Chaos Renegades: HQ and Rules Analysis
With my path set towards damnation, I will be spending some time looking into all the contrivances that a Chaos General has at their disposal. The most recent tool kit added to the Chaos arsenal comes in the form of two books, Imperial Armour 13 and the Siege of Vraks, which bring to bear an entire new army with which to spread the glory of the Chaos Gods.
Clearly the topic of this article, Chaos Renegades brings an army much like Astra Militarum to the ranks of Chaos. You gain access to vast quantities of expendable fodder, lumbering tanks, and thundering artillery. As a long-time Chaos general, all of that sounds amazing. For me though, it's especially about the artillery, since the loss of the Basilisk and barrage on the Defiler, Chaos has been short of options to deal with opponents that are well dug in.
There are two renegade lists, the Vraks Renegades and the IA13 Renegades and Heretics, both of which are nearly identical, except that Vraks Renegades cannot take the Covenant of Tzeentch or Slaanesh, have no access to flyers, and have different Demagogue Devotions, which I'll go over in the Command Squad entry.
So to get the ball rolling, lets start at the top with their special rules, wargear and HQ choices.
Probably the most important rule to understand in the army is Uncertain Worth. An army of Chaos Renegades is made up of criminals, murderers, militia, and shop keepers, each soldiers motivation is different and you don't really know if the soldier in question was press-ganged into combat, or a fanatical devotee of your Demagogue. To represent this, the first time a unit is called upon to use their LD value, you roll 1D6+4 to determine the units LD. This could result in an army filled with LD 8-10 fanatics, or a pitiful bunch of cobblers with LD 5-6. Because of this unreliability, it is important to be able to mitigate leadership whenever possible in the army. Some units have the Fanatic rule, which allows them to roll 2D6, discarding the lowest, when determining their LD value.
To give the army the flair of specific gods, Chaos Covenants are granted to specific character models to grant their units the blessings of their patron god. Unlike a Mark, the Covenant is only on the character, so when he dies, the unit he's with will lose any benefit of the covenant, but like Marks, they're different for each god.
- Covenant of Khorne - lets the unit re-roll to wound in the first turn of any combat.
- Covenant of Nurgle - gives the unit FNP (6+).
- Covenant of Slaanesh - gives the unit Fleet.
- Covenant of Tzeentch - the unit makes Snap Shots at BS2.
Much like Astra Militarum, Renegades carry vox-casters to keep in communication with their commanders, though it's rule works entirely differently. A unit with a vox-caster can re-roll the dice used to determine their LD value, always abiding by the second result. This is generally a cheap upgrade and almost always worth taking. The more powerful command net vox, which is only used by the Renegade Command Squad, allows any unit within 12" to use the LD value of the unit with the command net vox, though is only really helpful if their LD is higher than the unit they're assisting. Still, a good option mostly because its' the same price as a regular vox for the command squad, and gives the same bonus as well.
To call the Renegades well armed, skilled or equipped, would be a huge overstatement, most of them have no armour at all, going to battle in their skivvies, but for the particularly well suited ones, you can buy a set of sub-flak armour for a lovely 6+ save! If it's good enough for Orks, it's good enough for some underhive scum. Fortunately, it's cheap.
The Chaos Sigil is one of the more important pieces of wargear, allowing your unit equipped with it to ignore their first failed Morale or Pinning test in each game turn. A must-have for any bigger units of renegades.
Renegade Command Squad
Leading your throng of rabble, you'll have a brutal or charismatic cult leader, sending them all to their eventual demise. The renegade command squad has a very modest starting points value, but adding additional members is actually quite expensive. They're armed nearly identical to an Astra Militarum command squad, have access to a couple banners (hint, like AM, neither are worth taking), and come standard with the Fanatics rule. It's important to note that the Arch-demagogue is an Independent Character and thus able to leave behind his over-priced cronies for a more defensible position. Your Arch-demagogue is a very important character in your army, the Covenant that he takes will determine which god-specific units are unlocked for your army, and his Demagogue Devotion can have very large effects on your list as a whole.
I've already gone over the IA13 Demagogue Devotions and Covenants, so I'll only be adding the new Vraks Demagogue Devotions.
- Ordnance Tyrant - Starting with my favorite, the Ordnance Tyrant lets you have a lot of fun blasting apart your own units, any barrage weapon within 12" of him may target a unit in combat! So tie up your opponents in melee with expendable hordes, then fire willy-nilly into the melee and watch the fun! Just to make sure you have plenty of artillery to do it with, the Ordnance Tyrant lets you take Artillery Batteries, Strike Batteries, Bombard Batteries and Heavy Ordnance Batteries as Elites, and Field Artillery as Troops, as well as their normal roles as Heavy Support! BOOM! HUR HUR HUR!
- Shock Legion Taskmaster - If you really like Ogryns, this guy's for you. Taking him means you must take Ogryn Brute squads to fill your compulsory troops choices, and may take more squads as normal Troops, though they never count as scoring or Objective Secured. In return, your Taskmaster gets a special Neural Goad, which can be used to cause D3 wounds to any Ogryn units within 12", and if done so, they all gain Fleet and Furious Charge until the beginning of your next turn. While not my favorite option, it definitely sounds like it could be fun.
Rogue Psyker Coven
You're able to buy up to 5 level 1 psykers as an HQ choice, which on the surface sounds great, they have a special set of powers, all of which are fairly decent. As they are harnessing the raw power of the warp, and aren't nearly as resistant to the energies as a well trained psyker, if they're ever forced to suffer a wound from a Perils test, they are instead possessed, get an enhanced stat-line, but are no longer a psyker.
Their psychic powers are:
- Creeping Terror - forces an enemy unit within 12" to only snap-fire and have Initiative 1, though units that are fearless are unaffected and units with ATSKNF or Stubborn are allowed to take a LD test to ignore the results.
- Warp Flux - A short range (12") witchfire with a S7 haywire blast, not too shabby.
- Unnatural Vigour - Probably the most useful, it targets any friendly unit within 12" and they gain both Fleet and Crusader, which combined with Covenant of Khorne and some combat drug injectors can turn an unruly mob into a deadly horde in melee.
The big downside is that they're too creepy, even for other Chaos followers, and cannot join any squads. I think that they're super cool and funny in the game, but they're just sitting ducks with only T3 W2 and a 5++ save to keep them alive.
Renegade Enforcer Cadre
What army of fevered masses would be complete without some guys standing in the back, shooting anyone who falls back and whipping them all into a frenzy?! Renegade Enforcers are much like Commissars, they increase the LD value of the unit they're with by 1 as long as they're alive, and should the unit fail a Morale check or LD test, they'll execute one squad member and force the unit to re-roll the test. As if that wasn't good enough, they have access to a special piece of wargear, combat drug injectors. This lovely item allows you to give the entire unit Rage when you declare a charge, but at the end of the assault phase, they must pass a Toughness test, or D3 random models will be removed.
Overall, the HQ choices aren't super exciting, the Command Squad is mandatory, but not worth adding more models to, the Rogue Psykers are fun, but definitely risky, but the Enforcers are amazing for keeping large units of infantry on the board and beefing them up in combat. Stay tuned next week when I go over the Elites and Troops of the Chaos Renegades!