There are a number of terms in the 40k community that get get turned into acronyms for ease of use. Experienced players are generally familiar with these terms, but I shouldn’t assume that everyone is. When I use a term that has a common acronym, I will include the acronym in bold orange after it. After that, I will use the acronym without any additional designation. For a model’s characteristics, I will not include a designation.
For example: A model that has a Toughness score of 5 will be labeled as T5, a Weapon Skill of 6 will be WS6, etc.
Before We Begin…
I do not own a Lucius the Eternal model. For some reason, he simply doesn’t interest me a lot. Perhaps through the course of this review, I’ll change my mind. Even now, thinking about the fact that he unlocks Noise Marines as troops means that I’d have an additional Elite slot or two for something else.
In the last article, I took a look at Huron Blackheart and Kharn the Betrayer. A comment on that article from one of our Twitter followers pointed out that I compared Kharn’s entry in both the new and old codex but didn’t do this for Huron Blackheart. I did this because Huron didn’t change too much between codices, but Kharn absolutely did. If there’s a significant enough change between the two codices, I will definitely point it out. Otherwise, I will simply talk about the new codex entry and move on.
That being said, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate any feedback on these articles. I definitely take the feedback into consideration and will adjust the articles based on them.
I only recently acquired an Ahriman and Typhus model. Prior to this, I never proxied Ahriman or Typhus. I have recently played a game and used Typhus in a Nurgle list, so I will be able to provide some feedback of how he plays using the rules of the current codex.
I’m a big fan of psykers in 6th Edition, even with the introduction of the Deny the Witch rule. Maybe it comes from playing Blood Angels and Space Wolves, which had some of the best powers before 6th Edition added the new Disciplines to the game. Ahriman will definitely be used in the near future, and I’m waiting on GW to send me a Thousand Sons upgrade pack so that I can convert some CSM into Thousand Sons and run them as well.
I’ve played Librarians and Rune Priests before. I also used to favor playing a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch. None of them compare to Ahriman. This is what a Psyker should be, especially at the staggering cost of 230 points!
OK, so maybe that’s buying into the hype a little too much. I am pretty excited to field Ahriman in my army, but let’s be honest, Ahriman is going to present a big target for your opponent to focus on, especially if he rolls well for his powers. On paper, he appears to be one of the best, if not best, pure Psyker in the game. He might not be the beast that Mephiston is, but that’s comparing apples to oranges.
Let’s take a look at what Saruma…I mean Ahriman brings to the table (hopefully, now you picture creepy Christopher Lee behind the mask…I know that I do!).
Firstly, Ahriman, like Huron Blackheart, has the Master of Deception Warlord Trait. This allows you to give D3 Infantry units the Infiltrate Universal Special Rule (USR). Let’s look at a couple of options that I didn’t go over in the Huron article.
· Get to go first and have a unit of Chosen with some plasma guns? Put then 18″ from your opponent, move them up 6″ and put 8 Strength (S) 7, AP 2 shots into that Marine Equivalent (MEQ) or Terminator Equivalent (TEQ) unit.
· Put a unit of 35 cultists with auto guns and a Mark of Khorne (MoK) 18″ away. Give them a Chaos Lord to make them Fearless. They may not hit hard in Close Combat (CC) and everyone might not be able to shoot, but putting the potential of a good number of shots and 100+ attacks on the charge that close will make them an immediate threat.
Those two possibilities are not necessarily the best use of the Warlord Trait, but I was doing some quick thinking. I’m repeating myself at this point, but Master of Deception is my favorite of the CSM Warlord Traits. Keep in mind that if you run two HQs, only one will get their Warlord Trait.
Stats wise, Ahriman has fives in a few of the right places, specifically in Weapon Skill (WS), Ballistic Skill (BS), and Initiative (I). He has a 3+ armor save and a 4+ Invulnerable (aka 3+/4++) save due to his Aura of Dark Glory (5+) and his Mark of Tzeentch (MoT) giving him an additional +1.
Speaking of close combat, Ahriman has the pesky Champion of Chaos special rule. This means that he has to issue or accept challenges, where he can be susceptible. Granted, he has a 3+/4++ save, so there’s a bit of survivability, but I’m not fond of having to depend on a 50% chance to live, which a Powerfist (PF) wielding Challenge participant will do to him. It also means that he has the possibility of turning into a Chaos Spawn if he wins, which I happen to think is bullsh, since Ahriman is the Tzeentch HQ.
Ahriman unlocks Thousand Sons as a Troops choice. There’s debate as to whether or not they are a viable unit in this edition as they are quite pricey. They share Ahriman’s 3+/4++ save, but have some limitations that I’ll get to when I discuss the Cult Units in an upcoming article. Even if you don’t run Thousand Sons, with his Fearless USR, you can put him with an undivided or MoT bearing unit to pass the Fearless onto them.
Equipment wise, we’re looking at some standard Thousand Sons fare…power armor, grenades, an AP3 bolt pistol due to some Inferno bolts, and the aforementioned Aura of Dark Glory. The thing that sets him apart is his Chaos Artifact, The Black Staff of Ahriman. It has the same stats as a typical Force Staff but allows three Witchfire spells to be cast in the same turn, though all three must target the same unit.
Unfortunately, you still have to roll on the Discipline tables to generate your powers, so you might not end up with three Witchfire spells to cast. However, due to being Mastery Level 4, Ahriman has four Warp Charges and can use four Psychic Powers in a given turn. If you look at the some of the powers in Biomancy, Pyromancy, and Telepathy, there are some pretty fearsome powers there, including the Primaris powers. With the MoT, you have take one power from the Tzeentch Discipline, but these powers are also pretty good.
Ahriman is an excellent HQ choice, even if he is pretty pricey. For what you get, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t worth the points, especially if you can roll for the Biomancy power that gives you Eternal Warrior. His ability to give the Infiltrate USR to D3 groups can be invaluable to planning your strategy, especially since it’s a guarantee to get it as long as you don’t run Abaddon in your army as well. A unit of Thousand Sons led by Ahriman can be dangerous to a MEQ unit, as their AP3 bolters and bolt pistol can make short work of them if they don’t approach in cover.
That brings us to…
The Champion of Nurgle, the Plague Master, and the center of a small controversy regarding his ability to make Plague Zombies. Weighing in at a hefty 240 points, Typhus is a nasty (literally, at least in the fluff), Terminator armor wearing beast. From my experience, he is worth the cost, especially if you want to run Plague Zombies.
Typhus has the assigned Warlord Trait “Lord of Terror”, which grants the Warlord the Fear USR. On paper, this looks to be pretty nice, but, in practice, when you consider that six of the fourteen armies have either And They Shall Know No Fear (ATSKNF) or Fearless as default rules across their codex, and given how many people play Chaos Daemons or one of the Space Marine chapters, it’s not useful at all. As the Chaos named HQs have static Warlord Traits, it’s best to plan as if you don’t have one at all. If you play an army that’s susceptible to the Fear USR, consider it a fortunate bonus. You’ve used up your 40k Karma for the week.
Before I get into Typhus’ stats, special rules, and equipment, I want to address the fact that Typhus unlocks Plague Marines as troops. Plague Marines are my favorite Cult Troop, given that they have both the Fearless and Feel No Pain (FNP) USRs. If you take Typhus, you should absolutely be taking a unit or two of the Bloated Belly Brigade.
Typhus is another model that doesn’t have a lot of special rules but the rules have changed significantly enough that I want to address them similar to what I did for Kharn.
In the previous codex
· Typhus was assigned specific Psychic Powers. He automatically passed the psychic test to use them and he was immune to Perils of the Warp.
· Even if he had used his powers, Typhus was able to activate the Force Weapon feature of Manreaper, his Chaos Artifact.
· The Destroyer Hive was how they described him having assault and Blight grenades, which counted as defensive grenades.
· His WS was 5
In the new codex
· Typhus is Mastery Level 2 and generates his powers from the Nurgle Discipline. As there are only three powers to get, you’re likely going to end up with the one you want. Mastery level 2 grants Typhus two warp charges, one of which you want to keep for activating the Force USR of Manreaper. This will allow you to kill multi-wound model in the excellent chance that you cause an unsaved wound. Losing the immunity to Perils of the Warp is a pretty big loss, especially with a 15 point increase. I suppose that cost could be offset by the significant change to the Destroyer Hive.
· Manreaper is a S+2, AP 2 weapon. It is both a daemon weapon and a force axe, which carries the unwieldy special rule. Typhus acts on Initiative 1. He hits at S6, which means he can double out Toughness (T) 3 models and will wound most MEQ and TEQ on a 2+ to-wound roll.
· The Destroyer Hive went through a massive change. Now, he gets assault and Blight grenades as part of his wargear. The Destroyer Hive is now a once-per-game power that you can use in any assault phase in place of your attacks. You place a large blast over Typhus, which doesn’t scatter. Friendly and opposing units take a number of S4, AP2 hits equal to however many models of their unit are covered. Typhus doesn’t count for computing this number. It’s not strong, but it has a 50% chance of wounding TEQ. It can hit a lot of models since you have to pile into base to base contact. The question would be, since he’s not using his force axe, does he go at I5 instead of I1. That might something to explore in the DakkaDakka You Make Da Call (YMDC) forum.
· His WS is now 6. This doesn’t make a lot of difference against most opponents, but it does make a WS3 model hit on a 5+ instead of a 4+. I wish that WS wasn’t so gimped in 6th edition. Even with Challenges, close combat seems to be
discouraged by the rules and limitations, especially with the introduction of Overwatch.
· He can make Plague Zombies, which was only alluded to in the previous codex
Typhus is T5, which means he’s not going to get doubled out by most weapons and a good number of models. Coupled with FNP and his 2+/5++ save for having Terminator armor gives him a good amount of surivability, especially since he only has shooting attacks in the form of Blight grenades (assault grenades) and of his Nurgle powers, and only one of those has any decent range on it. If he DOES take a wound that your 2+ armor save or FNP doesn’t absorb, you have four wounds to work with.
This brings me to a quick point about Plague Zombies. Due to the recent FAQ that was released on 10/19/12, Typhus CAN make a unit of 35 Chaos Cultists into zombies. I’m going to need to go back and redo the Section in the Troops article that discusses Zombies. Six Troops slots of 35 zombies for 150 points each. That’s 210 zombies for 900 points. Running that many zombies is insane. I don’t look forward to it, but I do want to try it some time.
I had the opportunity to recently use Typhus in a 1500 point game. He quickly challenged Dante and killed him after one round of combat thanks for the Force USR of the Manreaper. Dante is a strong opponent, but he was no match for Typhus in that fight. I should have used The Destroyer Hive in the next round, but I forgot about it. I forgot about a few things in that fight. Needless to say, I was definitely impressed with Typhus.
For a Nurgle list, you have a couple of options for an HQ. Typhus is, in spite of his much higher point cost, worth the points. You get a model that’s quite survivable and can do some damage in Assault. Stick him with a unit, get him into combat, and watch him wreck. Terminator armor units can Deepstrike, so you can put him with Nurgled up Terminators and put him behind enemy lines. While 240 should cause some hesitation, they are points well spent that will give your opponents even more hesitation. Take a cheap HQ like a Sorcerer or Lord, make them your Warlord so that you can roll for your Warlord Trait, and hope you get Master of Deception. Nominating Typhus as an Infiltrator could have some very interesting decisions for your opponent to make.
That brings us to a close for this installment of “A Nub’s Thoughts On…”
Have more thoughts to add, disagree with what I have to say, or want to heap undeserved praise upon me? Let me know on our forums, in the comments below, or on Twitter. If you heap praise on me, I’ll probably have you committed.
“Caught a bolt of lightning, cursed the day he let it go”