Tactics and Strategy: Using the Cyclopia Cabal

A few weeks ago, GW blessed the followers of Chaos with a couple of new updated supplements with new rules, and formations in the form of Black Legion and Crimson Slaughter.  Neither of these updates have been particularly well received as a whole by the community, however Black Legion offers up what might be the strongest formation in the game we've seen in quite some time; The Cyclopia Cabal.

So, what is the Cabal and what does it do? Why is it so good?  The formation requirements are 3-5 Chaos Sorcerers.  They must be "Black Legion" thus must pay for the mandatory Veterans of the Long War upgrade.  They gain a power called "Shroud of Deceit" which is not labeled as a malediction or witchfire power.  It is a warp charge 3 power which allows you to take control of an enemy unit within 30" of the caster and make a shooting attack with that unit as though it were one of your own.  For each additional sorcerer within 12" of the caster, you can gain an additional dice to use towards casting this power. 

While Shroud of Deceit is certainly a great power and a big difference maker (I'm looking at you Stormsurge), it is not what really makes the Cabal such a brutal formation.  Rather, the Cabal is the cornerstone of the Cabal Star; a devastating death star capable of massive damage in both the psychic and assault phases.

How does it work? Typically the Cabal in this build are all Mastery Level 3 with bikes, and spell familiars, which allow for re-rolls of failed psychic tests.  One of the sorcerers should be equipped with a Black Mace.  With the current update to Black Legion, you are now allowed to purchase relics from either the Chaos Space Marines codex, or the Black Legion book.  The Cabal is then placed with an allied Flesh Hounds unit from Khorne Daemonkin.  Typically anywhere from 12-15 hounds or more.  In addition, there is a juggerlord of some sort in the build; either a Chaos Lord or a herald.  He's there to take on challenges.

How good can this death star be? Well, if the results of the Broadside Bash this year are any indication, they can be very good.  James Carmona of Team0Comp won the Bash running the Cabal allied with KDK and Chaos Daemons.  I will, hopefully soon, be publishing an interview with James discussing his list and how he fared at the Broadside Bash.

I have been running the Cabal star myself lately using the following build for 1850 with great results:

++Black Legion Formation++
++Cyclopia Cabal++
Sorcerer ML 3, Bike, Force Staff, Last Memory of Yuranthos, Spell Familiar
Sorcerer ML 3, Bike, Force Sword, Spell Familiar
Sorcerer ML 3, Bike, Force Sword, melta bomb, Spell Familiar
Sorcerer ML 3, Bike, Black Mace, Spell Familiar
Sorcerer ML 3, Bike, Force Axe, Spell Familiar

++Khorne Daemonkin CAD++
Chaos Lord, Juggernaut, Goredrinker, melta bombs, sigil
8 Cultists x2
Fast Attack:
12 Khorne Flesh Hounds
Void Shield Generator x3 void shields
Lord of War:
Chaos Knight Errant of Khorne w/ dirge caster
Total Points - 1848

How does this list work? First, up is generating psychic powers.  We have 3 ML 3 sorcerers here generating powers off of Telepathy, Biomancy, and Daemonology-Sanctic trees.  There are 3 key powers you are shooting for here: Endurance, Invisibility, and Hammer Hand. 

With Endurance you have multi-wound models immune to instant death and with a 4+ Feel no Pain.  This will be critical when you take peril as well.  Invisibility, even in the ITC environment is still very, very good and will reduce the amount of saves your star ends up taking.  Hammer Hand will give your cabal +2 strength, making the hounds strength 7 on the charge and the Black Mace will be strength 6 with fleshbane. 

Other powers to shoot for here: Sanctuary (the hounds ignore the nerf from the power and then have a 4++/4+ Feel no Pain with Eternal Warrior with Endurance buff as well), Shriek for obvious reasons, Cleansing Flame, Gate of Infinity to keep you from getting pinned down in a long combat (which will be rare anyway). Warp Speed on the Black Mace sorcerer makes him a devastating opponent.  Summoning for throwing more hounds or bloodletters out to cut off lanes of approach by units that look to tarpit you in a later turn.  Obviously you can see how stacking these can amount to a unit of insane power.  With 5 sorcerers all ML 3, you are nearly guaranteed to get Endurance and Invisibility at minimum.

Once you've generated the powers, if possible you need to take turn 1.  It's important to get your star powered up before your opponent can nuke it on alpha strike.  That's where the void shield comes into play.  It buys you time.  100 points is a lot to pay just to protect this unit, but factor in it will also be protecting your Chaos Knight as well, and it's well worth the investment.  You can position the star stretched out to ensure that your units are all within the shield on turn 1 and your opponent cannot get in the bubble. 

Do not scout the army.  It really does nothing for you to scout this army.  You're looking to hit the enemy hard by turn 2 and coupled with the Chaos Knight moving across the board, your opponent will have a lot to worry about. 

As the game continues, this group needs to be spread out across the field. Board control is the key here.  You're going to need to multi-assault units in order to get the most out of them.  With all those strength 6 and higher attacks, combined with the black mace, and the khorne juggerlord to soak challenges, you should be able to wipe multiple units out as the turns continue. By turn 3 or 4 you're probably going to have to break off sorcerers to go engage stranded enemy units around the board. 

The Cabal star is devastating. There isn't much that can stand up against it.  It is my own opinion that the Cabal is even better than it's imperial predecessor, the Librarius Conclave.  With ITC rules, you have maybe 2 powers you can cast in that conclave if you channel for 2+ warp charge.  With the Cabal you have anywhere from 15-16 powers you can crank out, all with re-rolls because of the spell familiar. 

The one thing the star lacks is hit and run, something that tends to be crucial in similar Death Stars but with the amount of damage the unit is capable of putting out, even against super heavies and GMCs, it should rarely be pinned in combat for longer than a full round of combat. 

I suspect we will be seeing a lot more of the cabal star and its variations hitting the tourney scene in the months to come. 

Tactics and Strategy: Using the Cyclopia Cabal Tactics and Strategy: Using the Cyclopia Cabal Reviewed by Robert Chandler on 11:11:00 AM Rating: 5

Post AD