“I shall permit you a chance to run before I render judgement upon you. It makes this whole situation much more interesting for me if you do.”Amon Drochar, VIII Legion, 54th Company Chaplain.
WE HAVE COME FOR YOU
This is the first time I will be fielding a Night Lords army on the tabletop (physically at least) since Book IX: Crusade dropped. It’ll also be the first time our group gets to experience my Night Lords army in its new iteration. Gone are the old Legion Terminators with Volkite Chargers, instead replaced by Contekar with Volkite Cavitators. The army itself for PARACEL STORM is comprised of two Companies, 52nd and 54th; complete with some very special units to me. I didn’t feel that the Armoured Strike Force of the 53rd would work well in this game, and opted to use this game as a driving reason to focus on finishing the repaint of the Night Lords Night Raptors and Gunships that I started long before the release of Book IX (for those wondering, an Operational Deployment put paid to painting for the last eight months).
Onto the Army Group list (for those wanting a text based one; please see below).
The 15th Terror Assault Group is a twin-Force Organisation utilising the Terror Assault Rite of War in both detachments. It is led by Konrad Curze. He is bedecked in the Nightmare Mantle and has the Widowmakers alongside Mercy and Forgiveness.
The ever loyal Sevatar is Second in Command and has sole command of the 52nd Company Force Organisation in this Army Group. He is equipped with Artificer Armour and Night’s Whisper.
The 54th Company is led by Hel Zyberis, a Praetor with Jump Pack. He has a Bolt Pistol, Master-crafted Paragon Blade, Digital Lasers, Iron Halo and Trophies of Judgement.
His Second in Command in Amon Drochar, a Chaplain with Jump Pack. he has a Crozius Arcanum in the form of an Axe, Artificer Armour, Bolt Pistol, Melta Bombs and a Refractor Field.
The 52nd Company has four identical 10-man Terror Squad Claws with Volkite Chargers and Melta Bombs. The Headsman has Artificer armour. They have Legion Dreadclaw Drop Pods as their Dedicated Transports.
The 54th Company has three identical 10-man Night Raptor Claws with Bolt Pistols and Nostraman Chainglaives. The Huntsmaster has Artificer Armour, Trophies of Judgement and the Headsmans Axe.
The 52nd Company has two identical 10-man Contekar Terminator Elite Claws, “The Crimson Order” and “The Lords Abominatus”. They are armed with Volkite Cavitators. The Dissident has an Escaton Power Claw.
The 52nd Company is joined by by a Castaferrum Dreadnought “Irulan the Bleak”. He has a Flamestorm Cannon, Dreadnought Close Combat Weapon with in-built Melta Gun and Armoured Ceramite. He is in a Legion Drop Pod Dedicated Transport.
The 54th Company has Flaymaster Krueger, a Legion Apothecary with Jump Pack. He is equipped with a Narthecium, Bolt Pistol and Chainsword.
The 52nd Company has a Legion Storm Eagle Gunship “Perennial Nightmare”. It is equipped with a hull-mounted Multi-Melta, two wing-mounted Lascannon and has Armoured Ceramite.
The 54th Company has a squadron of Legion Javelin Attack Speeders “The Carrion Hunters”. They are armed with pintle-mounted Multi-Melta and hull-mounted Lascannon.
52nd Company has a Leviathan Siege Dreadnought “Ravukan the Beast”. He has a Cyclonic Melta Lance, a Leviathan Siege Claw, two torso-mounted Volkite Caliver and Armoured Ceramite. He has a Legion Dreadnought Drop Pod Dedicated Transport.
54th Company has a Legion Fire Raptor Gunship “Excoriator”. It is armed with a hull-mounted Avenger Bolt Cannon, twin Autocannon ball-turret batteries, four Hellstrike missiles and is equipped with Armoured Ceramite.
LORDS OF WAR
In addition to Konrad Curze (who fills this slot heirarchically) the 52nd has a Legion Thunderhawk Gunship “Blackened”. This is armed with a centreline Turbolaser Destructor, six Hellstrike missiles, four sponson-mounted twin-linked Heavy Bolters and two hull-mounted Lascannon. It is equipped with a Chaff Launcher, Flare Shield and has a Void-Crafted Hull.
ARMY GROUP PLAYSTYLE
52nd Company is oddly weighted in this game, due to the addition of Irulan the Bleak. This means that three Drop Pods of the total five will enter the game on Turn One. Which ones come in will be a purely reactive play (if the Traitors go second). The 52nd is then reliant upon reserve rolls, which can be somewhat concerning. There’s no Damocles Command Rhino in this army, making my choices as to what enters into play on Turn One quite critical. Sevatar will ride in Blackened with a Claw of Contekar. This leaves the second Claw of Contekar to come in the Storm Eagle. This negates the short range of the snub-nosed Volkite Cavitator and provides some degree of mobility and protection to the Contekar Claws. Both the Thunderhawk and Storm Eagle are Assault Vehicles, though they will have to wait a turn after the Gunships arrive to land and charge out of them.
54th Company is effectively my old Horror Cult army. It’s now significantly nicer to play due to no longer requiring to use Horror Cult to field Night Raptors as troops. It is reliant on reserve rolls to bring in Excoriator – but the Javelins are able to provide intermediary Anti-Tank support when needed or Outflank should that play seem beneficial. At first glance it seems it operates as a Deathstar – but with the Raptor Strike rule only applying to Night Raptors, this means that they won’t actually be fighting like that if I wish to fully take advantage of the Night Raptors in-turn speed; which I do. There’s a mechanical difference between Fleet (Curze) and Raptor Strike, so it means there’s potentially some joining and leaving shenanigans that need attending to in order to really take full advantage of the unit rules.
As an Army Group, they work fairly well. There’s no outlandish or gotcha style gameplay with this; just a fast moving, but reserve reliant and Anti-Tank light force. If the reserves go well, then there’s a damn fine chance they’ll do very well. If they don’t then this will be an uphill battle for me. There isn’t really a middle ground with this Army Group.
For those interested, the normal Company Force Organisations are listed below:
Curze is forever one of my love-and-loathes. I will 100% be avoiding the Lion and Sanguinous with him. It just isn’t worth trying to take on those significantly better rule-written Primarchs. Instead, I’ll likely use him to bully enemy troop formations, either with a larger unit supporting him, or as I prefer – alone. Less of a target, easier to hide and launch ambushes with.
Reserves are 100% the crucial core problem with the Army Group. Unfortunately, the enemy can infiltrate quite easily so there didn’t seem to be much of a point bringing a Damocles only to have it destroyed Turn One.
The Thunderhawk is a big-ticket Lord of War that genuinely never seems to do much for me on the table – but it’s fun to play. Rule of Cool is literally the only reason I own one, so it’s also the sole reason it’s being used in this game.
I don’t really have any answers to what I’m expecting the Dark Angels to bring. There’s no surprise there though with Stasis single handedly being as mental as it is. That, if combined with the Dangerous Terrain RoW pretty much means I won’t be having much fun on the table. At least with the Blood Angels and Raven Guard I should have some equal punch.
PARACEL STORM is likely to be a loyalist-leaning game – with the Blood Angels no doubt using those Blades of Perdition in high numbers and the Dark Angels chucking around Instant Death because reasons. The Raven Guard will undoubtedly provide a significant opening strike – Mor Deythan with Flamers will undoubtedly be in force. The Night Lords and Emperors Children will be able to deliver their own melee brutality on the charge, but it could be costly due to the likely host of debuff avaliable to the Dark Angels.
As 22 May 21 draws closer, the excitement builds. This will be an epic start to Heresy in an emergent-from-COVID environment, regardless of the outcome.
AVE DOMINUS NOX