First Impressions: IA13 Heretics and Renegades
Clearly I'm a man of many distractions... Just as I thought I was going to consider playing with my 30 pounds of pewter (a.k.a. Valhallans), Forge World springs this on me. So now my Medusas, Leman Russes and Thudd Guns are going brown instead of olive and joining the forces of my budding Renegades. A while back I converted up a bunch of mutants to use as Orks, and now they're going to be proper Mutant Rabble (fortunately I have enough bits to finish about 100 of them). Meanwhile, I've ordered enough Plague Zombies from Mantic to go a long way (despite me typically having disdain for their products, if I like something, I'll promote it). But why have I gone so crazy for the renegades? Let me tell you.
At first glance, the Renegades and Heretics army list is a diverse smorgasbord of the sad and pathetic creatures that grow like a cancer in the Imperium. Hordes of mutants, zombies and traitors, all banned together under the gaze of the chaos gods, trying to prove their worth... which isn't much. An endless sea of corpses to bog down the enemy, while relentlessly pounding them with stolen tanks and artillery. This is what I've always wanted to back up my more disciplined Black Legionnaires.
Here's a brief rundown of what I noticed in the book so far...
A lot in the book rides on your warlord being your Arch-Demagogue, specifically when he's your warlord, the god he has patronage to opens up more unit options, additionally he can take some upgrades to tell what kind of Arch-Demagogue he is (Mutant Overlord, Heretek Magus, Arch-Heretic Revolutionary, etc.).
They also get access to fairly cheap psykers and commissar-like characters. Nothing jumped out as incredibly powerful, the Headquarters choices seem to do what they should, lead your army.
Surprisingly diverse, far more diverse than Imperial Guard. Aside from the standard traitor squads (much like IG, but can be 10-20 strong with many more special/heavy weapons), they get access to Mutant Rabble, Veterans (WS4/BS3), and with certain options picked by your Arch Demagogue, Chaos Spawn and Plague Zombies.
This army is really all about huge amounts of infantry, for a little over 160 pints, you can get a massive mob of 50 mutants replete with FNP 6+. Similarly, their infantry squads are dirt cheap, cheaper than cultists even, and all of their upgrades seem to affect the whole unit, so the bigger the unit, the more cost effective the upgrades are. None of the infantry are terribly powerful, but they make up for that in sheer quantity.
The only basic choices are Disciples (basically IG veterans) and Ogryns, but again depending on your Arch-Demagogue warlord, you can open up a ton: Marauder Warbands (kinda like Orks with IG weapons), Blood Slaughterers, Blight Drones, extra Psykers, Noise Marines, and Decimators.
The Ogryns are brutal, able to buy 4+ armour and Feel no Pain, or you can go with Tzeentch to get a potential 11 attacks each on the charge! Base they have D6 attacks, but also have Rage for another D3. They're Fearless, cause Fear and have Hammer of Wrath (because they needed more attacks). Very expensive at 60 points a model though and no delivery. They'll be fun to use, but probably not the most competitive choice.
Nothing really exciting here... Hellhounds (and the variants), Sentinels, Salamanders, Arvus Lighters and Valkyries. The only thing I found particularly interesting was that the Sentinels are only 20 points each, come in squads of 3-6, but lack scout, and if you buy them the AV12 front armour upgrade, they remain open-topped. They might be good as a big unit with heavy flamers (so they don't need to buy BS3), but I'm still very skeptical.
Now we're talking, holy crap! Right off the bat they get fairly standard Leman Russ Squads, as well as artillery batteries of Basilisks and Medusas, Bombards, Hydras, but the real kicker is that they get Wyverns at a 10 point discount and in squads of 1-5! Sure they're BS2 (you can buy BS3 to bring them back to normal points), but they're already twin-linked with a crap ton of blasts. Sign me up!
On top of the tanks, they also get dirt cheap field artillery, so massive units of Earthshaker cannons with over 20 crew, dirt cheap Rapier Weapon batteries (less than 80 points for 3 rapiers with 6 crew), or discounted Thudd Guns. Everything is cheaper to compensate for being BS2, though most can buy BS3 for a mere 10 points for the unit (tanks are per vehicle though).
Really, the army is one of Troops and Artillery. I think it might actually be very light on real anti-tank outside of mass autocannons, though that can be made up for with Chaos Marine allies (especially thanks to Dreadclaws). I think the army is going to be a little random for most players, but it does a great job of representing the disorganized, undisciplined masses at the forefront of a major Chaos invasion. Sorry Valhallans, back to the basement with you, and I'm stealing your tanks while I'm at it!
Photo credits go to ilikebmxbikes.