[40K] Traitor Legions Theoryhammer: Night Lords

Yes, it’s another Theoryhammer post. I write these when it’s too dark out to see one foot in front of the other, and too dingy for painting without a daylight bulb: mine blew out earlier in the month and I haven’t yet been arsed to replace it. Probably optimal conditions for writing about Night Lords, to be honest…

I talked a little bit about the boys from Nostramo Quintus in my original review of Traitor Legions, specifically outlining the way Legion benefits and Formation rules and Detachment rules stack to inflict heavy morale penalties and improve charge reliability. Since writing that I’ve been idly fiddling with my calculator and working out the costs for various units and detachments.

Fear Bomb

Primary Detachment: Murder Talon

Core Formation: Raptor Talon

Chaos Lord: Vox Daemonicus, aura of dark glory, jump pack
5 Warp Talons
5 Warp Talons
5 Raptors: 2 meltaguns, Champion with power weapon and melta bombs

Auxiliary Formation: Heldrake Terror Pack

2 Heldrakes

Total: 905 points

(Aside: The core formation of my Murder Talon is a Raptor Talon: three units of Warp Talons, plus a Chaos Lord. He could well be the Talon-master, and he only passed up the Talons of the Night Terror because the Vox Daemonicus synergises with the detachment better. People say the Space Wolves lack imagination when it comes to names, but the Wolves are not alone…)

Obviously this isn’t quite done: that Chaos Lord needs weapons, for one thing, and I’m debating extra bodies in the Raptor squad. Nonetheless, that’s about how many points it costs to lay down your -6 modifier to Fear checks and -4 to Morale checks. I’ve opted for Warp Talons over Raptors for the most part, because this formation really wants to be charging into combat and Warp Talons are more likely to do damage in such circumstances. Had to take one squad of Raptors because the Chaos Lord can’t join a Warp Talons unit (he’s not a Daemon, they are), and because the formation might need to crack a shell before they go for the nuts inside.

Sons of Anarchy

This one arose out of a Reddit discussion about Bikes and Raptors and who benefits most from the ‘Legion Tactic’ and other spoddy stuff like that. Since Bikes get a terrifying 2+ Jink out of being Night Lords, it was suggested that Night Lords’ mechanics make them more like the Sons of Anarchy Legion than the Raptor Legion. I am surprisingly OK with this. Here’s the basis of a CAD which makes the most of Raptors in Troops and the consequent relief of pressure on the Fast Attack slot.

Combined Arms Detachment

HQ: Sorcerer: Mastery Level 3, Bike, spell familiar, melta bombs
HQ: Sorcerer: Mastery Level 3, Bike, spell familiar, melta bombs

Troops: 5 Raptors: 2 meltaguns, Champion w/power weapon and melta bombs
Troops: 5 Raptors: 2 meltaguns, Champion w/power weapon and melta bombs

Fast Attack: 3 Bikers: 2 w/meltaguns, Champion w/combi-melta
Fast Attack: 4 Bikers: 2 w/plasma guns, Champion w/power weapon and melta bombs
Fast Attack: 4 Bikers: 2 w/plasma guns, Champion w/power weapon and melta bombs

Total: 970 points

This is what I’d consider the solid core. You have your bike-mounted Sorcerers (I figure you might as well, in the absence of anything to move around between slots by Marking a Lord), each joining a unit of plasma Bikers to push them over the sweet spot in terms of Morale. Your third Fast Attack slot goes on the customary “suicide melta” unit, because why not?

Another configuration which suggests itself involves a Daemon Prince replacing one of the Sorcerers, in which case I’d probably go for two three-man Bike squads and one four-man bodyguard unit. I’m not sure how big Bike squads need to be, though: prevailing wisdom suggests 6 for some reason, maybe for melee potential?

Anyway, this one fills out to whatever points value is being played by adding more Raptors to score more objectives, and potentially some Heavy Support. A Vindicator or Predator squadron might work – maybe Vindicators, since so much of the detachment will be going for the throat anyway. Maulerfiends are another possibility, to lend some melee weight and also, frankly, because they can keep up.

Objective Insecurity

For some reason I can’t get the idea of a conventional Chaos Warband formation out of my head, even though I know perfectly well that I’m not that interested in line Chaos Space Marines, Metal Bawkses, or formations which make the Dark Vengeance era figures co-exist alongside their older, gawkier kin. (Dear reader: this is the sort of thinking which ends with you ordering whole squads of Forge World Mark V models, i.e. the sort which must be resisted, strenuously.)

I have two ideas for this formation. The first is my cunning plan to get my Chosen on the field in an army otherwise based around Raptor Talons and the Lost and Damned formation. It’s still in the early stages, being comprised mostly of:

Chaos Warband Formation #1

Chaos Lord
6 Chosen
?? Chaos Space Marines (instincts suggest two 5 man squads with a plasma gun apiece)
5 Warp Talons/Raptors
Helbrute

That’s a lot of effort for the sake of some Chosen without going Unbound. I dislike Unbound that much. Giving them all Objective Secured is nice too.

Chaos Warband Formation #2

Chaos Lord: Terminator armour
Chaos Sorcerer: Terminator armour, Mastery Level 3, Heretek powers

3 Chaos Terminators: combi-meltaguns: Land Raider dedicated transport
5 Chaos Terminators: 4 combi-plasma guns, Reaper autocannon

?? Chaos Space Marines (instincts suggest two 5 man squads with a plasma gun apiece or larger squads with plasma gun and autocannon): Rhino dedicated transports

3+ Chaos Bikers: 2 flamers
3+ Chaos Bikers: 2 flamers
3+ Chaos Bikers: 2 flamers

?? Havocs: missile launchers? Rhino dedicated transport?

Again, this is a work in progress. The idea here is finding a home for all of the similarly-dated Chaos Space Marine models which I sort of like, and which I think have something to gain from being Night Lords, and for which I have some cool conversion/customisation ideas. It’s probably close to a 1500 point army.

The Lord, Sorcerer and three-man Terminator squad pile into the Land Raider, with Heretek powers being deployed to keep it going. The Bikers operate on the principle that they’re going to be Jinking every turn to take advantage of that sweet sweet Stealth bonus, so they’ve been kitted out with weapons that don’t care about the downsides of Jinking; they rush into assault and do the business, making the most of being Night Lords in a Murder Talon Detachment. The Havocs, I suppose, are anti-air/anti-tank/midfield firepower, as are the Chaos Space Marines, operating out of pseudo-Razorbacks. The five-man Terminator squad are my home objective campers – they crack a tank with the Reaper, or they unload with a once per game hail of S7 shots against a foe within optimal range. I’d consider a Helbrute as alternative to the Havocs if I could build or obtain a decent ‘box’ style Dreadnought model, to go with the generally old-fashioned aesthetic here.

I’m going to confess something: I can’t quite put this detachment idea down, even though I think it’s of dubious tactical use, even though it’d be quite expensive, even though I have no idea how Havocs should work.

I’m going to confess something else: while the aesthetically cohesive “slightly older Chaos figures” detachment was swimming around in my head since the planning of this project began, I was spurred into actually starting to run the numbers by this battle report from Grim Resolve. I’ve been watching these while I crank out paid articles for my day job. This one’s my favourite, for reasons which will become obvious upon its conclusion.

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