Sunday, March 23, 2014

Night Lords update

After many tries and failures, starts and stops, I have become pretty adept with the Night Lords.

All my initial thoughts on them were correct.

1.  They can play and beat powerful armies like Tau and Eldar
2.  They can compete with high levels of success against melee oriented foes.
3.  They can annihilate conventional troop OR armor based forces.

Now as Night Lords I first tried adopting a policy of balls to the walls deep striking, fearlessly landing for maximum damage potential and minimum amount of time for enemies to do anything about it.  When you say that out loud it sounds like a very good plan, doesn't it?

As often happens the battlefield reality of this plan was that the Raptors were in the middle of the enemies well of shooting and through massive force could be killed and only reliable simultaneous drops could this approach actually work.  BUT it DID work many times.  Not reliably enough.

So then I took to limiting deep strikes to JUST one Raptor unit and forging forth with the others and that worked, to my surprise a bit better.  I was able to ensure the support was there for the Raptor squad coming in but large raptor squads are large and the mishaps were just too damaging.  I came back from some of those and won, but having to climb up a 45 degree hill is exactly as fun as it sounds.

So then I decided to move things around and JUST deep strike the Mutilators and Obliterators and this worked REMARKABLY well.  Just as Raptors were arriving, so were the support of the mini-units.  I feel that with an Aegis Defense line (something I did not use) this would be brutally effective and indeed even without the Aegis I came to believe I was on to something here.

And so now after much work to correct and plan and re-plan i think I have now developed a very competitive Night Lords army that can take on the worst of the 40K universe.  It is certainly different from its beginnings.

First I've included the Black Legion as allies.  I became acutely aware that the need for a Wraith Knight/Beasty killer was very important to avoid just flat out losing whole Raptor squads.  I also learned that with such limited shooting in a Night lords force, I needed reliability in getting first Blood, which is very key in some games.  I also needed a way to crack the Eldar shells early to reduce the fusillade they emit.  A Black Legion Chaos Lord is the answer to all those problems.  He is still just a Chaos Lord, but the Eye of Night and the Hand of Darkness coupled with his Nurgle blessings make him very dangerous.

I also came to appreciate more and more how the Obliterators, even single ones, were of incredible value added to the Mutilators.  Such threats, while certainly needing to be dealt with, distracted the enemy from my main wave at little or no cost to me.  Sometimes 300 points worth of enemy units would try and kill the little buggers (I call them my Nurgle Droppings).  It can take 2-3 enemy units to kill just one and the cost of failing to do so was usually an enemy tank worth far more than I paid to kill it.  The soak as well as the damage potential proved invaluable.

Over time I have taken to marching the obliterators forward, realizing that the distraction they are is present whether I drop them in or I don't!  Given that, it is actually to me advantage depending on the mission to just put damage out there and use them to protect the Raptors in round 1.  The Mutilators are almost always better in Deep Strike but if the enemy is drop podding, then I even start with them on the board so I can wipe the Drop unit after it does its damage to me.  Against enemies that aren't as agile, I deep strike.

The Sorcerer is good for psychic defense of his chosen unit and so can start in a raptor unit to defend it and then split off to its bodyguard.  The ridiculous range of the Nurgle malediction he can cast (48") is pretty awesome and has turned a number of melee's in my favor.  he is often nowhere near the fighting at first but is effective nonetheless.

I tried the Skyshield Fortification.  It was a massive disappointment in terms of what it could do for my army.  Although it wasn't 100% useless, It is hard to argue that it served more than to dictate target priority between Raptor squads.  whatever one wasn't on the shield got shot.  nothing exciting about that.  I abandoned it in the final list but would say this about it:  if you took a Black Legion obliterator or squad of them, it does give all those obliterators a good platform to fire down on the enemy from.  so it has its value that way.  It just didn't fit with the tactica of forward movement to force the enemy into hard decisions.

The Dirge Casters proved very important.  a number of Psychic powers, unit abilities and other attributes (some as simple as a brutal rate of fire) allow for fairly effective over watch.  I took the Rhinos to simply provide mobile Dirge Casters.  I rarely put anyone in them to start the game and they are the First blood target of choice to any enemy, but their value beyond that as targets is highly debatable when you consider what else is coming at you.  So the Dirge Casters as much as the opponent hated it, often were able to do their jobs.  the percentage of the time I got Dirge Casters into position is easily 75% of the time and it wasn't as if i always NEEDED to do so.  It was a luxury in some cases, vital in others but the net result is that they were worth the points and really made Eldar and Tau match ups more bearable.

The one thing I never tested were Bikes.  10 of them are roughly the same cost as 14 Nurgle Raptors, they are tougher (though less numerous) faster and have far better saves.  In other words, better in every way save their numbers.  there is a pretty good debate to be made for their inclusion.  i think it would depend a great deal on match ups.  Raptors tend to be more universally useful while the Bikers tend to be less so because of the number of things that eliminate cover and are STR 8 or higher (which wounds a Nurgle Biker on 2+).  I don't know if there IS a right answer there.  Bikers would not bring as many attacks, but would take less damage in melee.  their shooting is better, clearly, however and that counts for something.  I think it is most definitely worth exploring their use in a Night Lord list.

The Heldrake is a very rapacious thing and the enemy will usually kill it within two rounds.  Its damage output in two rounds is gratifying though and though I have thought often of getting rid of it due to Interceptor guns, its effectiveness is without question and certain enemies are poorly equipped to handle it

The list is now strong.  I have made the Chaos lord a 285 point beast that can deal with any role, and certainly strong enough to take out the truly important targets.  He does everything BUT fly basically!

I hope others will follow this and try their own Night Lord units.


  1. I've been putting together a night lords force of my own and aiming for 1750 points in total. I was wondering what your thoughts on combing Huron and his D3 infiltrators with taking Cypher and 3 units of chosen, equipped out with 5 plasma/5 flamer/5melta/CC gubbins? This would allow 4-6 infiltrators with a ton of firepower in the chosen, probably a large squad of raptors infiltrating (i have preference for MoS and icon of excess), couple of troop choices and backed up with bike squad/heldrake/predator combinations. I've not added it all up but no doubt much of this will not fit into 1750 but the idea is their if you have any thoughts.

    Once again, loving your night lords stuff and mentality in general.

  2. How many KP's do you end up with? Exchanging units works out poorly if you're badly outnumbered at any one point. I am attracted to the concept of Huron though and I'd be interested in a little glimpse at your preliminary list.


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