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Von’s Adventures in Hearthstoneland, Part V – The Frostwyrm Lair!

Two bosses remain.

First, Sapphiron. Hero Power – for 0, destroy all minions that aren’t Frozen. Reward: Echoing Ooze (that cloning bastard from last week).

Oh dear, this could be messy. Let’s go in swinging with the Warrior rush deck, no faffing about this time. It’s that or Deathrattle Lock, I reckon.

30 health and he gives you a Frozen Champion – a 2/10, permanently Frozen, and adjacent minions are immune to the Hero Power. O… K.

Poor draw on the Warrior deck – nothing less than 3 after mulliganing. Played it out anyway to test Sapphiron’s deck. It’s a lot of Taunt and Deathrattle, nothing we haven’t seen before in Hearthstoneland. Inexplicably freezing the already frozen Frozen Champion with his Frost Elementals was an odd call though. Then again, this one stopped being in doubt the turn I hit 15 armour and 24 health. Apparently, ’twas a conclusion so foregone I didn’t bother screenshotting it.

 

On to Kel’Thuzad himself! Hero Power – for 0, Freeze your Hero and deal 2 damage to it. If nothing else, then, we’re on a tight schedule and none of the weapon decks will really work. Shade of Naxxramas is the reward.

I bet Echoing Ooze will be crucial to achieving victory here, in some way… but to start with, let’s go with my Deathrattle deck, since that doesn’t use or need weapons and it has the most Naxx cards in it.

30 health and 10 armour. Ouch.

HE TAUNTS BACK! I might have to fight him with all the heroes, just because.

I’m… down to 21 health and Frozen and it’s turn 3. I think rush might have to happen here too.

… what happened? I did actual damage to him and now my turn’s been cut off and he’s flooded the board with Taunt, and his Hero Power’s changed… 8 mana to steal one of my creatures at random for one turn only. Hmm. I wonder what triggers that – stage in the game or getting through his armour?

Fortunately, he dropped a Zombie Chow the turn before I could play Jaraxxus… and then I misplayed badly, not putting out any big Taunters. He stole the only Taunter I had and that was game.

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Still, that’s not the deck – that’s a misplay even I could spot – so we go again, same match-up. I quit after a series of deck-wastingly poor plays, though; down to 14 life and still taking chances.
Third go: counter-synergistic opening hand (a 1 that does nothing until a 2 is in play and a 3 that needs something else on the board). Conceded again after having no good plays to get through his Taunt.

OK, deck change time. What’s needed here? Stick with Warlock for the time being. Needs to be fast, since his hero power is a race against time. Needs to clear the board, and have life gain. Can’t rely on an uber-minion because he’ll just steal it… time to throw my original-recipe demon synergy deck at him and see what occurs.

Once again, I can’t tell if it’s damaging him or hitting turn 8 that causes the changeover. I think it’s damaging him. Once again, I misplayed slightly (accidentally not attacking on my first Jaraxxus turn), but honestly, I was on the rocks anyway – almost topdecking against his two-taunts-and-Chains board.

Keep going forward. Push for perfect play. There’ll always be a random element but as long as I can identify my mistakes I don’t know if it’s the matchup.
It’s damaging him. Turn 8, I have Ragnaros out, and he’s starting to lose board. If I time this right, I might be able to stop him stealing Raggy for a bit…
The big problem with the demon deck, in this circumstance, is that there’s a bit too much discard. Also, he Twisting Nethered my Ragnaros, the cock.
Still, I drew into Jaraxxus and a Doomlord, and then saw fit to trigger his changeover.
He beat me down to 1 with my own Infernal. That brought the game to the point where stealing one of my own minions would give it to him – even with a Zombie Chow on board I’d need to have drawn something with Taunt to make it past the hero power usage.
Instead, he… chose to use Twisting Nether, when his Hero Power meant he had lethal. Was I about to win because the AI misplayed? I tested it by dropping out another Infernal. Yep. He was content to throw out mid-sized Taunters and Freezers instead of… well… winning.

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And that’s the story of how I murdered Kel’Thuzad and turned him into a Minion because he was too stupid to live. Oh, and apparently there’s a Paladin class challenge… against Kel’Thuzad. All right. Let’s see how this goes. I’ll do anything for a new Secret, me.

The deck seems to be classic weenie Paladin; Knife Juggler, cheap Minions, and the shiny new Avenge… then the Black Knight (yesss) and Avenging Wrath (yessss). This looks like an archetype I know. Alas, I misplayed – dropped Avenging Wrath too early and triggered his cheat.

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Oooh, the Paladin deck has Blood Knights. Another of my favourite shenanigans. This time I managed to beat through his armour by turn 3, which was nice, even if he did clear the board the turn after. However, I’d seen the perfect play in my opening hand, and… well, I’ll let this speak for itself.

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And that really is the end: with Evolving Ooze bullshit and Divine Shield shenanigans.

Frankly, that was money well spent; it’s offered five fun mornings and revitalised my occasional trawls through the scrubby end of competitive Hearthstone, and that’s all I can really ask for, isn’t it?

Von’s Adventures in Hearthstoneland, Part IV – The Construct Quarter

Patchwerk – Hero Power = 4 mana, destroy a minion. Reward: Undertaker (1 mana 1/2 which gains +1/+1 every time you play something with Deathrattle). Oh, lawdy lawdy.

30 health, 5/8 weapon already equipped, no deck at all. I see how this is going to go.

Warlock first, as is the custom. Wasn’t expecting it to go well and it didn’t. Rush or Taunt decks are probably going to be the only viable options here; he swings for 5 every turn and kills a minion every turn after the third. Taking in your usual deck, which will probably have minion removal built in, is also a total waste since, well, he doesn’t play any.

Take two: Rush Warrior (the one I built last week after picking up Gorehowl in a booster). No frills, no fuss, just a great deal of weapons and stuff with Charge. No better. Managed to whittle him down to 8, but the deck’s total lack of control meant it was a six turn loss. Not a perfect opening hand though (no weapons or Shield Block) so I tried it again, tuning all the minion removal out and all my cheapest Taunt creatures back in. That worked, just about. I still have no idea how I’d manage it with another class, though; the Warrior was saved only by having an early Shield Block, enough mana to Hero Power every turn and still get a cheap Charge minion out, and the good fortune to draw two Taunt creatures and get them into play on the same round. I might be able to do it with Rogue, but Rogue has a lot of… well… faffing. You don’t have time to faff around with combos. Unless you have multiple Taunts out, you’ll be taking five damage per turn. Deal with it. At least you get to go second for once.

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Grobbulus – Hero Power = 2 mana, 1 damage to all minions, if any die, summon a Slime. Reward: Mad Scientist (2 for a 2/2, Deathrattle: put a Secret into play). OK…

Decided to stick with the Warrior, for a laugh, and.. oh. Summon a Slime means HE gets the Slimes. 2/2 Slimes. He also has a neat 3-mana-for+4/+4-and-Taunt trick, and the self-multiplying Echoing Ooze. Hope you enjoy two 5/6 Taunt creatures on turn six. And again on turn seven. He also has Heroic Strike…

Retuning the deck to put the minion removal back in (although in my heart of hearts I suspect a dual-Hellfire Warlock would work better – or Mage, obviously, but I don’t like Mage). If this doesn’t work I’ll put some Undertakers in the Warlock deck (could it be that you get the tool you need from the previous boss? surely not…)

Memo to self; the cloned Oozes have exactly the same buffs as the original. Hope you can kill two 5/2s on turn two. Fortunately, Cleave. Also, Armorsmith is every bit as good as he should be (I think I got about five free Armour from mine over the three turns he lived, and had 11 built up by the time the swarm started to swarm at me). He does, however, have Acidic Swamp Oozes, so I got exactly one turn out of Gorehowl. This was a particularly cruel fight since I felt I was doing well before the Acidic Slime + Heroic Strike + Heroic Strike turn spun the game on its head. At least he was kind enough to drop an Abomination and hand me the AOE removal I needed… but I dropped the ball, putting out minions with 1 health when I didn’t have lethal. Hero Power, summon Slimes, create 6/6 Taunt, lock me out, and if I hadn’t topdecked a Mortal Strike that’d have been a loss. Scraped through by sheer luck.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_8.15.2014.10.05.43

Gluth – Hero Power = 2 mana to reduce the health of all minions to 1. Equality every turn. Reward… Zombie Chow? 1 mana for a 2/3 with a Deathrattle that hands out…5 health… to the enemy hero… OK, that looks shit, but I’m the first to admit that I’m not very good at Hearthstone and there’s probably some meta use for it. Maybe we’ll need it for the next fight.

Let’s shout LOK’TAR OGAR and get on it. Oh, he gets a weapon that gains Attack every time something Deathrattles? I’m so glad I’m not running my Deathrattle Warlock deck right now. Interesting hand I have; spamming Armour gain until I get something useful. Also, more weapon removal. Fun fun fun. Clearing his board ramps his personal attack up to about 9 or 10 before his weapon breaks, so… be warned. So glad I’m a Warrior this week.

I think you’re supposed to strategically remove the Chow to gain life, but I think I prefer hanging on for grim death and then throwing out weapon damage and Mortal Strikes. It’s more fun that way.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_8.15.2014.10.19.08

Thaddius – Hero Power for 0 is ‘swap Attack and Health values of minions’. O…K. This looks complicated. Reward is Wailing Soul, a 3/5 for 4 that Silences… all your other minions… that’s a bit meta. I think I see how he’s going to work. Spam his Hero power then reset his minions with Souls.

Sticking with the same deck for now, although the urge to take my Pirates is very strong. If nothing else, I don’t really care if my Charge minions turn into 1/3s on the turn after they’re dropped.

Good job he dropped two Chows halfway through. Even so, the beatdown from swapping 4/6 to 6/4 every other turn can’t be overestimated. I think I could have him with this deck, so let’s go in again… nope. Not even sure what’s going on here.

FINE. Let’s try… Deathrattle Lock. That works, if only because it steals all of his best tricks (why yes, use your Hero Power and give me a free 4/4 Nerubian that’s immune to your later fuckery).

Reward for the wing: Feugen and Stalag – a pair of 5-costs, 4/7 and 7/4, and if they both die, they summon Thaddius, a 10 cost 11/11. Tied to Deathrattle, so if you’re VERY good at timing your Rivendare drops you could potentially get two of him. That’s neat.

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Class Challenges - Priest and Warrior!

Priest first. I hate Priest. Let’s get this out of the way. Priest vs. Thaddius… oh dear, will we both be swapping Attack and Health until the cows come home?

It’s got Velen in, that’s a good start. And… two Crazed Alchemists, a Nerubian Egg… as I predicted. And he’s giving me free Nerubians. Inner Fire, Crazed Alchemist, yes yes… take the beating until I can drop an Auchenai Soulpriest and simply kill him with the Hero power. Weird. Short. Still don’t like Priest. Even if the reward IS a Dark Cultist (3 for 3/4 with Deathrattle – hand out +3 health).

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Warrior vs. Grobbulus, and at stake is… Death’s Bite, a 4/2 weapon for 4 that deals 1 damage to all minions if destroyed YES. DO WANT.

HOLY FUCK YOU GET GROM. That’s neat. And it seems to be an Enrage Warrior deck, i.e. the Warrior I levelled my Warrioring with. Pooping out a 6/5 Taunt Leper Gnome on turn two is a bit rude though. God-hand much? I Conceded and waited to see if the draw would be more favourable next time out.

Slightly better, but he’s still wiping my board and ending up with a 2/2 every turn. Then it’s the dual 5/6 oozes two turns running again… considering that I found this boss the hardest and only fluked by him the first time, I’m starting to feel a bit tilty… I’m not sure how I’m going to beat this, given that I don’t know how to crack three big Taunt creatures with my normal decks, never mind this one I didn’t build. Even Grom was only out for one turn, and card advantage was maintained by the boss throughout.

No clue. Can’t wait it out, he swarms too well. Can’t rush it, he has access to two 5/6 Taunters for 3 mana. The cheap minions you get die to a Slime or Leper Gnome and a use of his Hero Power, and he gets the Slime back. One more go, then I bite the bullet and look it up online. Hate doing that – I know I’m not good at games, but saying “I can’t even begin to solve this puzzle alone” isn’t comfortable.

*googles* *and again*

Oh, so it’s “keep doing it until you god hand”, in essence. I wonder if you actually have any 1-drops in this deck, just so you might get the chance at some sort of tempo establishment? That’s lovely. Very Blizzard.

… on the one run where I did get the Death’s Bite, the only Enrage trigger in the deck other than the AI graciously deciding to use its Hero Power rather than spamming out 6/5 Taunt creatures and rolling over you, out comes the Swamp Ooze. I wouldn’t mind this if the Enrage deck they give you was… actually any good.

Run 7 and… I don’t think it’s drawn any of its turn-three-tempo-win conditions. Do I… have a chance?

Nope. Clears board with Hero Power when I don’t have any Enrage minions, drops Taunt slimes. Turn 8, so Grom can come out, but… he’ll kill one and I lack the board power to clear out the other, so he’ll die. Then two more Taunt Oozes.

This is my best run so far and it’s turn 8 before I have a clear board and two turns to live.

Run 8 and at last he starts damaging my Enrage minions for me. It really does feel like the AI is programmed to start playing incompetently (which is, after all, what it… needs to do in order for you to win this challenge) after a while. The god hand seems to be Amani Berserker, Tauren Warrior, and two Armoursmiths, then Death’s Bite. 25 armour by Turn 6. OK… now I just need to get the board under control for the inevitable clone slimes. I only have weapons left in hand… yep, here comes the Swamp Ooze. I topdeck into Grom, and… have no way to Enrage him when he drops. Out comes the Abomination… well, at least I win, but it’s felt like winning on a one-armed bandit – you just keep cranking the lever until the pennies drop. Out of sheer spite, I Cleave-Execute the Abomination so I can get the biggest possible swing with Grom.

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Warrior Challenge: beat the hardest boss in the wing with a deliberately awful deck. At least my Enrage deck has some neat tuning now.

Next week: Frostwyrm Lair.

[40K OSR] KNIGHTS OF ASHTETH – a sample Black Legion Warband by Von

The other day, for an experiment, I rolled up a Rogue Trader Chaos army roughly paralleling my old fanfiction. I wanted to see how close it might end up, and how long it would take, and what horrors the random tables would inflict on me. I was not prepared. However, the results were so essentially entertaining that I couldn’t not share them, and have tried to do so in the style of those old GW staff member sample armies from the other books.

I’ve chosen Black Legion because I already have a rough idea of the Chaos army I want to build; a group of more recent converts from the Imperium, who still harbour their old loathing of the Traitor Legions but who’ve been through some kind of traumatic Chaos-based event and lost their faith in the Imperium too. They hate everyone, and the feeling’s mutual.

In the usual fashion, I’ll break the army generation down into three stages – a 1000 point core of things I’ll always be taking to battle, and then a couple of 500 point expansions which can be fielded for larger and larger games but don’t include the things I’ll be needing every time. Given that I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic painter, I’ll probably put most of my actual boots-on-the-ground troops into the core, and add some of the more expensive and fun Chaotic bits and bobs into the expansions.

Since I plan on using this army for campaign play, tracking its progress from game to game and my general’s advances on the path toward daemonhood (glory!) or spawndom (ignominy!), I’ll start by rolling up the pieces with random availability. Some of these – the Techmarines in particular – will govern the other choices I can make, so it’s best to set them in stone before I start making big decisions.

A few handfuls of dice later and I determine I can take 14 Techmarines, 6 Possessed Space Marines, a Greater Daemon, 2 Daemon Princes, 2 Lesser Daemon squads, 3 Chaos Spawn and 2 Land Raiders. The Daemons can come from any of the other Traitor Legions, which is a nice little perk for being Black Legionnaires and not having any friends. That said, they’re a bit on the expensive side, so I’ll start with my core 1000 points and see where that gets me.

The Commander – Darion Khan

My army will need some sort of leader, and I might as well make him a Lieutenant Commander so he doesn’t end up displaced by any personalities I add later on. I want to keep him fairly cheap and fairly effective at the same time, so I opt for a Minor Hero. I don’t roll any Chaos Attributes to start off with, but my roll on the Chaos Reward chart comes out as an Attribute anyway – Uncontrollable Flatulence. That’s less than dignified, but I suppose it gives him something in common with his commander, and it has some oddly beneficial effects too!

Anyway, on to the equipment. I like the idea of a Daemon Weapon, but I don’t like the idea of spending the rest of my 1000 points on buying one*, so I cross my fingers and roll on the Arms of Chaos chart instead, getting… a Daemon Weapon! That’s a bargain right there, and I flick back to the generation systems and start rolling up its occupant, producing a Daemon Prince of Slaanesh who starts out as an ordinary Human. That’s a bit rubbish, but I press on and see what happens, rolling up nine Rewards and adding 40 to the first six so he doesn’t get turned into a Spawn for having too many Attributes.

I roll up Blood Rage, Face of a Fiend, Iron Hard Skin, Crystalline Skin, Hermaphrodite, Willpower, Weapon Master, Willpower again and then the mandatory Eye of God result. Once I’m done working out all the modifications and multiplications, the Prince’s stat-line looks a bit like this:

M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP
4 9 3 6 8 2 6 4 7 7 7 10

So, my Prince was not terribly clever or commanding, never accumulating a warband around himself, but he was determined and an excellent fighter. I’m imagining a foppish duellist from some medieval world – possibly even the Warhammer Fantasy Battle world – whose vanity and obsession with being the absolute best ever made him a natural slave to Slaanesh. By the end of his career she was almost indestructible – he’d become a sort of diamond statue of her lord and lady master, and his skill with a blade was matched by her intoxicating lick attack – but one good strike that actually made it through her defences would shatter him into a million pieces. Perhaps that’s how she ended up in the sword – someone finally got the better of him and forged her remains into a truly mighty weapon. I’ll call him Ashteth – running together a couple of my favourite goddesses’ names.

Ashteth gives out a +4 to hit bonus (based on the Prince’s Attacks score) and WP 10 to his wielder, as well as siphoning Strength like all Daemon Weapons; she’ll be satiated once she’s consumed 31 points from her victims. I like the idea that Ashteth is permanently enraged at his fate, and passes on her Blood Rage to the Commander as well – I’ll have to ask the other players in our campaign about that.

The Commander’s looking pretty well kitted out after that, so I buy him the standard Lieutenant Commander kit (mostly for the conversion field and full set of scanners) and a few rolls on the equipment charts; two Close Combat so I can try for a better pistol, and one ranged just to round off his points value to 110. I end up with a rather uninspiring chainsword (still, it’ll be a good backup weapon when Ashteth’s full up), a power shield (very useful) and a meltagun (using my +20 roll for being the army’s commander).

Darion Khan is obviously from one of the more knightly Marine Chapters. At some point he acquired a rather elegant sword, only to fall foul to the whisperings of the Daemon Prince/Princess within, and led his command off down dark pathways. I’ll work on his story later once I’ve picked out his followers. Traitor Space Marine squads are quite costly, so I’ll be trying to fit them into my first 1000 points if I can.

Tactical Squad Fendahl

I want my first Traitor Marine squad to be quite flexible, able to provide some fire support from afar but also get stuck in at close range if they have to. With that in mind, I opt for a Tactical Squad, though I’ll upgrade the flamer to a plasma gun and swap the heavy bolter for a missile launcher and krak missiles. That’ll give me some nice firepower at long range and let me take pot-shots at any vehicles that show their faces. I buy a power sword for the Sergeant just in case they do end up in close combat, and start taking my Attribute rolls. With no Attributes manifesting for either Sergeant or Squad, that’s this unit done.

The Tactical Marines are perhaps a little reluctant to embrace the Great Powers of Chaos. As yet unmarked by the Dark Gods, they tend to keep their distance from the rest of the army in battle, providing covering fire and avoiding the corrosive odours and daemonic outbursts produced by their commander. Their leader, Sergeant Fendahl, is one of the more level-headed members of Darion’s warband, and can generally be relied on to hold his ground and pick his targets with care.

Assault Squad Zygon

Darion can’t exactly go charging off into the teeth of enemy guns all by himself, so I’ll want some bodies to accompany him. I’d quite like some more Traitor Marines now, given that one squad will eat most of my 500 point expansion budget, so I opt for a Traitor Assault Squad.

Again, I’d like my Marines to have a little flexibility, so I upgrade the hand flamer to a second plasma pistol – now they can do some shooting before they rampage into close combat – and I buy them all chainswords so they can do a little more damage up close. The Sergeant of this unit gets a power axe, since I know he’ll be needing to do some damage, and while the squad don’t receive a Dominant Attribute, the Sergeant ends up covered in Suckers, which will be very handy if he finds himself fighting an enemy personality of some sort!

Sergeant Zygon is Darion’s most trusted minion, and already following in his commander’s footsteps. Exposure to warp energy has turned the rivets of his armour into suction cups – not that he minds so much, as it’s all too easy for him to grapple with his enemies at close quarters. In battle, he sticks close to Darion, hoping to draw the gaze of the Dark Gods by proxy, and covers his master’s back when Ashteth leads him on a killing spree.

I have about three hundred points left to spend and quite fancy some sort of vehicle. I’d be tempted by a Land Raider if I were heading straight to 1500 points, but as it is I’ll have to settle for something a bit more restrained, something that can offer some fire support to the rest of the band. I can’t afford enough Robots to make them worthwhile and I don’t really fancy a Land Speeder or Bike… but I do like Dreadnoughts.

Auton and Desecrator – Techmarine and Chaos Dreadnought

A Furibundus Dreadnought has a nice array of weapons and scanners – a lascannon and two bolt guns with targeters for both – plus a force field to keep it intact against return fire. I’ll be using this to knock out enemy transports so Darion and Zygon can have their way with the contents, and it can have a crafty pop at enemy personalities if there are no armoured targets available.

I’ll need a Techmarine to keep an eye on it, and since I’m running a bit short on points, I’ll keep his equipment basic – a chainsword and frag grenades are all I can afford. He doesn’t really have the characteristics to make use of fancy gear anyway. I do, however, roll up an Attribute for him – a Featureless Face.

Unlike the rest of Darion’s minions, Auton the Techmarine is entirely humble before the Great Powers; he sees himself merely as a servant to others’ glory. Some Chaos God or Daemon has taken umbrage at this servility and cursed him with a smooth, featureless helm which he can’t actually remove any more – it’s a good job his armour recycles waste and has life support built in!

The object of Auton’s devotion is the ancient Dreadnought ‘Desecrator’ – a relic from some older Chaos Legion or Chapter which the warband captured and renovated during its fall. Desecrator is everything its handler is not – bellicose, belligerent, and destructive. It has a particular distaste for enemy vehicles, blasting away with its lascannon at any cowards who try to hide from the Powers’ gaze in their metal boxes.

Total: 996 points

For my first expansion block I like the idea of a cheap and disposable squad, putting some more bodies on the board, and another, more flexible Dreadnought. I can’t quite fit a Dreadnought and a Traitor Marine squad into 500 points, but I can take some Beastmen and hope their Dominant Attributes beef them up a little. They will, of course, need a Techmarine handler, as will the second Dreadnought.

Techmarine Soldeed and the Slaves of Nimon – Beastman Slave Squad

Techmarines’ characteristics not being much to write home about, I don’t bother with any really fancy equipment for them; frag grenades, since he’ll be getting up close to the enemy, and a Frenzon controller to set the Beastmen off at the right moment, and that’s about it. Like Auton, he rolls up an Attribute – his eyes have merged into one.

The Beastmen, meanwhile, don’t get any Attributes at all. Rubbish. However, looking through their equipment options, I spot power shields at a bargain one point each! That’ll make them perfect screens for the two Dreadnoughts or for Darion and Zygon – if any of them to survive, Soldeed can set off their Frenzon and let them do what Beastmen do best.

Soldeed is a devoted servant to a minor Chaos Power which nobody’s heard of – a lesser Prince of Slaanesh called Nimon. Nimon has blessed him with both followers – a rabble of bull-horned beast-runts who hang on his every word – and a mark, in the form of a single cyclopean eye in the middle of his forehead. Soldeed is indifferent to the lives of his charges, and they – blood-greedy grobblies to a man – don’t care how many of their peers die as long as they get to taste the ‘blessing of Nimon’ dispensed by their collars.

Techmarine Nestene and Dominator – Chaos Dreadnought

I feel some fire support is important with two rather assault-oriented units running around, and so opt for a Deredeo pattern Dreadnought; it can swing a punch more effectively than the Furibundus if it needs to, but mostly it’s there to point a missile launcher at targets of opportunity and thin out the enemy as the assault elements close in. Its controlling Techmarine just gets the time-honoured frag grenades, for more fun with blast radiuses (radii?), and doesn’t get an Attribute.

Nestene is in the same boat as Fendahl – accepting that the Imperium has failed, but not quite ready to plunge himself into the worship of Chaos just yet. He’d rather concentrate on maintaining the Dominator, another relic of the Chapter which Darion has insisted on renaming. Dominator, for its part, has vague memories of a past as a Tactical Sergeant, and has a tendency to bellow out orders to which absolutely nobody listens.

Total: 500 points

My second expansion carries a certain obligation. I know I’m bound to run into an Eldar Farseer or Squat Ancestor Lord at some stage and one of my regular opponents is making noises about an Inquisitor. Lacking any psychic chicanery of my own, I feel a Librarian coming on, and I quite fancy creating a veteran Chaos personality to give the warband some credibility. I choose to roll up a Chief Librarian (Major Hero); his Reward is the Eye of God, bumping up his characteristics even further and giving him a Chaos Weapon with the Warrior Summoning power and his Attribute is a rather flashy Mane of Hair. Far more importantly, though, his psychic powers generate a Mastery Level of 4, a Psi-level of 56, and 17 powers!

After a flurry of die rolls I end up with Telepathy 1, Smash, Mental Bolt, Rally, Sense Presence, Animate Weapon, Transfer Aura, Mental Blitz, Limbo, Temporal Distort, Strength of Mind and Change Allegiance, plus a few duplicates. I’ll be asking the other chaps about the duplicates; I’d quite like to trade them in for some actual Chaos powers if I’m allowed to. Either Slaanesh (matching Darion’s Daemon Weapon) or Tzeentch (suiting the scheming, manipulative telepathic shenanigans that his existing powers indicate) would seem appropriate. If not, I can always either discard or reroll them; he’s quite impressive enough as it is. He’s suddenly become a very significant investment, and so four points for a displacer field seems like a very wise investment.

Chief Librarian Caraphiel

Caraphiel is the power behind Darion’s throne, and the guiding influence in the warband’s descent/ascent into Chaos worship. An ancient and powerful Chaos Sorcerer, he was the bane of Darion’s former Chapter and the personal nemesis of the young Commander. Over the years – or maybe decades – of their conflict, Caraphiel’s powers ate away at Darion’s sanity, drawing him further and further from the Emperor’s truth in the pursuit of revenge. Eventually, Caraphiel led Darion to a daemon world and oversaw his final conversion to the ways of Chaos. Though he prefers to watch his protoge from afar, he sometimes deigns to join the warband in battle should an especially potent psychic threat present itself. Disdaining the company of lesser Traitors, he creates illusionary guardians to aid him in battle, and his powers often mislead his enemies as to his true location.

Caraphiel is also astonishingly expensive, running to 245 points and ruling out the Lesser Daemons I’d been contemplating. However, I do have just enough left for another major Chaos personality: I could always buy myself a Possessed Marine with a Lesser Daemon passenger and trust to luck. You only live once, after all.

Alas, disaster strikes! While I start out with a Major Hero profile, a Daemonette inside, and a Chaos Weapon with Chill Blast, the d6 rolls on the Attribute table are not kind. A Crystalline Body and Tentacles are a good start, vaguely reminiscent of Ashteth though very fragile, and a Rearranged Bestial Face does nobody any harm. My next roll is Puny, though, and my next Chaos Spawn! A further d6 rolls on the Attribute chart, and stupidity into the bargain!

As if to add insult to injury, I roll up Chaos Lord as the first of the new Attributes, indicating that this was once a truly mighty Champion before the Daemon found its way into him. Chaos Lord means he gets Chaos Armour, and a Daemon Weapon of his own, which alas has to be discarded (though I might well roll it up anyway to build a sense of this character’s history**). The rest of them are a mixed bag; a Hunchback, Extra Joints, Powerful Leap, Uncontrollable Flatulence again, Eye of God (which in theory makes the brute a psyker, and I suppose he’d have Acquiesence, being a Slaaneshi Possessed and all) and Plague Bearer (with a bad case of Eye Rot) – but at least he gets Pseudo-Daemon to mitigate his Puny stature and bring him back up to size a little. Oh, and he causes fear in quite a lot of things. Can’t think why.

M WS BS S T W I A Ld Int Cl WP
4 6 4 1 1 2 7 5 9 9 10 9

The result is a very mobile but very fragile Possessed which throws out a great many Attacks at mediocre Strength and reduces its immediate opponent to a gibbering, pleasure-crazed wreck, assuming that it doesn’t drop its brain and decide to jump around like a nutter instead. There could be better ways to spend 255 points, but he is extremely Chaotic and potentially quite entertaining.

Cenobius, Possessed Chaos Space Marine Major Hero (Emperor’s Children – Daemonette)

The former wielder of the daemon sword Ashteth, Cenobius was once a mighty commander of the Emperor’s Children and overlord of the daemon planet Midian. Slaanesh had rewarded him greatly, binding a Daemonette into his very flesh that he might enjoy constant sensual delight, and though his features were unbecoming, his power was undoubted. Alas, he was betrayed; the manipulations of Caraphiel brought Imperial Space Marines to his gates, and he was undone in personal combat with the ascendant Darion Khan. Slaanesh struck the former master of Midian down, withering his once-magnificent body. Withered, blinded and stinking with pox, drooling and mad, Caraphiel capers in the wake of Darion’s forces – a truly pathetic testament to the machinations and whims of the Chaos Gods, and an eternal reminder of the fate awaiting all unworthy Champions. Meanwhile, the Daemonette Maimfiddle languishes within his unworthy flesh, trapped and resentful. Darion would carve Cenobius apart and release the Daemonette, were he not afraid to go anywhere near the disease-ridden wreck.

Grant Total: 1996 points.

* – it’s just possible that the listed cost of 900 points for Daemon Weapons is a misprint, since I’m fairly sure 100 is listed elsewhere in the volume.

** – I did. I got an ex-Zoat Daemon Prince, possibly the most Oldhammer of all possible outcomes, and that once-mighty hunter with his pack of Hounds and his Suckers and his Face of Daemonette had once upon a time had a Daemon Weapon of his own, inhabited by a Dark Elf Wizard who’d ascended long ago, having acquired a mighty Chaos Weapon that did Bewitch, Reflect Magic and Summon Skeletons at her whim – admittedly she also had a Flaming Bestial Skull Face plus Mechanoid arms and legs which let her Hover, but you can’t have everything. Presumably she was some sort of heavily Fallen Eldar. Quite the little saga there if I could ever be bothered to write it up!

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