Review: Shadowspear Part Two!

The Demonkin Codex opens with a narrative section, explaining the creation and uses of the Chaos Demonkin.

On the surface, this codex brings us three brand new data sheets, and a pair of wonderful new sculpts for older plastic models.   However, will it be on the level of the Vanguard Space Marine codex?   Please take a look at my opinions below, and let me know!

Following that the Codex offers us illustrated pictures of Chaos Demonkin Units in the heraldry of other Warbands, before giving us a centerfold of wonderful ‘Evy Metal Demonkin Miniatures.

After the selection of ‘Evy Metal miniatures, the codex breaks down the data sheets and demonkin rules as included in the miniature codex.

Following the Rules and Keyword section, the codex goes into detail for each Chaos Unit included in the Shadowspear Boxed set.

Master of Possession:  The master of Possession is the figurehead character of this box set.  His sculpt revealed months ago by the Warhammer Community is quite simply amazing.  His stat line is similar to that of a standard Chaos Sorcerer with a few key exceptions.    He has the Demonkin keyword which grants him a +5 invulnerable save and allows him to use the synergies tied to the Demonkin keyword that become apparent later in the Codex. 

The Master of Possession also has the Rite of Possession which declares that psykers suffer perils of the warp on any psychic test roll of a double that is made for them instead of just a 1 or a 6 while they are within 12” inches of any enemy models with this ability.  This ability makes this character a potent physic deterrent. 

Overall, the Master of Possession is a solid support HQ choice for any chaos army.  His ability to cast powers from the Malefic discipline and the ability to force other psykers to suffer perils of the warp more often makes him far more valuable than a standard Chaos Sorcerer.

Chaos Space Marines: While the new plastic sculpts of the Chaos Space Marines new sculpts are amazing, there are no rules update for this classic unit.  

Greater Possessed:  The greater Possessed are a new elite unit currently exclusive to the Shadowspear Box, available in units of two this unit boasts an additional weapon skill, extra attacks, wounds, and toughness than a standard Possessed model.

These models also deploy like a squadron, allowing you to limit your drops and give you the flexibility of two-character datasheets.   Additionally, Greater Possessed have an ability that adds 1 to the strength of any friendly <Mark of Chaos><Legion><Daemon> units within 6” of the model. 

I’m sure that these abilities, harnessed with the dominant stat line, and the character keyword will have us seeing Greater Possessed taken in many Chaos Space Marine Lists.

Obliterators: The classic Obliterator has undergone several changes in the Shadowspear Codex.  They boast an expanded stat line with an additional point of toughness and an extra wound.  They are also now able to be taken in units of one, two or three.  Furthermore, they now have a melee attack profile that they previously did not possess.

These improvements, however, come at a hefty cost, each Obliterator now costs 115 points which is fifty points more than its original incarnation, and with the points increase it will be hard to say if the new and improved Obliterators will make their way into most Army Lists, or if they will become sidelined due to their increase in points.

Venomcrawler:  The final, insectoid offering the in Chaos Demonkin codex is that of the Venomcrawler.   This spider-like demon engine boots an impressive profile, the Demonic and Legion Keywords.  Along with some solid shooting and close combat weapon profiles, it also can regain lost wounds. 

This Demon engine comes with a trunk load of individual abilities and interesting tactical synergies that may make it a hallmark for Chaos armies in the future.

Following the Unit profiles portion of the Codex, there’s a page that explains the Despoilers of the Galaxy rule (objective secured) and relists the Legion traits. (Note, these are the Legion Traits from the Chaos Space Marine first edition codex, not the Legion traits for the second edition codex which are coming out shortly) and then how Fallen, or Fabius Bile could be included in a Demonkin Army.

Continuing onwards, we come to the Malefic Psychic Discipline available only to the Master of Possession.  These powers, unlike those of the Vanguard Librarian, are not tied to only the specific models that come in the Shadowspear Box set, which give them slightly more utility than their loyalist counterparts.

Incursion: This power is unlikely to see much use in matched play, as it relies on the controlling player having set points aside for summoning in daemon reinforcements during a game.  However, if a player decides to use it, they will be able to enjoy rolling four dice instead of three and not suffering any mortal wounds on double, or triples being rolled. 

Sacrifice:  Sacrifice at its casting cost of 4 will allow a Master of Possession to cause an enemy unit within 2 inches to suffer a mortal wound, before allowing any allied <Legion> demon model to heal one wound.  Which is great, but this power gets better,  if you decide to inflict the mortal wound on a friendly <Legion> Warpsmith Model you can heal a friendly <Legion> Daemon Engine model three wounds! This power speaks for itself.

Mutated Invigoration: This power, when cast on a friendly <Legion> Cult of Destruction unit within 18” will grant a single boon to that keyworded unit.  Many of these powers effect Chaos spawn, however, one will affect the results of a single Fleshmetal guns roll, which in turn could completely change the outcome of a round of shooting. 

Possession: Possession is a power that will allow the Master of Possession to turn himself into a game-changing close combat monster.  When cast, grants the Psyker’s weapons an addition -2 to armor penetration till the next friendly Psychic phase.  Also, if a Psyker kills an enemy infantry model during the assault phase that model can be replaced with a Chaos spawn model.  If the enemy infantry model was an Adeptus Astartes or Heretic Astartes model, then the slain model will be replaced with a greater Possessed Model! Additionally, in the Psyker kills an enemy vehicle during the assault phase that vehicle automatically explodes and the attacking Psyker ignores any mortal wounds dealt by the exploding vehicle!

This power could very quickly change the complete tempo and flow a battle if timed correctly, and I am sure that we see it making itself to most table tops very soon.

Cursed Earth: At a casting value of 7 this power will improve the invulnerable save of your demons by 1 (to a maximum of 3+) for demons within 6” of the Psyker, which will very much add to the lifespan of your demons units on the table. 

Infernal Power: Infernal power has a casting value of 6 if manifested it will allow you to reroll all wound and hit rolls of 1 for all friendly <Legion> Daemon units within 6” of the casting Psyker. 

The final entry in the mini codex is the warlord traits section, unlike the Malefic Discipline, these warlord traits are not tied to the Daemon Keyword, however, to use these warlord traits your Warlord must be a Psyker Character.

Arch-Sorcerer: Your Warlord knows one additional power from any of the disciplines listed on their datasheet.

Devourer of Magic: Your warlord can attempt to deny an additional Psychic power in each enemy psychic phase, also, each time your warlord successfully denies a Psychic power your warlord will regain one lost wound.

Reader of Fate:  Once per battle your Warlord can attempt to reroll a failed psychic test or deny the witch test for your warlord.  Also, if you are using a battle-forged army each time your warlord successfully casts a psychic power roll a d6 on the roll of a 6 you gain one command point.

Infernal Gaze: Infernal Gaze allows you to extend your warlords smite psychic power to the closest visible enemy unit within 24”.

War Lord: You may reroll 1’s when taking a psychic test for your warlord.

Daemon-Bound Power: Add 1 to your warlord’s strength characteristic.  Also, you can re-roll damage rolls made for attacks with your Warlord’s force weapon, excluding any artifacts of chaos. 

These Warlord Traits aren’t anything that is going to change the game on their own, much like the rest of the offerings of this Daemonkin Codex; however, that isn’t to say that they aren’t good. Instead, they are utility powers that need to be taken as parts of an evolved army strategy, rather than a single, unstoppable death star. 

Unlike the Vanguard Space Marine Codex, the Demonkin codex doesn’t shake up the meta or provide the best troops of any class to the game.  However, what it does offer is a series of tools to an already well-stocked toolbox, giving a talented Chaos Space Marine player new powerful options that combine with tactics that were previously available to them. 

I believe in the future that these rules, along with the new Chaos Space Marine Codex that is dropping next week will breathe new life into a struggling faction and give it an edge it’s been lacking for some time.