I'm a little late to the party on this one but better late than never, right? In case you were taking your time on this one like I was the short version is this: It's great, and if you're playing a chaos marine army in 40K you should seriously consider it. Since I'm trying to finish up my Iron Warriors -as much as any 40K army can be "finished"- I'm glad I picked it up now as it changed the direction of my army somewhat.
So why is it worth getting?
- It complies the information from multiple other chaos marine supplement type books (mainly Black Legion and Wrath of Magnus) so if you never bothered to pick those up - like me - then it saves you some money. Having it all in one book is nice even if you have the others too.
- It's mostly crunch, not fluff. If you've ever seen the Iyanden codex you'll understand why this matters. Each legion gets about a page of backstory and then we jump right into army lists and special rules.
- It does give more flavor to each of the legions, through a mix of new formations, special rules and access changes. For example, Iron Warriors have Feel No Pain on a 6+, can't include units with marks of any specific power, and can take obliterators as troops. You can argue about whether all of these things fit with their back story but it is a unique mix of rules that no one else has.
- It does make the Chaos Marines more competitive. There's nothing equivalent to scatter laser jetbikes in here, or wraithknights in my opinion, but it is still an upgrade to what we've been working with the past few years. Just having some formations beyond the basic CAD is pretty refreshing. There are still a lot of things to explore when it comes to tournament power combos but if you just want to make a strong list centered around a particular legion with some rules to reflect their composition and philosophy it's a notable step up right away.
I'm in the middle of building out an Iron Warriors army and I have a Plague Marine force as well. Both were originally designed around the traditional CAD. Both started out as ad-hoc forces as some unit caught my fancy and was added to the horde. Over time I developed a philosophy with each one and started a more guided approach to acquisitions. The goal was to fill out a CAD and maybe have some units allocated to a second CAD for bigger fights.
With Traitor Legions this changes. My IW's are mostly straight-up chaos marine squads. This makes them a perfect fit for the new Chaos Warband formation:
- Chaos Lord (rides with the Chosen)
- Chaos Sorcerer (on a bike in my case)
- Unit of Chosen (in a Rhino)
- 2-4 squads of CSM's (in Rhinos)
- CSM Biker squad
- 1-2 Havoc Squads
Now this is all stuff I already have and plan to use already. These guys all get objective secured (from the formation) and have Veterans of the Long War and 6+ FNP (from the IW rules)
There are a lot of other interesting formations in the book. Many of them require a warpsmith and I do have one, but I'm going to go with the good old CAD for the second part of the force. This lets me bring the rest of the units I have. It also gives me objective secured Obliterators which is an interesting new wrinkle.
- HQ: Daemon Prince and/or Warpsmith
- Elites: Helbrute
- Troops: 2+ Obliterators
- Fast Attack: Heldrake, Chaos Spawn
- Heavy Support: Predator
The final element of the army is the Helbrute Mayhem Pack. This is one of the downloadable dataslates that consists of 3 individual helbrutes that deep strike in simultaneously. This is an awesome mix of surprise, effectiveness, and hilarity as at least one always seems to do something unexpected. Who needs drop pods? The loyalist scum are weak! Our dreads drop in with no protection at all!
One further option: Moving the Daemon Prince to a "Lord of the Legion" element and the chaos spawn to a "Spawn" element I can take the "Iron Warriors Grand Company" decurion and get Stubborn on those units and the Chaos Warband.
So, if you've been frustrated playing Chaos Marines in 40K for the last few years, or if you would just like some more options as far as building your army, take a look at this one. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. It's not the return of the 3.5 Codex but it is closer to that kind of book than anything we've seen since.