Charlie and AbusePuppy here with an exciting preview for one of the most-anticipated Forgeworld books of all time – Fires of Cyraxus!!!
So, there have been a lot of reveals coming out of Adepticon (including that amazing Keeper of Secrets model), and Games Workshop has done a great job of showcasing their new releases to the public at events like this as of late. However, for those with their ear a bit closer to the ground, there have been a lot of interesting rumblings as of late about things somewhat less public that players may want to hear about. Specifically, Imperial Armour 14 has been finalized and gone off to the printers, ending the long drought of Forge World book releases that have plagued us of late- and better yet, we got to talk to some of the playtesters for the book.
A couple of caveats: first, the individuals in question asked that they not be identified, for fairly obvious reasons, so we won’t be naming any names. Second, these rules were only the playtest versions- the actual book may well have changed since submission, though I think it’s safe to assume that the broad strokes of the book will correspond to what we have been told.
For those who weren’t already aware, IA14: Fires of Cyraxus is the latest in Forge World’s series of campaign supplements. Announced way back in 2016, the book has seen repeated delays and holds due to a wide variety of issues, but no longer! With a scheduled release date of August 1st, 2019 (at least according to one of our sources), the book will soon see the light of day, providing rules for several largely-ignored factions and bringing many Horus Heresy units into the world of 8th Edition at last.
The general gist of IA14 has been known for a while- a conflict between the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Tau Empire over the Cyraxus VII system. With these two factions being so diametrically opposed in their views of technology, it’s only natural that they would eventually come into direct conflict, and in the campaign book this conflict is writ large across the system as the two galactic powers clash both ideologically and materially. The campaign centers around (but, according to some hints, eventually expands beyond) events in the the Segmentum Pacificus where the two come to arms with each other. The exact details weren’t revealed to us (have to buy the book!), but it seems that an ancient piece of technology from the Age of Iron is discovered in the Cyraxus system and precipitates a race to take control of the planet where it is found, with both sides escalating the conflict as the stakes raise higher and high.
However, while the book centers around the conflict between the nascent Tau and the dogmatic Mechanicus forces, they are hardly the only participants. Many of the minor Imperial factions will also be making appearances in the conflict, including the Inquisition, Sisters of Battle, and Grey Knights, all of whom will be receiving brand-new units to represent the specialized forces that are participating in the campaign. Although their role is not yet entirely clear, the involvement of these secretive parts of the Imperial heirarchy does not bode well for anyone- after all, you don’t call in daemon-hunters for just any old battle! Word from our sources seemed to indicate that a handful of named characters would make appearances as well as a number of unique war machines, with upgrade kits for the existing Rhino and Dreadnought chassis being the most notable ones. We also heard something about a “new kind of Terminator,” but the specifics were tantalizingly unclear, so we’ll all just have to wait and see what that means for the future.
The Long(er) War
Of course, with a battle this big, it’s not just the Tau and Imperium that are getting involved. We’ve seen a lot of releases for Chaos as of late focusing on their Daemon Engines, and that’s no coincidence- Fires of Cyraxus formally introduces Dark Mechanicus as a new faction to the game (though, technically, they already were present, albeit with only a handful of units) as they play a major role in the events that unfold. The hints have been circling for some time, from the Blackstone Fortress box including the Negavolt Cultists and their automaton servants to the multitude of Mechanicus releases in the main game to the ending of Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (which, for those not in the know, teases some major actions by the Dark Mechanicus including a possible invasion of Mars.)
The corrupted priests of the Machine God will be getting a full pseudocodex, including universal rules, stratagems, relics, and warlord traits. We’re told that there are multiple units in every slot, all of them completely new and heretofore unseen, as well as some special edition treats for those who pre-order the book (such as stat cards and unique dice.) Supposedly the Dark Mechanicus will also be getting a named character of their own- a Lord Discordant, to hear tell, the Chaos version of and rival to Belisarius Cawl- as well as “chaosified” versions of numerous existing units in the style of the various Hellforged units. If you’ve long wondered what happened to all of those Land Speeders that the traitor legions took with them, wonder no longer!
Greater and Gooder
Of course, it would be a shame not to spend any time talking about the other major player in the conflict, and I think that the eager Tau generals out there will not be disappointed. This was, of course, a major point of interest for both of us writing the article (being as we are dedicated Tau players), so we got every scrap of information we could on this side of things, and there were several very intriguing hints as to what was to come. First and foremost, we got an assurance from both sources that the 0-1 limit on Commanders in a detachment was going away, something that has irked many Tau players for some time now. One of the playtesters indicated that the Tau Commander rule had been implemented months before the FAQ adding the “rule of 3” to the game was finalized; it was just unfortunate circumstance that caused the two to coincide so closely. However, with the evolution of the tournament scene since then, Games Workshop has seen the struggles of Tau players and decided to rescind the redundant rule.
Tau will be seeing a lot of model releases of their own, of course; although we didn’t get word on any named characters, several new models of battlesuits will be making appearances as the Empire continues to adapt to the techniques of their opponents. Both larger (e.g. Riptide-size) and smaller (e.g. Stealth-sized) units were said to be in the works, including another “flying” battlesuit in the style of the Coldstar that can’t be charged except by other flying units and also a “burrowing” suit that can appear from reserves and push enemy units out of the way.
Drones were also slated to get an update with this release- a lot of players have complained about Tau giving up kill points too easily, a fact of which GW is fully aware; in order to bring the rules for Drone units more in line with previous editions, our playtesters said that they had experimented with a large number of different solutions but eventually settled on giving drone units taken alongside a battlesuit to have the Character keyword, preventing them from being targeted independently. Of course, this also makes them vulnerable to snipers, so it’s not all good news for Tau, but that’s the price you pay with rules changes, you take the good with the bad!
The Dark Side
Of course, given the dualistic nature of the Mechanicus in the supplement as well as many of the events of the past two editions, it should come as a surprise to no one that the Tau weren’t going to be all goody-goody about things. The grim darkness of the far future isn’t a kind place, and for those survivors of the Fourth Sphere Expansion it has been a particularly trying road, resulting in something that the galaxy has never before seen- warp-scarred Tau.
Our sources made sure to clarify that these weren’t Chaos Tau in the traditional sense- they don’t serve the Dark Gods, or, indeed, have any connection to the Warp at all. Instead, these individuals had seen and experienced things that completely changed their worldview and destroyed their faith in the Greater Good, Ethereals included, resulting in a wholly new subfaction with its own rules and a few unique units as well. We heard tell of Bonding Knives being used for much more… visceral purposes and the invocations of the Ethereal caste being directed very differently, even mirroring some of the effects of the new Dark Apostle prayers. And, of course, each Ethereal can choose one of four possible “dedications” that grant a specific benefit that echoes to surrounding units, allowing the player unrivaled opportunities for customization in their army.
The culmination of all of this heresy can be expected for Q3 2019, probably in August if everything stays on track as normal (although our sources stressed that this was only a preliminary schedule and could easily change.) The initial wave would see a splash release of both Tau and Mechanicus units of all stripes as well as the campaign book itself, with the following months seeing additional, smaller releases of additional units, characters, and the minor faction items. Games Workshop seems to be taking a page from their Vigilus releases and doing their best to flesh out underappreciated factions by giving them supplement rules, an approach that I think most players can agree has worked quite well so far, and with the additional kick from Fires of Cyraxus both Tau and AdMech stand to become serious tournament competitors in their own right.
But that’s not the biggest faction news for the book, not by a long shot.
That’s right, loyal Kroot fans! It’s been a long time in coming- four whole editions, in fact- but we’re finally seeing another official Kroot codex. As most people probably know, if there’s one thing that Forge World loves more than making weird battlesuits for the Tau, it’s making Kroot units- and this release is scheduled to have some real doozies in it. Although it won’t be quite as extensive of a release as some of the other factions in the books, Kroot will be getting a “mini-codex” much like the one they had back in 4th edition, including customizable upgrade options to represent Kroot mutations, a smattering of warlord traits and relics, and the return of Angkhor Prok, the named Kroot shaper.
Perhaps even more exciting, however, was the ability of Shapers to get a Gnarloc mount for themselves in the new book- with a 14″ movement and brutal combat stats as well as the ability to buff the morale and resilience of nearby units, the mounted Shape seems like a no-brainer choice in any Kroot army. And for those that are worried about the lackluster shooting that Kroot have traditionally had, worry no more- the Gnarloc’s crossbow now gets six shots with AP-3, a weapon that will put the terror into any Space Marine out there, Terminator armor or not.
But the Kroot don’t just work for the Tau Empire, much to the Tau’s chagrin, so you’ll be able to include Kroot in any army with the Xenos keyword- the Kroot are mercenaries, after all, so it only makes sense. Of course, a few of their most powerful units will be reserved for their own service, but if you’ve ever wanted to add a little more accurate shooting to your Ork army or have your Eldar bring along some expendable bodies to shield their dying race from harm, you’re in luck!
The Final Countdown
All of this pomp and celebration is only the lead-up the true announcement, however, and this part of the conversation we were asked to keep in strictest confidence but just couldn’t resist spilling the news. Forge World has long been known for walking their own path, and the surprise release of dozens of new kits would normally be well beyond their operating budget. And it would’ve been… under normal circumstances, but I think if 8th Edition has taught us all anything, it’s that these are no longer normal circumstances.
The big word is that Forge World and Games Workshop are finally taking that ultimate step and tying the knot. That’s right- Forge World will formally be incorporated into GW proper following the release of IA14. As part of the announcement, FW will be making a special edition release of a limited-run “krootisaur” model (our term, not theirs) that is officially the largest model that they have ever produced, outweighing even the veneral Manta kit in sheer size. Standing a full three feet tall at the shoulder and weighing “more than a child” according to our sources, this titanic monster is supposedly armed with all manner of weaponry purchased from the Tau as well as its natural teeth and talons, making it a devastating combatant against any foe.
We don’t have any word on what the new, amalgamated company’s priorities would be, but all releases would be consolidated under the new Games Workshop World (GWW) label to prevent any confusion about which rules were “official” or “valid” and which were not, a problem that has plagued the game for some time now. In addition, the merger was intended to bring better synchronicity and synergy between the two rules teams, ensuring that fewer snafus occur and that rules are kept more parallel with each other for future releases. Although we weren’t told anything specific, this may mean updated rules for DKoK, Elysians, and other previously-introduced subfactions that are currently suffering quite a bit. And the merger would mean more than just a bunch of corporate reshuffling- it was said to be planned to have an immediate effect on both companies’ ability to release models and rules.
A Novel Solution
The best example of this newfound synergy was a hush-hush project that had been in the works for some time now, but required both the production expertise of Forge World and the game design skills of Games Workshop to bring to fruition. I’m not sure I can do the concept justice myself, so I’ll just leave you with a direct quote from our source on the matter.
“People were complaining about not being immersed in their games, specifically complaining about the randomness of D6-shot weapons. In order to improve the experience of players, we have developed a new game mechanic that better represents war in the 41st millennium- rather than rolling for a number of shots in a random way, we’re giving each player the ability to see their firepower on the table.
We’ve gotten a lot of great feedback on endless spells in Age of Sigmar, how players enjoy seeing the effects of their actions on the tabletop. So in 40k, we’re providing a way for each player to see exactly which units his flamer-wielding unit hits, or visually represent the blast radii of their mortar shells. This visual representation takes the form of a set of five high-quality resin circles and blast markers to use during your game. By holding them directly over the unit you’re shooting at, you can easily see which models will be burned to a crisp or blown to kingdom come. We think that players will find this new way of gaming more exciting than ever.”
We were also told that this set of five resin markers/templates will be available as a complete set priced at $65 USD (or CA$85/AU$145) just in time for Christmas, making it the perfect item to put on Santa’s list this December.
Which reveal are you most excited for? I’m most excited about the reveal that it’s April 1st.