The Emperor’s Children Premature Traitor Legion Ranking
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 Emperor's Children
The Emperor’s Children are in some ways the opposite of the Night Lords, instead of being derided at first glance the Emperor’s Children are being praised as a top three Traitor Legion. Taking a deeper look will reveal the Emperor’s Children are not as powerful as they seem. They are not bad, far from it, they just suffer from basic design issues and a hype train based on players who have never used the Emperor’s Children before the new Traitor Legions book. Even ranking the Emperor’s Children at #7, doesn’t mean they don’t have a power potential, it just means the rest of the Traitor Legions are just that damn good.
Emperor’s Children Special Rules
The Emperor’s Children have a great set of special rules with Veterans of the Long War giving Feel No Pain 6+, Fearless, and a free attack for models which die before swinging in Assault. Feel No Pain stacking with the Icon of Excess is good, but it has a few ways of being neutralized. The Icon of Excess only makes its points back the larger the unit that is taken. Noise Marines of course are Troops as well. Having all your units Fearless is by far the best bonus here, making basic Chaos Space Marines an easy choice. The extra attack bonus is neat when a Emperor’s Children is killed by say a Hammer of Wrath attack.
Emperor’s Children Warlord Traits
The Emperor’s Children Warlord Traits are pretty meh, but the Nexus of Debauchery is almost worth the 1 in 6 chance. It means with an Icon of Excess you can have Warlord and unit with 3+ Feel no Pain! Getting Eternal Warrior from Glutton for Punishment is isn’t bad either, beyond that the other traits focus on just making the Warlord better in Assault not better for the army.
Emperor’s Children Artefacts
The Emperor’s Children Artefacts are a hodgepodge of creative choices. The Intoxicating Elixer and the Endless Grin are pretty special. The Endless Grin is a no brainier considering it is only 10 points and with the Night Lords similar artefact can be devastating Leadership de-buff. The Intoxicating Elixir is fun if you want to build a super Character especially because you don’t re-roll duplicate results and they all stack! When you think about the Endless Grin don’t forget about the Blissgiver, it is already one of the most underrated weapons and if you make some sort of Independent Character Death Star with Leadership modifiers you can really get an opposing multi-wound model remover. The rest of the Artefacts are not worth the points or just plain silly like Shriekwave.
Emperor’s Children Rapture Battalion Detachment
The Emperor’s Children Rapture Battalion is spearheaded by the Combat Drugs rule, these bonuses are random and don’t have any controlling mechanism, so you really shouldn’t really count on them. What though makes the Emperor’s Children detachment special is the Core specific Formation the Kakophoni. The Kakophoni makes Sonic Weapons and Noise Marines particularly deadly. The only problem is Shred Sonic Weapons are still Salvo, making it a limited range threat for the most part. Let us not forget Sonic Weapons are just Boltguns all things considered. So what about the the secondary ability +1 strength Sonic Weapons, which requires taking six Noise Marines units? The problem here is of course having to take six Noise Marine units, and then making them expensive with Sonic Weapons. You have a few options either go cheap and just take Blastmasters for pot shots. You can mix and match keeping most units bare, while taking few fully kitted out. In this last case, it means you are basically paying tax for just one more strength. The best option is not to go for it, just take the Shred bonus to save points.
So, what type of Emperor’s Children army can you design from the Rapture Battalion? You have to take advantage of the inherent bonuses of Slaanesh armies. This means higher Initiative, the Emperor’s Children are great at killing other Marines especially with items like the Doom Siren, they are also have a great set of psychic powers.With the right number of Sorcerers and powers you can save points on Icons of Excess and the Kakophoni special rules. If you are planning on leaning on fewer elite troops go with Kakophoni as your Core, max out your Command slot, while taking Raptor Talon for a double down on elite killing. If you feel you are too top heavy, always falling back on The Lost and Damned Formation is an easy choice. With the points you are going to invest on Icons of Excess, Marks of Slaanesh, and Sonic Weapons you really cannot use more expensive Formations like Heldrake Terror Pack or Favoured of Chaos, though Combat Drugged Possessed has some allure.
When you take a step back probably the best choice for the Emperor’s Children is going with Combined Arms, the Rapture Battalion lack of great Command Benefits makes the choice easy. With a Combined Arms Detachment you are not bogged down by requirements giving more freedom to mid-max your points. You can always add a Formation to flesh out a list. You just don’t get tons of Independent Characters, but you don’t need them for Fearless. Taking Chaos Space Marine blobs with 4+ Feel No Pain and Initiative five are actually now a thing, when you can’t be swept away. As the meta seems to shift to more bubble wrapping, having a wrap that can inflict massive damage and still stand isn’t anything to dismiss.
While I tried to allude to it, in the final analyst the Emperor’s Children have a points problem. Since Games Workshop refuses to release new codexes to adjust points they are just throwing more special rules at the factions to make up for it. Besides Fearless though everything comes with a price for the Emperor’s Children. You can see why people instantly went gag-gag over the rules. but let us make some comparisons. A fully kitted out 5-man unit of Noise Marines is around 180 points while the similar Plague Marine unit is 140, Thousand Sons 160, Khorne Berserker 130. That isn’t even considering the normal Chaos Space Marine under those Traitor Legions. Even if the right choice is taking basic Chaos Space Marines, the Death Guard and World Eater versions are still cheaper and better overall compared to the Emperor’s Children. You cannot snipe out the Feel No Pain of the Death Guard and you cannot necessarily stop the 1st turn charges of the World Eaters, but you can do both against the Emperor’s Children.
This analysis is about taking a balanced look at the Emperor’s Children, but don’t take these broad strokes as an indictment of a great faction, the Emperor’s Children as still pretty good.
Top army lists from the 4 large ITC Warhammer 40k Tournaments from the past weekend, and 12 weeks since the Nephilim Chapter Approved 2022.
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