Genestealer Cults in the Black Library!

Hey everybody,
It feels like it’s been a long few weeks as I’ve been reading some Genestealer Cults stories – or re-reading, that should be, as I have actually read both of these before, I’ve just never talked about them on the blog! As I’m still on the Cult kick at the minute (although painting has stopped due to lack of brushes!) I thought it was appropriate to get in the mood, and all that!

Cult of the Warmason is first on the list, and shows a Cult uprising on the shrineworld of Lubentina while the besieged Sisters of Battle attempt to put them down. There is a lot of story here, as we see the battle sisters defend the Warmason’s cathedral against the cultists. The Warmason of the title, Vadok Singh, was the man who helped design the defences around the Imperial Palace on Terra during the Heresy. The Ministorum clerical staff refuse to call for aid until it is too late, and when they think that the Adeptus Astartes have arrived to answer their call, instead it is revealed that the Iron Warriors have arrived to reclaim one of the relics in the cathedral. The cathedral becomes a nexus of the fighting, as the Astra Militarum, the Sisters, the Cult and then the Iron Warriors all converge upon it. The Cultists get the relic first, and so the Iron Warriors follow them into the catacombs below the surface, followed closely by the Sister Superior while all goes to hell up above. The Iron Warriors confront the Patriarch of the Cult, and eventually recover the relic, which turns out to be one of Perturabo’s flawed creations. In keeping with their primarch’s wishes, the launch the device into the sun, and leave the planet. While the world burns, the Sister Superior escapes Lubentina with the genestealer infection…

Like I said, there is a lot of story here, and it almost needs more space to be told at times, as the narrative feels a bit like it jumps around a bit too much. I love the inertia of the ruling Ecclesiarchy and Ministorum council, and there is something wonderfully gothic and very 40k about the flashpoint being centred around a monumental cathedral. However, the story did feel a little bit like it shouldn’t have been constrained by a page count, which is something a lot of Black Library books almost have in common. Perhaps if the Iron Warriors storyline hadn’t been included, things would have had the room to breathe a bit more? I believe that plot links in to the Space Marines Battles novel Siege of Castellax, also by CL Werner, which is on my list to investigate at some point, so maybe I’ll think differently when I’ve read the background there!

However, I also think the novel suffers a little from comparisons with the next book that I read…

Cult of the Spiral Dawn is the rebranded novel from Peter Fehervari originally published as part of the Legends of the Dark Millennium series, back (I think) when the original Genestealer Cults codex came out at the end of 7th Edition. There are a lot of similar ideas to the Warmason book; Sisters of Battle and Astra Militarum fighting the Genestealer Cults uprising on a remote world, but there the similarities end. Spiral Dawn is somehow a lot more complex, and yet also a more compelling read. It starts with the genestealers besieging the abbey stronghold of the Sisters of the Thorn Eternal on the planet Redemption 219, then fast-forwards a century to the arrival on world of a group of pilgrims seeking the light of the Emperor through the Cult of the Spiral Dawn, an officially-sanctioned sect of the Imperial creed. However, when the pilgrims land, a hundred are pressganged into the Vassago Black Flags regiment of the Astra Militarum, who are on some obscure guard duty, though nobody has explained to them what they’re guarding. The tension mounts from the Imperial side, while we get some glimpses into the activities of the Cult and their kindred followers, until it all boils over with the emergence of the Primus war-leader. The colonel of the Black Flags is almost seduced by the Magus, but in so-doing he learns of the existence and location of the Spiral Father, and launches an assault with his ogryn bodyguard while the on-world Inquisition presence also launches its assault. Despite the carnage of the assault, three of the purestrains manage to escape Redemption for deep space…

Also included in here is Cast a Hungry Shadow, a short story that takes place within the narrative of the novel, dealing with the early years of the genestealer infestation and filling in some blanks around the betrayal of the Sisters. There are some interesting threads in the story, which felt a little confused towards the end, but ultimately it is the tale of the cult securing their hold on Redemption, the discovery of an untrained psyker hiding beneath one of the spires who is taken in by the genestealers to birth their Magus. There are some interesting scenes in the story, particularly involving another cult, called the Scorched Creed, which may or may not be a Chaos Cult dedicated to Khorne.  

I do think that Cult of the Spiral Dawn is one of my favourite 40k novels. I hadn’t really realised that I’d read it before – I mean, I knew that I’d read the Legends hardcover, but I didn’t remember which one that book was. It’s a really good story – some of it could perhaps do with a bit more meat for the bones, and help to further the atmosphere, but it’s still a really good story. It’s also my first exposure to Peter Fehervari’s Dark Coil … series? I’m not sure if you could call it that, but all of the 40k stories that he has written are linked in subtle ways, either with shared characters or worlds, etc. It’s an incredibly interesting way to write in a shared universe and carve out a niche without limiting yourself to staying in a random corner. The links in this book to the Fire and Ice novella, for example, give the sense of history without feeling forced, if that makes sense. It’s really good, anyway – I like it a lot! And will no doubt be investigating more of these stories in the not-too-distant future!

September Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Well, we are three-quarters of the way through 2021 now, and it seems pretty crazy to think that I wrote my January retrospective blog as potentially a one-off to cover all the random rubbish I’d been doing at the start of it all. It’s actually been a really great motivator, for me, to have these retrospective blogs now form a part of my monthly pattern, because it makes me want to do stuff to then report on at the end of the month. At any rate, September has been fairly busy for me, as I’ve had a couple of weeks off work that have enabled quite a bit of recreation – if you can call looking after two children under 2 “recreation”!

To start with, September is the month that I traditionally think of as my hobby month, as I have a lot of fond memories of really getting into the 40k thing way back when during this month. As such, I’ve tried to really recapture that essence, as far as the paternal duties would allow, and ended up with a fair few random projects on the go!

Let’s talk about my Zone Mortalis terrain progress first! I’m very pleased with this, and I think it’s all coming together really quite beautifully! I talked about the colour scheme that I’m using last month, so won’t go over that again here, but I’ve now expanded my repertoire into other bits like ladders and water tanks! The ladder was just painted Averland Sunset, shaded Agrax Earthshade, then drybrushed like everything else to give it that worn, lived-in look. The tank I’d wanted to paint orange, as I think it makes sense to have it follow the same pattern as the Water Guild big boy, but in the end it turned out more red. No matter, other tanks I’m thinking about painting different colours, anyway, so it’s not like it’s important to remember their colours. I’m very excited to get more terrain painted up – whether I end up getting more done by the end of the year, who can say, but to have any of it painted so far is, frankly, a miracle!

I’ve been doing odd bits with genestealers and have recently finished the Necron Triarch Praetorians, but my main focus has shifted to the Genestealer Cults, as I have decided that I really want to get some of these things painted up, finally! I’ve been working on ten Neophyte Hybrids this month, and slowly but steadily I have almost got the squad finished – a huge achievement, considering the amount of detail on them! They’re tiny, and the scheme that I’m following doesn’t allow for speed painting when it comes to these chaps – the armour, the fatigues, the cloth, the padding, the weapons, the skin (actual skin, and carapace), the dangly-doodads, it’s all just so time consuming!

But I think I’m really getting somewhere now, having finished the first of my ten-man squad, and I’m ready to move on to my next project in the list! Since writing the linked blog, however, I’ve reorganised all of my Cultist miniatures, and have a different ten-man squad make-up, so there are ten more shotguns coming my way soon! Once all the Neophytes are done, though, I should have a fairly straightforward task of finishing off the Metamorphs and the Truck, so I think I can definitely get this first part of the list painted up and ready by Christmas. Ready for what, precisely, I’m not yet sure, but still – it’ll be ready!

I’ve been generally immersing myself in 40k across the month, anyway, and have been enjoying myself immensely. I finally picked up the Drukhari Codex as well, and have been investigating that to build my first proper list for that army in 9th edition. I think Necrons are still edging out the Dark Eldar in my affections for 9th edition, though I am definitely looking forward to playing both armies when the time comes. I’m at that point in the year where I’m now thinking about what I can accomplish prior to the year-end, and in addition to the GSC, I’ve got 5 Wracks and 3 Grotesques on my radar. Though everything is a time-sink, so we’ll have to see how things pan out!

GenCon surprised me this month by, well, taking place! I always thought it was August, but I guess the pandemic has been causing chaos. There hasn’t been a great deal of anything that is exciting me, if truth be told, but I think that could be symptomatic of my relationship with the whole board game scene right now. I wrote a very long ramble about that yesterday, but basically I feel like Kickstarter games have been taking over somewhat, and I’m increasingly disappointed in how FFG have diminished over the years. GW have put in a decent showing at GenCon, announcing a few exciting projects that has my wallet in palpitations.

I do feel like I have been quite gloomy on the board game front, but it’s not really the case! I’m hoping to get in a game day with my buddy Tony some time in October, and I also have plans to once again check out the Hellboy board game, after thinking on that one quite a bit of late, also. So there should be some interesting bits and pieces coming to the blog in the coming weeks! I’ve also finally been able to pick up In Too Deep for the Arkham Horror LCG, so I am thinking about an Innsmouth campaign for the autumn – assuming that I have the time, of course!

All in all, it hasn’t been that bad a month – fingers crossed that I can keep up the pace into the final quarter!

Goodbye to 8th Edition

Hey everybody!
I had what is most likely going to be my last game of 8th Edition 40k yesterday, though I didn’t let that stop me from trying out yet another new army!

Genestealer Cults 9th edition

I’d drawn up a list of Genestealer Cults, mainly the units that I’d already had built up over the last few years…

Genestealer Cults

A double battalion with 13 command points available, and yet I manage to finish the game with 11 of the buggers left to me! Of course, I was using the Nexos to regain a couple of them over the course of the game, but even so!

Genestealer Cults

I really enjoyed this game, seeing how the Cult works and so forth. I had a blast with the various rules and seeing what I could do with the units that I have on offer!

The Genestealer Cults models are some of the most beautiful models in the game, in my opinion, and while I do like the models that we’ve had out for some time now, I was looking forward to trying out some of the new units as well! The Clamavus-Primus-Nexos trick of gaining command points back seemed like it would be glorious, but it actually didn’t seem to be worth bringing them all along just for that. I think I gained two back over the course of two rounds, so it wasn’t really worth having the Nexos and Clamavus both on the table. The latter did actually help prevent an Obliterator landing square in my backfield (instead, he came in on the corner, and only succeeded in wiping off half a squad of Acolytes).

Genestealer Cults

The Primus was decent though, and he is a serious buff for Cult models, so I think he’ll be staying in the list.

Genestealer Cults

I’m a big fan of this chap though, the Achilles Ridgerunner. With two heavy stubbers, and that heavy mining laser on top, it was pretty damn useful during the game, killing off the Daemon Prince to net me Slay the Warlord. I was really quite surprised at the punch of the laser! In all honesty, I don’t think I used it to the full potential – I don’t even think that I moved it during the game! – so I’d like to work again on what I would do with that in future games.

Genestealer Cults

Man of the match, though, has got to be the Patriarch. Which I suppose is only fitting, really. When everything seemed to be looking quite dire for me, the Patriarch stepped up to the plate and used Mind Control on the Venomcrawler there to remove the Dark Apostle, before then utterly shredding his way through the Venomcrawler in a single round of close combat. I feel that he certainly helped me go out with a bang, anyway!

However, I did indeed lose, and quite badly, as well – I think the final score was 9-6, but when we’d been looking through the potential third round, it would have only gotten worse, so we called it there.

One of the main downsides for the army is just how squishy they are. With T3 almost across the board, vast swathes of my army were being chewed up. In contrast, I wasn’t really doing a great deal to fight back, despite the massed fire from Neophytes seeing a lot of dice rolled… I think I was averaging 3 successful wound rolls from 14 hits (though of course, several were then saved).

As much as they fold like wet paper bags, I’m thinking about maybe taking bigger blobs of Neophyte Hybrids, to allow for greater sticking power. Of course, their weapons still leave a bit to be desired, but I’m hoping that I can get some results just from the weight of numbers! We shall see. 9th edition seems to be losing the requirement for multiple detachments, so I suppose I could afford to then take my troops in bigger squads rather than the minimum squads that I have at the moment.

Genestealer Cults

I’m very excited for these gribblies, as I really want to get better with the army over time. In particular, I’d like to get a better handle on the stratagems available to me. For sure, a lot of them were to do with playing around with the Cult Ambush rules, which I wasn’t entirely sure about before I began. Having no real plan, I think this showed most with my deployment, as a lot of things ended up in the middle of no-man’s land.

We were playing at 1230 points, although I do think it might have been better to have started with a smaller game to get the feel for it. Again, 9th edition might help me here, as I can potentially try smaller games to start with, as I get to grips with the army.

For a long time now, I’ve been trying to paint the army up but it’s been a slow process due to the level of detail on the models. I’m thinking I’m going to try and focus on getting the equivalent of the Start Collecting box painted up, especially as I want to show some love to the Ridgerunner after such a good performance!

Regardless of the inaugural outing with the Cult being a washout, I am still really excited for the army as my new force for 9th edition! I’ve played a lot of Necrons and a lot of Dark Eldar during my time with 8th, but I think it was nice to say goodbye to the edition with my new army 🙂

Genestealer Cults: A New Army for 9th Edition

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

Genestealer Cults Hybrid Metamorphs

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

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

Genestealer Cults

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

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

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

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

But I’m not done yet!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good

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

Psychic Awakening The Greater Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting somewhere with Genestealer Cults

Hey everybody!
So the Codex has been out for a couple of months now, and I’ve been finding it a bit difficult to work out just how I want to build my Genestealer Cults army. I mean, there’s a lot going on here, with it being a new army with a whole slew of new models to try and get my head around and see how they work with the units that I was somewhat familiar with from leafing through the Index and stuff.

While I’ve been leafing through other codices, it’s usually my game-plan to start with a single model, or a single idea that requires a couple of models, and build out from there. With the Cult, however, I’m still at something of a loss! I think the first problem I encounter is always wanting to include the Broodcoven in my list, simply because of the coolness factor. The three HQ choices of Patriarch, Primus and Magus are something of a holy trinity, though, and I do feel like they should be at the forefront of my list. With that in mind, then, I suppose it’s time to try and build a Cult!

The Patriarch is a melee monster with some real psychic punch, as well. The Psychic Phase is not my natural home – I’m a Necrons & Dark Eldar player, after all! – and I think this could also be part of my downfall with these guys. Knowing when and how to use the best of the Broodmind Discipline is going to be a steep learning curve for me, I feel. The Patriarch knows two psychic powers and can attempt to manifest one per turn, though any familiars he has with him can lend him the power to try for a second. That could be very useful, I feel. He’s also something of a commander for both the Cult at large (allowing friendly models to auto-pass Morale if they’re within 6″) as well as adding one to the hit rolls for friendly Genestealer models within 6″. With 6 attacks of his own, he’s going to be up close and personal with the Genestealers, rather than hanging back with a screen of chaff to protect him (though that chaff will be useful, regardless!)

The Magus has a new model, I’m pretty sure we’re all aware of that by now, but I still love the classic model that came out with the first batch of miniatures for the army. The Magus is actually quite underwhelming as an HQ choice, I feel – he can allow units within 6″ to deny psychic powers as if they were themselves psykers, but if you’re not playing a psychic-heavy enemy, this ability is fairly redundant. He does know two psychic powers however, and can also benefit from familiars allowing him to attempt another one per Psychic Phase, which is quite nice. I’m guessing that’s where his main focus will be, either through buffing friendly units or else denying Overwatch with Mass Hypnosis. There are some more offensive Psychic powers in the Broodmind Discipline, but I think I prefer to keep my Magus further back than they perhaps require him to be…

A lot of Genestealer Cult players have been a bit miffed – and rightly so – that Purestrain Genestealers do not gain a Cult Creed. Indeed, I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that the Cult version of Genestealers are strictly worse than their Tyranid counterparts, though I don’t know a great deal about such things. At any rate, I feel like I can’t have a Genestealer Cults army without at least one squad of these little critters, and they do have the unique Stratagem that gives them a random buff that feels like it may go some way to compensating for the lack of a Cult Creed.

Speaking of which, I think I should probably talk about that for a moment, as well. All of my Genestealer Cults units painted so far have been in the colour scheme of The Bladed Cog, which gives an improved invuln save, and negates the penalty for Infantry units moving and firing heavy weapons. Which is alright, but given my thoughts of going heavily into melee, I’m wondering if The Pauper Princes might not be a better choice, giving re-rolls to hit rolls for melee weapons on the charge. For now, I think I’m going to stick with my original plan, because so often with chapter tactics-type rules, I feel that you really need to play them to get a feel for how good they actually are.

I definitely want to include some Aberrants in the list. I’d been keeping away from these models for some reason – I think I had in my mind the idea of a relentless wave of cultists, much like my plans for Chaos. With 2 attacks each, hitting on 3s and the potential to be dishing out some serious damage, they look like a melee powerhouse. Their Bestial Vigour ability allows them to reduce the damage they receive, and also gives them a decent enough chance to shrug off wounds anyway.

It also gives me the reason I needed to buy the Biophagus, which is such a great looking model, but had firmly dropped off my radar because of the fact his only special ability is really to buff the unit.

The Primus is another useful HQ that will give +1 to hit in the Fight phase for units within 6″, as well as providing a useful buff for nearby units when they target a unit he has designated as the quarry. Very thematic, I like it!

When thinking about what to bring as a bodyguard for the Primus, I hear a lot of chatter about people using Acolyte Hybrids for their versatility. I’m not about to get all power-gamer and equip the whole squad with heavy rock cutters, or whatever the current meta has decided is the best weapon of the moment. Indeed, I’ve got a lot of Acolyte Hybrids from Deathwatch: Overkill that are bare-bones with autopistol and cult knife, and as a cheap troops choice, they’re pretty great for that!

Of course, a lot of Cult units are very squishy, with most of the hybrid Infantry being T3. This is perhaps where the mechanised portion of the list will come into play. I’ve had a Goliath Truck half-painted up for years, but I really want to add the Rockgrinder to the list, for that insane drilldozer blade! There are now some fairly good options for the Cult to get around the board, with the new bikes and the Ridgerunner. I’m thinking a lot of these things can be used to soak up Overwatch fire, which is always something of a concern for me with units like this. I do love the idea of mass-infantry, don’t get me wrong, and the thought of unstoppable waves of cultists just coming and coming at the enemy does have some appeal (I feel like I have enough miniatures that I could fairly well-replicate that idea, too!) but there are practical considerations to bear in mind!

Finally, I love the hilarity of the Tectonic Fragdrill, and would love to include it in the list. At 75 points, it should be able to find a home, and if for no other reason than it looks fantastic, I think I do need one in my life. As the centrepiece for the army, it really does look the part:

So I think I’ve been wittering on long enough now – I suppose I should actually share the list ideas that I’ve come up with!

This is something of an evolution of one of many, many attempts to make a Genestealer Cults list that I have been through so far this year! At 1500 points, I didn’t have the room for a Fragdrill, instead opting to go for more customisation on the Neophytes and take a second squad of Atalan Jackals to provide me with an Outrider detachment. While I do have four detachments in this list, I think I’m really only allowed to have three, and so there will be a number of things shifted into the main Battalion detachment, with then the Vanguard and Outrider providing the additional benefits.

While I was particularly excited about pretty much everything prior to the release, I actually ended up with just two of the new character models and a box of Atalan Jackals. These bikers really impressed me with how they can be customised, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to include them in the army from the off. Well, that soon went by the wayside! I’ve grown to love their dirt-bike aesthetic, and I think they’ll be really useful for harassing the enemy with their 14″ movement, as well as potentially tanking Overwatch as mentioned above.

It might just be me, but there’s almost a Wild West vibe that comes off these guys, as well. The name, plus the quadbike Wolfquad they use, as well as the tomahawk-wielding guy in the image above… it puts me in mind of prospectors out in the deserts, which I suppose is what the intention is – the Codex talks of these bikers using the cover of searching out new seams of ore in order to further the infestation of the Cult.

All gaming considerations aside, I think I am really in love with the Genestealer Cults as a faction, for the simple reason of their flavour being some of the strongest we’ve yet seen for any army in 40k. The idea of a band of everyday chumps forming a revolution against the Empire is terrific, and when paired with the idea of the Genestealer Cults preparing the way for the Tyranid invasion, I think it really leads to some of the best storytelling in the game. The new Elites choices that we’ve seen, from the vox-hacking Clamavus to the tactician Nexos, bring to life some of these fantastic elements from the army and it’s in-universe methods. All of the new models fit in seamlessly with the already-established mining aesthetic from the first releases back in the day, giving us one of the best, most fully-fleshed-out forces in the game right now.

I can’t wait to get started painting more of these guys!!

Allure of the New

I had a bit of a personal victory today, and I thought I’d share it with you all!

As you no doubt know, a couple of weeks ago, the Gloomspite Gitz were released, and seemed to take the world by storm. The kits look amazing, and it felt a bit like everybody was suddenly playing grots. I got quite excited as well, mainly being attracted by the large scenery piece that reminded me so much of a Lego set from back in the day, and I did indeed consider starting to collect little green goblins. Then I spent some time watching the painting tutorial for the Dankhold Troggoth, and I thought I was sold:

As an aside here, how good are the Warhammer TV tutorials? The full ones, I mean – I like the little tips and stuff, don’t get me wrong, but I still enjoy sitting down with a cuppa and watching how they produce the various effects and whatnot. I don’t know if it’s because of the fact they’re the “official” paint guides, or what, but I do like these longer tutorials. Anyway!

I was on the cusp of buying my own, but I managed to resist. For possibly the first time ever, I’d been on the cusp of buying something, but had a moment of clarity where I just couldn’t see the need for this model among the rest of my collection, so left it there on the shelf.

This is perhaps particularly important as we approach the release weekend for the new Genestealer Cults stuff, and I feel my wallet already having little tremors of uncertainty at how much of this stuff I want to buy! As it happens, I’ve only pre-ordered the Codex, and two of the character models: the Nexos, and the Clamavus. I really fancy that Locus model, too, but I really want to see how the army looks once I have the book in my hands before I go down the route of buying new stuff. I want to think about my list, to think about the models that I already have, and how the new stuff might fit alongside that. Of course, I’ve been aware of the youtube reviews already doing the rounds, and spent a couple of hours the other day listening to my usual go-to Striking Scorpion 82 and his review, but nothing quite beats having the book to look through yourself, I feel!

I mean, I’m sure I’ll get some bikers, and I do want to get the new Ridgerunner, but I’m trying to temper my enthusiasm, because all too often in the past, I’ve found myself throwing money at a project to then get burnt out by it.

Most recently, this has happened with the Deepkin stuff. While hardly new, it was still a new project for me, and I’d thrown quite a bit of money at it over the last couple of months, but ultimately I’ve just found it really difficult to put together an actual army list that I would want to play, after spending a long time looking through the battletome. I’ve never really experienced something quite as disappointing as that in the hobby before – the miniatures are incredible, and I really wanted to get painting up some wet elves, but when it came to it, my lack of enthusiasm for the army’s rules really just put me off painting them.

I suppose actually having played some Age of Sigmar has helped, as I can appreciate that, actually, I enjoy playing Nighthaunt now, and I’m looking forward to building more on that side of things. Unlike with 40k, where I’m finding the variety of armies quite refreshing, and often find myself spurred on by having so many varied projects on the go, with AoS it’s a different matter, and I only really want one army.

Well, I suppose that’s not entirely true, as the arrival of the Skaven on the scene has prompted me to return to a plan from a long time ago, and actually get round to painting some of the little rat-men. For a long time now, I’ve been thinking about getting myself an “old world” army that I could use in AoS. Back in September, I thought that would be the Beastmen, but in the five months since that initial flurry, I’ve only built up ten Bestigors and have failed to anything with them. Time for a change? I think so. There’s just something about the Skaven, though, that I quite like. While I did find them a little annoying in Rise of the Horned Rat – the only Warhammer novel that I’ve read that featured them – I do actually think of that book as one of the most enjoyable that I’ve read, and have been thinking a lot about re-reading it. While I don’t particularly relish the thought of painting a horde army, I do have Thanquol and Boneripper somewhere, having picked them up during the End Times, and I could see myself building up an army of these chaps centred around the larger behemoth models. I think that could be a good starting point, at least!

So I’m trying my best to reduce my piles of plastic, as I’m currently selling off a bunch of Tau and Idoneth Deepkin models, and thinking more tactically about my purchases, and trying to plan those that I really want to get. Of course, there’s bound to be the odd mis-step in the future, but I’m hopeful that these will be fewer and fewer…

Genestealer Cults ascendant!

Hey everybody!
Well, the excitement is real – and about time, too! After patiently waiting in the shadows for all this time, the Genestealer Cult release begins tomorrow with the pre-orders for a decent chunk of this new wave of models. And I cannot wait!

 

These models have been teased for so long now, it almost feels like I own them already!

Back near the end of 7th edition, when the Genestealer Cults first came out of hiding, I can remember being really excited to see something really quite different to the normal stuff we get for 40k. While there’s no doubt these malformed revolutionaries are an army, they just feel different, with their industrial aesthetic – they really are the everyman of the universe. Just with extra limbs, and so on.

I didn’t really foresee there being any actual expansion to the range, though – while it’s always nice to think your army will get new stuff when a codex release happens, I thought the Cult was pretty much what it was. There has always been a very strong foundation on the original Deathwatch: Overkill boxed game, of course, but with odds and ends like the Acolyte Iconward, the Goliath truck, and all of the Astra Militarum stuff that can be wrapped into a list, I thought we had seen what we were always going to get. And then that gunslinger mini showed up, and the internet seemed to catch fire. Well, if the three-armed gunslinger was enough to ignite peoples’ interest, the rest of the releases have almost assuredly burnt the house right down!

Up for pre-order tomorrow, then, we start with the new, female Magus. Personally, I don’t feel the need for a new model, as I really love the commanding presence of the original sculpt. The cynic within me thinks this is just GW cashing in, while appeasing the calls for more female representation within the game. I have no problem with the latter, and I’ve come to expect the former. If there are no new rules for this particular model, then I guess we still need to get the Broodcoven box in order to get the familiars she can take? Or maybe there will be new familiars on the sprue with her – though I doubt it, given that the other stuff with familiar-type minis have all been shown with them now.

This chap is definitely on my list to pick up, however! Aside from being a hilarious model – with a hilarious name – the Clamavus has the very useful ability of denying deep-striking units just a little bit further, with mortal wounds being dished out if anyone comes too close. Can’t think I’ll get as much use of the +1 to charges for friendly units near him, but I think he’ll still make himself useful by providing that extra protection to the very fragile Neophytes I like to bulk out my lists with…

Of all the new models coming though, this grumpy chap has got to be top of my list to get. It’s not just because of the fact he’s plotting the invasion of Warhammer World itself, but he’s providing that very useful ability of re-gaining command points for the army, which I think is really very thematic for what he’s supposed to represent, as well as providing shenanigans with the Cult Ambush markers that will be forming part of the new style of playing Genestealer Cults:

These markers are used to mask how you’re deploying your army, in a similar way to how Battlelore deployment worked I suppose. You place these markers to represent any unit in your list, and once deployment is complete, you then decide what marker represents what unit. There are stratagems that let you place four markers for one unit, to further mess with your opponent’s plans, and also to change the manner of the Ambush – setting up Underground is more like the usual Deep Strike Reserves, popping up 9″ away from the enemy when you need it most!

Continuing our look at the new units on offer this weekend, we have the Locus, a bodyguard model with the usual bodyguard things that always goes first in the fight phase. I really like this mini, and I’m probably going to get him soon enough as well. The Clamavus and the Nexos are at the top along with the book, but I think other things might have to wait while I work out my plans for global domination.

The Sanctus is an assassin model, which is all well and good, but again, I think he’s going to be much lower down the list for now. I mean, I’m absolutely going to be getting one of everything for my army, but I just don’t feel the need for this guy right now. Though as with many things, I suppose only time will tell!

Interestingly, the rules preview that went up for these chaps is strongly indicating that they are actually all going to be HQ choices – if the Sanctus can never be a warlord it suggests he is in a slot from whence warlords normally come, and the Nexos’ ability to regain CP being something only HQs get. Interesting…

We also have the bikers up for preorder this weekend, and I’m really excited by the possibility of having a wealth of weapon options! Let’s ramble for a moment. I feel like there has been a trend in 40k of late to almost dumb-down the list building. Sure, I’ve recently been complaining of option-paralysis with my Deathwatch army, but I still like the fact that armies are, on the whole, quite customisable. Where this isn’t the case, such as with Necrons or, more recently, Primaris Marines, I find the units to be quite dull. When everybody has the same weapon, it generally bores me. Being able to properly customise a unit is a really nice feature, and I’m pleased that GW are keeping that sort of thing going with this book. Between these and the Neophytes, I think we’re going to have a very exciting book on our hands!

Anyway. The build options for the bikes feel a bit weird to me, with the quad bike being an optional build from the regular box, and the squad sergeant-type being a separate mini, although I suppose this does prevent having to come up with datasheets like we have with some Space Marines units, where they may take a jump pack, or they may ride a bike, etc etc. It feels a little clunky, but it also feels probably the best way of doing it!

It’s also nice that we get so many different head options, so we can definitely get two boxes and not have twins riding the bikes! And who doesn’t love a Cultist wielding a wrench?!

For £32.50, I think it’s actually pretty respectably-priced, as well – I was expecting something nearer the £50-mark, so that’s a nice surprise. Given that I’ll probably be wanting to get a lot of stuff on day one, I think I may well be using my preferred discount retailer, so that should be even better yet!


So this is week one, at least, of a very exciting release window. What else is there still to come?

Top of my list has got to be the delightful new vehicle, the Achilles Ridgerunner, which I think is one of the more hilarious releases due to its timing. We had the cartoon-y teaser trailer for GSC a whiles back, and so many people were polarised by whether this was going to be a new vehicle, or if it was just artistic licence with the Goliath – but now we know it’s something new, and weirdly exciting, to boot!

Let’s ramble again for a bit. Pretty much every army shares a basic blueprint, having HQs with similar buff-abilities, basic troops, some have a bit fancier troops, and there are heavy options and fast options, and the very fancy options in the Elites slot. GSC, to some degree, conformed to this back in the day, but with this, I’m at a bit of a loss for just what the hell it’s supposed to be! The preview describes it as a scout vehicle that seems to want to be paired with the bike squads, though its spotting abilities seem limited to its own weapons, rather than providing some kind of triangulation ability akin to the Necron Triarch Stalker. Hm. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s hilarious and I definitely want one, but I’m at a bit of a loss as to what it’s going to do for me! I guess, as always, time will tell!

We’ve also got another mini that was “previewed” during the cartoon trailer, the Biophagus. It seems like this guy is almost specifically designed to work alongside Aberrants as a support character, as his abilities grant permanent buffs to those grotesque hulks. I would guess, then, that it will be during the second wave that we’ll see him alongside the multi-part plastic Aberrants, as well as the Abominant character from Tooth & Claw. Whether we get any more units, who knows? The way this release has been so far, it seems like a Pandora’s box of amazing stuff that is almost never-ending!

So yeah – I’m looking forward to the Day of Ascension when I can get my unspecified-number of hands on this book, and see what I can do with all of the many, many miniatures that I’ve so far collected for my Genestealer Cult – I’ve got a feeling that the last list I wrote up is going to be undergoing quite a number of revisions! It’s going to be quite a voyage, I’m sure!

New Year Open Day 2019!

Ohmygod you guys! Ohmygod! There’s so much good stuff in this latest round of reveals from the New Year Open Day, I just don’t know where to begin! Well, I’ll start at the top, I guess, and go from there…

Genestealer Cults are getting a slew of new and interesting figures, and I just don’t know how to explain how excited I am for these guys! Well, the female magos seems to be a little pandering – I mean, the Magos from Overkill is a classic sculpt, I’m not entirely convinced by this one as she seems a little too… 1950s sci-fi? I don’t know. I really like the mysterious chap with his pimp-cane (seems like GW are really pimping it up after the Delaque chaps arrived) and the vox-hacker chap is also really cool. Not sure about the assassin-type model, either, but anyway.

Someone on the GSC facebook page suggested these might come as something akin to the Court of the Archon for the Dark Eldar, which would make more sense than having a massive selection of different HQs to deal with, but I suspect we might have a similar situation to Space Marine Command Squads, where they’re now separated out into a number of elites slots rather than being fielded as a unit. But I would also like to see them packaged together and come as one, so hope springs eternal on that one.

As well as the bikers, we’re also getting a new terrain piece, which I do like – hopefully we’ll be getting a lot more custom terrain for each force as time goes on. Necrons could do with having something interesting, I feel! It’s certainly an exciting time to be a 40k fan, that’s for sure!

But 40k isn’t the only system getting the love, as we see a new Battle Box for Age of Sigmar coming out, featuring Flesh Eater Courts and Skaven! I’ve recently been thinking about investigating the little rats, as several of their models remind me of the Mechanicus minis, and I think that’s cool. I’ve been thinking about, but ultimately passing over, several of these boxes since we initially had Forgebane, but I think I might well pick this one up and sell off the zombie portion, instead getting a decent start on some Skaven models!

Looks like we’re getting Stormfiends, a Warp Lightning Cannon, a Doomwheel, and the new character model, the Warlock Bombadier. I find it a little bit odd that there’s no infantry for the box set, but then the Skaven models included come to £79.50 without the new character, so I suppose the set is going to retail around £90, and still provide a massive saving. Definitely one for the list, anyway!

I’m also looking forward to some Grots, though given the sheer amount of new stuff being announced here, I think I’m going to not only be planning out very carefully what I end up buying, but also downsizing my collection of existing miniatures in order to make room!

Back to 40k and Kill Team now, with a look at the next batch of good stuff. I’m not honestly all that sure about Kill Team: Arena, as it looks a lot like a rehashing of the Rogue Trader box. Maybe it’ll be worth it for the additional rules content, but the box size initially made me interested, then I saw that the terrain was mainly doors and barrels, with rules for fighting in close quarters. Well, I suppose it might be a cheaper price point than the Rogue Trader box, which might make it worth getting for some, but I might be holding off for the time being, until we see some more.

Interestingly, however, there are two new expansions for the two Kill Teams that came in the original box – an AdMech team that features Sicarians, and a Genestealer Cults team that includes Acolyte Hybrids. Both of them come with a Commander model, though, and the usual sheet of tokens and terrain and whatnot, but I find it interesting how we’re seeing the evolution of the different Team expansions from last year. Commanders is presumably a more integrated part of the game than we’d originally expected, and they’re using this game as a delivery method for new models for the regular 40k game, with the Cult Eastwood gunslinger Primus, alongside a new sort of Tech-Priest, the Manipulus. I’m not 100% sold on the latter, if I’m honest, as he does look a little too much like he was originally intended as a Nurgle model. But maybe he’ll be better in the flesh, or else with a little converting.

I’m glad to see more for Kill Team, for sure, and I hope this new type of expansion could herald my idea for “famous teams” to come further down the line. I especially like the idea that they’re expanding the original two teams from the core set, as that is a fantastic way to build on last year’s box for people new to the game, as well as to get them hooked into buying more for regular 40k in true gateway-drug style!

While that’s all for the stuff that grabbed my attention over on the Community site, there are a few other choice morsels doing the rounds of the internets, including an expansion for the Blackstone Fortress game!

Blackstone Fortress Dreaded Ambull

I’m not that old in the hobby to remember the Ambull from back in the Rogue Trader days, but this has got a lot of people excited! Looking at the additional contents in this picture has got me wondering, though – if we’re having a new ship tile, will we be getting a new Hero to go along with it? And there’s another mystery envelope in this one, as well! How exciting!

I really like the idea of this expansion, and it once again puts me in mind of Shadows of Brimstone, only done correctly. I mean, FFP have definitely worked their socks off for that game, and I don’t mean to be too harsh, but it just didn’t feel anywhere near as polished as it perhaps could have been, possibly due to the amount of stuff they had to do to fulfill peoples’ pledges. But that’s a topic for another blog!

Finally (for now!) we’re getting two plastic Am-bots for Necromunda! Not the Adeptus Arbites, but it’ll do!

And finally, we have what looks like a new kind of Chaos Sorcerer for the Black Legion, presumably coming out when the whole Vigilus 80-day countdown thing comes to a conclusion:

I don’t know if this would happen or not, but I do quite like the idea that he might be a part of a wider Servants of the Abyss release, alongside the Blackstone Fortress goodness that is reputedly coming out in March. I think he certainly looks cool, and I’m thinking I might actually get myself a small Chaos Space Marines force soon! (Who am I kidding, small…!)

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Vigilus will burn. #PaintingWarhammer

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Overall, it’s been incredibly exciting so far this New Year Open Day. I’m really excited to see what’s next from Nottingham, anyway!

War Zone Vigilus: Setting the Stage

Vigilus 0

I’ve been reading up on the current campaign in Warhammer 40k-land, which has been quite an interesting way to spend the run-up to the festive season, so thought it a great time to share some of my thoughts with you all as we see the 40k storyline gearing up for something quite spectacular!

Some background
Vigilus has been looming large in the lore since the dawn of the Great Rift that split the galaxy in two at the onset of 8th edition. For the uninitiated, as 7th edition drew to a close, we saw the three Gathering Storm books at the start of 2017, each focusing on some fairly cataclysmic events in the lore such as the Fall of Cadia, and the rebirth of Roboute Guilliman. At the fall of Cadia, a massive warp rift opened across the entire galaxy – the Cicatrix Maledictum – engulfing many systems entirely, and splitting the Imperium in two. To the galactic north lies the Imperium Nihilus, where the Blood Angels are almost cut off from the rest of the galaxy, left to hold back the darkness while beset by Hive Fleet Leviathan.

Crossing the great rift are a small number of small corridors, the most stable of which is the Nachmund Gauntlet. At the key point along this corridor is the world of Vigilus, a world that has been beset by internecine squabbling between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Ministorum, the governing bodies of the planet who cannot agree who is more important. When the great rift opened, both sought aid from the Imperium, and the Ministorum’s insistence on any military aid being deployed to the cathedrum districts has further deepened this division.

From out of the warp rift has emerged the ramshackle fleet of an Ork Speedwaaagh, which crash landed on the planet and has since claimed the desert spaces between the hive cities of the Imperium presence on the world. Water is scarce on the planet, and with nothing else for them to fight out in the desert wastes, the Orks have taken to high-speed racing out there – you know, as you would.

Control of the scant water reservoirs on the planet has been taken by the Genestealer Cultists of the Pauper Princes, who have emerged earlier than planned in response to the Ork presence on-world. When the Space Wolves arrived thanks to being thrown off-course by the warp storms, they sought to eradicate the xenos taint from the world and began attacking the Cultists with vigour.

Tooth and Claw is the first official product to be released for the Vigilus storyline, pitting Space Wolves against Genestealer Cultists and seeing the release of a Space Wolves-specific Lieutenant, alongside the long-awaited Aberrant multi-part plastic kit, and the new Abominant HQ to lead them. The box was a really excellent release, saving a great deal for collectors of either army – it even had the full Redemptor Dreadnought kit!

The booklet included in the box was also top-notch, including a lot of the background on Vigilus that read, for the most part, like the sourcebook for a Role-Playing Game. While we can usually expect to see some element of background for the armies in these sorts of releases, we also get a really in-depth look at the logistical structure of Vigilus – primarily because the militarised reservoirs are a major plot-point for the Genestealer Cultists in the box.

The booklet also included all of the datasheets (including points values) for the models, and some missions that allow you to play along with the narrative included in there, and in true 8th edition style, there are unique stratagems included that help along the way. It all adds up to a really great bundle, and a worthy first step on the road to war-zone Vigilus!

The next box to be released came pretty much out of nowhere – I certainly wasn’t expecting to see something like it released so soon after the first, at any rate! Pitting Ultramarines against Eldar, I have to say that this one felt a little more like a cash-grab, following the same formula but including only a new Eldar Spiritseer and yet another Primaris Lieutenant, alongside a bundle of existing miniatures that didn’t really feel like anything special. Wake the Dead did not, therefore, bode well.

That Spiritseer is a lovely model, though!

The lore for Wake the Dead, however, was another matter!

The Eldar have long had their eye on Vigilus, as their Seers have discerned the skeins of fate converging around the planet, beset as it is by Chaos warp-storms and raiding parties of Dark Eldar. When they see the Chaos Cult demagogue Vannadan the Firebrand inciting the populace to turn to the Dark Gods, the Craftworld of Saim-Hann sent a delegation to eradicate this threat. While they are successful in their objective, the 47th Antrell Lions squad of Tempestus Scions proceeded to slaughter almost the entire Eldar force, mistaking them for their Dark kin.

Meanwhile, Chief Librarian Tigurius has seen the world of Vigilus at the start of a swathe of bloodshed that will reach Terra itself, and so an Ultramarines task force is dispatched to the beleaguered world, headed up by none other than Marneus Calgar himself. Calgar dissolves the ruling council of Vigilus, and installs his own Senate to rule the world during this time of crisis, with himself at its head.

One of the survivors of the Scions’ purge was Spiritseer Qelnaris, who promptly returned with a strike force to avenge his fallen warriors on the blinkered Imperium. Qelnaris’ attack is answered by Calgar and the Ultramarines, who at first attempt a diplomatic resolution to the conflict following the Space Wolves identification of the Saim-Hann warhost as fomer allies. The overtures are rebuffed by the Spiritseer, however, who has sworn a blood vendetta against the fools of the Imperium.

The box set may have been underwhelming in comparison to its predecessor, but the lore is incredible and really helps to paint the picture of a fiercely-contested battleground that is rightly at the forefront of the current campaign storyline. The storyline is rich without being convoluted, helped in part by the decision to only include those factions that feel most relevant. Tau and Necrons are notably absent, and I think this is fine (despite these being two armies I collect). Previous campaigns from 7th edition have really benefited from being on something of a smaller scale – Shield of Baal only involving Blood Angels and the various Imperium factions, Tyranids and Necrons felt fine because it wasn’t too cluttered, for example. Of course, the Imperium side of things can lead to all manner of bits and pieces going on, and on Vigilus we already have several Chapters of Space Marines making a name for themselves alongside the Ministorum and Mechanicus, with a very definite presence from the Scions. The Imperium side of any conflict is always going to feel a bit full, due to the nature of the beast.

With Marneus Calgar on the world, we’re now poised on the brink of the new campaign book, Vigilus Defiant, which is the first in a two-part series that will chart the war-zone as the Imperium clashes with the Orks, the Genestealer Cults and the Craftworlds. While there are Dark Eldar raiding parties mentioned multiple times in the lore so far, we’ve not got anything further on that yet, and I’m really pleased that Vigilus hasn’t turned into a Tomb World for Anrakyr or someone to come along and re-claim, or the Tau to attempt to expand into this particular area of space.

There’s plenty of time for the other armies to be catered to, after all!

Make sure to check back later in the week, when I’ll be looking through the new campaign book, and seeing what it has to offer us!