As I talked about in the previous article I noted how much I enjoyed the Cypher Dataslate. It represents what is possible with Games Workshop digital releases. The reason, the Cypher Dataslate is well constructed, provinding something for every type of player. It only has one flaw, one that won't be fixed any time soon. If it wasn't for the fairly outrageous price point ($16.99) this release would be a must buy for everyone. As it is Dark Angel, Chaos Space Marines players, and narrative gamers should take a close look and consider buying this Dataslate.
Luckily for me I am Chaos Space Marine player and love the story behind Cypher, so this was a no-brainer. If you are on the fence, here is a break down and review that might help ya.
Cypher - Lord of the Fallen Dataslate starts off with about 35 pages of fluff to get you immersed in the story of Cypher. As always, the history of Cypher is told in fragments from various encounters with forces across the galaxy. Much of Cypher's story is scattered between Black Library books, old codexes, and White Dwarf articles. This Dataslate brings all these disparate parts together in a coherent format. The fluff summary starts with the Fall of Caliban and ends with the 13th Black Crusade.
Having all this history in one place is fantastic. Cypher's duality is on full display here, one moment he is supporting Alpha Legion plots, other times he is seemingly leading the Dark Angels to other members of the Fallen. The highlights for me is his impersonation of an Inquisitor, and the Forgotten Wars; where the Dark Angels fall into a devastating trap, even after Cypher warns/taunts them. If you are someone looking for definitive answers this Dataslate won't give it to you. We get new information about Cypher, but it only leads to more questions about his motives. One thing is clear though, Cypher does protect the secrets of the Dark Angels, but always with a twist. Overall, Cypher's story gives players good reason to include him in almost any game.
Flame, hammer, blood -- so is meteoric iron worked, so were the Heavenfall Blades tempered. So shall I test the Unforgiven
As you flip through the Dataslate you will notice some kill images of Cypher, the best being these two.
After the fluff we get the good part: Cypher's rules. Cypher's rules are pitch perfect, they combine fluff with function.
Cypher can be taken in almost any army, and if you are disgusted with his outdated model, it is fine, his fluff is filled with him impersonating various high ranking army figures. Like Cypher's fluff, his rules play like a game with in a game, especially if Dark Angels are involved. He grants extra victory points depending on if the Dark Angel player can capture him. Cypher isn't overpowered, but can change the way many armies play with his abilities, and he is an Eternal Warrior to boot.
In addition Cypher has his own formation as well.
Not only is this formation unique, but is also brings back Infiltrating Chosen! The restrictions make sense and having Chosen with And they shall know no fear rules is bad ass. This formation has the right balance of power and provides a different way to play your Chaos Space Marines.
The next section in the Dataslate is also fantastic: Altar and Echoes of War.
These six missions allow you either reenact a Cypher story or create your own Cypher narrative. The Alter of War Missions are standalone missions-- inspired by Cypher's modus operandi. The first mission is a survival mission, well crafted with cool deployment and reserve features. The second mission has Cypher hiding in one of your units, with the goal of getting him to the other side of the board. The third mission, is my least favorite, it has a random secret objective favoring Cypher's side without your opponent having few ways to stop it.
The Echoes of War require you and your opponent to play specific armies. These missions recreate some of the best Cypher moments, the story of Cypher's impersonation of Inquisitor Arnuldus, his eventual betrayal of the Alpha Legion, and Cypher's part in the 13th Black Crusade. These are great missions, and showcase just how much Cypher adds to any army. More than anything it is these missions that set this Dataslate apart from others before.
As I keep on repeating Dataslate Cypher - Lord of the Fallen hits the right balance in all respects. Still, the darn price gnaws at the back of your head, because even with all the great content there is filler. Fluff is retreaded, an unwanted glossary, and regurgitated model shots, brings this otherwise five-star product down.
BUT, If you like playing narrative games or at the very least tired of playing the same old book missions Cypher is for you. If you want to plug a HQ into almost every army Cypher is for you. If you want something for your Dark Angels to hunt down Cypher is for you. If you always wanted to make a Fallen Warband then Cypher is certainly for you! So, if any or other reasons speak to you I highly recommend you pick up this Dataslate!
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