At the time of writing I have not yet managed to get my hands on a copy of the Codex, so I’m not going to talk about the rules, or even how they function on the tabletop (that’s best saved for later).
Rather I want to talk about demons in general, their new units and the appeal of the army as a whole. This post constitutes my first proper attempt at a review.
Let’s get the Codex out the way the first. The new books may be overpriced at £30, but when the cover artwork looks like this you’re at least going to own something that looks and feels amazing.
This is some of the best cover art to date in my opinion, taking the trophy away from Codex: Dark Angels. Honestly I’m not quite so keen on the Fantasy one, but as they both bear some resemblance to the models you can buy (In this case the new Herald of Khorne) I’m satisfied.
As for the Limited Edition Army Books and Codicies I don’t think this blog is capable of handling all the rage I could thorw out, so I’m not going bother commenting and will just pretend they don’t exist.
So, the new models then, let’s go through them one at a time.
First up we have the Blight Drones, and I’ll be honest, I actually rather like them.
Mainly this is because the riders are much the same as the new(ish) plastic Plaguebearers, which I also really like. The new Nurgle units (Nurglings aside) tie in really well with each other and (contrary to popular opinion) I like their ‘cheeky’ grins and ‘near-comedic’ appearance. I also like the drone models specifically, as they A: don’t seem too over-the-top and huge, which was a worry of mine, and B: They fit on a decently-sized bases and might actually fit in a figure case with a small degree of persuasion.
As for the role they fill in the demon army I’m not so sure. One the one hand they sound like they’d fulfil the niche of walkers in a codex that doesn’t have access to them normally (i.e they’re large, resilient multi-wound models) yet they’re credited in March’s WD as being “the new fast unit” in the Codex? This kind of begs the question “What are the Slanesh units doing?” It’s a strange Codex indeed if we’re looking to Nurgle to provide the speedy element in the army.
I just worry that these are another incentive for Chaos players to avoid Slanesh models entirely? I hope not.
So what about the Burning Chariot? As far as the model is concerned I’m undecided if I like it or not. I dislike painting flames at the best of times and this looks like a model that will be a real pain in the ass to paint. More annoyingly I feel they (i.e the design team) should really have tried to make it look less like a Flamer(s) riding a Screamer.
For me the strength/appeal of Tzeench is that the models are weird and unusual, and that no models in the army should look the same, Tzeench is the changer of ways after all. So why, when inventing new models, have GW made them look like something that already exists?
In terms of the rules (what I’ve gleaned from WD and the rumour mill) it does seem it’s going to be interesting, by which I mean filthy, on the tabletop. I suppose that alone redeems it somewhat, we’re a fickle bunch us gamers, and we’ll put up with terrible models/units/characters in exchange for the ability to blow huge chunks out of our opponent’s force and cackle maniacally….
And now the Skull Cannon. On both counts (concept and model) I pronounce this unit stupid.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not especially concerened about Khorne having a ranged weapon. For example I can see how it would make a Khorne-themed army on the tabletop much less boring to play as/against and at least the idea of a cannon that fires skulls is fitting with the deity it’s dedicated to. It could have been a giant blood laser or something else infinitely more stupid.
It’s more the idea of them riding a ‘giant motorcycle’ that gets me riled up. It looks more like the cover art to some terrible mid-80s rock album than it does anything in 40k. It wouldn’t look out-of-place on the cover of a Meatloaf album (apologies to Mr Loaf of course)! And, as a final pedantic point, it’s also too small for its base which in turn just magnifies how stupid it looks.
The new Herald models are cool though, I may pick one of them up as a painting project in the future. At the moment then I’m really undecided about the new deamon army. There are models I like and models I detest. How they function in the game will be the deal maker/breaker I expect but I won’t know that until I come up against them on the battlefield.
As a final point, I think what scares me most as an opponent of this Codex is that Demons now have some blast weapons available. The Breath of Chaos template is bad enough, and Bolt of Change is one of the best vehicle killers in the game, but until now the saving grace has been that although Demonic shooting is nasty there’s never that much of it. As a guard player the thought that Demons might start engaging my tanks in a firefight is a horrifying one.
Thankfully it seems that the nastier end of the spectrum (Burning Chariots) are fairly easy to kill. But when you consider how quick the demon army can get into range with its deep-strike deployment it’s probably not going to matter anyway, it’ll shoot you, then you’ll have to kill it as fast as possible before it gets to shoot again.
[3 Significant Edits Later…….]