Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Phoenix Terminator Squad

Terminators locked in to the quest for perfection within the Emperor's Children legion, these individuals are the elite of the elite.

They come armed as standard with phoenix spears. These unique weapons are reminiscent of power lances in the sense that they gain a nice upgrade (+1S, AP2) on the turn that the unit charges in to melee. Otherwise, they function as power weapons. Hence the deployment of these units necessitates getting the charge on an opponent rather than being charged. As such, they are vulnerable to enemy terminators who can guarantee AP2 all the time, as well as other enemies with "hidden" power fists and the like. Therefore, I cannot underscore enough that this unit must be taken with a land raider phobos or spartan to ensure such an eventuality. Otherwise they are expensive points sinks that might act as little more than meat shields for Fulgrim.

I think there are at least two build that merit consideration.

5 Phoenix terminators, Champion with grenade harness (275 points)
I think that this is the baseline unit to charge out of a land raider phobos. Ensure you get the charge. And even if its drawn, you still win thanks to the unit's living icon special rule.

10 Phoenix terminators, Champion with grenade harness, all with sonic shriekers (490 points)
This is the maxed out squad! Place in a land raider spartan and go forth!  Its worth noting here (again) that the Horus Heresy sourcebooks encourage large units and this can readily be seen here with the ability to upgrade the entire squad with sonic shriekers for a set price (rather than per terminator). 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Kharn The Bloody

Before he was the Betrayer, he was a voice of reason: a calming influence on Angron, and a skilled duellist. After Angron slew most of the other senior officers on rediscovery, it was Kharn alone (as a mere line captain) who talked him around.

In the game, Kharn can be taken either with the Cutter (an AP 3 weapon) or with Gorechild (a better option, but costs more and only available so long as Angron is not also on the board). Naturally, Kharn can only be selected as a traitor in any narrative that follows the canon course of events.

His points cost is comparable to a well armed and armoured Praetor. But more than that, his WS is excellent and he also has the boons of Rampage in addition to an invulnerable save and his plasma pistol. Coupled with the World Eaters special rules, Kharn is an excellent beat stick in close combat and will be able to take on most infantry in the game (more so with gore child in his hands). Plus, he is an incredibly fluffy choice for any World Eaters army before, during or after the Isstvan campaign. Hence, even if one thinks that the points cost is a fraction too high, I think people will still take Kharn for the name and his ability to inspire fear in the enemies ranks (figuratively speaking). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: The Red Butchers

Wearing custom terminator armour that doubles up as prisons to hold their occupants in when they're not in battle, the Red Butchers are those World Eaters who have utterly succumbed to their darker murderous urges thanks to the Butcher's Nails.

Their deployment is not without drawbacks: since they are lunatics, they are always hit on 3+ by any enemies in close combat with them. Clearly this can be their downfall (despite their high WS), but to balance this up, they also have 2 wounds each. Coupled with fearless and hatred of anything, these terminators are ones that will rip apart most opposition in short work. Hence the best tactic is to get them in to melee as soon as possible. I would therefore strongly recommend taking a Land Raider Phobos as a personal transport (a Spartan Land Raider is also viable for larger squads), or (if permitted by a rite of war) take a drop pod, although to be honest, I'd prefer a land raider out of the two.

There are a number of reasonable builds that can be made, but all of them have a strong close combat component to them - as one would expect. But beware: the points cost of these units is already high to begin with. And even with two wounds each, they can still die to instant death if they find themselves against a bunch of enemy thunder hammer or power fist terminators, let alone a vindicator blast.

5 Red Butchers, all with two power axes (275 points)
This is a kind of "vanilla" build that is still highly effective at the expense of zero ranged weapons. But with a BS of 2, this is hardly a great sacrifice. Place them in a land raider phobos and go hunting any none-tank unit in the game. Even a primarch - just for laughs - if you're so inclined!

5 Red Butchers, all with pairs of lightning claws (300 points)
As above, but striking at initiative to circumvent enemy power fists and thunder hammers, but sacrificing a little bit of AP. Not quite what I'd be inclined to take, but still viable thanks to the hideous amount of attacks available on the charge.

5 Red Butchers, Devourer with combi-flamer and thunder hammer, butchers with two power axes (290 points)
This is about the best of the lot to be honest. Given the poor BS of the squad, the flamer is there as both an anti-charge deterrent, and to try to soften up enemies in cover before charging in. Can't go too wrong with this squad, especially placed in a land raider.

10 Red Butchers, Devourer with combi-flamer and thunder hammer, 9 Butchers with two power axes (515 points)
Getting very expensive now, but this death star unit can be accompanied by Angron himself and then placed inside a Spartan. Good luck - and avoid those vindicator shells as they will be the death of this entire squad!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thunder Hammer Conversion

Many space marine armies run thunder hammers in some form or other -- the most common being on terminators armed with said hammers and storm shields, but also on character models and occasionally on squad sergeants or others. 

Given how common they can be, it is worth considering a minor conversion to make them stand out from the proverbial crowd. 

In this conversion, I've attempted to do exactly this by replacing one of the heads of a terminator thunder hammer. Firstly, I've cut carefully around the front hammer head to remove it from the body of the hammer. Once filed down, I drilled through the centre of it to provide a pin that goes from the handle through to the new head. In this case, I've chosen one of the gargoyle pieces from the chaos space marine tank sprue to be the head. In between the gargoyle and the filed down edge of the hammer, I've inserted a very old plastic shield centre from the warhammer range (which can be seen in my old bits box rummage image).  This extra "spacer" ensures that the gargoyle head looks somewhat tapered to the main shaft of the hammer, rather than simply gluing the gargoyle directly on to the shaft. 

The overall effect is one that implies something of a unique thunder hammer (perhaps even master crafted) and reminiscent of some of the analogous hammers available to the Space Wolves and other chapters / legions. 

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