Well this was shockingly inevitable wasn’t it? I picked up Traitor’s Hate yesterday, and after giving it a good read (the rules part at least), and playing a game using it today, I thought I would give my not quite initial impressions on the book us Chaos Marine players have been waiting so long for. I’m not going to go in depth as to what every formation does, more just my thoughts on the thing as a whole, since that is really what matters most.
Some Good Things:
So the million dollar question, is it any good? Yes, to be blunt, however it most certainly isn’t setting any new bars for power levels. The biggest problem for Chaos Marines before this book was simply that they lacked a cohesiveness that made the army actually function as a single force. Now this is understandable from a fluff perspective, since Chaos forces are more a collection of powerful individuals out for themselves rather than working together. The best thing Traitor’s Hate does is recognise this, and instead of giving rules that benefit the army as a whole, it is focused on making units in the formation more powerful alone. An example that springs to mind is a formation that allows Obliterators to shoot twice, which helps no one other than themselves, and it is exactly what Chaos should have. The book is littered with formation rules like this, so hopefully who ever wrote it had a similar idea.
Another refreshing thing is how ‘friendly’ the not-Decurion is, this time called the Black Crusade Detachment. Unlike say, the Khorne Daemonkin equivalent, which taxes you 150 points for Possessed that you certainly don’t want, this one has practically no tax units. Sporting multiple, distinct core choices, and quite a few low model count auxiliaries, it could very easily be taken alongside another one detachment, like the Daemonic Incursion or Blood Host detachments. Hell, one choice is just 1 – 3 units of Spawn, which is right up my ally, and Cult Marine fans will be pleased to hear that another auxiliary is 1 – 4 units of Cult Marines, allowing you to take what you want instead of what the book wants. Although the weird obsession with Warpsmiths may play into my hands, I’m sure others could consider that a tax, but after the ludicrously model heavy Daemon core choices, I’m willing to give it a pass.
Traitor’s Hate is also delightfully aware of itself. Formations which require Chaos Lords to take a specific piece of wargear of mark allow you to take it for free, which could have been a major problem for ones like the Terminator formation, which would bleed you dry of points before you knew it.
Some Bad Things:
Unfortunately the book isn’t perfect, no new warlord traits or relics for specific Gods, like for Daemons in the Curse of the Wulfen book, are absent. For £30 (or more in other countries), the amount of actual content is rather thin. One detachment and 11 formations is rather skimpy, however the book itself has a huge mound of fluff in it, so perhaps if I get around to reading that too it might look a little better. However, we all know why people are going to buy this book, and I don’t think it has much to do with the promise of a compelling story.
The next is one that I think will still frustrate a lot of Chaos Marine player: the fact that Chaos Marines themselves don’t really get much of a boost. The big detachment bonus is that Veterans of the Long War becomes free, and I was on the fence about whether this would be enough to make them worthwhile. Although I only played one game, it didn’t feel like the Leadership boost made much of a difference, and it probably doesn’t help that the only way to get Chaos Marines in the Black Crusade detachment is in the most expensive and unit heavy formation. I haven’t given up on them yet, I certainly want to try a few more list builds before making a certain decision, but I was really hoping that the biggest issue of the core codex might have been solved.
Lastly, this one is a bit of an obvious point, that there is no ‘backwards compatibility’ if you will. Previously released formations, such as my beloved Helfist Murderpack, cannot be taken in a Black Crusade Detachment. This is in line with all the other Decurions so far, so I wasn’t expecting any different, but it would have been nice…
Despite all the bad things I have said, there are still lots of great things about Traitor’s Hate, and my overall thoughts on the book are positive. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to get more mileage out of their Chaos Space Marine army (and there are a lot of people who do!), but just be warned that it isn’t a perfect book that solves all the issues the codex has. I think it is possible to build a brutal army out of the new tools given to us, and I look forward to finding it!
Be sure to check out my Tumblr at renegade-girl-blog for more sporadic updates on whatever I’m working on. Thanks for attending Antagonists Anonymous!