Bonne Aprem mes petits dégénérers! I am returning with an article on my favorite badasses from the 40k Millennium.:The Sons of Khan! The true protagonists of the Siege of Terra! Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.
This week we saw the new campaign book release with a whole new set of toys for the Imperium because you know, now when Non-Imperial factions are getting releases, so will the Imperium. “The Imperium of Men! Robbing you of your spotlight since 30k!” Now I am sure everyone is just filled with joy and splendor at the new Ravenguard Multi-Formation Detachment, (we all the Reecius is frothing at the mouth about it and thankfully that’s the only bodily fluid escaping him from this release) but let us switch gears and talk about the other new Multi-Formation Detachment called the Scarblade Strike Force.
It is a new White Scar exclusive and while everyone is still reeling from how good and amazing the Gladius Strike Force with White Scars have been, (Enjoy it Frankie, enjoy it but your Rhinos are just like a house of cards until my royal flush comes around. BACCARAT!) Let us throw something else in that Space Marine mix. Now this is not an article about how “Tournament” breaking this new material is going to be because it’s actually not. Which in itself is a breath of fresh air but it is also not tournament awful, the new formations have some cool mechanic and tools but importantly, it lets you build a fluffy Biker army if you choose to.
Here it is, in all its GLAMOR!
Where to start? Hmmm… lets go with the Command Benefits!
First up is the Lightning Assault: All units from the Detachment can reroll their initiative test for Hit&Run test. If my math is correct ( and we all know it is if you say it with a Zap Branigan confidence) that would change the odds from a 33% failure to an 11% failure rate. The ReRoll isn’t twice as good, its three times as good! (Queue Riders of the Storm by Hammerfall)
Ride the Wind: Extra Random distance if you flat out or Turbo-boost. Cool cinematic fluff rule that could come into play for contesting objectives at end of the game.
Maximum Impact: Hammer of Wrath for units that don’t have it if they make an 8” or more Charge and units that already have Hammer of Wrath effectively gain Shred on them. Keep in mind that only Biker White Scar get +1 Str on their Hammer of Wrath. Functional Rule but not sure if will often work out as you have to be 8” away from the opponent unit and that’s a 42% change of happening BUT thankfully there is a new White Scar Relic (later!) that gives a bubble Fleet and Furious Charge which should help with those long charges (at the very least will increase the odd at a minimum of 66%).
Overall losing the Combat Doctrines and the Free Transport if you are rocking 2 Demi Companies in a Gladius is probably not very comparable to what you gain in this new Multi-Formation Detachment but it contains a lot of Flavor for White Scars players. The best boon is the re-roll to Hit & Run followed by the Shred on Biker Hammer of Wrath in my opinion. Cool abilities but no world shattering. You will notice though that much like the Ravenguard Multi-Formation Detachment, there is no ReRoll to Warlord Traits in the Command Benefits, which might be an omission on the part of GW.
Now, then lets talk about the Core Formations that make this Detachment. As you can see, you can still keep the Battle Demi-Company which is still a great formation since it will unlock Tactical Doctrine and Objective Secured for a lot of your units but no Free Transport in this detachment. Let us turn our eyes on the Stormlance Battle Demi-Company which unit selection wise close to a Battle Demi-Company.
Aside from losing what I mentioned previously you gain Clear and Sweep which functionally replaces Tactical Doctrine but with limitations, re-roll hits in the shooting phase at enemy units controlling an Objective is pretty solid tradeoff, and Mobile Firebase which is a very cool rules mechanically speaking. GW actually thought about this rule because it is not a “Run” so it does gain the re-roll distance from the Chapter Tactic nor benefit from Fleet from the new Banner but it does have some big strength. For example, I could Combat Squad a 10 man Devastator Squad with 4 Gravcannons/Amps in a Rhino, Scout it, move 6” Disembark 3” from the access point, Fire all my weapons and then Roll a D6 and choose to guarantee I reenter the Rhino. This allows me to fire all my weapons and not use the Firepoints of the Rhino and keep my infantry still safe in there tinbox. The 2D6 move for the Command Squad on bikes or the Assault Squad on Jump Packs or the Bike Squad are cool but I am not sure they as functional as the one for the units in the Rhinos. This also means that your units in Razorbacks do not lose the ability to fire as well which is pretty cool. 5 Man Tactical squads with a GravCannon/Amp in a TL Assault Cannon scouting Razorback is a Solid Option. Is it worth losing Objective Secured, in a vacuum probably no but I will expand on this later.
Now for the Hunting Force Formation:
This is the formation which for me as a long time White Scar player is filled with Fluff Flavor Overlord but fundamentally it is not as good the Scarblade since they both lose Objective Secured and its special rules are lackluster but super “Forging the Narrative”. The Hunters’ Prey is a fluffy 3rd Company rule for Khan’s fluff but the problem is its fundamental functionality. Firstly picking an HQ unit could be problematic as they are sometimes unkillable nightmares (DEATHSTARS) or usually not really your primary target if you want to win the game and then they are some armies which don’t even have HQ units to function. Nowadays you could armies that don’t even have an HQ unit. The Ability to Reroll Hit and Wounds against it is phenomenal and gaining Furious Charge is double awesome (though the relic grants you the same thing without this mechanic) but literally that would be great if it applied to all of your Targets not just the Current Prey. Against armies which squishy HQ units, they would probably just reserve them and watch you lose a couple turns for that rule to do anything. Thunderous Assault once again is a super neat rule especially with the 8” charge Shred mechanic but it does require you to have the unit be 5 model strong which can be problematic when you build your army as it will require you to make sure you beef up the squads at least to 6-7 models to guarantee that. Plus Hammer of Wrath requires your model to make it in Base to Base with an enemy model and when you charge at 8” or farther to get that sweet shred, that might be hard to work like you want. (Also since the wording of the rule is you resolved two hits, it would mean Khan’s D3 hits when charging becomes 2D3). Conclusion, super awesome fluffy way of making a Biker army for White Scars but not great. Honestly I rather take the Scarblade and 1 auxiliary and then take a CAD with a Biker HQ to get Troop Objective Secured Bikers.
AUXILIARY FORMATION TIME!
The Stormbringer Squadron:
Before I get too far into this formation, I want to warn you all that this all is the winner for me. Now for the Requirements, 1 to 3 Units of Land Speeders and 1 to 3 Units of Scout Squads in Land Speeder Storms which is nothing to spectacular but having another threat vector in the form of mobile scouts is a great addition to your army if it mostly static and one dimensional when it comes to deployment and movement. The formation gains Locate and Secure which makes the Scout models gain Objective Secured which is one of the cheapest way to get Objective Secured in the Scarblade Detachment. Outrider Support grants +1 jink to the Storm if they are within 6” of 1 of the Speeders from the formation which is a cool dynamic but due to the difference in how you can enter the table between the Storm and the Speeder (Outflank), it would be unlikely this gets much use unless you deploy the formation or Deep Strike them. Rapid Deployment grants disembark to the Scouts moved no more than 12” which effectively grants the Scouts an extra 6” of threat. In combination with the Detachment granting the speeders 2D6” extra turboboost and the Scouts having Objective Secured with a 12” disembark move makes them the perfect ITC formation available to a tactician. The Reason being as outflank onto the board the Scouts can cover 18” (12” for Speeder Move and 6” for Disembark) plus a Re-Roll D6” for running pushing their Objective Grabbing function to 24”. Those Scouts can cover a lot of ground and they can even tie up some backfield units pretty quickly. If you manage to get them in the Fleet bubble of the new Relic they can gain a Hammer of Wrath with some long threat range. Nothing like having Objective Secured and Mobile units to score Maelstorm points at ITC, especially when they come with Outflank, Re-Rollable Hit & Run and can hold their own against most backfield units. Great Auxiliary!
The Speartip Strike:
What I love about this formation is that GW is trying to make Speeders cool and functional again but right now the Ravenwing Support Squadron takes the cake in ability and functionality and while this is a good attempt by GW, it fall just short of its Ravenwing Brethen. The Unit requirement are already pretty taxing when you realize that your Core from either the Hunter or Stormlance or Demi-Company will chew through a lot of your points and dynamically this formation adds nothing new. Rules wise, the ability Focused Suppression cause Pinning with negative modifier is great but its mechanic is countered by Fearless and Stubborn which is everywhere but few armies and the fact that a Skyhammer Annilihation Formation does it so much better than this. To maximize on that Rule, you would have to take 3 units of 1 Speeder and 2 Max Unit of Bike Squad so you can combat squad them granting you 7 Units to fire 1 target and causing a -10 to LD to the Pinning test if you wanted. The Harassing Fire is actually detrimental when you think about it over the Focused Suppression, as it must first cause an unsaved wound and then the unit must fail a Leadership Test, if the test is failed they can choose to go to ground or have to move as close as possible to the nearest unit from this formation in the next movement phase. While you can cause many of these test to happen, here is how I would see it play out. Against a Shooty army, I have to actually cause a wound for them to even care about this test and then they have to fail a LD test to force them to go to ground so they don’t open themselves to advantageous charges perhaps or move off an objective (or just go to ground). Against Close Combat specific army this would only beneficial if you could lower their LD first and then bait them away from the rest of your army with 1 of your units from the formation but that seems extremely hard to pull off. All in all this formation is well intentioned but not nearly as useful as it should be mechanically.
That’s all for the new addition in formations from the book, you still have available to you much of the original Gladius formations but they wouldn’t really benefit much from the Command Benefit of this Detachment. Honestly, I think one of the best way to run this new Detachment is the following form:
Scarblade Strike Force:
- Stormlance Battle Demi-Company:
- Kor’Sarron Khan on Moondrakkan
- Command Squad on Bikes with 2 Gravguns, 1 Apothcary, 1 with The Banner of the Eagle.
- 3 Tactical Squads with 5 Tactical Marines, 1 GravCannon/Amp in a Razorback w/ Lascannon and TL Plasmagun.
- 1 Devastator Squad with 5 Dev. Marines, 1 GravCannon/Amp in a Razorback w/ Lascannon and TL Plasmagun.
- Attack Bike Squadron with 1 Att. Bike w MultiMelta
- Stormbringer Squadron:
- Land Speeder Squadron with 1 Speeder w/ Multi Melta.
- 3 Scout Squads with 5 Scout Marines equipped with Close Combat Weapons and Bolt Pistols in Storms with Heavy Flamer.
- Librarius Conclave:
- 1 Librarian on Bike with Mastery Level 2, The Hunter’s Eye, Mantle of the Stormseer, Auspex, Force Axe and Meltabomb.
- 2 Librarian on Bike with Mastery Level 2 with Force Axe and Meltabombs.
Total Point Cost: 1,850 pts
Before explaining the List, I should clarify that the new White Scar Relics The Banner of the Eagle, Hunters Eye and Mantle of the Stormseer are cheap in points for their rules. The Hunter’s Eye grants the Bearer +1 BS and to him and his unit Ranged Weapons Ignore Cover USR (So does not apply to Psychic Powers, well the +1 BS would); The Mantle of the Stormseer grants the Psyker Adamantium Will and knows in addition to all of his other Power Psychic Maelstorm (12” Str 10 AP 2 Assault 1 Large Blast and requires 3 Warp Charges) without losing his Psychic Foci which means he just gains that new Power at no penalty. The Banner of the Eagle grants any White Scar Units within 12” Furious Charge and Fleet USR (A throwback from the White Dwarf Banner Relic from 3rd edition).
You retain scouting for the army through Khan as the Warlord, your core firepower comes from the Stormlance Battle Demi-Company which has 4 GravCannon/Amp that reroll to hit when fire at unit on objectives and reroll to wound due to the Amp while retaining Lascannons and Plasma for other heavier targets (keep in mind the Lascannon would reroll to hit on Targets controlling an objective). The Command Squad would also gain that Reroll to hit and with the Librarian support add some punch in close combat in the form of Force Axe / Meltabomb but with the Hunter’s Eye on the Librarian would gain Ignore Cover for their Grav Guns. The Banner of the Eagle grants any friendly White Scar Units within 12” Fleet and Furious Charge while the Detachment allows me to keep Reroll hit and Run + Shred on charges of 8” or more for my Hammer of Wrath. Another little trick with the Stormlance Battle Company and the Hunter’s Eye is taking a Chapter Master with that relic, when he Drops his Orbital Bombardment, not only does it Ignore Cover but if the Unit is Controlling an Objective, it will reroll to hit. Having the Hunter’s Eye on the Librarian works threefold, first one of the librarian is most likely gunning for invis or shrouding meaning that I will have Shriek and a BS5 Shriek is much better than a BS4 Shriek, additionally it also reduces the scatter of Psychic Maelstorm by 1” and grants the Command Squad Weapons ignore cover. In a perfect world, I would get Invis or Shrouding from the Conclave and use my other power for either Shriek or Psychic Maelstorm. The Stormbringer Squadron Souts will function as my mobile scoring base while the rest of the army does most of the heavy lifting. Having the ability to fire my Tactical Squads and Devastator squads at full effect and jump back into their Razorback is pretty awesome. Overall the List is not terrible at all but its also not an extreme competitive army.
The book also added a few additional relics which are actually pretty nice.
- The Glaive of Vengeance: +3 Str and AP2 on the Charge. +1 Str and AP3 not on the Charge. It is mastercrafted and would benefit from another melee weapon. With Furious Charge, you are looking at a Str 8 Ap 2 weapon on the Charge that hits at Iniative. That’s pretty rad. (Possible +1 more Str and +1 Attack if he has the new Warlord trait: Unrivalled Hunter)
- Scimitar of the Great Khan: +1 Str and AP3 Mastercrafted that grants +3 Weapon Skill in a Challenge.
- Wrath of the Heavens: A Space Marine bike (no termi or jump pack can be taken in combination) that grants the bearer an 18” turboboost that flies over enemy unit like a jetbike.
As well as some neat new Warlord Traits:
- Master Rider: If Warlord has Bike, he adds +1 to his Jink Save. If not equipped with Bike he gains Warlord Trait Deadly Ambush. (2+ Jink yo!)
- Deadly Ambush: Add or subtract 1 to Reserve Rolls.
- Hunter’s Instinct: Warlord has Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter USR.
- Hammer of the Khan: Warlord gains Hammer of Wrath rule and if he already has it, gains D3 Hammer of Wrath (Moondrakkan Lite)
- Unrivalled Hunter: Warlord gains +1 Str and +1 Attack in a Challenge. If he is in a Challenge with the Enemy Warlord he gets to Re-Roll to hit. (Nasty)
- Merciless Warrior: Grants your Warlord a 12” bubble that allows White Scar Units the ability to reroll the Sweeping Advance dice which I assume is the Iniative roll comparison and not the Consolidation roll.
The Glaive of Vengeance is probably the best of the Weapon relics, especially with the Unrivalled Hunter Warlord trait but honestly the Hunter’s Eye is going to find itself in so many army list as it gives so many Deathstar auto guaranteed Perfect Timing replacement while Banner of the Eagle is a solid banner option for Command Squad.
In Conclusion, the new Damocles Warzone book added a lot of new dimensionality to the White Scars in the form of more “fluffy” based option than let’s say a Gladius but at a slight competitive cost. While the Ravenguard Multi-Formation Detachment upped the playability and competitive level of the Ravenguard drastically, the new White Scar Scarblade one adds more a return to fluffy but not terribly outmatched. Honestly, I have plenty more idea on how to use the Scarblade detachment but with the arrival of Ignore Cover from Tau and other Imperial Armies using the Hunter’s Eye, I think the days are numbered for Biker heavy armies. I hope you enjoy this expansion as much as I do!
Bonne nuit mes petits dégénérers!
Love, The French Overlord.