Chapter Approved is here and making waves as was expected. Read on for a review of the product!
So first of all, what is this book? It is a lot, a combination of supplement and update. It provides a ton of material for open play, narrative play and matched play 40k. So, it’s got something for everyone that enjoys 40k, really.
Our customers have been most juiced about the Apocalypse rules as many of our regulars mostly play Apoc. Some were excited about the VDR rules coming back and everyone was laughing about some of the wonky Land Raiders it allowed you to field, but I have to admit it would be a lot of fun to make a custom Land Raider! I am glad it is only for Open Play at this time though, as I could see this causing some issues with Matched Play. Interestingly though, the Terminus Ultra falls under these rules and so has been moved to Open Play. There’s even a Chaos version, the Hades Diabolus, which rocks a Reaper Autocannon, two Heavy Bolters and two Twin Lascannons!
There also rules and tips for running large games, with scenarios, ways to stay organized, and how to determine the winner of what can be massive games of 40k, sometimes played over multiple tables. Apocalypse is a lot of fun but you really need to stay organized to ensure it doesn’t turn into a never ending game!
The Narrative Play section gives us Planetstrike rules which I think is a good spot for them. You get unique detachments, stratagems, Warlord Traits and scenarios for games of Planetstrike. These come with unique deployments too, that while they certainly wouldn’t be too good for Matched Play games, provide some fun and interesting scenarios to play through to recreate famous battles from the 40k books. One player defends while the other attacks. These scenarios are challenging and provide a different way to play 40k if you aren’t the type to grind out matched play missions in a quest to master your list, which many people aren’t.
We also get Stronghold Assault back as well! This also comes with its own scenarios, Warlord Traits, stratagems, and custom detachments. These missions are a lot of fun and really mix up your normal games of 40k as you attempt to either destroy or defend fortifications in scenario driven missions. It also comes with new datasheets for many terrain pieces in the game.
Matched Play games get a lot of attention, too. There are some fairly large shake-ups. For one, the Character targeting rule changed, disallowing you from targeting them if any enemy models are closer, whether they are visible or not. This is both good and bad, as for one, a hidden unit closer to you stops you form shooting a character in the wide open which is annoying, but it also prevents “Rhino-scoping” which is intentionally moving models to block your line of sight to anything but a character, thereby getting around the old Character protection rules, which was also mega annoying.
Also, we got official ruling that CP cannot be used to re-roll mission rolls, such as first turn, or to end the game.
The new missions are a lot of fun and we get 6 of both Eternal War and Maelstrom. There’s also a fun section with ideas for making custom objective markers for your army.
Excitingly, there are new rules for many 40k factions, too. These include Warlord Traits, Relics, and stratagems. You will notice not everyone got something and the book points out these are for patient gamers who play factions that have not gotten a Dex yet. Some of those not included are factions like Dark Angels, Blood Angels and Daemons which we know are getting Dexes very soon.
- Warlord Trait: Inspiring Orator: Re-roll failed Morale tests for friendly Sisters units within 6″ of the Warlord.
- Martyrdom: 1 CP, used after a Sisters Character has been slain. On a 2+, one unit from your army that can use Acts of Faith may do so.
- Purity of Faith: 1 CP, When an enemy Psyker manifests a power within 24″ of a Sisters unit, deny the power on a 4+.
- Relic: Blade of Admonition: Replaces a Power Sword, strength +2, AP-3, 3 Damage.
Wow, not bad! The Sisters get some really useful kit. The ability to use Acts of Faith again after a unit dies is very good, and the ability to stop enemy psychic powers is very powerful. The Relic too, is great, and means you can expect to see a Cannoness near you flying around chopping things in half. While the Warlord Trait isn’t amazing it is also far from bad as Sisters don’t have a lot of way to mitigate morale and the ability to re-roll a flubbed morale check will keep more of your ladies on the table. In total this is a very solid set of rules for the Sisters.
- Warlord Trait: Bane of Monstrosities: You can re-roll failed wounds rolls for your Warlord when attacking enemy Vehicles or Monsters.
- Clavis: 1 CP, used in the Fight Phase, select an enemy vehicle within 1″ of a Watch Master from your army and roll a D6, on a 2+ the vehicle suffers D3 Mortal Wounds.
- Death to the Alien!: 1 CP, grants bonus attacks on a 6+ to hit in the Fight Phase if you are not attacking Chaos, Imperium or Unaligned faction keyword units.
- Relic: The Beacon Angelis: once per battle at the end of your movement phase, you can teleport in a Deathwatch Infantry or Biker unit that is either in reserves or on the battlefield and are placed within 6″ of the bearer and more than 9″ away form enemy units.
Solid rules, indeed. The Warlord Trait particularly is nice as it works in shooting and melee. That makes your Warlord quite deadly against big targets. The Stratagems won’t always come in to play but when they do are very useful. And the Relic is awesome. Anything that gives you extra movement, especially that much extra movement, is very powerful. You can create some solid combos, bring a unit from hiding to the other side of the table to join in on an Alpha Strike, gran an objective, etc.
- Warlord Traits: Drukhari get not 1 but 3 Warlord Traits, one for a Wych Cult Warlord, and the others for a Haemonculus Coven and the last for any Drukhari Character.
- Blood Dancer: Hit rolls of a 6+ in the fight phase net you 3 hits, not just 1! This can also be given to Lelith Hesperax.
- Master Regenesist: The Warlord Heals D3 lost wounds at the start of each of your turns.
- Hatred Eternal: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for this Warlord in the fight phase.
- Stratagem(s): Webway Portal: 1 CP/3 CP: Set up either 1 or 2 (for 3 CP) Infantry, Biker or Beast units in deep-strike reserves during deployment.
- Relic: The Parasite’s Kiss: Replaces a Splinter Pistol, 12″, strangth 1, AP-2, 2 Damage, always wounds on a 2+ except against Vehicles. Each time the weapon kills an enemy model, the bearer regains 1 lost wound.
Wow! Drukhari came out well. The Stratagem alone is massively good for them, allowing them to keep some of their fragile units off of the table. And trust me, having been on the receiving end of 20 Warriors deep-striking in multiple times, it is pretty savage. However, you can see how good this is with any of a wide variety of units both for offense and defense. The Warlord Traits are likewise extremely good and the Relic is also, very powerful, particularly on a melee character that gets stuck in and can give itself another round or two of longevity as it regains lost wounds.
- Warlord Trait: Focus of Adoration: friendly Genestealer Cult infantry can perform Heroic Intervention while within 6″ of the Warlord, even if they are not Characters.
- Return to the Shadows: 1 CP, can be used to send a Genestealer Cults Infantry unit that is more than 6″ away from enemy units back in to reserves which can then reappear on the battlefield in the next turn using the Cult Ambush rules.
- Meticulous Uprising: 1 CP, use this stratagem before rolling on the Cult Ambush table. Roll 2D6 and choose the result you want. If the unit is a Primus or is appearing with a Primus, you can roll 3D6 and choose the result you like best.
- Relic: Icon of the Cult Ascendant: Acolyte Iconward only, add 1 to the strength characteristic of Genestealer Cult Infantry whil within 6″ of the bearer.
Again, some really useful upgrades for GSC. The Heroic Intervention Warlord Trait is a lot better than it may seem as it allows scrubs to get in the way of enemy charging units, or to just engage enemy units in their turn. The Stratagems are obviously awesome and provide a ton of utility and increased mobility for the GSC player. Both of them are going to see a ton of play. Lastly, that relic is just fantastic. Boosting the strength of your units means a massive increase in damage output in melee for your army.
- Warlord Trait: Luck of the Laughing God: Any character but the Solitaire, you may re-roll hit rolls of 1 for the Warlord.
- Webway Assault: 1 CP/3 CP: same as with Drukhari, but only for Infantry and Biker units.
- Primsatic Blur: 1 CP, after a Harlequins unit has advanced, increase their Invul save to a 3++ until the start of your next turn.
- Relic: The Mask of Secrets: the bearer increases their Leadership by 1. Additionally, all enemy units within 6″ reduce their Leadership by 1.
Outstanding. Webway assault for the fragile Harlequins is great and allows you to deliver a tough unit or two into the enemy lines while also keeping them safe at the begenning of the game. And the 3++ after advancing strat is clearly incredible! As Harlequins can advance and still assault, this is crazy good. The relic is also nice for the morale debuff as Harlequins do a lot of damage and stacking an additional negative modifier in there can help further damage nearby enemy units.
- Warlord Trait: Knight Seneschal: your Warlord gains 1 additional attack.
- Stratagem(s): Rotate Ion Shields: 1 CP, used when one of your Knights is targeted, they gain +1 to their invulnerable save for the rest of that phase.
- Relic: Ravager: replaces a Reaper Chainsword, strength +6, AP-3, 6 Damage, re-roll hit rolls of 1.
So, yeah, lol. These are very good. A Knight with a 4++ for one phase per turn, and a bonus attack at higher stength with increased accuracy is fantastic. Obviously. Might actually see Reaper Chainswords on the table again!
- Warlord Trait: Enduring Will: any Necorn character other than a C’Tan, reduces damage your Warlord takes by 1 to a minimum of 1.
- Repair Subroutines: 2 CP, allows a Canoptek unit to use Reanimation Protocols until the end of your turn.
- Enhanced Reanimation Protocols: 2 CP, used before making a RP roll, allows you to re-roll rolls of 1.
- Relic: The Veil of Darkness: once per battle, the bearer and one friendly Necron Infantry units within 3″ may deep-strike anywhere on the table more than 9″ away from enemy units. Both units must end up wholly within 6″ of one another.
Necron players will be very happy with these. The ability to give Canoptek units RP is very powerful as is re-rolling 1’s when trying to bring back larger units. The Veil of Darkness is fantastic for getting what can be slower Necron units up the table to engage the enemy and combos with many of the other abilities like this they have access to. A clever Necron player can end up with a big chunk of their army right in their opponent’s face on turn 1. Lastly, that Warlord Trait is savage. Necron Character can already be tough nuts to crack, and damage reduction makes them even more durable.
- Warlord Trait: Might is Right: +1 to your Warlord’s Strength.
- Mob Up: 1 CP, used at the end of the movement phase, combines two like Ork Infantry units into 1 so long as 1 of the two is at or over 10 models and the other is at or below 10 models.
- DAKKA! DAKKA! DAKKA!: 1 CP, allows an ork Infantry or Biker units to generate extra shots on a 6+ to hit in the shooting phase.
- Relic: Headwoppa’s Killchoppa: Replaces a Big Choppa, strength +2, AP-2, D3 Damage. On a wound roll of a 6+, you deal D3 Mortal Wounds instead of the normal damage.
The Ork bonuses are a bit more subtle than some of the others. The Warlord Trait is cool if you are facing a lot of toughness 7 vehicles as it boosts your Klaw (if you are using one) up to strength 14, meaning you wound them on 2’s which is quite a boost in damage output. Mob Up is extremely good for mission play as it can be used to deny your opponent a Kill Point. It also allows you to fill out some of the CP rich detachments like the Brigade but then combine units together once the game begins to take advantage of Mob Rule, etc. Dakka has taken some criticisms but I really like it for units like War Bikers, Lootas and especially Flash Gitz, although it is quite good for just basic Shoota Boyz, too. Mathematically it isn’t going to set the world on fire of course, but I think it is important to remember it is only 1 CP and if you really need to take something down and want to trust a bit to luck, this is a good one. I think it will get used quite a bit more than some folks think. I use it pretty much any time I shoot my Lootas, Tank Bustas or Flash Gitz, personally unless I am saving the CP for something specific. The extra damage can be extremely useful. Lastly, the relic is awesome. It allows you to wound most infantry targets on a 2+, and can deal Mortal Wounds. A very solid choice.
- Warlord Trait: Saga of the Warrior Born: your Warlord always fights first in the fight phase.
- True Grit: 1 CP, a Space Wolves Infantry unit can fire their Auto Bolt Rifles, Boltguns, Bolt Rifles and Bolt Carbines as if they had the Pistol 2 type.
- Cunning of the Wolf: 1 CP, used during deployment, allows you to put a unit in outflank reserves. They then appear at the end of a movement phase wholly within 6″ of a board edge and more than 9″ from enemy units.
- Relic: Krakenbone Sword: replaces a Frost Sword, strength +1, AP-4, 1 Damage, allows you to re-roll failed wound rolls.
Very, very good. Cunning of the Wolf alone is a game changer. As you’ve heard us say time after time, anything that can keep units off of the board is solid gold. You can then bring in hard hitting units behind your opponent or on a flank where they can strike without having had to take enemy fire on the way in. True Grit is likewise awesome for the ability to blast things while stuck in and really helps to crank up the damage output of your units. Striking first in melee is very powerful as anyone that has played against Slaanesh units can attest to. The Sword is surprisingly good as it is essentially a strength 5, AP-4 lightening claw. On a Wolf Lord with a Jump Pack for example, you can do massive melee damage to even heavily armored infantry. Not as good against some high wound targets, but great for clearing out units.
- Warlord Trait:
- Exemplar of the Kauyon: if your Warlord did not move, they can re-roll failed hit rolls. If they move for any reason, they lose the ability until the start of their next turn.
- Exemplar of the Mont’Ka: the Warlord can advance and still shoot as if he had not moved this turn.
- Stratagem(s): Uplinked Markerlight: 1 CP, after an enemy unit is hit by a Markerlight, place 1D3+1 Markerlight counters on the unit instead of only 1.
- Relic: Puretide Engram Neurochip: Once per battle, you can re-roll a single failed hit roll, wound roll or damage roll made for the bearer of a friendly unit within 6″ of the bearer. Additionally, every time you or your opponent use a stratagem, so long as the bearer is alive and on the table, on a 6 you gain a CP back.
The ability to re-gain CP is always solid and as it works when either player uses one you can expect to pick up an additional 2-4 CP in most games. The stratagem is quite good as it takes a lot of the variability out of Markerlight allocation. A lot of what the T’au do depends on landing those Markerlights and this is a way to crank that up reliably without requiring too many resources. As you use it after you hit a target, you can judge if you need to use it or not on the fly which makes it very efficient. The Warlord Traits are a bit limiting and will require a unit built to take advantage of them to be chosen over some of the generic traits in the BRB but I am sure we will see clever T’au players making good use of them.
- Warlord Trait: Arrogance of Aeons: Re-roll failed Deny the Witch tests you take for the Warlord.
- Stratagem(s): Cabilistic Focus: 1 CP, +2 to a casting roll for a Thousand Sons psyker within 6″ of at least 2 other Thousand Sons Psykers.
- Relic: Athenaean Scrolls: if you roll a double when making a successful Psychic test for the bearer, your opponent cannot attempt to Deny the Witch or stop the power by any means. You can still suffer Perils and if you die from Perils, the power does not go off.
- Psychic Powers: Tzeentch’s Firestorm, Warp Charge 7, select an enemy unit within 18″ of the psyker and visible to him, Roll 9 dice, the enemy unit takes a Mortal Wound for each roll of a 6.
Some very powerful rules, here. The ability to re-roll Deny, and to not be denied are super useful and sure to be seen quite a bit. The new Psychic power is also quite good for sniping out low wound Characters with a bit of luck. The stratagem likewise can be incredibly useful for getting that critical power off when you really need it. All around a lot to be excited about for Tzeentch players.
There are also some expanded terrain rules and campaign rules and guidelines, too. These help you get a fun ladder campaign going in your local scene. Lastly, and most interesting to many matched play players are points updates. These always cause controversy but I have to say I while some may sting a bit, they are largely very positive for the game as a whole. Many of the very under-costed Forge World units have gone up to reasonable price points (although some folks certainly debate how close to the mark they came, as is always the case). For example, Malefic Lords went up to 80pts, is a much more accurate representation of the models abilities when compared to other psykers. Another example is Bobby G and Celestine going up to 385 and 200 respectively. These models are seen in so many Imperial armies it’s crazy. They were too cheap for what they did and are now priced more fairly.
Inversely, many units that were under-performing got a points reduction. Many of the Primaris Marines went down in points, and units like the Kataphron Breachers and Destroyers dropped down to 30pts base.
Not every army got points changes and I will leave you all to figure that out but there is a logical reason for it which is not that GW doesn’t like your faction. A little patience will see that mystery resolved I am sure. And, while we may not all agree on each specific points change, it is great to see GW moving to balance the game which makes it more enjoyable for more people.
Which changes do you like the most or dislike the most? Why?
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