Review: Codex Imperial Agents

With the dust not long settled from the release of the Traitor Legions book, the Imperium hit back with a retaliatory salvo of their own in the form – Codex Imperial Agents.  So is this the Emperor’s answer to the preceding heretical tome or something different entirely? Let us tear off the shrink wrap and take a look.

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What we have is a compilation of various datasheets all wrapped in a single hard backed volume. We have some 136 pages produced to the highest standards that we all love and expect from Games Workshop (GW), the artwork throughout is stunning though unoriginal to this tome. The aim of the book is to provide all the information needed to attach additional forces to your current Imperial Army. The first section takes us through each of the nine factions included, with one or two pages of fluff and artwork.

Next up, we have the Warriors of the Emperor section which is a gallery of various dioramas of the factions contained within the book in action with their Imperial counterparts. There are no new models on display here. Though that does not mean none will be released in the future. We have already seen some of the new model releases for the Cadian book.  So we will just have to wait and see if any more new Sisters of Battle models manage to escape from the bin and make it onto our shelves.

The Forces of The Imperium section is next which starts by giving us a quick overview of how to use the coming rules. What we essentially have are new detachments which each have their own individual force organisation charts (FoC) and command abilities that can be added to an Imperial army or perhaps used on their own. Before the factions finally begin we have a two-page armoury.

Now onto the factions themselves.

Cult Mechanicus

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The Mechanicus appear as a Enginseer Congregation Detachment, which is a compulsory Enginseer with an optional squad of Servitors sitting in an Elite slot. This Detachment has the Canticles of the Omnissiah special rule and the table is included. The Enginseer has the standard wargear with a few options available. He has the usual special rules, but his Awaken the Machine rule only applies to Astra Militarum (AM) vehicles, not even those belonging to his own faction. This seems a little odd and would limit his usefulness it is F.A.Q’d at a later date. He can still repair any friendly vehicle. The Servitors themselves are pretty standard, though mindlock can be prevented by the inclusion of any Independent Character in their unit.

Aeronautica Imperialis

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Here we have a compulsory of one fast attack choice in the form of Valkyrie with the option of adding an Officer of the Fleet in an HQ slot. The Detachment’s command benefit being Air Superiority which allows the re-roll of failed Reserve Rolls for the units from the Detachment. The Officer has fairly standard AM stats but comes with the Navy Orders special rule. If he passes a leadership test of 7 he can issue one of two orders – to either add a +1 bonus or a -1 detriment to your opponents Reserve Rolls. If you have more than one Officer, all modifier are cumulative. The Valkyries are pretty standard. They can be fielded in wings of 1-3 and have the usual weapons options and the Grav-chute insertion rule. The main question with this Detachment is who are they supposed to transport. With the rules on Battle Brothers and transports as they are it would appear they can only begin the game transporting the Officer. Considering the book this Detachment finds itself in, this seems a little strange and will hopefully be F.A.Q’d to include other units. Included is a designers note relating to Death from the Skies.

Adeptus Astra Telepathica

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The Psykana Division is a neat little Detachment which contains one compulsory HQ of either a Primaris Psyker or an Astropath together with the option of 1-3 units of Elite Wyrdvane Psykers. The benefit is that either HQ may harness Warp Charge points on a 3+ if within 12” of 5 or more Wyrdvane Psykers from the same Division. The Primaris looks like the standard AM version with the standard 4 disciplines available. The Astropath is an interesting option. At only 25 points standard, if he successfully manifests a power you can choose to re-roll any Reserve Rolls in your next turn. He can be upgraded to Mastery level 2 for a further 25 points. He has access to Divination and Telepathy disciplines but with a leadership of only 7, he is a little fragile when it comes to perils of the warp rolls. The Wyrdvane Pykers seem to be the same found in the AM codex. A unit of 5-10 models with the Brotherhood of Psykers (Level 1) rule with access to the standard 4 decks.

Adeptus Sororitas

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Perhaps the most controversial faction entry in the book – the Sisters of Battle (SoB). So what do we have? To begin with, we have two Detachments. Firstly the Ministorum Delegation. This is basically a single compulsory Priest with the option of taking a single Elite unit. This gives the benefit of the Shield of Faith special rule. Next up is the Vestal Task Force – a Decurion like detachment. Its compulsory units are 1 HQ, 2 Troops, 1 Elites with the option to add, 1HQ, 4 Troops,  2 Elites, 3 Fast Attack, 3 Heavy Support. Pretty much a full army. The bonus is that once per game the whole detachment may re-roll any saving throws of 1 for a complete game turn. It also allows to re-roll the result on the SoB Warlord Traits table.

So with such a large Decurion style Detachment, in order to field it, we would need a full codex of rules printed in this book. We get a full SoB wargear list, a full armies worth of datasheets, an appendix of special rules, Acts of Faith and a Warlord Traits table. We have relics and even SoB specific tactical objectives. We have a single named character in the form of Uriah Jacobs but no Celestine but we know she is coming in the  Fall of Cadia. GW tell us on their Facebook page that what we have here pretty much replaces the old digital codex. It certainly feels like it does. A skeletal codex upon which to add new units and formations beginning with Celestine in January. Finally, we also have the Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave. A curious Formation lead by a single Priest or Jacobus together with 3-10 units chosen from either the Arco-flagellants, Crusaders or Death Cult Assassins. However, all models in this Formation must form a single unit. The Formation grants the Shield of Faith special rule.

Deathwatch

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The Deathwatch Kill Team is simply a single squad of Veterans occupying a single compulsory troop slot. They come with the Aquila Doctrine bonus that allows all non-vehicle models in the Detachment to re-roll any To Wound or armour penetration rolls of 1. The squad itself has a full range of options and upgrades. Its choice of dedicated transport is limited to a Corvus Blackstar which itself has its own full datasheet including a note concerning Death from the Skies. These rules are accompanied by a full  Deathwatch wargear list, appendix and Armoury.

Grey Knights

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The Daemonhunter Strike Force Detachment is made from a single compulsory of 1 Troop or Fast attack slot with a single optional Heavy Support choice. They gain the Rites of Teleportation benefit. This allows the units to arrive from Deep strike Reserve from the beginning of turn one on a roll of 3+. In addition arriving units may both Run and Shoot in any order on the turn in which they arrive. The units themselves seem to be straight from the Grey Knight’s Codex. The Troops being the standard Terminator squad with the Interceptor squad taking the Fast Attack slot. Heavy wise we have the Nemesis Dreadknight and all three Land Raider variants. Once again we are presented with a comprehensive wargear list, appendix and armoury.

Legion of the Damned

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The otherworldly legionnaires arrive to aid the Emperor’s forces in the shape of the Spectral Host. A Detachment of 1 Elite unit with the option of adding up to three more. They come with the Saviours from Beyond rule. All units in the Detachment must begin the game in reserve but can choose to automatically pass or fail any Reserve Rolls. The Damned legionnaires themselves seem unchanged from previous incarnations though their heavy weapon options are limited to a Heavy flamer or a  Multi-melta. The Sergeant maybe sparsely upgraded and there are no relic options. There is an interesting side note advising though designed to be used as an ally if an army only contains Damned Legionnaires that you agree with your opponent to allow units to arrive from Reserve at the beginning of turn 1.

Officio Assassinorum

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The fab four are presented here pretty much in the same way they were in the White Dwarf magazine. Love them or hate them, we all fairly familiar with what they can do. Each of the four get their own datasheet including full rules followed by an appendix and wargear sections. The Detachment allows for the fielding Elite that grants an extra victory point if the assassin inflicts the final wound on an enemy Warlord. The Formation includes an assassin from each temple and grants Preferred Enemy (Warlord) in addition to the same bonus as the Detachment.

Inquisition

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This most sinister Faction of the Emperor’s forces kicks off with the Inquisitorial Representative Detachment. It consists of a single compulsory HQ with up to three optional Elites. This imparts a rather interesting Command Benefit- One Inquisitor (maybe unique) from this Detachment can generate and use a Warlord Trait, even if they are not the army’s Warlord.

We have a force consisting entirely of HQ and Elite slots with a single Heavy slot. Coteaz remains the same, Karamzov does essentially, with the exception that his orbital strike appears to be one use only which for a 200 point model seems a little weak.  The three generic Inquisitors are present from the Ordos Malleus, Hereticus and Xenos. They remain unchanged bar a few minor wargear price changes; power armour is now only 3 points and servo-skulls have been removed entirely!

In the first Elite slot, we have the much slimmed down Acolyte squad. The unit now only contains the standard human henchmen in squads of 3-12. Their weapons and armour upgrade options remain the same at slightly adjusted points costs. One may be upgraded to a Mystic with the Psychic Beacon rule. Transport wise the unit may choose from a Chimera, Sororitas Rhino, Valkyrie or from the 3 variants of Land Raider, with no option for a Razorback.

Our next Elite choices are a single Daemonhost which remains unchanged or a single Jokaero Weaponsmith which has a slightly improved Customisation chart. The single Heavy slot is a Chimera with the usual options.

Last but certainly not least we have the Inquisitorial Henchmen Warband. A Formation that ties a large proportion of this books contents together. We have a single Inquisitor of any type and a single unit of Acolytes as compulsory choices. We then may choose from 0-1 Priests, 0-1 Crusaders, 0-6 Daemonhosts, 0-1 Arco-flagellants, 0-1 Death Cult Assassins, 0-1 Tech-Priest Enginseers, 0-6 Jokaeros or a single Astropath. All the models in this Formation must combine to form a single mega unit. The Inquisitor can generate a Warlord Trait and apply it even if he is not the Warlord. Also, a squad of Grey Knight Terminators, a Battle Sisters Squad or unit of Deathwatch Veterans may be requisitioned by an Inquisitor of the appropriate Ordo. Finally, we are furnished with complete wargear lists, appendix and armoury. The Relics are here too but are Ordo-specific.

Overall I like this book. It holds a lot of information within its covers. A compilation containing nine faction’s worth of detachments including an updated Codex SoB all in one volume. The Forces of the Inquisition maybe an updated version of their Codex in hard copy or simply all the rules needed to field the units within the Formation in the book. At the time of writing, I have yet to see anything official concerning this. As I mentioned above one or two of the Detachments could do with a slight rules rewrite to make them usable in the fashion in which I feel they were intended. Overall we have a set of new Detachments containing previously released units, able to add variety and character to any Imperial army. They offer an opportunity to try out new rules and combinations by only adding one or two units to an existing force or a great focus for narrative games. None of the Detachments are overly powerful or game breaking though some do stand out to be more useful than others. This book feels like a placeholder for these Detachments and being in hardback hopefully hints to the longevity of the rules contained within.

Submitted by Drew Neary.

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