“Pride Go’eth Before Abandon, Vanity Go’eth Before Weakness, Vainglory Go’eth Before the Fall.”
In this section we deal with the legion that would, pretty much to a man, turn into sadistic psychopaths with hearing, visual and drug problems. Although, now that I think about it, the first two might be related to the drugs.
Legiones Astartes: Emperor’s Children:
Once again we see the same “regroup regardless of casualties” bit, but what else is new? Well, all Emperor’s Children gain Crusader. Now that might not sound like much, re-roll run move and +D3 to Sweeping Advances, but it really is. This is because remember Legions don’t have ATSKNF, if you lose combat you can be cut down. So the bonuses of Crusader are two-fold because if the Emperor’s Children cause a unit to break they are more likely to catch them and cut them down, and if they are broken they have a better chance of getting away. Also characters get +1 I in challenges which it handy because Emperor’s Children characters have to issue and accept challenges. However, if they lose, they suffer a -1 Ld penalty for being such a crap out.
The first of the Emperor’s Children’s two toys are Sonic Shriekers. For +5 points and independent character can have one. What is does is gives +1 I to “a model or unit equipped” with one for the first round of combat. Now for a while I’ve played that it means that if you attach an independent character with sonic shriekers to a unit they all get +1 I, but I have recently seen on some other forums it being posted that Forge World errata’d this so that it only affects the character and for a unit to gain the benefits they all have to have them. However I can’t find a source to confirm that so until I do, I will play it as I have been but I just thought I’d make you aware of that. In any case, the +1 means you can often kill your foes before they can hit you and, combined with the +1 I in challenges, it means that Emperor’s Children Praetors can be I 7, striking before some Primarchs. Hand for ending things like Paragon Blade deadlocks.
The other is a Phoenix Power Spear, it’s basically a regular power spear but better. It’s still +1 S on the turn you charge, but instead of being AP 4 normally and AP 3 on the charge, it’s AP 3 normally and AP 2 on the charge. It’s a nice way to get some AP 2 striking at initiative. Any character who can take a power fist can have one for the same price. In general, I wouldn’t give it to a Praetor since they can already have AP2 at initiative with their Paragon Blades. However, at a Centurion/Sergeant level it’s definitely worth it.
The relic the Emperor’s Children have access to is the Lucid Blade. These are blades that seemed to possess a level of sentience which enhanced the users own ability with a blade. What does this mean practically. Well, practically it means that you have a power sword with +1 S and a rule called Master Parry, which means that you can sacrifice attacks for invulnerable save improvements. 1 attack improves your invulnerable save by 1, 2 attacks improves it by 2, etc. Now, the cost. It is one of the more middle of the road costed relics. Now, a normal Power Sword costs 25 points less than this, so to justify that with have the +1 S and the funky rule.
On a Centurion, to give him a 2++ in combat you have to sacrifice all your attacks (since it’s a specialist weapon) and buy a refractor field. Now, on the one hand this means you get no attacks. On the other hand, for 100 points (if you buy nothing else but the refractor field and the relic) you could just troll high cost characters, some Primarchs even, with a 100 point character that just won’t die. If you the put him in a really killy unit, they can take care of you opponent’s retinue whilst you stall with your bare bones centurion until finally the wounds spill over onto the character you’re challenging, or until you route them an cut them down.
The other option would realistically be to put it on a Praetor with a Paragon Blade and just swapping between the two. If you give him an Iron Halo you either get 3 attacks at AP 3 with a 2++, or 5 attacks at AP 2 with a 4++. However, that’ll run you 190 points as an absolute minimum.
Now, the really important question, is it worth the points? Maybe. As a beat-stick weapon it’s not great, but it has great potential at letting you tar-pit you opponent’s most killy character/unit for a while. If you can get FnP or Endurance on the character carrying it then he’s not going to be going anywhere for a while. My opinion is that you are better off throwing relic on a cheap Centurion (artificer armour + boarding shield [+ sonic shriekers, maybe]) and putting him in a killy unit/tarpit unit and hurling it at your opponent’s biggest melee threat and just holding it down. Sure he’ll probably die, but if your 110 point character can hold up a 150+ point character while the rest of your army kills his, I say it’s a noble sacrifice and one worth his points.
Rite of War:
The Maru Skara sounds like something out of Doctor Who. It’s also the name of the Emperor’s Children’s Rite of War. It comprises of two parts really. The first part is called the Open Blade. This encompasses all units which begin the game on the board. These units may “add +1” to their normal movement, and to their Run and Charge distances on their first player turn.” Now, to me that means your guys get +1” to their movement all game, and they also get +1” to their Run and Charge distances but only on the first player turn. Now, don’t ask me what the point of having +1” to your Charge distance on your first turn is, because I’m pretty sure the maximum Charge range a unit can have in the 1st turn is (with this Rite of War) 26” (12” move + 1”, then 12” charge + 1”) and since most tables have a no man’s land of 24”, unless both you and your opponent have deployed at the very front of your deployment zones, you won’t be getting the charge. Still, +1” to your movement over 6” gives you basically a free turn of movement for most infantry so that’s pretty good. Plus, for units that don’t want to shoot, Crusader allowing you to re-roll Run distances and then +1” in 1st turn will help you get a little further.
The second part is called the Hidden Blade. It comprises of 1-3 Elites and/or Fast Attacks held in a separate reserve to the rest of your reserves. Before the game starts you note down a turn between 2 and 4. On that turn, all the units in your Hidden Blade arrive from Reserves and gain Outflank (so obviously you pick turn 2). So yes that does mean you can Outflank 9 Contemptor Dreadnoughts if you like. That’s pretty cool.
However, the limitations are a bit of a drag. There is the reasonably standard “no fortification of Legion Space Marine allies” bit. You also cannot field and units with Immobile, Heavy or Slow and Purposeful special rules (since it says units and not weapons, you can still take heavy weapons, otherwise that’d be ridiculous), but those things aren’t too difficult to not take. However, you are forced to take a Legion Champion as a tax and if you don’t slay your opponent’s Warlord your opponent gets 1VP, which is a bit of a sod if your opponent’s warlord is a Primarch. Still, most Primarchs can’t handle 9 Outflanking Dreadnoughts I don’t think, so just mob them in that case.
All in all, a pretty cool Rite of War. Some reasonable limitations, but it doesn’t make it unusable. Just remember to Slay the Warlord and set aside 35 points to upgrade a Centurion to a Champion and your golden.
Phoenix Terminator Squad
Why do Forge World keep doing this to me? Why do they keep making units that look really cool but are garbage to play?
Ok, here’s the deal. Phoenix terminators are said to be “…[the] most feared, their martial skill all but unmatched across the Legions.” So you’d expect them to be WS 5 at least, maybe the Champion WS 6? No, they are all WS 4 except for the Champion who is WS 5. Fine, so do they get 2 Wounds like Red Butchers, Death Shroud or Firedrakes? Nope they are 1 Wound models. Ok, so do they have more attacks than regular terminators? Nope, they still only have 2. Can they take Cataphractii armour, since most Legion specific terminators have an invulnerable save higher than 5++? Nope, they get the standard 2+/5++. Ok well they are said to be “…serving primarily as the Primarch Fulgrim’s personal retinue” so they must get Favoured of Fulgrim (ala Favoured of Mortarion/Vulkan/Horus) right? No. Why not? Not a clue.
So what do
they get? Well they get Phoenix Spears. However, they also lose their ranged weapons. They have no guns. At all. None. They also get +1 I on the turn they charge, which stacks with the Sonic Shriekers they can take. They and any unit within 6” of them can count draws in combat as wins. And they’re Stubborn.
So we have basically regular terminators which exchange their combi-bolters and power weapons for a Phoenix spear (which is only good vs other terminators if
they get the charge and only
in the first round of combat), gain Stubborn, counting draws in combat as wins and +1 I if they charge. So for that they are probably worth what 30 points more than regular terminators? No. 5 of these fuckers cost 90 points more than the regular legion terminators, and for what? Not a lot.
Seriously, these guys are good for nothing at all. Against TEQs they are only good for one turn and they lose out on being able to sweeping advance so even if they do win they can only watch their foes run away. If they get charged by TEQs they are fucked because they have no AP 2. And against MEQs sure if they get charged they’re not so screwed, but even if they win they can’t sweeping advance and capitalise on the fact that they count draws as wins. You are better off buying their models and counting them as regular terminators with power axes because they are 90 points cheaper and will consistently have AP 2.
Palatine Blades Squad
So, the Palatine Blades are a unit of swordsmen basically. We take a basic power armoured marine, give him +1 WS (see, they’re all WS 5, but not the elite guard of Fulgrim! #stillbitter) and +1 A, Counter-attack and a Charnabal Sabre. Also the sergeant gets artificer armour for free, although they can all issue and accept challenges. For 5 of them it’s 15 points less than a tactical squad and for 10 it’s 15 points less than an assault squad. They can also swap their charnabal sabres for power swords, power lances or phoenix spears, although the phoenix spear is twice the cost of the other two. They are able to take jump packs and are able to take sonic shriekers on the whole unit.
But the question is; are they worth taking? Well, counter attack means that whether they get charged or not, they’re getting 4 Rending attacks each in the first round of combat and sonic shriekers mean these will happen at initiative step 5. Again, that’s regardless of whether they charged or not. They are almost Genestealers in power armour. However, they about as glass cannon as glass cannons get, and will almost certainly need some sort of delivery method be it rhino, drop pod, land raider or at least giving them jump packs or they won’t survive.
If you are throwing them against regular infantry you are doing it wrong, in my opinion. The abilities of such lofty duelists are lost on killing such plebeians, their forte’s lie elsewhere. With between 20 and 40 WS 5 Rending attacks at I 5, they have a good chance of glancing to death anything with AV 10-12 (They can do 13 but a unit of 10 will only inflict 1.5 glancing hits on the turn it charges). Also, unlike the Phoenix Guard, they can reliably get a decent amount of AP 2 in combat (a unit of 10 will get 4.4 Rending hits in the 1st round of combat) meaning they are actually able of taking on a terminator squad, and since they are in power armour they can sweeping advance if they win. You’ll probably want a primus medicae with them to give them a pseudo-invulnerable save if you do run them. As I say, they are a glass cannon and you wield them more like a scalpel than a hammer, but they are at least usable and able to earn their points back, unlike some units I could Phoenix Guard…I mean menation!
The Kakophoni, to me are an odd unit, and I’m still not quite sure how I feel about them. A starting unit of 5 costs 10 points more than a Heavy Support Squad, and a full unit of 10 is 60 points more than a 5 man Heavy Support squad with Volkite Culverins. I bring that unit up because it makes for a good comparison. They are both basically just tactical marines with special weapons. They both have the same stats, armour, etc. And they are both heavy support choices. So yeah, it’s a pretty good unit to compare them too.
So why 60 points more? Well, for one, you get 5 more men in a full 10 man Kakophoni squad, so they’ll die in twice the time (in theory). They also get stubborn, which is useful in a world without ATSKNF. They all get sonic shriekers, although frankly that’s a wasted upgrade since their weapon is a 36” Heavy 1 gun, so they aren’t exactly going to be charging into assault. And here we come to the meat of the matter, the guns.
Now the Volkite squad will get 20 shots with Deflagrate, which statistically cause about 4 unsaved wounds in total on a power armoured unit. Not too bad, although the effect gets even more devastating against hoards with low armour saves as I’ve already covered. The Kakophoni by comparison only get 10 shots, all of which have Gets Hot! So not only do you have to worry about the enemy killing you, but also your own gun. The guns do have Pinning, but they are basically Volkites without the Deflagrate. So they are dealing 1.8 wounds a turn on a power armoured unit. Now they do have the possibility to inflict a further D6 wounds, with AP 2, Instant Death and Ignores Cover, but that’s only if the target unit fails a moral test with a negative modifier equal to the number of wounds suffered. In my mind, the failure of a moral test is something too uncertain to bank the usefulness of a unit on, especially since a full squad will on average force a regular marine squad to take a test on Ld 7/8 (assuming the sergeant is alive) and 7 is the most likely roll between 2 D6.
Perhaps if you had multiple unit pounding one unit it would be viable but that’s where the other snag comes in. Because they are heavy support, you are basically sacrificing the majority of your options for Sicarans, Predator squadrons, Fire Raptors etc just so you can for one unit to maybe take D6 extra wounds. If they were Fast Attacks or Elites too then it might be viable, but they aren’t. Plus, their gun being a heavy weapon just hurts, since they have to be within 36” so are short on range compared to most other heavy weapons. They do have their uses and if you get lucky you can really devastate some unit, but it would be knowing putting your dice into the capricious hands of fate by taking this.
Rylanor the Unyielding
Now, technically Rylanor is a unique unit rather than a unique character, but he’s a named character and I felt he should go here. To start with a standard contemptor with his weapons is 200 points, and Rylanor is 55 points more than that. So, how does he justify it?
Well he has +1 WS, so in battles against most other Dreadnought’s (and centurions) he’s hitting on 3’s, which with his S10 from his DCCW is pretty good. He also gets Crusader, meaning he can catch what he kills which is another good thing. Then we come onto the two main things. First, Rylanor is one of the two dreadnoughts to gain Venerable, and he’s the only Contemptor to get it. That makes him quite a big mark more survivable and means your opponent is unlikely to be able to wipe him out with a lucky 6 from a lascannon. The second is a rule which means that all LE:EC within 24” get +1 to combat resolution (which can really help when coupled with Crusader) and they get to re-roll failed Morale tests. That is usually an upgrade you have to 10 points for to give to a unit and 24” is a massive range. If he’s in the middle of a 4’x6’ board, he’s giving re-rolls to your guys on 2/3rds of the board, and those re-rolls are massively important when you don’t have ATSKNF. The only real downside is you can't take him as part of a Talon, which kinda sucks. Basically, if you are planning on only talking 1 Contemptor Dreadnought in your army, make sure it’s Rylanor.
Lord Commander Eidolon
Let’s cut to the quick, is he worth it? In a word; yes. To expand on that, if you took a Praetor with exactly the same wargear, he would cost 5 points more than Eidolon, and that’s without any of the neat rules Eidolon gets. So on top of being 5 points cheaper, Eidolon gets a one use template that’s Rending and Pinning. Kind of meh, but who cares you’re already saving money. His warlord trait means that him and all units within 12” get +1” to charge distance, particularly nice when combined with the Maru Skara giving you a +3” over the 1st turn and +2” in all other turns. Also, if he charges, he loses Unwieldy on his Thunderhammer. So you get 5, S 8 attacks striking at I6 (or I7 if he’s in a challenge) and the thunderhammer is master-crafted so you are unlikely to miss between that and WS 6. He is 5 points more expensive than a Praetor with a non-mastercrafted Paragon blade (everything else unchanged) which always strikes at initiative, but if you can get the charge so are you and you are guaranteed instant death against marines and the like. And even if not, Eidolon still has a 4++ invulnerable save and is inflicting instant death. Basically, you’d be hard pressed to find a reason not
to take him if you are already planning on taking a Praetor.
Captain Saul Tarvitz
Well we knew it couldn’t last forever. We couldn’t have all
our special characters being good. Although, to be fair he was just a ‘line officer’ so perhaps I’m expecting too much. He basically has the stats of a praetor, except he is only BS 4 and only has A 3. That is even weirder considering his main gun is a sniper rifle, implying he’s supposed to be a pretty good shot. His melee weapons is crap as well. It’s a two-handed charnabal sabre that has +1 S, AP 5 and Rending. He’ s certainly not a character to be feared in assault. So does he add anything significant to you army? Well, he and any unit he joins gain Counter-attack in their own deployment zone. Oh and if you are playing during the heresy he gains Preferred Enemy (Emperor’s Children). Not even all traitors like Shabran Darr, just the Emperor’s Children.
To be fair, he only costs 5 points more than a Praetor with the same equipment (by that I mean valuing a sniper rifle the same as a combi-weapon and a charnabal sabre) which you could argue accounts for the buffs to his charnabal sabre, except the praetor is still B5 and A 4. But you would never take such a character because it’s such a point sink for a character who is not that great at anything really. You’ve be better off just buying a Praetor with a Paragon Blade and a Refractor field for the same cost and calling it Saul Tarvitz. Sadly another do not take character.
Fulgrim The Illuminator
Known by his legion as the Phoenician, Fulgrim is a duellist without peer. Responsible for the deaths of at least two fellow Primarchs, the prideful and mercurial Primarch of the Emperor’s Children has quite a reputation to up hold. Let’s see if it’s all idle boasts.
Fulgrim ranks in as the second cheapest Primarch, only 5 points more than Lorgar. Once Lorgar is transfigured he is officially the cheapest of all the Primarchs, less than Horus by 120 points. However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an impressive statline. His WS is one of the highest at 8 and he possessed the highest initiative of any Primarch at I 8. He also has a reasonable impressive 5 attacks. Other than that, his statline is typical of a primarch, which is still leagues apart from mere Astartes.
Similar to Angron, Fulgrim’s armour is not spectacularly protective. He needs light weight armour to dance around his opponents and so his armour lacks the power generators to give him a 4++ invulnerable save. Instead he has a 2+/5++ so he is markedly more fragile once we get to the realm of AP2/1. Consider putting him in a unit with an Apothecary/Primus Medicae for a bit of extra staying power. However if Fulgrim passes an armour or invulnerable save on a 6, the unit that hit him is so stunned by the beauty of his armour that it has to take a Blind test. This only happens in assault so don’t bank on it happening too regularly.
His side arm is a master-crafted Volkite Charger with Shred. Not a terrible gun in principle, but nothing compared to what most other Primarchs are packing (See Talon of Horus, Spite Furnace, Lantern, etc).
Now we get to the swords, the really important part. And yes I said swords because Fulgrim has the option to take two swords. The first, the one you get the model with, is the Silver Blade of the Laer. It’s an AP 2 sword with Rending and nothing else of note. This is useful if you are charged/charging a Dreadnought or a Land Raider but if you are using Fulgrim to flip vehicles you have clearly forgotten what this guys does best and that’s separate heads from shoulders. The second sword is Fireblade, which is a Master Crafted Paragon Blade which inflicts instant death on a 5+ to wound. This means Fulgrims strength is buffed to 7, like most of his brothers, he inflicts instant death, and he gets a free re-roll. You should always take this sword as it’s free and much better than the Blade of the Laer.
Now, let’s be honest if you looked only at Fulgrim’s stats he’d seem underwhelming. That’s ok, because we’re about to talk about his special rules which is where the High Lord of the Emperor’s Children starts to make his points back.
Firstly, he gains Crusader on top of the slew of special rules Primarchs have already. He also has to accept and issue challenges as long as there is a potential challenger with a WS 5 or higher. However, as long as he is alive and on the board, every Emperor’s Children unit on the board, and Fulgrim himself, gets +2 to combat results. That means, if you couple that with Rylanor, you could lose combat by 3 and draw. Or draw and win by 3. Or just win by 3 more than you would have anyway and give your foe and even greater chance of you running and being cut down thanks to Crusader. That is a big buff. Additionally he also allows all reserves with LA:EC to re-roll reserve rolls, failed or not. So even without the Maru Skara you can pretty much guarantee your reserves coming in.
Secondly, because he’s such a Sublime Duellist (see what I did there?) his invulnerable save increases to a 3++ in combat. Also, as long as he’s fighting in a challenge, Fulgrim gains a number of attacks equal to the amount by which his Initiative is greater than his opponent. So, against most Astartes he’s getting extra 3-4 attacks. Against fellow Primarchs, that figure is 1-3 depending on his opponent, which still puts him on par, sometimes above, an un-buffed Angron. That’s pretty impressive.
Thirdly, and probably least notably, Fulgrim can pick his Warlord trait from either the standard Legion Warlord Trait or the Strategic Traits table. The Strategic Traits are all pretty decent. One from the Legion table is the one that gives the Warlord and units with Legiones Astartes within 6” +1 to combat results seems vaguely tempting, mainly because you can potentially get +4 to combat resolution within 6” of Fulgrim, virtually guaranteeing he and those units will break any unit they assault. Or the one that allows re-rolls of 1s to wound. On the whole, probably go with the Strategic Traits, but it actually means that Warlord Traits are something you can plan rather than leave out of any equation.
Sure he’s not as impressive in stats or wargear as some Primarchs, but for his price I would argue that he is worth every point. He is a potent combatant, able to take on most other Primarchs with a reasonable level of confidence that he can win or at least wound them horrible before he goes down. But, unlike Angron who you take purely to kill people, you take Fulgrim because of what he adds to your army. An Army wide +2 to combat results combined with LA:EC giving Crusader helps your army to more effectively run down foes after victorious results and helps them to not be run down if things go a bit awry. All in all, he’s worth the price you pay for him and he’ll likely kill anything he gets in a challenge with, and then a few guys after that.