I was fortunate enough to be sent the Flesh Tearers Codex supplement this week, an addition to Codex: Blood Angels, and as it is fairly recent, I thought a review might be in order.
A confession first – the Flesh Tearers are kinda my thing. While they originally appeared in the chapter line up in the Rogue Trader rulebook, many, many moons ago, they were not filled out at all until the Index Astartes articles in White Dwarf (later published in a book called, appropriately enough, Index Astartes).
If you check out the article, you will see my name on it! I was fortunate enough to be in a position to write that article and thus more or less create what could be called the coolest Blood Angels successor chapter of the lot (hey, it could be said!). I was also able to add characters like Gabriel Seth, and the Death Company Dreadnought was my idea too.
Anyway, time to see what they have done with ‘my’ chapter!
This book is basically a compilation of all the Flesh Tearer bits that have appeared in various other publications recently (such as Leviathan), so if you already have them, it will be of less utility to you. On the other hand, if you do not, £11.99 is not a bad price for what effectively turns the Blood Angels into a recognisably different army.
The book kicks off with a brief introduction and then it is deep into the background of the Flesh Tearers.
The basic idea behind the Flesh Tearers is that they are like the Blood Angels, but even angrier. Their geneseed is degenerating massively and, in a nutshell, the entire chapter is doomed (some of the subsequent fiction suggests the chapter may be saved, but I always assumed they would be gone in a thousand years or so…).
There is a bit of fiction in this section, lots of really nice artwork (really nice…), and write-ups of the major characters in the chapter such as, of course, Gabriel Seth. Lots to get your teeth into here (which is just what a Flesh Tearer would do, as they have a habit of tearing off their helmets in the middle of battle so they can bite out the throats of their enemies).
Then it is into the rules. The Flesh Tearers get their own Warlord Traits table (giving you Rampage, Hatred, Hammer of Wrath… you get the idea), and three relics of their own – a poisoned bolt gun, something to keep your dreadnoughts moving towards the enemy regardless of any damage they take, and a suit of power armour that allows you to ignore poisoned weapons. Not massively useful, but it is just 5 points and could make for a great conversion (it constantly filters the marine’s blood). It will also give Dark Eldar a bit of a shock.
To really put their stamp on things as a new force, the Flesh Tearers get their own detachment, the Flesh Tearers Strike Force. This has 1 HQ, 1 Troops and a Fast Attack as compulsory, but allows you to really ratchet things up on more Fast Attack (up to 5 more), without losing any Elites or Heavy Support, which is nice. Fulfil those very easy requirements and you can not only re-roll your Warlord Trait but every unit gains Rage if it rolls 10 or more for its charge distance (Ork players will be familiar with something similar).
There are four dedicated Flesh Tearers formation next. The Vanguard Strike Force is a nicely balanced formation revolving around Tactical Squads and supporting units, but gets to add +1 to Initiative when it charges, and ignores disordered charges if its Vanguard squad is close by. Just what you need to get an advantage over other marines.
The Lysios Relief Force starts in reserve and gains the Crusader rule, and everyone comes on at the same time – that would be Seth himself leading a Tactical Squad, Vanguard Squad, Baal Predator, normal Predator and a Stormraven. Which will make a mess when it hits the enemy line.
The Defenders of the Cathedrum is the counterpart to the Relief Force, featuring a broad spread of infantry and a Furioso Dreadnought, all gaining the Counter-attack and Stubborn rules.
These last two formations can be combined into the larger Strike Force Razorwind which has all of their individual rules, and adds making reserve rolls from turn one and everyone close to Seth getting Fearless.
The book ends up with an Echoes of War battle against Chaos Space Marines.
If you have not already got these rules and want to get involved with Flesh Tearers (and why wouldn’t you, eh?), then you cannot really go wrong with this ebook as, when combined with Codex: Blood Angels, it has everything you need to get started.
As for me… well, it has been a while since I did a Flesh Tearers army, and I seem to be feeling the call once again. I think I will do me some more Age of Sigmar forces, and then take a good, long look at a small (ha!) Flesh Tearers army…