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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Imperial Armor 9 Review Part 1: Space Marine List

So I finally got to take a look at the new Imperial Armor book recently; it's been out for a time but hasn't been terribly widely discussed, so I thought it might be good to talk it over here. I'll be dividing the review into two parts, one for the stand-alone units for use in the Space Marine/Blood Angels lists (which I'm doing this time) and one for the list representing Huron's secessionists that acts as a stand-alone entry.
As far as the fluff and artwork goes- well, I'm not going to talk about it a lot. If you like pages of organizational charts, battle details, and paint schemes then you're already going to buy this book and probably bought the other Imperial Armor books; if you don't, you won't be interested. As usual they've clearly put a lot of love into it, but typos abound and they try a little too hard to make some parts look "real." So yeah- standard IA stuff here, nothing special.

The rules section, on the other hand, caught my attention. Forge World has apparently taken a lesson from GW's recent efforts and actually made some very interesting and useful models to field- we aren't just talking "another dude with six upgrades from the standard list for a bit more than you'd pay for them" kinda trash that we see all too often. Most all of them are designed to be used as part of the SM codex (with one notable exception for the Blood Angels) and take good advantage of the features of that book.

Lugft Huron: Ugh, typing this guy's name makes me hate him. Okay, so he's a Chapter Master in Terminator Armor with a single Lightning Claw and a Heavy Flamer. Alright, fair enough, seems decent. 235pts, though, ouch; buddy, you gotta bring something real to the table for that. When he shoots off him Orbital Bombardment, it drops two blasts (meh), his Claw forces you to reroll invulns (not bad), and he can pass his leadership out like an old-school commander (uhh, guys, there is a reason they removed that rule; it's good but very bland and makes the game less fun). Oh, and on a 2+ when he dies he pops back with one wound, yay. Like all the named characters in the book, he also prevents you from taking any other HQs like him (so you can't have another chapter master in Huron's case.)
Verdict: Nah. If I'm paying an extra 100pts on an HQ, he needs to do something. Huron is, unfortunately, one of the most underwhelming characters in the book. He doesn't even get a Chapter Tactic, for crying out loud.

Captain Corien Sumatris: Huron's 2nd. Clocking in at 165, Corien is much more affordable and has a Captain statline, albeit with +1WS and -1BS. He comes with a Storm Shield, Power Weapon, Digital Weapons, and an Assault 2 Bolt Pistol. This is where he gets fancy, though- he has Furious Charge and gives it to any squad he joins and any infantry (except other ICs) within 12" of him get +1WS. Oh, and he gets +2A when charging to boot. So yeah, this guy will turn otherwise-mediocre units into strong combatants and good units into linebreakers; the idea of sticking him with some Assault Terminators is pretty scary. All of this for a pretty reasonable price, no less.
Verdict: Quite usable. If you're going on the offensive, Corien can bring some real pain along and does so a lot more effectively than a Chaplain, since his abilities are auras.

Armennus Valthex: Alchemist Master of the Forge. 145 for a MotF and a Conversion Beamer, except instead of the Harness and its PFist attacks, he gets some Power Weapon attacks. Huh. Um, alright, that's a downer. And somehow this also gives him a 5++ and Counterattack? Yeah, I have no idea, it's a magic space harness or something. His real upside is that he gives one squad with Bolt Pistols/Boltguns/Storm Bolters an upgrade to Hellfire Rounds (2+ Poison), which is pretty nice.
Verdict: I don't think so, Tim. His ability to make one squad of guns nasty is decent, but you lose some stuff from a normal MotF and his having a Conversion Beamer doesn't really help when he isn't mobile.

Lieutenant Commander Anton Narvaez: What... what is this bullshit? He gets a sub-Captain statline (-1WS, -1W) for 135pts and has a Power Weapon and MC Plasma Gun. He also has a 3++, but if you fail it you have to roll d6 (assuming he's still alive) and on a 1-3 he loses it for the rest of the game. He and his squad get Move Through Cover and Scout, which I guess means you can potentially outflank with two squads if you pair him up with Shrike or some other thing.
Verdict: No. More points, less stuff. Stay far, far away.

Master Sevrin Loth: Bad-ass psyker from the Red Scorpions; this dude is like Mephiston's evil (good?) twin. Standard Libby statline, comes with Artificer armor. Oh, and he can use three powers each turn, so that's pretty bad-ass. And if he makes a psychic test, he gets a 2++ until his next turn; jesus, dude is harsh. He lets you take an Honor Guard squad if you want; yawn, no thanks, but appreciate the though. And he comes with a bunch of powers: lessee, Smite (blech), Machine Curse (marginal), Quickening (sometimes useful), Vortex of Doom (risky, but he does have a 2++), Avenger (nice, but not quite as cool without a bike), and finally NULL ZONE. Bingo, this guy is golden! Keep in mind, though you're paying for all this- 205pts, all said and done. Still, he can be a real combat monster, singlehandedly tearing down monsters and ICs in a very different way from Mephy while still bringing some good utility to the squad.
Verdict: Pretty cool guy eh, punches down Tyranids and doesn't afraid of anything.

Lord High Commander Carab Culln: Well aren't you a mister fancy pants with all your titles? Alright, Huron's nemesis in the Red Scorpions also costs a pretty penny (215pts) and is a standard Chapter Master in most respects, getting +1A, Terminator Armor, a Teleport Homer, MC Storm Bolter, and a MC Relic Blade. Dude is looking pretty harsh already. His Chapter Tactics is that your Tactical Sarges are actually Apothecaries, which is pretty damn sweet; how shitty are Tacticals NOW, internet? He gets Eternal Warrior snuck in and adds +1 to combat res if he's within 12" (or part of) a fight. To top it all off, he steals a page from the Dark Eldar and gets +1 attack for every point his WS beats the highest enemy's- not quite as devastating due to his lower numbers, but on the other hand he has a friggin' Relic Blade.
Verdict: Fuck year. This guy is a beast and makes your scoring units highly resilient. Obviously you won't want him in small games where his price tag is prohibitive, but he doesn't lack for toys that come with it.

Captain Tarnus Vale: Some kinda Fire Angels dude, I guess. As it turns out, everyone but Huron gets a Chapter Tactic and this guy is no exception; he's a vanilla Captain with Meltabombs and a Plasma Pistol, but he gives all your squads Tank Hunters and your Rhinos/Razors Extra Armor. Wait, what? Tank Hunters? The fuck? Now, it's not quite as crazy as it could be, since your Dreads/Preds/Speeders don't get it, but it should still be obvious that being able to glance Rhinos with a Boltgun is relevant, not to even mention the boost all your usual AT weapons get from it. Shit, at the very least all your Missile Launchers become Lascannons. How much are we paying here? 175, which is not insignificant but won't break the bank, either. Oh, and he makes his squad Stubborn and can give his BS to any vehicle he's in- the last part would be really cool if there were any SM vehicles he could ride that were actually good at shooting. I guess a Crusader with him in it would be neat, but...
Verdict: Goddamn yes. There is a reason that Tank Hunters is basically nonexistent in 5E- it's one of the best things you can get, and having it on every squad (Tacs, Sternguard, Devs, etc) is quite excellent.

Lias Issodon: Well, we get another Captain for 140pts, which is nice; he has standard kit plus a Power Weapon and a fancy Boltgun that shoots 30", is Assault 2/Heavy 4, and can use special ammo. (Remember, the special ammos have their own ROF and ranges which will override his if he uses them.) So already he's looking quite nice. But he's WS5 and BS6, another crazy swap, although largely irrelevant. He gives the enemy -1 to reserves; holy crap, he's probably worth his price already. He does d6 wounds (AP -) or a glancing hit to one squad, MC, or vehicle in the enemy army; not great, but you never know, might cause some damage. And finally, you trade Combat Tactics for... Stealth? Seriously, my guys are all running 3+/3++ now?
Verdict: Seriously, what else do you want? This guy is an absolute monster of utility and there will never be a game when his abilities don't come up. Take him and a Null Zone Libby and you're basically unstoppable.

Malakim Phoros: Hey, a little bit of BA love from the ol' Forge, courtesy of the Lamenters! He's a regular Captain except he has Artificer Armor (wait, how...?) and a Glaive. And, um, an Inferno Pistol, but they gave it a different name. It's extra-weird because he can't use the pistol with his Glaive, so I'm not sure what FW was going for here. He makes anyone he joins (I'm sorry, any Lamenters unit) he joins Fearless and forces the enemy to reroll successful tests to stick around in combat. If he takes a wound he gets +1S and +1A, but suffers from Rage from then on out. All this for... 175pts?
Verdict: Meh. No jump pack makes him a somewhat marginal choice, and for his points he just doesn't do all that much- not to mention having a potential downside. Swing and a miss, but not so much that he's unplayable.

Captain Mordaci Blaylock: Are the Novamarines some kind of pirates or something? No, apparently he's a dude who likes Terminators. Standard Terminator loadout, but his Chainfist is master-craft, woo. He and any Terminators he joins can choose to pass/fail morale tests, and all your Terminators, both kinds, are scoring. Well now, that's kinda fancy. He sets you back 195pts, though.
Verdict: Maybe? He lets you run Terminator-heavy, but you still have to bring those two Tac squads. On the other hand, he doesn't replace your Combat Tactics, so he can pair up well with someone else if you're playing a big game.

Knight-Captain Elam Courbray: Fire Hawks, woo! They eventually go rogue or something! Um, right. Like Vulkan, he gives rerolls on all Flamers/Heavy Flamers, but also makes your Assault and Vanguard squads scoring. (Wait, but they're terrible.) No, hold on, he gives any Assault squad he joins... Counterattack and Hit and Run. Erm, guys, when you give an ability called "Firefall" on a Deep Striking unit... nevermind, let's continue. His Power Sword lets him give up all his normal attacks on a turn he charges to make one S8 Rending hit, which I guess is okay against MCs and tanks? Oh and he has to fight other ICs if he can, including moving B2B with them.
Verdict: Pretty trashy at 185pts. Not quite in the "embarassing" category, but he inclines you to use units that you probably shouldn't.

So, all in all, the new characters are quite good, even with a couple real standout all-stars. If you like the Badab War, any of the chapters involved, or are looking to do some casual play with unique characters that are worth a damn (you know, as opposed to most of the FW ones), the book is a pretty cool thing that you might want to take a look at.

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