Codex Leagues of Votann (2022) Review and Army Set Unboxing – Warhammer 40,000 9th Edition
For years uncounted the Kin have made their home in the galactic core of our Milky Way Galaxy but now, under the watchful eye of their ancestors and with the guidance of their revered Votann they set out into ‘Far-space’ in search of resources, adventure and glory!
The brand new Leagues of Votann Army Set is up for pre order today and we have to thank Games Workshop for sending an early review copy to Sprues and Brews. We’ve been as busy as a Brokhyr Forge-Master these last few weeks unpacking the contents of this great set, building and painting the various models and reading through the brand new Codex. The Army Set, up for pre order today, will be the first opportunity to pick up the new codex and a selection of units ahead of the main Leagues of Votann release which we expect will occur in the not too distant future. If you would like to support the site then why not order your copy of the Leagues of Votann Army Set through our affiliate Element Games and save your self some money too!
In this post we’ll take a close look at the contents of the new Army Set and provide a showcase of some of the assembled and painted models. We’ll also dive into the new Codex itself and have a look at the new units, Stratagems, rule and abilites etc. To accompany this article you’ll also find a video unboxing and review of the new Army Set contents and Codex which you can find below or over on our YouTube channel.
Let’s first take a look at the contents of the Army Set itself. Inside you’ll find the Codex, Datacards (for the Psychic Powers and Stratagems), some nice thick card tokens which can be punched out and used as Grudge and Judgement Tokens in your games, two sheets of transfers and a bunch of sprues with parts to build a Kahl (or Uthar the Destined), Einhyr Champion, three Hernkyn Pioneers and twenty Hearthkyn Warriors (including instructions)! That’s a lot of stuff for the £120 price tag.
The new range of Leagues of Votann models are really nice, packed with detail and plenty of variety. The Kahl himself can be built with several different ranged and melee weapons and even put together to represent the named character Uthar the Destined. There is a lack of female heads on this sprue but I found you could quite easily use any of the many female (or even Ironkin) heads from the Hearthkyn Warriors sprue if you wished.
The Einhyr Champion is a personal favourite of mine, it’s such an imposing model quite a bit larger than the other infantry included in the set. You can build this model with a choice of two melee weapons, I chose the Mass Hammer for mine!
There are four (2×2) sprues included in the box that allow you to build twenty Hearthkyn Warriors in either two squads of ten or a squad of twenty. You’re able to outfit the entire squad with Autoch Bolters or Ion Blasters in two of each special weapon and melee weapon across the four sprues. You also get a small selection of pistols and combat daggers as well. Lots of variety in the head department as well with a good selection of male, female, Ironkin, fully and part-fully helmetted options. You also get a nice selection of ammo pouches, grenades etc. to attach to the belts of your model in addition to few different parts which show weapons slung over shoulders or operating wrist mounted equipment. There are a handful of special backpack options as well to represent the different upgrade options on the unit’s Datasheet.
Finally we have the Hernkyn Pioneers. You’re able to build three unique models from the three sprues provided (including on with two riders and the ‘heavier’ weapon. Again there are lots of extras on the sprue including a selection of heads (some hooded, some wearing goggles and even some Ironkin!). There are also lots of cool bags, containers, weapon holsters etc. that you’re free to place around the model as you see fit. It should be very easy to build two different looking squads from the one box I would imagine,
Included in the Army Set are two of the new Leagues of Votann transfer sheets which contain lots of League specific and general transfers for use on your infanty and vehicles.
On the gaming front you get a couple of useful accessories. The first is a pack of Datacards in a cardboard box which contain individual cards for all the Stratagems and Psychic Powers. The second is a thick card sheet of punch out , double sided, tokens that you can use to represent Grudge and Judgment Tokens in your games.
Last, but certainly not least you get the Codex itself, with a really nice special edition cover! You’ll find our indepth review of the contents of this Codex further down!
Codex Leagues of Votann Review
The first thing that jumps out at me when flicking through the brand new Leagues of Votann Codex is just how much of a great job the designers have done at creating an ‘almost’ brand new race and slotting it into the existing Warhammer 40,000 setting. Yes I know that ‘Squats’ have existed in the ‘background’ of the background for many years and even had different models at various points in the history of the game but to younglings in the hobby, who may not have even heard of the Squats before, this new Codex does a brilliant job of re-introducing the Squats to the 40k setting.
The Kin (as they prefer to call themselves), their origins, beliefs and societal structures are all described in plenty of detail in this book which does a great job of explaining who the Kin are, where they came from and what they have been up to over the millenia. Their relationship and interations with the Imperium and the other xenos races in the galaxy are also described in some detail, further cementing the faction’s place in the Warhammer 40,000 setting.
You’ll also find lots of information on the Votann, or Ancestor Cores – ancient machine intelligences reverred as gods by the Kin and you’ll discover more about the different Leagues (think of these as individal ‘nations’ or groupings of Kin) and the various guilds. You’ll also learn of the impressive technology and weaponry employed by the Kin and of the Ironkin, mechanical intellects created by the Votann themselves which live alongside and aid the ‘living’ Kin in their daily endeavours. To accompany this fantastic lore we’re also treated to some great new artwork depicting the Kin at work and in battle alongside their impressive warmachines.
I had been a bit anxious to see how Games Workshop would reintroduce the Squats into the current setting and there was always a worry that the faction would feel a bit shoehorned in. Suffice to say this is certainly not the case! After having read through the entire Codex it almost feels like the Kin have been there all along, toiling away at the centre of the galaxy with their own share of glory and tragedy spanning across the ages.
Now let’s move onto the rules themselves, starting with the Detachment Abilities.
Detachment Abilities (and other special rules)
We get some fairly straight forward Votann Detachment abilities in line with most other codexes. Firstly there is the Hero of the Oathband ability which restricts each detachment of Votann to a single Kahl model (although it is possible to include a spearate High Kahl model as well as per the Votannic Council rules described below). League Customs is the second ability which functions just like the Sept, Craftworld or Chapter abilities in other Codexes, bestowing some unique bonuses and unlocking League specific Relics, Warlord Traits and Stratagems. There are five different Leagues in the Codex to choose from in addition to a selection of ‘Established League Customs’ from which you can build your own custom League. It’s also worth pointing out that both Hearthkyn Warriors and Hernkyn Pioneer units in a Votann detachment gain the Objective Secured ability as well.
There are also several unique Leagues of Votann rules and mechanics which apply to various units and wargear in the army and set them apart from other factions which, although not Detachment Abilities in the true sense, I feel it is best looking at now before we get into the bult of the Codex review. The such special rule is the Eye of the Ancestor, a really great concept with the potential to maybe be a bit ‘too’ powerful in certain scenarios and when used in combination with certain units and other abilities. I do love this mechanic though and find it very thematic for the Leagues of Votann. The idea is that the war leaders of the Votann are adept at swiftly identifying the major threats in an opposing army and directing their own Kin allies to neutralise them. Over the course of a game you’ll be able to assign up to three Judgment Tokens to each enemy unit. When a Votann unit attacks an enemy unit with one or more Judgment Tokens they gain the ability to autommatically wound said unit on a set to hit roll, depdendant on the number of Judgement Tokens that enemy unit currently has. With just one judgement Token, any to hit rolls of 6 inflict an automatic wound (which counts as an unmodified 6 to wound – this is important as there are several other rules which trigger of such an unmodified wound roll). With two Judgement Tokens this applies to all hit rolls of 5+ and with three Judgement Tokens the effect triggers on a 4+! This applies during the Shooting, Combat Phase and even during Overwatch! Judgement Tokens are assigned in a variety of different ways. If an enemy unit destroys one of your Votann units they get a Judgement Token. If an enemy unit performs an action, they get a Judgment Token. If an enemy unit happens to be sitting next to an objective at the end of one of their turns yes, you guessed it, they get a Judgment Token. Some of the different Leagues have various ways of assigning Judgement Tokens or allowing you to count enemy units as having additional Judgement tokens. Some units, such as the Kahl, also have the ability to assign additional Judgement Tokens or to move them around to different enemy units as well. There are Stratagems and Warlord Traits too which allow you to play around with Judgment Tokens and even provide additional bonuses to units that target enemy units with a token. Overall this is a solid and thematic mechanic.
Void Armour is another unique Votann rule which applies to every unit in the codex, including the vehicles, which both prevents enemy units from re-rolling any wound rolls or damage rolls against your units and reduces the AP of any incoming attacks by 1! This makes both Votann infantry and tanks super resilient. In one League you can further improve the resilience of your units by increasing their Toughness by 1. Toughness 9 Hekaton Land Fortresses which reduce AP of incoming attacks and prevent the enemy rerolling wound rolls will be a very tricky unit for opponents to deal with.
HunTR weapons are a unique weapon type for the Leagues of Votann and effectivly allow them to ignore any to hit penalties when moving and firing such weapons. They also have a number of other interesting special Weapon types including Magna-Rail and Beam. The former is very reminisce of T’au Railgun weaponry, ignoring invulnerable saves and whose damages ‘splashes’ over to other models in the unit when you roll a 6 to wound (or auto wound via the Eye of the Ancestors rule above). Beam weapons can be fired through enemy units to inflict multiple hits across several units.
Steady Advance is the final special rule that again applies to all units in the Codex which allows them to ignore all movement modifiers whilst moving and charging and allows them to advance 3″ each time they advance rather than roll this distance.
There are five major Leagues to choose from when building your army, each representing a large collection of Kinbands working, trading and fighting together. Each League provides a unique bonus to units in your army, a Warlord Trait, Stratagem and Relic in addition to a unique Ancestral Judgement ability which units from your army can benefit from.
The Greater Thurian League is the first such League and their Ruthless Efficiency bonus allows your units to more easily contest objectives. In addition each unit can re-roll a single hit or wound roll when making an attack. I really like the Ancestral Judgement ability for the Greater Thurian League which allows you to treat all enemy units with Judgement Tokens to count as having an additional token, which combos very nicely with their Appraising Glare Stratagem which provides yet another method of distributing Judgement Tokens! I also really like their unique Relic, Korvyk’s Cuirass, which provides a 4+ invulnerable save to the bearer in addition to further improving the Void Armour bonuses, further reducing the AP of incoming attacks by 1.
The Trans-Hyperian Alliance is a great all rounder, providing both offensive and defensive buffs in addition to some extra mobility. Their Honour the Ancestors ability means that any unmodified wound rolls of 6 benefit from an addtional AP and units under half strength gain a bonus to their hit roll – this combines quite nicely with their Ancestral Judgement ability which allows units attacking enemy units with Judgement Tokens to re-roll wound rolls of 1 (useful as the Einhyr Champion wound re-roll aura only affects the elite Hearthguard). Their unique Warlord Trait is very useful, allowing you to redeploy up to three units (including adding them to Strategic Reserves) at the start of the first Battle Round.
The Kronus Hegemony is the melee focussed League and will allow you to get the most out of your Cthonian Beserks and Hearthguard units. Their Battle Prowess bonus grants additional attacks and strength in combat if the unit charged or made a Heroic Intervtion and their Ancestral Judgement effect applies additional AP to melee attacks against units with two or more Judgement Tokens. Their Exemplary Hero Warlord Trait can turn an Einhyr Champion into an absolute combat monster, granting additional attacks, re-rolls to hit rolls and a +1 to wound bonus when fighting enemy characters or monsters. This really evokes the Warhammer Fantasy Slayer vibe! Bloody Expectations seems like a powerful Stratagem, bestowing an exploding hits effect on a 6 to hit in melee. I’m not 100% sure how this interacts with the Eye of the Ancestors rule…is that two automatic wounds against a target with one or more Judgement Tokens or just one? The Just Blade is a Relic that can be given to an Einhyr Champion with a fantasic profile. An Einhyr Champion equipped with such a weapon is making 8 attacks base, hitting on a 2+ with strengh 6, AP-4, damage 2 and ignoring invulnerable saves. If you get the charge off that’s 10 attacks, 12 attacks if you take the Warlord Trait and you’re up against an enemy character or monster. You can really go fishing for those auto wounds via the different re-rolls available to you and even use various Stratagems to grant additional attacks!
The Ymyr Conglomerate is an interesting League which provides a number of buffs to the range and damage of your ranged weapons in addition to extra resilience in the form of improved invulnerable save – in fact every model in your army gains at least a 5+ invulnerable save! The Ancestral Judgement ability is great when combined with the range bonues, granting additional AP to attacks made under half range.
The Urani-Surtr Regulates also look like a good pick, primarily because all of your units benefit from an additional pip of toughness – yes, toughness 9 Hekatron Land Fortresses will be a thing! Their Ancestral Judgement ability is also very useful allowing you to always count enemy units as having at least a single Judgment Token. To compensate somewhat for these great bonues their unique Warlord Trait, Relic and Stratagem are fairly average. Benefitting only the Characters in your army they each provide a degree of resilience and a way to ensure your character gets to swing in melee before being removed as a casualty.
There are also sixteen ‘custom traits’ from which you’re able to select three to build your own custom League. There are actually some pretty good picks here that allow you to combine some pretty useful bonueses together. Martial Cloneskeins, Brutal Efficiency and Close Quarters Prioritisation can be combined to create a very melee focussed League with bonuses to charge, additional attacks and strength and an exploding hits mechanice in melee for example. You lose out on the super useful Ancestral Judgement abilities which is the only real downside in my opinion.
There are thirty one Stratagems (in addition to the five League specific Stratagems) that Votann Generals can utilise. There are some stand out picks, such as Ancestral Sentance which allows a unit to re-roll all hits when targetting a unit with at least one Judgement Token enabling you to go fishing for those automatic wounds. Point-blank Fusillade allows a unit to fire their weapons whilst in Engagement Range of an enemy unit a’la Crisis Suits! Reactive Reprisal is really interesting as it allows you to return fire with one of your own Core units in your opponent’s Shooting Phase (albeit at the expense of not riring in your next turn).
There are plenty of Stratagems which allow you to stack additional Judgement Tokens on enemy units, Light ‘Em Up, New-Found Nemesis, Personal Grudge being some examples. There are also plenty of Stratagems that provide additional utility. Subterranean Explosives can be used to reduce the movement of enemy units and inflict a ‘fights last’ debuff. Site-to-Site Transport allows you to redeploy certain units during the game and Overcharged Shield Crest provides a Trans-Human Physiology effect on a target unit to name but a few.
You often find with Stratagems that a fair number never see any use in game. I have to say I do not think this will be the case for the Leagues of Votann – I’m really impressed with the majority of the Stratagems on offer here!
The Votannic Council rules are very similar to those found in Codex Space Marine that allow you to update a Space Marine Captain to a Chapter Master or Apothecary to a Chief Apothecary. Here we get rules to upgrade a Kahl, Grimnyr and Brokhyr Iron-master to a High Kahl, Lord Grimnyr and Brokhyr Forge-Master respectively. Each upgrade provides a couple of extra abilities to the unit and an additional Warlord Trait that can be selected as well. The High Kahl upgrade is a very nice pick I think, for a start it allows you take two different Kahls in the same detachment and therefore benefit from their Grim Efficiency ability multiple times to allocate even more Judgement Tokens! The special High Kahl Warlord Trait further augments the Grim Efficiency ability by allowing High Kahl to assign a Judgement Token to two different units. Each of the three upgrades also provides an ‘Ancestral Judgement’ ability, the High Kahl’s allows you to recycle Judgement Tokens, removing them from destroyed enemy units and assigning them to other units.
The Lord Grimnyr is probably the least interesting of the upgrades, the extra abilities the model receives makes them a more effective Psyker with bonuses to manifest and additional attempts. The Brokhyr Forge-Master though is really tasty, providing a more effectice way to restore wounds to vehicles and Exo-Frame units and a really nifty ‘reduce the damage of a single attack to zero’ ability that affects nearby vehicles and Exo-Frames too. You also get a once per battle round CP discount when you use a Wargear Stratagem on a nearby unit. These bonuses alone would make the Forge-Master upgrade a great choice but there’s more. The Ancestral Judgement ability allows the unit to dish out mortal wounds in place of regular damage when attacking providing the unit being attacked has at least one Judgement Token. The effect triggers on an unmodified wound roll of 6 so you’ll be wanting to fish for those automatic wounds via the Eye of the Ancestors mechanic. If you can make sure the target unit has three Judgement Tokens then you have 50:50 chance of dishing out nine mortal wounds from a single shooting attack against units with 3+ saves. It’s quite easy to apply re-roll hit bonuses from various sources (including the High Kahl) to further increase your chances of pulling off this powerful combo.
There is a good selection of Relics in the codex, fourteen generic Relics on top of the League specific options. There are quite a few weapons that dish out mortal wounds, like the Exactor, arelic mass hammer that inflicts 3+D3 mortal wounds on a 6 to hit or the First Knife, which inflicts D3 mortal wounds plus an additional mortal wound for each Judgement Token on the target unit. There are several relic Shield Crests (including some that can be given to unit sergeants) which provide some nice bonuses as well. The Grey Crest for example imposes a -1 to hit penalty on enemy units and the Aktols Fortress allows you to force an enemy unit to fight last. The Warpestryk is great too, preventing the enemy from setting up reinforcements within 12″ of the bearer (amongst other bonuses).
There are six Warlord Traits from which to choose from and I think there are some good picks here. Warrior Lord looks great on an Einhyr Champion, allowing it to re-roll wound rolls in melee but more importantly preventing the enemy from using any rules to ignore those wounds! This is really powerful when combined with some of the awesome weapon options the Einhyr Champion gets access to. A Long List is a great pick for a Kahl or Brokhyr Forge-Master allowing their ranged weapons to ignore the Look Out, Sir rules and the chance to dish out even more Judgement Tokens if any enemy units were destroyed by a unit from your army. Guild Affiliate is another useful pick which allows your Warlord to bestow the Objective Secured ability on a nearby Core unit, quite useful considering only the Hearthkyn and Hernkyn have this by default. If the unit selected already has Objective Secured you instead count each model as an additional model when determining control of objective markers.
The unique Leagues of Votann Psychic Discipline contains a nice mix of offensive, defensive and utility powers. Interface Echo grants an additional CP (ignoring the usual restrictions on refunding a single CP per battle round). Null Vortex also looks nice, allowing you to target an enemy unit within 12″ and switch off their invulnerable saves. Fortify is also a nice little power, granting +1 toughness to all models in the target unit and a 6+ ‘Feel No Pain’ effect.
On the Secondary Objectives front we get four options from the Shadow Operations, Purge the Enemy, Battlefield Supremacy and No Mercy, No Respite categories. The Ancestors are Watching rewards you with between 2-3 victory points a phase for destroying enemy units that have one or more Judgement Tokens. The catch is at the end of the game if there are any enemy units still on the battlefield with Judgement Tokens assigned to them you’ll lose victory points – I quite like this one from a thematic point of view.
Grudge Match is an intersting choice whereby you select five enemy units before the battle begins and are rewarded with a varying amount of victory points depending on how many of these units have been destroyed, how much they cost and how many still remain alive.
Before we take a look at the Crusade section of the Leages of Votann Codex we’ll first have a look at the twelve different Datasheets themselves. Starting with the HQ section we get the Kahl, Einhyr Champion, Grimnyr and Brokhyr Iron-master which for the main part fill the leader, melee specialist, psyker and mechanic roles. We’ve already looked at some of the Kahl’s abilities earlier in the article, Grim Efficieny being one of the primary reasons for including such a model in your army. On top of this though you also get a re-roll hit aura, identical to that found on a Space Marine Captain. In terms of wargear you get a fairly decent selection of ranged and melee weapons to outfit your Kahl with and a choice of two Shield Crests. One provides a 5+ invulnerable save to nearby units and the other allows you to deep strike the Kahl (as well as unlocking the use of certain ‘teleportation-like’ Stratagems.
Uthar the Destined is the named version of a High Kahl and in addition to receiving a much better statline (extra strength, toughness, wounds and attacks) he also gains an improved version of the re-roll hit aura, just like a Space Marine Chapter Master. Uthar also has a few unique abilities which allow him to reduce incoming damage and also, once per battle round, change a single dice roll (either a hit, wound, damage or saving roll) to a 6 (counting as unmodified). Uthar’s wargear is pretty impressive as well, the Blade of Ancestors can inflict an impressive amount of mortal wouunds if you’re rolling hot!
The Einhyr Champion is your melee focussed hero, smashing his way into combat with his Mass Driver Accelerator powered Exo-Armour. Whilst he does provide a wound re-roll aura in the same way as a Space Marine Leuitenant this only applies to nearby Hearthguard units. You’re not really taking this unit to support other units in your army though, you’ll want him smashing into enemy heroes and monsters where he can put his impressive statline and weaponry to good use. He has some really nice weapon options in the Darkstar Axe and Mass hammer, the former making double the number of attacks in a fight. As the Einhyr Champion crashes into combat he has a chance to dish out some mortal wounds too! On the defensive side the Einhyr Champion is boasting a toughness of 5, a 2+ save with the option of a 4+ invulnerable and an inbuilt damage reduction effect. On top of this enemies are -1 to wound him too (which combines quite nicely with some of the League traits and Skeinwrought powers that further improve toughness characteristics).
The Grimnyr and Iron-Master are a bit special as they come in a unit with some attendants, two CORV models and an Ironkin assistant and three E-COG ‘drones’. These each provide additional bonuses to their respective unit leaders. The CORV models allows their Grimnyr to ignore Perils of the Warp effects (at the cost of the CORV model’s life). The Grimnyr themselves are a fairly formidable Psyker, able to manifest two powers and attempt to deny one. This ability can be further enhanced via Stratagems and the Votannic Council upgrade abilities.
The Brokhyr Iron-master is great unit, I’ll certainly be including a couple in my army. Firstly they have some great melee and ranged weaponry which can be further enhanced via the Votannic Council upgrades as described above. Their Graviton Rifle is a HuntR 3 type weapon, hitting at strength 5 with an AP of -2 and damage 2, increasing to damage 3 against 3+ saves. Their Ironkin Assistant has a pretty cool Beam type weapon to further compliment the ranged damage output of the unit. The Brokhyr Iron-Master also acts as a great force multiplier, able to grant a +1 to hit modifier to a nearby Core or Vehicle unit. On top of this the Iron-Master is able to restore D3 wounds to a nearby Vehicle or Exo-Frame unit (the big Brokhyr ThunderKyn models). You can restore an additional wound if there are E-COGs remaining in the unit (a flat 4 if you’ve upgraded to a Brokhyr Forge-Master). That’s not all though, the Ironkin Assistant allows the unit to perform an action and still whilst advancing or shooting.
The Troops section contains just a single option, the Hearthkyn Warriors squad. This unit can contain between 10-20 models and has a very large selection of options. The stock weaponry for the Hearthkyn is the Autoch-pattern Bolter, a HuntR 2 type weapon with the same profile as a Bolt Rifle. You can exchange all of these for Ion blasters which have a deceased range and rate of fire but increased strength, AP and damage. There are also a variety of special weapons that you’re able to select between 2-4 of (depending on the unit size). There are some really nice options here from the EtaCarn plasma beamer, a strength 8, AP-3 damage 2 Beam weapon to the Magna-rail rifle, a HuntR 1, strength 9, AP-4, D3+3 damage weapon that ignores invulnerable saves and has a chance to splash any excess damage to other models in the target unit. The unit sergeant, the Theyn, has a variety of melee and pistol optins as well meaning that you’re able to put together a very flexible squad, reminisce of the old firstborn Space Marine Tactical Squads. One last thing to mention about this squad is that you’re able to upgrade the unit with a selection of special abilities. The Medipack allows you to ignore the first failed save on the unit (and can unlock a Stratagem that allows you to restore slain models to the unit). The Multiwave comms-array is a really nice ability which allows the unit to benefit from the Kahl’s aura abilities from within 24″. The last ability, Pan spectral scanner, grants the Scanner keyword to the unit and allows them to ignore any Light Cover benefits when attacking with a ranged weapon. The Leagues of Votann only get a single Troops option but as you can see, it’s a very good one. The Hearthkyn themselves share a very similar statline to a Tactical Marines albeit with only a 4+ save, but remember they do have the Void Armour ability to mitigate this somewhat.
In the Elites section we have the Einhyr Hearthguard and Cthonian Beserks. The former are the Exo-Armour equipped ‘anchor’ unit. There share many of the same defensive qualities with the Einhyr champion and come equipped with both ranged and melee weaponry as standard. They seem like a pretty solid unit to form a battle line around but I think a regular Heathkyn Warrior squad will provide much more effective ranged damage output. If it’s melee power you’re looking for then the Cthonian Beserks are the unit you need. These guys and girls are really interesting, in effect heavily augmented Dwarf slayers! They get some great weapon options and a respectable number of attacks. Their Cyberstimms ability allows them to re-roll charge rolls and also ensures that each model gets to swing even if they are destroyed. Their augmentations also give them a 5+ ‘Feel No Pain’ save, increasing to 4+ against damage 1 attacks. They can be take in units of up to ten and are fairly priced as well (and have the Core keyword too).
Hernkyn Pioneers and the Sagitaur ATV make up the Fast Attack options for the Leagues of Votann. The Pioneers are a nice unit, they have great mobility for a start, able to make pre-game move of up to 12″ which can be very useful in matched play games. They share some abilities with the Hearthkyn Warriors squad, notably the comms-array and scanner upgrades but also have the option to take a Searchlight which unlocks the use of the aforementioned Light ‘Em Up Stratagem. You can include up to six models in the unit and one in three can equip a special weapon, my favoutite being the HyLas rotary-cannon with it’s HuntR 9 profile! A unit of six Pioneers are putting out 18 strength 6 AP-2 damage 1 shots and another 18 strength 7 AP-1 damage 2 shots!
The Sagitaur ATV is a unique transport vehicle that can be taken in pairs. You’re able to take a single squad of Herathkyn Warriors or Cthonian Berserks and split them into two and embark them upon the two Sagitaurs. The two vehicles need to be setup initially within 6″ of each other but after that are counted as individual units. It’s worth noting that this vehicle cannot transport the heavier Exo type units. In terms of weapons options the Sagitaur comes equipped with a twin bolt cannon and a single, heavier, weapon on top. The twin bolt cannon is a HuntR 6 type weapon, with a strength 6, AP-2 and damage 2 profile. This is complimented by a HYLas beam cannon to provide some anti-tank firepower. You can swap this main weapon for strength 10 Sagitaur missile launcher, the L7 missile launcher (with a selection or payloads) or a MATR autocannon to further augment the anti-infantry capabilities of the unit.
To round out the roster we have two Heavy Support options. The fantastic looking Brokhhyr Thunderkyn who provide some tough heavy firepower in a similar vein to T’au Broadsides or Space Marine Eradicators and the superb Hekaton Land Fortress! The former can be taken in squads up to six and can be equiped with one of three different weapons. The Graviton blast cannon looks great with a HunTR D6, strength 5, AP-3, damage 2 profile (increasing to damage 3 against targets with a 3+ save).
The Hekaton Land Fortress is a very impressive looking vehicle with a transport capability too (even able to transport the different Exo type units). With a toughness of 8, 16 wounds, a 2+ save and Void Armour the Hekaton Land Fortress is a tough nut to crack. With an Iron-Master or Forge-Master nearby you should be able to keep this unit around for much longer than your oppponet would like. In terms of damage output the Land-Fortress is covered in guns with four bolt cannons, a MATR autocannon and cyclic ion cannon providing a great mix of anti infantry and vehicles options. The standout uprade though has to be the heavy magna-rail cannon with it’s strength 14, AP-4, 2D3+6 damage profile (and the Magna-rail special rule too!). The Hekaton Land Fortress can also be equipped with one of three, one use warheads to further compliment the ranged damage output. The warheads themselves can target units that are not visible to the Land Fortress and have a variety of different profiles. The mountain breaker warhead is designed for cracking open tough armour with it’s strength 10 and flat damage of 6 whereas the Kin’s wrath warhead seems more suited to targetting the infantry.
Before we wrap up this review I’d like to take a look at the Crusade content for the Leagues of Votann. As you’d expect we get a nice selection of Votann specific Agendas, Requisitions, Relics and Battle Traits in line with other 9th edition Warhammer 40,000 Codexes. There is so much additional lore and background littered through this section of the Codex it’s really great fun to read all the descriptions and lore snippets which accompany the different Relics and Agendas etc.
There are two main crusade mechanics for the Leagues of Votann, Grudges and Kindred Acquisitions. The former is a really thematic mechanic which sees your Crusade force attempt to seek revenge and right any wrongs inflicted upon them. Should one of your units be destroyed and subsequently taken out of action by an opponent’s army then you will record a Grudge against that particular faction on this unit’s Crusade card. At the start of each battle, should any of your units have a Grudge against that particular opponent you’re able to assign a number of Grudge Tokens to different enemy units in the opposing army. Grudge Tokens work just like Judgement Tokens (but only units bearing a grudge can benefit from them). In addition, units with grudges are able to benefit from a number of advantages and drawbacks whilst fighting against those armies against which the Grudge is still in effect. Grudges can be settled over the course of your army’s Crusade and there are also penalties should you fail to enact your vengeance upon your enemies! I love this mechanic and can’t wait to start adding members of the Sprues and Brews team to my ‘Book of Grudges’!
The Kindred Acquisitions mechanic is a bit like a resource management minigame which aims to reflect the industrious and exploritive nature of the Kin. During each battle you’re able to collect a number of different resources which you can accumulate and cash in for certain bonuses. There are four types of primary resource to collect and you even have a chance to find rare and exotic resources which are required for special rewards. These rewards take the form of assets which can be unlocked by meeting the resource requirements and further upgraded over the course of a Crusade.
I really like how these two Crusade features work together. The Grudge rules gives you a really interactive mechanic where you can really include your opponent in the narative of your Crusade force whereas the Kindred Acquisition rules allow you to develop your own Crusade force ‘offline’. You even get an ‘Acquisition Sheet’ in the Codex that you can photocopy and use to record the progress of your Crusade force. Yes, the Leagues of Votann Crusade content is definetly up there with the Sisters of Battle and Craftworld Eldar in terms of quality!
Firstly I’m really impressed with the Votann models and the variety you get on each sprue included in the Army Set. The twenty Hearthkyn Warriors in particular have so much variety in terms of weapon options and heads I really enjoy putting them together and painting them. The Army Set is a great way to get an early start on a Leagues of Votann army and will form a great foundation to expand upon once the rest of the range becomes available.
I also really enjoyed reading through the Codex as well. As I mentioned above I think the Design team have done a great job of integrating this ‘new’ faction into the current setting. A highlight of the Codex has to be the Crusade content, I’m really excited to start using the Kin in our upcoming Sprues and Brews Crusade campaign later in the year.
The Leagues of Votann are definetly strong army, the Eye of the Ancestors/Judgement Token mechanic is super fun and thematic, perhaps slightly too powersful in some limited circumstances. On the unit front it’s not the largest of Codexes, especially when compared to Space Marines or Aeldari but I’m really excited to see what the future brings for the Leagues of Votann. I’d love to see another Troops option, a Dreadnought type unit and perhaps some more of the aweome Ironkin!
The Leagues of Votann Army Set is up for pre order today and released on the 24th of September.
Games Workshop sent Sprues and Brews a free copy of the Leagues of Votann Army Set for review purposes.