Saturday, February 11, 2017

Fall of Cadia: Initial impressions on Celestine.

It is a dire time for the Imperium...

You cannot go 10,000 years without eradicating your nemesis, and then expect good things to happen.  Now in this Gathering Storm supplement, the crashing weight of the Imperiums failures and attempts to fight wars on all fronts both strategically as well as spiritually have brought about its inevitable consequence.

As a result of this dire need has come the Fall of Cadia book.  With it has come something entirely expected:  the ability to incorporate the various factions of the Imperium into a combined force.

This was first attempted in the WitchHunters and Daemonhunters codex's although not quite in so consolidated a fashion.  Multiple Detachments kind of allowed it in another way.  The Fall of Cadia book allows you to flat out incorporate the armies of the Imperium into one force without the need for multiple detachments.

Celestine (note the distinction from Codex: Adepta Sororitas where she is Saint Celestine and does not have the same stats and rules, nor cost), Inquisitor Greyfax and Belisarius Cawl all have a special exemption, found in Fall of Cadia, The exemption is tricky so I thought I would go over this because people FACING it will need to know as surely as those using it.

The exemption says that any of these three characters can be included as an HQ choice in a Detachment that has the same Faction as they do, even though they are listed separately in Fall of Cadia.  This is kind of a tricky one on its own, because what it's saying is that their first must BE a choice.  Formations in particular often specify they require a "Space Marine Captain" for example or they might require some other specific HQ.  In those cases now or in the future, these three Independent characters could not take their place.   On the other hand in the Vestal Formation (Codex: Imperial Agents), which actually allows HQ choices, Celestine from Fall of Cadia could be incorporated as one, even though St. Celestine from Codex:Adepta Sororitas could not because she does not have that exemption, and is not listed in Codex: Imperial Agents.

The second part of the exemption is that these three characters can be included in a Combined Arms Detachment or Allied Detachment (specifically) as an HQ choice if it is one for Armies of the Imperium.  That covers a lot of armies!!!  This is great news for some because Inquisitor Greyfax is an excellent choice for any army.  Infiltrators are more and more common now in Warhammer 40,000 and more armies can do it with dangerous consequences.  The Strategic Warlord Traits table can be a pretty severe problem for some armies.  I have been victimized by it on at least two notable occasions where the enemy both infiltrated and seized.  That did not end well for me.  I for one will be seriously interested in having Greyfax on board in certain armies I own.

Celestines considerably powerful aura can be used to benefit a lot of armies and it is somewhat ironic to me that this book may well make Celestine one of the more popular models in armies!  Good for the Adepta Sororitas profile in general.  Celestine has a 12" bubble within which she can use some powers once per game,  I have already come up with some fun little crazy combinations regarding Celestine.

Imagine her once per game ability to affect Heavy Support units by granting them the Relentless rule for a round, and who it might affect.  Three Purgation Squads hopping from Rhinos and hosing down the enemy with Psycannons at full range and ballistic skill?  Could be pretty encouraging, and it removes a major nerf to the Psycannons.  Salvo?  What were they thinking?  But now you can drop them into position with Celestine to guide them.

Another fun idea is if you're playing with Iron Hands.  Her aura that affects troops makes that 6+ Feel No Pain on your Troops Choices into 5+ for a round.  That is statistically significant.

When your fellow HQ is heading into a battle that looks daunting, make them a Zealot for a round. This allows you to stand your ground and re-roll all to hits in the first round of combat.  There are a lot of challenges that might have gone the other way had you just gotten one more roll your way.  The automatic passing of Morale tests is great, but those re-rolls can be golden.  You can do it to an entire Astra Militarum blob squad without needing a Priest or Commissar, in the round that counts by using it on the Psyker in the unit, for example.

Her Fast Attack aura?  Here's a REALLY fun idea for you:  Imagine Rough Riders that get Crusader!  That actually matters to them because their base initiative is so poor.  How great would that be?  Pretty great for those of us who love the whole idea of the polish defeating the German Tanks (one battle ever, but hey).  Plenty of Marine Assault Squads would find that very exciting as well, because Crusader makes it tough for other Marines to get out of combat after being charged, as they would love to do at times.

Celestine affects Elite Choices with Furious Charge and Counter Attack.  When striking at something like a WraithKnight that can make an enormous difference to a unit.  Purifiers charging with STR 7 Halberds (9 with Hammerhand)?  Yes please?  I myself use Sisters Repentia and giving them Furious Charge would be awesome against tough stuff like a WraithKnight.  Fishing for 5's is a lot easier than 6's, and when you can re-roll them (thanks to a Priest in the unit granting them):  all the better.

All of this ignores the simple fact that Celestine herself is ridiculous.  You ESSENTIALLY have to knock out sixteen or more 2+ save wounds to get rid of her.  I'm just saying, the odds are long on that. Why sixteen?  She starts with 5 base +2 for her Geminae, and she can resurrect a Geminae once per turn.  When you kill Celestine, as before, she can rise up once but she copmes back at full strength and can start resurrecting Geminae again.  Its WORK to kill her.  If you thought Magnus was kind of a bear because you can't put wounds on him easily, wait til you try to mill through all of hers.  At T3, you're going to get a lot more chances, but no matter what you're blasting her with, 2+/4+invul saves is no picnic basket.  She's fast enough to cause headaches, her influence on her fellow units is going to be impressive and "ignoring her" will end badly, methinks.  She and her Geminae cohorts will brutalize most things.  If you can tie them up with something really tough, and stick her in place to limit the damage, you've done some good.   If she joins a Repentia squad with their AP 2, it may well rampage across the entire enemy line with seeming impunity.

This lady is a very big gun and it's a shame in some ways that they made her available to all Armies of the Imperium because frankly, it will diminish the Codex: Adepta Sororitas not to require that force in order to play her.  That being said, clearly her abilities are meant to benefit the Adepta Sororitas units (with the odd exception of the It Will Not Die power for a round which can be used on Lords of War, of which there are none).  Taking Adepta Sororitas, as I like to do, will certainly make the ladies better, without changing the units themselves, which I suppose was the point of the exercise with these splat books.

I will say that Grey Knights seem to be surprisingly awesome recipients for her powers, and I am probably going to see what kind of impact she can have while playing them.  When you compare Castellan Crowe to this...  Is it even a question?  Crowe losing the ability to make Purifiers Troops Choices was unfortunate but it does mean Celestine can replace him with ease now, and likely will.  The only question is:  Do the Purifiers in my collection now become Purgation Squads?  Hmm...




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