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!

So much Warhammer news!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a bit crazy for Warhammer news during August, I’m not entirely sure if I’ve managed to digest it all yet! With the reveals from Warhammer Fest two weeks ago, and now the NOVA Open reveals, we’re going to be in for some amazing times as hobbyists and gamers for a good while to come!

Let’s start with Warhammer Fest, as it was so long ago now. The news that the Horus Heresy series is coming to an end before the actual Siege of Terra itself I find quite interesting, and I’m a little bit worried that it means we’re going to be in for another drawn out series as we see the culmination of Horus’ betrayal. It’s also really weird that the series The Horus Heresy doesn’t actually conclude the events of the Heresy, if you know what I mean. But James Swallow is a good author, and I did like his Flight of the Eisenstein, so I’m hoping for good things as he draws the proceedings to a close.

Of course, we’ve had a lot of stuff for Adeptus Titanicus coming out this month, so I suppose it’s about time I addressed this point now: I am not a fan of this game. Betrayal at Calth, while it’s Space Marine on Space Marine violence, was nevertheless an interesting game. Adeptus Titanicus, being hulking war machine vs hulking war machine, just doesn’t interest me in the same way. I get the sense that it is appealing to those with more nostalgia for the olden days, and the original iteration of the game (those at my local store are all part of the Old Guard), but it just sounds far too boring and bland, and I don’t think the fact that it’s a completely different scale is helping matters – at least Betrayal at Calth and all of the other boxed games they produce have included miniatures that could be used in regular games.

Something in its favour though – I love the fact that we can talk about Games Workshop and “all the other boxed games they produce”. They really are becoming a Workshop of Games now, and I love it!

Rogue Trader! The big box expansion for Kill Team is coming out in September, and I’m really very excited to get my hands on what look like amazing, weird, and very different minis. Perhaps most excitingly of all, though, is the little paragraph at the end of that announcement, saying that we can use both the Rogue Trader crew and the mutants in regular 40k! Didn’t see that one coming!

Codex: Imperial Agents, anyone?

So, even though I already have quite a lot on the go with regards painting projects, I’m looking forward to this quite a bit. It’s that sense of borrowed nostalgia once again. I wasn’t around for Rogue Trader back in the day, of course, but it’s something that looms so large in the background lore, and indeed, the meta world of the game as a whole, that I can’t help but feel excited at the prospect of something so iconic to the grim darkness of the far future finally coming to the tabletop!

So October (sorry, Orktober) is going to be the month of the greenskins, and it’s likely the Codex will be coming then, too. With the Space Wolves getting theirs last weekend, does this mean the Genestealer Cults will get theirs in September, maybe? Anyway. I’m not a big Ork fan – I play against them often enough, so it’ll be fun to go Codex-to-Codex against them now, but there’s very little else about the release that I can say, if I’m honest. It’s always good to see new models that replace the older ones with stuff that looks this good, so there is definitely that!

Speed Freeks seems to be a bit like the Gangs of Commorragh boxed game, in that it involves pure vehicle combat within a single faction, but is including a lot of new models – it seems GW likes to launch new kits this way nowadays, which isn’t always a bad thing, as it allows you to flesh out an army while getting the new stuff, usually with a decent saving.

Something that unites both sets of announcements, though, is the new Adepta Sororitas stuff coming – Emperor willing – next year. From Warhammer Fest, we got to see some renders of the weapons – exciting enough, for sure, but I can’t say as it really interested me. Well, maybe the fact that they’ll get a crossbow is hilarious, but still.

The NOVA Open announcement gave us a look at the heads of these girls, and they’re looking like they have a good amount of movement there to suggest some pretty dynamic poses within the kits. Interestingly, the 2018 Chapter Approved will include a mini-Codex for the Sisters that will allow for a decent amount of playtesting feedback to be gathered before the Codex itself lands. Ever get the feeling that they’re almost going too far with this? I get that people are keen to get plastic Sisters, and they want the release to be a memorable one – hell, I’ve talked about this myself years ago – but it’s almost like they’re getting too much special attention. Why should one army get so much playtesting, while others get landed with a copy-and-paste Codex just so as to get the book out there? Hm. It’s always going to be a difficult one, for sure, but it struck me this morning when I was reading this stuff, it just seems to be making this too much of A Thing.

Anyway, clearly I’m now one of those old farts who is just never going to be happy!

I’ve been quiet about Age of Sigmar for a long time now, for the simple reason that I’ve been moving away from the game, and focusing more completely on 40k. However, what looks like the return of Slaanesh to any of the game systems simply cannot go un-mentioned! It has always been my favourite of the Chaos Gods (don’t judge me!) so I’m always going to follow what happens here with a keen eye. Expect more blogs when we have more information on this, including one devoted to just why I like Slaanesh so much…

Now, what the hell is this, when it’s at home?! Is it really going to be the new Battlefleet Gothic? The fact there are ships in the announcement video seems to have a lot of people assuming so, but the announcement compares the game to Silver Tower in a way that makes me think we’ll get a similar line-up of infantry-based miniatures battling through the impossible halls of a Blackstone Fortress. Indeed, it’s being described as a dungeon crawl game over on the 40k facebook page, so I reckon we’re definitely getting people miniatures, and not starship miniatures.

(As an aside, I don’t really know if I’d be into Battlefleet Gothic in the same way I’m not into Adeptus Titanicus – I guess cross-compatibility might be an issue for me, after all!)

Intriguingly, the protagonist/voiceover chap in the video seems to be another Rogue Trader, so it may be possible we’ll see some sort of merging of the miniatures from the Kill Team expansion and this in the future…

I am really excited for these two boxed games, if nothing else, so I’ll be saving the pennies from here on, for sure!

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!