How does the Dark Master benefit your army?
- He is the only Daemon Prince to come with Eternal Warrior (nice try S10). This is a big deal as though he costs a lot of points he is surprisingly survivable, which brings me on to…
- He’s a flyer so he can jink for that sweet 4+ cover save (and in 7th ed he can jink even when he’s not swooping around the battlefield). Whoa! Hold on, we are by no means done here. He comes with Shrouded as standard because, well, he’s the shadow master. This buffs his cover save up to a hefty 2+ when he jinks. Just try taking this monster down when he’s swooping and jinks (opponents will only be able to snap shot and he’ll have his cover save).
- We’re looking at a Lvl 3 psyker that comes with ALL the telepathy powers. Yep, you can be that guy. Just consider a flying survivable powerhouse who can cast invisibility on friendly units. Please note I did say ‘you can’, as in you could be the better man (unless you’re losing, in which case, use those special rules to pull it back!).
- You’ve a 4++ when caught with ignores cover or when you’re in close combat, which isn’t great. However you’re S7 with fleshbane, armourbane and master crafted at AP2; which is truly boss when you consider Be’lakor rocks in at WS9, I8 with 5A. I think Master B makes a great tank hunter, you are tearing AV14 open on 7’s to glance (which is the average roll on two dice) and 8’s or above to penetrate. Bearing in mind you have 5 attacks with MC, most of the time you will hit with 4 attacks. Then you use the burning wreckage to bump your cover up without the need to jink or try and massacre out of line of sight (he’s not the biggest of Prince’s out there but damn is he cool).
Be’lakor is a monstrous flying character (so can challenge to pulp sergeants and squad leaders which will normally help lower the leadership of enemy squads, plus excess wounds roll over on to the squad anyway) that really rewards the tactical player. He’s a hefty investment in points however if used correctly to buff your army and take down high value targets he can more than make up his points. He can be an HQ in a Chaos Space Marine or Daemon army (I usually take Daemon allies; I really rate Plaguebearers) and with Imperial Armour 13 the forces of Chaos just got a massive expansion to their ranks.A risky but hilarious tactic could be to have a squadron of 3 Leman Russ tanks with Invisibility cast on them, if you want to be really evil make them all Demolisher variants and laugh as they trundle up the field blowing holes out of everything.
Are there downsides to Be’lakor, yes. Would I ever take a regular Prince over him (even just for fun), no. Mainly because I don’t like the idea of losing my 200+ Prince to one lucky instant death shot. I think there is a place for the generic Prince in a very carefully put together army and I would almost always take them from the Daemon Codex (but that’s post for another time).
Cool, well I hope this has been an enjoyable read.
E J Henries
NB These are my opinions based upon my gaming experiences