Renegade command squad.
Firstly we have the foundational stone of and R+H command squad. Starting at a cheap 45 points, you get five models all with BS4 and Flak armour as standard (For most other unit’s it’s a purchasable extra). You get the usual range of weapon options, armour upgrades and transports available to guard-like units. The commander is a three-wound model, with the ability to take a covenant of chaos(this army list’s equivalent to marks of chaos). Each covenant is also available to most infantry units, and gives bonuses like fleet and Feel No Pain).these give bonuses, as well as allowing access to certain units, dependant on the god chosen.
One thing that sets this unit apart from other HQ’s in this book (and indeed other armies) is its potential size. Unlike the Command Squad from Codex: Astra Militarum, you can add an extra ten models to the squad, making quite possiblly the largest HQ choice in the game. At Fifteen models, and with Carapace armour, Covenant of Nurgle and taking advantage of cover, you have a very tough and durable unit.
Another interesting option is the ability to take one Demagogue devotion. These upgrades give your HQ, and army, a unique style of play that alters your options and boosts existing ones. In short, here are the available choices:
• Primaris-rogue Witch-psyker HQ option. Only psyker unit in the army to be able to choose its discipline (Malefic Daemonology, Biomancy, Pyromancy and Telekenesis). Can be upgraded to Mastery two, and allows Rogue Psyker Covens to be taken as Elites. Cannot take Covenant of Khorne.
• Mutant Overlord-Must take two Mutant Rabbles. HQ rolls three times on a mini chaos boon table which boosts the Demagogues stats, and once on the Curse of Mutation chart, which affects the whole unit. One unit of spawn may become a non-compulsory Troops choice. Ogryns can buy Curse of Mutation.
• Master of the horde-Can bring back Renegade infanty squads of 15 models or more on a 5+, with identical equipment (no transports). Must take two platoons, squads can contain up to 30 models.
• Arch Heretic Revolutionary-Demagogue gets Zealot rule. Infantry squads and Veterans can buy Fanatic rule. Enforcers unit cap increaded to ten.
• Heretek Magus-Demagogue gets FNP, T4 and a 3+ save. Units ca buy weak FNP. Can take Decimators and Defilers in the army.
• Bloody Handed Reaver-Can upgrade veterans to Veteran Grenadiers (+1 BS and free Hotshot guns). All units must take Militia Training if they can. Essentially Codex: Chaos Tempestus Scions.
The main downsides of this unit are its random leadership and a lack of orders. Due to the Uncertain Worth rule this command unit can have a leadership as low as five if you roll really badly. The Fanatic rule does give you a re-roll, but it’s not great to have a HQ choice that can potentially have a worse Leadership than the rest of your army. If you roll low, the best thing to do is hide: you don’t want to give you opponent extra points for an easy kill. Also, with the lack of any orders, this HQ choice plays just like any other unit. Whilst it makes the game run smoother, it does take away a key part of any Astra Miliarum force
Suggested loadout: five extra Disciples, carapace armour (squad), carapace armour (leader), autocannon, Bloody-handed Reaver (based on wanting hotshot guns), Hotshot Lasgun. Chimera with Autocannon and Militia Training (225 points)
Rogue Psykers Coven
This unit changes slightly from their previous incarnation. They are now two wound characters, but cannot join other units (which makes them easy kills), have no weapons and have no options other than unit size. You can spread them out and make it harder to kill the whole unit. Each army can only take one coven (unless you buy the Pimaris-rogue Witch option). The psychic power options are down from five to three, but each is arguably more useful. For example, Creeping Terror. This power reduces a targets initiative to one and only lets them take snap shots. A perfect power in synergy with charging units like Ogryn. The unit also has a bit more anti-tank potential with the Warp Flux power, which is a STR 7 haywire blast. You may have to choose powers randomly, but each psyker can roll separately, so taking three or more gives you a good chance of getting all of them.
Another thing which follows on from previous incarnations is their ability to never die from Perils of the Warp. Instead, should they fail a test, they become possessed, and gain a totally different stat line and regain any lost wounds. Whilst its nothing to write home about, having a combat unit with rending might be handy for distracting units.
Renegade Enforcers Cadre
This choice took a bit of a hit, but is still quite competitive. You don’t get an automatic Leadership of ten any more (just a +1 to a unit’s existing one), and can only join units of Infantry, Veterans or Mutants. They also have fewer ranged and combat options, meaning my sniper conversion above needs a new gun. They are, however much cheaper at 25 points per, can be taken in units of five (ten with an Arch Heretic Revolutionary) and can boost units in close combat, via combat drugs. They provide re-rolls as before, but you can choose which model is removed, rather than being forced to remove the unit leader . Whilst not as colourful as they used to be, they are a must-have advisor if you’re worried about your chaotic hordes fleeing the battle, or want to dope up your combat squads for an added kick.
Next time I’ll be analysing the Elites section, which is choc-full of units for all tastes, from hulking ogryns to stealth specialists.