Grey Knights Codex – A Review

 

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One in a million. That’s how many recruits survive Grey Knight boot camp.  And if you consider that those recruits are the top percentage of those already chosen from their home worlds as being the top specimens on their respective planets, the numbers start to get a little crazy. The entire population of Earth would probably yield barely a single Grey Knight – rounding up. That’s a whole lot of sacrifice for a single marine in silver armour, but then who else is going to remember the ever-changing names of every Daemon in the Warp and throw it in their faces?

Grey Knight Codex

The new Grey Knights Codex describes such details to give you a better understanding than ever before of lengths the Imperium has had to go to in the endless war for its soul.  On reading through the background of the frankly beautiful book, I was surprised at the number of excellent additions to their background – a stellar map showing the locations of the known daemonic  incursions and Warp storms throughout the galaxy, a detailed breakdown of the Chapter’s fighting strength, descriptions of all the Brotherhoods,  plus the names and duties of each Grandmaster and their second in command Brother Captains, a double page spread on understanding their Heraldry with examples and ideas on creating your own. It goes on and on and all works to impress upon you just how few and individual they are, and the magnitude of the task they face.

Their Chapter breakdown reads with some very specific numbers, such as 44 Purifiers and 98 Paladins – in the entire galaxy. Even when reading the same lists for marines you’re still somewhat safe in the knowledge that there are at least another thousand or so other Chapters out there to lend a hand if someone screws up. It’s all wonderfully compelling  knowing just how close humanity teeters on the edge of its doom, and the individuality the book enables you to impart on your small army of ‘man’s greatest, and fewest, heroes’ creates a firm link to the consequences should you fail.

The fantastic new artwork does a much better job of portraying their supreme fighting ability (the first double page piece is particularly impressive) and lends itself well to the idea that they are extremely proficient at killing daemons – but constantly under threat of being overwhelmed by the never-ending hordes they struggle to hold back. Usually only barely a handful of Grey Knights will be sent to deal with a potential incursion which their prognosticators can foresee (kind of like ‘Minority Report’) which enables them to show up at the right time with the minimum of force to get the job – so precious is each and every Knight – and only the greatest and most threatening of incursions warrants the mustering of a full brotherhood.

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If I’m honest, I was disappointed with the photography.  Someone got a little carried away with the lighting effects and there was no showcase of individual models which is always one of my favourite sections of an army book – I’m unsure if this is consistent across the new format Codicies but it’s not a change I’m happy with as I get a lot of inspiration from the individual efforts of the ‘Eavy Metal team.  There‘s also what look to be not one, but two non ‘Eavy Metal, and I guess ‘reader/staff submitted’, armies used in the photography and the quality just isn’t there.  They are great armies that anyone would be proud to own (although I’m not sure about the one with all the trophy racks, seems very Chaos) but in a premium book I expect premium quality throughout.

Onto the army list and there’s quite a bit of change, and you can expect a mixed reaction from existing Grey Knight players. They had a reputation as one of the stronger armies in 40k and everyone was expecting them to be toned down – and this has indeed happened.  All the Inquisitor stuff has gone completely – even down to the fluff, with only a slight link to the Inquisition being maintained. Most of the equipment and upgrades has been wiped away, no more Psycannon Bolts, or Rad grenades, or Brain Mines, it’s all gone along with all the Grey Knight specific Vehicle upgrades. It’s a bit of a shame as not only is there  still a mention of the more exotic pieces they use in the background, but it seems a lot of the army identity has now gone into the Psychic phase removing most of the choice you had in how you played with them.

Non Grey Knight players will be happy to hear the (now) Lord of War choice, Kaldor Draigo has had his wings clipped. He’s still a beast but no longer strength or toughness 5 – again, as much as this was perhaps needed, it’s still a shame to see perhaps the greatest Marine in the Galaxy reduced to a majority stat line of 4’s [I think most Space Marine players would argue that point by go on… – Ed].

You’ll be kept busy re-learning the points costs of the basic elements of the army as there’s ups and downs all over the place.  Some changes of note are Grand Masters have gone up slightly and trade-off their Grand Strategy for psychic level 2, whereas Librarians have gone down by a whopping 40 points – and a further 25 less for a level 3!  Strike squads have gone up but their equipment options have gone down so you’re still better off, and Terminators have gone down significantly but lose out on the changes to the Nemesis weapons – which is swords now have no benefit beyond being a Nemesis Force weapon and Halberds are +1 Strength instead of +2 Initiative – so the Terminators are now either less durable in combat or a lot slower. Purifiers went up slightly and the Apothecary for the Paladins is now a massive 55 points less – which equates to a free Paladin! Other highlights include special weapons now being consistently priced, which actually makes equipping one on your HQ a feasible option, and the Dreadknight has been given the sales boost treatment as you can now take a tooled up teleporting monstrosity for, on average, 70 points less!  The Vehicles are largely unchanged.

Generally the list seems to be pushing you to take more from the troops choices which is a good thing as there were some big errors in the last codex which made taking Purifiers over Strike Squads a no brainer. And with Terminators getting worse but cheaper, it’s now a harder decision to choose between the two troops choices.  However, the adjusted force organisation means you only need one as a compulsory choice and gives you an extra Elite slot at a cost of one less Heavy and Fast Attack – go figure.  I said before, it’s a shame to lose all the toys and although the Relics are some consolation, it’s taken away some of the individuality from the HQ’s that the background did such a job of adding to them.

With less being spent on your HQ and generally cheaper units overall you’re army should be larger but will rely even more on the Psychic phase to assert itself with a number of units now having access to multiple powers – and a Librarian should still be the first name on the team sheet.  Beyond him and perhaps the Dreadknight, the army balance is a lot better with more of the choices being just that, rather than easy hits and misses, and I’m looking forward to getting some more models on the table – but man am I going to miss those Rad Grenades.

-Lee

Covenant of Antarctica 5th Fleet Reinforcements

As promised, here’s the background for the new additions to the Covenant of Antarctica 5th Fleet which I first chronicled here.

The Department of Time Manipulation and Displacement is the only part of Covenant society that operates with any kind of secrecy in what is an otherwise open and Utopian society. Founded in 1865 whose founders, combined with the knowledge in the great repository,  were fascinated with science fictions writings by the likes of Jules Verne who played around with notions of multi-dimensionalism and the accepted natural order of the world.

Within the year the first Dimensional Transmogrification Emitter was built and tested with mixed results. Professors Pendleton and Kline having pioneered the field of time and space manipulation had attempted to teleport a bowl of fruit 6 metres, from one side of the laboratory to the other. They, instead, teleported the bowl of fruit 6 hours into the future, the bowl reappearing right where it had disappeared in shower of tachyons as Pendleton and Kline stood arguing over who had made the fatal miscalculation.

Further experiments were met with similar results with very little being achieved in way of instantaneous transportation – the military application of which would have granted the Covenant and insurmountable tactical advantage. Despite months of testing and the destruction of their original lab (and the surrounding facility) the professors were forced to admit defeat. Instead they focussed their energies on the areas that had met with some success. Specifically the ability to impact upon the flow of time on an object or objects.

Pendleton and Kline discovered they were able to project and sustain temporal distortion fields that would alter the flow of time, allowing objects to seemingly speed up or slow down depending on the polarity of the field. In essence a time dilation field, as they would become known, could alter the flow of time around an object to allow it to skip ahead or slow down to a stand still.

By the time Jules Verne himself had fled to Antarctica to pursue his life as a writer free from persecution in his native France the art of time dilation had been all but perfected. When Pendleton and Kline heard that Verne was the Covenant’s latest refugee they immediately descended on the writer with bottle of brandy. It was during this raucous, alcohol fuelled, meeting that a break through was made. Verne proposed that the problem was they were trying to move mass through space rather than trying to move space to allow the object to pass through it.

The resulting experiments resulted in success, albeit limited. The power output required to bend the fabric of space was tremendous and meant that the generators were few in number and excessively large for a relatively short-range. It forever laid to rest the hopes of Pendleton and Kline for an effective transportation system beyond supplies being moved more effectively across the Empire of Ice. Militarily Time Dilation Generators could be deployed to allow units to be rapidly redeployed as needed as well as afford nearby ships or armour protection from incoming fire. Although temperamental to the point of fatal, their potential gains were enough for the Antarctica generals to petition the Department of Time Manipulation and Displacement to allow them to deploy the time dilation orbs in theatre of war.

The Department recognised the advantage the generators would provide and so designed an articulated chassis to house the generators for field operations. However, the Department of Time Manipulation and Displacement, which had grown to a staff of hundreds with Pendleton and Kline at its head, shrewdly refused to allow themselves to co-opted into the Covenant military. To this day this has meant that a commanding officer wishing to use a time dilation orb must petition the department in writing who may refuse or recall their assets at any time.

The additions of the CATDO Jules Verne and Thomas Kuhn to the 5th Fleet was as much a surprise to Commodore Stone as it was to his command staff as he had put in his request to the Department of Time Manipulation and Displacement when he was first given command. Something bordering on tradition, most fleet commanders requested a time dilation orb as a matter of course.

So it is with much rancour from Stone’s detractors in fleet command that he was assigned to by the mysterious department. Completely autonomous from the admiralty they were powerless to prevent it and going against the whims of the Department and the last ranking officer to decry them to the Covenant council found himself commander of a fishing scow.

Stone is yet to use the Verne or the Kuhn to their fullest potential, the tactics required forcing a commander to think in 4 dimensions rather than the standard 3 but already he is realising the potential of catapulting his battleships forwards to deliver a hammer blow before teleporting them back to the safety of the line.

To serve aboard a time dilation orb requires the utmost bravery. Aside from being a primary target for the Covenant’s enemies, rending the laws of space and time is a risky affair. Any time a glitch causes a vessel to be trapped in space/time the potential disaster on board a time dilation orb is immense. Crews are fortunate if a catastrophic malfunctions results in the destruction of the orb. If they are unlucky they can be catapulted through space and materialise inside bulkheads, generators or even gun barrels of nearby ships or teleported to unknown point in time never to be seen again.

When the 5th fleet returned to the New Halley docks for repair and resupply, following a successful campaign in the North Pacific against the Russian menace, they found, on the South Halley Aerodrome, the Daedalus Class Apollo and the imposing and revered Epicurus Class Sky Lord commanded by Wing Commander Francois Audet, being repainted in the distinctive 5th fleet colours. An imposing and dour man, Audet was a ruthless fighter pilot in his youth and an intractable and deadly sky captain since fleeing France at the head of an entire air division, every man under his command defecting to the Covenant cause.

Audet’s decision to defect was for no love of the Covenant’s way of life. Indeed he finds much of its reckless need for discovery distasteful but not as distasteful as the what the Republique of France had become since Prussian oppression had set in. Sent to bomb civilian targets in Poland Audet instead took his airman South leaving France behind them. Although he knows his decision to be the righteous course of action he carries the burden of condemning those under his command to a lifetime exiled from their families, never able to return home to the country they loved and served.

To add further insult to injury, Audet and his airman are enemies of the French state with great bounties on their heads making the French military fight all the harder whenever he or the other defectors are identified in theatre.

Whereas Stone relishes the opportunity to bring the fight to his former nation, Audet regrets every French life he is forced to take in his duty as a commanding officer and a Wing Commander of the Covenant of Antarctica. This simple ideological difference was enough to make Audet distrust Stone and wary of his growing renowned within the Covenant. It was no accident that Audet and Captain Emile Rodin and their sky ships were assigned to Stone’s command and beyond professional courtesy the two men disliked each other immediately and in the short time serving as part of the 5th Fleet both Audet and Rodin have clashed with Stone on several occasion, usually over his overly aggressive tactics.

Indeed Stone seems quite intent on the destruction of the Apollo and the Sky Lord thrusting them into the thickest fighting but in reality his acute understanding of Covenant technology and the superlative tactics couple with the command ability of his sky captains means that his air elements always win the day, albeit bloodied enough that they much rely on the rest of the fleet to tend to their wounds.

How long this flimsy and fractured relationship will last can only be guessed at but for now, at least, Audet and his airmen are helping win the 5th fleet greater victories and ironically Stone the fame that Audet so deeply detests.

The Covenant’s 5th Fleet – The Night Watch

With my Covenant fleet painted over a 15 day period and finished (for now) here’s the full background for them, as promised, and complete with shiny pictures.

Commissioned in 1860, the 5th Fleet was charged with patrolling the dark waters surrounding the Covenant’s domain. Initially little more than a task force made up of cruisers and frigates, coordinated by the battleship CSS Stalwart, the fleet was forced to spend prolonged periods of time isolated from one another as they plied the vast stretches of waters surrounding the ice floes for raiders or other threats to the Covenant’s sovereignty.

Before the renowned Commodore Aldus Stone took command, the 5th saw little action beyond clashes with the Kingdom of Britannia’s Falklands units that strayed too close to the Covenant’s borders, but these were little more than pot shots. Stone changed all that. A dour man hailing from the home counties of England he made a living as a game keeper in the employ of the Earl of Wessex. A tracker of superlative skill, a master of the silent kill and lethal with an elephant gun. Working for the Earl man and boy it was believed he was destined for great things. However fate had other ideas when the Earl’s eldest son drunk and in a rage with his father accidentally shot and killed Stone’s wife, the Earl’s housekeeper. Were this great tragedy not enough but the Earl utilising his significant influence had the entire matter swept under the carpet. Stone, realising his true place in Britannian society, was a broken man. Tired with toiling for a man whose sole interest was growing fat on the blood and sweat of the people, Stone made the long and dangerous journey South to the Covenant of Antarctica looking for a life with purpose.

Stone was not idle for long, being drafted into the Covenant armed forces in 1862. To his surprise, Stone was assigned to the navy and the 5th fleet rather than the army. His self-sufficiency and innate ability for the silent kill made him perfect for the dangers of patrolling the Covenant’s waters. Initially assigned to the frigate Too Quiet Stone impressed his superiors with his hit and run defence of the Western ice floes against a FSA raiding party. Although his ship was crippled, and eventually sunk, he delayed the FSA long enough that the rest of the 5th fleet was able to surround the FSA and destroy them utterly.

It didn’t take long for Stone to ascend the ranks and find himself at the head of the 5th fleet off the back of a string of daring actions keeping the Covenant’s borders safe. He achieved the rank of Commodore after he led the 5th fleet into the heart of Port Stanley, the Falkland Islands, on an unauthorised but successful rescue of Covenant POWs without a shot being fired in 1867. His first order was to have the fleet painted raven black to reflect the Night Watch moniker the fleet had earned in their many night sorties and defensive actions.

Although a lonely man with a solitary and single-minded command style that sat ill with the Covenant hierarchy, there was no denying that the 5th was clearly wasted as a patrol force and was pressed into front line service as the Covenant’s warmachine took the fight to the rest of the world in 1869. Under Stone’s command the 5th fleet won a score of victories against the great powers of the world,with more and more assets being assigned to the fleet to extent that Stone’s flag now resides aboard the dreadnought CSS History’s Judgement.

Despite the 5th Fleet’s many victories, Stone’s naturally cold nature combined with his unflinching belief in the Covenant’s cause, has seen several instances of excessive force by the vessels under Stone’s command. There have even been reports of executions of enemy sailors stranded at sea. However the fleet seem to reserve their worst brand of violence for the vessels of the Britannic navy. No one knows why this is, not even the crew of the Night Watch itself, but all sailors of the Kingdom of Britannia know that if they spy a black ship on the horizon they should beware. The condemnation of his superiors is never far behind the 5th Fleet but if Commodore Stone cares he gives no sign.

However, Stone’s popularity at home and infamy abroad has made it difficult for any meaningful sanction to be levelled against him or the captains beneath his command. Indeed there are many within the fleet that believe themselves untouchable, and even above the rest of the fleet. To many Stone is a hero. Others see Stone and the 5th as a rogue element that sooner or later will either turn on their own or be brought to task. Which ever the answer be, none can deny that Stone and his fleet of raven black ships are a powerful force both at home and abroad.

The battleships of the 5th fleet share a rivalry that borders on the reckless. The Sword of Truth has a long and illustrious history formerly at the hands of Commodore Stone and now with the firm hand of Captain Jacob Harris. The Shield of Reason however had only just been commissioned 2 years previously. Captain Oscar Ashwind, a native to the Polar South, is determined to see his vessel recorded in the annals of history no matter the cost.

The Sword of Truth was once known as the Stalwart, the flagship of the 5th Fleet prior to the commissioning of the CSS History’s Judgement. A proud ship with an illustrious and bloody history. It was the Stalwart, under Stone’s command, had sailed into Port Stanley during the daring raid to rescue Covenant POWs. When command passed to Captain Jacob Harris there was much pomp and ceremony as few ships in the Covenant navy had seen as much combat as the Stalwart. Captain Harris was one of Stone’s prodigies and was almost as angry and bitter with the world having come up through the ranks listening to Stone’s rhetoric.

Although Harris had every right to be bitter. Hailing from Boston in the FSA and raised Irish Catholic he had a successful fishing business, a well-regarded family and was betrothed to a lady of good standing and better breeding. And all at the age of twenty-two. Harris was a keen boxer and had a weakness for cards although a sixth sense kept him from losing either that often. But his real weakness was the comfort he found in his fiancée. Both were raised as devout Catholics and knew the risks of indulging in carnal desires but neither cared. Until his betrothed fell pregnant.

Buckling under the weight of responsibility, despite the mutual familial support, he fled to the ocean on-board one of his fishing steamers. It didn’t take long for him to realise his cowardice and brought the boat about. However fate intervened and a storm crippled the vessel before it could make port. Set adrift it took a month for Harris to coax the boat home. In his absence his assets had been seized by his fiancée’s family to support her as she was now all but outcast. Ostracised and destitute Harris stole one his former vessels and headed South.

Assigned to the 5th Fleet as a rating his seamanship skills were quickly noticed and quickly ascended the ranks. He saw Stone has a kindred spirit and proof, if any were needed, that a broken man need not stay broken and his could visit his vengeance on those wronged him. Harris was far better at concealing his anger at the world and his promotion to Captain was quickly affirmed. He wasted no time renaming the Stalwart as much to symbolise the passing of a torch as to represent the righteous history the ship had. Her hull black as night, she was a true predator of the oceans and had the kill count to suit.

To list its successes under Stone would take time but arguably longer under Harris’ command. Volunteering the Sword of Truth for any and all covert or surgical strike missions to test the mettle of his ship and crew. The Sword made headlines world-wide for infiltrating and laying waste to the naval yards at both Boston and New York city before slipping off into the night. The attack was condemned by the FSA and her allies for the loss of civilian life and although the Covenant didn’t agree with Harris’ methods, like much of the 5th Fleet, they couldn’t argue with the results.

The Sword of Truth would continue its reign of terror in the Atlantic Ocean both as part of wider fleet actions and on its own attacking supply ships and patrols with impunity, each attack more ruthless than the last as Harris and his crew became every more proficient at their craft until fate once again intervened. The FSA, frustrated with the constant loss of their supply ships laid a trap, arming the supply ships with turrets and concealing torpedo bombers where possible. As the Sword of Truth sailed silently amongst the supply ships all but submerged, it took its first ranging shot. However instead of scattering vessels, the ocean lit up with explosions as turrets responded all around the noble battleship.

In the same moment bombers took to the skies, the air filling with whizzing tracers and the howl of prop engines. Harris, furious at the FSA’s deception ordered all weapons to fire as the battleship fought free of the supply ships that were slowing encircling it. As explosions blossomed in the night sky the bombers dropped their payloads, torpedoes surging towards the Sword, ripping gaping wounds in the ship’s hull. Fires broke out across the Sword as she fought with all her worth to break out. Harris realised he stood at the edge of his undoing and was ready to give the evacuation order when explosions tore through a vessel on the Sword’s port side. A moment later another supply ship blew apart, its hull snapping in two and dropping beneath the waves. In the half-light of burning fuel Harris and his crew could make out the forms of jet black Covenant frigates as they dipped beneath the waves to unleash deadly torpedo salvos.

Seeing his opportunity Harris ordered the Sword to surface and make a break for it however a heavy transport blocked her path, a 36inch cannon mounted on her prow slowly rotating for a killing shot. Harris did not hesitate, ordering the use of the particle cannon. The force of the shot destroyed the transport utterly but the strain on the Sword was almost too much, blowing out systems and relays and all but crippled the ship.

It took 2 months for the frigates to tow the dying ship back to friendly waters, once again giving Harris plenty of time to consider his actions. That was twice his compulsive nature had almost gotten him killed and resolved to do better. Stone saw the change in him and knew he had become the officer that the Covenant needed him to be. It took a further 6 weeks for the Sword of Truth to be fully repaired. Once again a part of the 5th Fleet she has been restored to a position of fear in the hearts of her enemies and pride in those of her allies.

The Shield of Reason although visually identical to the Sword of Truth is the superior ship. All but brand new the Shield has the most sophisticated technology available to it including the type 2 range finders for faster target resolutions as well as the latest IFF device that allows the Covenant to identify its ships in the tumult of battle.

Captain Oscar Ashwind is as new a senior officer as his ship has rolled off the production line. Brought to Antarctica as a child by his South African parents amongst the first wave of travellers seeking a new life, Ashwind is as close to first generation Antarctican as can be. Growing up with his three brothers they were schooled in the discoveries that were being made on almost daily basis. All three excelled at their studies and all were destined for a life at the forefront of Covenant science. That was until the Covenant mobilised for war. Of the three, Oscar was the only one who felt an obligation to serve his adopted people in the coming dark days. Ever the idealist he joined the navy and bade his brothers farewell for what would prove to be the last time.

During his basic training Oscar received word that his two brothers had been killed aboard a science ship that was heading for a small chain of islands South East of the isle of South Georgia by whalers who mistook them for a military vessel. Distraught Ashwind threw himself into his career determined to make his brothers proud despite their misgivings about the armed forces. Oscar Ashwind was bright and eager and his scientific knowledge saw him spend much of his early career in engine rooms or in the R&D division. Ashwind’s potential, however, came to the fore when serving about the Stargazer, a Plato Class cruiser of the 9th fleet, as chief engineer.

Whilst on routine patrol the Stargazer was ambushed by a French flotilla. The initial volley struck just below the bridge, killing the senior staff and sowing disarray through the ship. Realising he was the most senior office on board, Ashwind took command of the vessel. He ordered a general distress call to be sent and then sent the Stargazer all ahead into battle. Through a series of daring scissor actions and hit and run attacks the Stargazer crippled two of its attackers and sunk a third all the while leading the French on a merry chase around the South Atlantic. Ashwind understood the odds all too well but was determined to reap a heavy toll for the craven acts of the French. Ashwind never got his chance as just as the French surrounded the battered Cruiser ready to deliver the killing blow the remainder of the 9th arrived and tore the French to pieces.

Upon his return home he was hailed as a hero and promoted. His actions against the French caught the eye of Commodore Stone and offered him the bridge of the Shield of Reason. The decision rankled his other officers, none more so than Harris of the Sword of Truth. But Stone cared little for their opinions and enjoyed sparking healthy competition as they strove to earn his notice. Stone had chosen Ashwind for his guile and determination under pressure. Not to mention it made an undeniable amount of sense for the most advanced vessel in his fleet to be commanded by a former chief engineer.

Between Harris and Ashwind relations are cordial. Harris loathes the young upstart for his meteoric rise through the ranks and the fame its brought him, not to mention a string of successful naval engagements that will only help his chances of further advancement. Ashwind looks up to Harris and takes his ship into the heart of the fight in the hope of winning his fellow battleship commander’s approval, unknowing that every victory and act of valour drives a great wedge between them.

In contrast the Olympia is one of the oldest ships in the Covenant armada. Of course in reality the Olympia has had just about every component and deck plank replaced for one reason or another by the ships soul remains pure. Before the war broke out the Olympia and all carriers were designed to be exploration vessels, the drones to be used to map vast areas of land, rather than instruments of war. Needless to say the fate of the Olympia took a different path.  The Olympia has been attached to, at one time or another, four different fleets. Prior becoming the only carrier of the 5th fleet it belonged to the 1st fleet. Revered by every serving member of the Covenant military and civilians alike the 1st fleet were at the spear tip of the Covenant warmachine and the Olympia was a grand a proud part of that.

Covenant carriers are tough by the standards of most battleships and the Olympia was no exception. Often found where the fighting was thickest, its drones flinging themselves into the hulls of enemy ships, she had as fearsome reputation as any warship in the warring world. However, one fateful day, during a prolonged and bloody engagement with the Prussians in the mid Atlantic the Olympia was surrounded and set upon by a unit of frigates. With little crew to defend itself the Olympia quickly fell with little crew to defender her.

Beset on all sides the 1st fleet were in danger of being destroyed. Only the timely intervention of a relief force consisting of elements from the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th fleets, including the 5th fleet frigate squadron The Coppertails prevented a complete disaster. Lieutenant Sampson Earl of the frigate Clever Girl spotted the Olympia running Prussian colours. Moving the rest of his squadron in position using the rough seas to cover their advance the crews attacked en masse. The Prussians lacked the numbers to make a concerted defence and within minutes the Olympia was once again in Covenant hands.

With the Prussians driven off the 1st fleet was escorted back to Antarctica for refit and repair. The Olympia’s fate however now rested with the 5th as it was Lieutenant Earl that rescued the carrier and was his to command. Being granted a promotion to full Commander, Earl is the most junior officer in Covenant history to command a carrier, but does so with great skill, putting the carriers fearsome weaponry to as great a use as its drones.

The Olympia is not the only ship to have been absorbed into the 5th fleet. Indeed the Titan, Deimos and Phobos were survivors of the Midway disaster in which elements of the 2nd, 7th and 10th fleets were ambushed by the FSA. Surrounded on all sides the Covenant fought valiantly against a vastly superior force.

The squadron of armoured cruisers moved as one, their co-ordination going far beyond the IFF that the Covenant have blessed their ships of war with. Hunting as a pack they punched holes in the FSA formations allowing their comrades to break out. Ultimately it was for nought and few made it beyond the range of the FSA’s guns. Only the Titan, Deimos and Phobos made it home.

Although officially still attached to the 7th, Stone recognised in their captains and crew the same thirst for revenge that burned in his heart and he gave them that chance. Leaving the Antarctic, Stone took the 5th fleet along the pacific coast of the Americas and, under the cover of darkness destroyed the FSA flotilla at anchor in Pearl Harbour. The destruction wrought by the armoured cruisers’ particle cannons was the stuff of nightmares. Such was the destruction the base was crippled for a full year and even now cannot hold a full battle group within its waters. Branded an act of cowardice by the FSA they placed a bounty on the heads of the captains of the Titan, Deimos and Phobos much to the amusement of them and their newly adopted fleet, earning them the nickname The Wanted.

So fearsome are the ships and crew of the squadron they are rarely found far from History’s Judgement when deployed, lending their strength to hers and leaving nothing but destruction on their wake.

The cruisers of the 5th fleet are its solid, immovable, core. Of all the changes experienced by the fleet, the cruisers of Orion Fornax squadrons have endured them all. Before Stone’s ascension to command the cruisers were the mainstay of the 5th fleet. Indeed when it was first commissioned the fleet was commanded by the cruiser  Galileo of Orion squadron. Superlative sailors to a man, the crews plied the icy waves with the ease of men and women born to it.

It was these mighty cruisers that rescued Stone and his crippled frigate from the clutches of the FSA, the cruisers utterly surrounding the American forces to catch them in a deadly cross fire of turret fire and broadsides. Ever since then the Galileo, Pegasus, Constellation, Ganymede, Griffin & Cassiopeia  have been at the heart of every action the 5th fleet has been apart of, both officially and unofficially.

The captains of these fine warships were at first resentful of Stone’s rise to command. Most of Captain Hendrik Boettcher, the junior of the 6. When Stone was given overall command, prior to the commissioning of the Relentless (Sword of Truth), he was given command of the Constellation, forcing him to take overall command of the frigates. In truth it was the best thing Captain Boettcher could have done. So use to fighting on his own against small raiding parties or single ships it reminded him of the importance and benefits of coordinated attacks at a time when the 5th fleet was beginning fleet sized actions.

After the Relentless had joined the fleet and Stone had moved his flag aboard, Boettcher once again took command of the Constellation, bringing with him a wealth of ideas of how the mainstay of the 5th fleet should operate and although Captain Theodore Bern has overall command, Boettcher’s insight into squadron tactics are invaluable.

Bern is a tough man to impress. Formerly of the Britannic navy and an instructor at the Portsmouth naval academy, Bern resigned his commission in protest over a suicide mission into Russian waters to steal the Whit Navy’s experimental glacia generator technology. His firm hand natural teaching ability has made him the ideal candidate to temper the wilder impulses of commanding officers that have graduated from the Coppertails. Those that don’t heed his lessons either find themselves demoted or killed.

Despite his British noble and naval background Stone respects and trusts Bern completely having proved himself time and time again both defending the Antarctic coast and in the open waters in the thick of the fighting. Indeed since taking command of the 5th, Stone has relied n Bern’s council and has become one of his most valuable and trusted advisors and has been granted the honorary title of master of the armoury. An outmoded idea but a sign of respect between the two men, both of whom were native to England. Bern is a master tactician. Indeed having a defector in your midst can certainly provide advantageous tactics and fleet deployments.

Although not as powerful as the larger capitol ships in the fleet they make up for it in adaptability and possessing shield generators makes them a very tough nut to crack, something that the captains take full advantage of. Indeed it is not uncommon for the vessels of Orion Fornax squadrons to sail into the heart of enemy formations, shields flaring, to unleash the full potential of their broadsides and turrets.

Both squads have served Stone with distinction since he took command taking part in the raid on the Falklands Islands, the Olympia rescue, Auckland schism and battle of the West Sturgeon Straights. They wear their black livery with pride acknowledging the achievements of Stone and the 5th fleet as a whole. Going from coastal patrols to full pitched battles in the open ocean was a gear shift that some of the crew struggled to make.

Up until recently the cohesion within the cruiser squadrons has been second to none. However, after Ashwind’s promotion and assignment to command the Shield of Reason tensions have grown between the senior staff as each captain fancies themselves in with a chance at commanding that mighty battleship. All the Cruiser captains covet the Shield and Sword equally and have begun to keep tallies of their kills and their after action reports submitted to Stone have become increasingly florid.

Fortunately for Stone, when in combat the crews of the Galileo, Pegasus, Constellation, Ganymede, Griffin & Cassiopeia conduct themselves with the utmost discipline. They save the bragging for after.

However few are more blohard than the Coppertails. 

Officially designated 109 squadron, the ‘Coppertails’ represent the light element of the 5th fleet under Commodore Aldous Stone. Made up of 12 Diogenes Class frigates it is rare for a Covenant fleet to favour a particular class of support vessel over others so overwhelmingly. However, the composition of a fleet has as much to do with the commanding officer as it does the Covenants ministry of war and Stone’s history with the vessel makes it a staple choice.

Painted black like all other vessels of the 5th Fleet, the Coppertails earned their moniker because of the copper plating encasing the rear or the ships. This was as much an aesthetic choice on the part of Commodore Stone as to improve the signal broadcast by the Covenant’s rudimentary IFF transmitter. The technology still in its early stages, the 5th fleet rely heavily on it due to their preference for night operations as it allows them to co-ordinate their attacks with unerring accuracy.

The crews of the Coppertails squadron are renowned in the Covenant armed services for their cavalier and bragging behaviour, prone to outrageous boasts and wagers amongst themselves and other personnel. This devil-may-care attitude has been carefully encouraged by Commodore Stone recognising the benefit of war hungry crews on board such small ships. Their bravado is born of those that have a considerably shorter life expectancy than almost any other element of the 5th fleet.

In the water the commanding officers of the Coppertails band together in three flights of 4, operating as a pack and isolating much larger vessels and harrying them to destruction with withering torpedo attacks. And boasting rights to the captain delivering the killing blow. Their boisterous and arrogant nature isolates them from their fellow officers, especially those in the 5th fleet who look upon them with mild shame as all officers in the 5th fleet start their lives as officers in the Coppertails and all were as insufferable as their junior fellow officers.

Commodore Stone started his career aboard a frigate and won much fame stood on its bridge. As well as some hard lessons. He sees to it that every newly commissioned officer assigned to his fleet serves with the renowned Coppertails. Some see it as a punishment, others as a test. In reality it’s both and about learning some valuable lessons. The crews of the Coppertails are exceptional having survived life aboard a frigate and in the hands of unproven and arrogant officers. The good officers will listen and learn, the bad ones will get themselves killed one way or another.

Despite this Stone does all he can to stir up competition between the officers of the squadron, offering rewards and plum assignments for valour and confirmed kills. But this too is a lesson; to help them understand the difference between arrogance and confidence and command and leadership. Those that fail to learn these lessons either end up dead, along with the men under their command, or spend their careers as boorish sea dogs taking ever greater risks to win glory and their Commodore’s praise although neither are forthcoming. Stone will never put these poor souls out of their misery as he recognises that a driven and reckless officer has its uses.

These disparate personalities can sometimes mean that the squadron lacks cohesion and will often follow their own objectives but this too has its benefits, quickly highlighting to Stone which are able to bring their flight or the squadron under control for the greater good.

This would normally sow confusion amongst the rest of the fleet but Stone’s will is absolute and his officers know to trust his command. And Stone is quite happy for his Coppertails to engage the enemy on their own terms as this only further benefits his plans. If anything their apparently haphazard approach to war can be a boon, their aggression and speed saved the lives of the Sword of Truth following a FSA trap.

The newest element of the 5th fleet is escort groups Skyshield and Sentinel. How they came to be attached to the 5th fleet is most unconventional and speaks of Stone’s strength of will and influence within the Covenant and the wider world.

Following the attack on Pearl Harbour and the bounties placed on the heads of The Wanted Aldus Stone began to receive death threats that indicated an assassin was within the Covenant. The admiralty immediately assigned bodyguards to keep Stone safe however the man was a cult of personality and as such refused to be seen so weak.

The six men charged with his protection were some of the finest marines ever produced by the Covenant but even they struggled to keep track of Stone. They even found themselves left behind after Stone had managed to slip aboard the Judgement and mobilise the fleet without telling a soul.

In a heated exchange with the admiralty he continually refused to acknowledge the need for protection but his superiors would not be dissuaded. In a fit of frustration he was recorded to have bellowed ‘If you want them to watch my arse, give them some escorts and put them to some real use.’ So they did. Each marine was prompted to Commander and charged with the protection of Commodore Stone. Although now a part of his fleet Stone still doesn’t make it easy on his protectors, choosing to assign them to his battleships rather than be chased around the waves by guard dogs.

This isn’t to say the escorts aren’t put to good use. Indeed the crews have flourished under the command of such hardened soldiers, drilling them to peak efficiency. Working seamlessly as squadrons these plucky escorts go after any threat without a second thought, filling the air with walls of lead or harrying ships much bigger than their own with weapons fire. How they have survived every without loss or serious damage after all this time is miraculous.

The final element of the 5th fleet is the 82nd bomber squadron the Night Furies. In truth Stone dislikes the use of aerial elements but can’t deny their effectiveness in battle. Especially with their extraordinary manoeuvrability allows them to strike and then withdraw with almost supernatural speed.

The 5th fleet’s penchant for night operations combined with their black colour scheme not only gives the Night Furies a tremendous advantage not only when making their attack runs but also their survivability quite at odds with the average life expectancy of similar squadrons in both the covenant and the wider world.

Despite this fact Stone generally prefers to leave the Night Furies in reserve seeing them as a liability due to their relatively limited range. One he commits to the hunt he is relentless and having to hold on station and await refuel for his bombers rankled him and has left them behind on more than one occasion.

For all their kills and valour in combat they remain an all but unused element of the 5th fleet but even Stone admits this must change with his foes relying on air elements more and more and has even requested a Daedalus class to be permanently attached to the fleet to bolster his air arm for when he inevitably needs it.

Necron Codex Rumours

I know this somewhat flies in the face of my post last night but the information was right there so there wasn’t and real work involved.
Anyway, below is rumoured rules and background for the impending Codex Necrons. Add salt to taste…

I’ll start with the background as there’s been a bit of a direction change which you’ll need to appreciate before you get to the units. Please note this is copied from a post from the Bell of Lost Souls Lounge, and not, in any way, written by me. But it does all sound rather tasty:

The Necrontyr’s empire was massive at one point, but the different Lords in the empire started to turn against each other in civil war. To prevent this from happening the overall ruler of the Necrons (the Silent King) started the war against the Old Ones specifically to give them a common enemy to fight against to prevent his empire from destroying itself. Of course, the Old Ones ended up kicking their butts and in desperation, the Silent King found the C’Tan and agreed to the Deceiver’s pact without realizing what he was doing. However, after the Necrons helped the C’Tan to kill off the last Old Ones, the Silent King then ordered the Necrons to turn on the C’Tan in vengeance and utterly destroyed the C’Tan into tiny shards. This war agains the C’Tan weakened the Necrons overall so much they decided to go into stasis to avoid the vengeance of the Eldar (the C’Tan had killed the Old Ones, but not all their children).

Now that the Necrons have reawakened in the 41st millennium, their goal is no longer to ‘harvest’ souls for the C’Tan (the C’Tan shards are now their slaves) as it was in the old book, but rather to reestablish the great Necron empire that spanned the galaxy before the war with the Old Ones began. However, the overall hierarchy of the Necron people is gone for the most part, leaving each individual Empire to once again rule for itself. This means each Tomb World (or cluster of Necron worlds) is essentially a separate little empire to itself, with a full backstory and idiosyncrasies. While Necron warriors are pretty much just automatons and Immortals not too much better, every other higher Necron being is now much more like an actual person, as their essence is simply trapped inside a metal body.

So there is lots of crazy nuance to Necron culture that was never present before. The codex now has plenty of ‘quote’ boxes featuring memorable quotes from Necron Lords like other races have in their books. There are some Necron Lords who honor valor in battle, there are a few Necron Lords who trade with other races, and although an uneasy alliance apparently, yes Necrons and Blood Angels did end up fighting against a Tyranid Hive Fleet together. Oh, and there is definitely plenty of reason to have Necron vs. Necron action now (as the old feuds between competing Necron Lords flare back up again).

All in all, it is a major tonal shift. While part of me recoils from it, the other part of me thinks that Necrons as they were had no distinct ‘character’ that each player could choose to get behind. Yes, the race as a whole had ‘character’ in how it was organized and functioned, but there was never any really good reason that a player should have his Necron force painted and modeled ‘X’ way as opposed to another player with his Necron army looking ‘Y’ way. People certainly painted their Necrons in different (neat) ways, but there was never really any good fluff giving players inspiration to do so.

The only real ‘personality’ in the old book was the Deceiver, and that frankly wasn’t the Necrons, it was their god. The mindless mission that all Necrons were on was basically really similar to Tyranids…the Necrons were coming to harvest every living thing in the galaxy (yawn).

This new incarnation, love it or hate it, gives the Necrons a whole wide array of personality and every single empire has different goals and motives (not to mention paint schemes, markings, etc). Some Necron Lords are obsessed with finding the perfect flesh bodies to transfer their sentience back into. One Necron Tomb World was damaged during the great sleep and erased all the Necron sentience and has started basically commanding its Necrons like true robots (and is actively attacking other Necron worlds to take them over and keep growing), and there are of course dozens more little stories. The Silent King, who put himself into exile (for his unforgivable crime against his people) by leaving the galaxy after defeating the C’Tan encountered the Tyranids in the void between galaxies and has returned to spur the Necrons into action against the Tyranids (realizing that if the Tyranids wipe the galaxy clean of biological matter, then the Necrons will never find a form to transfer their minds back into).

Oh, and the biggest rival of the Necrons is now actually the Altaoic (sp?) Craftworld. Apparently they are the only Eldar who stayed true on the original path to seek out and destroy Necron Tomb Worlds while the rest of the Eldar got all caught up and destroyed in their decadence and then the Fall. Altaoic rangers have traveled the galaxy far and wide over the millennia (ever since the Necrons went to sleep) to track down and destroy or hamper Tomb Worlds from reawakening.

So with this new direction there is now tons of different possibilities for players to make Necrons forces different from each other and there are neat new takes on ‘nemesis’ races like Eldar & Tyranids to drive gaming plots as well as good reason for Necron on Necron battles.

And as for totally destroying the background of the C’Tan, the codex does allude to the fact that there are lots of unaccounted for C’Tan shards still allegedly cast around the galaxy. The Necron are always trying to hunt them down and imprison them (in pocket dimension prisons), but this does still leave the door totally wide open for a shard of ‘The Dragon’ to be on Mars and for shards of ‘The Deceiver’ to have done all the crazy things that’s been written about him in novels. Essentially, the full power C’Tan were massively, massively powerful, and the ‘shard’ versions of them are closer to the idea of what we had in the last codex anyway (something that can be killed/banished on a battlefield).

So while it is a little shocking to have such a massive fluff change hit, I do think it is probably the right way forward to create a more fully realized faction. But I do think it is probably going to be a massive turn-off to those players who absolutely adored the old fluff for the army.

Rules:

HQ

• Imotekh the Stormlord (Lord of the Sau): The most powerful Necron Overlord currently. A master strategist whose nemesis is the Orks (since their random nature is the only thing that can accidentally disrupt his flawless plans).

• Nemesor Zahndrekh: Overlord damaged in the great sleep who still thinks he is flesh and blood fighting the war of secession against his brother Necrontyr. Therefore, he is one of the few Necron Lords who still fights with honor and valor towards his enemies. Has a bodyguard named Vargard Obryron.

• Illuminor Szeras: The Necrontyr who took the C’Tan’s knowledge to do bio-transfer and actually made it a reality…so he’s the chief architect within the Necrons for actually making the bio-transference happen. He is a master of technology and can augment D3 units in the army with an augmentation.

• Orikan the Diviner: A master astromancer (a Cryptek specializing in tech that can predict the future), he is renown for knowing what will happen and when. During the game he is able to achieve a ‘powered up’ state that gives him a greatly increases statline, but this boost can randomly end on any turn dropping him back down to his regular stats.

• Anrakyr the Traveller: A Necron Lord whose goal is to unite the Necron Empires again. He travels to Tomb Worlds still sleeping and kills the ‘lesser’ inhabitants that may live there unaware they are on a Tomb World, the ‘price’ for this service is to claim a tithe from the newly awakened legions. Some Necrons see him as a golden crusader others don’t want reunification and would rather see him dead.

• Trazyn the Infinite: He is a Necron who woke very early and is fascinated with studying and collecting history. His tomb world is filled with secret trinkets including (I quote) ‘a giant of a man clad in baroque power armor’ (start your wild theories here!). He even will attack other Necron tomb worlds to capture artifacts from them that he doesn’t think they deserve. He is the character that has the CC ability to pick one type of model he killed that round and inflict wounds on all models of that type in the combat.

• Necron Overlord: Generic DIY Necron Overlord (guy who rules a Tomb World) with plenty of options. Can ride on a Catacomb Command Barge (which is a one man transport) as can all the named ‘Lords’ above, but not those that are Crypteks in their fluff (Illuminor Szeras & Orikan the Diviner). Also can be a Destroyer Lord instead.

• Royal Court: 0-5 regular Necron Lords (lieutenants to the Overlords) as well as 0-5 Crypteks. Crypteks are masters of Necron technology, whose abilities sometimes appear like sorcery to other races, but they do not have any psychic powers…all their abilities do not require a psychic test or anything like that (nor are they ever referred to as psychic powers in any way). Any member of the Court (Lord or Cryptek) can be split off at the start of the game to lead a unit of Warriors, Immortals, Lychguard or Deathmarks (but only one per unit). Neither Lords nor Crypteks are ICs.

DEDICATED TRANSPORTS

• Night Scythe: A variant of the Doom Scythe fighter that is a 15 model flyer transport with the ‘supersonic’ 36″ flat-out move that the new flyers (that are really skimmers) have. Can carry jump infantry models (taking up 2 spots each) and fire all its weapons even when moving at cruising speed. Has living metal (chance to ignore crew shaken & stunned) but not quantum shielding (which gives +2 armor until the vehicle suffers its first glancing or penetrating hit). AV 11/11/11 like most Necron vehicles (not open-topped though).

• Ghost Ark: 10 model transport, Open-topped AV11 with quantum shielding and living metal. Also is able to regenerate D3 models to one unit within 6″ each Necron movement phase (but cannot take the unit above its starting size).

• Catacomb Command Barge: One-man vehicle for most ICs. Open-topped AV11 with quantum shielding & living metal. Can make sweep attacks over 3 enemy units it passes over when it moves. Also the character can lose wounds to negate immobilized or weapon destroyed results.

ELITES

• Deathmarks: 24″ range rapid-fire AP 5 sniper unit that can choose to Deep Strike in immediately after any enemy unit arrives from Reserves (which just allows the enemy to fire at them first?)…teleporting in from a pocket dimension to target their prey. They can also mark a single unit as their ‘target’ which allows them to roll to wound on a 2+. Beautiful models from the pics leaked, but at the point cost listed I can’t see them ever being used except to see those great models on the table. Can be transported on a Night Scythe.

• Lychguard: Traditionally these have been the bodyguards for the Overlords. Come standard with Warscythes (+2 Strength Power weapon) and can replace them with Hyperphase swords (power weapon) and Dispersion Shields (the thing that gives them a 4+ invuln and reflects enemy shooting). I made a mistake before. The Shields don’t only reflect enemy shooting within 6″, they reflect all enemy shooting, but only against enemy units who are within 6″ of them (they reflect saved wounds, they don’t affect blast/templates, for example). Can be transported on a Night Scythe.

• Triarch Ptaetorians: These used to be effectively the ‘police’ (my term) of the main Necron ruler (the last of which was the Silent King) to help enforce his will onto the Lords of the Empire. They are known to respect great warriors and honor valor and have sometimes ordered Necron Overlords to stop attacking a foe they deemed worthy of respect (much to the Lord’s chagrin). They are Jump Infantry with a 6″ AP2 S5 weapon. They can swap that out for Void Blades (a weapon with Rending and the same Entriopic ability that Scarabs have) and Particle Casters (a pistol weapon). No transport option.

• C’Tan Shard: Must take 2 of the 11 listed ability choices that basically shape what kind of C’Tan shard you’re fielding. No ability can be taken more than once in the army (even if you take 3 C’Tan shards in the army). The statline is slightly less impressive than previous incarnations of the C’Tan, but still pretty decent. Also has Eternal Warrior and ignores all terrain penalties. Still explodes D6″ when they die. Fluff-wise, these are shards effectively controlled by the Necron (even though they have most shards locked away in pocket dimensions). Each shard represents only a portion of the power and consciousness of the C’Tan and therefore in battle the C’Tan may not even think to utilize some of its power because the portion of it that knows it has ‘X’ power simply isn’t there. This is essentially what explains why they only have access to 2 special abilities in battle.

• Flayed Ones: 3 Attacks base (and no additional CC weapons). Can infiltrate or Deep Strike. No transport options.

• Triarch Stalker: Concept Sketch shows a Triarch Praetorian sitting in an open-topped cockpit that is riding on a Necron-style giant almost scorpion walker set of legs. Very cool looking IMHO. Has a variable heat ray (which can be upgraded to a couple of other weapons) that can either be fired as a template or as an Assault 2 S8 24″ Heavy2 Melta weapon. Has a Targeting relay which means that any enemy unit hit by the Stalker gets a counter placed by it that allows all other Necron units shooting at the same unit that phase to count as being twin-linked. AV11 & open-topped, but does have Quantum shielding & Living Metal.

TROOPS

• Warriors: You know them, you love them. Described as being basically automatons, with very little (if any) sentience. These were the non-warrior Necontyr before the bio-conversion. See my previous rumors (in the OP) for details on their points cost, etc. Can be transported on a Ghost Ark or Night Scythe.

• Immortals: Immortals are said to have the ability to at least speak, but still aren’t too much brighter than Warriors. These were Elite warriors of the Necrontyr before the conversion (not sure who the rank and file troops were if the Warriors were the non-combatants and the Immortals were the Elite soldiers?). Can exchange their Gauss Blasters for Tesla Carbines (24″ S5 Assault1, extra hit inflicted on a ‘to hit’ roll of ‘6’) Can be transported on a Night Scythe.

FAST ATTACK

• Canoptek Wraiths: Protectors of the Tombs while the hosts slumber. Jump Infantry who ignore terrain. 3A base with Rending. All models can take one of a few different upgrades including a Whip Coil (nearly identical to a Tyranid Lash Whip), particle caster (pistol) or a Exile Beamer (12″ range that kills a random model in the target unit unless it passes a Strength test).

• Canoptek Scarabs: See the rumors copied in the OP for more details on what Scarbs do now.

• Tomb Blades: Jet Bikes. From the artwork, these look like Necron warriors fused into a flying crescent throne carrying a weapon harness in their arms that is base twin-linked Tesla Carbines. The fluff says that they are pre-programmed with a bunch of different flight patterns and vectors that the onboard Warrior chooses from on the fly. this mitigates the fact that a Warrior has poor coordination, but since the programs are so advanced, in reality they act basically like any other similar unit in an enemy army despite the fact that their ‘pilots’ are much slower to react. They can upgrade their weapons to a couple different choices (twin-linked Gauss Blaster or Particle Beamer). The entire unit can take any of the 3 options: Nebuloscope (increases BS to 5), Shield Vanes (increased armor save to 3+) & Shadowloom (Stealth).

• Destroyers: New fluff that says Destroyers are infected with some kind of degenerative virus that causes their sole purpose in life to be to kill their enemies. As such they hate everyone and have the Preferred Enemy special rule against everyone (as do Destroyer Lords). They are Jump Infantry now. Any model in the unit can upgrade to a Heavy Destroyer.

HEAVY SUPPORT

• Doomsday Ark: Variant of the Ghost Ark transport: Open-topped, AV11, Quantum Shielding, Living Metal. Something I forogot to say about the Ghost Ark…each Guass Flayer array (5 Flayers) on each side is allowed to fire at a different enemy target (and different from the Doomsday Cannon). Not entirely clear whether a weapon destroyed takes out a whole array or not, but I’m leaning towards yes. The Doomsday cannon has two profiles, one for if the vehicle did or didn’t move that turn (with the non-moving one being 72″ range S9 AP1 Large Blast). The moving profile only has a 24″ range and a S7 blast. Basically described as gunboat whose strategy is to hit first and destroy the enemy before they can fire back.

• Annihilation Barge: Described as anti-infantry support platforms. Variant of the Catacomb Command Barge: Open-topped, AV11, Quantum Shielding, Living Metal. Has a twin-linked Tesla Destructor & a Tesla Cannon, but can upgrade the cannon to a Gauss Cannon. Not exactly sure why you’d want to do that except for the extra range (36″ for the Gauss Cannon as opposed to all Tesla weapons which are 24″ range).

• Monolith: 35 Point reduction along with corresponding nerf in invulnerability (were you not expecting that?). Still AV 14 and still has Living Metal (although again that only helps remove Crew Stunned/Shaken now). Can still Deep Strike but no longer has invulnerability from Mishaps. Has 4 Gauss Flux Arcs (which are now just Heavy 3 instead of randomly rolled). Particle whip is now just a straight up S8 AP3 24″ large blast. The portal can be used to either transport any non-vehicle friendly Necron unit through it or to suck enemy models within 6″ to instant death who fail a Strength Test. No bonus to reanimation protocols (the replacement for WBB) is present. Although, at the end of the day, this is still an AV14 vehicle all around, which is pretty imposing in the current game. Unfortunately all of its weapons are really close range, which means it will also now tend to be in Melta range…

• Doom Scythe: Pure fighter variant of the Night Scythe. AV11 with Living Metal (but no Quantum Shielding or open-topped). Is supersonic (36″ flat-out) and can fire all its weapons when moving at cruising speed. Has a twin-linked tesla Destructor & a Death Ray, which allows a 3D6″ line to be drawn (with one end of the line being within 12″ of the vehicle) and causes a number of hits on every unit crossed by the line equal to the number of MODELS in the unit hit. Oh and did I mention that these hits are S10 AP1? Nasty indeed! But at nearly 200 pts for an AV11 vehicle, to get within 12″ to unleash this beast will probably be a bit rough.

• Tomb Spyders: The artwork makes them look much more flying and nimble, like giant Scarabs. Can now repair vehicles like a Techmarine, Big Mek, etc. Can take an anti-psychic defense against any power targeting a friendly unit within 3″ (nullified on a 4+). Can still create Scarab Swarms, but only into existing swarms on the table (they no longer form a unit with the Spyder) and it can still take damage if it rolls a ‘1’ while doing so. Can take Whip Coils (by giving up a close combat weapon and a +1 to repair vehicles) which is like a Tyranid Lash Whip. Can take 1 or 2 Particle Beamers (by removing its CC/fixer arms) to do so. 1-3 in a unit.