Cadia isn’t the only place which has a gathering storm of chaos and destruction hovering over it. The 40k meta was just given another major shake-up in the form of 3 very powerful independant characters, and two detachments that just redefined what an Army list is capable of becoming.
With only 17 pages of relevent rules to work with, and only three new dataslates and 2 new detachments Gathering Storm: Fall of Cadia had a very limited opportunity to leave an impression on the game of 40k. After reading through the book I now know that, not only will GS:FoC leave an impression, it will prison-yard tattoo its name onto the forehead of the competitive meta. We will forever remember this book not only for the amazing fluff (to be covered in another article), and ushering us into the advancement of a plot we all know and love, but also for the beautiful models and powerful rules they brought with them.
Unique Rules: This book is different than most other supplements. Instead of using one or two factions to base all of the rules in the book off of, it instead combines multiple factions from one super-faction (Armies of the Imperium) into one book and successfully integrates them into one detachment while still maintaining each factions unique identity. What this means for the game of 40k is, basically this book enables you to take multiple factions in one detachment.
All three Independant characters have rules to be fully integrated into your armies of the imperium armies. Bellisarius Cawl is an HQ choice for Cult Mechanicus and replaces a Tech-Priest Dominus in any existing Ad-Mech formation. Inquisitor Greyfax does the same with her respective faction (replacing any inquisitor regardless of ordos). In addition any of these three characters can be taken in an HQ slot for any Combined Arms Detachment or Allied Detachment which features an army from the Armies of the Imperium. Wow.
Finally, the book goes on to mention that the Canticles and Blessings these characters give also apply to other units in your army regardless of faction. Overall GW made it very easy to field these three characters in any Imperium army.
Belisarius Cawl: The grand daddy of all things beep, boop, and bop, Cawl has 5 wounds and a monstrous creature statline (but still not a monstrous creature). He is also extremely durable with the ability to recover d3 wounds every turn and a warlord trait that lets him reroll failed feel no pain tests. Oh, did I mention he had feel no pain? Well, he does. He also has decent damage output with a str 10 pistol that shoots d3 shots, and three different close combat attacks. Lastly, he gives Canticle buffs to armies of the imperium depending on how many friendly units you have starting on the battlefield. Some notable ones include, giving units around him a 4++, +3 strength to models with canticles of the omnissiah, +3 ballistic skill within 12, and boosted IWND rolls. One negative thing to note about Cawl is he is only 200 points, and only has a 5+ Invuln naturally which means he could die to grav very easily in one attack, and he really doesn’t do a lot by himself to justify his points cost.
Celestine: You may want to sit down for this. The Living Saint herself has had a bit of a makeover since her exclusion from the Imperial Agents book. She is largely unchanged from her book version in terms of wargear, however she did gain 2 additional wounds, eternal warrior, a str 8 Assault 1 orbital bombardment, and a pair of 2 wound bodyguards on jet packs who she resurrects at the beginning of the turn. Not only do her two bodyguards have power swords, and jet packs, they also follow Celestine wherever she goes. Very similiar to the way Fenrisian wolves follow Space Wolf characters. She also regenerates one of her slain bodyguards at the start of each of your turns and you have to start allocating wounds to her bodyguards before you start wounding her, effectively giving her 9 wounds. On top of that she gives saintly blessings to units nearby depending on their battlefield role. These buffs include, but are not limited to, relentless, it will not die, zealot, and various close combat and leadership buffs. Overall Celestine is an amazing character and will see tabletop use at all levels of the game, especially now that she fulfills more roles other than being a cheap access to hit and run.
Inquisitor Greyfax: Is a great anti-shenanigans inquisitor and can be paired well with sisters of silence to perform an anti-psyker role/deathstar role. She is also a lv 2 psyker who always denies the witch on at least a 4+. She comes with two weapons that can cause psi-shock tests, generates from the Telepathy discipline, and has a power which stops one enemy unit within 12 inches from running, turbo-boosting, sweeping, until your next turn. You can also supercharge this power for 3 warp dice to target ALL enemy units within 12 inches. This can be really opressive, but honestly isn’t a real game changer since most units you want to slow down are fast enough to stay more than 12 inches away from her. She also stops enemy units from infiltrating within 24 inches of her but honestly at that 150 point price tag I would rather take a Callexus assassin and an inquisitor with servo skulls. Just my personal opinion.
Triumverate of the Imperium: This formation lets you take all 3 independant characters mentioned above and within 12 inches can obtain either stubborn and auto-pass pinning tests, or fearless depending on how many characters from this formation you are near. Also, each character gets the effects of their warlord trait which is pretty cool since they all have good ones. Overall you are not going to see this formation see play a whole lot, since all three independant characters are just so much better by themselves in CADs combined with armies that require their specific skillset.
Conclave Acquisitorius: This formation is kind of like a poor man’s war convocation. It lets you take Cawl, 1-2 battle maniples or 1 war cohort, a holy requisitioner, 0-1 cybernetica cohort, 0-1 numinous conclave, and either 1-2 knights or a baronial court. Each character gets to master-craft one weapon, and if you contain the maximum amount of units (so a baronial court too?) you get the doctrins from Codex: Skitarii as well to apply to the entire formation. Also, each unit gets the Canticles of the Omnissiah for some extra buffing. Overall this formation is just too expensive to field in anything but the biggest games.
Wrathful Crusade: This formation is an interesting one. I don’t think it will see much competitive use, but it does give two armies a solid formation that could only help them see more play at the casual level. The formation gives each unit the Crusader special rule, and requires you to take Greyfax, and Celestine as well. After those two you have 1 Space Marine Captain, 0-1 Sternguard, 2-4 crusade squads, 1-2 assault squads, and 1 Militarum Tempestus platoon to work with. One thing to note is all the space marines in the formation must be drawn from the Black Templars chapter, which is both a bad thing for the overall formation, but a good thing for the black templars. If you maximise the number of units in the formation everyone gets the Zealot special rule, which pairs nicely with the second formation rule which lets all units in the formation reroll failed charges and give you furious charge if you roll 10 or more. Overall this is a much cheaper formation then the Conclave above, and actually has some potential. You can pop the crusader squads and Celestine, and Greyfax in some Land Raiders and cruise around the board deleting anything with a small toughness value. Not bad.
Unique Detachments: Before we go into the detachments I would like to note one thing. They really did a great job with combining multiple factions into one flexible super detachment. This isn’t a formation, but you still have to pay a tax of some sort in the form of minimum 4 troops required. Also both formations in a vacuum are solid, but not overbearingly crazy with their special rules. The real craziness is when you start combining multiple units and characters from different armies of the Imperium to create powerful combinations.
Both detachments are basically souped-up CADs that require you to take 2-4 HQs, 4+ Troops, 0-6 of the three other battlefield roles, and 0-3 lords of war, and allow you to reroll warlord traits.
Grand Convocation: Certainly the more tame of the two, this detachment basically limits you to the forces of mars. Each vehicle in the formation gains the It Will Not Die rule, and Power of the Machine Spiritif they start their turn within 6 of an HQ choice from the detachment. Also, in keeping with the trend GW is putting out with there new detachments/formations, if you max out the units in the Grand Convocation (minus troops of course) everyone gets the Canticles of the Omnissiah to use. I won’t go over all of the options you have for this one, but I can assure you if it can be taken in a war convocation it can be taken in this detachment. One last interesting thing is that in order to use this detachment you must have units from two different factions listed in the detachment. It shouldn’t be too hard to do, but it stops players from just using this detachment to spam Kataphron and Cawl (something no one would do anyways).
Castellans of the Imperium: Oh baby, the grand daddy of all Imperium detachments. If you ever wanted to explain “Imperial Soup” to someone new to the game in just a few short pages, this would be the detachment to do it with. The command benefits are Hatred (Zealot if you max out, lol), the ability to bring back troop choices which have been completely destroyed on a 5+, and objective secured to all non-vehicle units in the detachment….. Wait, oops sorry. That last rule you only get if you take Coteaz from the Imperial Agents book. Yikes. I do like how they list every single possible unit you can take in the detachment, which pretty much includes all armies of the imperium though they do leave out the option to take Forgeworld units with battlefield roles. I was kind of bummed out by this, since GW basically told us “Yeah Forgeworld units can be used and count as a part of the game, except for when we create our own awesome unique rules. In that case you should use our stuff instead because they don’t really count.” Sorry Fire Raptors, Cerastus Knights, Quad-Mortars, and Lucius Drop Pods, I guess you have to wallow in mediocrity a little longer (more sarcasm).
The combinations are endless for this detachment. It really brings out the power in a lot of minor codices and helps out with free virtual points in the form of regenerating troops choices. Here is a list of just a few of the shenanigans I found while running through the detachment.
- 6 Assassins! Assassins ITC players rejoice! You can take 14 Assassins in a detachment now.
- This consolidates all the splashable HQ choices into one detachment. For a small 4 troop fee. Which means You can take that Inquisitor w/ Servo skulls, priest, Celestine, and Cataphractii Terminator captain all in one detachment. Deathstars rejoice.
- Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, and Grey Knights apparently got their Imperium card taken away. About time, they were always off doing their own things anyways.
- Coteaz makes this detachment insane. Here are just a few of things I find that really benefit from having objective secured. Assassins, Dominon Squads, Scout Bikes, Bike Command Squads, Celestine, Ratlings, Thunderfire Cannons. Also, the HQs can make the allied squads they join obsec as well.
- You can have 9 Servo Skulls. Smarty pants would argue that you can actually take 12 skulls, but i’ve already crossed out the 2-4 HQ slot and replaced it with “1-3 HQs, Inquisitor Coteaz”.
- Sadly no named characters other than the Black Templar ones can be used from Codex Space Marines.
- You can spam warp charges in this detachment if you want. With Primaris Psykers and Wyrdvane psykers. For deathstar players in deseperate need of warp dice and regenerating, objective secured troop units.
- You can run an all tank army across multiple factions! Imagine Pask commanding an army of Land Raiders, Leman Russ’, Vindicators, Rhinos, and Hellhammers?
What are you looking forward to using out of the new book?