Drukhari thoughts…

Hey everybody!
I’m still massively enjoying the new Drukhari codex at the minute, and have been excitedly planning out the list that I want to really concentrate on for the next while. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided to go in something of a different direction to my usual builds, thinking it might be good to break out of the established pattern and go for something new. So I thought I’d write up some of my thoughts for you all, along with presenting the list itself! Grab a cuppa, and let’s take a look!

So it’s a 2000-point list that is staying away from the Raiding Force idea of multiple patrol detachments, primarily because, after having given it some thought, I’ve decided against falling into that trap of The New and The Shiny. Sure, it’s nice that we get a really unique and flavourful rule like this, but I think it has an allure that is distracting from the main focus of what this army needs. I don’t believe we need to go for a whole mass of Command Points, as the army is going to work quite well with the basic stuff you get from a couple of Battalions. The list above will still net me ten CPs, only one off the list I presented at the weekend that was trying to go for all of that Raiding Force stuff. I do believe that we need to stick to a much more focused build when assembling a Drukhari army.

But that’s not to say that we can’t mix it up a bit and have some fun…

The Kabalite part of this that makes up the first Battalion is almost unchanged from the weekend’s list, merely juggling the Warriors about a little in order to make better use of having the Raiders now equipped with Splinter Racks. I don’t throw an awful lot of 6s, but I think the sheer weight of fire that the Raiders will be throwing out should allow for at least a couple of exploding dice here… I’m otherwise keeping things as they were, with the Court and Archons in a Venom, all three squads of Kabalites in Raiders, and a Ravager in the back to punch out some (hopefully!) decent firepower.

Dark Eldar Wyches

Where things get different, however, is that I’ve foregone the Coven builds of my usual lists in favour of Wych Cult stuff! I’ve said it before, I’ve not played a lot of Cult stuff to know what I’m doing or, well, anything, really, so this is going to be quite the learning curve. Let’s get down to some particulars.

I’m still taking Kabal of the Obsidian Rose, allowing me to gain those 6 extra inches on my weapons, which will hopefully allow me to keep things at bay while I move my Cult models into position, maybe allowing for some extra time to properly threat-assess the situation. For my Cult, I’m going with Cult of the Cursed Blade, which gives me +1 strength and ensures I only lose one model to failed morale tests. Cursed Blade also have the nice Concealed Booby Traps stratagem that dishes out mortal wounds to charging enemies. It’s a little situational, as it requires the Cursed Blade unit to be in terrain, but it’s so thematic that I just love it! They also have the relic that allows your Succubus to blow up, which is another wonderfully thematic idea!

Now, I’m actually thinking of not using the Alliance of Agony stratagem to dish out an additional Warlord Trait to a Succubus, as much as I do enjoy the Treacherous Deceiver trait. There are a lot of flying Wych Cult units in this list, and so I can see myself wanting to use Eviscerating Fly-by as often as possible; it only costs one CP, but I also think Hyperstimm Backlash is going to be another popular one for me, and so having these Wych Cult units in my force is opening up more doors!

I’m excited to use Hellions in a big way, as I’ve only used them once previously, and I don’t think I really did well with them. In particular, I think the hit and run ability should be something that is pretty much abused for all its worth, falling back to allow the unit tangled up with them to be shot at, then charging back into any survivors. I’ve had some success with Reavers in the past, although again, I think I’m not using them particularly well. For the moment, I’m not bothering with either cluster caltrops or a grav talon, although I have lots of the jetbikes modeled with both. I think I might be tweaking this list for some time once I get playing it, so there’s always more opportunity to add in specific bits. Each of those only costs 3 points, as well, so it’s not going to be exceptionally difficult to fiddle.

I’m most excited to be including Incubi, however! Now, it’s true, these aren’t the official Incubi models, but rather Wildwood Rangers that I’ve barely done any work to make them into Incubi. I’ve still got five more to build, though, so I’m thinking I might do a bit more to incorporate them into the Drukhari feel. At 160 points for ten, they are quite expensive, but then they’re a big blob of elite warriors, so it’s probably to be expected. I’m incorporating them into the Wych Cult side of the army simply because they too are melee-orientated, but as Blades for Hire, it doesn’t really matter where they go, I suppose.

As an aside, I’m also weighing up the option of swapping out the Incubi for Mandrakes – I’ve been giving it some vague thought, and I’m currently planning to convert up some Namarti Thralls once they’re released in a little under two weeks’ time, having not been entirely satisfied with my use of Sylvaneth Tree-Revenants. I think these blind chaps might prove to be very atmospheric, and I’m sure I can paint them to blend in to the rest of my force quite nicely! And both Mandrakes and Incubi weigh in at the same points cost for ten, so it’s easy to swap them around as required!

So there you have it, my current plans for my Dark Eldar / Drukhari army post-Codex. While I have the Kabalite side painted up and ready as it stands, I think I’m still quite a way off having the Wych Cult side ready. I know for sure I still have some “Incubi” to build, and likely some Wyches, too. At least I have a bit of a focus now, however, so I’m hoping that will help me to get moving with painting up some units ready to have some games!

Next week, I’ll be moving back to the Tau, and updating you all with my progress there – stay tuned!

The Devastation of Baal

#nowReading #BloodAngels #Warhammer40k

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Well folks, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally made it to the end of this book! That’s not to say that I wasn’t enjoying my time on the Blood Angels’ homeworld during a Tyranid attack – the book is actually really good, with some tremendous action scenes, as well as being quite thought-provoking.

I think the main reason I found this heavy-going at times was just how arduous those action scenes can be. We get about 200 pages of space marines fighting Tyranids, and it did become a bit much after a while. There is enough peppered throughout to keep interest, don’t get me wrong, but I just found it difficult to want to return to that melee day after day.

Another reason why I found this to be quite heavy-going is the simple fact that I’m not that big of a Blood Angels fan. For sure, I enjoy the sons of Sanguinius as much as any other casual space marine fan, but I’m not overly interested in them to the exclusion of all else. And I think this is a major point for this book – if you’re a Blood Angels fan, you’ll absolutely love it. There’s nothing but wall-to-wall red armour where everything is named something to do with blood. We get a lot of Commander Dante, and learn what it’s like to be the oldest-living space marine of the Imperium.

So, the story is basically the attack on Baal from Hive Fleet Leviathan, in what often feels like a follow-up to the Shield of Baal series from 2014. Oddly, though, while it does feel like a follow-up, a lot of what is referenced comes from the campaign books, and not another novel, which just feels a little disjointed to me! Anyway, after a long preamble where the various successor chapters of the Blood Angels gather to accept Dante’s leadership, the Shadow in the Warp descends and the Tyranids begin their attack. After a gruelling battle, where Baal and its moons is basically devastated (well, it’s in the title…) the xenos are beaten back and Guilliman shows up with loads of new Primaris Space Marines.

A lot of people have already been talking about how Guilliman saves the day yet again, and have voiced their complaints that the novel falls down because of the over-use of this device. However, I have to say that I don’t really share this view. True, the Tyranid attack stops and the Indomitus Crusade shows up, but it doesn’t truly feel like Guilliman actually defeats them. Dante and his combined Blood Angels forces do the vast majority of the fighting, and Guilliman himself actually ascribes the victory to Dante. Instead, Guilliman really only shows up for the clean-up. The main turning point comes when Cadia falls, light-years from Baal, and the Cicatrix Maledictum basically destroys the Hive Mind’s synapse long enough for the Tyranids to actually be beaten back.

Leaving entire chapters-worth of Primaris marines behind does feel a bit like a forced ending, of course, as we essentially have the Blood Angels updated for 8th Edition. Now you too can field countless droves of Primaris marines in your Blood Angels army, because Guy Haley told you it’s what happens! Seriously, it’s not the worst way of bringing this development into canon. There is an interesting scene near the end between Dante and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers, where Seth calls the Primaris replacements for the marines, and their lack of the genetic flaws of the Blood Angels means that, while they may wear the colours, they will never be true sons of Sanguinius. Which is an interesting way of looking at things, to be sure.

Dante’s reaction is similarly thought-provoking, as he seems to have a bit of an epiphany whereby his attempts to preserve the Chapter almost cause Baal to be lost to the xenos. It makes the reader question whether space marines are too caught-up in their own past glories, and whether they really are willing to lay down their lives in service of preserving the Imperium. It’s a subtle point, but I really found it intriguing.

Of course, fans have been endlessly discussing the scene between Dante and Seth, and whether there will be a civil war between the old marines and the new. While we’ve been seeing fractures already like this, I don’t think GW is going to go down this route too much, as I can see it causing further problems with the integration of the product line. People already hate them, it seems, so why encourage that divide? Doubtless, it would be interesting, but I don’t foresee anything too much just now.

Anyway, overall this was a good book, and fans of the Blood Angels will of course love it more than anyone!

Getting into 8th Edition

Hey everybody!
I’ve talked a lot about Warhammer 40k 8th Edition on my blog this summer, as I was increasingly excited for the new edition of one of the most popular wargames around. Well, I’ve been playing quite a bit of it now, as well, so wanted to come back here and give some general thoughts and ramblings about what I think of the new experience!

I talked about my first game of 8th back in the middle of July, and have since played three further games, for a grand total of four: two with Necrons, and two with Dark Eldar. Three of those games were against the same guy and his Orks, and I’ve also played against Blood Angels. So!

Warhammer 40k

First of all, I have to say that the game is just so much better than it was during 7th. 8th Edition has been out only a couple of months, and already I’ve played more games of it than I had during the entire run of 7th. In part this is due to my circumstances changing, as I finished with my degree course right when 8th came out, so never really had the time in the last edition – but then, I still had some time, but could never really fathom the complicated rules set in order to spend an entire day playing through a game. So there is that to consider.

8th Edition also just flows much more smoothly. I’m still very new to the game, with just 4 games to my name right now, so I can’t pretend to be some kind of expert, but I have to say, it’s a lot easier to just get on with a game rather than going through the endless, “What does this do again?” sort of book-keeping. So I do enjoy that.

Warhammer 40k

I think the way that combat has been streamlined, it has led to a lot more cinematic moments being achieved. True, it was always possible to get exciting times during 7th, but the fact that you’re not consulting endless charts and trying to remember stats and equations means you can focus instead on what is happening in the game. Such as my Necron Overlord swooping down onto a group of Boyz and a Warboss to avenge the savage beating of a phalanx of Lychguard. There wasn’t a lot of, “Now, this is an open-topped skimmer, so it can go so many inches, and the guy inside can still do his thing…” and all the rest of it. You just move, shoot, charge and smash face! I like that a lot.

I never played Dark Eldar in 7th, but I have been enjoying them tremendously so far in 8th. Only had two games with them, but I think they definitely feel like the kind of army I like. There’s a lot going on with them, and trying to find a good balance within that army has been causing me some head-scratching as I write up list after list of potential musters, but I think it’s the sort of army that I’m going to enjoy trying to get to grips with, which is the main thing for me!

Warhammer 40k

I had my most recent game with the army just last Friday, which is part of the reason why I wanted to write this blog for today. I’d been going quite heavily into the Kabal route from the start with these guys, but as I’ve managed to bring them to the table, I’m enjoying the Covens units so much that I feel I may begin to slant my build more towards the flesh-sculptors. Wracks are a unit type that I never thought I’d enjoy having as much as I currently do, being really quite a diverse bunch. We were talking on Friday about how they’re basically a close-combat orientated unit, yet the Acothyst can take what is essentially a sniper rifle, which just seemed to blow a lot of peoples’ minds. Getting into close combat, with a haemonculus nearby to buff their toughness and a Cronos to allow for re-rolling failed to wound rolls, it can be very useful!

I’ve yet to try out any Wych Cult units in my army, so I think the Reavers and Wyches may be making an appearance next time, just to see what happens!

Of course, as I said before, there is a lot going on with them, and I don’t ever seem capable of remembering Power From Pain for these chaps! Turn 1 shrugging off wounds on a 6 is stupidly useful, yet can I remember I can do that? Of course not! I definitely need to get more games in where I can try to remember these things!

So all in all, 8th Edition has done something that 7th never could, and gotten me wanting to play 40k with more regularity than I ever thought possible. I’m definitely pleased to be in the hobby right now, but more than just for the artistry of building and painting minis, but for playing games with them, too!

Getting into 8th

Not too long ago, I had my first game of Warhammer 40k 8th Edition, so thought that I’d ramble about my experiences for a bit in today’s game day blog!

I’ve been loving 40k for a long while now, but the arrival of 8th Edition last month really has me firmly on that path now. I’ve previously talked about my experiences playing 7th Edition here, as well as my first impressions on the new edition here, so it might be useful to take a look at these blogs as a bit of background!

I played a game of roughly 40 power against Orks, having arranged the game with a guy at my local GW. Having only played against Imperial Guard in all of my games of 7th, I was really excited to see what was in store for me! I’ve heard the tales of Orks from watching bat-reps around the internet, of course, and was prepared for waves of the greenskin menace and bucketfuls of dice, but it was really cool to see what was in store!

Necrons Overlord

The armies

(Again, I didn’t have my phone with me, so couldn’t take pictures, so there will be some generic indicative stuff on offer!)

My list shows off my usual love for Lychguard, though coming in at 8 power per squad, they are a bit of a points-sink. I had an Overlord leading two 10-man Immortal squads, both armed with gauss blasters. One squad of Lychguard were armed with warscythes, and another with hyperphase swords. To round things out, I also included my squad of Wraiths. In total, I had 45 power.

Robin’s Orks consisted of two squads of twenty Boyz, led by a Warboss, along with a Weirdboy, a Painboy, and two Killa Kanz, for a total of 40 power.

The game started fairly sedately, as I moved one squad of Immortals up the field and shot at the first squad of Boyz, but only managed to get rid of one of the buggers. Orks turn one saw the Weirdboy use Da Jump to move the second squad of Boyz almost to my table edge, which allowed them to charge into one of my groups of Immortals that turn. However, these Immortals were also very close to my Lychguard with scythes, and as luck would have it, I was able to start laying into close combat with them from my turn two.

Indeed, sensing the desire to be in close combat early from the Orks, I basically allowed the army to come to me, and while it would have been more useful to have had more Lychguard on hand to start slicing up the big fungus creatures, I think it was still good to see how the army worked. I charged my Wraiths across the board into the first group of Boyz, who were by now in combat with my Immortals, and the centre of the table quickly became a gross tar-pit of metal and green.

In the event, my Lychguard were quite effective at carving up both squads of Boyz, and despite the Killa Kanz killing my warlord, he was avenged when one remaining Lychguard with a warscythe managed to carve up one of the Kanz, which caused the other one to run away! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lychguard are amazing! Both as a kit and on the tabletop!

So what are my thoughts?

Aside from Lychguard being awesome, I think the main thing for me is to not really bother with large units for Reanimation Protocols. The way this rule works now initially prompted me to automatically think of max-strength units (which is still only ten models for Immortals, Lychguard, Deathmarks and Praetorians – the only Infantry models I like). However, while it is undoubtedly useful to think of it like this, I had two ten-man Immortal squads which were tied up quite quickly in close combat, and so were basically neutered early on. Having a lot of smaller squads carefully positioned should at least allow me to have some models that can shoot, as even a green horde can’t tie up every single one!

While gauss has that wonderful -2AP, I think I want to invest in some more tesla Immortals, as I think the hit rolls of 6 becoming three hits could be really good. Indeed, I think I want to do more with tesla in general – that Annihilation Barge should really be finished off soon!

I tend to go for a lot of Infantry in all of my army lists, as I enjoy having miniatures in a miniature wargame. However, I think it might be tactically prudent to include a healthy dose of other things – the aforementioned Annihilation Barge being a case in point. Necrons don’t have a great variety of stuff, of course, but I think I want to do more with the Catacomb Command Barge. Depending on how vehicle-heavy I go, I might try to get more Canoptek stuff such as the Spyder into the list, also. Against horde armies, I don’t think the Doomsday Ark is going to be much use, though for pinpoint destruction it could be fun. The Triarch Stalker looks like it could be good, too – expensive, of course, but I’m also thinking about getting that model finished soon. I’m certainly looking to change up my lists a little – though I’m doubtless going to keep a core of Immortals and Lychguard because these units are my favourites!

Army-wide Leadership 10 is really useful for the Necrons. Even when my Lychguard were being picked off one at a time, nobody was running away. The new way of working out to wound rolls was so much better than 7th -I was still having to check the toughness of the Orks I was hacking apart, but I think it went to much quicker than trying to remember that bloody chart from the last edition. It may just be me being thick, of course! But I think this is a hallmark of the new edition – certainly, as much as I can make such a statement after only one game: everything just moves along quite nicely! We were playing a small game, of course – a small number of units per side, and only having three command points each to use meant we both pretty much re-rolled something, and interrupted each others’ combats once. But it didn’t feel as bogged-down as my previous games of 7th have felt, and while it took 3 hours, I think that was definitely more because we were both quite new (well, I was brand new!) to the rules. I’ve previously set aside entire days for one single game of 7th, so I definitely appreciated how quick you can move through a game.

I didn’t really have a plan for my battle. I started out wanting to get a sort of firing corridor for my Immortals, but the Orks’ charge just floored me and so I was put onto the back foot. While I could adapt a little and managed to charge my Lychguard into a couple of combats, I think overall I need to have a little more flexibility into the list to allow for shooting and melee, and a little bit of shenanigans as well. I think this is where Deathmarks could come in handy, as they can teleport onto the battlefield and snipe at characters etc. Synaptic disintegrators aren’t the greatest weapon in the arsenal, of course, but with My Will Be Done giving them +1 to hit if there’s a nearby Overlord, it could be decent enough!

Necrons Deathmarks

Overall, I really enjoyed this game, and I’m looking forward to getting up to the store for more games soon! It took 3 hours to play, as I said, mainly because we were both quite new to the game (though also the fact that Necrons are very tough to get rid of, even when my reanimation protocols aren’t going too good – I was still getting at least a couple of models back each turn!)

Definitely excited to not only play more 8th with my Necrons, but also to get some experience with more armies!

Warhammer 40k: First Strike

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

Folks, this box is amazing. £25 gets you a total of 15 miniatures, including the new Reivers for the Primaris Marines, as well as three new-pose Intercessors, three new-pose Death Guard, and six alternate-looking Poxwalkers. Additionally, you get pretty much everything you need to start playing games right there and then – dice, measuring thing, a poster-map, and the inner tray of the box doubles as a terrain piece. The only think you’re missing when you buy this is another person to play against, really!

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

There are a couple of books in here, one of which is a sort of background book that also has handy stuff about assembling and painting miniatures, and the other is the original 8-page rules pamphlet thing included in the Dark Imperium box, conflated with some of the additional rules content like missions etc. You also get datasheet-cards for each of the four types of miniatures included, which I really enjoy and would probably buy versions of them for all of my other armies, should GW ever feel the need to put this sort of thing into circulation (hint, hint).

Forget all of the naysayers who decry push-fit, “easy to build” miniatures. These things are as detailed as any other Citadel miniature, and just because you can’t get your space marine’s arm at precisely the right angle is not reason enough to dismiss these things, in my view! Sure, I’m looking forward to the proper multi-part plastic kits that will hopefully be on their way soon, but for now, I’m fine with this stuff!

Primaris Space Marines

With the release of the Codex: Space Marines on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing what else will be coming out to support the line of new Primaris stuff. I caught the chat with Phil Kelly on Thursday talking about the new stuff, where he showed off an image of some new and some old Chapters in Primaris armour, and have started to think about adding some to my Novamarines as well as doing the Dark Imperium box as Genesis Chapter. Might do a couple of squads as Novamarines when the proper kits drop, we’ll see.

In addition to the Repulsor Tank and the Redemptor Dreadnought though, there are rumours flitting about that we’ll be seeing Apothecaries, Chaplains and “something heavy”, a cross between Centurions and Terminators. That could be great, though I’m also a bit concerned it could look silly. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! But I am looking forward to seeing how they grow this new line, no matter how much the internet wants it to go away.

First Strike is an incredibly good value way to get into 40k, and I would go as far as to say everybody who bought the Dark Imperium box should also get this, just for the alternative pose miniatures to pepper through their existing squads. Definitely worth picking up for £25!

Preparing for 8th Edition

Hey everybody!
I’ve got my first game(s) of 8th Edition Warhammer 40k scheduled for tomorrow, and have been thinking a lot about list-building and the like in advance of this. I’m taking Necrons, and my opponent will be fielding Orks, so I have no idea what to expect there beyond a massive green tide. My Necrons list is primarily Immortals and Lychguard – the Immortals now fielded as groups of 10 to help with the Reanimation Protocols changes. It’s very basic, especially seeing as how Lychguard are such a points-sink now that taking even five of the buggers can mean you’ve got very little room for anything else! I’m also including three Wraiths, though I’m still weighing up whether I want to bring them or another squad of Immortals… Despite the new edition stuff, I still feel that Necrons are the faction I feel most at home with, and so I’m excited to see how they work and stuff!

I’ve also been thinking about Dark Eldar, or Drukhari as they’re now known, and trying to come up with a decent list to finally get the kabal to the tabletop. I’ve played with Necrons before so, despite the rules changes, I think I’m still most comfortable with them. Trying to develop a Drukhari list, I initially thought about just adapting my current list that I’d been building towards since the new year, but which had been written for 7th Edition. I’ve come up with the following, anyway, and don’t really know how good it would be (especially with me at the helm!) but I really want to try these folks out soon!

Drukhari list v1

So this list is my first attempt at creating an army specifically for 8th. Dark Lances seem to be the thing here, with Strength 8 and AP -4, putting out D6 shots to boot, I suppose it’s clear to see why. The blaster is a shorter-range version of this, so I’ve kept them wherever they can go, as well. It’s a very shooty army, of course, which is kinda what I’d been expecting from the Drukhari when I first started looking into them.

I did have some spare points that I didn’t want to turn into just more of the same, so have devoted them to some Arena-folk, a squad of Wyches and a trio of Reavers. Aside from hopefully prompting me to finally start painting the jetbikes that have been built and primed since new year, this is very much an experimental list and I’d like to change it up every so often, playing around with this 200-point slot by adding in maybe some Scourges or some Hellions as time moves on, and I can get more games in. I don’t yet want to go heavily changing it up for Coven units, but I have got quite a few painted now, so I could well end up slipping some Wracks in here before long…

The basic idea is to have pretty much everything flying around the table shooting stuff up. The Wyches are the only unit not in a vehicle, simply because I can’t fit another one in, but I’m thinking I should be able to clear away enough threats to get them into close combat with the amount of shots I’ll be firing from everything else each turn. I’m considering shrinking the squad to five, and giving them a Venom, however; while it is cool to have the special weapons in my Kabalite squads, the splinter weapons are definitely easier to keep track of, as they always wound on a 4+, so there’s less “What’s your toughness, again?” questions to ask!

But I definitely want to try out this list as it stands, before making any further amendments!

So how does this fare with what I’ve got built and painted to date?

I’ve got the Warriors and the Wyches done, and one squad of Trueborn isn’t far off – I’d painted them with haywire blasters, as that was the thing for 7th of course, but have got two built up with dark lances, so just need to get them finished. And then five more built and painted… The vehicles are always my major bugbear, however! I’ve got to pull my finger out on that front, and try to get them finished for the 1000-point Oath army that I’ve previously talked about, as well!

I think there’s going to be a lot of work taking place over the next few days with these guys, anyway!!

How’s everybody else faring with 8th so far? Hopefully you’ve been getting a lot of exciting games in! I keep hearing really positive things about all of the changes, anyway, so I’m really excited to get my miniatures onto the tabletop and into battle!

Dark Imperium

So last week, I read Dark Imperium, the tie-in novel for the new 8th Edition goodness for Warhammer 40k. If I’m honest, I was expecting something completely different to what the book ended up being, but the story is so good anyway, and I’m still a little caught up in the new 40k that I enjoyed it all the same!

The book opens sometime in the 31st Millennium, and shows the battle between Fulgrim and Guilliman that resulted in the primarch of the Ultramarines being put in stasis for the next 10,000 years. We then fast-forward to a century after the events of the Gathering Storm, but we’re still somehow in the 41st Millennium, and we see Guilliman leading the destruction of a Chaos temple at the Battle of Raukos. Success over the Chaos forces leads to a Triumph similar to that at Ullanor all those millennia ago, where Guilliman decrees the Indomitus Crusade over. The Primaris Marines that had been created for the purpose are filtered into some pre-existing chapters of Space Marines, as well as formed into several new ones, and the primarch then marches back to Ultramar to do battle with his daemonic brother Mortarion. Arriving back at Macragge, Guilliman re-forms the worlds of Greater Ultramar back into the empire as he knew it, establishing a tetrarchy to govern them, and then leads the Spear of Espandor assault, believing Mortarion’s power base to be on that world. Unfortunately, Guilliman was mistaken, although manages to destroy a warp-crafted daemonic engine to cripple Mortarion’s hold over the segmentum.

As I said at the start, I really liked this book, despite the fact it wasn’t what I had been hoping for. Rather than showing the return of Guilliman and the arrival of the Primaris Marines in the galaxy, instead we learn quite early on that the novel takes place a century after the events of Rise of the Primarch, and deals mainly with the continued adjustments of Guilliman to the world he now finds himself in. On reflection, I think it was probably better to do it this way, as we don’t really need the endless “this is different, and this is different, and so is this” and so on. Guilliman still finds things like the ecclesiarchy difficult to grasp, and a good chunk of the novel deals with his struggle to accept the worship of the Emperor as a god. But he otherwise functions not so much as a man out of time, which could have gotten old quickly, but rather as a man with different ideas.

I’ve never been one to go along with the accepted denigration of the Ultramarines – indeed, I actually like their Roman aesthetic and have long wanted to build an army of them. I’ve not yet made it to the Horus Heresy novels that deal with Guilliman in any significant way, however, so it was nice to finally get to read about the man. In his way, he’s just as interesting as any of the other primarchs – I like the fact he’s described as capable of devouring so much technical information with barely a glance, it makes him so much better than merely “good with a gun” or something, and really forms that link with the Ultramarines as being good statesmen and not just warriors. However, I did think he came across as a bit too much of a tyrant during the Council of Hera, issuing his demands like an autocrat and just slapping down any objections. Though I suppose the Imperium needs someone to cut through the incredible bureaucracy and make things happen…

I think the tone of this novel felt very much like it was meant more to give us the feel for how the universe now is in 8th Edition. The setting hasn’t changed in the manner of Age of Sigmar but, much like the Gates of Azyr, this book feels like its main point is to give us a taste for the new landscape that we can expect to see games developed within. For starters, we see Guilliman trying to make sense of the Imperial dating system, and we learn that there have been a number of calendars in operation, and nobody can say with real authority what the year actually is – in this way, then, we can be a century after the events of the Fall of Cadia, and yet remain within the 41st Millennium. A nice, subtle bit of retcon there, that doesn’t feel outside the bounds of possibility for this universe.

A lot of the battles feel almost vignette-style, which I do enjoy as it means we don’t get a lumbering mess but rather get a story that sweeps along quite well. For instance, the Battle of Raukos is quite self-contained, and there are a couple of actions described within the realm of Ultramar that tell just enough of what we need to know for the story to keep going. I think this is especially important with Warhammer novels that deal with Nurgle, though Khorne can be a similar issue, where the plot gets bogged down in all the gruesome details and so on. There are only so many descriptions of marines wading through effluvia that I can read, you know? The Fall of Altdorf did this really well, as it happens, but there have been times where I do feel myself growing quite ill reading the endless descriptions of filth-encrusted folks.

The book is quite Ultramarines-centric, and I think anyone who appreciates the 13th Legion and its descendants will be happy to see what’s going on. I particularly enjoyed a number of scenes that show such luminaries as Captain Sicarius, Captain Ventris, and Marneus Calgar himself all show their attitude to the return of Guilliman. When the Triumvirate of the Primarch box was first shown, many folks were wondering how Calgar would feel as his place was essentially usurped, though we see that Guilliman is in fact forced to deal with much more than just his own Ultramarines as the Imperial Regent. I wonder if/how that position will change as we get more loyalist primarchs released in plastic. Being a fan of Graham McNeill’s Ultramarines novels, I did enjoy seeing Uriel Ventris return here!

We also get a sense of time moving on within the Imperium, although admittedly this might pass some people by. For example, the Chapter Master of the Novamarines is said to be Bardan Dovaro, whereas we’ve previously been told it’s a chap called Gaius Hadraichus. Admittedly, I only know this because I’m building an army of them. In the main, of course, this sense of time passing is given through seeing the attitudes to the new Primaris Marines, which overall seem to have been accepted by the regular marines of old. A subtle hint that we as players and collectors should also just accept them? I did get the impression at many times that this is almost a catalogue for the new marines, much like Gates of Azyr and some of the early Age of Sigmar stuff seemed to be advertising the new Stormcast Eternals. We get to see the Intercessors in action by and large, which seem to be more akin to the Tactical squads of old. The goofy Inceptor marines are given a really amazing introduction during the Battle of Raukos, though however badass they come across in the lore, the models still look vaguely silly. And we get to see Hellblasters too, which seem to be a specific name for plasma-wielding marines, and makes me think we’ll get similar squads carrying massive melta versions and las versions of those plasma incinerators. Further versions of marines are mentioned, including the Reivers that seem to be a stealth squad that has no previous version, and the Aggressors, which sound like the Primaris versions of Terminators. The repulsor tank and the redemptor dreadnought are also featured. Inevitably, reading about these new chaps made me struggle to get a sense of them in my mind, and the similarities to AoS kept me thinking more about them as models on the tabletop than characters in the story. That’s probably more down to me than anything else, however!

Overall, it’s a very interesting book, and definitely worth picking up for anyone with an interest in the 40k universe to see where we’re headed!