Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Relics of the Dark Age of Technology (1)

The relics of the Dark Age of Technology are powerful artefacts that can be used within games by 30k army lists. The critical limitation with them is that they can only be used by a none-unique independent character. Hence, that means characters like Praetors and Consuls can use them, but Abaddon can not.

In this, the first part of a small series that will review these relics, we look at the generic relics available to all armies and legions, regardless of faction, or whether they are traitors or loyalists, or something else. 

Nanyte Blaster
Much has already been written about this blaster. In essence, it is a "grey goo" generator. The really amazing thing here is the uncontrolled replication rule. If this weapon causes a wound, then a large blast marker goes down and a further attack is made against everything under it on a roll of a 4+. This can be continued so long as something dies -- each casualty fuelling another large blast S5 AP2 template. 

This is profound. It can readily take out entire 20 man units of Tactical Squads. Due to the AP2 and high S, there is a very good probability that if it hits, it will wound. And should it wound, then there's a 50-50 chance that the uncontrolled replication rule will be activated. The only drawback is that it is an assault 1 weapon. Hence it wants to be in the hands of a shooting character. Said character also needs to get close due to the 12" range of the blaster. This puts the character in potential jeopardy too - the range of the large blasts needs to be thought about and positioning of the shooter is going to be critical if they are not going to fall to the blaster as well. Arguably the best character to give it to is a Mortitat. Alternatively, give it to someone in a drop pod, or a character that is going to deep strike early in the game. 

Warp Shunt Field
Somewhere between a void shield and a displacer field, the Warp Shunt gives an excellent 3+ invulnerable save to a character. But on top of this, it harms enemy units that shoot at it if the save is a 6+. Although this might be rare, it is made up for by having d6 shots go back to the enemy shooting unit. 

To me, this is an expensive relic, but is one that is without much risk either. Give it to a praetor or some kind of lone HQ selection who you think will be the target of incoming fire power. I'd personally prefer some other options to be honest.

This artefact gives the user the ability to walk through walls in the movement phase. Literally. The draw back is that they have to take a dangerous terrain test for each solid object they walk between. Equally, if there is a clear line of sight to the destination, they can simply redeploy there without any such rolls. 

Models with the "move through cover" special rule are the obvious use users for this artefact. In terms of characters, we probably want one that has a strong shooting attack, or flamer attack. So that probably means someone like a Mortitat or even a Death Guard character with a shredding flamer. Equally, it could be used on a scary character with a good save and / or toughness value who could survive a round of incoming fire and then charge in to the enemy.

Combat Augment Array
Once per game, this array grants the user an automatic roll of a 6. There are a number of options here, but for the price paid, it has to be something big and useful! Doubly so given that the drawback is to potentially suffer a number of wounds (on a toughness test) from using it.

A Praetor with a paragon blade is an obvious user of this technology. But to my mind, the best (worst?) use of this would be the combination to automatically explode tanks. This requires an Alpha Legion saboteur as well as Armillus Dynat to execute and is incredibly powerful (or broken). 

Cloaking Array
In some ways, this is a tough relic to deploy and put to use. For an entire game turn, the user becomes invulnerable -- although he cannot do anything, shoot anything, or perform any other action, he will be alive. 

I'm not entirely convinced by it to be honest. Perhaps use it on a character that is near to an objective on the latter turns of a game to ensure a contested objective. Perhaps on a deep striking character to survive until needed. Or a Mortitat once they've unleashed their chain firing. 

Void Shield Harness
This one is much more useful. It provides an AV 12 shield over a large blast template for anything from outside shooting inside. This means that any character (plus squad that they're attached to, like command squads) are going to be very very safe from incoming firepower. Unless its a melta, D-strength or otherwise high strength shot that might collapse the shield. It can be restored though, note. 

Put on a character you want to survive (or one that is already tough to kill). Put that character inside of something like a land raider. This may ensure that your opponent fails to gain slay the warlord at least. 

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