A bit of pre-warning, this post STARTS WELL, but has some much-deserved and backed up salt at the end.
With the recent leaks on Reddit for the Traitor Legions, I decided to put some serious effort into converting my Night Lords army lists into 2.0. This shouldn’t be difficult – because we’ve had narrative-driven and thematic Rites of War for literally years now.
So, taking the information in hand, I took the list below:
Opened an Excel spreadsheet and went about business:
It makes for interesting reading. At first glance, you can see that the army ports over fairly well, with some space left over for a unit or two. Not bad in isolation – considering Contekar now have baked-in Teleportation Homers.
To explain why there might be some odd or unfamiliar names on the table, the Night Lords have lost Night Vision as a core rule, so you’re now spending +15 points per unit to give them Prey Sight to do the same thing. Trophies of Judgement hasn’t really changed, though you can’t pop it onto a unit that already has Fear as a rule. Lords of Murder gives you Bloody Murder, which adds +1 to your charge, and +1 attacks for the duration of the turn you charge in on when you’re targeting a unit which is pinned or falling back. That’s great because it works nicely with A Talent for Murder.
Let’s take a moment to discuss the effects of Night Fighting now. Under the new rules, Night Fighting imposes a -1Ld penalty to you, because it’s scary fighting in the dark. It also imposes a -1 BS penalty to you, because it’s hard to see. Worse, no unit can draw a line of sight to a target that is more than 24″ away and Barrage weapons must re-roll “hit” results on targets more than 24″ away too. It’s fairly obvious that simply ignoring those changes would take the Night Lords up to the very top level of bullshit, when they can just choose to fight in the dark through a Rite of War.
The problem comes with the fact that my army goes from being able to score, to simply not even interact at any level with objectives. The reason for this is actually quite simple, wording:
“<INSERT LEGION UNIT> gains the LINE sub-type” is missing from the Rite of War, simply using the sentence “Terror Squads and Night Raptors may be taken as Troops choices in a Detachment using this Rite of War”. That’s not the same thing.
Back in 1.0, there were several discussions about Compulsory and Non-Compulsory choices for Troops. There was even discussion as to whether Terror Squads and Night Raptors had to make up your three Compulsory choices in Terror Assault, or whether you can just take a Tactical Squad to make up your third. Now, it’s not even a discussion point.
Now sure, there are people probably saying “bring some units with Line then”. However, this isn’t really a suitable answer. Terror Assault was supposed to be a highly specialised formation – something the Night Lords were well versed with rolling out and another bow to their names. It’s supposed to be along the same lines as The Stone Gauntlet, or The Chogorian Brotherhood. This, after all, is why we had the limitations of only having one Heavy Support choice.
To add to the reasons as to why “Bring Line” is utter bullshit of the most saltiest order is that so far, I’ve counted 5 Rites of War that grant it to specialist units in specialist RoWs – and they’re all Loyalist!
- White Scars – Chogorian Brotherhood.
- Imperial Fists – Stone Gauntlet.
- Blood Angels – Day of Sorrow.
- Iron Hands – Company of Bitter Iron.
- Salamanders – Covenant of Fire.
Each of these Rites of War are specialised formations, just like Terror Assault, which not only rubs extra salt in the wound, but raises some very ugly questions of the rules team:
- Is this a mistake, due to different writers potentially not understanding the requirement to include “Line” in the Rites of War?
- Is this intentional? In which case, why are there no instances of “Line” being granted in Traitor Rites of War?
- If it is intentional, then what stands those Legions’ specialised formations apart from other Legions’ specialised formations?
- Is this basically down to people writing rules for “Studio” armies unchecked or with a bias to armies they simply did/didn’t like to play with/against in 1.0?
Whatever the answer as to why it’s occurred, it’s clear that one of two things, will need to occur:
- Day Zero FAQ to address the “Line” issue on Rites of War.
- Either accept you won’t score, or lose the years of investment in a narratively themed army.
It’s not even that I’m annoyed just because it’s my favourite Rite of War; what about Dark Angels Dreadwing – what is that Rite of War if you can’t leech an objective with radiological weapons fire from objective scoring Destroyer Troops – indeed what is the point if you need two units to clear off one and score? What’s the Ravenwing, without bike-mounted scoring Troops? It turns them into “a bit of Dreadwing” or “a bit of Ravenwing” with some random squads because “the game makes me take them”. Emperors Children 3rd Company Elite? “Nah Fam, sod your sonic weapons specialists. Bring Line”.
<SUDO SALT MODE ENGAGED>
If it’s intentional, in either instance, it’s just poor game design, removing the ability for a player to build a really nice, thematic and narrative army or a specialised force, seemingly just for the sake of doing so – as is clearly laid down by the fact that those five Line granting Rites of War exist without suitable reasoning.
Worse, if you stick with playing the game in this narrative way, rules-as-written, you are shoehorned into this horrible gameplay of “I must annihilate any scoring units, or I’ve pretty much lost by default”. That’s not a fun place to be in.
If it’s unintentional, then it’s blatantly embarrassing that after all of this time (it’s been way more than a year since Anuj went on VoxCast telling us how great Heresy is going to be because of what’s coming) mistakes of this gravity get through. Let alone the ones people haven’t yet cottoned onto, or found unintended interactions with – such as the issue with Command Squads and the Wound pool.
As an aside, as we are talking about Legion rules, why have the Imperial Fists kept Teleport Strike, when the Night Lords have lost it (and can only get it through Contekar or taking Sevatar as your Warlord) – you know, the ones who had it before and have the lore literally showing them doing it repeatedly? Worse, one of our “Armoury of the Night Lords” pieces, is literally the name of an overarching rule for the one below it – Lords of Murder, which if you have that, you get Bloody Murder. It’s like they took Teleportation Homers from the Night Lords and said “Well, we have to fill that third space now somehow. Let’s just make a rule that isn’t actually a rule, but a caveat for the rule below it”.
Smells more like Studio Army rules writing bullshit the more I look into it – and that, quite frankly, is absolutely depressing if true. Oh well, time to sit and await communication on the fate of many a narrative army, if any even comes from Games Workshop.
<SUDO SALT MODE DISENGAGE>
Ave Dominus Nox