Monday, 18 July 2011
The Shawn Abreu Treasury: Dark Apostle
Warhammer 40,000 has been around for quite some time and, over the years, has collected a great deal of lore or "fluff." For the most part much of this lore makes its way into the rules, if only superficially, but there's a ton of material out there for anyone who is willing to search.
Dark Apostles are the olden-day trademark of the Word Bearer Legion and were actually in the official Chaos Space Marine codex years ago. Now that all the flavor of chaos has been reduced to musty gruel units such as this one can only exist in the player's imagination as "counts-as" or something similar. We were never really good at using our imaginations here at RM.
Shawn's fluff in this entry is on par with previous contributions. It's not long-winded or overly focused on blood & gore as a GW entry might have been. It gives enough information to make the unit catch your eye amongst other codex entries because it has a rather unique personality - it's not simply more angry marines from the warp.
Now on to the rules!
The first thing that stands out about the Dark Apostle is his dark points cost. Why 110 points? I've noticed that Mr. Abreu does tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to points values but there's no way I'm spending 110 on this guy as he is a kind of mirror image of the overpriced Space Marine Chaplain and not even as useful due to his 'Litanies of Battle' equivalent only working once per game.
The Chaplain himself rarely sees the tabletop nowadays and who can be surprised when more mainstream HQ choices offering so many benefits to the army? It's not just the points cost of the Chaplain that makes him so difficult to include but the opportunity cost that comes with replacing your Null Zone Librarian or Lysander, Vulkan, Khan, etc.
This opportunity cost is less obvious when it comes to the Chaos codex but there's still the fact that Blood Angels can take several cheaper "Dark Apostles" in the form or Sanquinary Priests whose very same ability works all the time rather than just once per game. And even those single wound priests have more options than this entry boasts.
The final nail in the coffin for me is the fact that a Word Bearer's army is very likely to be represented by the mass inclusion of Khorne Berzerkers in the list. 'Zerkers already have Furious Charge! Therefore they are only truly benefitting from the Feel No Pain special rule and only if the general has found a way to keep all of his units within roughly 13 inches of each other - unlikely as the enemy is likely scattering to avoid the possibility of a multi-charge.
In conclusion the Dark Apostle makes for an interesting entry but one that will have a hard time making a significant impact on the tabletop. A combination of high points costs and restrictive special rules would have me picking a different HQ every time. I would like to see some changes that reflect the current 40k environment rather the rules wasteland of the Chaos Codex - more power and more options.