Imperium just got a freakin sideboard.
Hello Nights at the Game Table! Matt Root here. Let’s talk about the new boogey-man, the spooky dude in the closet, the new latest buff that Imperium has gotten – Assassins.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, there have been a number of leaks out recently describing a sort of “Codex” for our lovely assassin friends: the Culexus, the Callidus, the Eversor, and the Vindicare. Honestly, these guys were good in the first place, and you may have seen them in several imperial lists before – however, the main limitation of these guys has never been their point costs, but the fact that they take up a detachment slot (alternatively remove the benefits of a Vanguard detachment). It is a testament to the power of these guys that, despite this downside, imperial players still took them.
NOW THAT’S GONE OUT THE WINDOW.
As long as you have an extra 85 points to spare (and have a warlord who is imperium), you can take an assassin with absolutely zero cost besides a single CP. Check this out:
For ONE COMMAND POINT you can take any assassin you want. This is a huge deal. This is the sideboard I am speaking of – this means that, unlike other armies who start with all of their units on the board, you can pick and choose between every game which assassin to take. Psyker heavy? Take a culexus. Character heavy? Throw in a Vindicare!
I can tell you now that the vast majority of Imperial Lists are going to make use of this because the tactical flexibility it gives you is AWESOME.
So, let’s talk about the new Assassins, the new rules they have, and how you (or your opponent) might use these new rules!
Ah yes, the often maligned Vindicare is back friends – and this time with a nice buff! There are a couple noticeable differences between the old Vindicare and the new guy:
Faultless Aim: This is a new rule. Although the Vindicare was usually always hitting on 2’s, this is a nice little buff against characters who can stack -1’s to be hit (namely, things like Altaoic or Ravenguard), etc. Not always relevant, but nice when it happens!
Head Shot: This is gross. Before, the Vindicare was (realistically) often just doing d3 wounds against a target, for an average of 2 and a max of 3. Now, with this ability, he does an average of >3 wounds and can even do a max of 7 per shot. You’ll have to roll well to pull this off, but the >2x increase in maximum damage is significant.
Double Kill: Simple and efficient. Killing an average of 2 weirdboys a turn? Yes please.
Turbo Penetrator Round: Situationally useful against high toughness targets that you would have trouble wounding otherwise. Got a -2 to hit Altaoic Eldar flyer on the other end of the board with 1-2 wounds left? Vindicare always hits it on a 2, and with this, you’ll be likely to smoke it.
How to use him: Naturally, against character heavy army. The Vindicator combos really well with the Priority Threat Neutralized stratagem and can be a form of CP farming against certain armies. Notably useful matchups: Genestealer Cult, Plaguewalker Spam, Chaos Character spam, Eldar/Ynnari, Tau, and Imperial Guard.
The Culexus hasn’t changed a heck of a lot (he actually got nerfed a tiny bit), but he’s still incredibly useful against psyker heavy armies. The Culexus got hit with a tiny, tiny nerfbat, but got some utility with his strategems to make up for it a bit.
Abomination: This has been nerfed. Before, the Culexus made just enemy psykers subtract -2 from their casting, but now, it affects all psykers – including your own.
Life Drain/Etherium/Psychic Assassin: Wording is changed, but functioning is essentially the same.
Soul Horror: Meh. This isn’t bad, but it isn’t blowing anyone away either. It’s nice to have an aura of “strikes last”, but it costs 2 CP (which is fairly pricey) and at 3”, it’s gonna be hard to hit multiple units with this.
Pariah’s Gaze: Meh. It’s okay at 1 CP, essentially doubling the number of wounds that the Culexus does with his shooting attacks, but it’s not like he had a lot of shooting in the first place. Situationally useful.
How to use him: Psykers! The Culexus can shut down certain types of armies: namely Thousand Sons. He’s also a great form of protection against psykers if your list has zero psychic protection and is super susceptible to smites, such as when you are running a Custodes list.
The Callidus is going to be seen a lot more, as she got notably buffed. Let’s talk about the old Callidus vs the new and improved one!
Phase Sword: Got buffed from 1 damage to 2 damage. NOICE.
Polymorphine/Hit and Run/Reign of Confusion: Essentially the same.
Acrobatic: Decent. At 1 CP, it’s not bad to pull this off, but realistically your Callidus is likely going to deep strike d6+3 inches away, try to get a charge off, and promptly die. Rarely is there going to be a chance for her to advance and charge after that, and -1 to hit isn’t likely to save a T4 model with 5 wounds and a 4++.
Supreme Deception. AWESOME. Hey, you know the entire reason you take the Callidus? What if we essentially doubled the use of that for a measly 2 CP? Sound cool? I can’t understate how awesome this is. Most games of 40k are won or lost in the first 1-3 turns, and essentially increasing the cost of ALL stratagems for TWO WHOLE turns for your opponent is going to mean a LOT of wasted CP. This is a fantastic way to take tools away from your opponent.
How to use her: Against CP heavy armies. There are certain armies out there that are using 3-5 stratagems a turn, and the Callidus really helps nerf the pain of these armies for a pittance of a price. She’s particularly good against Orks, Genestealer Cult, Imperial Knights, and Tau.
Mr. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE got even more nuts. I think you’re likely to see a lot more of this guy. How has he changed?
Bio-Meltdown/Frenzon: Essentially the same.
Sentinal Array: Now different. Previously it allowed you to reroll overwatch (whoop-de-doo). Now he allows you to shoot when an enemy falls back. Cute little rule, just a way for our friendly little psychopath to do more wounds.
Killing Rampage: Oh hey, remember how this guy was pretty cool with around 8 attacks on the charge before? What would you say if you had the chance to potentially double that for free? This new rule is REALLY GOOD and makes the Eversor extremely dangerous against Hordes. Previously, he killed an average of roughly 6 Orks in close combat. Now that’s been increased to over 10 orks killed on average. For free. Consolidating 6” instead of 3” is just icing on that delicious horde killing cake.
Stimm Overload: AWESOME. Hey, want to double that number of Orks killed to 20? 85 point model killing 140 points of Orks for 2 CP sounds pretty damn good to me. This stratagem turns this dude into a freakin’ blender!
Hypermetabolism: Eh. This strategem isn’t bad, it’s just that rarely is a 4+ FNP going to make the difference between a dead Eversor and a live Eversor. For one CP it’s not a bad deal, and an extra turn of keeping the Eversor alive is awesome, but in my experience, the Eversor usually dies – brutally- shortly after showing up, and essentially giving him 3 extra wounds isn’t going to make much of a difference.
How to use him: Horde Armies. This dude can punk a significant amount of models for really cheap and presents a significant threat, especially since he makes his charge on a 3d6 the most of the time. I’d recommend Orks, Genestealer Cult, Astra Militarum, or Cultist spam.
Hope that helps guys! I expect you will see many, many, many more Assassins in the meta going forward – 85 points and 1 CP is a pittance for the amount of flexibility you will get from these guys.
As always, we at Nights PRO are here to help you and are available for list building or tactics! If you want to learn more about assassins, and how to include them in your Imperial armies, check us out, and one day you too can become a pro!