by Anonymous Foodie
Like all good Archons, I have some ideas on what I'd like to see in the new codex. I won't go into any new units or "wouldn't this be cool" ideas, but rather a simple update of "how to make our current units mesh with 5th ed".
First of all, the general concept.
Fast, mobile, hard-hitting - all concepts that have been with the True Kin since their conception. This is balanced by a relative fragility that can make a single bad turn (or even a decisive roll) turn the tide of battle moreso than most (if not all) other armies. A vet's army, but one that is very rewarding to play.
Now, starting from the top;
While I love having the tiered HQ's, I find it hard to believe that this will be retained (looking at most recent codices here).
Overall the Lord is still a viable HQ. In all honesty, he's actually pretty tame compared to a lot of things that have shown up lately. Thing is, he's cheap (just over 130 on foot), and reliable (3 wounds to whatever I feel like it on the charge in most cases).
Could he do with an update? Perhaps some more varied options beyond "Punisher or Agoniser" in terms of weapons... maybe some special rules. Perhaps including a Dread Archon could indicate a raid so horrific, that the enemy suffers a -1 to their leadership, in addition to any other modifiers.
Honestly I wouldn't mind if he basically stayed the same, but a little more flash, or some more varied options (the ability to re-roll wounds with a specialty agoniser - now that'd really make for some hefty damage) would be nice.
As I've mentioned, I don't normally run these guys. I could see them switching it up a bit, making a Master Heamonculus as the HQ slot, and taking the standard (current version) to the Elites section (as per Inquisitors/Inquisitor Lords).
For these guys I want more gear. They only have 3 weapon options (one an improved version of our poisoned blades, the others guns). Fix this. They also have no specialty wargear of any sort. Seriously? The Macabre Fraternity, the advisors, mad scientists, and torturers extrodinaire of Commorragh can't even get some cool wargear of their own? Craziness I say.
Torture devices, fear inducing mechanics, specialty combat drug cocktails... there are options here, let's capitalize.
I actually wouldn't mind seeing these guys as an Elites slot, and as Retinues (real ones) are a thing of the past, this is probably going to happen (or at least they'll be "an HQ that doesn't count as an HQ"). But I like Elites better.
So what do I want? Cheaper, for one. I know I shouldn't be comparing unit A from army A to unit B from army B, but it irks me that equal points of Incubi (heavily armored, power weapon wielding guys built to take down other heavily armored elite units) still get taken down by equal points of Scorpians (heavily armored elite guys built to take down hordes).
When Unit A is designed to take down Unit B, and Unit B is designed to take down Unit C, but then Unit B turns around and pimp smacks Unit A (and this is before the scorp's claw is even contemplated, mind you) I start to take offense.
So. Drop them to 20 points. Go ahead and give them Grenades (elite bodyguard here, show them some love). Also, turn them into a proper Aspect Warrior. How to do this you ask? Give them an Exarch.
Incubi Master - +16 (ish) points. I think most Aspects (at least the elite ones) have roughly the same upgrade cost for the Exarch... I'm thinking it should about match up. Plus, +18 on a 25 point model seems a little silly to me.
Now the fun part - Exarch powers. Yep, we gets them.
Bodyguard - if joined by an IC, each Incubi model may be allocated 2 wounds each before any IC joined to the unit must take 1. If enough wounds would be caused to allocate through the entire unit again (good job to you, sir!) then this process may be repeated.
Blade Parry - The Incubi Master and his squad benefit from a 5+ invulnerable save in close combat. (I may have accidentally stolen the name from the Swarmlord, but I called it something similar before he even existed, so there).
Defiant - Gains the Stubborn USR (and as I'm too lazy to pick up my rulebook of current, any IC that joins benefits as well if they would not normally do so).
About 10 points for each/any of these. Roughly.
And of course a couple of weapon options...
Super Punisher of Doom (name pending) - grants an additional +1S to the bearer (S5).
Disemboweller Blades - as per Drazhar; these blades cause 2 separate wounds instead of 1 whenever a successful wound roll is made (so drops two guys for every successful wound, or one 2-wound creature).
Around 10 for the upgraded Punisher, or 15 for the D Blades. Again, roughly.
Please don't beat them too hard with the nerf bat. Please? They do what they're supposed to do. And actually I generally lose them before the game is over. Just because everyone takes them doesn't mean they're too good, it just means that they're the one elites choice we have that you haven't ruined by not updating for over a decade.
Just one bit, it would be nice if they had grenades as standard. They are an elite assault unit, after all.
I would love it if their funky deployment rules stayed the same. As this is unlikely to happen, Marbo deployment (or maybe I should call it Lictor deployment, since I actually get to use those) would also be fitting.
Of course, as an assault unit it'd be nice if they could charge after popping up. Furious Charge would be a nice addition as well, to make them more than just "CCW armed warriors". Better yet, give them uber-FC; +2 to the appropriate stats on the charge, but *only* on the turn that they deploy.
This would give them a specialty niche - a very deadly surprise assault unit, however after they show up they're relying on stealth and standard combat stats (compared to the DE army, that is) to keep them alive. With this, the current cost (slightly above a Marine) would be fine by me.
A little variation (to represent different styles of races that have been toyed with) would be nice. Even just 'standard' and 'extra large' versions. As far as the basic statline, they're actually okay (ignoring most shooting is quite nice really) but without any other boost a slight decrease in points (maybe down to 13 to match Wyches) would be nice.
Honestly I don't even really want more troops choices, I just don't want my warriors to get messed with too much. As far as points/stats go, they're still pretty solid.
What I want is a different gun. Get rid of that rapid fire nonsense. Here is my ideal Splinter Rifle...
S4 AP - 18" assault 2
Justification; the gun shoots what boils down to shards of glass (that are often toxin coated for added fun). Higher strength represents powerful toxins without resorting to actual poison rules, which would be difficult to balance for a basic troop. The lack of AP... well, let's face it, even a T-shirt is going to offer some protection against a handful of glass pieces being thrown at you.
Okay, so maybe not if those glass shards are fired from a potato gun (or the futuristic, technologically advanced version of one)... but you get the idea. It's not exactly known for penetrating power.
Assault... well, do I really need to say anything about that?
And on the ability to now glance AV10 - keep in mind that altogether you're looking at a -3 on the damage chart. At best you can drop a gun (the shards can still hit power cords and other fragile parts of a weapon, temporarily disabling it.. or more likely the gunner themselves). As for keeping a tank from shooting, well if I have a hailstorm of sharp things flying at me, I'd probably duck out of the way too. Remember that most AV10 things are pretty light, with lots of places for a stray poisoned crystal to hit you in the eye if you don't make use of the vehicle you're in.
This weapon would bump up Warriors a good deal - it would add in some anti-horde, which we are currently utterly lacking (being able to shoot with effect and assault - keeping with the hit hard and fast theme). An assault weapon fits the army far better. And I want it.
As a side note, as this is eerily similar to the current splinter cannon, said gun would be changed to S4 Ap- Assault 6 24", or perhaps S5 (gaining the same proportionate upgrade as the rifle in this case).
Keeping with the fear tactics theme, an upgrade to impose -1 Ld while in combat would be nice.
I'd like a drop to 40 points base. Transports are cheaper all around, pretty much. More expensive than a Rhino, because let's face it, we're toting our version of the lascannon and that makes you cry. But hey, it's literally the weakest armor you can get. Gotta have something to compensate.
I would, however, like some more useful vehicle upgrades. Some defensive bonus based on speed (beyond having to flat-out to get a 4+) would be nice. Example; if the Raider moved 12+", successful shooting attacks must be re-rolled. For points, of course. If the Night Shield did this, I'd be tempted to shell out 15 points for it.
Speaking of upgrades, 15-20 points for Scout would be nice. Some sort of specialty engine. Also, our version of Star Engines, either the extra 12" if you don't shoot, or the ability to move 12" in the assault phase, so long as you didn't go flat out during movement. Maneuverability and guerilla tactics.
Give them a 2nd close combat weapon. I really don't like assault units that don't have more than one attack. It burns my eyes.
They're also the only bike without a twin-linked gun. I'm not asking for one, I'm just saying. Make them a proper assault unit.
Drop them down to 20 points a pop, and throw on Scout.
Again, an assault unit with only one attack. And rapid fire weapons.
Now I actually don't want any more attacks for these guys - they're linebreakers; a vicious charge, but little to no staying power. That's why they have Hit and Run (and Init 6 to make sure it happens).
If the splinter rifle changed to the above profile, then these guys would be swooping in, letting off a nice volley of shards, and assaulting with their glaives (plus whatever drugs they have going for them).
I would, however, like a drop down to 16 points base, and the Succubus upgrade down to 12 (putting it nicely between the Wyche's 8 point succubus, and the Reaver's 16 point upgrade). Just a bit of continuity there, as the current cost (and all costs within this update) falls between those two in terms of base troop cost.
Again, a unit that I pretty much would like to stick around as is. Vehicle upgrades that benefit the Raider would work here as well. Lots of big guns, light armor, fast... yeah, we likes it.
I'm fairly okay with it, really. Granted, I don't use them regularly, but they're fairly effective at what they do. Of course, completely random stats tend to be going away... I could see a base 3 attacks with the Talos Claws giving +d3 during the assault phase. The way they work against tanks should be clarified... basically they gained MC status in the update, but there was no mention of how this meshes with their special rule vs armor. The extra d6 gained by being an MC would not contradict the current rules, but as "codex trumps all", the MC status may be overridden by a rule that states "exactly what happens, and nothing more".
More flexibility, though, would be nice. Options for upgrades (depending on how creative the Heamonculus was feeling during creation) would be nice.
Options for different guns, movement methods, etc, would be appreciated.
Oh how I would love to see these guys on the field. Such promise...
My fix is pretty simple. Drop the base cost down to 15. Weapon upgrades to +15 each (standard 150% of normal cost, due to higher quantity).
Here's where it gets fun, and allows them to actually make use of jump packs (or is it jet packs? Blasted similar words...).
They gain the following rules: Relentless, and Soul Seeker Ammo (as per standard codex) on all splinter weaponry in the squad.
This gives you either the option to have a mobile anti-tank squad that can hide behind cover, etc, or a very nice anti-troop squad that can still hide behind cover while ignoring its effects for the enemy (for those who don't know, ie all of you probably, SSA allows you to re-roll hits and ignores cover saves).
Again, you're still looking at a squad of T3 guys with 5+ armor, so remember that before you start comparing them to the standard Iron Rain Dev squad.
And that's that.
With proper fluff explanations, I could probably fit this into a 2 page WD article. Maybe 3 if I really wanted to expand on the fluff side.
I've actually had the opportunity to playtest this once, and despite getting slaughtered (some bad rolls still killed me) it played well and was a lot of fun. And, according to my opponent, was not overpowered (so that's one vote from an actual objective source).
We'll see, though, what the future brings...
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