Chaos Knights – 9th Ed Forgeworld Review: War Dog Moirax

Hello everyone, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, we are going to look at the littest bits in the Chaos Knight faction, the War Dogs Moirax.  Of course, if you want more tricks and tips, be sure to check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner.

Primary Weapons:

  • Moirax Conversion Beam Cannon: When attacking with this weapon, select a profile:
    • Short range: 0-18”  Heavy D3   S6 AP0 D2. Blast.
    • Medium Range: 18-42” Heavy D3 S8 AP-1 D3. Blast
    • Long Range: 42-72” Heavy D3 S10 AP-2 D4. Blast
  • Graviton Pulsar: Range 24” Heavy D6 S6 AP-3 D2. Blast. When resolving attacks against a unit with an armor save of 3+ or better, this weapon is Damage 3 instead of Damage 2.
  • Lightning Lock: Range 36” Heavy 6 S6 AP-2 D1. An unmodified hit roll of 6 generates 2 additional hits.
  • Volkite Veuglaire: Range 36” Heavy 5 S6 AP-1 D2. An unmodified wound roll of 6 generates a mortal wound in addition to any other damage.
  • Moirax Siege Claw:  S12 AP-3 Dd6 melee weapon. Subtract 1 from the hit roll. Against Titanic and Vehicle unit, add 2 to the damage characteristic.  Comes with a Rad Cleanser.

Minor Weapons:

  • Rad Cleanser – Range 9” Assault D6 S2 AP0 D3 gun. This weapon automatically hits, and always wounds units on a 2+ unless they are Titanic or Vehicle.

Special Rules:

  • Vehicle Squadron – May take 1-3 per unit, and when the unit is first set up, all of its models must be placed within 6” of each other. From that point onwards, each is treated as separate unit.
  • Ion Shield  – 5++ invulnerable save against ranged weapons.
  • Explodes – When a War Dog is destroyed, roll a D6. On a 6, it explodes, and each unit within 6” suffers D3 mortal wounds.
  • Protection Protocols: When this model is within 6” of a friendly <DREAD HOUSEHOLD> Titanic unit, it may heroically intervene as if it was a character, but the range of its heroic intervene is 6” and it can move up to 6”.

The Moirax are a much more customizable War Dog chassis for Chaos Knights, and they bring a lot of fancy special rules and utility to the army.   As with the standard War Dog, you can choose to go Fighty or Shooty here, so let’s break them down separately.

If you want some hard-hitting albeit not entirely accurate melee, a Claw Moirax can do work.  At S12 and d6 damage, a single Claw Moirax has the chance to do up to 24 damage, but that’s highly improbable.  Still, the threat of rolling d6 for damage is enough to make the Claw a good Distraction Carnifex as it is fast, it can do big damage, but it is also cheap. At 155 points, if you throw this one away on a flank and charge forward, you aren’t actually risking that much, especially since at T7 with 12 wounds and a 3+/5++ against shooting, it is not the easiest thing to kill.  It even has good counter-assault elements, namely anything not a Vehicle or Titanic charging it within 9” can take 2d6 hits in overwatch that are a whopping flat damage 3.  While yes, this doesn’t ignore armor at all, making your opponent nervous is what these Claws do.   Really, one of the surprising offensive capabilities of the Claw is that it has a flamer that does a surprising amount of damage if your opponent fails saves.  These Rad Cleansers are most effective against infantry that rely more on a Feel No Pain roll to live than armor like Plaguebearers where suddenly each failed save because 3 separate 5+++ to make. 

Since the Rad Cleansers are assault, you can advance 12+d6 inches and then have a 9” threat on top of that, making Claws pretty good at screen clearing since on average dice in standard deployments, on the first turn a Claw can threaten anything deployed on the line.   Let’s not forget Protection Protocols which can absolutely catch an opponent off-guard.  Having a 6” Heroic Intervention is a lot bigger than is often thought, and being able to get into combat, especially against a hard target, without being targeted yourself is awesome. Against fast assaulters, a Moirax can HI right into the scrum and get the chance to land those big blows.  Even against a tarpit that hits your Knight, you can HI forward and not get into combat, but use the distance gained to either find a new angle around the tarpit to hit the backside as that 12” movement allows a lot of that.  You can also just move up, flame them the next turn after your Knight falls back, and then charge, holding the tarpit in place (if it cannot fall back and charge). You can now even take 2 claws for essentially double rad cleansers, which doesn’t boost the melee but does boost the shooting aspect.

If you want a Claw to maybe do real damage in combat, Iconoclast is the way to go.  Getting that extra attack and extra AP on the claw is big and really helps the math out for them.  Generally, you don’t want to spend too many CPs on a War Dog, but even Vow of Beastslayer isn’t a bad idea on the Claw as getting any extra mileage out of its attacks is key.  With double Rad Cleansers, even Vow of Carnage is awesome as against certain horde matchups, a Claw Moirax is going to get 10+ kills relatively easily.  Infernal is fine for the speed and definitely increases threat, but there is no point boosting a Rad Cleanser, and the T8 isn’t always worth the trade in wounds.  In Infernal though, you can do Pact with the Dark Gods to get back up, which isn’t always terrible for a model with 2d6 auto-hitting shooting attacks.  That said, Iconoclast would be my pick here.  Don’t forget Spiteful Demise as well, the Claw is likely going to die, but doing d3 mortal wounds to everyone within 6 can be money upon money.  Daemonic Vigor is a great choice if you aren’t going to dreadblade another unit as +2 movement only ups the threat, and rolling a 4 or 5 and snagging WS 2+ turns the Claw Moirax into a murder machine.

Dread Household is important here. Lucaris is a go-to for a melee oriented Moirax as the +1 to hit in the first round of combat really makes the claw that much more useful, and when paired with the Iconoclast boost, each Claw Moirax becomes pretty threatening. Frenzied Attackers and Harrying Packs is also a great combo for just a bit more threat on the charge and the ability to fall back and charge, making the Moirax much less prone to getting tarpitted, which is one of its biggest weaknesses.

The problems with the Claw is that its melee potential is high but its probable outcome is low.  On average against a T8 target with no invulnerable save in combat, a Claw does only 3.89 wounds.  That’s not impressive. An Iconoclast Claw does better at 5.86, but that’s still not quite as much pop as you want out of 155 points of melee.   The -1 to hit on the claw and the lack of a sweep attack really limits its melee chances, and honestly, I was surprised to not see a mini-Engine of Destruction rule as there should be some kind of bonus for taking 2 Claws because as it stands now, unless you are really dedicating to Double Claw if you want 155 points and the 2d6 flamer hits, it is just better to take one of the guns and a single claw.  I suppose you could take a Desecrator to get a reroll 1s, but that’s spending 400 points for an 8% increase, not really efficient.  Also, like all War Dogs, it suffers from the fact that stairs exist, so it cannot actually traverse the board as well as it wants.  The change in 9th rules makes taking War Dogs a lot less punishing, so that’s something at least.   Still, for a pure melee threat, A standard Melta/Chain saw War Dog is better.

But what if you want Shooty?  If you go with the Guns Akimbo Moirax, you get either a good anti-personnel platform or a hybrid AT/AP gunboat.  If you want that big ranged pop, the C-Beam is a good place to start. It is 10 points, and it is only Heavy D3, but at max range, it can do a lot of damage and be the perfect emotional support dog for a bigger Knight.  While the C-Beam is unlikely to flat out kill any hard target, it certainly does enough damage to either finish off a wounded target or set up a target to be more mathematically assured to die to a Double Melta Knight or some such.  You can go double Beamer now in 9th, but honestly, with the much smaller board, it is very, very hard to stay in the max range band.

The Graviton is a solid weapon that can do some tasty damage to just anything with a 3+ save, which is quite a few things, and with AP-3, it is definitely making any unit without an invulnerable save like Centurions/Aggressors worry. You can take two of them too, so if you want a platform that will slaughter anything T6 or below that relies on an armor save to live, the Graviton is here for you. As A Double-Melta Knight or even a Double-Battle Cannon Knight can crack armor, the Double Graviton is a good hybrid of kill power that complements the army well.  That said, it is only 24″ range though, but on the smaller board of 9th, that’s not too bad.      Going all-in on Anti-infantry can yield results here as double Lightning Lock or Double Volkite can put out a decent number of shots and take good chunks out of units.

I’m a big fan of Double Lightning Lock as I like volume of fire, and 12 shots at 36” is good, but, when you throw in the Tesla rule, you have the potential for some big, big spikes.  You are likely to get 12 hits on average dice, factoring in the Tesla, and at S6 and AP-2, you are doing some decent damage to just about any standard infantry out there. Yes, it lacks D2 for Primaris, but through volume of fire, you can start to whittle down the crowds.  For 155 points, that is a good amount of dakka that can go HAM.  Double Volkite is also a decent amount of fire and it has the sweet damage 2 for quickly gunning down Primaris, but it does have 2 less shots.  The mortal wound on the 6 is nice, but on average dice, you will maybe see 1, but it opens up a lot of space for skew, which can be rewarding as hell with no real drawback.  If you really, really need to worry about 2 wound models, the Volkite has its place.

Ambition here can matter, and Infernal is my preferred for the shooting.  Being able to boost a Lightning Lock to S7 and D2 is money, especially if you get rerolls from anywhere as being able to fish for 6s can make a single gun absolutely turn live and become even a medium vehicle hunter with another 6 shots at the standard profile.  You can also juice the C-Beam for D5 at range, but with only D3 shots, that’s a big risk. You have better odds with a Graviton as S7 and D4 against 3+ saves can be brutal if you roll 5 or 6 shots.   Iconoclast works for everyone if you are just trying to get a cheap Super-heavy detachment and a Titanic Knight who can really make use of it, but even then, getting 5 attacks at S6 AP-1 is much better than 4 attacks at S6 AP0.  If a Shooty Moirax is in combat, things are likely bad, but in the late game, you can mop up small squads that way.  Vow of Carnage can make this even more true, especially with Lightning Locks as if you have other threats that require attention, a lowly Moirax can kill 20 models over the first 2 turns, and when it charges in, suddenly it has 7 attacks at S6 AP-1, perfect for wiping out smaller squads that have survived the initial bloodbath.   You probably don’t want to throw relics out on any War Dog chassis, but a double-lock Moirax is pretty self sufficient.   You can dreadblade if you want an extra CP or to add a little more suitability with the ignore -1 AP, but it is not strictly necessary. A Double Graviton does like Path to Glory as it can become an absolute character murder-machine that is fast enough to get weird angles and then blast the hell out of just about any character.

In terms of Dread Household, a custom with Harrying Packs is essential to mitigating the worst weakness of a Moirax, namely getting tagged by chaff. Being able to Fall Back and still shoot is really awesome, and if you plan on running a good deal of little killers, then you really should consider a custom house. House Vextrix is a good Infernal House for a free reroll, which comes in handy for shooting, but if you are really going to lean into a lot of War Dogs, I think a Custom House is necessary.

So what’s bad about them? Well, the C-Beam Moirax is just too random and the board is too small for it to matter. At BS 3+ and D3 shots, you are just not putting out consistent numbers to be all that scary. A double Volkite is cool, but at AP-1, most of the things that care about D2 have a save strong enough to manage that, so you are banking on rolling 6s . The Double Lock is good, but it is dice dependent as if you just roll a lot of 4s and 5s, that can be a good amount of hits but not turning on the Tesla, which is really what you want.  The Graviton is a murder machine, but it relies on a d6 for shots, so while 2d6 is 7, there are going to be plenty of times when you get 4 shots instead. It is also only 24″ range, which means that you can’t kite around the board and drop bombs; you have to be much more danger-close.  With Blast though, it can absolutely tear through larger Primaris squads, so that’s something to consider.

Really, for me, the hands down winners are the Double-Lock Moirax and the Double-Graviton. That said, see above about what makes any War Dog not so great, namely that they can’t navigate terrain as well and they are easier to put down than other options.   They are not insanely durable, and while 155 points is one of the cheapest options in the army, it is still expensive, especially if you are taking 2 and a 400+ Titanic Knight on top of it all.   Of course, if your opponent is dedicating resources to the Moirax, you are likely going to profit from that if your other Knight(s) are still around. A Double Graviton, thanks to its threat, it is also a good Distraction Carnifex as it is still cheap enough that if it dies, it is not a crushing blow to your forces, but if left to its own devices, it can cause big, big damage.

Claw Moirax: 65/100 – Some tricky plays and the chance for big damage, but you need to build for them to be useful, and really, standard melee War Dogs are just better overall.

Shooty Moirax: 85/100 – The Double-Lock/Graviton/Volkite is a solid ranged platform for me, but don’t bother with C-Beams. With Double-Lock, for a budget price, it provides a lot of shots that are great at clearing screens or even doing some chip damage to medium targets. The Double Graviton is a flexible weapon, able to threaten just about anything, but it is short ranged, and it is far less reliable. The Volkite is somewhere in the middle, and if you know you’ll see a lot of Primaris bodies or light vehicles, the Volkite can do the trick.

Thanks as always for reading, and yah, it was a long one, but hey, thanks for sticking through it. We only got one more Chaos Knight to look over next time, and well, then who knows what else I’ll muddle around with. Stay safe and roll dice.

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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.

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