ValueThe book has the rules for all it's formations. Unlike "Black Legion" or "Crimson Slaughter" it is entirely self-contained. As it references both Daemon rules and Chaos Space Marine rules. That's important. Less book lugging rather than more with the addition of rules is a great idea.
ChangesOne of the reasons that this composition of both books is required is that the base rules for a number of units have changed. Yay. I think that's a yay. It might actually be a bad idea, here is what has changed-
Daemons no longer have the "Daemon Instability", rather, they are simply fearless
I'm not 100% convinced this a good idea. Leadership and psychology already takes a backseat due to the proliferation of "And they shall know no fear". I think the tyranid and current daemon rules are actually a good idea. I do agree that it seems unlikely that bloodletters would go to ground, but having them dissolve if defeated in close combat always seemed to have a ring of authenticity.
Minimum Unit sizes on Bloodletters, Beserkers and cultists are 8 instead of 10 or 5
In the case of Bloodletters, this makes them more useful for deep striking chaff units and the cost has stayed the same. For cultists it's not as cut and dried. Cultists in this codex have Mark of Khorne, which honestly is a bit of a tax. It means a chaff unit of 8 costs 8 points more than the old cost for 10. And they are going to get wiped out just as quickly per wound. I didn't mention beserkers - any self respecting khorne player fields them in 8's. I've actually found it gets them where they need to go- just into combat to wipe the squad with a single beserker remaining..
Bloodthirsters get 2 new unit configurations
Unfettered Fury- is the current configuration, 12" whip, wings, 3+ save fearless daemon. You know the one, you love it. It loses instability like all the other daemons in this codex.
Insensate Rage- is armed with a Destroyer weapon and gets rage instead of the whip. That means 8 D attacks on the charge. Lol. Vehicles and monstrous creatures cower in terror.
Wrath of Khorne- is armed with Hellfire (soulblaze heavy flamer), Bloodflail which is both ranged str 7 assault d3 and AP 2 melee. It has the special rules adamantite will and hatred (characters). I think this is designed as the character killer. It can take out units and their champions. I think against units like terminators however the Insensate Rage would do a better job.
I think I would buy the first one but at greater points cost only summon the second two.
Daemon engines (Heldrake, Maulerfiend, Forgefiend, Defiler) become "Daemons of Khorne"
This gives them Furious Charge, Fear and Hatred of Slaneesh. This a change which all except the Heldrake pay 5 points for. As the Defiler and Maulerfiend have 2 powerfists it is probably a tax for them. They would have to have lost both not to attack at strength 10. The Heldrake gets a better vector and the forgefiend is going to be strength 7 on the charge if it needs to melee, which is cool.
Fear and Hatred of Slannesh are pretty much irrelevant. I'd love them to matter, but it's unlikely.
Extra rulesThe primary gimmick for this codex is the addition of two new rules "Blood for the Blood God" and "Skulls for the Skull Throne".
BftBG gives blood points on the death of units and characters. Note, not only independent characters but characters. That means a unit of cultists is worth 2 when wiped out. So is a 3 man unit of suicide melta on bikes. And cultist units can wipe themselves out by choice if they fail a morale test. Oh, and you get it for killing the enemy too.. :)
Blood points are used to grant army wide abilities and summon units. It's a straight buff, possibly giving you a 300 point bloodthirster and army wide "Feel No Pain" on the same turn. That would be 8 points and using the detachment as your primary.
SftST is a carefully worded "Champion of Chaos" rule without the random table roll. It is a nerf, but as I have never had anything off that table worth recording I couldn't give a rats. And I'd like to choose when/which champion becomes a Daemon Prince, which you can do with 7 blood points..
This is the overarching structure to field units form this codex as "Battle-Forged". It uses the unit terms "Core", "Auxiliary" and "Command". It's a detachment of detachments.
This is the core. The biggest negative is the possessed. It's actually quite a shame how poo they are and you have to take one. I like the models, I like painting them, they are just sub-par. At 30 points each they still go down like a sack to small arms fire. Stacking furious charge for another 5 points on top is not cool.
2 units from Chaos marines with Mark of Khorne, Berserkers and bloodletters in 8 man units minimum.
All in all, a bit nobbled by the possessed and single HQ. I can't see any definition of the "daemon" rule so I'm guessing just one in the core rules. This means a herald can join a unit of cultists... :)
Terminators and Bloodcrushers- if out numbered get an extra attack. Cool, not awesome but nice. Not sure I want 2 units of blood crushers though. Banners on them for targeting deepstrike and summoning might be useful.
Raptors-warptalons and Heldrake- Extra strength on hammer of wrath and vector strikes. Str 8 vector strikes due to Meteroic Descent plus this bonus-yikes. Still not convinced that warptalons are any chop. Raptors are still a bit too expensive, mark of melee just compounds this. They can choose their battles and would usually win CC. I would like the excuse to do up the guy to the left.. just not sure this is it.
Ok- this is nice. Take units I like, give them Move through Cover so they don't take difficult terrain tests, make hammer of wrath better and top it off with Preferred Enemy (Psykers). Lol. Worth the sticker price.
This can be a deep-striking allied formation or part of the Bloodhost. Either way it buffs your ability to get daemons down and on target. I have very few of the models and no experience in daemon orientated armies where they are the primary. I understand the concept but no idea if it worth doing.
What's MissingThis is not a criticism. It's actually interesting that there are so many units added from both codex daemons and chaos space marines that it is worth listing what is not there...
CSM: Vindicator, Predator, Havocs, Obiliterators, Mutilators, Warpsmith, Sorcerer
Daemons: Almost all units with Mark of Khorne are available, with only "Furies" being left out.
Daemon Princes get access to the new relics and rewards but not the old random Greater/Lesser rewards.
Bloodthirsters get access to relics as a fixed unit and no variable equipment. I know folks seem to love stacking Greater Daemons with rewards but I never played that way. This will have zero impact on me but some folks will complain about it.
There is no warpstorm table. hmm
The FutureThis is exactly what some people asked for. Magic god numbers relevant (slightly) to the game. Consolidated rules. Book full of crunch. Less random. I'm really happy with it.
There are some minor buffs to some units, a smidge of increased unit tax on a couple of units I always take- Maulerfiend and Cultists. I will be fielding more bikes and fleshhounds that is for sure. I have taken armies that cold be made from this codex to tournaments before. Now I wasn't particularly successful, but I didn't expect to be. But this is basically a buff if you are taking these units already.
The benefit of adding Soulgrinders to my CSM armies without having to take other units is nice.
I will be modelling my Vindicators, Predators and Obliterators as Iron Warriors in light of this, no question.
Are there any Lord of Skulls, Forgefiend or juggernaught purchases on the horizon? Maybe. I will be building the first daemon prince I ever read about.
One of the impacts of this codex- it is a direct counter, maybe a hard counter to Multiple Small Unit armies.
As a final thought, for the moment,
The level of complexity of these changes, the subtle and obvious changes with the organisational structures possible. What you can field is awesome. You can be "battle forged chaos" and your opponent would have no idea what is coming. List tailor-ers beware. Your reckoning is coming. And if there are 1 or 3 other chaos books on the way.. yikes. I miss not having defensive grenades in this codex but I might just ally for that...