Saturday, 16 April 2016

Angels of Death Codex Review- Part 1: New Psychic Powers

Welcome to my review of the new Angels of Death Codex supplement for the Space Marines (quick as a flash, I only picked it up this morning). The supplement combines the special rules for various chapters of Space Marines, some previously published, and adds new rules for psychic powers and scenarios.
 
I picked the Codex supplement up today and had a look through the new rules. I tried to avoid most of the leaks and spoilers that had appeared online before it was released, so this review will be from my initial thoughts that I had while checking out the rules. As such, these are only my own opinions on various aspects of the new rules and have not been through any playtesting yet (though I'm sure they will do in the near future).
 
First up, I wanted to focus on the new psychic powers that are now available to Space Marine Librarians and review each of the four new decks. Subsequent reviews will focus on the different new models, chapter-specific special rules and scenarios that the marines will now have access to.
 
Initially, I was not going to pick up the book, just the psychic cards for the new powers. But when it came time to pre-order them, I simply clicked on the book and cards bundle and got both. I figured I could review the new rules in the book for the blog and if I liked it, I would keep a hold of them (I already have the White Scars formations and new rules from the last supplement, so wasn't too bothered about the new ones). The softback book is nice. I do like the new hardback codices that you can buy now, but the reduced weight should come in handy when transporting all the rules I need in one bag. It would have been nice to get a small discount for purchasing the book and cards together, but it is not a deal breaker.
 
The box that the cards come in is not the thick card I am used to with other card sets such as the previous psychic power decks, the tactical objective decks and army specific decks. That's a shame as I quite like the sturdy quality of these boxes. The cards themselves also feel a little bit thinner than normal. Odds are I will probably put these new decks with my old Divination and Telepathy decks for transport (I rarely use the other 4 decks anyway).
 
Anyway, on to the new decks and rules. Each section will give a quick run down of the new psychic powers and my initial thoughts on them.
 
LIBRARIUS DISCIPLINE
This deck seems to focus on the manipulation of saves, boosts to the Librarian and a couple of shooting attacks.
 
The Emperor's Wrath (WC1)
With the range of a grav gun, S5 AP3 and an assault blast, this is a witchfire power that is ironically really good at killing marines. A decent primaris power, the blast helps as there is little worse than successfully manifesting your power and then missing with the shot.

Veil of Time (WC2)
This is the one that most people will want to get, I think. This allows the psyker and his unit to re-roll all failed saving throws. On most units this will come in very handy, but my White Scars bikers or bike command squad will love this for re-rollable jink saving throws (take that, Ravenwing!) or invulnerable saves. Does Feel no Pain rolls count as saving throws? Not sure, but if they do, this will become very powerful for most units. At warp charge 2, you may struggle to cast it at times, but it will most likely be useful when you do.
 
Fury of the Ancients (WC1)
A beam weapon that is S6, AP4, assault 1 with pinning. The range is slightly less than a boltgun. Not wild about this one. It may be useful for striking several units, but AP4 means most marines won't be too bothered about it. Pinning is nice, but you can't always count on it.
 
Psychic Fortress (WC1)
All friendly units within 12" get Fearless and Adamantium will. The psykers unit also get a 4+ invulnerable against witchfire attacks. A fearless bubble can often prove useful in almost any situation and gaining Adamantium Will should help protect against psychic attacks. The invulnerable will be nice against any psychic shrieks or other powers going around. If your opponent has no psykers, much of this will be unused, but the Fearless is nice.
 
Might of Heroes (WC1)
Psyker gets +2 strength, toughness, initiative and attacks. I actually quite like this one. My bike-mounted Librarian will be rocking S6, T7, I6 and 6 attacks on the charge. Quite a decent combat output and durability for a character with no invulnerable save. This will be very useful in low points games where you want a cheap librarian as your warlord and want to keep him alive. If only you could use this as a blessing on other characters.....
 
Psychic Scourge (WC1)
A malediction power for targeting enemy psykers. Both psykers roll a D6 and add their master levels (the caster gets to roll 2D6 and pick the highest). If you equal or beat your opponent's score, they take a wound and can only manifest warp charge on a 6. If you beat it by a higher amount, they will lose one random power.
I actually like this one. You have a good chance of seriously shutting down the psychic abilities of enemy psykers or even kill them, as well as forcing them to lose powers (imagine your opponent's face when you force them to lose Invisibility). My only problem is that if your opponent has no psykers, this power is useless. Some kind of re-roll if you get this power and your opponent has no psykers would be nice, or the ability to put wounds on enemy characters other than psykers.
 
Null Zone (WC2)
A malediction with the same range as a bolter, this reduces the unit's invulnerable save to a minimum of 6+. This again is a great situational power. Imagine your opponent's face when their storm shield tooled-up bike command squad or terminator squad now only has a 5+ invulnerable, or your opponent's warlord finds himself in a tough challenge and suddenly has only a 6+ invulnerable save. Cast this on those seemingly invincible Necron Wraiths and watch them become a lot less durable.
 
Overall
Overall, I like the Librarius deck. To me, Veil of Time and Null Zone appear to be the stand out powers in the deck, likely to have a huge effect on any game in which you get them. They are warp charge 2 though, so you may struggle to cast them every time (at least, I probably will). The primaris is also pretty decent if not spectacular. It doesn't have the damage potential of psychic shriek, but there is less chance of it missing or failing to do any damage if it does hit, as can sometimes happen with Shriek. Of the deck, Fury of the Ancients doesn't seem that great and Psychic Scourge could be utterly useless in some games.
 
TECHNOMANCY DECK
This deck is heavily focussed on boosting or damaging enemy vehicles.
 
Subvert Machine (WC1)
Targets one enemy vehicle within grav gun range. Both players roll a dice, if you equal or beat your opponent's score you may fire one selected weapon from the vehicle at one of your opponent's units.
 
This could potentially be a great power, depending on your opponent's army. Imagine turning their Vindicator's main gun at their own marines or turning a Hydra's autocannons on their own flyer. The roll off means it may not go off every time (I imagine if it was automatic, this would be WC2 or even WC3). This could be useful in many games, but less so if your only option is to fire a storm bolter from a Rhino.
 
Blessing of the Machine (WC1)
Allows a friendly vehicle to ignore Crew Stunned/Crew Shaken results and it gains Power of the Machine Spirit (bonuses if it already has this rule). This could be great for getting your firepower tanks back to full effect if they had been damaged or for getting your assault vehicles moving if they did not have extra armour. Not sure how much use this would be for me as I rarely run vehicle-heavy armies.
 
Machine Curse (WC1)
Witchfire power that does D3 S1 haywire hits on an enemy vehicle with grav gun range. Odds are you will be doing glancing hits on an enemy vehicle (unless you get lucky or unlucky on your haywire roll) and removing 1-3 hull points. On a good roll you will destroy an enemy vehicle, but should still cause some damage if you hit. I can see this being very useful against high armour vehicles such as Monoliths or Land Raiders where the high armour value is essentially negated.
 
Reforge (WC1)
Can be used on friendly vehicles to recover a hull point or repair a weapon destroyed or immobilised result. The vehicle also gains It Will Not Die.
This can be a really useful power. There is little worse than your expensive tank losing its main gun early in the game and being useless for the rest of the game or your transport being immobilised with a lucky penetrating hit or unlucky difficult terrain roll. The sadist part of me likes the thought of my opponent finally putting a hull point on my Dark Shroud with its 2+ re-rollable cover save, only for me to put it back on with this.
 
Warpmetal Armour (WC2)
Adds 1 to all the armour values on a vehicle or +1 toughness to a unit while the power is in effect. I think this is one of the best powers on the table. Making your Landraider armour 15, or your Dreadnought armour 13 just before it goes into combat will be very useful. That, or making your unit of bikers T6 make them very difficult to kill for many enemy units.
 
Fury of Mars (WC1)
A beam weapon (grav gun range) that has haywire. A decent witchfire power that has the potential to harm several vehicles if they are clustered together. Again, it will depend on how many vehicles your opponent has, as it will likely not do much against non-vehicles.
 
Machine Flense (WC2)
A focused witchfire power that does an automatic D3 hull points damage on an enemy vehicle (grav gun range). In addition, the power also inflicts S4 rending hits on a nearby enemy unit. This power has the potential to destroy most tanks with one shot, as well as potentially inflicting damage on nearby units). This would be very useful against Guard armies where Infantry are clustered around their vehicles.
 
Overall
This deck seems to be well suited for games where either you or your opponent will be fielding a lot of vehicles (or both). I don't think there are any bad powers in the deck, but a lot of them use Haywire, so will really need to be used to target enemy vehicles. To me, Warpmetal Armour stands out as the best power, but I also like Reforge and Subvert Machine. As I don't take vehicle-heavy armies often, I would probably not use this deck much. However, if I come to face an Astra Militarum armoured list, I may change my mind quite quickly.
 
FULMINATION DISCIPLINE
This deck features a mix of witchfire powers, boosts to the psyker and a couple of nice movement powers.
 
Electrosurge (WC1)
A witchfire power with the range of a grav gun, S5, AP4 and assault 6. A nice primaris power with a lot of shots at a decent strength. AP4 seems about right, as AP3 would probably have been too powerful with the number of shots (as much as I would like it).
 
Electroshield (WC1)
Grants the psyker a 3+ invulnerable save. A nice bonus for a Librarian that doesn't normally have access to an invulnerable save (except with Terminator armour).
 
Electropulse (WC1)
A short-ranged beam weapon with Haywire. Useful for taking on enemy vehicles before you charge in for the assault.
 
Lightning Arc (WP2)
A witchfire power with a random number of hits, S5, AP4 with Lethal Discharge rule. This rule gives the potential for other units within 6" of the target to suffer additional damage.
A decent power, but it seems a bit low powered for warp charge 2. Maybe if it was AP3 I would see the need, but unless your opponent has a lot of units packed together on the board, it may not cause much damage (though my Guard would be quite fearful of it).
 
Fists of Lightning (WC1)
Gives the psyker +1S and +1A and gives additional hits in combat. A nice bonus to your Librarian, but not too overpowered.
 
Magnetokinesis (WC2)
Now we get to the interesting one. This targets a friendly unit within grav gun range. The unit can immediately move up to 18", ignoring terrain as it moves. The unit can't assault and counts as moving.
I really like this power. In a game where movement is key, this is a great power for getting your units in key positions. There have been several games when I have found slow moving units such as Centurions or Terminators out of position and essentially out of the game. A bike-mounted Librarian could use this power to get such units back in the game and then use his manoeuvrability to quickly reposition to get back in the game.
 
Electrodisplacement (WC2)
A single, non-vehicle unit within 24" switches position with the Psyker (and his unit). If either unit was locked in combat, the switched unit is locked in combat. The units can also assault.
Again, another powerful movement power in a game where movement is key. The fact that you can charge after moving up to 24" is very powerful, allowing you to rapidly re-deploy units for combat or save your Librarian from harm.
 
Overall
A very good deck of powers overall, I think. The primaris is powerful, with a decent strength and high volume of shots. The two movement powers could potentially be very powerful for getting your combat or short-ranged shooting units into range or grabbing objectives late in the game. The rest of the powers are decent and I can see uses for most of them in a game.
 
GEOKINESIS DISCIPLINE
A deck that seem to focus on terrain effects, with some potentially powerful abilities.
 
Chasm (WC2)
Forces an enemy unit to take a difficult terrain test with no armour saves allowed (invulnerable saves are allowed).
I'm torn on this one. It has the potential to do a lot of damage on larger units, but not on smaller units with only a 1 in 6 change of doing damage. Warp charge 2 seems high for a 1 in 6 chance of wounding a model (or immobilising a vehicle).
 
Earth Blood (WC1)
Allows the Psyker to heal D3 wounds on a friendly character and gains It Will Not Die. This could be a very powerful ability. I imagine this would be incredibly useful for boosting a wound-tanking Chapter Master. These characters are hard enough to kill already, being able to regain wounds would make some of these units practically unkillable.
 
Scorched Earth (WC1)
Targets a point on the battlefield. All units within 6" suffer a single S5 AP4 ignores cover hit. All terrain within 6" (including open terrain) is treated as dangerous terrain.
I don't think this power is likely to do a lot of damage to enemy units, but you may get lucky with immobilising an enemy vehicle if they move through it.
 
Landquake (WC1)
This targets all enemy units within 18". All enemy units count as moving through difficult terrain. In addition, no units in range can run, turbo-boost or move flat out.
Wow! I think this is potentially a game winning power. Sick of Eldar jetbikes (or other space marine bikers) constantly avoiding your combat units or shooting units? This power will seriously restrict their movement and make them more vulnerable to attack. This will also be really useful for maelstrom mission where it could potentially stop your opponent from scoring points. All that for only warp charge 1!
 
Phase Form (WC1)
Targets a single friendly unit within 24". The unit gains Move Through Cover and Ignores Cover. In addition, the unit does not even need line of sight to fire on an enemy unit, as long as they are in weapons range!
Again, wow! This means that your opponent literally cannot hide from your guns. As long as they are in range, they can be shot. This is an incredibly useful power, again for only one warp charge.
 
Warp Quake (WC1)
Targets a single ruin or building in boltgun range. A building will suffer a glancing or penetrating hit. Units in ruins will potentially suffer damage.
A useful power, but the damage potential can be limited (especially if there are not buildings or ruins on the table).
 
Shifting Worldscape (WC3)
An incredible power that I think fully justifies its high casting value. This allows you to pick up a single piece of terrain within 24" and move it up to 24" away from its starting point. Any unit fully on the terrain are moved with it. Any unit partially on the terrain are left in place. Any models moved take a dangerous terrain test.
 
The possibilities for this power are immense. Piece of terrain blocking your line of sight to an enemy unit? Simply move it. Enemy unit camped in some ruins holding an objective or raining fire down on you? Move them off the objective (which stays in place, I believe) or out of range of fire. One of your own units out of position? Hop them onto some nearby terrain and move them 2 feet around the board. Need some quick line of sight blocking terrain? Move it in front of your unit to block an enemy assault or movement. I think this is an incredible power that fully justifies its WC3 level. This may limit it from being cast that often, but it will likely have a big effect when it is.
 
Overall
I think the Geokinesis deck is extremely powerful. Used correctly, it could severely hinder your opponent's movement phase, make your characters more difficult to kill or literally fling the battlefield around the table (which would be hell for my battle reports, but well worth it!).
 
OVERALL, OVERALL
I really like the four new psychic decks, they provide some great new powers and a bit of variety for Space Marine players. I'm not sure which my favourite one is yet, probably the Librarius or Geokinesis decks at the moment. Playtesting may change this in time, but I can see the appeal of all four decks in the game.
I'm not sure if they are powerful enough to replace Psychic Shriek and Prescience as guaranteed powers (none of the primaris powers in the 4 decks seem overly powerful), but there are several powers I would be more than happy to have in a game.
 
I hope you enjoyed my review of the new psychic powers, I will be covering the rest of the rules in Angels of Death in the near future. Have you picked up the new psychic powers deck? Which deck has you most excited to use?

ANGELS OF DEATH REVIEW:
Part 1- New Psychic Powers
Part 2- Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists and Black Templars


5 comments:

  1. GW does tend to overprice Witchfires for some reason. There are a bunch of WC2 powers in the SW Deck that really don't deserve it.

    Around here, Technomancy really appeals, because Battle Companies are pretty popular. And the nice thing, of course, is that you're not locked into a choice when you write the list. You can just roll on that one when you hit the appropriate matchup.

    Geokinesis is the pretty clear winner, tho, with Shifting Worldscape being potentially game-breaking. Yes, WC3, but when it's being cast by someone in a Librarius Conclave, that's really not that much of a restriction. Conclave provides plenty of chances to get it, too, as well as already being part of a lot of nasty lists that can make really good use of it.

    Really, I think these have to be evaluated in the context of the Conclave as well as for individual Librarians. For individuals, they're all pretty cool, but not truly vicious, but the Conclave makes a mockery of high WC costs as a balancing factor, and really cuts into random selection as a balancing factor as well.

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    1. I agree. Any Librarius Conclave is going to have a lot of fun with these new high warp charge powers that will be much easier to cast. I wonder if many players will still go after Invisibility or try the new psychic powers.

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    2. Telepathy is still the other big contender there, yeah. Geokinesis has a lot to offer those kinds of DeathStar builds, tho. Earthblood to heal up the Tanks in the DeathStar, Chasm to thin out Hordes, Landquake to keep fast guys from getting away, Phase Form to make your Support Units more durable and flexible, and, of course, Worldscape for all kinds of shenanigans.

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  2. nice review. i am still waiting for mine to turn up.

    some of them remind me of 4/5th edition fantasy magic spells. Earth Blood and shifting world scape sound familiar.

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  3. I'll be honest, Fulmination is the one that I like the look of most, having two movement powers really appeals to my sense of using the right tool in the right place at the right time. I also remember the moving terrain power from the old fantasy magic decks, so it feels a bit off in a 40k setting for me personally.

    The conclave really does mean you can pretty much cast what you want when you want and if you want to base your strategy around a particular power, there's no reason why you shouldn't get it. I think when I do run a conclave (I have plans, including partially converted models) then I'll be playing it fluffily, so each libby will have a different discipline to choose from.

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