Legion Focus – Night Lords

Morale is something that has had minimal impact on the game to date – most of the armies with the ability to run large mobs of units have rather easy ways to circumnavigate this. Night Lords certainly will not change this – Synapse, Commissars and Mob Rule, etc. will still be able to largely ignore these effects but if there are ways to remove those characters, you’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on those types of armies they are not accustomed to. It can also invalidate the MSU protection against Morale as suddenly losing one model can become four. It’s not going to evaporate weakened enemy units like the fluff blurb suggests (even if you could get three units within range of multiple MSU units, -3 on Morale still requires you to kill three models from each to get them to a 50% chance of taking extra Morale losses) but can certainly magnify damage at key points in a game. Is it the best thing ever? No. Is it better than Iron Warriors? Yes.  Will it at times have no baring or impact? Yes. Their stratagem we have been shown is also great – -1 to hit on a particular unit after an enemy has declared shooting can reduce an important units shooting effectiveness and also protect that important unit. It’s easy to get around but will mess up the opponent’s shooting order.

Legion Focus: Night Lords

The Chaos Space Marines codex is nearly here, and with it, rules for seven Chaos Legions as well as Renegade Chaos Marines. We’ll be previewing these in detail in the coming week, as well as looking at some of the new Stratagems and the best units in the new codex for each Legion.  We’ll be looking at the Emperor’s Children, Iron Warriors, Night Lords, World Eaters, Alpha Legion, Black Legion, Word Bearers and the Renegade Chapters. If you’re wondering where the Death Guard and Thousand Sons are, don’t panic! Both these armies are getting Codexes of their own.

The Night Lords are famous for two things – their use of fear as a tactic and their distinctive winged headgear. Thanks to their new Legion Trait, the Night Lords are one of the most interesting forces in the new Chaos Space Marines codex, able to maximise casualties in the Morale phase and devastate even the most stalwart of soldiers.

The Legion Trait

Terror Tactics means that a Night Lords assault army is going to be very dangerous in the Morale phase – with -3, even high-leadership models risk suffering additional casualties.

The Best Units

Raptors have always been popular among Night Lords players, and in the new codex they’re an incredibly strong pick – use yours right and even Grey Knights will be running. Three units of Raptors equipped with Icons of Despair can knock enemy leadership down by 5 whole points – enough to turn even small losses into devastating mass panics in the enemy army.

Night Lords Chaos Lords with Jump Packs are going to number among the deadliest combatants in the 41st Millennium. Take yours with the Claws of the Black Hunt, Night Haunter’s Curse and Diabolic Strength from a nearby Sorcerer and your lord will be dishing out six Strength 7 Attacks, each doing D3 Damage at AP -3 with rerolls to wound. With a reroll to a failed charge, this is a great assassin unit for killing key characters such as Primaris Apothecaries.

How to Use Them

If you’re playing Night Lords, you’ll want to take as many fast moving and morale-modifying units as you can. Throw in some Daemonic allies in the form of Be’lakor and you’ll be able to bring enemy Leadership down even further – focus on doing a small number of casualties to as many units as possible every turn, and let Morale tests handle the rest.

It’s worth noting one of the evilest strategies available to the Night Lords in the new codex: their Stratagem, In Midnight Clad.

Why is this so powerful? Psychological and shock value. You declare this Stratagem AFTER your opponent has already started firing – meaning if they’ve decided to overcharge plasma weapons, suddenly their own models will be getting slain on a 2 or less. You’ll be able to catch powerful shooting units unawares with this one, and just having a Command Point spare at all times will mean your opponent is less likely to risk overcharging their weapons. With Hellblasters arriving on tabletops very soon, you’ll need defence against plasma, and this is a great way to get it.

Of course, if you’d rather not sneak around and prefer engaging your enemies more directly, there’s a Legion for that – come back tomorrow for our preview of the World Eaters.


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13 responses to Legion Focus – Night Lords

I dont really understand how a modifier for cover or darkness now suddenly makes your overcharged plasma more dangerous? Playing a stratagem where you just duck down shouldn't make your plasma more dangerous.

You could say the same thing about most modifiers. And you have to apply the stratagem before your opponent chooses what they are shooting. So if they overcharge, they do so knowing the risks.

Technically, if I read the rules correctly, your opponent could pick a target, you pop the stratagem, and they immediately pick a second target and devote the bulk of their fire that way. You still get to protect one unit, but won't meaningfully decrease their shooting.

Not sure what you mean by "immediately pick a second target"? You have to allocate all the unit's attacks to their targets, then the Night Lords get to activate In Midnight Clad. The next unit you shoot with could just choose not to shoot at the Midnight Clad unit, but at the point when it's declared you can't reallocate the attacks anywhere else.

Not an earthshaking Chapter Tactic, but at least it’s a fairly unique one (poor Iron Warriors) and should be worthwhile with careful planning and maneuvering.

But the bit about Night Lords working with well with dæmons seems odd. Maybe I’m a few editions behind on the fluff, but I thought the Night Lords were extremely reluctant to ally themselves with dæmons?

These days there's more emphasis on the idea that most of the legions don't really exist as coherent forces, just warbands who pursue their own agendas. So if you're using demon allies, that just means your warband is more willing than average to play with demon stuff.

Most of the post heresy fluff followed one company. I think GW decided that Night Lords using fear as a weapon was something that would work well with Daemons and that was bigger than the impact the tenth company had on the fluff (those are great books though).

An important thing to note is that rerolls, according to the rulebook, happen BEFORE modifiers.

So let's say you cause 2 casualties on a Tactical squad while in combat with 3 units of Night Lords Raptors. They roll a 6 and are like "okay, no way I'm going to reroll that with And They Shall Know No Fear as 6+2 =8, and my sergeant has Ld8….". The -3 modifier then kicks in, reducing that Ld8 to Ld5, and, all of a sudden, that "No one runs away" changes to "Oh no, I've just lost 3 Marines!"

That wouldn't apply here; if it did, you'd have the problem of reroll failed morale checks can never work since you modify the roll by the number of models lost – any unit with Lead 6 or greater could never "fail" the check prior to modifiers, since you can't roll more than a 6 on a d6.

Since the rule here is that you "reduce your Leadership by 1 per unit" and not modify the roll, it doesn't apply. Though this brings the entire thing into question since each model you lose DOES specifically modify the roll…

Well the fact is that this specific case is not covered by rulebook. Rulebook does not explicitly state that the modifier needs to be to the roll/test in question. Rulebook only states that any modifier, if any, are applied only after re-rolls have been done. Change to leadership is clearly a modifier as it is temporary, there is no way around it. RAW the Ld modifiers are applied to morale test after re-rolls. This particular situation should be dealt with in FAQ however as I expect many SM players to be very butthurt if it works like this.