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Warhammer 40,000 War Zone Nachmund: Rift War Campaign Supplement Review

Warhammer 40,000 War Zone Nachmund: Rift War is available to preorder right now! Preorder through one of our Element Games links to help you save cash and to help us continue what we do!

The galaxy is in a right state, what with a massive Chaos rift basically tearing it in half.

All is not lost however, as there are various rifts allowing passage. The Nachmund Gauntlet is one of those. This book takes you through the next stage of the lore set out in the Vigilus campaign books.

As always, you can read the review for Warhammer 40,000 War Zone Nachmund: Rift War below.

Our thanks to Games Workshop for sending us this book to review!

Lore

As always, I don’t tend to go into too much detail here, in particular for campaign supplements such as this.

Again, as I’ve said this for the campaign books I’ve personally reviewed previously (such as War Zone Charadon), the lore development for the 9th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 is much improved on anything we’ve seen before. This book does not disappoint.

Slight spoiler warning, but the book involves Abaddon sending Haarken Worldclaimer to fight through and bring under Chaos control the Nachmund Gauntlet. Worldclaimer isn’t alone, as he has warbands filled to the brim with all of the flavours of Chaos. Death Guard, Thousand Sons, they are all represented here. Seriously, it’s like a mini Siege of Terra!

The Imperium forces, with odds stacked against them, look to outfox Chaos.

It’s a great read and further suggests to me that Worldclaimer needs better rules, and with the new Chaos Space Marine Codex on the horizon, maybe he will. He’s leading a mass of Chaos here, and he’s doing alright (not perfect, but he’s doing a solid job).

Campaign Rules

This is a Campaign supplement, so it needs a strong campaign to fight through. This book has that. The campaign basics and throughly covered, as Chaos looks to push through the Gauntlet whilst the Imperium (and friends) try to hold them back.

The 3 included battle plans, combined with the War Zone trackers, gives you a clear and easy campaign that does not require a whole host of your time to complete. It also comes with its own set of Crusade relics (as Crusade is hands down the best way to play through Campaign’s such as this IMHO) and Campaign Master’s Edicts.

A great start to the book should you want to play through it, for sure, but what everyone wants to new rules and ways to play your army, so let’s delve into the options within this book.

Codex Supplement: Castellans of the Rift

A brand new Chapter of Space Marines, the Castellans of the Rift are a Primaris-only Chapter. You can only select a unit to be part of this Chapter should it have the following keyword:

  • Gladiator
  • Impulsor
  • Primaris
  • Invictor Tactical Warsuit
  • Redemptor Dreadnought
  • Repulsor
  • Repulsor Executioner
  • Storm Speeder

The Chapter has a bright green armour colour scheme. Not the most visually pleasing personally (I think if I did these guys I’d go for a Death Guard Green base and work from that, rather than have a light green army).

The Castellans of the Rift are a successor Chapter of the Ultramarines, and as such you can use the Ultramarines content from the supplement they have in addition to what we have in this book.

For starters the Chapter Tactic for taking a Battle Forged army of Castellans of the Rift is as follows:

  • If you charged, you get +1 to hit in combat. Bosch!
  • Any attacks made against your units auto fail to wound on a 1-2. Meh, I doubt this would come up a ton of times, but I guess it’s nice to have a mini transhuman

For your Warlord you have a choice of 3 unique Warlord Traits. The pick of the bunch for me is Exemplars of the Chapter, giving your Warlord Transhuman and an extra melee attack.

Hit and Run Master, of which allows one of your units to fall back from combat to shoot without penalty, is also a good choice. Perhaps spend a CP and slap this on a Lieutenant?

4 Relics to pick from, all of which have cool names and back stories! Here’s two to set your appetitive:

  • Primarch’s Codex: No, not the REAL Codex, just a copy given to the Castellans by Bobby G. It’s for a Priest, grants him reroll on litanies. You also gain 3” to the range of your litanies
  • Gauntlet of the Imperium: Replaces a Boltstorm Gauntlet (say, the one on the brand new Gravis armoured Space Marine Captain). Pistol 3, -2, 1dmg on the ranged stat line, and a hefty x2 Strength, -3AP and flat 3 damage BUT no -1 to hit penalty.

Finally, to round off the Castellans content they have 8 unique stratagems. Some fairly tasty ones at that, take for example Push Them Back. Pop this strat for a mere 1CP and pick one of your units. Each time that unit shoots an enemy unit in your deployment zone, you can reroll the hit roll. Boom.

Defence in Depth costs 2CP, but allows you to move 3 of your units before the first battle round. Let Them Come grants a +1 to hit to one of your units in combat.

I actually quite like this Chapter, they have access to some cool stuff. Can’t take any more First-Born Marines, and the colour scheme isn’t great, but their part in the story is cool and they have some cool relics, traits and strats.

Crusade Rules: Warden Raiders

In a change of pace, as it’s normally the Chaos or Xenos raiding planets, Rift War has rules for Space Marines that are raiding Chaos held fortifications. It has a number of restrictions, most of which you would expect such as no Vehicles that are slower than 10” and that all your Infantry must be embarked on a Transport of some sort, or have the ability to Deep Strike.

As you complete Crusade missions you gain raid points instead of Experience Points.

You can also gain raid points by completing Agendas, of which you have 4 to choose from. The Crusade rules also have unique Battle Traits.

I haven’t gone to great lengths with this section because their is not a lot else to really chat about. The traits are fairly generic, and in principle it sounds fun, but these pages have the weakest of extra content from the book.

Army of Renown: Warpmeld Pact

From one of the weakest sections, to one of the strongest, IMHO, although you do also need to be a Thousand Sons player (or the potential to be one).

Army of Renown’s are an alternative way to play with an army. By trading some heavy restrictions for bonuses, they can be really fun to use, either for Matched Play or Crusade.

The Warpmeld Pact is, in short, Thousand Sons: Tzaangor Edition. This means the Restrictions involve a lot around the Bird-men:

  • No Named Characters, so no Ahriman or Magnus
  • No Cultists, Vehicles or Daemons. This one hurts a bit
  • You can’t have any psychic powers from the Discipline of Vengeance.
  • You have to have more Bray units (so all your Tzaangor units basically) than you have Rubrics or Scarab Occult Terminators.

Losing HALF of your Psychic Powers hurts, as does the ability to include Vehicles and Daemons.

So what do you get for these Restrictions?

  • You can take the content from this book, which includes a unique relic, Warlord Trait, Cabbalistic Ritual and Strats.
  • Units in your army don’t gain the strength of Brotherhood of Sorcerers (wait, what? This isn’t a Benefit surely! Pretty sure this should be in the Restrictions bit…)
  • Touched by Tzeentch: Exalted Sorcerors, Infernal Masters, Sorcerors, Tzaangors and Chaos Spawns have a 5+ invulnerable save base. They also have a 5+ FNP. Finally they can all make a pregame 6” move too, after working out who has the first turn.
  • Tzaangor units gain the Core keyword.
  • Tzaangor Shamans gain another ability called Strength of the Brayherd. This grants you an extra Cabal Point should you have 15 or more models within 6” of a Shaman.

We’ve seen the unique Ritual over on WarCom, which allows you to bring back dead Tzaangors:

And we’ve seen the unique Warlord trait too!

The Warpmeld Pact also however has its own Relic you can choose, which basically gives a Tzzangor unit or Chaos Spawn a 4+ invulnerable save.

7 Stratagems (of course) are included, and as you may imagine a lot of these target Tzaangors. Some really great strats, my favourite being…

  • Gift of Change: 1CP strat you can use in your Psychic phase. Kill an enemy character, get a free Chaos Spawn. He doesn’t cost any Reinforcement points for Matched Play, and disappears after the battle in Crusade games so never goes on your Order of Battle. Game breaking? Nope. Competitive usage? Erm, potentially? Really fun, fluffy and awesome to see your opponent cry as they watch their kitted out Custodian Shield-Captain turn into a Chaos Spawn? Hell yes!!

Some other examples of strats…

  • Twisted Mirage: 2CP, use in your opponents Charge phase. Pick a Psyker who has been picked to be charged. Make a Normal (run away!) move up to 6”. Can’t do this if your already in combat though.
  • Blessed Transmutations; Select one of your Psykers in the Command Phase. Any Bray units within 6” gain D3+1 models back to the unit. Works well with the exclusive Ritual to keep your big groups of Tzaangors topped up with formerly dead Tzaangors.
  • Reality Unbound: Attacks from the Enlightened improve AP by 2. Can be used on bows and spears.

From speaking to many hobbyists, one factor which comes up when it comes to collecting Thousand Sons is painting trim. Rubrics are COVERED in them.

This Army of Renown is a fun, fluffy way of collecting a Thousand Son army, and also requires you to paint less trim, as you’ll be painting a fair bit of (easier to paint) Tzaangors.

Like all Army of Renowns, it does have hefty Restrictions. Look past those however, and this could be a fun way to play the army, and I fully intend to try it out myself at some point in the future. If only to watch the faces of my enemy when I turn their characters in to Chaos Spawns!

Arcane Rituals: Thousand Sons Crusade Content

When I wrote the Thousand Sons Codex Review, I remember being really excited for what Crusade content they’d get. And whilst the book grabbed my attention and made me want to play with my 1k Sons ASAP, it sadly massively let me down on the Crusade content front.

In short, you could gain relics, with no real gameplay mechanic. Meh.

To my surprise Rift War introduces an, expansion I guess you could call it, to the Crusade content from the Codex. Before we delve deeper, I have to point out already, it’s much more improved and quite frankly should have been in the codex day one.

After a Crusade battle has been fought, the Sorcerers of your army can perform a Ritual Incantation using material found during your games and by completing Agendas found within this book. The Incantations have two effects, a Basic and Elevated effect.

So, what kind of Incantations are there? Well, how about summoning Daemons?

Yeah, that’s right, summon Daemons!

Depending on the materials you’ve collected, you can go for the basic or elevated version. For summoning, this results in the Power Level you can summon. You’d need to then add them to your Crusade Supply Limit. Love this!

Their are two other incantations, one of which grants you battle honours, the other granting Psychic Fortitude bonuses on your units. Both great for buffing your units.

You can also spend Arcane Points on a further 4 relics too, including a Warp Blade that is +2 Strength, -3 AP and flat damage 3. As a bonus the damage cannot be reduced (so no minus 1 damage for those Death Guard) and that damage also cannot be negated, so ignores FNP saves.

Crusade Rules: Army of Chaos Undivided

The book switches back to content purely available for Crusade, and again, it’s an interesting one.

As a Death Guard and Thousand Sons player, I always look at units such as Havocs, Obliterators and Raptors and think man, they’d be cool in my army.

Well, with this set of Crusade rules you can!

With this ‘faction’ you can make the Chaos soup you’ve always dreamt of, all the while fighting for the favour of the Chaos gods to gain abilities and upgrades. This part of the book is to reflect the warbands Worldclaimer has drawn to him to take the Nachmund Gauntlet.

The Crusade content here for Chaos is better than some of the Codex ones to be honest.

If you want to give this a go, a few things of note:

  • You need at least 1 Priest
  • If your detachment has a at least one Thousand Sons or Death Guard unit in your army you can use the applicable Codex strats and detachment abilities.
  • You gain and lose Dark Patronage Points by winning and losing games. These points can also be gained using Agendas. Once earned, they can be spent on Blessings.

The Blessings only work for a battle on your Warlord, but are really cool. For example if your Warlord has the Khorne keyword and has gained the favour of Khorne you can choose from 3 different buffs for the next game.

These buffs vary from upping your stats, for example Raw Ferocity gives a Khorne Warlord +1 Strength, +1 Attacks and extra AP. Temporal Rift Corridor as another example, allows a Tzeentch Warlord to cast powers through other Tzeentch psykers.

Finally, your Crusade army gets exclusive Requistions and Prayers.

I think this could see some play, and is tempting me to paint those random chaos units I have knocking around in the same scheme as my Sons…

Army of Renown: Coteries of the Haemonculi

To round out the book there is a second Army of Renown, and for this one it focuses on the weird and wacky cult of the Haemonculi of the Drukhari.

The Drukhari do make an appearance within the lore, but it was a bit of a surpraise to see them get there own Army of Renown.

Whereas many of these have a lot of Restrictions, this one is a lot more straight forward:

  • All units must have the Haemonculis keyword or Blade for Hire.
  • Your Warlord must have the Haemonculis keyword

That’s it. Simples.

So what do you get for going all in on these maniacs?

  • You never gain a Drukhari Obsession (again, odd to see this under Benefit!)
  • Each time a unit of yours is chosen to be attacked, if under half strength you gain a 4+ FNP.
  • If one of your models were to take a mortal wound, and again if under half strength, you gain a 4+ FNP
  • Units can charge even if they fell back

You can choose from an additional 3 Warlord traits, the most interesting being Artist of Dark Alchemy. Once per turn, a unit within 6” of your Warlord basically gets to reroll the number of attacks they get. Another, Schemer Supreme, simply refunds a CP on a 5+ when your opponent spends one.

There’s a couple of Relics to choose from, ranging in quality and 8 different, unique stratagems. Check these out!

  • Visions of Butchery: 1CP. You use this in a fight phase, when one of your models dies. That unit gains a 4+ FNP for the rest of the game.
  • Protect the Great One: 1CP. If your Haemonculus takes a wound all of your units gain full reroll to hit and wound against the unit that dealt the wound. You also can reroll charges against that enemy unit too!

A 4+ FNP is amazing, but not getting it until your unit is below half strength isn’t great. I’m just not sure if this Army of Renown works that great. I’m no Drukhari player, but I can’t personally see this one making much play (cue lots of comments telling me how wrong I am!).

Summary

The story and lore continues to improve as these books get released. Rift War delivers on lore.

But you aren’t going to spend the price tag purely on a few pages of lore content.

The value of this book depends on your interest in the factions within. As a Thousand Sons player who wants to play through a Crusade with them, this book is a must buy. If you play 1k Sons, but not in Crusade, and are, like a lot of what I’m seeing online, not a fan of Tzaangors, then this isn’t worth your time.

The issue for me is the Crusade content should have been in the book day one. Simple as. The Army of Renown, I get that as being part of the supplement. Did GW get it wrong with the 1k Sons Crusade content and are using this to fix the issue? Or did they have this planned all a long?

The new Marine Chapter is fun, but not worth the value of the book. Making a soup Chaos Army sounds like a lot of fun, and now I have the chance to make one, so there is another project to add to a growing list.

Like the supplements that have come before it, if you want the rules within it then pick this up. If the army rules don’t apply to you as you don’t have the armies and/or have no interest them then the price of the book isn’t worth it purely for the lore, as good as it is.

Thanks again to Games Workshop for sending us this copy to review. You can preorder Rift War right now.

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