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Death Guard in Dark Imperium (novel)

- - - - - Mortarion Typhus fiction Black Library Dark Imperium Indomnitus

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#1
Prot

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Hey guys,

 

As I started my Death Guard I got pretty sick... laid up in bed and I thought I'd slowly re read Dark Imperium.  The first time I went through I whipped through it pretty quick upon release and it was definitely from an Ultra angle.

 

I wanted to slow down and absorb the Death Guard aspect. Aside from the fact I tried to ignore it was at times geared towards a very young audience, I really liked how Death Guard gelled together until it got to the big three... Mort, Typhus and the Great Unclean dude.

 

So here's my question... in all the Heresy novels it's almost repetitive that the Primarch comes off a little slow, and the first captain is usually the smart one, and naturally at odds with his Primarch. With Death Guard I did not think that was the case. But....

 

 

SPOILER ALERT:

 

Right before the attack on Ultramar Typhus is chastising Mortarion claiming he is too late, and foolish for waiting for Guilliman to awaken. In fact Typhus makes it sounds like they could have wiped or at least put a very critical amount of damage on the '500' if they'd simply not waited so long to attack. This makes it feel like Mort has a personal vendetta... which I suppose is fine and it's usually why the good guys win. 

 

But beyond this first headscratcher the turmoil brewing between Typhus and Mortarion gets pretty bad. It seems Typhus accuses Mort of not fully accepting Nurgle into his life (like it's a cult or something). You get the sense Typhus wants Mort to feel second to him.... as in Typhus is the chosen of Nurgle, and Mort is just witness to all of his discoveries. Typhus also mentions discovering Nurgle first, and bringing it to Mort's attention.

 

It's a weird scene and you're left with Mort feeling like he's got bigger problems on his own end then with Guiliman. I really don't understand it to be honest. Can anyone fill me in on this internal vendetta? They actually have a disdain that I think runs deeper than Ahriman and Magnus (though they seem to have buried the hatchet.)

 


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#2
Azekai

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Hasn't it always kind of been that way? Mortarion didn't have much of a hand in his legion's fall to Chaos- it was all Typhus' doing. The Traveler is the herald of Nurgle, not Mortarion. Even Mortarion's ascendance to daemonhood after shaping the Plague Planet could have been more about recreating his own personal hell and less about giving glory to the Plaguefather (Nurgle happened to be tickled pink, but that was largely incidental).

I think Mortarion hates Nurgle (and by extension, his mouthpiece, Typhus) as well as the Emperor... but he hates the Emperor more. Both robbed him of agency and filled him with impotent bitterness, but the Emperor did it first- and the power Nurgle offers allows Mortarion to get the revenge he craves. Furthermore, Nurgle is a god of despair. Mortarion embodies that. He is a hulking, putrescent failure that lashes out with bitter fury at those that wronged him. The Death Guard's primarch does not hope- he hates.

Antecedent to that, Guilliman is one of the most favored sons of the Emperor. If I were hellbent on revenge and spiteful to the point of madness, you can bet I would want to kill the lord of the Ultramarines. 


Edited by Azekai, 23 December 2017 - 06:04 PM.

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#3
DuskRaider

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It's garbage writing, man... if you want to see how Mortarion operates, look at (I can't believe I'm saying this) Mortarion's Heart or 30K... I can't imagine his personality changed too much.
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#4
Lord Marshal

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It's garbage writing, man... if you want to see how Mortarion operates, look at (I can't believe I'm saying this) Mortarion's Heart or 30K... I can't imagine his personality changed too much.

 

"Why don't we just blitz Ultramar, dad? it's right there!"
"No, we need to wait. If we strike too soon there won't have been enough time to allow Gulliman to save the day with his new Primaris™ Space Marines™ avaliable right now at games-workshop.co.uk."
"Wow dad you sure look stupid now."
"Yeah well it's a loyalist novel, what did you expect?"


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#5
Commissar K.

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Thypus is there for maximum edge and 40k writers dont want to write about Primarchs?

 

Idk where it's going either. Since Ive seen Guilliman sporting wings I basically knew that the narrative and artistic designers where doing strange things again. 


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#6
Kilofix

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Typhus (when he was Typhon) had disagreements and split from Mortarion way back in 30K. Mortarion has always hated psykers and the warp. He has never really accepted Nurgle.
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#7
Commissar K.

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I think he has accepted Nurgle completely upon Daemonic ascension. Even beinga  psyker now himself. Which makes Typhus more obnoxious than anything. In fact Mortarion seemed very content as acting as one of the Barbarus Necromancer Overlords he used to fight. 

What I do think is that Morty is complety okay with Typhus hating him as many of the Traitor Legion find power in a particular form of hate. Be it amongst brothers or former brothers.
The thing really is that it is somewhat unbelievable that at this point Typhus sees it in a different way. A Daemon Prince stature and owning a Daemonic planet surely is enough proof of Mortarrion's Nurgle acceptence...



#8
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From the book “Grandfathers Gift” - about Mortarion post ascension, where Mortarion is talking to Khulgath.

“This being was man who was not a man. He was a sorcerer who despised magic. He was a saviour who had turned to damnation. He was a treasured son who hated his fathers.”

Mortarion referring to Nurgle:

“I, too, brought sorrow on my father, but I am glad of it, for I hate Him.”

Mortarion referring to the manipulation of the warp:

“No,’ said Mortarion. ‘I employed the sacred arts of numerology, for in sympathetic mathematical calculation the forms of things may be changed.’
‘That sounds like magic,’ said Khu’gath.
‘It is not,’ said Mortarion.”

“I am real. The garden is real. If you made it, that would be magic. You are a sorcerer,’ pronounced Khu’gath with certainty.
‘I am a manipulator of the warp through the application of numerological truths.’
‘Magic, magic, magic!’ said Khu’gath.”
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#9
Marshal Loss

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 He has never really accepted Nurgle.

 

That's not the impression Dark Imperium gives. He still has his love/hate relationship with sorcery, but there's nothing to indicate that he has not accepted Nurgle.

 

 

The Emperor offers death in life. Nurgle offers the constant renewal of life in death! So many of the Emperor’s loyal subjects will join with us when they see how their suffering may be banished by embracing pain. Typhus says I do not understand, father. But I do, I understand far better than him. With Guilliman gone, the Imperium will be doomed. All glory to the generosity of Father Nurgle! It has been foretold, and I shall make it so.’

 

Mortarion referring to Nurgle:

“I, too, brought sorrow on my father, but I am glad of it, for I hate Him.”

 

He's referring to the Emperor, not Nurgle.

 

Anyway, for Prot, if you read the Heresy series closely you'll notice in several places there are references to the 'old guard' - Typhon, Erebus, Kor Phaeron, etc. Lorgar even discusses their arrogance at one point. These are the astartes who first fell to the dark gods, and worked behind the scenes to ensure their Primarchs fell with them. They tend to think they know better than their fathers. In the case of Typhon, he resents Mortarion for being given what he views as unearned power.


Edited by Marshal Loss, 24 December 2017 - 05:09 AM.

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#10
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I would say that Mortarion despises Nurgle, but he's not only an unwilling slave to the God, he was also technically remade (and some may argue made originally in part) by Nurgle. Remember, when a mortal becomes a Daemon Prince they shed their mortal coil... They die. They are then remade into a Daemon with all the perks and pitfalls that entails, like being at least partially the God itself.

It's that despair and loathing that Nurgle really feeds on. Mortarion's hatred for Gods, tyrants, sorcery and psykers still exists, it's more self loathing now as well since he's now three out of four of the things he hates.

He probably has and does work against the will of Nurgle, at least from time to time and while this is self-defeating, it's also the nature of Chaos itself. Chaos will also work to undo itself and it's plans.
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#11
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Perhaps (I wouldn't be srurpised) that Mortarion was waiting for Guilloman to awaken? Maybe he didn't really care about completely stamping out Ultramar, he just wanted to poop on Roboutes lawn, then rub his face in it. I think Mortarion is bitter and petty enough for that.

 

Also, Nurgle enjoys lingering misery... gains power from it. Mortarion embodies it well. Hope is Tzeentch's domain.


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#12
Marshal Loss

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I didn't say anything about him liking or despising Nurgle - the question was whether he had accepted Nurgle.  And beyond a shadow of a doubt, Mortarion has done exactly that.

 

Mortarion's bitterness is channeled outwards, at what he is still able to control. His hypocrisy is a big part of what defines him as a character. He probably does loathe Nurgle, but he has definitely accepted the god; there is no indication he has ever worked against him. Rather, he interprets the goals of his deity through his own ambition and bitterness, as with his quest to kill Guilliman, which provides the emotions that Nurgle feeds off. Nurgle wants Ultramar part of the Garden? Sure, but Mortarion is going to take the chance to humble his 'perfect' brother in doing so. Just look at him during the Heresy - how badly he wanted to kill the Khan so that when he rocked up at Terra, the others would look at him with respect as a primarch-slayer, with deeds to rival his more illustrious brothers. He rationalises his failure(s) through what he sees as the weakness of others.

 

This little passage from the DG codex is discussing the plague marines themselves, but the theme applies just as well to Mortarion:

 

 

Some of Mortarion’s sons embraced their new form, believing in their arrogance that they had passed through the eye of the needle and proved themselves the only mortals worthy of Nurgle’s patronage. Others hated the plague that had laid them low, the weakness it implied; for these warriors, nothing would suffice but to spread ruin and sickness until the entire galaxy was brought down to their level. Others still were driven quite mad, taking on aspects of rambunctious glee or morose, entropic misery.

 

For Mortarion, I think all the above reasons are true, to varying degrees.


Edited by Marshal Loss, 24 December 2017 - 05:45 AM.

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#13
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It’s easier for me to understand that Mortarion has ‘accepted’ his predicament and Nurgle as fact and reality.

It’s harder for me to reconcile that ‘old’ Mortarion would actually espouse Nurgle, given his loathing for his previous Barbaran father, for the Emperor and for ‘overlords’ in general.

But rereading DI, and as Marshal quotes above;
Guy Haley, who wrote both DI and Grandfathers Gift, did write in Mortarion saying “All glory to the generosity of Father.”

Maybe as Dusk says, it’s not the ‘old’ Mortarion anymore as Nurgle has remade him.
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#14
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There is more to it than that; read slightly further on. Look at things in context:

 

Then you are luckier than I. You have purpose, and though you have no father now, you have a loving grandfather.

 

Mortarion likely views his relationship with Nurgle as being something very different to his relations with his foster-father and the Emperor. Like I said above, he is a notorious, bitter hypocrite. Nurgle owns him mind, body and soul - he is literally a part of Nurgle now - but Mortarion reconciles this in terms acceptable to his world-view, just like he refuses to acknowledge the fact that he is a sorcerer, etc, etc. He still maintains the same bitter outlook as ever, but the truth of his existence is bluntly put to him by Typhus n Dark Imperium:

 

You think that you are in control, that your new being is separate from the warp and yours to do with as you will. It is not. It is Nurgle’s.

 

Refusing to view it in this light allows Mortarion to maintain his twisted worldview, much as he has for 10,000 years. It's almost like an old mind refusing to accept the reality of the new world that surrounds it.


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Commissar K.

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I think the twist in emotions is actually done on purpose. What I mean by this is that there is a lot of dark humour that is attached to Nurgle aswell, so hate to some extend feeds him as does the joy the gifts of Nurgle bring to some. What's key though for me to thake from it all is that indeed Mortarion is a very conflicted Primarch now aswell, then again this is logical for a lot of Nurgle Daemons as it is part of Nurgle's domain.

 

 

 

To understand what might otherwise seem contradictory or even perverse in nature, one must first comprehend that which Nurgle embodies. On the one hand, he is the Lord of Decay, whose body is wracked with disease; on the other, he is full of unexpected energy and a desire to organise and enlighten. 


In many ways Nurgle does not want things to change but slowly continue to rot. With this in mind to some extend it actually makes a lot of sence that after Daemonic assension Mortarion basically repeated what happend to him on Barbarus. For it is the emotion of despair that empowers Nurgle more than anything. It's just that this emotion is harder to comprehend as most as in order to create a continious dispair the emotion needs to go back and forth on good times and bad times.

So while indeed Mortarion is gifted by Nurgle he likely hates parts of these powers bestowed upon him. At the same time he is happy that his Legion survives and continues while he hates the form they are in. Being gifted with massive resilience and power while being in constant dispair is the path of Nurgle after all. 

 


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#16
Prot

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Some really interesting conversation guys. I'm enjoying the various takes on it.

 

More so back to the bitterness between Mort and Typhus, I always felt (for years and years actually) that Nurgle was closest to his believers. I think we can agree on that as a pretty common theme.

 

I always thought this would be reflected in the Death Guard. I know things happen, and this isn't a rule, but I had hoped Mort and Tyhpus would have grown solid and focused on the big picture (in this case Ultramar). 

 

I often reflect back on one of the HH novels I enjoyed (I just can't remember the name of  it) Graham Mcneil wrote it. A moment kind of shocked me; Mort is in some nestled cavern or something, and he's with his trusted body guard of elite Death Shroud Termies.... he takes all them down with a swoop, allowing a diseased Death Guard dude to absorb their essence to become something truly twisted and diseased beyond recognition. (This Death Guard guy would later be a living Bio-bomb in the story line)....

 

Anyway it just blew me away Mort did this. It felt really... just wrong to me. But at that moment I thought to myself; it must be in the post HH that Mort becomes bonded with his chapter in a way that would of course be the polar opposite of an Angron or Fulgrim. 

 

Fast forward to Dark Imperium.... it still isn't really a thing for Mort is it?  Or am I missing the fiction that may paint him in a different light?


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#17
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Read Path of Heaven. It reconciles that act with the rest of Mortarion's actions; it describes it as a momentary lapse, and he is strictly against any of his subcommanders using any form of warp-spawned powers, instead favouring rad and phosphex weaponry.


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#18
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I love you guys.

This is why I love gaming so much. People tend to forget the stories and fluff too often. Even our gaming should be about stories, even if its pushing little painted men around a tabletop. We can tell our own stories that way. 


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I often reflect back on one of the HH novels I enjoyed (I just can't remember the name of  it) Graham Mcneil wrote it. A moment kind of shocked me; Mort is in some nestled cavern or something, and he's with his trusted body guard of elite Death Shroud Termies.... he takes all them down with a swoop, allowing a diseased Death Guard dude to absorb their essence to become something truly twisted and diseased beyond recognition. (This Death Guard guy would later be a living Bio-bomb in the story line)....


Vengeful Spirit I think.
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#20
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Some really interesting conversation guys. I'm enjoying the various takes on it.

 

More so back to the bitterness between Mort and Typhus, I always felt (for years and years actually) that Nurgle was closest to his believers. I think we can agree on that as a pretty common theme.

 

I always thought this would be reflected in the Death Guard. I know things happen, and this isn't a rule, but I had hoped Mort and Tyhpus would have grown solid and focused on the big picture (in this case Ultramar). 

 

I often reflect back on one of the HH novels I enjoyed (I just can't remember the name of  it) Graham Mcneil wrote it. A moment kind of shocked me; Mort is in some nestled cavern or something, and he's with his trusted body guard of elite Death Shroud Termies.... he takes all them down with a swoop, allowing a diseased Death Guard dude to absorb their essence to become something truly twisted and diseased beyond recognition. (This Death Guard guy would later be a living Bio-bomb in the story line)....

 

Anyway it just blew me away Mort did this. It felt really... just wrong to me. But at that moment I thought to myself; it must be in the post HH that Mort becomes bonded with his chapter in a way that would of course be the polar opposite of an Angron or Fulgrim. 

 

Fast forward to Dark Imperium.... it still isn't really a thing for Mort is it?  Or am I missing the fiction that may paint him in a different light?

Dude he blew half of his legion up on Istvan III, then went down himself and scythed all the tough guys who fought to survive. I think he would be up to sacrificing his strongest warriors for an attack, but I do not think he would be happy about having to go about it that way. Death Guard does tend to prefer to march to their battles.



#21
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Read Path of Heaven. It reconciles that act with the rest of Mortarion's actions; it describes it as a momentary lapse, and he is strictly against any of his subcommanders using any form of warp-spawned powers, instead favouring rad and phosphex weaponry.

 

I'll have to check that out. 

 

I've read nearly all the HH novels in  sequence as they came out (so I'm foggy on some of the very old stuff). I had to skip some of the side stuff though. I know most of the Ultra stuff, Thousand Sons, and then the side stories started getting really hard to follow. It seemed the closer they got to terra, the slower it became. 

 

Path of Heaven....is that the one that takes place after the scars one? 

 

I recall Mort vs. Khan. I don't think that went down too well. (for Mort) Is Path of Heaven after those events?

 

 

 
I often reflect back on one of the HH novels I enjoyed (I just can't remember the name of  it) Graham Mcneil wrote it. A moment kind of shocked me; Mort is in some nestled cavern or something, and he's with his trusted body guard of elite Death Shroud Termies.... he takes all them down with a swoop, allowing a diseased Death Guard dude to absorb their essence to become something truly twisted and diseased beyond recognition. (This Death Guard guy would later be a living Bio-bomb in the story line)....


Vengeful Spirit I think.

 

Yea that's it. I actually liked that one. I still think back to the 'cave' scene and wonder if that will ever get truly fleshed out.

 

I love you guys.

This is why I love gaming so much. People tend to forget the stories and fluff too often. Even our gaming should be about stories, even if its pushing little painted men around a tabletop. We can tell our own stories that way. 

 

I agree. There are tournaments, but then there are moments when I think we should really enjoy the theme of our respective armies, in the spirit of the background. (rarely happens in tournies but otherwise, it can be  a lot of fun.)


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#22
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I agree. There are tournaments, but then there are moments when I think we should really enjoy the theme of our respective armies, in the spirit of the background. (rarely happens in tournies but otherwise, it can be  a lot of fun.)

 

Absolutely there is an aspect to that which often gets forgotten. I get it though, this whole edition is designed with balance of gameplay in mind and because of that isn't always on par with it's narrative designs and in reality it can't be because we arn't playing a fantasy/historical game in most cases. For practically all points matter the most and thus does reason of logical use of troops.

For the narrative of the game though that same logic doesn't need to be applied. As a huge fan of World Eaters it's offcourse not ideal that we have the whole Legion shattered by Khârn but I am certain there will eventually be a narrative design where massive parts of the Legion would gather again under the banner of Angron. This in terms of narrative has happend before so can easily happen again.
What makes things sometimes difficult to reflect is that indeed the cult Legions, Emperor's Children, Thousand Sons, Death Guard and World Eaters are much closer to one specific Chaos God and thus follow their rational but that doesn't mean this rational is logic. Because if anything Chaos Gods only follow their own logic and not that of Imperial standards. 

Becomming a walking amplifier, living blender, magical dust or zombie marine isn't really something logical to begin with. It is however what happend and is happening to all who become part of the cult Legions. There still is a lot of narrative we can fill in for ourself but nothing is really a wrong approach. What I believe is that even though I don't think it's logical that the hatred between Typhus and Mortarion also continues to show that not all Death Guard are perse always lead by Mortarion or share his exact same vision. Much is true for different characters of the same Legion. 
With this in mind though the advantage we gain in headcannon is that your own army does not perse have to be the extension of Mortarion if you don't want this to be the case. For me as a World Eater fan the oppossite is true also. Yes Khârn scattered all World Eaters but that doesn't mean that some World Eater Warbands don't co-operate towards a common goal. Afterall Khorne cares not and father Nurgle cares in his own ways ;) 


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#23
Prot

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Yea I think for World Eaters that utopian moment might have been closest with KDK. Man I miss that stuff with the Tithe system. So fun.

Anyway that’s partially why I’m using DG actually. To me they play a lot like they read. I personally don’t want to play soup but have some semblance of competition and I really don’t know but hopefully Mort gives me that.

Though I’m starting to wonder.


Edited by Prot, 27 December 2017 - 04:27 PM.

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#24
McElMcNinja

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Sorry, what's SG?

I played a few games with Morty, he was a game changer. If they ignore him they will regret it and if they focus on him, that gives you plenty of time to get the rest of your army where they need to be. I took a titan out in one turn with him while my DP just ran through their back field.
I don't bring him during friendly games unless my opponents asks me to.

#25
Prot

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Sorry, what's SG?

I played a few games with Morty, he was a game changer. If they ignore him they will regret it and if they focus on him, that gives you plenty of time to get the rest of your army where they need to be. I took a titan out in one turn with him while my DP just ran through their back field.
I don't bring him during friendly games unless my opponents asks me to.

 

hehe sorry . Phone type-o.

 

Well we play somewhat competitively. I'm in a few groups and it varies. In 8th I've played Thousand Sons with Magnus and I do agree that if you catch someone totally unaware, it's a brutal experience for them, but while playing Magnus within Thousand Sons (IE: no soup), it's pretty bad. I usually lose him T1. Even against Orks. If I don't get first turn for the psych buffs it's almost a forgone conclusion. And that's with ample terrain.... but the models are typically impossible to hide so usually he takes a pack of lascannons or whatever in the melon.

 

It's funny because I see it as a meta thing. In an environment where no one sees this stuff, it can seem very overwhelming. In an environment expecting it... it can be totally the opposite. 


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Mortarion, Typhus, fiction, Black Library, Dark Imperium, Indomnitus

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