When I heard there where updated rules for The Fallen in this issue of White Dwarf, I was very excited. Being a Dark Angels fanboy, the possibility of having a solid ruleset to represent the arch enemy of my chapter and possibly even see some new lore was too good to pass up. Coupled with the phenomenal artwork of Cypher on the cover, (by Diana Martinez,) this issue promised to be something very special indeed.
The Index Hereticus article opens with some background and lore to introduce The Fallen to the reader. While it does an excellent job summarising their place in the 40k universe, it also clearly comes from a somewhat bias viewpoint, glossing over the nuance of the rebellion on Caliban and firmly noting the fallen as the bad guys. As this is a primer on the sub faction, overlooking these points can be forgiven, though it would be nice to have seen the writers lean into the fact that the Rebellion of Caliban wasn’t such a black and white event according the the current novels.
The influence of Chaos in the fallen is also heavily mentioned, though the article does note that not all Fallen are followers of the ruinous powers, and that some of them try to find some sort of redemption for their part in the Rebellion of Caliban. This is an aspect of the fallen which I find greatly appealing, that a large amount are morally grey. The idea of the disgraced knight errant, on some quest to make up for their past sins a key factor of The Fallen’s appeal to me and I was happy to see this mentioned in the Index article.
The lore section of the article ends with Luther’s escape which was a bit disappointing because we have been at this point in the fluff for a while now. I would have liked to have seen more details on the gathering force of Fallen which currently threatens the Dark Angels chapter or even more details on Luther’s escape itself. I can only hope the current stagnation in the lore is building to a campaign book or something bigger.
Now onto the rules themselves. It’s… err… not great sadly.
We get a custom Vanguard detachment which can only contain Fallen key word units, Sorcerer units or Chaos Rhinos. If you want to make a fallen force, you will need the current chaos codex which is 8th edition and so in dire need of a re-write. It’s no surprise that The Fallen would be based from the Chaos codex as this has been their home for as long as I remember, but pulling from understrength units from that start means this army is already on the back foot. Some updated profiles would have been nice to see, giving us 9th edition rules to represent these units on the field.
Cypher himself received a new ability when included in the detachment called “Agent of Discord”. This effectively stops the opponent generating additional or manipulating CP. Though at first this sounds quite good, on reflection I don’t think this will help them much. Perhaps if the ability also turned off aura abilities for enemy units in range of cypher, this would cause more Discord?
The rules section ends with 2no new stratagems for Fallen Angels detachment units and a relic sword. Not too much to write home about here unfortunately.
The final section and personal highlight of the Index focuses on the hobby side. We are treated to a conversion guide which gives some tips on kit bashing your own fallen units. There are then some examples of completed fallen units and finally a painting guide to help get your own Fallen battle ready. All in all I loved this section of the Index as it really got my imagination working.
So, will I be rushing out to make some Fallen? Unfortunately the answer is no. After looking over the new rules in this Index and knowing a bit more about my local meta, they wouldn’t last 5 minutes on the table. Perhaps once I’ve completed some of my other outstanding painting projects, I’ll make a few squads up for fun. Sadly the closest these will see to table top play would be as objective markers for my Dark Angels army.
I was never under the illusion that this White Dwarf Index would make The Fallen into a competitive option, but I did hope for a viable set of rules which would tempt me into bringing some along for fun.
At least The Fallen have cool artwork and fluff.