Crimson Slaughter Codex Review - Warhammer 40k
Crimson Slaughter Introduction
Welcome, fellow gamers. My name is Murphy and I've just had a read through of the brand new Crimson Slaughter Codex for Warhammer 40k. This codex is a supplemental codex for the Chaos Space Marine army, as in the original codex is required to play it! There are a few pages of important rules, and a lot of background and art.
I was actually quite pleased with some of the changes made to the army list/rules and I think Chaos fans will be pleased, too. If you haven't read my original review of the Chaos Space Marine Codex, click here below, then we can continue with the Crimson Slaughter article.
Alright, let's get started!
Crimson Slaughter Background
The Crimson Slaughter had an original name: the Crimson Sabres. This loyalist chapter was from an unknown founding, but the Inquisition might hold more records as to their origins and gene-seed.
What is known, however, is that the Crimson Sabres were a martial chapter, dedicated to combat, discipline, and the righteousness of the Imperial Creed. The pride of their successes isolated them from other chapters, and bred a competitive mindset, which furthered their drive to martial perfection.
While serving a call for aid on the planet Umidia, the Crimson Sabres discovered deeply infested cults to the dark gods and set about purging the taint from the planet. The more cleansing actions they prosecuted, they more corruption they unrooted. Their righteous zeal consumed them and soon the Crimson Sabres saw the corruption everywhere. Before they realized where their actions were taking them, the Crimson Sabres has massacred the population of the entire planet.
Later investigations by the Inquisition found very little evidence that widespread corruption had taken root on Umidia . . . so what had taken place. Were the Crimson Sabres tricked by the Chaos Gods? Or had a corrupted gene-seed finally given in to the taint within the chapter?
Regardless, the marines of the Crimson Sabres became besieged by the voices of the dead. Their massacre had destroyed their psyche, and the pleading, angry voices of the dead haunted their every waking moment. Still, the Crimson Sabres did not turn traitor.
Seeking only to understand the cause of the malediction, the Crimson Sabres turned to investigate the planet Demetra, sister planet to Umidia. They found further evidence of the corruption they had prosecuted on Umidia and sought to gather this evidence to clear their name of any atrocities they had committed earlier. Yet, as they made planetfall, their doom was sealed as they again gave way to the insatiable slaughter they had experience on Umidia.
As they killed, the voices of their victims began to fade. They realized that only through continued violence could they quell the taint within them. To seek peace was to give in to insanity, for only through slaughter could they retain their minds.
With a second genocide to their record. the Crimson Sabres were deemed outcasts and were now hunted by the Imperium. With their homeworld deemed Exterminatus, they Crimson Sabres fled into the Eye of Terror, not to rebel, but to fight the traitor legions were they could . . . to both continue to serve the Imperium while also continuing their slaughter without inflicting harm on innocent populations.
After years spent in the Eye of Terror, continue their slaughter to diminish the power of the voices in their heads, the Crimson Sabres began to mutate. Each passing battle brought more and more corruption to the marines . . . and the voices of their victims began to sing a unified tune . . . your slaughter is righteous, your cause is just, the Imperium is wrong.
The Crimson Sabres turned to self-preservation, using their new corruption to better themselves in battle. No longer concerned with their reputation or the ideals of the Imperium. With a final purge of the few remaining Loyalists, the Crimson Sabres crossed the final line and became the Crimson Slaughter.
Crimson Slaughter Army Rules
The Crimson Slaughter use the standard Chaos Space Marine Codex to create their army. However, there are a few supplemental rules that replace or add to the CSM rules. Let's check them out.
Harbingers of the Tormented - All models in a Crimson Slaughter army have the Fear special rule.
Draznicht's Ravages - For just 10 points you can upgrade a unit of Chosen to have Preferred Enemy. This rule applies to the unit Champion, and if he dies then the rule is lost.
Renegades of the Dark Millennium - The Crimson Slaughter are a new renegade faction of chaos space marines, as a result most units cannot take Veterans of the Long War. Only Khorn Berserkers, Plague Marines, and Noise Marines may take VotLW.
Allies - It says that Crimson Slaughter can Ally with Chaos Space Marines and are Battle Brothers. Does this mean they can ONLY Ally with CSM? I don't think so . . . this supplement uses all the standard rules of the parent codex, so I think it's just saying that you can ally this book with the parent book, as well. It is worded ambiguously, but I think this makes sense.
A couple of thoughts . . . Having fear on every model in your army can be a great thing if your local gaming group has a lot of non-space marine armies. Tau, Imperial Guard, Eldar, Dark Eldar, etc are all very susceptible to a failed Fear check.
I really like the Chosen upgrade that will give the unit Preferred Enemy. Load up on plasma guns and you can re-roll any To Hit roll of 1... which means you will likely never Get Hot and you will be blasting enemy units turn after turn. Keep them safe inside a Rhino so two can pop shots out of the top, then disembark them while within 12" of an enemy to double-tap those plasma guns and wipe out entire squads.
Giving up Veterans of the Long War is a mixed bag. I love that rule, but it is pricey across a whole army and only comes in to play in assaults. It's a fair compromise, and you can still have Cult units take the upgrade . . . for those visiting veterans.
Crimson Slaughter Possessed
Slaves to the Voices
The Crimson Slaughter have become mutated and twisted by the dark powers of Chaos. As such, they have a large number of Possessed within their ranks. This new rules is an interesting addition to this codex. So what does it do?
First, it makes units of Possessed become Troops, rather than Elite. Secondly, it changes the rules for Possessed. At the beginning of your turn, you roll for each unit of Possessed on the following chart and immediately apply the effects until the start of your next turn.
- Unit and any transport vehicle gain Shrouded.
- Unit changes its type to Beasts (12" move, not slowed by terrain!)
- 3+ invulnerable save and gain Rending special rule.
This is a pretty good change. It's unfortunate that it's random, but you know how chaos loves random tables! Let's look at each entry.
Gaining Shrouded... if this happens in the early game (or late game while holding an objective) then it can be very useful. Start your Possessed in area terrain (or move them into it) and you can be looking at a 2+ or 3+ cover save. This can greatly protect your expensive troops and keep them alive to reach combat.
Becoming Beasts . . . I love beasts! They move 12" in the Movement Phase and basically ignore terrain. Their clawed limbs let them gallop swiftly through anything. Unfortunately, beasts are slowed by terrain when assaulting, but they have Fleet, so they should still get somewhere. With at least one roll resulting in Beasts, you should be getting Turn 2 assaults.
3+ Save and Rending . . . this is a great result because it helps you with both defense and offense. Obviously a 3+ invulnerable save helps you against any heavy weapons coming you way, so you may survive a little more to reach assault. In the assault, it can save your daemonic hide against power weapons of all types. The Rending is great for offense because some hot dice will result in AP2 hits in melee.
I also want to remind readers about what rules Possessed also have:
- Marines stats but Strength of 5 and 2 Attacks Base.
- Daemon special rule (Fear, 5+ Invuln)
- Can take Marks of Chaos and Icons
- Can take a Rhino.
- Just under 30 points per model . . . so still expensive!
Crimson Slaughter Warlord Traits
If your primary detachment is from the Crimson Slaughter codex, then your HQ can roll on their new Warlord Chart.
- Warlord and unit gain Hatred... against Dark Angels, you can re-roll misses on EVERY round of combat.
- Enemy units within 12" of warlord are at -1 LD, but are -2 LD for Fear checks!
- Warlord has Rage and Furious Charge, but if he or his unit is within 12" of an enemy, they cannot Shoot and must Assault.
- Warlord and Unit has the Crusader special rule.
- Enemy models in base contact with warlord take d6 Str 3 hits at AP - at Initiative 10.
- Warlord has Shrouded (which he gives to unit, by the way).
Crimson Slaughter Relics
Crimson Slaughter Relics
Characters from a Crimson Slaughter codex cannot select the relics from the main CSM codex. Instead they may select from the new list below. There are some very interesting items here, if combined with other wargear!
Crozius of Dark Covenant - Replaces a Dark Apostle's power maul. +2 Str, AP 4, Concussive and grants Warp Medium . . . which gives all Crimson Slaughter units within 6" of the bearer the Zealot special rule (Fearless and Hatred).
Blade of the Relentless - Lord only. Power sword with Soul Siphon . . . keep a tally of every model slain by this sword and gain the following effects (cumulative)
- 1+ kill, gain +1 Strength
- 3+ kills, gain AP 2
- 5+ kills, gain another +1 Strength
- 10+ kills, gain Instant Death
The Slaughterer's Horns - Gain Furious Charge, Hammer of Wraith, and Rage.
Balestar of Mannon - Sorcerer only. Gain access to the Divination psychic powers AND re-roll failed psychic power tests. However, the bearer or his unit cannot gain bonuses to Deny the Witch rolls.
Daemonheart - Cannot be taken by a Daemon Prince. Gain a 2+ armor save and It Will Not Die.
Prophet of the Voices - Gains Daemon, Fearless, Fleet special rules. It gains the Slaves to the Voice rule (for possessed) and can only join units of Possessed.
Some thoughts on these relics. First, the most expensive of these relics is only 30 points. These are pretty cheap!
I love the one that grants Divination to a sorcerer, as it's a powerful discipline. Gaining Precognition (re-roll To Hit rolls for a unit within 12") is very nice!
The Blade of the Relentless will be great if you can get into combat early with a squishy unit, and let a unit champion soak up any challenges, so your lord can kill the fodder. Soon he will be a Strength 6 AP 2 monster in combat! A little more blood on his blade will then give him Instant Death!
What if we put the Daemon Heart on a Nurgle Lord on a Bike? We'd have a Toughness 6 Lord with a 2+ armor save and It Will Not Die, that can move 12" in the Movement Phase. Yes, please!
The last relic that turns your character into a Possessed is very fluffy and could gain you some added bonuses! Why not?
What do you think about these new Relics? Go ahead and rate them using the Star system to the right!
Crimson Slaughter Conclusion
That's about it! I have to say that I wasn't very interested in this codex at first glance. Who are these Crimson Slaughter upstarts? Why can't I have a supplemental codex for the original Traitor Legions? Night Lords . . . Alpha Legion . . . Word Bearers? Yes, the original Chaos Codex can make generic armies that have bits of flavor of all the traitor legions, but I want Chapter Tactics!
Once I got over my first reaction, and actually READ the codex, I was please. First, the Crimson Slaughter have a good backstory that is not bogged down by 25 years of gaming history. For newer players without an emotional attachment to the old fluff, this is not a bad place to start. For veteran players wanting a new project, the back story is a good starting point.
At least we have information about what these guys have been doing in the 41st millennium, rather than vagueries of the Black Crusade.
Rules-wise, this is a neat supplement. I would not have thought about making Possessed troops, and with the subtle changes to the chart, they made these overcosted units more survivable. The Warlord Chart has several useful results and giving Fear to every model is a nice touch versus xenos or guard armies.
Finally, the relics are cheap and darn useful! I mentioned the Nurgle Biker with the Daemonheart already. So what do you guys think about the codex? Take the poll to the right!
After that, check out some of my other 40k articles. I have lots of new information on Imperial Knights, the new IG codex coming out (Astra Militarum), and a much more!
- NEW! 7th Edition Warhammer 40k Rules
- Chaos Space Marine Codex Review
- Imperial Knight Codex Review
- Heldrake Tactics
- Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) News
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment below. Murphy out!