Welcome back to the Vault! Octoberfest beckons and I'm going to have to nail my list down. I think I've got the guts of the units selected and painted and I'm now fretting over the last few points and deciding if I want to invest any of my precious CP in Relics for my forces.
I thought it would be useful to do a review of the available Relics in a similar manner to the previous Warlord Traits post to help me narrow down my selections.
There are three sets of Relics, and some can also be taken by unit Champions, so there's quite a lot to cover.
First are the Daemon Weapons; these modify one (or two!) weapons on a Character and may be aligned to a particular Chaos God. In general you want to use these on a model with a good combat profile to maximise their benefit.
Ul'o'cca the Black (Chaos Undivided): each successful wound deals an additional Mortal Wound in addition to normal damage. Cheap and cheerful (no need to buy a Chaos Mark), and combos nicely with Flames of Spite to fish for loads of Mortals. Play test me.
Zaall, the Wrathful (Khorne): add D3 to the damage characteristic of each attack made with this weapon. Good if you want to go into hard targets, and Mark of Khorne helps the wound rolls. I've used this on the Disco Lord and it's a strong choice if the Lord is Khorne marked. I'm not sure I'd specifically make a character Khorne marked just to unlock this weapon. OK choice.
G'holl'ax, the Decayed (Nurgle): any hit with this weapon automatically wounds, and no rules can be used to ignore the wounds they lose. This is a strong choice for a number of reasons; firstly it ignores a whole step in the attack process (to wound rolls) which adds more reliability to the character, and secondly it gets around phase locked models (like Phoenix Lords, Abaddon, Ghazkull and so on). (By phase locked I mean models which can normally only lose a maximum on n wounds per phase). On the shortlist.
O'o'ak the Boundless (Tzeentch): invulnerable saves cannot be made against attacks made with this weapon. Simple, but situational; in a lot of cases a model is likely to still get an armour save unless the base AP of the weapon is high, and a lot of models don't have invulnerable saves to begin with. Pass.
Thaa'ris and Rhi'ol, the Rapacious (Slaanesh): modifies two melee weapons. When the model attacks each weapon adds D3 extra attacks. A lot of models won't have two melee weapons so that limits who can take it (although Disco Lords and Daemon Princes are both viable choices). Again this feels really good combo'ed with Flames of Spite (16 to 20 attacks on a Disco Lord) to amp up the chance of Mortals! On the shortlist.
Next are the Common Relics (an oxymoron) available to every Chaos Space Marine army (although some are restricted by Chaos Mark).
Inferno Tome: a Priest model knows an additional Prayer and every time it successfully manifests a Prayer it deals D3 Mortal Wounds to the nearest enemy unit within 18". This seems good on paper but I am not currently considering a Priest in my list (I do have one to paint up however...) Pass for Octoberfest / playtest in the future.
Gorget of Eternal Hate: Add 1 to armour saves for the bearer, and the bearer has a 4++ invulnerable save. In addition the bearer can explode for mortals when it dies. I've tried this on the Disco Lord a few times and it's felt marginal; it's still on the table for those times I can roll decent saves I guess! On the shortlist.
Black Rune of Damnation: every time the bearer's unit is attacked wound rolls are at -1 (and the bearer has a Perils Aura). The Internet's favourite Relic as this can be taken on a Champion and therefore the whole unit benefits. I'm on the fence about this at the moment as I'm considering taking 2 units of termies rather than the usual large brick which minimises the benefits of this Relic. Until I finalise the army roster it's on the shortlist.
Mantle of Traitors: So much going on here; once per game the bearer can use an Epic Deed Stratagem for free. All melee hits can be re-rolled. In the Command Phase you choose a Legion Core unit anywhere on the table to benefit from the bearer's re-roll hits, re-roll wounds or Leadership aura if it has one.
You would have to build around this to fully exploit it, but I like the ability to throw auras out around the table, and it's one of the few ways to get hit re-rolls on a Character. I don't have any Aura characters in the list at the moment, but yummy re-rolls on a Disco Lord... Play test me.
Blade of the Relentless: A magic sword which can proc Mortals on 6s to hit. That's better than it sounds; in Wanton Slaughter each unmodified 6 is 2 hits (so 2 mortals plus an extra hit). It also cheeky combos with the Slaanesh Murderous Perfection Stratagem (1CP) which can turn one roll into a 6. I want to try it out, but there are other options higher up on my Octoberfest shopping list. Pass for Octoberfest / playtest in the future.
The Black Mace: A magic stick this time; flat 3 damage, and excess damage spills over like Mortal Wounds. This is essentially the Death Guard Haze of Corruption Stratagem permanently activated which I love! Would be great on a Termie or Chosen Champion. On the shortlist.
The Warp's Malice: a magic bolt pistol (S5, AP-2 D2) which is essentially a shooty version of the Blade of the Relentless (proc'ing 2 Mortal Wounds on 6s to hit). In Wanton Massacre or Slaughter it's 4 shots. I like this; it adds a decent shooting profile to say a Master of Possession who doesn't want to be stuck in melee really. Play test me.
Talisman of Burning Blood (Khorne): allows the Bearer to Heroically Intervene upto 6", adds an extra attack with an opportunity to add an extra attack whenever the bearer destroys a unit. I like Heroic Intervention tricks and this would be very funny on a Disco Lord with his massive base! Feels like it needs some try out. Play test me.
Eye of Tzeentch (Tzeentch): +1 to cast and psychic tests on a 9+ can't be denied. The Master of Possession in my list has ways to gain bonuses to cast already and I don't know how common enemy Psykers will be. Pass but I'll probably regret it!
Orb of Unlife (Nurgle): It's a once per game grenade with limited range that does some Mortals and then debuffs the toughness of the target enemy unit by 1 for the rest of the game. Too many limitations for this to interest me if I'm honest. Pass.
Intoxicating Elixir (Slaanesh): Once per battle in the Fight Phase the bearer becomes Phase Locked for 3 wounds top and adds D3 attacks. That could add a lot of survivability to a model.
(Update, you can't pair it with a Daemon Weapon. Boo!) On the shortlist.
Liber Hereticus: the bearer can cast an additional psychic power per turn, and adds 6" to the range of all powers. I like this a lot; it's a serious contender for the Master of Possession. Being able to cast all his powers every turn seems pretty good, and the extra range will help with the MSU nature of the list I'm planning. I'd really like to find the points to Mark my Psyker as well as the Disco Lord and give the Disco a Feel No Pain buff. On the shortlist.
Axe of the Forgemaster: a magic axe which does Mortal Wounds on 6s to wound in addition to normal damage. Won't proc on 6s like the weapons noted above. Meh. Pass.
Siegebreaker Mace: a magic stick which has an extra "thunder hammer" like attack at Str x2 for D3+3 damage. The maths might tell me different but I prefer the Black Mace at first glance. Pass.
Fleshmetal Exoskeleton (infantry only): Each time the bearer is wounded reduce the damage of the attack by 1, and at the end of each enemy unit's fighting or shooting at the bearer if it lost wounds regain up to D3 of those lost wounds on a 4+. I'd love this on a chunky model like a Daemon Lord, but on most infantry characters I suspect they will just end up dead rather than gain any real benefit out of this Relic. Pass.
Cranium Malevolus: Vehicles within 9" of the bearer potentially suffer Mortal Wounds in the Shooting Phase. Situationally useful against vehicle heavy opponents, and pairs nicely with a Disco Lord's "Corrupt Machine Spirits" ability. Play test me.
Insidium (infantry only): the bearer gains the Daemon and Daemonkin keywords. In addition the model gains +1 Strength, +1 Toughness and +1 Wound. There might be a fighty build combo here using Daemonkin buffs on the Character, but nothing is really jumping out to me at the moment! Pass.
Spitespitter: a magic combi bolter this time! It's got a respectable profile (S5 AP-3 D2 at Rapid Fire 2), but it's nothing very exciting. I've tried it on a Termie character in a couple of games and I wouldn't have missed it if it wasn't there. I'd like to try some of the other weapon Relics before I come back to this option. Pass.
Techno-venemous Mechatendrils (Warpsmith only): Mechatendril attacks do 1 Mortal Wound on a hit, and the Warpsmith auto heals 3 wounds to a model each turn. I love this Relic; it's fluffy and effective. A Warpsmith is dirt cheap and can deal 9 attacks with his Mechatendrils (so will average 6 Mortals). On the shortlist post Octoberfest.
So there are lots of options to consider! I am leaning towards a Nurgle Disco Lord with the Deamon Weapon, or possibly Slaanesh with the Daemon Weapon and Elixir. The Liber on the Master of Possession also seems like a good choice.
Longer term there's a lot of options to try out; the Mortal Wound Weapons seem good candidates and I like the idea of two Termie Champions rocking magic weapons as well.
I want to add a Forgefiend to the collection and sit him next to a Warpsmith with Architect of Destruction. The Mechatendrils should be a good complement for that particular combination.
I'll try and get a test game or two in before Octoberfest, and then pin the Relics and Warlord Traits down.