I already talked a bit about my thoughts on Crimson Slaughter shortly after its release. Since then I have had a chance to read the codex entirely and get in a handful of games with it. So, I figured I’d chat a bit about my experience with it so far.
Crimson Slaughter: Fluff
First off, I really like the fluff. The last time I talked about Crimson Slaughter I didn’t have the opportunity to read the fluff. I was honestly impressed with it. I know most Chaos Space Marine players would have preferred to get a legion codex but what we got instead was a nice change of pace in my opinion. It’s not terribly often that Games Workshop establishes new material in the Warhammer 40K universe; things are perpetually stuck in the year 39,999.9999999999999999999 and at best we get some new insights into historical events. Crimson Slaughter didn’t propel forward the timeline any but it’s at least brand new material and that’s fine by me.
I enjoyed reading about the slow fall to Chaos by the Crimson Sabres and thought it was well written. My only real complaint is that the focus was almost exclusively on Kranon the Relentless (well, Sevastus Kranon as a loyalist), their Chapter Master. It makes sense to put focus there but it would have been nice to hear about other notable characters more, like Dzargon Draznicht, the champion of the Ravagers, their Chosen.
Crimson Slaughter: Gaming
To gaming. We ran a Warhammer 40K campaign recently at my LGS and I opted to take a Sorcerer as my HQ just to break away from my norm. I did not run him as a divination Sorcerer (crazy, right?), but instead I went another route. Our HQ choice had to remain throughout the campaign and we could not remove items from him, only add. So, I made some choices for the hell of it.
Starting off I gave my Sorcerer Daemonheart, which gives him a 2+ and IWND (it will not die). I made him mastery 3, gave him the Sigil of Corruption (4++), and then Mark of Tzeentch so he was at a 2+/3++. Obviously I was aiming for survivability and to that end he hung out with Terminators. His performance was alright. Not spectacular but not bad.
Over time I gave him a jump pack and put him with Raptors and that’s where he started to shine. At one point I even gave him The Slaughterer’s Horns, which grants him furious charge, hammer of wrath and rage. The Slaughterer’s Horns was a choice because I had some points to play with but it worked out really well on him. Having furious charge and rage was like having a Sorcerer or Khorne (which of course is not possible), with the survivability of Tzeentch and he was doing well in my games.
Ultimately, I think I finally found a way to run a Sorcerer that I like. Now, giving him The Balestar of Mannon to get access to divination is a no-brainer. I did not do it because I wanted to see if there was more to be done with a Crimson Slaughter Sorcerer than simply being a divination machine, and I’m glad I did. Adding in divination will just be the icing on the cake now.
Something else I have toyed with is my Chaos Lord on Juggernaut with Daemonheart (again 2+ and IWND), and the Blade of the Relentless, the power sword that improves with kills. Daemonheart has proven to be a pretty invaluable piece of wargear. Coupling the 2+ with IWND has let my Lord do some serious tanking. The Blade of the Relentless has been disappointing. It starts off as a basic power sword and after you get one kill you get +1 strength. At three kills you get AP2 and at five you get another +1 strength. The last bonus is at 10 kills you get instant death. It sounds reasonable but there’s a few issues I’ve run into.
One issue is starting off with a basic power sword doesn’t make it really easy to start getting those kills, at least when you factor in the whole challenge fun that Chaos Space Marines have to deal with. Now, the blade improves with any kill in close combat, it doesn’t have to be from the blade, only the blade gains the bonuses though. I could give the Lord another weapon more suited to easier kills to start powering up the blade but that’s a big investment in points; just doesn’t seem worth it. If I’m going to buy my Lord two melee weapons then I don’t see the Blade of the Relentless being one of them.
The other thing is even when you get going with the kills and start powering up the blade it’s still not that amazing. The bonuses aren’t bad but they’re not that great either. For the points spent on the blade (five shy of a Rhino), I just want more out of it. I can buy a power axe for half the cost and be S5, AP2 from the start. Sure, he would be at I1 then but he has Daemonheart for the 2+ anyway. I could even go the favored route of lightning claw and power fist. It’s only 10pts more than the Blade of the Relentless. It would have more utility and be more killy out of the gate. I just can’t seem to get behind this weapon for the points.
Since I’m talking about my experiences I’ll leave it there as those are my experiences to date.
Crimson Slaughter: Conclusion
I really like this codex. It’s themed, it’s fluffy and well done. The other thing I enjoy with the codex too is that it suits my Chaos Space Marines warband, Disciples of Twilight. My Marines aren’t legion and so this fits right in with them. I know that’s more of a fluffy thematic thing but I enjoy those elements as well.
Crimson Slaughter Review
Fluff - 10/10
Rules - 8/10
Options & Wargear - 7/10
Effectiveness - 7/10
Fun Factor - 7/10
The fluff for Crimson Slaughter is the best part. The supplement does have some nice things, but overall it's not a game-changer.