Wargear Analysis: Top Relics in the 40K Universe (Part II)

Continuing to look at what I consider the “top 10” Relics in 40K right now:


[6] KUROV’S AQUILA (Astra Militarum) — Taken by Company Command Squad Officer only, this gives all friendly AM units within 6″ Preferred Enemy and also allows the Bearer’s squad to re-roll a single failed Ld test per turn.

*Rationale: A very simple, but exceptionally powerful, Relic. There are so many application to being able to give out a Preferred Enemy “bubble” in your army, but some of my favorite include giving it to nearby Leman Russ Executioner squadrons (PE allows re-rolls for Get’s Hot and also make the Plasma Blasts wound on a re-rollable 2+ against most infantry), infantry blob squads (this works for both shooting and close combat, don’t forget), nearby Basilisk batteries (basically auto-wounding anything they hit), and even the Command Squad itself (i.e. jump out of a Chimera or Valkyrie and unleash 9 x S7 AP2 Plasma shots, all with Preferred Enemy). This is especially outstanding because it is not limited to just one unit, but applies to all units with even just a single model within 6″ of the Bearer…. entire Astra Militarum gun-lines can improve both their accuracy and damage output with shrewd positioning of squads around this Relic. Finally, that re-roll of an Ld test can apply to an Officer of Fleet in the Command Squad, making his Ld7 much more reliable when trying to improve your Reserves or deny your opponent’s Reserve rolls. While it is expensive points-wise (12 MBs), I think almost any AM commander would do well to find a way to bring Kurov’s Aquila in their army list.

[7] PURETIDE ENGRAM NEUROCHIP (Tau) – Gives Bearer the ability to choose one of the following abilities each turn: Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, Stubborn, Furious Charge, and Counter-attack.

*Rationale: While Furious Charge and Counter-attack only apply to the model and are generally not that great in a Tau army (where you almost never want to be in combat), Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, and Stubborn all impact the entire unit that the Bearer is attached to. Stubborn is the worst of these three, since it is mostly useful for the Assault Phase and, again, it is already a very bad thing for Tau if you are having to use it there. All that said, being able to give “free”/automatic Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter to any unit that an IC attaches to is exceptionally useful, especially in the current Meta, where MCs, GMCs, and Battle Companies with loads of free vehicles abound. One excellent application of this Relic is attaching a Buffmander (Commander with Puretide Engram Neurochip, MSS, and C2 Node) to a max squad of Sniper Drones with an Ethereal attached as well… this gives you 27 TLed BS5 Sniper Shots at 24”, all with Ignore Cover and access to Monster Hunter… if you target an enemy Wraithknight, that averages 26-27 hits, 7-8 AP2 Wounds, and 5-6 Unsaved Wounds after FNP rolls… in other words, Sniper Drones with PENchip, Ethereal, and C2 Node support can straight up kill a Wraithknight in a single shooting phase, which is quite impressive! Alternately, if they can engage Magus the Red before goes into Swooping mode, they average 6-7 Unsaved Wounds on him a shooting phase (and that is accounting for a 3++ save for him), which should almost kill him or outright destroy him in a single volley. Against vehicles, combing the PENchip with Crises Suit Teams, Broadsides, or even Breacher Squads can dramatically improve their performance against armored targets. IMHO one of the best options is a 5 man Crises Suit Team with dual Missile Pods and Velocity Trackers and an attached Buffmander… this unit puts out 20 x S7 AP4 shots at 36”, all with built-in Ignore Cover, Twin-linking, and Tank Hunter… even against AV13 armor, that is an average of 4-5 stripped HPs a turn, without requiring any Marker Light support at all, and it can cause this same damage to AV13 Flyers as well, thanks to the Velocity Trackers on the Crises Suits.

[8] MEGA FORCE FIELD (Waaagh Ghazkull) – All models within 6” of the bearer get a 4++ save against Shooting attacks (if embarked on a vehicle, then only the Bearer’s vehicle gets a 4++, and not any nearby units).

*Rationale: Given Orks overall fragility to shooting (thank you T-Shirt saves), both in terms of troops and vehicles, the “normal” Kustom Force Fields carried by Big Meks are quite a valuable asset to any Ork army, since with savvy positioning of units you can reduce incoming damage by an average of 33%. Well, with the Mega Force Field Relic, you reduce enemy damage by an average of 50%, which obviously is a major force-multiplier for the army. While 6” makes for a somewhat limited “bubble” for this ability (and it only applies to MODELs, not entire units), it still can be a game-changer for everything from Trukk lists to Mek Gunz to War Bikerz to even foot slogging hordes, if you place the Mega Force Field Bearer in the right location. I think this works especially well with, say, a Big Mek on a Warbike riding behind multiple Battlewagons… you can probably fit 3-4 Battlewagons inside the Mega Force Field 6” radius, if they are packed tight together, and now you suddenly have multiple AV14 vehicles that shrug off 50% of the penetrating/glancing hits from shooting attacks against them, which in turn dramatically increases their chances of delivering their passengers into combat, which is where all Orks want to be of course! Another effective use of this Relic is attaching it to a group of Nob Bikerz and using it to help them get across the battlefield safely, especially since there are multiple threats these days that can ignore the Nob Bikerz’ Jink saves (i.e. Wyverns, Tau units with MMS Relic, Imperium units with Hunter’s Eye Relic, Leman Russ Exterminators, any Tau units with ML support, any units with the Perfect Timing and/or Phase Form power cast on them, Necron Tomb Blades with the right upgrades, Template weapons of all kinds, AM units with the Fire on my Target! Order, etc. etc.)


[9] MASK OF SECRETS (Harlequins) / ARMOUR OF MISERY (Dark Eldar) – The Armor of Misery reduces the leadership of enemy units within 6” by -2 and also gives the Bearer a 4+/6++, which is a boost for most DE characters. The Mask of Secrets makes the Shadowseer carrying it Fearless (only Shadowseers can take it) and reduces the leadership of all enemy units within 12” of the Bearer by -2 (Note: Nothing prevents the effects of these two Relics from stacking for -4 Ld).

*Rationale: The uses of these two Relics are myriad, whether used separately or in conjunction with Dark Eldar/Harlequin allies. They can improve the chance of breaking enemy units in close combat, they can allow you to inflict lots of wounds with Dark Eldar Phantasm Grenade Launchers, and they make all kinds of Psychic shenanigans possible. I think one of the best applications for these Relics is as follows: take a Succubus with WWP/Armor of Misery and Shadowseer with Mask of Secrets. Use the WWP to Deep Strike them both with no scatter 1″ away from the enemy model/unit that you want to “assassinate,” in this case, let’s say it’s a Riptide. You subtract -2Ld for the Armor of Misery and -2Ld for the Mask of Secrets, making the Riptide/Drones Ld5. You then either use the “Mirror of Minds” power from the Shadowseer or, if you did not roll that up, use Psychic Shriek (which is guaranteed, as a Primaris power). If you have and successfully cast Mirror of Minds successfully, then the Riptide is basically guaranteed to die, since the Riptide has Ld5 and, adding a D6, the highest it can get is a “11,” while the Shadowseer has Ld10 and adding a D6, the lowest it can get is an “11.” This means that the Shadowseer will always tie or be higher and so will keep inflicting wounds on the Riptide until it dies, since there is no way to stop the “chain” by having the Riptide get a higher “sum” than Shadowseer. If you do nor roll up Mirror of Minds, then at least you can use Psychic Shriek, which with 3D6 gets an average roll of 11. Subtract Ld5 from this and you have automatically inflicted 6 wounds on the Riptide with Ignore Armor and Cover (so only Invuls and FNP, if it has Stimulant Injectors, can protect it). I think using Psychic Shriek like this can work well on other MCs or even on dangerous enemy units like Wulfen, Grav Centurions, Dreadknights, etc. and remove a lynchpin unit in an enemy army with high reliability.


[10] MOMENTO-MORTISPEX (Belisarius Cawl unlocks for Imperium Armies) — At the start of each of your turns, choose one of the following rules to apply to the Bearer and their unit (or weapons as appropriate): Cognis Weapons (BS2 Snapfire, Flamers do 3 hits rather than D3 with Wall of Death in overwatch), Monster Hunter, Skyfire or Tank Hunter.

*Rationale: This may be my favorite Relic in the entire game, just for the sheer diversity it provides and how it plugs a kinds of gaps in an arm without being super expensive (i.e. need some way to deal with Flyers/FMC, but don’t want unbalance your carefully crafted army list with otherwise one-dimensional AA Tanks… take this Relic; need to have a potent anti-tank unit, but you do not normally have access to Tank Hunters… again, take this Relic). Some of the best units to use this on include Grav Centurions, Astra Militarum blob squads, Kataphron Destroyers, Sternguard/Deathwatch Veterans, Deathwatch Terminators with CMLs, Grey Knight Purifiers with multiple Psycannons, Devastator/Long Fang squads, Gunslinger Vanguard Veterans, Sanguinary Guard with Inferno Pistols, Quad Mortar Batteries, AM Command Squads, Ravenwing Black Knights, and even on a Techpriest Dominus in a Cohort Cybernetica. For only 6 MBs, this Relic provides so much flexibility and is guaranteed to work every turn, with no leadership test or harnessing of Warp Charges required. Aside from the high “tax” of taking Belisarius Cawl to unlock it, I think this would be useful in pretty much every Imperial Army. (Note: I am not sure this is intended or that it will be legal after future FAQs, but right now it appears that an Imperial Knight which is a Character, like the High King in an Exalted Court, can take this Relic, which would make it IMMENSELY more powerful in a number of different applications… i.e. imagine Avenger Gatling Cannons, Rapid Fire Battle Cannons, and Stormspear Rocket Pods all firing with Tank Hunter, Monster Hunter, or Skyfire, for example).


Later I will post some “Second Team All-Pro/Honorable Mention” Relics that are still good, but not quite as universally amazing as these 10 that I have already looked at.

Reborn Warhost: Wraithguard, WWPs, Harlequins, and the Yncarne

I have been looking at the new Reborn Warhost detachment from the Fracture of Biel-Tan book some more and trying to come up with an army that maximizes the many options provided by this force structure.

A few things that jumps out to me, now that the various “Reborn” Eldar can mix and match from Eldar, Dark Eldar, and Harlequins as a single faction (i.e. they are the Ynnari faction now, and so lose Battle Focus/Power from Pain, but gain Strength from Death and the related ability to use “Soulburst” when a unit is destroyed within 7″ of one of their units) are the following:

[1] Wraithguard with attached Dark Eldar ICs and WWPs are very deadly, especially now that they can “chain” together bonus Shooting phases in a single turn via Soulburst, if they kill a unit outright when they arrive by Deep Strike (which they are almost guaranteed to do, given massed D weapons). Being able to Deep Strike with no scatter is in and of itself exceptionally potent, but when you combine that with T6/3+ save model who are all packing 12″ range D weapons, you have a squad that can basically “point and remove” enemy units at well, even if they are Deathstars, Super-Heavies, etc. I think Wraithguard squads combine particularly well with an attached Succubus with Archite Glaive and WWP, since the Ghost Warriors give the unit majority T6 (thus allowing it to soak up lots of small arms fire that would normally be a major threat to the Succubus) and the Wych HQ provides very potent close combat ability that the Wraithguard inherently lack (i.e. 5 x WS8 S4 AP2 attacks at I8 on the charge).

[2] Harlequin Troups have always been top-notch in melee, but in their stand-alone codex lacked the combination of mobility and mass (i.e. they could not take max size squads in their transport, since the Starweaver only carried up to 6 passengers) to get into combat reliably and you were usually limited to 3 or less Troups anyway, based on what Formation or detachment they were taking. Well, the Reborn Warhost solves both of these problems, allowing you to take up to 6 Troups if you desire and, for three of these squads, you can include 10 models and load them into Ynnari faction Dark Eldar Raiders from the Fast Attack slots, which gives you some target saturation and lots of mobility to get your Killer Clowns into close combat, where they belong. Finally, since Harlequin Troups did not have “Battle Focus” or “Power through Pain,” they lose nothing by becoming Ynnari faction and in fact gain the bonus of “Soulburst” abilities, which can make them go from strong to down-right devastating (i.e. imagine a Troup of 9 Harlequin players and attached Shadowseer moving up 6″ in their transport and disembarking 6″ , then the Shadowseer casts the “Word of the Phoenix” power from the new Revenant discipline, which allows them to Soulburst and get a “free” additional 6″ move, followed by a 2D6″ charge, with re-rolls from Fleet, giving them a charge threat range of between 20-30″ in a single turn, with an average charge threat range of 27″). Additionally, if the Harlequin Troup destroys an enemy unit in close combat, then it can use Soulburst to try and charge another nearby enemy unit in that same assault phase, which both keeps the Harlequins in combat (and clear of enemy shooting, which is very dangerous for them) and ties up/destroys another enemy unit altogether.

[3] At first the Yncarne is not an overwhelming powerful looking Lord of War choice, especially given its high points cost (40MBs) and somewhat limited abilities (i.e. no Shooting ability outside of Psychic Witchfires, a MC with only 6″ movement per turn, etc.). Where he really shines, though, is his ability to “teleport” with no scatter to any location where a unit (friend or foe) was just completely destroyed (he can do this all game long, as many times as he wants, and can even use it to come out of DS Reserve onto the table as early as Turn 1). Additionally, he has an aura which gives all friendly Ynnari forces within 12″ Fearless and FNP, which is a big deal, especially for some of the units I have mentioned above (i.e. Wraithguard, Succubii, and Harlequin Troups all benefit significantly from these buffs). Finally, while it cannot charge on the same turn that it “teleports” to the site of a unit that was just destroyed, on the subsequent turn it can charge and the Yncarne can put out some very significant damage with its multiple S6 AP2 Fleshbane/Armourbane attacks, all at very high WS and Initiative.

So, taking all of these things together, I think a competitive “Reborn Warhost” detachment could look something like this:


-2 x Succubus (each with Archite Glaive, WWP) — 260 points


-3 x Harlequin Troups (each with 9 members, all with Harlequin Caresses) — 681 points


-2 x Wraithguard Squads (each with 10 models with Wraithcannons) — 640 points


-3 x Raiders (each with Night Shields and Disintegrator Cannons) — 210 points


-Yncarne — 200 points


This list comes in just under 2000 points (which is the level I almost always play at) and, while a little light on model count (i.e. 3 vehicles and 50 infantry), it has very solid mobility, decent durability, and above average hitting power in both close combat (Harlequins/Succubus/Yncarne) and shooting (20 Wraithcannons!). While I don’t think this would be an easy, “point and shoot” army, in the hands of a skilled commander I think it could be very dangerous.


Assault Vehicles for All!

While I think there is a need for “macro-changes” in 8th edition to help rectify the current discrepancy between shooting and assault, one thing I think that would help accomplish this at the more immediate level would be to provide an additional, affordable assault transport for every major faction so that their close combat troop are not stuck with either footslogging, riding in non-Assault vehicle transports, and/or paying 200+ points for Assault Vehicles.

Here is my stab at making this kind of vehicle for each faction (minus Chaos Daemons):


RETALIATOR APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Space Marines, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Blood Angels, Deathwatch, Sisters of Battle, Inquisition, and Chaos Space Marines) — 100 points

BS4   AV13/11/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models (no Bulky/Very Bulky/Extremely Bulky models)


-Pintle-mounted TLed Flamer (may upgrade to a TLed Melta Gun or TLed Plasma Gun)

-Siege Shield

-Omni Grenade Launcher — Every turn may choose to use Smoke Grenades (not limited to one use, unlike most vehicles) OR Concussion Grenades (enemy forces may not fire Overwatch at any unit that has disembarked from the Retaliator APC for the rest of the turn)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]


-Advanced Repair Servo — Can repair Immobilized or Weapon Destroyed results or a lost HP on itself each turn (instead of shooting or moving Flat Out) on a successful roll of a 5+


TELEPORTATION POD — (FAST ATTACK choice for Grey Knights) — 80 points

BS4   AV13/13/13   3HP (Vehicle, Immobile)

Transport Capacity: None


-Gatling Psycannon


-Deep Strike

-Drop Pod Assault

-Psychic Pilot (3) — Always knows Force, Banishment, The Shrouding (from Telepathy), and “The Summoning” powers (“The Summoning” is a WC1 blessing with 72″ range and no LOS requirements that teleports one friendly Grey Knight non-vehicle unit or Walker unit to within 6″ of the caster with no scatter, using the rules for Deep Strike; you can upgrade it to a WC3 power which acts in the exact same way, except that the teleported unit can charge on the same turn that it is teleported)


CERBERUS APC — (FAST ATTACK choice for Astra Militarum and Genestealer Cult) — 75 points

BS3   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Tank, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 20 models


-Pintle-mounted Quad Heavy Stubber

-Smoke Launchers

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]


-Suppressive Fire — Any non-vehicle units hit by the Quad Heavy Stubber must take a Pinning Check at the end of the Shooting phase


CHAMELEON — (FAST ATTACK choice for Craftworld Eldar and Harlequins) — 90 points

BS4   AV12/12/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast)

Transport Capacity: 12 models


-TLed Shuriken Cannon

-Specter Holo-Matrix — Vehicle may re-roll failed Jink saves

-Star Engines

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]


-Assault Vehicle


SCORPION (FAST ATTACK choice for Dark Eldar and Harlequins) — 110 points

BS4   AV10/10/10   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 18 models


-6 x Black Venom missiles (72″ S6 AP1 Fleshbane)

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per parent Codex***]


-Unrivalled Assault Vehicle — Any units that charge into combat on the same turn that they disembark from this vehicle add +3″ to their charge range and gain +1S to all their close combat attacks during that fight sub-phase.


KROOT WAR SKIFF (FAST ATTACK choice for Tau) — 60 points

BS3   AV11/11/11   3HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 16 models


-2 x Heavy Kroot Guns


-War Totems — Only Shapers, Kroot, Kroot Hounds, and/or Krootox may embark on this vehicle. On any turn that a unit disembarks from this vehicle, it gains Hatred, Rage, and Furious Charge for the rest of the turn.


DA CHOPPA’ WAGON (FAST ATTACK choice for Orks) — 110 points

BS2   AV14/11/10   4HP (Vehicle, Tank, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 30 models


-4 x TLed Big Shootaz

[***May take normal vehicle upgrades, per Ork Codex***]


-More Dakka! — All vehicle weapons can fire at full BS if the vehicle has moved 12″ or less

-Da Biggest to da Front! — Every Nob, Mega Nob, and/or War Boss in a unit that disembarks from this vehicles gains +1A until the end of the phase.


NECRONTYR WAR BARGE (FAST ATTACK choice for Necrons) — 80 points

BS4   AV11/11/11   4HP (Vehicle, Skimmer, Fast, Open-Topped)

Transport Capacity: 10 models


-Gauss Cannon (may upgrade to a Tesla Cannon)

-Quantum Shielding


-Living Metal

-Combat Protocol Beacon — Any friendly Necron non-vehicle units within 12″ of this vehicle gain Hatred


BROODOFEX (FAST ATTACK choice for Tyranids) — 130 points

WS3 BS3 S6 T6 W4 I2 A2 Ld8 Sv2+  (Jump Monstrous Creature)


-Acid Spray

-Stinger Salvo

[***May take normal Biomorph upgrades, per Tyranid Codex***]



-Instinctive Behavior (Hunt)

-Brood Beast — Up to 30 Termagaunts/Hormaguants, 15 Genestealers, or 10 Tyranid Warriors may ride on a Broodofex exactly as if they were embarked on an open-topped transport vehicle (i.e. they can all shoot their weapons, they can disembark 6″ and assault the same turn, they are vulnerable to Template Weapons due to the No Escape! rule, etc.).

The Notorious Webway Portal (WWP)

If there is one single piece of Wargear that has more potential impact on the game of 40K than anything else, I would argue it is the Dark Eldar Webway Portal.

Costing 7 MBs, this simple piece of gear can be taken by DE Archons, Succubii, and Hameonculii. Provided the model is in Reserves/Ongoing Reserves, then it gains the ability to Deep Strike without scattering. Additionally, it any unit that the WWP is attached to also gains “scatter-less” Deep Strike, which is the really amazing part of this Wargear (this also includes any transport that the WWP bearer and his unit is embarked upon!).

Now, the new FAQs have slightly nerfed the allied application of the WWP, since the DE characters can no longer embark on allied transports before the game begins/in Reserve (i.e. Eldar Wave Serpents, Corsair Falcons, Harlequin Star Weavers, etc.), but even with this there are numerous tactical applications for the WWP and its bearer on the tabletop.

Just off the top of my head, here are some of the best units two join a WWP toting Dark Eldar character to:


1 – Court of the Archon with multiple Medusae — Being able to put numerous S4 AP3 templates EXACTLY where need them means you can basically eliminate an entire infantry unit of your choice on the turn you arrive from reserves, provided they don’t have a 2+ save or solid Invul save (i.e. the vast majority of non-vehicle units in the game). Basically, think of this combination as an infantry “assassin” type unit.

2 – 3 x Grotesques with Liquefier Guns in a Raider — Not only does this get the Grotesques up close and personal so they can put pressure on the enemy firing lines and set up close combat in subsequent turns, but the multiple Liquefier Gun templates are not to be ignored, especially if they happen to roll AP2/1. Combine this with a strong combat DE character (like a tricked out Succubus, who benefits from majority T5) and you have a real CC threat that the enemy cannot easily afford to ignore.

3 – 20 x Kabalite Warriors with 2 x Blasters, 2 x Dark Lances, and a Blast Pistol on the Sybarite — If you want to put down a ton of Poison shooting at close range and/or seize objectives with a big “blob” of cheap Dark Eldar, this is the unit to do it. Not only can it threaten pretty much any non-vehicle unit because of Poison, but with 5 x S8 Lance shots (two are Snap Shots, unless they are standing still), this unit can reliable hurt vehicles and heavily armored infantry as well.

4 – Dark Artisan Formation (1 Haemonculus, 1 Talos, 1 Chronos, all forming a single unit) — With a WWP on the Haemonculus, you can put 2 Monstrous Creatures anywhere on the board, with no scatter, starting turn 2 of the game. Add is -1Ld for enemies within 12″, plus solid shooting and deadly close combat ability and you have a potential “spoiler” unit here that can greatly disrupt enemy plans and pull attention away from the rest of your army.


1 – 10 x Fire Dragons from Aspect Host formation — With 10 BS5 Fusion Guns that can be placed exactly where you want them, there is almost no vehicle (and very few MCs/GMCs) out there that can survive the shooting from this unit, so basically this is your “trump card” unit to surgically remove a selected enemy Super-Heavy, Lord of War, or other uber-unit in a single turn.

2 – 5-10 Wraithguard with either Wraithcannons or D-Scythes — Either weapon option is tremendous, with the Wraithcannons bringing “full-up” Destroyer shots at guaranteed close range and D-Scythes providing ridiculous AP2 templates. While not a cheap battle group, this one is much more durable than many other alternatives and can bring game-changing firepower to bear exactly where you want it, thus mitigating the two Wraithguard weaknesses of short-range and poor mobility.

3 – 20 x Guardian Defenders with 2 x Shurikan Cannons Warlock Leader and attached Farseer — Not only can this unit put out 42 Bladestorm shots a turn at 12″, but the Warlock and Farseer can buff the entire unit in multiple ways and/or debuff enemy forces, making it even more effective (imagine Invisibility on this unit to make it very difficult to target). Finally, if the DE character bearing the WWp also has the Armor of Misery relic, then enemy units within 6″ have -2Ld, meaning the Farseer can use Psychic Shriek and other Leadership shenanigans from the Telepathy discipline quite effectively.


1 – 12 x Harlequin Troupe of Player with Fusion Pistols and special CCWs, plus an attached Shadowseer — Not only does this set up the 12 man Troupe for getting into combat on the other end of the board (which is where it excels, but has difficulty getting, since the Starweaver transport can only hold 6 troops), but you can the Fusion Pistols to bring some serious heat (pun intended!) against enemy vehicles, MCs, or elite infantry before the Harlequins charge. Finally, the Shadowseer can protect the Troupe, debuff the enemy, or even snipe out enemy Psykers with Phantasmancy and Telepathy powers.

2 – Corsair Balestrike Band with Jetpacks (for Relentless and JSJ) and massed Dark Lances — This gives you the option to put massed Lance Fire on the table wherever you need it, whether to bring down vehicles or tough infantry/MCs, plus once you DS in with no scatter, you still have solid mobility due to the Jetpacks on the Corsairs. Basically, think of this as a longer ranged, more mobile, but not quite as destructive against vehicles version of the Fire Dragon battle group described above.


Dark Eldar and the Craftworld menace… the Talos Pain Engine

I have been scratching my head for a while trying to come out with a viable DE counter to Wraithknights, given that they are now basically immune to poison weapons with their Gargantuan Creature status, 3+ save, and multiple wounds.

Outside of massed Dark Lances (which means using almost your whole army to focus on a single Wraithknight… not a good formula for victory), the only real solution I have come of with is massed Talos Pain Engines. More specifically, the Corpsethief Claw formation, which consists of 5 Talos engines, all in a single unit with the Scout USR and Freakish Spectacle (-1 Ld to nearby units) rule.

Scout helps the unit get accross the board to get close to the Wraithknight and the 15 T7 wounds with a 3+ save and FNP should enable them get accross the board without being shot to pieces. Between Scout, normal movement, and running, the Corpsethief Claw can get betweem 13-18″ accross the board by the end of turn 1, setting up turn 2 for a 6″ move and 2D6″ charge for a decent chance of “catching’ the enemy Wraithknight in close combat.

Now, the key is to upgrade all the Talos with the Inchor Injector CCW… this gives each Talos 5 x S7 AP2 (they MCs, remember) Fleshbane attacks on the charge (so 25 such attacks if you keep all 5 Talos alive), all at WS5 and with ID on 6+ to wound. Translated to combat against a Wraithknight, say 3 Talos survive long enough to attack, that’s 15 attacks, about 10 hits, 8-9 AP2 wounds (of which, an average of 1-2 will have ID), and 5-6 unsaved wounds after Wraithknight FNP rolls — throw in the extra wounds inflicted from the ID results and you should have a very good chance of killing the Wraithknight in a single round (or two at the most) of close combat.

They key, of course, if catching the agle Wraithknight. Cunning positioning of your units and using the Corpsethief Claw as you “anvil” can trap the Wraithknight and allow you to charge it. Even if the Talos don’t successfully catch him, they can absorb LOTs of Eldar shooting (including from the Wraithknight itself) and threaten the rest of your opponent’s army, thus providing good utility even if they don’t accomplish their primary mission as “Gargant Creature hunters.”

“I’ve Been Expecting You”… Coteaz and countering WWP Wraithguard

Perhaps the single greatest “OP” threat from the new Eldar codex is the ability to combine Wraithguard with D-Scythes (i.e Scytheguard) with allied Dark Eldar ICs and a WWP.

This combo enables deep striking from reserve with zero scatter, followed by hitting your opponent automatically with D-Scythes (since they are template weapons) — on a 3+, you then inflict D3 wounds or D3 hullpoints per Template, all at AP2, so no armor or cover saves (remember, templates ignore cover).

For most players, there is almost nothing you can do to stop this tactic, outside of using throwaway units to “bubble wrap” you important units and so prevent the Scytheguard from getting to them. Imperial forces, however, do have an option… his name is Inquisitor Coteaz.

Coteaz has been an exceptionally valuable HQ choice for several editions now, with his access to Divination, Ld 10 Stubborn, enhancement to Seize the Initiative rolls, decent combat ability, 2+ save, etc. What really makes him shine, though, is his signature “I’ve Been Expecting You” rule, which allows him and his unit to get an immediate free, out-of-sequence round of shooting at any enemy unit that arrives from Reserve within 12″ of him (and in his LOS)…. better yet, there is no limit on how many times this can be used and, unlike the Interceptor USR, it doesn’t preclude Coteaz and his unit from shooting on their shooting phase later in the turn.

So, how does this work against Syctheguard with WWP Dark Eldar deep-striking? Position Coteaz and very shooty unit in a central location with good LOS (the top of an Imperial Bastion works great, giving both a 4+ cover save and elevated LOS)… in essence, you then get a 24″ diameter circle in which the Scytheguard dropping in can get engaged and, hopefully, killed off before they get to shoot their D-strength templates. Have Coteaz cast Prescience on the his unit the turn before (if you expect enemy deep strikers) to make them even more accurate.

The very best unit to use for this tactic is, of course, Grav Cannon Centurions …. a 4 man Centurion squad like this, attached to Coteaz and with Prescience succesfully cast, with have 20 Grave shots, 17-18 hits, and 15-16 wounds, effectively wiping out even a 10 man Scytheguard squad and any attached ICs before they even get a chance to shoot.

Even if your opponent has multiple Scytheguard/WWP squads, Coteaz and Grav Centurions can take all of them down in a single turn, provided they land withing 12″.

Coteaz is not limited to Grav Centurions for htis tactic. He can attach to Sternguard with combi-weapons, a maxed out Henchman squad with Plasma Cannon Servitors and Joakeros (i.e. Lascannon/MM/Heavy Flamer choice each turn), IG Blob squads with multiple heavy/special weapons and TONs of lasgun shots, Long Fang squads with max Plasma Cannons, Vanguard Vets with dual-wiel pistols, Cult Mechanicus Kataphron Destroyers with Heavy Grav Cannons, etc. etc. As long as it is highly shooty unit with at least 12″ range weapons, it can combine quite well with Coteaz.

While this won’t solve all your Eldar problems, it goes a long way to stopping Scythguard (or any other WWP shenanigans) and can also counter all kinds of other deep strikers, like Eldar Falcons with Cloudburst rules, Space Marine Drop Pods, Tau Crises Suit teams, Chaos Daemons, and Terminators of all shapes and sizes.

Jain Zar and Grotesquerie….

Looking at the new Craftworld Eldar book and there appears to be several strong combinations between them and allied Harlequins and Dark Eldar.

One particularly strong combination is combining Jain Zar and the Grotesquerie formation (one Haemonculus and two Goteques squads) from the Haemonculus Covens supplement. Have Jain Zar and the Haemonculus (with Flesh Guantlet and a Liquifier gun) join a squad of four Grotesques (all with Liquifier guns) in a Raider. Based on the “Latest Experiments” rule from the Grotesquerie, the Groteques all have either S6, T6 (which goes to the whole unit, through majority toughness rules), Fleet, Shred, Rage, or FNP(4+). The Haemonculus also improves their Power through Pain “status” by +1, meaning that by turn 3 they will gain IWND, turn 4 they will also get Hatred, and turn 5 they will additionally get Eternal Warrior.

Add to all this Jain Zar and you get a -1WS/Initiative bubble for all enemies within 6″ of her. That means that the entire squad should be hitting on 3+s (and likely being hit on 5+s, for most enemies) in assault and also striking before their enemies in combat. Additionally, due to her Banshee mask, enemy units cannot overwatch on the squad as it charges in (looking at you here, Tau). Finally, Jain Zar has Fear and her “War Shout” ability, which makes enemy locked in close combat with her have -2Ld. Combined with the “Freakish Spectacle” rule of the Haemonculus to net -3 Ld for the enemy (so at best they are Ld7), this means that if the Squad wins combat, as it is likely to do, the enemy is very likely to break and, with its initiative reduced by -5, basically automatically lose the Sweeping Advance roll off and be wiped out (unless they are Space Marines and have ATSKNF, of course).

Shooting-wise, this squad put out 5 x S3 AP (variable) Templates a turn, plus Jain Zar’s 4 x S4 AP2 Triskele shots (fire at BS7, so very likely to hit). Combined this should do great damage against hordes and even do well against heavy infantry (especially if the Liquifier guns get a low AP value).

Combat-wise, on the charge the squad puts out 21 x Flesh Gauntlet attacks (Poison 4+, with 6 to Wound getting Instant Death), most of which are S5, so good chance for re-rolls to wound against most targets due to Poison rules. Add into this Jain Zar’s 5 x S4 AP2 Shred attacks on the charge, all at WS7 and I7, and you have some brutal close combat output. Should you have to challenge an enemy (or be challenged), Jain Zar can “neutralize” one of their close combat weapons per turn by giving up one of her attacks… i.e. she can make an enemy “lose” his Thunder Hammer or Relic weapon while in the challenge while still having 4 x S4 AP2 Shred attacks a turn herself in the challenge. Translation: DO NOT get into a challenge with Jain Zar!

Since the whole unit can ride in the Raider, they should be able to rapidly move accross the board (12″ move + 24″ Flat Out with Aeither sails upgrade), survive enemy shooting (Jink + Night Shields gets you a 3+ cover save), and then set up a turn 2 charge (since the vehicle is open-topped) by Jain Zar and her Frankenstein bodyguards. Finally, with good use of Look Out, Sir! and model positioning, you can maximizie the survivability of this unit against shooting… Jain Zar can “tank” AP3 and below shots with her 2+ Phoenix Armor while the Grotesques, with their T5, FNP, and 3W each can “tank” torrent of fire shooting that might normally be a threat to Jain Zar and the Hamonculus.

Overall, I think this is a very affordable (points-wise), survivable, and deadly unit that can be quite effective in competitive games.