The Night Lords Premature Traitor Legion Ranking

by | Dec 12, 2016

Since the official release of the new Traitor Legion Supplement, I have been sleeping with the book. The Traitor Legion Supplement is a dream come true, a love letter for Chaos Space Marine players. As an old timer it is hard to imagine it was 2002 since we had the legendary, but infamous 3.5 Chaos Space Marine codex. Now as we speed ever closer to 8th edition and maybe Warhammer 40k End Times, let us hope the Traitor Legion Supplement will live on in whatever comes next. The Traitor Legion Supplement is amazing without being broken, better yet hopefully it will do what no other release has done before…bring balance to the game.

The Traitor Legion Supplement starts off on the right foot by quickly dispensing with the fluff, only dedicating two pages to each Traitor Legion and a minimal amount of recycled art and model pictures. Much like the Generals Handbook this release is about the rules and priced just right at $35.00.

Before we begin here is a few pointers for these reviews…

  • We will be ranking the Traitor Legion individually, the order will be a countdown from 9 to 1.
  • Most important these reviews will assume the reader has a copy of the Traitor Legions Supplement handy.
  • Focus will be on the Traitor Legions themselves, not what you can Ally with for instance.
  • All Traitor Legions get Veterans of the Long War for free, allowing them a version of Chapter Tactics.
  • All Traitor Legions change certain units to Troop choices, only really good for Combined Arms Detachments.
  • All Traitor Legions get unique Detachments, Warlord Traits, and Artefacts.
  • All the Traitor Legions are good and playable, so don’t think any of them are bad just because I rank them lower than others.

So let us go with number…

The Night Lords

The Night Lords are a testament to just how good the Traitor Legion Supplement is, while many people automatically dismissed the Legion compared to others, there are viable builds with this Legion. The Night Lords were the hardest Legion to rank or me besides the Thousand Sons, so let me break it down why you shouldn’t dismiss this great Legion.

Night Lords Special Rules

Most Night Lord units come stock with Fear, Night Vision, but most importantly Stealth. Stealth being the little detail many people are forgetting. Night Lord Bikes are jinking for 3+ and most units are getting the same for being in Ruins. The Night Lords get Raptors as Troops, which would be better if they could get Bikes as Troops too. Terror Tactics is a penalty  to opponent Fear tests.

Enter Fear Rant: Much of the Night Lord dismissal has been because Fear “sucks”. Fear isn’t the best, but it doesn’t suck either. Think of the armies that do get effected by Fear: Eldar, Tau, Necrons, Genestealer Cults, and Ad-Mech then you have the not so competitive armies like Orks, Dark Eldar, and Imperial Guard. To say Fear is lame is only looking at Daemons, Space Marines, and Fearless units. Hitting your opponent on 3s all the time and having them hit you on 5s is simply amazing for any army. The Night Lords can stack tons of negatives on Fear making it even easier to win Assaults.

Night Lords Warlord Traits

The Night Lord Warlord Traits are decent, but lack traits that help your entire army not just the Warlord. Still, getting  Hit & Run, Hatred, or Re-rolling ones for wounds for him and his unit is pretty good, just not ground breaking.

Night Lords Artefacts

The Night Lord Artefacts are stocked with melee bonus for a Independent Character, which is usually a bad thing. Two Artefacts still stand out, Talons of the Night Terror is fantastic giving at least D3 extra hits per Fight sub-phase that Shred all for 20 points. The real gem though is the Vox Daemonicus (30 points) this is a amazing Artefact, a Leadership -1 6″ bubble, but better yet gives your opponent a  -1 to Reserve rolls. Combo this with a similar Emperor’s Children artefact and say a Flyer Detachment, equals -2 to Leadership and -3 to Reserve for an opponent. I am sure you can also think of some other Leadership negatives from other sources.

Night Lords Murder Talon Detachment

Night Lords Murder Talon Detachment Example List

The Night Lords Murder Talon is very underrated especially against shooting armies. The Strike Fast, Strike Hard Command Benefit while simpleis important to make sure the two primary Night Lords units Raptors and Bikes get in Assault. Nocturnal Warfare is a great against most shooting Alpha Srikes. Night Lords because of builtin Stealth should be getting getting 2+ cover in most situations for the first round. The Murder Talon is the only Detachment with the Raptor Talon as a core choice, this is pretty good, but most likely you will still need to take a Chaos Warband to make up for other (Objective Secured) deficiencies.

The Night Lords are primed to spam Chaos Lords, giving Fearless and damage output to various units. This leaves you with still needing a Auxiliary choice and both theme and power makes the Heldrake Terror Pack fit perfectly. You can still take a single Spawn unit if you are choking for points. Done properly the Night Lords should be able to survive the first turn and then hit hard and hope for the best. If you think you list doesn’t have enough staying power you can also fall back on the Lost and the Damned Formation, which isn’t bad when you have Cultists consistently getting great cover saves with any character joined to them. If you go for the more expensive Formations, just keep in mind you will have to decide between a Biker or Raptor based Night Lords army.

The Night Lords are one part Raven Guard and one part White Scars, but lack specific Formations (especially a Chaos Bike one) to be really special. If you run them as a Combined Arms force, Raptors are a better choice than basic Chaos Space Marine, but the real pain comes from not being able to Chaos Mark your Night Lord units. Having Chaos Marks would give the Night Lords that little extra something, without special Formations. The Vox Daemonicus Artefact though is a great option for an Ally Detachment and not being Marked means they can join any other Traitor Legion you feel needs some Reserve and Leadership manipulation.

In the final analyst the Night Lords shouldn’t be hated on as much as they already have been, they have solid rules, just not powerful force multipliers like many others. Not getting Fearless does hurt too, but to think they are the worse Traitor Legion the book has to offer is really discounting the gluttony of non-fearless armies and the staying power an entire army with Stealth.