The Serrated Flame

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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Mons (Belgium)
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Last Updated: 08-03-2016
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1. The Serrated Flame
Army Name Race Game System Points
The Serrated Flame Word Bearers with Daemon allies Warhammer 40k 5000
» The Serrated Flame
The Covenant
  • Dark Apostle (classic model)
  • Daemonist (possessed sorcerer - Zardu Layak model)
  • Possessed (10 : 5 other Gal Vorbak possessed + 2 classic models + 1 custom Icon Bearer + 2 Zardu Layak's Blade Slaves)

  • Warp Talons (5)
  • Cultists (about 20 : 5 classic ones, 1 flamer, 1 heavy stubber, the rest coming from Necromunda Cawdor gang and various origins)
  • Plague Marines (5)
  • Chaos Spawns (3, one being a Yog-Sothot model, another, a Darkspawn reaper miniature and the last, an old GW metal one)
  • Daemon Prince

Chaos Space Marines (armoured section)
  • Coryphaus (Terminator Chaos Lord)
  • Sorcerer on bike
  • Helbrute (Mhara-Gal Tainted Dreadnought)
  • Terminators (5)
  • "Tactical" Marines (25, including 5 old plastic models and 10 from the Betrayal at Calth box set)
  • Havocs (7 models, including 2 old metal models)
  • Rhinos (2)
  • Land Raider
  • Predators (2, old metal ones)
  • Bikes (5)

  • Keeper of Secret (old metal GW model)
  • Bloodthirster
  • Herald of Tzeentch on disk (human size Chtulhu sorcerer with squid head)
  • Herald of Khorne
  • Herald of Nurgle
  • Pink Horrors (20)
  • Daemonettes (10)
  • Plaguebearers (10)
  • Bloodletters (8)
  • Screamers (6)
  • Skull Cannon
» Army Details
A Word Bearers army inspired by the "Pilgrimage" of the "First Heretic", bringing the Primordial Truth to Humanity. Cultists must not be at the frontline of the war : the Space Marines fight to protect them and help them spreading the Faith, for their own sake and future.

Daemons are not tools, they are the Angels of the Gods. Some Marines offer their body and souls to them, as a true inheritance of the Gal Vorbak. Others become so close to the Immaterium that their minds live within it.

Daemons are not meant to be trapped into machines by Humans. They are also the only ones able to master the power of the Warp, where human or xenos psykers are just barely touching it with nails without understanding it. Dark Apostles are constantly listening to the global music of the Immaterium and know how to find out places and times where its edge with the Materium is so thin that Angels may easily cross it. They are not sorcerers or conjurers, but the prophets and true link between the Gods and the real world.

The army is a real mix of Chaos Space Marines (Crimson Slaughter oriented) and Chaos Daemons, built up around two main figures : a unit of Possessed lead by the Dark Apostle into a Land Raider and a Keeper of Secrets (which is also the psyker). These are surrounded by various daemonic and more conventional Space Marines forces (the latter being ruled by the Coryphaus).
» History/Fluff
How to build up the army, or at least the core of it, in order to get as close as possible to such lore with the current Chaos Codices and Supplements ? How may the Ruin Storm really come to the table, following up the Word Bearers path and tracks ?

Hopefully waiting for a new version of the Chaos Space Marines Codex and future options, these questions still live, and their answer evolves with time and attempts.

Its current state consists in an Alliance between a Daemons CAD and a Crimson Slaughter CAD or Allied Detachment. The Daemons CAD is the primary detachment, even if it usually includes less units and models than the Crimson Slaughter one. This allows me to bring up the Warp Storm table hazards upon the battlefield.

The warlord is therefore a Daemon (with warlord traits closer to the lore of such army than the Crimson Slaughter's ones), and usually a Greater one : a Keeper of Secrets with Psychic Mastery Level 3 (the minimum Slaanesh powers required, and the rest in Telepathy) and 2 Greater Rewards.

Two minimal squads of Daemons make the Troops of this Primary Detachment : usually 10 Daemonettes and 11-12 Pink Horrors.

The core of the Crimson Slaughter Detachment are two units of 5 Possessed, one marked by Khorne, the other by Slaanesh. The latter bears a Slaanesh icon and is joined by a Mastery Level 2 Sorcerer with "Prophet of the Voices", unmarked and generating powers from Malefic Daemonology.

Why 2 units instead of one (making the icon relatively more expensive) ? Because it somehow plays with the chances to get the needed "Vessel of Chaos" power for the turn on at least half of the Possessed. This also gives a little more flexibility regarding different targets for them (units or objectives).

This brings me around 900 pts, with Assault and Psychic Powers as main assets. Not ideal for the current ruleset, but I still prefer to strengthen them rather than bringing up range firepower.

And, in such matters, I can add a Landraider (the only assault vehicle available, with the possibility to give it a 3+ cover save at first turn with the smoke launchers and the good "Vessels of Chaos" roll) with Dirge Caster, Dozer Blade and Destroyer Blades, a Daemon Possessed Rhino with Dozer Blade and Dirge Caster and the Skull Cannon to pick up opponent units in cover and preventing the lack of assault grenades of my units.

That is, with some adjustments, convenient for a 1250 pts game. For 1850 pts ones, the list can be filled up with Fast Attack (Screamers, Warp Talons or Bikers), Heavy Support (Havocs or Predators) or Elite (Terminators or Helbrute) units, maybe with an additional HQ (Herald of Tzeentch on disk or Sorcerer on bike) to bring up more Psychic Power.

Or also a "Helbrute and cultists" formation accompanied by a Dark Apostle and his bunch of zealous Plague and Space Marines ?
» Modelling and Conversion Information
  • Lev Paxhen, Chaos Lord (150pts) : Prophet of the Voices, Gift of Mutation, Mark of Slaanesh, Slaughterer's Horns, Lightning Claw
  • [Daemon Allies] Aelzkaen, the Stealer of Souls, Keeper of Secrets (260pts) : Psyker (Mastery Level 3), 2* Greater Reward
  • Gal Vorbak, Possessed (200pts) : 4 Possessed (Mark of Slaanesh, Icon of Excess) + Aspiring Champion (Mark of Slaanesh, 2* Gift of Mutation)
  • Brotherhood of the Blessed Lady, Chaos Cultists (61pts) : 9* Cultist (4* Autoguns, Heavy Stubber) + Aspiring Champion (Shotgun)
  • Coterie of Sivak Nal, Chaos Space Marines (183pts) : 5* Space Marine (Plasma Gun, Icon of Vengeance) + Aspiring Champion (Combi-plasma) + Rhino (Dozer Blade, Dirge Caster)
  • [Daemon Allies] Daemonettes of Slaanesh (90pts) : 10* Daemonette
  • Coryphaus Nasrov's Anointed, Chaos Terminators (124pts) : 2* Terminator (2* Combi-melta, Power axe, Chainfist) + Aspiring Champion (Combi-melta, Power Axe)
Fast Attack
  • Cenobite Pilgrims, Warp Talons (180pts) : 4* Warp Talon (Mark of Nurgle) + Aspiring Champion (Mark of Nurgle)
  • [Daemon Allies] Tzeentch Screamers (75pts) : 3* Screamer
Heavy Support
  • Tears of Khur, Chaos Land Raider (247pts) : Havoc Launcher, Dirge Caster
  • Coterie of Gokh Dientsev, Havocs (155pts) : 4* Havoc (2* Missile Launchers, 2* Flakk Missiles, Autocannon, Lascannon) + Aspiring Champion
  • [Daemon Allies] Skull Cannon (125pts)
Tactics in a nutshell :

- I have bet upon variety, trying to have at least one unit for every situation (close combat, anti-vehicle, anti-flyers, psychic powers, blasts, ...) and battlefield role at hand, as far as a link (even weak) with each of the Chaos Gods.

- The overall strategy obviously consists in bringing my command squad (Lord and Possessed deployed inside the Land Raider) upon the foe (inside its deployment area if it does not move forward). Telepathy powers of the Greater Daemon, smoke launchers of the Rhino, as far as (likely) skirmishing of the Screamers must support the advance of the Land Raider.

- Skull cannon and Dirge Casters are there to support assaults (by preventing initiative loss due to difficult ground and overwatch).

- Warp Talons will probably follow-up (not in Deep Strike, except maybe against Orks or Necrons) the move, covering the back lines, countering or supporting charges, waiting for the possible moment when they get into assault range of specific targets (like command squads or heavy weapons).

- Havocs, Land Raider and Terminators (in Deep Strike for the latter) will principally take care of armoured targets. The Skull Cannon will try to weaken up large and/or behind cover units (moving forward each turn as it also has a good close combat potential).

- Daemonettes will enter play by Deep Strike, in order to give support where it is needed at the moment they appear.

- Cultists are just there to camp upon objectives. The Space Marines unit will be deployed into the Rhino and, therefore, adapt itself to the situation (running for objective, giving fire support to assault units, targeting a vehicle, ...).

- While crossing up the battlefield (especially for the first turn), this army will offer three big targets to the opponent : Skull Cannon, Land Raider and Greater Daemon (its Greater Rewards should make it more resilient).

- Strategically speaking, the Warlord Trait should come from the Crimson Slaughter table (if not, from the Strategic one of the rulebook). The whole army has "Fear" and only Cultists, Havocs, Terminators and Warp Talons (not a real choice for the latter, unfortunately) are not "Fearless". Fear (and its absence) is not a major tactical feature, but some of the Telepathy psychic powers play upon it too.
» Debriefing about the first 3 games
For my return to the game after 20 years, I have played 3 games, against Ultramarines, Blood Angels and Grey Knights, for ... 3 defeats (13-7, 11-9 and 11-9). Globally speaking, I had enough mobility and diversity to fulfill objectives, but didn't focus enough upon destroying enemy units (and lost all on the KP average).
  • First opponent : an Ultramarine armoured force (2 Vindicators, 2 or 3 Razorbacks, Storm Talon, Ironclad Dreadnought and 2 squads of scouts in Speeder) lead by Tigurius within a Terminators squad. I managed the battle quite well (getting rid of the Vindicators, Storm Talon and 1 Razorback, half of the disembarked Marines and Scouts) until the Stormraven landed and the Dreadnought, Tigurius and the Terminators (directly becoming Invisible) disembarked. I have lost the Keeper of Secrets, Landraider, Skull Cannon, Space Marines and Cultists in that turn. I have made three major mistakes (for my first game since 20 years), though : I forgot to move the Screamers after the first turn (I had moved them behind a building at first turn), I forgot to try and make my Terminators and Daemonettes coming from reserves in Deep Strike (I realized it while putting my models back into the box) and I choosed to aim at the Storm Talon (making it crash) instead of the Storm Raven (my dice results would have made it crash, alongside with all the models within). I didn't deserve better results with such oblivious behaviour. A 13/7 defeat was not a so bad result in those circumstances.
  • Second match : a Blood Angels army (3 assault squads in Drop Pods, Sanguinary Guard lead by Sanguinary Priest and Chaplain, 3 Razorbacks, 1 Vindicator and an Errant Imperial Knight). I just ignored the Imperial Knight, because I thought I would have wasted too much firepower to try and bring it down. Apart from that, the Warp Talons and Keeper of Secrets managed to wipe out the Sanguinary Guard and Priest. I have just made a bad choice when deepstriking the Daemonettes (at a place for an unuseful assault instead of capping for one objective which would have made me win the objectives battle). I've lost the Landraider on the last turn due to an unexpected melta bomb, and the game (11/9) on the Kill Points averages.
  • Last encounter : the Grey Knights (Librarian in Terminator armour with Aegis and Liber Daemonica, 20 Terminators including 3 Justicars, Purgators, Interceptors and Nemesis Dreadknight). Due to the psychic levels (10 in total against my 3 ones), Force weapons and anti-Daemon weapons and abilities, I expected to be soon reduced to a few units. But it has not been the case : it probably has been my best battle of the 3 ones, the most "impressive" move being the cultists moving forward to protect the Keeper of Secrets from being charged by the Librarian and Terminators, and even killing one Terminator with an autopistol. I even managed to cast some Psychic Powers, but the Perils of the Warp ended up killing the Keeper of Secrets (just after having killed the Dreadknight). After having got rid of almost all squads, my remaining forces (Skull Cannon included) assaulted the Librarian and what was left of his squad, but didn't manage to kill him. I had lost my Warlord upon Instant Death from a Hammer, and lost the game (11/9) on Kill Points averages again.
Some debriefing considerations :
  • The Keeper of Secrets is just awesome. Two greater rewards make it quite resilient. 6 S6 PA2 attacks with WS9 and I10 allows it to wipe out any squad with ease. It's not a cheap model (260 pts), but it has always killed more than its cost. No range weapon, unfortunately, but the Telepathy Primaris is a real threat for any enmy squad.
  • The Chaos Lord has not been as effective as I expected. Prophet of the Voices is a good ability, but relies upon the random power of the Possessed each turn. Slaughterer's Horns is not so great as it seems, though : I've had a case when the unit charges Space Marines. My Warlord (the only model with PA3 weapon) issues a challenge and therefore fights against the Sergeant, killing him with Hammer of Wrath. No sweeping advance, no additional wounds (because no use of his 5 S5 PA3 attacks upon charge) transferred to the rest of the squad that only has to deal with the PA- attacks of the Possessed. Mark of Slaanesh and Icon of Excess are not cheap, but make such unit quite resilient (except against Instant Death, to the misfortune of my Warlord).
  • The Space Marines did their supporting and objective taking job quite well. 2/3 times, the one with the Icon of Vengeance was the last one left (removing the closest ones first) and managed to survive (and attract shooting and assaults, throwing one grenade in the meantime) for more than 1 turn. Maybe I've been somehow lucky, but I therfore still prefer a 6 men squad with IoV instead of a 8 men one without (even if I'll try to field up a 8 men one with IoV next time).
  • The Cultists have not been as present as I expected (unable to find out any target in range most of the time, due to the several vehicles of my opponents), except for the time when they have killed a Grey Knight Terminator (just for that, it has been worth playing them ).
  • Every of my opponents had lots of MEQs, so the Warp Talons have easily been able to fight against units they are designed for. High cost, but killing for about their points upon every game. I have, most of the time, been able to make them charge units in range of a Dirge Caster and the Mark of Nurgle make them resilient against units which shoot or fight against them (knowing that heavy weapons which would require daemonic save increasable to 4++ with the Mark of Tzeentch always targeted armoured or biggest things than Warp Talons). I have my (personal and temporary) answer to the choice between Mark of Nurgle and Mark of Tzeentch : I'll always take the first one.
  • The Landraider only survived 1/3 games, but stayed up at least 2 turns (killed at third and last one) during the other ones. Quite efficient against armoured targets, and therefore never using the Havoc launcher ... maybe I'll put it on the Rhino next time (which had, in some occasions, good targets in range, but just a combi-bolter to shoot with).
  • The Termicide has not been one : I've lost only one Terminator during the 2 battles they have been in while they have wiped-out 2 infantry units and one vehicle, and stood up against the Grey Knights Librarian and Terminators. A great squad which would deserve to be larger (with an auto-cannon).
  • The Havocs have been quite decent, flakk missiles have only had one chance to aim a flyer, but did it well, as it ended up crashing (they should have targeted the other one, though).
  • The Daemonettes have had no occasion to really show up : I forgot them on the first battle, they've been wiped out before being able to fight on the second, and been destroyed by a Deep Strike mishap on the third one. The real disappointment, but I need at least on Daemon Troop for the Daemonic Allies, so I'll try them up again in the future.
  • Screamers are amazing and extremely resilient with Jink, Daemon of Tzeentch (reroll results of "1" on saving throw), T4 and W2. Their on-the-fly 1D3 S4 PA- attack during Turbo-Boost is useful in almost every case (even upon Invisible units, for instance). I think I'll put 6 upon the table soon.
  • And, last but not least, the weirdo, aka the Skull Cannon. Only one shot per turn, but it is S8 large blast (with BS5, meaning it touches most of the time). Not only it has worried all my opponents (who made it a target they could not ignore, mainly because they didn't know anything about it), but it also managed to reduce infantry units before the charge and remove some vehicle HP (preventing them to move or fire, and even destroying them after they had been hit by the Landraider or the Havocs earlier in my shooting phase). It killed one Grey Knight Terminator with his D6 S7 Hammer of Wrath charge too (but stuck into Melee after that, with no possibility to act anymore).
  • The gifts of mutation have mainly been useless (nothing, advantages that the model already has from type or mark), ... close to a real waste, actually.

Additional notes about things I had missed and realized after the tournament :
  • The Keeper of Secrets should have had the Primaris Power of Slaanesh, in addition to any other psychic powers.
  • The Daemons FAQ gives the Skull Cannon two Bloodletters servants which can hit in Melee.
» Images
  • Sample of Word Bearers
  • Keeper of Secrets and Prophet of the Voices
  • Possessed
  • Cultists
  • Daemonettes
» Comments
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