This list is designed to represent all sorts of different armies that have turned from the Imperium. While most of them are some form of chaos worshipers, its quite refreshing to be able to take a force of guardsmen who have just want to be free from the oppression. Not that I will be using such a force, but its possible.
Before I go into detail of the list here are the important special rules for the army list.
Uncertain Worth: The units of the renegades and heretics aren't known for their training or bravery, so when a unit with this special rule has to take a LD based test (moral, pinning, something else) you roll a D6 and +4 and that is their LD for the rest of the game. You could have a unit of cowards, or hardened veterans determined to spit in the face of their enemy. Its a risk, but it could be interesting to see what you get.
Fanatic: This rule allows you to roll 2D6 and pick the highest for Uncertain worth, so its more likely to end up with a higher Ld, not guaranteed, but helps.
Chaos covenant: A model can make a pact with the chaos gods and receive certain gifts for it, which spreads to the whole unit. I think this is a great way to give the force a feel of being dedicated to a certain god.
- Khorne: In the first round of close combat the unit can re-roll failed rolls to wound in the first round of combat. While it doesn't sound too scary on say a guardsman... what about 40 of them? Yer... not your worried.
- Nurgle: The unit gains feel no pain (6+) , not great.
- Slaanesh: The unit gains fleet, which is useful for getting units where you want them and into combat for those combat units (ogryn).
- Tzeentch: A unit with this rule gets to make snap shots at BS 2 instead of 1. This is huge as it doubles the chance of shooting down fliers and actually doing damage with over watch. This has a lot of potential.
And of course we get warlord traits which are... brilliant.
- Fanatical Convert: If a unit with in 12 is destroyed, if it has uncertain worth you can roll a D6 and if you roll high enough, you gain 1 Vp... just do. Wow that's massive, you could win a game of the relic by getting your army killed and doing nothing else.
- Tyrant: your warlord can kill members of his own unit to force a fleeing unit to auto-rally. Also useful.
- Prophet: You can influence one reserve roll a turn (yours AND your opponents), you can either succeed on a 2+ or 6 + regardless of modifiers... your choice. That can stop a potentially devastating unit from coming into play or making sure you get the unti you need in. Its amazing.
- Artisan: if your warlord isn't in base to base but is locked in combat can swap his attacks for a poison 4+ ap 2 attack... its ok, but situational.
- Iconoclast: you can make one of your units better ant damaging buildings each turn.
- Soul-scarred terror: the warlord gains fear and roll a D6 for each enemy in base to base at initiative step 1, on a 6 the model takes a wound.
The way the list works, you have only really have single choice of Hq, The renegade command squad, but you can take many different upgrades to make it what you want, the biggest way is though the Renegade Devotions. These are upgrades which show what kind of leader your warlord is (if you take this upgrade you have to make it him your warlord). We have 6 available:
Primaris-rogue Witch: you get a psyker who can choose from a limited list of disciplines, and you are allowed to take rogue psykers are elites which boosts your power dice, probably my least favourite.
Mutant Overlord: This poor sod hasn't had much luck in life, deformed and dismissed by the imperium its no wonder they turn to chaos. This gives your warlord 3 rolls on a table which can either increase stats like Ws or strength, or cripple them with less attacks or initiative. How ever you get to pick which state goes down out of the two and you generally get more than you lose. But that's not all, you get to take a unit of chaos spawn as troops and you can mutate Ogryn.
Master of the Horde: As the name suggests this buy brings the hordes, they are forced to take at least 2 platoons and they are allowed to have up to 30 models per unit. That's bit, but for each unit of 15+ models that gets removed from the table, roll a D6, on a 5+ the unit goes into reserve, including all upgrades the unit had... not a bad little upgrade.
Arch-Heretic Revolutionary:When you think of chaos cults this is the guy you normally think of, the rabble rouser who is totally dedicated to the cause of chaos. He is a fanatic and to show this gains Zelot and allows other units to take the abilit fanatic (which helps with Ld). They can also take more Enforcers (more on them later).
Heretak Magus:A member of the dark mechanicum, the warlord gains power armour and +1 toughness but his real strength is allowing the list to take Defilers, Decimators and Titans. If you want vehicles and BIG walkers this is your guy.
Bloody Handed Reaver: This guy is the trained solider, maybe he was a high ranking general who turned to chaos for more power, maybe he is the leader of the Blood Pact, either way he takes no shit and doesn't tolerate rabbles. This upgrade allows you to upgrade your veterans to have +1 Bs (making them 4) and gain hot shot lasguns. It also allows your infantry to take flak armour instead of the sub-flak the army normally has. This guy make the list similar to Astra Militarum while still having the flavour of chaos.
Now for the actual command squad its more or less the same as the Imperial guard command squad, apart from you can boost the squad size up to 15 members. The stats aren't great, they are what you would expect from a human. But something else that affects the force is what chaos covenant the warlord takes, if indeed he does. It allows them take take different units.
- None: up to 3 maruders.
- Khorne: a unit of blood slaughters.
- Nurgle: a unit of plague zombies and/or blight drones.
- Slaanesh: Noise marines and/or sonic dreadnought.
- Tzeetch: up to 3 units of spawn as troops.
We do also have 2 more choices for Hq but they are less units, more additions to the force which may or may not help later on. They are enforcers and psykers.
Enforcers are similar to a IG commissar, but have a slightly different role, they add +1 to the units LD and if the unit fails a moral test they can execute a model to re-roll. For some reason they have 2 wounds and 3 attacks so aren't slouches in combat but they can take combat drugs which give the unit rage when they charge, which if you are Khorne... well it all adds up.
Psykers are rather odd. They may not join units, and have 3 possible powers, are forced to stay at level 1 and have 2 wounds. The interesting part is if they take a perils from the warp you remove them and replace them with a possessed psyker, who becomes a 3 attack, strength 5 rending combat machine. Its very odd.
Renegade Infantry Platoon
Again this is similar to the imperial guard infantry platoon, you can take between 3 and 5 squads each 10 – 20 models. At 3 points a model this can be very cheap if you just want a large horde of cheap troops, but they are the same as conscripts. You can upgrade them to have militia training (+1 bs and ws), for 10 points, regardless of the unit size. They have no armour saves, and you can give them a 6+ save for 5 points, but it isn't great. One of the units may be upgraded to be the command squad which if you buy a vox, allows the other units to use their LD if its higher. So very possible to make infantry squads equal to the guardsmen, or keep them cheap.
This guys are the same as the starting infantry unit but it can't be upgraded apart from sub-flack armour. What sets these guys apart if the unit can be up to 50 models and has the special rule 'curse of mutation' which gives the unit a random ability, from stealth, and +1 strength hammer of wrath attacks.
This unit is very odd, instead of bs 4 of the guard, they have ws 4 which is an interesting change. The unit starts very cheap at 35 points for 5, but gets very expensive as you have to pay 10 points for each extra model. But you can give them special rules such as tank hunter, deep strike, furious charge and scout. While very versatile, I can see the unit getting very expensive quickly. But as the other units might be cheaper it can balance out.
If you have a nurgle warlord you gain access to zombies, these guys are also 3 points (everything seems to be) and have terrible stats. They gain fearless, slow and purposeful, feel no pain (4+) and warp plague. Now warp plague allows the zombies to replenish their ranks if they kill a unit in combat or force it to flee they gain D3 new zombies. Now that's if they ever win combat, they don't exactly have the best stats.
This unit is only available if your warlord doesn't have a chaos covenant, these guys are pirates, mercenaries and anyone after some money to fight. They are ws 4 humans who come with a specialist skill, either stalkers (outflank, steath and move though cover), murder cultist (furious charge, crusader) or heretek (carapace armour). The upgrades are just the normal ones that every one gets, but they can have brutes join the unit, which are strength 4 with rending. However the unit has another special rule, in it for the money, if they flee, they can't regroup, ever.
For 55 points you get a unit of 3 chaos spawn, which is stupidly cheap and potentially quite good. Unfortunately you can only take this unit from the warlords special rules.
These guys are the veterans of the army, BS 4 and fanatics. They are pretty much just Ig veterans but they are elites. Its hard to say anything else about the unit. The biggest advantage of this unit is that they are fanatics hopefully making them high LD.
The fast attack of the army list are the Helhound variants, sentinels and salamanders and valkyrie. They all come at Bs 2 and for that they are slightly cheaper than in the codex astra militarum. You can upgrade them back up to BS 3 for a set price. Now if you take them in units, its the same price so you get a slight discount.
You have the same units to pick from as the astra militarum, Leman russ battle tanks, basalisks, as well as the rest of the forgeworld heavy supports. What is different is you have to take support squads as heavy supports. Which is a bit of a shame instead of being part of the troops section. However you get a massive discount and you can get up to 6 bases in a squad.
Lords of war
Regardless of your warlord you get a choice of the Malcador, Malcador 'defender', Minotaur artillery tank and Baneblade. Now these are the same as the imperial ones except for the Baneblade, which gives all units within 12 inches have both the zealot and fanatic special rules which is a great boost to the army.
Now you also get extra lord of war units depending on what kind of upgrades you have for your warlord.
- Bloody handed reaver: Lord of skulls or brass scorpion
- Primaris-rogue witch: the daemon lords
- Mutant overlord: you can take 1-3 giant chaos spawn or spined chaos beasts
- arch-heretic: Any macharius variant
- Heretek: Warhound or reaver titan.
Now I know you can easily start drawing comparisons between this army list and the Imperial Guard. Indeed that's exactly what I started to do when I first read over it, and I believe at first glance I came away a little disappointed. But upon reading it over again I have come to the realisation that I was wrong, you should not compare the two together, as much as you want to, they may have very similar units (and some the same) but the way they will act on the battle field is totally different.
Let us take the veteran unit for example, they are totally different, while having the same name and similar stats. In the astra militarum they are BS 4 and can have 3 special weapons, great for taking out tank provided they have a transport. In this list they are WS 4, and can only have up to 2 special weapons. Now that wouldn't be so bad but the renegade veterans with 2 special weapons are 5 points more expensive than imperial veterans with 3. BUT do not worry it doesn't make them useless. The renegades can buy abilities such as deep strike which is cheaper than a chimera allowing them to get where they need to be with out signalling before hand, as with a chimera you kind of know what's going to happen. But also it means that they now have the option to charge, having WS 4 makes a difference and while it doesn't make them combat masters it does give them an edge vs the astra militarum and the like.
Example 2, the infantry platoons. While the renegades are cheaper and lightly equipped they have the ability to quickly swamp the imperial guard as the unit upgrades which really help them are bought as a whole regardless of size, so you can have 20 guardsmen in a single squad for the price of one and a half imperial guardsmen. Over the course of the battle that could make a hell of a difference.
Example 3, bs 2 hellhounds and leman russ battle tanks? They are cheaper and the BS really doesn't come into it when you are a flame tank or have a large template.
Another thing that really makes a difference is that with the rule uncertain worth you really are at the mercy of the dice. It will really give your army character, it suits chaos quite well as it can both give to you and take away, quite characterful.
What I am trying to say it, this army list is rather unique as it takes parts from many different lists and brings them together, and comparing it to other similar codex's isn't going to do anything. I think this list is brilliant, and what's more it can allow those people who made a lost and the damned force from 3rd edition to use them again properly, while still allowing vraks armies to work brilliantly. Personally this list is what 40k needs, and I wish some of the GW codex's were more like it. It gives options for many things while not making half of them obsolete and keeps the character and background alive. Compared to say the grey knight codex this is stunning.
However, if you are after a competitive list, I am not 100% sure this is for you. Don't get me wrong a competitive list does live in this book some where but I hope people that use this use it for fun and characterful games. I would hate to see this book used as a cookie cutter list as it takes away from it a little.
Anyway I hope this little article gave you a little insight into the renegade and heretic list.