Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fear of the Darkness

Summoning the indescribable malice of the Warp, the Librarian unleashes a mighty wave of sheer terror, piercing every creature's soul with the horror of death and revealing their utter insignificance in the face of an uncaring universe.
- 4th Edition Space Marine Codex

One of the funniest psychic abilities I have seen in a long time is Fear of the Darkness in the upcoming BA Codex.  It's a psychic shooting attack at 24" that forces the enemy unit to make a morale check at -2 leadership.  If you fail the morale check, you immediately flee 2D6" towards your closest table edge.

While it might not look so hot at first compared to some of the other abilities, let's look at all the dirty things we can do with it.  That way, when you do it to your opponents, you can kindly guide them to the rulebook while they nerd rage.

The units is below half strength.
So you've just killed a bunch of units in the shooting phase with the rest of your army, setting them below the 50% mark in unit strength.  You decide to shoot them again with Fear of the Darkness.  Oh, you're not Fearless?  Have a nice jog to the edge of the table.  They are now broken and cannot rally for the rest of the game.

There are enemies within 6".
This one is huge.. especially since Blood Angels have Fast vehicles, Jump Infantry, Decent of Angels and Drop Pods up the wazoo.  You see a unit that's able to be feared and you don't want them coming back anytime soon.  You move your vehicles ahead of them (the average roll to flee on 2D6 is a 7") enough so next turn they can't rally next turn.  With your units being so fast, you can literally chase a healthy unit off the field if you wanted to.  This is sometimes better than fighting them.. especially when the odds are unfavorable.  What's even a greater pisser is when they flee within 6" of one of your Drop Pods and they can't rally because of it.  Yes, there is a monster lurking inside the shadowy depths of that empty drop pod.  Keep in mind that with Decent of Angels, you can reliably force your opponents to constantly fail his morale checks by dropping within 6" of him too.

This one is harder to pull off.. but I assure you, the results are well worth it.  Imagine this scenario:  You have a few tanks left on the field, your Librarian and his squad, and a ASM squad with Jump Packs.  He has a uber unit of killy CC death that you can't possibly kill in melee combat.  So what do you do?  You box him in with a Rhino on each side (Fast means 18" of vroom vroom) and fly behind his units with your ASM; spreading out as much as you can so you form that nice 2" of coherency, making sure his models can never touch 1" of yours.  Your Librarian's unit is in front and you close the box around him.  You force his morale check at -2 and if he fails, his entire unit is destroyed because he's completely surrounded.  Really?  Is this even legal?  Pg. 45 of the small rulebook says it is.  You would think this scenario is hard to accomplish, but every half decent BA list is going to have Fast vehicles, hopefully some Jump troops (normal troops work too.. but you might need a Run move) and a Librarian.  You can even pull this off with fewer units if the opportunity presents itself.  Fearless units just got that much better.

If you guys have any cool ideas, or if I made a mistake somewhere, please make a comment and let me know.


Ccollino said...

Interesting ideas, though I don't really understand the bit about the unit being below 50% strength... how does that help exactly?

HERO said...

They can't test to regroup when below half strength :)

Maiku said...

Unless they're Marines...

HERO said...

Yes.. those cheaty Marines!

Max said...

Could set up some nice turn 1 drop podding-fun for things like the Libby dread... either take out a vehicle with a meltagun/blood spear or cause a squad that was near the board edge to flee off of it. Yee-hah!

Jack Badelaire said...

Meh, Leadership at -2 for a large number of armies is...at least 7. So ~60% of the time, they'll make the test.

Granted, if they fail, not a bad power, but forcing Leadership tests in 40K in my mind strictly falls into the realm of "nice if it works but heaven help you if you're actually counting on it to win you the game".

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