been on a definite Age of Sigmar kick, getting into the game with first Beasts of Chaos, and then the Nighthaunt. Well, I’m now joining my third grand alliance, and have been thinking for the past couple of weeks about finally making a move on the Idoneth Deepkin, having wanted to do things with these miniatures since they were released earlier in the year!

The Deepkin are quite similar, I feel, to 40k’s Dark Eldar, being pirate elves who reave the lands, in this case in search of souls. They’re really quite creepy when you delve into the lore, and the miniatures themselves are really quite fantastic!

Of course, the fact that they’re also going to be getting a Battleforce Box this Christmas will help me to get a decent saving on starting the army, which cannot be overlooked!!

I’m quite excited to be starting with these guys, anyway – even if I do have hundreds of ghosts to try and paint! I’m hoping to just plug away at these things over the winter, and see if I can start my forays into the Mortal Realms in 2019!

So far, I’m wanting to go for some of the Namarti models with the necessary supporting lords, and then those crazy shark-riding guys as a secondary wave within the army. Eventually, I’ll definitely be building up to getting one of those massive turtles, as it looks like it should be an amazing centrepiece model. But for now, I want to keep it straightforward and go for a small-scale force that I can (hopefully) manage to get painted without feeling too overwhelmed. I think this is where I’ve come unstuck before – and certainly feel like I might be getting unstuck now with the Nighthaunt, as I have a desk full of them having built up all of the Soul Wars box as well as the various other units I’d bought separately!

I definitely need to plan my projects better!

Blackstone Fortress previews!

Oh my goodness, this game could well be epic!

So, we’ve all seen the trailer and stuff since last week, and the excitement has just been building ever since. While I was, at first, reasonably sure I’d be picking this up – hoping that it would feature more Rogue Trader models that could potentially fit in alongside the Kill Team expansion to create a more interesting warband – I’m now entirely certain, and in fact I need it in my life yesterday.

The heroes of the game I can almost take or leave. True, space pope does look hilarious, and I’m really excited for the Navigator dude, but the others are all a little bit too much of a mixed bag for me to be that interested in them. I suppose if they hadn’t gone so wide with it, and had kept it more like the Rogue Trader stuff, so players had the choice of taking on roles from among his crew, then it might have felt a bit more like a crew on an adventure into the fortress in search of riches. As it stands, it feels a little too much of an eclectic group for me to feel all that involved with them.

I do hope, though, that they follow a similar trajectory for Silver Tower, and bring out card packs for a number of different such heroes, so we can hopefully create a different lineup. Though I’m not 100% sure that could work, as the pre-existing heroes of the 40k range are all rather too combat orientated. This game feels like it needs a more mundane set of characters, though I suppose Elucia Vhane’s crew could potentially be seen in this setting… Oh, who knows?!

The adversaries are, for me, where this game is shining brightest. With these guys, it doesn’t matter that we’re seeing a mixed bag – the fact that there are so many disparate elements to this is making me think that maybe we’ll get adversary upgrades for things like Necrons or Tyranids in the future, as well! But as with Kill Team Rogue Trader before it, we’re seeing GW use these boxed games to introduce a whole host of interesting miniatures that they wouldn’t perhaps otherwise make for the tabletop game. For sure, new plastic Chaos Marines are getting a lot of people excited, and the Traitor Guard are certainly exciting me in ways I hadn’t thought possible, but we’re seeing a whole rogue’s gallery of miscreants here that I would love to see expanded upon at some point into their own Codex.

Much like Imperial Agents brought a whole host of different subsections of the Imperium under one umbrella, it’s not entirely outside the realms of possibility that we’ll see something similar for Agents of the Dark Gods, a sort of Chaos Undivided book that could bring forth elements of the Dark Mechanicus, Traitor Guard, Rogue Psykers and the like.

Of course, these sorts of games don’t always have to be the herald for a new army, and we can quite happily see miniatures for the game that have nothing to do with regular 40k. It would be nice, of course, and they do include a mini-dex in the box that has the datasheets for all of the models, but I don’t think it’s a requirement. It’s just nice to see so many different corners of the 40k universe finally realised in plastic miniature form.

What has gotten me most excited for this game, I think, is the expansion promises for the future.

Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress is the basis for a brand-new series that’ll expand your game and allow you to continue your adventures. Future expansions will contain new battles to fight, enemies to conquer and champions to choose from. You can buy Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress in the confidence that the game will be supported for a long, long time to come.

My first thought when I read this paragraph was that it feels an awful lot like Shadows of Brimstone, with a dungeon-crawl co-operative adventure game, the expansions promising new heroes and adversaries as well as new adventures. It’ll be interesting to see how they implement this, of course, and whether we can expect to see the same sort of slew of releases as for Kill Team, or else just one box every so often that includes a new play experience – much like board games of old having the big-box expansion treatment. Regardless of what I’d said earlier, I think it might be too much of a miss if we simply had re-boxed enemies to fight like Necrons or Tyranids, as I would much prefer them to keep this with a one-way relationship into regular 40k, and allowing us to use these models with the main game.

In an ideal world, I feel like we should have maybe two big-box style expansions a year, which feature new tiles and cards and adventures to play, then a couple of new adversary groups, maybe half a dozen new heroes, and all the necessary gubbins to use them in games. If we have to go for smaller scale expansions as well, then I reckon we should just stick to new adversary groups for the game, and be done with. Although I would love to see themed warbands of heroes such as the Rogue Trader crew, or maybe some kind of updated Astra Militarum group of randoms. An Inquisitorial warband would seem like a natural choice, too, though that may be the next big thing for Kill Team, so we’ll have to see. There are definitely options out there!

However, this could be a good way to look at replacing some of the awful finecast still out there with good quality plastic miniatures, for instance a new box of Necron Flayed Ones might be entirely likely to show up within a Blackstone Fortress, so why not release them for this game as part of the line-up, and then replace them in the main range over time?  I’m not super-familiar with other armies’ finecast woes, but I’m sure this could work for Flayed Ones, and potentially Dark Eldar Mandrakes also.

I am just so excited to see all of these new enemy models, it’s finally making me think of starting a Chaos army in some depth. Not Death Guard, or even Thousand Sons, but just getting some regular Traitor Guard, maybe a couple of Marines, and then just adding in these randoms like the Beastmen, the Dark Mech stuff, and some Cultists. The important thing is that it is an interesting force, so hopefully we’ll see expansions to this range that will, in time, allow it to be fielded as a fairly decent army!

But of course, this is not to do a disservice to the actual game. I’m definitely guilty of cannibalising these board games from GW and never bothering with the actual game inside. I think this is definitely one that I want to try and play for its own sake, and not get too involved with the clutter of the main tabletop game. It feels like it will be such a good experience, I just really hope that it’s the success it deserves to be!

Games Workshop previews and reveals!

Oh my good god, I’ve finally been able to take a look at the new previews from GW that came out yesterday, and I feel like I just can’t even begin to explain my sensory overload, you guys!!

Let’s start with, for me, the one I’ve been waiting for the longest:

House Delaque for Necromunda – I’ve been waiting for these pretty much since I bought the base game a year ago. The trenchcoat-wearing spies have always sounded just so damn cool, I think I’d been latching onto the others (and then, finally, settling on Van Saar) while I was waiting to see what would happen to these chaps. The long wait has not been a disappointment, and I am absolutely thrilled by these miniatures!

They look so damn weird and just so very, very 40k that I am utterly enraptured with them! More so, perhaps, than any of the other gangs, these guys have got such a bizarre, grim-dark look to them that I’m in too much of a froth to make much coherent sense right now! I’ve still yet to play this game, sadly, though have tried a couple of times but plans keep not working out, but I think I will finally be making the move into the Underhive in time for these to be my new gang! Cannot wait!

Excitement level for House Delaque: 11

The Blackstone Fortress has been opened! After that dodgy picture showed up again the other day, we’ve now seen behind the curtain, and it looks pretty glorious! Of course, there is that kinda weird mash-up vibe coming from it, similar of course to the Silver Tower game, with the disparate band of heroes and then the Chaos gribblies – at least the adversaries here look reasonably cohesive. I love that we’re getting new Chaos cultists, if only they’d also bring out those Cultists from the Dark Vengeance box so that we have a vast array of them to choose from! I do have several thoughts for using these chaps in games, so I’d like to be able to get a hold of a decent rag-tag band, rather than just having the same five models repeated over and over…

The heroes are definitely intriguing to me – the space pope being hilarious, of course! But I do feel a little bit like they may have missed a trick and given us yet more Rogue Trader models. Maybe they’re going to be bringing out a more fully-realised Rogue Trader line soon, so we’re getting a lot of odd miniatures that could be thrown into that army once it lands… Who knows!

Excitement level for Blackstone Fortress: 8

Looks like the battle boxes they’ve recently been putting out for 40k are coming to Age of Sigmar as well, with the Wrath and Rapture being a mix of new Khorne and new Slaanesh along with some of the models from the existing line. I’m not going to be buying this, as I’ve already bought and sold a Slaanesh daemons army twice now, but it does look really neat, and I’m really happy to see that Slaanesh hasn’t disappeared.

Excitement level for Wrath and Rapture: 6

There’s a new ShadeVault warband on the horizon, the Darkoath barbarian models are getting expanded beyond the two models they currently have! Is this going to be the start of a Slaves to Darkness reboot? Who knows! I’m not sure why I always think things like this will be heralding new full-on armies for either system, but there we are!

The minis look great, though I’m still holding out hope for a Deepkin warband, or else a Lizardmen band. That would be really cool. I’ve tried before to start with Lizardmen, as I feel like they were the faction that kinda got me interested in Warhammer in the beginning, but we’ll have to see on that.

Excitement level for the Godsworn Hunt: 6

Right now, I’m most excited for Mollog’s Mob, which looks hilarious:

Excitement level for Mollog’s Mob: 9

Chapter Approved 2018 is coming, of course, with the Sisters of Battle beta codex, as well as rules for looting vehicles for the Orks. I’m interested in the Sisters, for sure, but I can take or leave the Ork stuff. What is interesting, to me, is the Farsight Enclaves rules for fielding The Eight – as we all know, T’au Empire armies can only field one Commander per detachment, and the Rule of Three has now further hampered the previous Commander Spam lists, so how would players be able to field an iconic, fluffy list of Eight Commanders? Well, it looks like we’re going to find out – and they’re coming for Matched Play, too, it seems!

Something that I had been thinking a lot about over the summer was just how much content could they put into Chapter Approved this year, given that last year’s book was mainly given over to all of the armies who hadn’t yet received a Codex. Assuming that Genestealer Cults will be getting one before the end of the year (crosses fingers), I was hoping there would be more for us all to enjoy rather than giving over the book mainly to the Sisters stuff. I guess we’ll see, though!

Excitement level for Chapter Approved 2018: 7

There’s also another new Battletome coming for the Destruction Grand Alliance, seems to be Moonclan? I have no idea, though I’m sure it will be cool enough.

Something is going on with Vigilus again, though we know not what. Hopefully it’s linked to the Genestealer Cults Codex, though I’m guessing we won’t hear more about that until the Vigilus event at the end of the month.

There will be some Beasts of Chaos made to order miniatures coming out, and I feel like I may need to invest in some of these, as the chariot they have previewed looks incredible! Since I took off with the Nighthaunt last month, I feel a little like I’ve lost track of the army that has gotten me back into Age of Sigmar, and I should probably try to give them a little love soon!

Overall, there is just too much good stuff coming out soon, I’m not sure I can cope with it all!! Might be time to start using ebay more aggressively to see how much I can get rid of, to make room for so much more good stuff coming our way over the next few weeks and months!!