“That is not my name, Father. I am Night Haunter, and I know full well what you intend for me”Konrad Curze, speaking upon meeting the Emperor of Mankind for the first time
Note: There are no updates for Konrad Curze in Book 9: Crusade – however there are key concerns raised in the article and a need for change to occur in an FAQ.
The Night Haunter; a brutal moniker for a brutal individual. Contrary to popular meme, he wasn’t merely insanity personified. Instead, Konrad Curze could be likened more to having schizophrenia, incredibly ruthless schizophrenia at that. The Night Haunter was the punishment in the shadows, the ever present threat of death should you do wrong and the Spectre of Judgement – one that takes some enjoyment from the fear he causes. Konrad Curze was the persona better seated in the realms of what the Emperor wanted to create – still a violence-orientated beast, but one fashioned in his image; not in Nostramo’s. In fact, it’s pretty clear that in his more compus-mentis moments, Konrad Curze actually does exist and operate much like the Emperor of Mankind designed him to.
However, The Night Haunter is by far the more powerful psyche and the insanity often attributed to Konrad Curze actually is the direct result of the internal battle of Konrad Curze vs The Night Haunter to be the dominant psyche. This is laid bare in Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter novel. His condition is also made worse by the fact that Konrad Curze/Night Haunter is bombarded by multiple visions of the future during seizures – indeed, even letting slip to Sevatar of the Heresy soon to come, whilst Curze conducted a raid on his own errant troops during a compliance in the closing stages of the Great Crusade.
With him being constantly held ransom at the whim of vision inducing seizures, bombarding him with multiple possibilities; Curze became preoccupied with the notion of predetermination. Indeed, as we see in the novel Konrad Curze: The Night Haunter; he believes there can only ever be one future outcome. Due to him being exposed to environmentally-bred-in negativity from growing and learning on Nostramo, he believes that the worst case scenario is naturally the one that will occur.
So, with the most negative possible outlook on life entrenched in an already crowded mind that is being consistently bombarded with visions of annihilation (and his own death); the persona that was Konrad Curze waned and soon vanished beneath that of The Night Haunter. This pretty much culminates when, during a seizure, he kills a Legionary of the VIII in his inner sanctum. At this point Curze realises he has become one of those he seeks to punish; a criminal, a murderer. He too must be punished.
With this revelation effectively securing The Night Haunters dominance, the preoccupation with predetermination becomes absolute truth. He will die, having been punished by the Emperor of Mankind’s command. Therefore, he is free to go on the rampage, unleashing atrocity in his wake in pursuit of punishing those he perceives are guilty.
As a part of this rampage across the stars, we see him infuriate and come close to defeating The Lion on several occasions. He also draws The Lion into internal conflict with Guilliman and Sanguineous in Ultramar – who upon realising they are being played and lied to by The Lion, seek to banish him from their presence. Eventually, we see Curze, broken physically by The Lion and mentally by Sanguineous; cast into the void in a stasis coffin – ultimately consigning the fate of Curze and the Night Lords in general onto the path foreseen by Curze all along.
The Night Haunter is a powerful Primarch when we consider his psychic potential. However, he is subject to the fact that the Emperor technically abandons him soon after finding him. This can be seen in the fact that it is quite clear that Curze has great precognition skills, but they are wildly out of control when the Emperor first comes to meet Curze on Nostramo.
Instead of instructing Curze and improving his understanding on the control of his powers; Curze is rolled out amongst the Great Crusade as a commander of a Terror Legion. We see no similar action taken to attempt to fix him as The Emperor did with Angron. He does get some assistance from his Brothers; most notably Sanguineous, Fulgrim and Dorn. However, the camaraderie breaks down, especially with the Dorn. This culminates in a violent manner once the vision of how Curze will die comes to him with the strength and assuredness only a predetermined fate can. Curze ends up almost killing Dorn.
During the Heresy and the build up to the invasion of the Sol System, Curze becomes aware of Gendor Skraivok’s plan. This plan is to pollute the VIII Legion with gutter scum whilst populating his family gang with VIII Legion aspirants back on Nostramo. Unfortunately, this knowledge comes too late to affect the Legions decline, but he does enact the ultimate vengeance on Nostramo.
Curze ends up hating his Legion in virtually it’s entirety for either its criminality or its sycophantism (Equerry Chang being the greatest of them). Indeed, to the reader, it seems that outside of Jago Sevatarion and Talos Valcoran – The Night Haunter has not one drop of even the slightest concern for the well-being of the members of his Legion.
So you see….
“There was no other way”Konrad Curze on the compliance of Nostramo.
Konrad Curze will set you back 435 points and has a ruleset dating back to 2012 with the release of Book 2: Massacre. As such it’s fairly well written and robust – being crafted from a narrative position.
With a Weapon Skill of 8, Curze equals Fulgrim, Perturabo, The Lion and (oddly, considering how Curze pastes him in The Dark King) Rogal Dorn.
That means he will be hitting the aforementioned Primarchs plus Sanguineous, Russ and Angron (who are WS9) on a 4+ Based on WS alone. Everyone else is WS7 or lower (Lorgar) so he will hit them on 3+. Curze is in a good place – though it’s fair to say there’s a few questionable WS stats in there in general and that in the main, WS isn’t the be all and end all – merely a helpful aspect.
Ballistic Skill of 6 is roughly par for the course for a Primarch, as is the Strength, Toughness and Wounds. These statistics tend to vary by +/-1 over the spread of Primarchs. Initiative is where it gets exciting again however. At Initiative 7, only Sanguineous, Fulgrim and Jaghatai strike before him (all are Initiative 8). This means that you have a good chance of getting some damage in on the charge before the others retort!
Attacks wise, the lowest for a Primarch is 4 attacks base and the highest is 6 attacks base. Curze middles out with 5 attacks base – this is ok, however there are some nuances to melee that we will discuss in that section.
With the initial snapshot of how it looks like he’s roughly going to perform over and done with, lets look at the rest of his rules and wargear.
It makes sense to start off explaining what Unit Type Curze is as it can result in some odd looks if a player isn’t familiar with him. As Jump Infantry – Curze has quite the threat range. This can be confusing as there’s not a Jump Pack in sight on his model. He was given the type to depict him properly in game, enabling him to bound up the table and appear from the shadows unbidden as he does in the lore. It’d be pretty poor if you just had The Night Haunter moving 6″ each turn in the movement phase, seeing him coming a mile off like something out of Monty Python.
Jump Infantry allows Curze to move swiftly in either the movement phase or the assault phase. If he uses the Jump Pack, Curze moves 12″; if he isn’t using the Jump Pack rule in that phase then he moves 6″ as normal. In the assault phase, the Jump Pack allows you to re-roll the charge distance as long as you haven’t used it in the movement phase. Under the Jump Infantry rule we find a sub-rule of Skyborne; a rule which means that if you’re using the Jump Pack then you’re able to move over all other models and terrain freely. Dangerous Terrain tests still apply. All Jump Infantry are classed as Bulky and have the Deep Strike rule. This is very useful as i’m sure is obvious right now – but now is the perfect time to remind you that you cannot charge on the turn you arrived from Deep Strike so choose your positioning carefully.
One last point to make abundantly clear: Jump Infantry means that Curze cannot go in a Rhino, Land Raider, Spartan, Dreadclaw, Kharybdis Dreadclaw or Storm Eagle. In fact, it’d be easier to say what transports he can go inside: the Thunderhawk Gunship and the Sokar Pattern Storm Bird.
Unfortunately, with Night Raptors gaining a rule to enable them to use their Jump Packs in both the movement and assault phase, and with Curze merely being reprinted; this reduces the efficiency of using him with Night Raptors anymore. Poor rules writing on Forgeworld’s part – no excuse for it considering the Lion effectively gets a free 8″ charge in and amongst his pages of rules.
Curze has a custom wrought artificer suit known as The Nightmare Mantle. It provides him with a 2+ armour save and 4+ invulnerable save characteristic. Additionally, he gets D3 Hammer of Wrath when he charges and has Hit & Run. The latter rule, Hit & Run is important here, as you really don’t want to hang about in combat if you don’t have to. His 2+/4++ save characteristic is average at best for a Primarch (no re-rolls here) and they all have dedicated AP 2 or better weapons. This means that in a straight up fight you’re relying on the 4++ to stay in the game.
Have a round of combat, get out and get back in during the next turn – it serves to make Curze a lot more survivable – all you have to do is not roll a 6 when carrying out the Initiative Test and you’re then rolling 3D6″ to get the hell out of dodge. Be very wary of Concussion and Stasis Anomaly causing weapons, as if you are concussed, you’re at Initiative 1 and the option to Hit & Run is no longer going to be achievable. This makes Primarchs like The Lion, Perturabo and Vulkan a bit difficult to deal with, but also some Mechanicum Battle Automata too such as the humble Castellax. Their Shock Chargers aren’t just AP 2 (due to Monstrous Creatures) but they’re also Concussive. Mark and Avoid – they’re not worth the possible consequences unless they’re a dead-cert to die.
As Curze is a Primarch, he gets the standard ruleset of Primarch which incorporates Independent Character, Master of the Legion, Eternal Warrior, Fear, Adamantium Will, Fleet, Fearless, It Will Not Die, Precision Strike, Precision Shot. Whilst that’s a fairly hefty set of rules, the ones we are most interested in are Fear, Fleet and Precision Strike. With regards to Fear, it doesn’t actually boost Curze as it doesn’t stack with his abilities, but it does trigger the enemy into taking a Fear Test against those abilities – something to remember. Fleet allows you to re-roll one dice when making run or charge moves; So, the argument here from a tactica point of view is that you use your Jump Pack in the movement phase and use Fleet to help get you in on the charge. It increases your potential threat range in the turn. We will cover Precision Strike later and why it’s useful to remember.
The first of the Special Rules for Konrad Curze is Sire of the Night Lords. This rule means that Curze always has Night Vision & Acute Senses and a force containing him as its Warlord my elect to have the first turn as Night Fighting. Additionally, if Curze is the Warlord any Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) units gain the Fear special rule and if they already have it, then it is enhanced to provide a -1 penalty to enemy Leadership when testing for Fear. That’s quite a hefty ruleset and it’s exceptionally useful at buffing your army – In my personal opinion, he is one of the better Primarch for that.
First off Night Vision means that Curze ignores the effects of Night Fighting – which makes sense both narratively and mechanically, considering your entire army has that too. By electing to have the first turn as Night Fighting you can effectively jump start the benefits of Terror Assault just by having Curze as your Warlord. Note, that this doesn’t reset the rolls, you merely roll from turn 2 onwards as dictated in the rules. Fear is something that currently is on all Legion Specific units bar Night Raptors and Kheron Ophion; something that is hopefully going to be addressed in the upcoming Book 9: Crusade. Regardless, this means that if you’re loaded up on Legion Specific units; you’re looking at a board worth of -2 Ld Penalty to Fear Tests taken by the enemy. That can be quite useful as the game goes on and the enemy starts losing its high leadership models in its Squads. There’s nothing quite like a little bit of melee followed by casually escorting enemy models off the table. Militia, are particularly susceptible.
Speaking of Fear we have The King of Terrors special rule up next. This means that any units taking a Fear Test against him do so at -3 Ld penalty. This should probably be -4 to be genuinely effective and representational; without being game-breaking. We wouldn’t want a Primarch to have game-breaking rules after all.
If Curze is part of an assault that destroys an enemy unit outright, all other enemy units that are subject to Fear and within 12″ line of sight to the combat are forced to take an immediate morale check or fall back. This can occasionally work to your disadvantage by making the enemy further away – but either way if it works it forces your opponent onto the back foot for a turn. Anything to destabilise the game in your favour I count as a bonus and you probably will too – after all, Night Lords don’t like to fight on equal terms.
Being an individual who spent his time on the shadowy world of Nostramo, Curze has Stealth and Shrouded. Starting with the rule of Stealth you have a +1 better cover save than normal, so that’s a 6+ in the open. Coupled with Shrouded, which counts your cover save as +2 better than normal, you end up with a 3+ cover save even in the open. Better yet, if you couple those two rules with Night Fighting and you have a 2+ cover save, even if you’re moseying down the centre of the table in the open. That save is also conferred to a squad Curze joins, meaning you can happily move 15 Night Raptors and Curze down the table, even if they’re in the open.
Speaking of Squads for Curze to join, the list is as long as my arm and entirely dependent on what you want to run or where your focus sits. There are some Legion Specific units that Curze seems to fit in very naturally with; most notably Night Raptors. Generally, you’re looking at two key factors – speed and bonuses to melee, as this really where the Night Lords excel.
First is Night Raptors/Legion Assault Squads. These are by far the more classical choice of units, mainly because they match speed with Curze perfectly. Whether you use Night Raptors is down to you – really the benefit here is that increased WS and ability to kit out with Nostraman Chainglaives or Power Weapons in significant number over a basic Legion Assault Squad. An alternative build for Night Raptors tends to be billy-basic, with just Chainswords and Bolt Pistols – maxing out attacks and sacrificing AP and Rending. That’s not to say that you can’t mix – but if you do you’re losing efficacy on a unit that is already poorly pointed for its rules and effect on the table. Heresy isn’t all about efficacy as it’s narrative, but at the same time there’s a lot to be said about how poorly performing Night Raptors can be and getting the best out of them being paramount.
Alternatively, you can take a full 20 man Legion Assault Squad, all armed with Melta Bombs, Chainswords and Bolt Pistols, with the Sergeant taking Artificer Armour for not much more than price of a 10 man Night Raptor squad armed with Nostraman Chainglaives (420 points vs 365 points – 55 points difference). Being able to virtually always outnumber – remembering it’s key for A Talent For Murder; even whilst absorbing losses and still pull double duty on Anti-tank and Anti-infantry is why this tends to be what you see the most. It also means that Curze can’t get trapped by Dreadnoughts – you just Melta Bomb them to hell.
Hopefully, Night Raptors will get some reworking in Book 9: Crusade – but even so, they’re not a bad choice still; you just need to be cognisant of their shortcomings – their reliable effect resides in its entirety with anti-infantry work.
Next we have the Legion Jetbike Sky Hunter Squadron. These have a basic move of 12″ in the movement phase, meaning you are going to be using that Jump Pack to move alongside them unless you want to restrict the Jetbikes. This means that the use of Fleet to assure the charge is critical. Jetbikes have a number of bonuses over a more classical choice of unit however. First off is the sweet 2+ armour and 4+ Jink save characteristic they have access to. This is a big jump up in survivability – especially when you consider that Curze actually buffs the Squad to a 2+ Jink due to Stealth and Shrouded – even without Night Fighting in effect.
Legion Jetbike Sky Hunter Squadrons are WS4/BS4 but with the ability to Deep Strike alongside Curze (although they’d be unable to Jink in this situation) and one in three to take a Multi-melta; we have a unit that can do some light-double duty here too. Regardless of taking a Sergeant (which is a 15 point upgrade) or just running a decent sized blob of them; you get a decent amount of attacks in a mobile and very resilient unit. Finally, Jetbikes have Very Bulky meaning even with minimal numbers you’re very likely to outnumber to assure A Talent For Murder on the Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) units.
Finally, we have Legion Destroyer Squad. First let us clear up a misunderstanding that seems to permeate through the community as a whole. Any Independent Character may join Legion Destroyer Squads; the rule most often confused with them is the Legion Consul – Moritat‘s Lone Killer rule. This rule states that a Moritat cannot join squads other than Legion Destroyer Squads. There’s nothing in Legion Destroyer Squad rules stating they cannot be joined by other Independent Characters.
So why have I suggested Legion Destroyer Squads are great for Curze to join? Well, that comes mostly down to the debilitating effects they can have on the enemy. Destroyers are Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) and can take Jump Packs. With basic WS/BS 4 and a 3+ armour save (the Sergeant can take Artificer Armour) they just seem to be a much more costly Legion Assault Squad at this point.
Well, no; they have Rad Grenades baked into their Wargear which are grenades that reduce an enemies toughness by -1 when they’re in base contact. Better yet, they have Counter-Attack which means that if they get charged they gain +1 attack until the end of the phase. Really, you’ll be wanting to charge however.
With Curze in the Squad and Night Fighting in effect you’ll have a 3+/2+ Armour/Cover save. Charging in, you having 1 attack base (2 for the Sergeant), +1 on the charge and +1 for having Chainswords and Bolt Pistols. That means you generate 31 attacks. Ok, they’re not the strongest attacks, but then your enemy won’t be in a decent condition due to the Rad Grenades. This means that you’ll be hitting other Power Armour on 3+ and wounding Toughness 4 on 2+ due to A Talent For Murder and Rad Grenades. Alone, they won’t be setting the world totally on fire. But they won’t be alone.
Curze isn’t affected by the Rad Grenades due to the very specific wording of them; and as such he will simply benefit from their buff. This makes a fairly hefty difference, allowing Curze to go from hitting on 4+ to hitting on a 3+; but if you want a bigger one, spend a little longer getting to combat or use another Legion Destroyer Squad to target the enemy Primarch with Rad Missiles. This means that any unsaved wounds from those weapons reduce the toughness by 1 and stack with Rad Grenades in the fight phase. It’s unconventional and points heavy, but most definitely an interesting and lesser seen way to swing the fight in your favour. Just be aware of some special rules that ignore the effects of Rad-Phage weapons.
That said – there’s also nothing wrong with sending Curze off alone – he’s quite capable.
Whilst not overtly a Primarch known for shooting, Curze is ever the one for quietly and stealthily maiming and disabling priority targets before descending and tearing the remaining targets apart in melee.
|Widowmaker Volley||12″||4||5||Assault 3, Lethal Precision|
The Widowmaker Volley is effectively super sharp throwing knives made for signature kills by Nostraman assassin cults. Whilst fairly short ranged, they have quite the utility. Remembering Curze has BS6, these weapons also inflict Precision Strike on a 4+ and on a following to wound roll of 6+ ignore the targets armour and invulnerable save. Remember, because it isn’t clear on the profile, that if you miss, you can re-roll a single shot and hit on 6+ as part of normal rules for BS6.
Precision Strike (actually named Precision Shot for shooting attacks) normally goes off on a 6+ to hit, so a nice +2 bonus works well for Curze. This means you can nicely target those pesky Sergeants in Tactical Squads with Artificer Armour. Better yet, the 6+ to wound means that even if you’re going for something like a Praetor, their saves count for nothing. It might not go off often, but when it does it again serves to destabilise the asymmetry of the battle further to your benefit.
Curze also has Frag Grenades which, if you’re not fancying your chances with the Widowmaker Volley, in the shooting phase you can throw a Frag Grenade instead. With the weapon being Blast 3″ sometimes, you can have a greater effect on more models. This means that whilst you might plink one or two off; you need to be cognisant of charge distances and also the potential for it to scatter back onto you.
Whether you used the Widowmaker Volley and targeted an enemy leader successfully, or dropped a grenade in their laps; their short range means that you’ll be headed into a charge and ensuing melee (remember Fleet on the charge if you used your Jump Pack in the movement phase).
Attached to the vambraces of The Nightmare Mantle are two pairs of wide set artificer blades; known as Mercy & Forgiveness. These blades have some oddness attached to them in the rules that we will take a look at now.
|Mercy & Forgiveness||–||User||2||Melee, Shred, Paired (+1), Murderous Strike, Specialist Weapon|
First off, we have some nice rule writing with the fact these weapons have Shred – so you’re re-rolling failed wounds. Unfortunately, there’s no Master-crafted or Hatred (X) on Curze for melee, something I would like to see change in Book 9: Crusade. Master-crafted would just add a nice touch to an otherwise ok ruleset for Primarchs weapons – although Hatred (X) might be a bit over the top. Murderous Strike gives this weapon Instant Death on to wound rolls of 6+, something that is useful for Monstrous Creatures or pesky Paragon Blade Praetors. Finally, we have the rule-massacre of Specialist Weapon and Paired (+1).
Why is a rule-massacre? Because it doesn’t make a great deal of sense at face value, narratively or mechanically. Specialist Weapon means you lose the +1 Attack for having two or more weapons, but Paired +1 gives you an extra attack anyway.
The issue comes from the fact that the rules designers were clearly trying to limit the amount of attacks Curze can put out. Mercy & Forgiveness are clearly Paired (+1) weapons as there is one on each arm and they are used together to great effect. However, if left without Specialist Weapon, they would only generate a single additional attack due to the presence of The Widowmakers.
Honestly, at this point, if they weren’t going to give Curze the Mastercrafted rule, then the extra attack would still have been a nice bonus; and something I’d take as an alternative to mastercrafted being added. It’s not like it’s out of character for Curze to have an extra attack – it would fit into the narrative of his maniacal attack pattern without a huge concern to game balance.
Remember however that you’re only Strength 6, AP 2 and you don’t have Melta Bombs, so those dreadnoughts you see casually ambling over towards you will be a massive problem to deal with because your only option is to Hit & Run. Mark and avoid any form of Dreadnought is the underlying theme here.
So lets look at a typical round where you’ve charged in – with 5 Attacks base, +1 for the charge bringing you to 6 Attacks. Remember Specialist Weapon means you don’t get the extra attack for the Mercy & Forgiveness but you do get the extra attack for Paired (+1) bringing us to 7 Attacks. See what I mean about the artificial limiting? It really wouldn’t hurt the balance for him to have 8 attacks, as long as none had mastercrafted.
Weapon Skill 8 means that against humble Tactical Squads and Praetors you hit on 3+ at Initiative 7. There’s no bonus to your Initiative for Night Fighting due to the lack of Legiones Astartes (Night Lords). When you’re against Primarchs, you’re hitting on 4+ for WS8-10 and 3+ for WS6-7. Though the lack of Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) can be felt here, if he is in a Squad, his bulk still contributes towards outnumbering. Just remember that if the target isn’t Fearless they need to carry out a Fear Test at -3 Ld due to The King of Terrors. Don’t forget too that Curze has Precision Strike in the Primarch rule, enabling you to target your strikes on specific models on the roll of a 6+ to hit in melee.
Once you’ve hit at Initiative 7, you’re wounding Tactical Squads and Praetors on 2+ at AP 2, so that’s bye-bye Tacticals and hello Iron Halo for Praetors. If you’ve rolled any 6+ to wound, you need to remember those have Instant Death. Against Primarchs; well, taking an average toughness of 6; you’re wounding on 4+. If you haven’t already heard about Primarchs slogging it out for an entire game until one player has bad rolls – this should perfectly outline it for you. Curze does far better out and about, bullying weaker targets than in combat with another Primarch.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with hammering into a Primarch for a phase, then at the end of the assault phase, using Hit & Run to go and bother some weaker targets. Alternatively, you could just keep charging back in, in an attempt to max your attacks out. You just need to be cognisant of the Initiative and bonuses those Primarchs have. It’s far better to charge Fulgrim than it is to be charged by him for example – but there’s inherent risk in Hit & Run leaving you within charge range.
That was a big one – and rightly so with it being for The Night Haunter. Regardless of whether you agree with the latest novels notion of a multiple personality disorder or just that he is bat-shit insane is par for the course – the fact he is a tragic character cannot be argued.
As with everything Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) he does exceptionally well at bullying things weaker than him. Anyone who has read the lore concerning Konrad Curze can tell that his rules are exceptionally narrative based, adding some solid performing buffs to the army he is the Warlord in. If you can make it work, and with Terror Assault you can, an entire army giving out a -1 Ld debuff can have some good effects.
Don’t forget that whilst he has a Jump Pack enabling 12″ movement or a re-rollable charge distance (but not both); he also has Fleet allowing you to re-roll one dice when determining run or charge distances. This can prove beneficial when you simply must make a Hail Mary.
Curze is best employed absolutely beating the life out of enemy Troops and Power Armour Elites. If he’s facing off against a Primarch he can do ok; but you need to Hit & Run and redirect him into an enemy unit he can proceed to muller again. Primarch vs Primarch is always a bit stale – with either fairly obvious conclusions or the endless punch-fest occuring. There never seems to be an in-between.
Unfortunately, due to Forgeworld not updating Curze’s rules we now have an issue with using him alongside Night Raptors. Because they can use their Jump Packs in the movement and assault phase; you’re effectively limiting their bonuses by attaching Curze to them. Curze having Fleet does not help with this. It’s poor writing considering the affection crafted into the Dark Angels Primarch that they couldn’t add this one rule in alongside – considering it’s widely known that this is one of the only ways to run him other than alone. The Lion gets a free 8″ charge and Sanguineous effectively has Raptor Strike – so I don’t see how it would be an issue to give it to Curze.
That said, I’ll still probably run him alongside them, just separate him out in the turn I intend to Charge. This will require some long term planning in the game, but I think it might work well enough.
I will mention it again, but Deep Strike prohibits charging on the turn you arrived. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially for a new player used to 8th/9th Edition Warhammer 40,000 and a costly one at that too.
Don’t expect too much from The Widowmakers. They’re good when they work, but even so, they’re only Strength 4 AP 5, which is where they’re internally balanced. No broken rules here, not on our watch! When they’ve succeeded in killing off their target, they’ve been genuinely helpful for me in games.
Hit & Run is key to keeping him alive I’ve found. If he gets bogged down, the enemy can swarm him and pull him down, so get him in, do some damage and punch out at the end of the assault phase. Don’t bother charging the Lion. He has Stasis Grenades which are frankly broken; they reduce you to Initiative 1 for the first turn of a fight phase, so you’re on the back foot straight away. This is then made worse by the fact even if you wound him twice; he then gets more attacks. It’s just not worth it. Keep Curze out and mullering Power Armour.
He is competent in melee, but remember the best he will be hitting on is 3+ at best in combat due to a distinct lack of Legiones Astartes (Night Lords) limiting his access to A Talent For Murder. If he did have access to that; well that’d be broken. If you’re struggling with him hitting reliably; consider a Chaplain with a Jump Pack (preferably with a Nostraman Chainglaive) to re-roll the failed hits.
The -3 Ld Penalty that Curze has through King of Terrors is ok at best. There’s a lot of Ld 10 out there nowadays.
Lets be clear, concise and realistic. Against The Lion, Curze has very little chance of doing well – even with perfect rolling. There’s just too much bloat in The Lion’s special rules and too little in Curze’s own rules to allow you to re-create those famous battles and scenes from the lore. Most of this comes down to Stasis Grenades, +3 Strength weapons on a Strength 7 Primarch and re-rollable invulnerable saves once a turn – let alone 5 attacks base all at Initiative. Even if you do wound him twice, he then gets more attacks.
This is an immense shame and frankly lazy rules writing – or the lack of rules writing full stop, to put it politely.
Hopefully the Forgeworld Rules team have done something with Curze in an FAQ to make him able to at least have a rule similar to Raptor Strike to allow him to work with Night Raptors. It’d also give him a much needed boost to his average rules – why he was a reprint is genuinely a question that needs to be answered by the rule designers – as it smacks of Fanboism and laziness to have such a different approach to the Primarchs in the same book, especially one that is known to be narrative and is now 8 years in print.
Even adding just Raptor Strike would allow people to play in a narrative manner, which at the end of the day is what The Horus Heresy is all about.
AVE DOMINUS NOX!