Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Badab War Chapter tactics and Characters analysis part 1 of 3

Greetings folks, 

Hot on the heels of my articles looking at the new Imperial Armour books is a series looking at the updates for the Badab War books. I will freely discuss points values and anything else as they are found in the free update PDFs on Forgeworlds website HERE and therefore not copyright infringement. Basically, I will divide the articles up into 3 parts. The first will look at the Chapter tactics and characters used by the Loyalists, though some of these will also be covered in the second article along with the SM siege vanguard list. The third will look at the Traitors and the Tyrants legion list. 

Red scorpions

First up are the Red Scorpions who are one of my favourites. The Chapter is described as being fiercely obsessed with purity and the protection of their gene seed. Being of unknown progenitor they boast their own set of Chapter tactics split into two rules. The first is purity above all, which in a nutshell allows your tactical sergeants to take a free narthecium for no points cost. In other words, all your tactical squads get feel no pain for free so long as your (presumably very busy) sergeant is alive. The second rule is fortitude and contempt, which allows you to reroll pinning tests but precludes you from going to ground voluntarily or taking camo cloaks. In summary then, Red Scorpions are nothing remarkable offensively, but are tough cookies to shift thanks to FnP and pinning rerolls.  

Lord High Commander Carab Culln - a Chapter Master in Terminator armour for 215 points sounds a little steep to begin with, but Culln is actually pretty darned good. He packs a master-crafted storm bolter and teleport homer along with his iron halo and orbital bombardment, but there's a lot more to him than that/ Firstly, he is right up there with the other big boys in that he boasts eternal warrior. Second, he has the Master of battle rule, allowing all friendly red scorpions to use his LD for pinning and morale - stacked with Chapter tactics Red Scorpions become even more resiliant. Thirdly, proud to live, proud to die, hard to kill is his Warlord trait and gives +1 to assault results within 12", which increases to +2 if Culln is in a challenge. The flip side is he may not ever use look out sir. Last but by no means least is the blade of the scorpion, which is a beast of a sword. Normally it's just a master crafter power sword, unless Culln chooses to smash with it, which pretty much makes him a monstrous creature for a round, with half the attacks but double the strength, AP2 and rerolls to armour penetration. Overall I really like Culln as a character. He both bolsters and benefits from the armys chapter tactics and is tough and flexible enough to be great in most situations. 

Magister Sevrin Loth - this chap in some ways outshines Tigurius and is decently priced at 175. He has normal Librarian stats except his BS5, and comes equipped with a force axe, bolt pistol and grenades. He also has counter attack in addition to his Chapter tactics. Now for the good stuff. His armour is artificer armour that grants a 2++ invulnerable should you wish to expend a warp charge point at the beginning of your turn! As he is Mastery 3, I can't think of a good reason not to do this every turn. It gets better. He may SELECT his powers from biomancy, telepathy and telekinesis, which makes him one of those rare characters still able to in the game. Although he does seem limited to only being able to select his powers from a single discipline. Lastly, his warlord trait, witch bane, grants you an extra victory point for each psyker character Loth kills. Very situational but handy nonetheless. It should be noted that Loth may also take an honour Gurad squad to accompany him. Again, I like this character and think both he and Culln would be mandatory in a Red Scorpions list. 


Also known as Carcharodons Astra (or Space Sharks in low Gothic), these chaps are very likable and would give the Flesh Tearers a run for their money in terms of brutality. Again, they are progenitor unknown and so have their own two chapter tactics rules. The first is reavers of the outer darkness, which grants them fear and allows all tactical squads to exchange their bolter for a CCW for +1pt. The second rule, blood hunger, grants units the rage USR after they have destroyed a unit in an assault or forced it to fall back. They must also consolidate towards the nearest unit they are capable of harming in an assault. Lastly, they may not ally with anything other than Imperial forces and even then as desperate allies. A nice set of rules which favours using them as an assault army with plenty of infantry. With Tyberos (see below) leading them they become even better at what they do.

Tyberos the red wake - Not a very subtle chap, Tyberos fits in nicely with the established modus operandi for the Carcharodons. A Chapter Master in terminator armour, Tyberos lacks any ranged weapons (unless you count an orbital bombardment) and is devoid of both an Iron Halo and Eternal Warrior, so a bit more fragile than the other TA Chapter Masters. He does, however, have hunger and slake, his dual chainblade/lightning claw things, which have different profiles and may have attacks divided between them as you see fit, similar to Logan Grimnars axe. Hunger is effectively a chainfist, while slake is a lightning claw. Note also that he has 5 base attacks. The scent of blood special rule states that should Tyberos become subject to rage (see above), then all the Carcharadons gain +1S for the duration of the game. Nice! His Warlord trait gives him and his unit preferred enemy: infantry and lastly he is also able to take a single terminator assault squad (the red bretheren) all armed with lightning claws as a troops choice.

Howling Griffons

They follow the same chapter tactics as Ultramarines and are known as staunch traditionalists who take their oaths very seriously. (as anyone who has read the Soul Drinkers books will know) Not much else to add so on to their special character:

Chaplain Dreadnought Titus - effectively a Chaplain Dreadnought with a few perks for the mighty price of 215. But is he worth it? He can freely choose between his underslung ranged weapon and either an assault cannon or lascannon with no points difference. As well as the venerable and hatred rules, he also had chapter tactics (unusual for a dreadnought) and can be taken as an HQ/Warlord, in which case his Warlord Trait makes him a scoring unit. (he must be the only HQ in the army though) He also makes all units within 12" fearless. He's a fair chunk more points than a normal Chaplain dreadnought and, while able to score and make things within 12" fearless, I'm not sure he's worth the points as Dreadnoughts tend to die fairly easily due to hull points despite being venerable. He does have his weapon costs taken into account with his points though.

Fire Angels

The fire Angels have strong ties to the Ecclesiarchy and are a rather pious bunch with a lot of armour in the form of rhino variants. They too have Ultramarine chapter tactics.

Captain Tarnus Vale - He is a bit like a Captain version of Sergeant Chronus in that aside from a master crafter chainsword, the only thing he brings to the battle for 165 points is the ability to make tanks a bit better. Master gunner allows any tank he is transported in to benefit from his BS and gain tank hunters. SO only really worth it in a razorback or land raider, although most of those weapons are twin linked anyway and thus benefit less from twin linking. However, all rhinos, razorbacks and land raiders in the army gain a 5++ courtesy of his unstoppable advance rule. He has the storm of fire warlord trait from the SM codex. In conclusion he would be of benefit to a heavily mechanised SM army but he himself is pretty lackluster in all regards when not in a vehicle.

Marines Errant

Despite another nice colour scheme, these chaps are again effectively Ultramarines, though they are fleet based.

Lieutenant Commander Anton Narvaez - despite not quite being one, his profile is the same as a Captain minus one point of weapon skill. (I thought a Chaplain profile would be fitting but never mind) This chap is 155 points and bears a nice title harkening back to the days of Rogue Trader. Some cool rules here. He has an Actinic halo, which has a 3+ invulnerable save. However, every time he fails an Invulnerable save he must roll a D6 - 4+ is OK, 1-3 means it stops working. As well as a power sword, Anton also packs thundershock, a master-crafted Plasma gun. He and his command squad have void hardened armour (only applicable in space missions). The dark void elite rule is interesting as it allows up to D3 units in the army to deep strike using teleporters. Pick from either sternguard, tactical, devastator or Anton and his command squads.They must roll 3 dice and pick the lowest for scatter, though it could be useful to use alongside teleport homers. Lastly, his Warlord trait is rites of war from the SM codex. An OK character with the potential for fun with deep striking for free, though arguably a more costly drop pod assault would be more reliable. Not much to offer that a similarly armed Captain couldn't TBH.


The marksmen amongst the Astartes, the Raptors are Raven Guard successors and so share their chapter tactics but with a few differences. They have strike from the shadows and thus can scoutand have stealth in the first turn unless bulky. They also have the legendary marksmen rule which allows any bolter or bolt pistol armed model to forgo movement and normal shooting to make a heavy 1 shot instead that has the rending special rule. Could be nice in certain situations, such as at long range with bolters or with pistols if the enemy is close enough to charge without moving. Much of the time, however, you will want to just use the normal profile. Could be nice to try an infantry heavy force with.

Chapter Master Lias Issodon - His profile is a bit different from a normal chapter master in that his BS is 6 and WS5. He also has one less attack. Costing 175 points, you also get artificer armour, shrouded a power sword and locator beacon. In additon he has malice, a 30" S4AP5 salvo 2/4 weapon, which benefits from the Raptors chapter tactics. Instead of firing like this you may use special issue ammo. He gains the master of ambush warlord trait and has a few other special rules in addition. Cunning strategist allows rerolls to reserve rolls and -1 to your opponnents, while infiltrate, isolate, destroy allows an attack on an enemy unit, vehicle or MC before the game starts. This is either D6+3 AP- wounds or D3 rolls on the haywire table. Issodon is a fun if somewhat expensive character which would grant definite benefits to his unit due to shrouded if you were choosing to play to the Raptors fluff, which I personally would find a challenge.


The Exorcists are an exceptional Chapter in that they are extremely secretive and resistant to the taint of chaos. Also, they are thought to be in league with radical elements of the Inquisition. Unlike the other unknown progenitor chapters in the books, the Exorcists are left purposefully secretive and so you can choose the chapter tactics you want for them from those in the SM codex.

Captain Silas Alberec - he costs 185 points and is the same as a Captain except for having S5. He has an iron halo and teleport homer as well as the hellslayer. This weapon is x2 strength (10!), AP2, unwieldy, concussive, two handed, master crafted and will wound daemons and psykers on a 2+ regardless of toughness. Take that! His warlord trait is implacable discipline which allows friendly units in 12" to roll 3d6 and keep the lowest for morale checks. His hexogrammatic wards give him and his unit a 5+ FnP save against witchfire and close combat attacks from daemons, psykers and marked CSM, as well as giving him a 4+ deny the witch against force weapons attempting to instant death him. Plus his whole detachment can reroll deny the witch rolls. An interesting character which seems more suited to an army of Exorcists than their chapter tactics, a bit like the old chapter tactics rules. He is relatively fragile in combat but if he can survive then Hellslayer is one heck of a weapons, especially against greater daemons and the like.

Star Phantoms

These are the guys who inherited Badab when they kicked Huron's ass. Their chapter favours plasma IIRC and their chapter tactics lean towards massive firepower. Hail of destruction allows you to twin link the following weapon types once per game: heavy, rapid fire, salvo and assault. In addition, they get orbital wave attack which allows deep strikers to reroll 1s. Kind of decent if you are using drop pods and the like and you basically get a mega ultramarine tactical doctrine to rain devastation upon the enemy in one turn. Much more situational than other chapter tactics I think.

Captain Zhrukhal Androcles - This 145 point character is the captain of the 9th devastator company and sports a power fist and combi melta in addition to the regular captain stats and wargear. devastator squads can be taken as both elite and heavy support choices and his warlord trait allows him and his unit to have feel no pain when within 3" of an objective. Rather unremarkable tbh.

That's about it for the first installment, although there are a few interesting tidbits in the update in the form of Chapter tactics from other Imperial Armour books that are mentioned in the PDF. Though not from the Badab war, I thought I should mention them here too.

Red Hunters

Now these chappies are formidable. They worship the Emperor as a God, hunt the traitor Astartes and are second only to the Grey Knights in service to the Inquisition. Pneumonic redaction protocols grants admantium will to the Red Hunters and also allows a number of units equal to the turn being played (once per game only) to gain a single USR. Those on offer are skyfire, interceptor, tank hunters, hatred, counter attack and monster hunter. In addition, Grey Knights and Sororitas are battle brothers (and sisters) if an inquistior is also present. A reasonable set of rules that are quite situational and rely on you weathering the storm in order to make the most of your tactics, assuming there's enough of your army left to benefit.

Angels Revenent

Basically butchered by Necrons in the fall of Orpheus, these chaps are effectively written out of the fluff. They are Ultramarine successors and can either choose to play as UM or the survivors of the massacre. If so, then against necrons they gain hatred and preferred enemy, while against all others the whole army gains fearless upon losing half its number. Great against necrons, lacklustre against all else IMO.

That concludes the first part in the series. The second part will cover the remaining loyalist chapters, special characters and also the Space Marine siege vanguard list, which is compatible with almost all the units in IA2 second edition and so worth knowing a few things about. Cheers. 


  1. nice resume of the forgeworld pdfs and a great read :)

    I really like the Raptors fluff, but their chapter tactic and expensive named hq seem to be on the lower end.
    I've thinking about starting a Raptor army, but their paint scheme is pretty dull

  2. cheers, it was fun to write it up although I'm sure it is full of typos.

    I've seen some really nice, gritty raptors armies on the internet which, while bland, have a certain utilitarian feel to the. often lacking in other sm schemes.

    I'm not sure how best to run raptors. I think infantry heavy would work if you were able to surround your opponent with masses of close range firepower. bolter and chainsword.will probably have some good tips.


  3. Badab War?! Aww yeee boi, dat's wut I'm talkin' 'bout!

    For Raptors I always assumed they were the shooting version of Raven Guard. Raven Guard would use--or at least should consider using--jump packs to get the re-rolls on Hammer of Wrath, and the rest of their army would attempt to scout, whether on foot or in vehicles, with a fairly useful first turn Stealth. Raptors do the exact same thing except replacing jump packs with the Legendary Marksman rule.

    Raptors aren't immediately amazing like Iron Hands, White Scars, etc, but they aren't terrible either. A definite upgrade over Raven Guard given the strength of shooting at the moment. Their ability is more subtle and active throughout the game, unlike other armies who get a single blaze of glory, like drop pod Salamanders, Star Phantoms, Red Hunters, Ultramarines, etc. You probably won't be able to use it until the later turns when you aren't moving anyway and just running the clock out to score points on objectives, but during those first turns you will have Scout and Stealth and Outflank to benefit from.