Warhammer 40k rules for Vashtorr the Arkifane were released by Games Workshop on the Warhammer Community website on Wednesday, and they reveal that the unaligned daemon prince is surprisingly weak. Vashtorr is an arch-villain in the Arks of Omen expansion books, with his sights set on becoming the next Chaos god, but his tabletop abilities fall well short of his ambitions.
Vashtorr the Arkifane is an HQ unit for a Chaos Space Marines army. If selected as the Warlord he has to take the Lord of Terror Warlord Trait. This creates a 6” aura around the Warlord that makes enemy units more likely to lose models due to morale checks. It’s a pretty weak ability: it doesn’t make the Warlord more survivable, nor does it directly contribute to damaging the enemy, and can only harm enemy infantry units.
Vashtorr’s defensive stats are respectable, with a 2+ save, 4+ invulnerable save, and toughness seven, the same as the Daemon Primarch Angron of the World Eaters – and he reduces all incoming damage by 1. Unlike Angron he can’t come back to life after you kill him, and he has just 14 wounds.
He might actually be more survivable if he had fewer wounds. Characters with nine wounds or less benefit from the Look Out Sir rule, allowing them to hide behind an infantry screen, vehicle, or monster; that’s one way that Roboute Guilliman of the Ultramarines stays alive. With 14 wounds Vashtorr has nowhere to hide. His stats also degrade as he takes damage.
Vashtorr has an auto-hitting ranged weapon, similar to a heavy flamer, but not as effective as the Baleflamer available to the Lord Discordant who is also part of the Chaos Space Marine list.
His melee weapon is effectively a thunder hammer that sometimes does extra damage and ignores the armour of enemy vehicles. Useful, except that some Warhammer 40k factions can field armies without vehicles: the Battlesuit heavy T’au, Deathwing of the Dark Angels, and biological Tyranids.
Vashtorr is certainly fast, with a 12” move and the ability to fly. He can also deep strike into place using the Warp Strike ability, provided you can clear a landing zone for his sizable base.
Vashtorr can also select a single support ability in each command phase. Unholy Mechanisms grants a single Daemon Engine within 3” of Vashtorr during the command phase +1 to hit until your next coturn. He can also debuff the enemy: Ghost in the Machine targets an enemy unit within 18” and halves the range of their weapons, while Agonise Machine Spirits halves the move and attacks characteristic of an enemy vehicle.
All told, Vashtorr has an odd mix of abilities. His offensive output isn’t shabby but it’s also not earth-shattering, and certainly doesn’t befit a pretender to the title of fifth Warhammer 40k Chaos god. His support abilities are nice but don’t gel with his beat-stick body.
Cogs of Vashtorr Army of Renown
Games Workshop also released rules for the Cogs of Vashtorr Army of Renown on Wednesday. This is a Chaos Space Marine army list that cannot take any of the god-aligned Chaos Space Marines, and must be led by Vashtorr. The army cannot gain a Legion Trait, but gets access to unique Relics and Stratagems.
The list buffs Daemon Engines, granting them the benefits of Wanton Destruction, Wanton Massacre, and Wanton Slaughter in every turn; this means that any to-hit rolls of six inflict additional hits. Mortal followers are disempowered, losing the ability to engage in any Wanton acts at all.
With the wide-open list-building allowed by the Arks of Omen detachment, a Cogs of Vashtorr list packed with Daemon Engines (and perhaps a Warpsmith, Master of Possession, and some cultists to grab objectives) could be quite fun, if not necessarily a tournament threat.