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Saturday, December 14, 2013

30k Tactical Review • Reaver Assault Squad (Sons of Horus)

Here is a review of a new unit for the evil Sons of Horus from the new Forge World Horus Heresy 30k book Massacre. There is also a surprise review at the end for a new HQ featured in Massacre. I am going to compare this unit (Reavers) in general to the new Space Marine codex to draw some interesting conclusions. Note that I don't personally advocate the use of 30k for standard games of 40k in tournaments. I have played in one campaign at WarGamesCon this year—the rest of my games with 30k have all been friendly pickup games.

30k is internally balanced—so in some ways it has certain advantages over 40k Space Marines and in other ways it has it's share of disadvantages. I think Alan Bligh, whom has written both of the 30k books, is the by far the best writer compared to anybody in the GW development team. His books have amazing depth and his units totally embody the spirit of the Horus Heresy. You can't go wrong with 30k if you love Space Marines. Both of the 30k books are far ahead of anything put out for 40k in regards to Space Marines.

NOTE—There is a lot of misconception that the traitor legions in the 30k books are Chaos Space Marines, which is untrue... They are still Imperial from a rules perspective and have no enhancements or gifts from the dark Gods, which makes them much more interesting to me.

So onto my review of the Reaver assault squad. I've put together a unit (along with the rules) I think is competitive and would be fun to play. I think the Reavers are definitely one of the better units from either book... They can be a work horse for your army and carry the load. I wouldn't be surprised if Reavers turn out to be one of the more popular units for Sons of Horus armies.

Reaver Assault Squad

9x Reaver
Reaver Chieftain

135 + 75

• 9x Bolter w. Banestrike rounds - 45
• Flamer - 10
• 2x Power Axe - 20
• Power Fist - 15 (Chieftain)
• Artificer Armor - 10 (Chieftain)

Rhino w. Extra Armor & Dozer Blade Or Jump Packs - 50

Total = 360

—Each Reaver has three base attacks since they are automatically equipped with a bolt pistol and chainsword (i.e., 2+1); the Chieftain has four base attacks... That's 41 attacks on the charge !

Banestrike bolter rounds are S4 AP3 on a roll to wound of 6, otherwise AP5 and their range is 18".

—All models in the unit use Precision Shots and Precision Strikes (Assassin's Eye).

—The unit also has the Outflank special rule.

Reaver Attack Squads are normally Fast Attack but can be fielded as a Troop choice in either one of two ways:

• Field a special character (Maloghurst the Twisted)
• Rites of War (much more restrictive)

This unit built as such costs a good chunk of points and I think they're well worth it. Of course you'll have to take good care of this unit and play them carefully due to their high cost but I don't view that as a disadvantage. Reavers can excel in both shooting and melee built as such—their special rules take them to the next level and they can win games since they can score.

The combination of bolters plus jump packs places Reavers in a separate category unlike any other Space Marine unit, which I think is a sad state of affairs for 40k Space Marines in general... Like I said Alan Bligh is far ahead of the GW development team !

Generally speaking 40k Space Marine units (with the exception of Space Wolves) seem to have all become highly specialized just like the eldar—they are either intended for shooting or melee, but not both. Sure you can assault with a squad of tactical Marines but don't expect much versus a dedicated melee unit. This is just one of the many things that make Reavers so good.

So now my surprise review of the new rules for Kharn from Massacre.

WS7-BS5-S4-T4-3W-I5-4A-Ld9-Sv 2+/4++

Artificer Armor—Gorechild—Plasma Pistol—Frag & Krak Grenades—Iron Halo

Master of the Legion (he has own two special Warlord Traits)

Gorechild - S:+1 AP2 Armorbane, Murderous Strike

All this for 190 points, which is only 30 points more than his current entry in the new Chaos Space Marine codex. Not quite as many attacks and he hits on a 3+ versus most enemy units in melee versus a 2+... He is better in most other respects—especially considering Heresy Kharn is rocking the 2+ armor save and 4++ invulnerable save. I've got my fingers crossed that Forge World will eventually release a new miniature for Kharn !! If you had the choice which one would you rather field?

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