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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Necrons and Dreaming of Chaos

Hey there Chaos Fiends! Welcome back to the latest edition of Chaos Corner. The other day, I posted some musings about my recent spate of terrain-building. I have another building I'm working on right now- but I saw something on the Internet that has "inspired" me, I suppose... Necrons!

Pics of the new Necrons have leaked. I'm quite glad that another Xenos has been updated. GW did a great job on last year's Dark Eldar range. Many (myself included) believed that the foul kin had gone the way of the Squat, when GW unleashed what may be, their single finest range to date. Sure, there are a couple of models that are sub par or poor, but, taken together, the DE has been reborn in the best way possible. The range, taken together, is perhaps the best looking range, bar none. The rule book is also amazing. The fluff is outstanding, and the rules are fun and imaginative, without being overpowering, cheap, or unfair. The book is remarkably balanced- the DE have strengths and weaknesses; they are not "flavor of the month" or the latest "overpowered army". GW did a great job on it, and I've been enthusiastically doing DE ever since!

Now, GW is getting ready to revive the Necrons. These guys have gotten the shaft for quite some time (though, not as long as the DE). I've always liked the look of the Necrons, and I love their background (which, I've heard, is changing a bit- so we'll see). I would have had a Necron army, but I was too devoted to Chaos to do so (and I still am). So, the new Necrons will be out in a month, and some of the pics have leaked online.

I think the models are not as good as the DE revision. If they were, I could say it without hurting my pride- but the truth is they're OK, just not the best. I am not a fan of the vehicles (like the Ark), though I do like the one with the big gun (THAT one fits with the Pylons and Monolith). The infantry range from cool (Deathmarks) to the decent (Immortals). They're not bad, just not revolutionary like the DE, that's all. As for the rules, its a bit early to tell, though there was one rumor of Necron Weapons that if they target one type of model (infantry with plasma gun)- then ALL plasma gunners are hit- and it wasn't clear if that meant all plasma's in a squad or the entire table... That is to be taken with a grain of salt, of course, but I just hope the book is as balanced as the DE Codex... Time will tell. I am glad to see another Xenos get the lovin', though.

All of this, however, only serves to stir my old leprous Chaos heart. I so desperately want a new Chaos Codex, its not even funny. Ugh.... I know I'm lamenting now, but its not jealousy or anything. See, as my long time readers know, I've been with Chaos since this was their codex...

Yep, I've been playing Chaos for a very long time now. I first dabbled with it by trying to create my own Chaos Marines, the "Knights of Vengeance". That didn't last. I painted up a small group of Khorne Berserkers, but I quickly found Nurgle. Ah! This was the force I wanted. It was either the static plastic ones (all holding the knives the same way) or the metal ones. They all had spike helmets, rebreathers... reminding me of WWI in many ways. Yep- I fell in love and never looked back.

Well, the best was yet to come. A few years later, the later 3rd edition Codex came out. This one had it all. A general Chaos Marine list that could then be tailored to be incredibly "legion specific". Yes, all the traitor legions were vividly represented, and each had its own flavor, special units or daemons, etc. There was a TON of fluff! My Chaos gods! The book sparked the imagination. I built my Nurgle force based on this book! It was incredible.

Even better, the Eye of Terror Campaign came out not too long after. Wow! That book was also amazing for the forces of Chaos! The "Lost and the Damned" got me going, thinking about the "larger picture" of Chaos- its not just the Lost Legions- traitors, lunatics, mutants, scarred individuals, and more, all flocking to the banners of Chaos. Now, I got to clearly see how the forces of Chaos would REALLY work. The Marines were the leadership and heavy hitters- it was the "Lost and Damned" that provides the bulk of Chaos' fighting forces around the whole galaxy. Imperium of Man- Beware!!

I love the idea of a single Chaos Marine Champion leading a host of zombies, traitor guard, or whatever against a besieged Imperial citizenry. The idea that each and every Marine is a one man army in and of himself is expressed so clearly here- plus they are empowered by the gods of Chaos. As far as the book goes- again, this really inspired me and my friends, and I made a TON of Plague Zombies because of the EoT book. The best of times, no doubt. At the height, I had a hundred Plague Marines, tanks, terminators, Daemons, and +50 Plague Zombies.... Whew! And that was before Apocalypse!

But then... that was before the dark times... before the current 4th Edition Codex. This book would have been excellent if it was called "Space Marine Renegades" or something. If you were building up a Marine Chapter that went wrong in the 41st millennium- maybe joined Chaos, maybe became pirates (Red Corsairs), this book would be just fine. Buuuttt.... no. This book was to apply to all of Chaos. Almost totally gone from the book was the fluff in regards to the gods or the Heresy, or the Traitor Legions. The rivalries. The "Long War" enmities... just about gone from the book. It was, compared to 3rd and EoT... a dull read. This is wrong on so many levels, especially for Chaos.

As for the rules... ugh. Nothing was legion specific. Even the daemons are "generic". Chaos should be anything but generic. There were a few options for the Daemon Prince or lord, but the variety was gone. The Plague Marines (and other cults) were there and fairly good, but the rest of the army had no flavor. Nothing special. And... the Chaos Icons for non-troops. How the heck does that work?! So, a set of "Death Guard" terminators need an Icon to get the "favor of Nurgle" (+1T) but.... if the Icon guy dies, then the bonus is gone. Huh?! So 10 thousand year old PM Terminators suddenly are no longer sick because they lost a banner?! That's crazy! And so UN-FLUFFY! The biggest crime of all in the 4th Edition book. Oh boy.

But now, I have some hope. GW has been doing well in reviving and repairing the books that really need it. The Blood Angels redo is fantastic, the Dark Eldar has been phenomenal, and the Grey Knights are strong (though not as good as the previous two). This makes me think that GW can and will repair the damage done to Chaos. So, with that in mind, I will be listing the top 10 things that I would like to see done for a new Chaos Codex. This list is in no particular order, so here we go:

1- Represent the original Traitor Legions in full and vivid terms, both in fluff and in playing. The biggest crime was that the book made all Chaos marines into "vanilla"- all were the same. Bring back (or create anew) rules for the Traitor Legions. This should be rules bonuses AND limitations. The mode of this should be like the DE- a Wych army? Sure. Haemonculus themed? Of course! All Hellions? You can d that too. There's a TON of variety in that book- a few changes to HQ can make a totally different army. Add to this system, and it would make a LOT of variety in the Chaos armies. Plus, the fluff is what got me STAYING with Chaos- so make that really good! The HH books have added so much- keep that going in the Codex.

2- New models- some of the models for Chaos are great- possessed, terminators, etc. However, the cults could all use a redo. So could the raptors. And the obliterators. And the... well, you get the idea. The latest models (Necrons included) look very good overall. So, Chaos should get the full on treatment. Have people look at these models and say "Damn- these are GWs best yet"!

 3- Fluff please! The Chaos Marines have the best backstory out there, both for the Legions and more recently turned renegades. There is so much story to tell. Again, take a page from the DE- go all out with the stories these guys have to tell. Are they pure evil? Fallen heroes? Pawns of the gods? Anti-heroes? Pirates? Lone wolves? It is endless, and the book should really sell that aspect.

4- Not just "marines with spikes" OR Marine reavers (Corsairs). The last book suffered from this in many respects. Chaos Marines were just regular marines pretty much. Change that. Make these guys unique. You can balance the idea that they WERE marines, but still have them having their own rules and abilities. Push it!

5- Bringing Daemons back in- another crime was the creation of "generic daemons" in the previous edition. Now, I am all for having a Daemon Codex, but I still think Chaos Marines would get specific daemons. Maybe a 0-1 rule or something (though not for Word Barers). Let the daemons come back in, but without breaking the Daemon Codex. It CAN be done.

6- Lost and the Damned- am I getting greedy here? No. This is what the dark forces of Chaos really are. If it was JUST Marines, there simply wouldn't be enough of them to be a threat. The gods can sway the minds of mortals. This is what swells the ranks of Chaos. The Marines are the leaders. They use these dregs, and then take what they want. This MUST be reflected in the book. Let them take traitor guardsmen. Let them have mutants, spawn, etc. Again, it certainly CAN be done. EoT did it- so can they now. It would make the Chaos codex the widest, most INSANE army to face, and that's what it should be. Not necessarily TOUGH, but certainly UNPREDICTABLE. That's Chaos.

7- New unit types- I remember when the defiler was new and cool. I think Chaos needs a few newbies. 'Nids got new types, GK got the Dreadknight, etc. Chaos could use a few. Not a lot, just a couple. Maybe even these "dual purpose" models that have been appearing lately. That would be fine with me. What kind? Don't know. But nothing would excite current players (and lapsed) more than some really cool NEW units.

8- Make them competitive- the current book was good when it came out, the real problem was lack of variety and fluff. However, codex creep set in and well, Chaos became much weaker in comparison. I think they should be stronger- but not overpowering. Again, I look to the DE book- it is balanced. ALL books should be so balanced. Certainly, Chaos needs a bit of a bump to compete against newer books.

9- Make it the premier of the new edition, not a bridge between the two rulebooks. If current rumors hold true, then we will be seeing a new edition in the coming year or so. I'm afraid that GW will release the book that plays well in the current edition, but has element of the new edition coming down the pike. This is what happened last time. This is a bad idea, simply because by trying to do both, the book will accomplish neither. It HAS to be one or the other. I'd rather it be totally build with the new edition, even if that means Chaos must be delayed. Yep- I've waited this long, I'll wait more till Chaos is ready and fully aligned to the new rules. No half measures.

10- Make them cool! Chaos is cool- the gods, mythology, the Legions, Corsairs, daemons, Lost and Damned... Chaos is amazing for 40K (in fact, I think 40K would have LESS pull without Chaos). So, come what may, make the forces of the coolest thing going. That will draw players, and that will be good for us and GW.

It is time, my followers of Chaos. It is time for us to be feared again. To be dreaded again. For our names to be accursed on every planet in the Imperium. For us to be a blight on the deluded followers of the False Emperor. I think that time is coming. Until then...

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