Hot off the presses and hot on heels of the new Helbrute kit we have the Helbrute Dataslate.
Being a long-term Chaos Space Marine player, with a penchant for the slightly crazed, and considering that the Helbrute kit is really rather good (see my previous review for more on that front), I am pleased to report that the dataslate adds another, rather funky, aspect to including these lumbering, homicidal, dameon engines in a Chaos Space Marine army.
First up, the dataslate reiterates and expands the background surrounding the Helbrute. The additional fluff builds upon the elements of the character of the Helbrute that I like the most. Just as the unpredictability in their rules demonstrates, the various denizen commanders of the traitor legions struggle, as much as they revel, in the tactical complexities inherent in deploying Helbrutes as part of a fighting force. Reading the descriptive text and accompanying prose really gives you a sense of how the presence of one or more Helbrutes in an army generates a tension within your forces. Some legions might venerate and worship the incarnate abominations crashing across the battlefield, others might treat them as purely expendable and use their abhorrent appearance to force their enemies to focus all fire to bring them down, before they can rampage through their battlelines. Games Workshop have followed on their recent theme of generating rules to support the narrative in the fluff for in-game use and provided three different formations that nicely encapsulate the bizarre character of the Helbrute and the role it can play in destroying your opponent’s forces.
There are three flavours to the formations offered by the dataslate:
What’s better than one Helbrute rampaging from your back lines across the wastes of war? Why three of course! And why not deep strike them in to maximise their threat? The Mayhem Pack allows you to take a formation of three Helbrutes and deep strike them onto the battlefield from reserve. There’s no additional cost for fielding this formation, but all Helbrutes that are fielded as part of a Mayhem Pack have to make a crazed roll (one roll affecting all pack members) at the beginning of each movement phase. It would appear that being held back from battle for ‘tactical’ reasons is not something that sits well with a psychotic, daemonic engine of destruction. Who knew?
What would you think, y’know budding cultist that you are, if the entombed remains of a deranged god-warrior now bound inside a monstrosity of metal and madness appeared next to you on the battlefield.? Well, apparently you’d want to stick to it like PVC to a Daemonette’s ass, and rush headlong into battle alongside it. The Helcult formation lets you field a Helbrute with 2 units of cultists and gives both the Helbrute and the cultists some suitable “let’s get crazy” advantages, including a 3+ cover save for the Helbrute (for the willing sacrifice of a cultist). The main drawback is that when in melee, the Helbrute’s rolls of 1 to hit means he’s mashed up a cultist instead, but if you lose the Helbrute, the cultists get kind of ticked off…
I bet when you woke up this morning your first thought was “I seriously need to field 5 Helbrutes in a unit. But only if one of them is a super nut-job that all the other Helbrutes in the unit look up to like some kind of Alphabrute of murderocity!” It’s a word. Well, you’re in luck.
I have to say, I am seriously tempted by this option. I mean just the idea of having 5 of these things as a rampaging mobile moshpit of death, smashing its way across the battlefield is enough to make me go out and buy three more kits. And I’m guessing that Games Workshop are hoping many people feel the same way. To be honest the rules aren’t that stellar. They count as a vehicle squadron, which is never a good thing and the alpha-brute/champion itself is a character who has to participate in challenges. The champion does gets an invulnerable save and means you can pick the crazed result for the whole pack. As with the Helcult, the rest of the Helbrutes get pretty aggro if you beat up their bossman, but really you aren’t going to find anyone complaining that the game is suddenly broken because of this (or any of the other) formations. It will just look frickin cool!
This isn’t a dataslate containing formations that suddenly make Chaos Space Marines the new meta or the centre of the next round of net lists, not even close. Although I do think that the Mayhem Pack has some serious potential and in the right situation the Helcult could be very handy. If, however, you’re interested in adding a chunk of Helbrute goodness with more than an average dollop of fluffy goodness to your list, then this dataslate might be right up your alley. It’ll certainly make a change from the usual multiples of Heldrakes.
Right then… Imperial Knight converted to Helbrute champion anyone? Or was that just me?