Testing Shadowspear and Vigilus Ablaze
Sorry to have left such a gap. I haven’t been posting as much as usual but I have been playing, and painting a LOT.
I’m several games in now with the reveal of the new Ablaze Detachments and I’ve tried every unit now from Shadowspear and tried to form my own conclusions on the new units.
In a nutshell, I guess you could say I’ve been trying to figure out what, if anything really strikes my fancy for Black Legion. It’s been a bit of an up and down ride. Granted I have not tried min-maxing any one army, but it’s fun to put yourself at a noted disadvantage and see just what you can come with.
So painting the Black Legion can be easy, or it can be difficult. I can see tournament players whipping through this army but the serious hobbiest will find a LOT to do on these sculpts!
Gaming wise, here’s my take on some of the hot topics of the day:
Havocs: Wow are these guys hot. A lot of people, including myself, are very dismayed at the money grab Gamesworkshop has attempted by putting ONE chaingun in every box, and pairs of every other weapon. This is just making it easy for the China-casters, and off brand companies. When I consider just how much money I spent on the release of this Chaos stuff, it’s really hard not to be disappointed in GW.
Gameplay wise are these guys the champions we don’t deserve, but need to win? I am less convinced. To be 100% honest they require a lot of spamming, and attention. Still 4 Chainguns + Cacaphony + Veterans of the Long War + Devastation Battery (Detachment) is capable of a lot of damage. Alpha Legion clearly benefits the most.
NOTE: If you’re playing the new missions as I like to, you’ll see that you can elect to go second even if you deployed first, and watched your opponent hide all his stuff. Turn his world upside down by giving him first turn, and ripping your Lascannon Havocs into him after he moves in his Turn 1 ! (Devastation Battery Strategem) Keep in mind: This is BEFORE he can use Rotate Ion Shields.
Obliterators: 115 points was the intent of Shadowspear, and I assume a mistake was made in the Chaos Codex 2.0 listing them at 65. Some people I know are actually using them at 65 points…. crazy, but technically completely legal. (Please GW do the FAQ already!)
Obliterators are too much at 115, and too cheap at 65. I’m assuming about 100 points each. They are my favourite, but I rely on them too much. Not much else is working for me from the codex shooting wise without dipping into heavy Havocs. While Havocs work, I don’t think you can dabble here. I can protect a squad of Oblits, deep strike them with Abaddon, cast Delightful Agonies from my Termie Sorc, Cacaphony the squad and BOOM… You’ve created a massive priority for your opponent to take care of!
Daemon Engines: Oh these guys are fun. I’ve played about 20 games with the Venom Crawlers. I think they’re a tad over costed, renewing wounds slowly over a game in 8th edition doesn’t add a ton of value, but toss in a Master of Possession healing with Sacrifice (easy to pass, and cultists love being used for spare parts!) does validate the build.
Lord Discordant: A controversial unit. My take? He’s too squishy to be exposed from turn 1; however, there is a TON of ways to attack characters from turn 1 now. So it’s not making this unit entirely useless but I do think you need 2… Minimum in your lists. They do empower other Daemon Engines with a 2″ bonus move (Specialist Detachment Warlord Trait). Honestly until points get fixed the existing Daemon Engines are a bit better….. Defiler/Maulerfiends. Remember the Venom Crawlers get sent to knock out infantry and the Disco Lords love dancing with vehicles. Tau are still a problem though… a big problem.
The big weakness? Stairs, ruins… anything that lets your opponent hide from vehicles. It’s actually quite frustrating. It’s a severe limitation of the army if you over do it.
Raptor Host: I have a love hate with this. I use the Teeth Lord (Black Legion relic) and really the whole formation is simply a vehicle for him to get in and wreck face. Raptors are fun, but lethargic. Warp Talons are fun, but really lack punch. Great against Tau though.
Possessed: They do work better and might be one of the funnest specialist detachments but you require an immense amount of dedication to make this work. I’ve argued that the simple World Eater squad does great in almost any list with little to no dedication towards ripping people in half. It is a very FUN formation that utilizes the contents of Shadow Spear perhaps better than any.
And now a word from the good guys….
I finally managed to get in some time with the Shadow Spear units for the Ultramarines.
It was a bit of an eye opener. The box set is great stand alone but in the greater game there’s a bit of difficulty leveraging the units without them feeling… ‘awkward’ in the larger army builds.
So I found the Infiltrators fun, but really just incredibly difficult to do damage with! They are a disruption unit at best… I’d like to see them come down a lot in points.
The Eliminators are your anti Character spam combined with Snipers (which I use a lot of anyway) are a great 1, 2 punch. However I think you need 5 minimum and this is becoming cost prohibitive again. Watch out though if GW lowers these points there could be a great opportunity here to go after aura based armies with this build.
The Phobos idea is great, but pretty much anything in Phobos is not something your opponent is afraid of. Unfortunately I’ve found this to be true. Intercessors from Indomnitus Detachments are actually quite a bit better.
That being said I’ve had fun with the new units, and I feel it’s the tip of the iceberg. Is this setting up for a new (fleshed out in phobos) Space Marine Codex? I guess we’ll find out.
Thanks for checking out the update. I really hope to be showcasing more Black Legion painted stuff shortly (I’ve been working on it constantly.)