The Drukhari are a strange army, effectively being 3 separate Factions in one, however this latest iteration of them allows them to function much more seamlessly than previously, as well as being a scary and potent force on the battlefield.
Drukhari | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- One of the fastest and hardest hitting armies in the game.
- Great flexibility to focus on shooting, combat or a hybrid.
- Nominally a glass cannon army, but actually exhibit few of those weaknesses in many units by virtue of their cheap cost or defensive special rules.
- The capability to field some of the scariest combat characters in the game currently.
- Great at playing the Objective game due to their speed and shenanigans
- Have garnered a reputation as being a bit too strong, and have some odd interactions in game, so expect FAQs in the future and side eyes in the meantime.
- Without their Transports, they aren’t all that tough, so can be caught flat footed if countered well.
- Their good units are really good, meaning some of their units are overlooked entirely, and many armies look the same in composition.
- Being split across 3 semi-Factions, there can be a loss of synergy in some circumstances.
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to DRUKHARI models with the same <KABAL>, <CULT> or <COVEN> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no BLACK HEART Auras or powers affecting CULT OF STRIFE units, for example). There are occasional exceptions that will affect all DRUKHARI units, these will be called out.
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has DRUKHARI in it, that Detachment must be designated a KABAL, CULT, COVEN or REALSPACE RAID Detachment, and all of these Detachments gain the following rules-
- All your Troops get Objective Secured. Whilst not the toughest Troops around, they are cheap and often quite potent offensively, helping you clear units off Objectives for you to hold them later.
- Raiding Force- If you designated the Detachment as a KABAL, CULT or COVEN Detachment, then all those respective units will gain their Obsessions, all of which are explained in detail below. Note this means that a mixed Detachment will no longer turn off Obsessions for all of them. In addition, if all the Detachments in your army are Patrols, then they cost 0CP instead of 2CP, but you don’t gain any CP from your WARLORD being in one of them, so you can mix and match with relative ease.
- Weakling Kin- No mixing of non-DRUKHARI units in the same Detachment unless you’re YNNARI. It’s a fluffy rule that is extremely unlikely to ever come up, as it’s only really pertinent to non-Matched Play.
- Realspace Raid – Provided you have exactly 1 ARCHON (who must be the WARLORD), 1 SUCCUBUS, 1 HAEMONCULUS, and at least 1 each of WARRIORS, WYCHES and WRACKS, everyone gets their respective Obsessions, access to their Relics, and the ARCHON can replace his Aura with one that makes all CORE units in the Detachment reroll 1s to Hit. Whilst this is basically restricted to Battalions and Brigades, it’s a nifty rule to have access to, though currently if you aren’t interested in the reroll aura or the specific Relics, you’re better off just running separate Patrols for more flexibility in multiple Obsessions, or don’t want to have to take all 3 sub-types.
For when your HQs just aren’t quite doing it for you, you can pay some points to give them a new rule, access to a new Relic and Warlord Trait, as well as letting one of their associated Troops be upgraded to a Favoured Retinues, making them a better version of themselves. These are all 1 per Detachment, but offer great upgrades and are incredibly cheap for what they do. Upgrading Kabalites and Wyches costs 3pts a model, whilst Wracks cost 2pts, but grants them all +1 Ld on top of some other stat boosts, and caps them at 10 models max, though the benefits are all well worth it.
Kabals- Master Archon
Probably the weakest of the Lord upgrades in terms of personal gain, but the Trueborn are great and so worth the price of admission, and for 15pts he hardly breaks the bank.
Ability- Splintered Genius
Once per game, at the end of the Fight Phase, the Archon gets to fight again provided they are in Engagement Range. Useful to finish off a unit, or cause enough of a dent to deal with them later, especially if you have an Archon geared for combat. Also useful for Pile In/Consolidate Shenanigans, though given this happens at the end of the Phase that can be countered by a canny opponent, and as it’s once per game you could end up using it at the wrong moment, whiffing, or waiting for the right opportunity only for it to never turn up. Again at 15pts it’s not a huge cost, just something to bear in mind.
A nice defensive Relic, granting a -1 to be Hit as well as a 5+++. Whilst it won’t help you kill stuff all that well, and thus doesn’t synergise amazingly with Genius, making your already frustrating to kill Archon even more annoying can be worth it if no other Relics take your fancy.
Warlord Trait- Consummate Weaponmaster
+1 Damage to all their non-Relic Melee weapons. It’s fine, but there are better combinations of Traits with Relics that make far more effective combat characters (or just use other Characters entirely). Safely pass.
Favoured Retinue- Kabalite Trueborn
Granting BS2+ and the ability to ignore any hit and BS modifiers (be it special rules, Dense, moving with a Heavy weapon etc), Trueborn become incredibly accurate and reliable, able to lay down a withering hail of poison fire, or lend some potent anti tank punch via Blasters and Dark Lances, all whilst remaining mobile and not needing to worry about things that might make them worse at their jobs. The cap of 10 hurts a bit given the wargear limitations of the Warriors, but a unit of 10 with 2 Blasters and a Lance is a very reasonable 145pts, making them an efficient anti armour unit.
Cults- Master Succubus
The strength here lies in the ability, albeit with a fairly middling Warlord Trait and Relic. The flexibility you get from the ability for 15pts is great however, and Bloodbrides are a solid choice, and though by no means an auto-upgrade are well worth considering if you have the ability to use them.
Ability- Show Stealer
Grants a 6” Consolidation that lets you move in any direction, allowing the Succubus to essentially never be attacked back unless they’re charged, interrupted or fighting something with Fight First. Use it defensively to move back to protect against Shooting, to tag something for next turn, or to effectively “Fall Back” and free them up next turn. An all round fantastic ability.
Relic- Dancer’s Edge
An Archite Glaive with an extra AP and +1 Dmg, that also ignores Invulnerables on a 6 to wound. It’s a decent relic, but there are generally better ones available to Succubi.
Warlord Trait- Whirling Death
Instead of attacking normally, the Succubus can make attacks equal to the number of enemy models within 2” +3. This allows the Succubus to be a pretty scary horde blender, though a canny opponent that anticipates it (or should you position badly) can mitigate it. However, there are many things in the army that can already deal with hordes, and against lone models or units with only a few models in range, this can be a waste when compared to other Traits which are more universally useful.
Favoured Retinue- Hekatrix Bloodbrides
WS2+ is nice to have, however with Power From Pain effectively granting this from Turn 3 onwards it may not be the most useful thing (though that can of course be useful for any minuses that may occur and still let you hit on 2s). The main strength lies in making Blade Artists boost to a whopping -3, meaning even your basic Wych Blade has the same penetrating power as a Blaster at that point. However, given the sheer quantity of already great attacks that Wyches can churn out, this is often overkill, being meaningless vs 5+ Saves, and against anything with an invulnerable it is usually a waste (outside of cases such as 2+/5++). Given it also only has effects via Blade Artists also means its not the most reliable of AP sources, so whilst a nice bonus, it is not an essential one. Yes there will be times when you roll a ton of 6s and wipe a unit by sheer virtue of them not getting saves, but chances are you were doing enough damage on them at that point that it’s a wash. By no means an essential upgrade, but still a good option to have if you’ve some spare points.
Covens- Master Haemonculus
The most expensive option (though still a very reasonable 20pts), the Haemonculus is probably the most well rounded of the Masters in terms of options, with a solid defensive ability, as well as opening up a powerful Relic and a decent Trait. On top of that the Haemoxytes are a great upgrade for making a surprisingly tough to shift unit.
Ability- Alchemical Maestro
Come back to life at the end of a phase on a 2+, with D3 Wounds. Now obviously you don’t want to have to be using this, but it’s a great ability to have in a pinch. Don’t go out of your way to use it, but be thankful when it keeps your Haemonculus around for another turn to buff your units or enact a sneaky ploy of some kind.
Relic- Poisoner’s Ampule
A once per game relic that you use on an enemy unit within 9” at the end of your Movement Phase. The unit takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, their Auras turn off and they can’t be affected by friendly Auras. Whilst once per game and only on one unit, the effects are powerful whether used on a unit benefiting from multiple important auras, or to shut down a whole chunk of an opponent’s battleline by targeting a Character. The Mortal Wounds are icing on the cake and should not be considered the main power of the Relic, but if an opportunity arises to use it and finish a unit off, it’s useful for that as well of course.
Warlord Trait- Twisted Animator
A friendly WRACK unit within 3” in the Command Phase can be chosen to revive D3 of them back to the unit. A nice trait to use alongside your already tough (for Drukhari) Wracks, and especially with your Haemoxytes.
Favoured Retinue- Haemoxytes
With a +1 to both their Armour and Invulnerable Saves (so a 5+/5++, and a 5+/4++ from Turn 4 onwards), this gives the unit a bit more survivability on top of their innate 5+++. This is further enhanced by their other rule, mainly the first saving throw failed every phase becomes Damage 0, effectively ensuring at least one attack from a unit is worthless. As it triggers after a failed save, this can be frustrating for a foe to deal with if you make a string of saves, though it can of course be overcome with sheer quantity of firepower.
Every KABAL, CULT or COVEN unit can gain an Obsession, depending on the Detachment they are in (explained above), granting them unique abilities, as well as a Stratagem and Warlord Trait. Should your WARLORD have the associated Obsession (or they are part of a Realspace Raid), you are also eligible to have the Relic too.
Obsession- Thirst for Power
Every unit gets to reroll a hit roll each time they Shoot or Fight, giving them great reliability especially with single shot weapons like Blasters and Dark Lances, but it’s always useful. They also get +1 Ld (fine) and count the Battle Round as 1 higher for Power From Pain. That aspect is less useful for the majority of Kabalites until they reach Turn 3, which therefore then turns on the 5++. However, in case this wasn’t enough, if a Realspace Raid Detachment includes Black Heart as it’s Kabal, any BLADES FOR HIRE in the Detachment also benefit from the Power From Pain boost. Advance and Charge Incubi from Turn 1? Very nice indeed. All round this is a great spread of abilities that will be useful regardless of your Kabal make up, and is especially worth considering in a Realspace Raid if you’re leaning on Blades for Hire units.
Warlord Trait- Labyrinthine Cunning
Any time a CP is spent by either side, roll a D6, gaining 1 on a 6. Decent chance to gain CP as lots of opportunities to roll, though the Archon must be on the Battlefield, and doing so probably won’t happen in the early turns, which is when most CP expenditure happens. By no means a bad Trait, and the only way to regen CP for the Drukhari, but certainly not an auto include. Will likely pay for itself as a second Warlord Trait, and might net you an additional one, so it’s worth considering at least.
Relic- Writ of the Living Muse
CORE units within 6” reroll 1s to Wound, as do BLADES FOR HIRE if the Archon is a REALSPACE RAIDER. Being CORE only means it’s for…well, Warriors, and that’s it. Much better in a Realspace Raid by virtue of affecting more units, but given it’s still an Aura, you’ll need the units on the ground, so you won’t be using this all that much if you’re staying in the flotilla for the bulk of the game. A decent Relic if you can get it rolling, but it’s pretty much only useful for Realspace Raids.
Stratagem- Agents of Vect
Once per game you can use this after an enemy unit has used a Stratagem (Apart from Command Re-roll). For the rest of the game that Stratagem will cost +1CP to use. AND it costs you 0CP. A fantastic ability to limit or shut down a key Stratagem to an opponent’s gameplan. Transhuman on some Bladeguard every turn? Eternal Hatred on some Blightlords? Second time round is gonna cost them more. Now obviously this doesn’t help in the first instance, or if it’s a Stratagem that is likely only to be used once, so it needs to be used wisely, but on the right Stratagem it can cripple an opponent’s plan.
Obsession- The Serpent’s Kiss
All of your Poisoned Weapons get +1 to Wound, to a max of 2+, and any units that suffer casualties to Poisoned Weapons take a -1 to Combat Attrition checks that turn. Obviously you need to build into this with lots and lots of Poisoned Weapons, but it’s a strong ability, generally making your core anti-infantry/monster weapons unmodified 3+ to Wound. The Attrition modifier is cute, though it might not come up all that often. The main issue is that there are other combinations of traits that can do a similar job (mathematically) and have a more universally useful secondary benefit, making it a tough sell to select this unless you’re adamant on using their unique things below.
Warlord Trait- Towering Arrogance
A 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds and a 6” Aura of ignoring Combat Attrition Modifiers. Whilst the first part is semi useful to offset the new found weakness to Mortal Wounds, the second part is fairly weak unless you’re running hordes of Warriors (Tip: Don’t). Can be safely passed.
A Splinter Pistol with +6” Range, +1 Shots, AP-2, D3 Dmg, ignores cover and Look Out Sir, and is Poison on a 2+ to boot. Phew. Lots going on here, and it’s a decent little Relic for Character hunting. The main issue is it won’t be killing most Characters reliably, and often you’ll be better off just using combat to deal with them. And at 18” range, that will be happening soon at that stage.
Stratagem- Insidious Misdirection
For 2CP you can redeploy up to 3 units before Turn 1 begins, including the option of putting them into Strategic Reserve at no additional cost. This is the main reason for choosing Poisoned Tongue as it gives you great flexibility in deployment, able to cover a poor choice, counter deploy, or adjust based on who gets turn 1. Remember non-Poisoned Tongue units can go into Poisoned Tongue Transports, which can then be redeployed, allowing you to effectively put a unit of Wyches, Wracks, Incubi or what have you, where they will be most useful.
Obsession- Slay from the Skies
All VEHICLE units get +2” Move, and any units that FLY or are embarked on a unit with FLY get to ignore Light Cover. A decent trait, but obviously useless when on foot or not running Vehicle heavy. As it’s quite narrow in scope, you have to build around it, so it’s not the most universally useful, however it does have scope when mixing Detachments. Incubi in faster Raiders for example, and there is nothing to stop a Flayed Skull unit benefiting from their trait when aboard a Dark Creed Venom.
Warlord Trait- Famed Savagery
+1 Attack and +1 Strength. It’s super simple, but effective, especially when combined with something like the Djin Blade to make a very murderous melee combatant. It’s not fancy, but it gets the job done.
Relic- The Obsidian Veil
A 4++ for your Archon. Again, it’s nothing flashy, but it’s a simple boost, either to give you a backup for when the Shadowfield fails, or to give you something to use against a less scary hit (such as Dmg1) so as not to risk turning off the Shadowfield.
Stratagem- Masters of the Shadowed Sky
In the Shooting Phase, a unit gets +1 to Hit against an enemy unit with FLY, or +2 vs AIRCRAFT. A nice boost vs a wide variety of targets, able to ensure better accuracy, or offset any minuses. Remember that the +2 vs the AIRCRAFT can still only ever be a +1 to Hit should they be Hovering (or similar), but great for when they’re airborne.
Obsession- Flawless Workmanship
+6” Range to all non-Pistol and non-Relic Ranged Weapons, and reroll a single Wound Roll each time a unit Shoots or Fights. A very reliable and always useful trait, increasing your Rapid Fire Range, allowing you to outrange other units whilst still peppering them with fire, or to threaten units that would otherwise have been safe from you. The reroll to wound is also a fantastic bonus, further pushing the reliability of your many single shot weapons. As always with these types of rules, try to use those “big” weapons first, so as to maximise the reroll- if you don’t need to use it, it’s now not wasted when you come round to your smaller arms.
Warlord Trait- Deathly Perfectionist
+1 Strength to all non-Relic weapons. It’s fine, and affects Ranged and Melee weapons, but generally there are better Traits to be taken. Whilst the thought of a Str9 Blast Pistol is fun, at +1 Str on a Huskblade still only makes them Str 4, and one reroll via the trait won’t cut it vs the all rerolls from Hatred Eternal.
Relic- The Armour of Misery
Grants a 3+ Save and -1 to be hit in Melee. On a Master Archon, just take the Soulhelm if you want a defensive Relic as it’s just better. The 3+ Sv can occasionally be handy, but at anything more than AP 2 (ie most melee weapons), you’ll be looking at using the Shadowfield, rather than say, dying. Can be passed fairly safely.
Stratagem- Failure is Not An Option
Each model that fails a Combat Attrition test in a unit can Shoot, or make 1 Melee attack. If they kill a model, none of them flee. It’s fine, but Attrition is unlikely to be a major worry for Kabalite Warriors due to their leaning of MSU style, and as you need to kill an enemy model, one attack or some splinter shots will generally not be worth the CP spent to try and do it. It can occasionally be useful, especially if you have a Dark Light weapon and want to do some damage to something before they die (you don’t have to try and kill anything after all), but it’s uses are rare.
You can create your own Kabals rules by choosing any one from each of the two categories below, or one All-Consuming Obsession (the ones with a *). Note that, RAW, you must choose these if you aren’t from any of the four named Kabals. However given that 1) the exact colour schemes and markings are kinda flexible, and 2) that’s a weird rule especially as there’s no “Count as being one of the main Faction” custom abilities, you can safely ignore it.
- Dark Mirth- A 12” Aura that causes a Mortal Wound on a 5+ each time an enemy unit Moves Normally, Falls Back, Advances or Charges when in range. Doesn’t stack (it’s an Aura, read the core rules), so it’s cute, but nothing special.
- Deadly Deceivers*- Lets you Fall Back and Shoot with a -1 to Hit. A potent ability for the subfaction of the 3 that doesn’t like combat, but it might not even be necessary if you were to play in such a way to avoid combat in the first place.
- Disdain for Lesser Beings- +1 to Combat Attrition. Effectively lets you autopass when normal, and ignore the first set of modifiers. Meh, it’s not a major concern for Drukhari, you can probably pass.
- Merciless Razorkin- Splinter Weapons get exploding 6s. If you’re running lots of them, this is a great choice as they will stack up lots of extra hits over time.
- Tortuous Efficiency- Unmodified 6s to wound with Ranged Weapons get an extra AP. Applicable to all of your ranged weapons, making this useful across the board, letting your Splinter Weapons start punching through armour, and not even a 2+ Save able to withstand Dark Light.
- Mobile Raiders- Models that can FLY get +2” Move. So basically your VEHICLES. It’s decent to really hammer the speed element and get into position faster, but only useful for part of the army.
- Soul Bound- A 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds. Great to offset that weakness of the army, giving them protection from Psykers, errant explosions and other numerous rules.
- Toxin Crafters- Acting as a pseudo counterpart to Poisoned Tongue, giving your Poisoned Weapons reroll 1s to wound, and turning them into Poisoned (2+) on 6s to Hit. As with Poisoned Tongue you have to lean really hard into this to make it worthwhile given the limited scope of what it affects. Mathematically it’s about the same as Poisoned Tongue, but without the other benefits. Pass.
- Twisted Hunters- +1 to Hit CHARACTERS can be swing and a miss. Great when facing Knights, Tyranids or Primarch-esque Characters, otherwise not often due to come up.
- Webway Raiders- Reduces the cost of the Webway Portal Stratagem by 1 (so 0, or 2 CP), so long as at least one of the units is from this Kabal. Not a bad one if you were looking at using Webway Portal, especially as you can use this on Kabal Raiders filled with non-Kabal units and still benefit, though it of course does nothing if the situation doesn’t call for the Stratagem. Cute, but by no means game changing.
Obsession- The Spectacle of Murder
Always strike first is a nice bonus to ensure you aren’t totally shut down by Strike Last abilities, as well as giving you some counterplay against multiple chargers should you get caught flatfooted. The +1 to Charge vs units not already engaged is great to achieve multiple charges with your army across your foes, or to ensure your key unit makes a charge first. Overall a good set of abilities, which whilst slightly contradictory in terms of application are both useful every time to come up.
Warlord Trait- Blood Dancer
6s explode in melee to 2 additional hits. A great ability for both elite and horde hunting, letting you get to a huge number of attacks if you roll decently. Lelith has this, what with being the Gladiator supreme.
Relic- The Phial Bouquet
Gain a random Combat Drug each battle round, that stacks if you get one you already have. You don’t need to be on the board to roll for this, but given the random nature as well as 2 of the Drugs not being useful for a Succubus, this could do nothing, or give you a benefit that just doesn’t help you that Round. Fun, but can be passed.
Stratagem- No Method of Death Beyond Our Grasp
A unit of Wyches can Shoot again, or Fight again, at the end of the relevant phase. No double dipping, as it’s once per Round, but useful to have. Only 2CP, though you do need to be within Engagement Range to Fight again so no pile in shenanigans if you wipe the unit you’re fighting. Great to have in the toolbox in case you come across scenarios where your Wyches just didn’t quite finish off a unit.
Book of Rust Supplement- Coming Soon!
Obsession- Only the Strong Will Thrive
+1 Strength means you have a lot more flexibility in choosing Combat Drugs, or you can double up and hit that tasty Str 5 (or 6 in the case of Hellions and Reavers). The Mortal Wound on 6s to Save in melee is fun, and can cause some headaches even in death. The downside is you’ll have to slow or at least batch roll, as once the unit dies they can’t keep making saves to try and bounce wounds back. Also note that even if there are abilities that ignore Invulnerable Saves, you can still roll on your Armour Save in an effort to do the Mortal Wound, even if you’ll die anyways- remember AP modifies the roll, not the characteristic, and Cursed Blade calls for the unmodified roll of a 6. It doesn’t say anything about saving and not dying.
Warlord Trait- Treacherous Deceiver
Unmodified saves of 4+ trigger the Mortal Wound, rather than on 6s. The two don’t stack, but the same principles apply- even if the Save would fail or otherwise not actually pass for whatever reason, roll it for the Mortal Wounds anyway. Fun for sure, though not the most overt offensive ability compared to other Traits, especially as it involves you taking hits- you’re generally better off killing what would hurt you in the first place.
Relic- Traitor’s Embrace
If killed in Melee, do D3+3 Mortal Wounds to the unit that did the deed on a 2+. Hilarious as a “taking you with me” effect, though as with the Warlord Trait, it involves you not killing something before it swings at you, and taking up your Relic slot precludes you from the weapons that actually do damage for a Succubus. A cute choice, but not a go to.
Stratagem- Venomous Shardbombs
Allows a unit of Wyches to Overwatch, using up to 5 Plasma Grenades in the process, and making them Poisoned (2+) to boot. Whilst effectively allowing you to Overwatch twice in a phase, the latter part is lacklustre. Your Grenades are only going to be useful within 6”, and you’ll still need to roll 6s to hit. Fun, but can be passed. Will occasionally come up, but don’t feel like you need to put yourself in a position just to use it.
Obsession- The Speed of the Kill
Reroll Charge rolls is fantastic, and the +2 to Advance rolls combines well with Power From Pain Turn 2 onwards. This Cult all but guarantees the charge in Turn 2, but doesn’t carry the overall offensive buffs the other Cults can have. Fortunately Cults are plenty killy, so it’s not the biggest loss, though still hard to swallow. Also of note it specifies you add 2 to the Advance roll, so if you don’t roll you don’t add the bonus (looking at you Reavers).
Warlord Trait- Hyperswift Reflexes
Any Hit rolls against you automatically miss on unmodified rolls of 1-3, regardless of any other rules. Transhuman but for melee and hit rolls, which is a nice defensive buff. A flat 50% of attack rolls missing ups your survivability significantly, but as with other defensive abilities, usually offense is the best form of defense, and killing the attacker first is usually the better course of action. By no means a bad trait, especially if you’re looking at making a Succubus that is there to tie things up, or you’ve already used other offensive Traits.
Relic- The Blood Glaive
An Archite Glaive with +2 Str, AP -3 and Dmg 3. Makes the Glaive an actual interesting choice (and frankly closer to what it actually should be), but it competes with things like the Triptych Whip which is generally the better choice – similar levels of maximum damage, whilst having more attacks to even out the spread and usually better chances to wound. The only real time The Blood Glaive wins out is if you’ve already got the Whip elsewhere, or are expecting to go fight VEHICLES (but why?).
Stratagem- Athletic Aerialists
An INFANTRY unit can Embark on a Transport if every model is within 6” instead of Consolidating normally. You can do this even if the unit Disembarked this turn, though other restrictions still apply (you have to be able to fit in there, the Transport can’t be in Engagement Range, etc). A useful Stratagem to have, but it’s not the most reliable and you do need to set it up well.
You can create your own Cult rules by choosing any one from each of the two categories below, or one All-Consuming Obsession (noted by the *). Note that, RAW, you must choose these if you aren’t from any of the three named Cults. However given that 1) the exact colour schemes and markings are kinda flexible, and 2) that’s a weird rule especially as there’s no “Count as being one of the main Faction” custom abilities, you can safely ignore it.
- Acrobatic Display- Any Consolidation and Pile In moves can move through terrain and other models (though not finish on top of them). Niche, but can be useful especially if you can use this to pin and tag units you wouldn’t have normally been able to. Not offensive or defensive as such, but shenanigans galore are possible if the opportunities arise.
- The Art of Pain- You count the Battle Round for Power From Pain one higher when in Engagement Range. Useful for Turn 2 onwards as you’ll get the +1 to hit early, and helpful for your non-INFANTRY units to get their 5++ from Turn 3 onwards. All round a useful trait, provided you’re capable of maintaining combat.
- Berserk Fugue*- Grants a 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds, which is a niche defensive benefit, but a useful one to cover the weakness now found by the change to Power From Pain. As well as that, 6s to hit explode in the first round of combat giving you some nice combat spikes. Both are nice benefits to have, if not always applicable.
- Precise Killers- Blade Artists activate on 5s instead of 6s. A powerful melee boost, though doesn’t do anything if you were needing 6s to Wound anyways. Regardless, this will affect all of the Cult units in some capacity and will stack up a sizeable amount over the course of the game.
- Slashing Impact- Roll a D6 for each model that finishes a Charge Move within Engagement Range vs non-VEHICLES, doing a Mortal Wound on a 6. It’s fine, though realistically you’ll get a few wounds from it in the game and that’s about it. There’s better traits for offense.
- Stimulant Innovators- Once per game in your Command Phase, you can roll a D3 on the Combat Drugs table and apply it to every model with this Trait until the end of the Turn. It stacks if you have it already. The first 3 Drugs are all widely useful for all your units, so it’s certainly not a bad choice if you’re stuck on a trait to choose, though the once per game aspect means you’ll want to maximise its use well, probably Turn 2 when you’ll be making multiple combats.
- Test of Skill- +1 to Wound in melee vs MONSTERS or VEHICLES. A strong benefit against those units and will allow you to divert some anti-tank elsewhere knowing you have a better chance of dealing with them in combat. Not always useful, but certainly potent when it comes up.
- Trophy Takers- Enemy units that lost models in melee to these units roll 2D6 picking the lowest for Morale. Interestingly this isn’t a “that turn” effect, so it could be argued that once a unit has lost any models in melee, all future Morales are affected regardless of source. Probably don’t play it like that, and frankly units in melee with Cults have bigger issues to worry about over a weird Morale rule (because they’ll be dead).
- Agile Hunters*- Gives you +1 to hit vs FLY units (both shooting and melee), as well as making the Hypex Combat Drug grant an extra +1” Mv. It’s decent enough, and the first aspect is strong for whenever it comes up (and there’s plenty of FLY out there), though the second aspect isn’t the most useful given it may only be on a few units and is already one of the least overall useful Combat Drugs.
Obsession- Connoisseurs of Pain
Healing a wound to each of your CHARACTER, GROTESQUES and MONSTERS in each of your Command Phases is ok, though doesn’t help them if they’re dead. The second part makes everything have Transhuman (so never wounded on better than a 4+) but only vs Str 7 or lower weapons. It’s ok, but limited, and the overall Obsession will generally be a bit niche.
Warlord Trait- Diabolical Soothsayer
After you set up this model for the first time (so either on the board, via Webway, or when they disembark the first time), you can make them more survivable with +1W and +1T, or a bit more killy with +1Mv and +1A. Being tougher to kill probably serves you a bit better, but everyone can get that via Master Artisan, so not much to write home about here. The flexibility can be nice to have if you were looking at Artisan anyways. Urien has this so he can stay one step ahead of his enemies (but really, give him the defensive boost).
Relic- The Vexator Mask
The bearer can’t be Overwatched, and a unit within 3” at the start of the Fight Phase must fight last. Overwatch isn’t quite as scary as it was in 8th, but still handy to have something to shut it down entirely, and the second component is great given the strength of dictating the order of combat. This is probably the main reason you’re looking at Prophets in all honesty.
Stratagem- Sins Writ Large
Give reroll Hits in melee for a unit of WRACKS or GROTESQUES, costing 1 or 2 CP respectively. A decent melee boost, especially when combined with The Torturer’s Craft to get reroll Wounds as well, however remember you’ll be getting that tasty +1 to Hit from turn 3 onwards so this probably won’t be as necessary in the later stages of the game. Still good to have if you want to ensure something with minuses isn’t there anymore after your Groteseques make combat with them.
Obsession- Distillers of Fear
Every model gets a 6” Aura imposing -1 Ld and -1 to Combat Attrition tests to enemy units makes melee and close range shooting a nastier prospect with any Morale checks that might happen, as well as synergising nicely with things like Tormentors and Phantasm Grenades. In addition, your melee attacks get +1 to Hit when against enemy units with the same or lower Ld as you, ensuring your attacks are connecting. Whilst it doesn’t stack all that well with Power From Pain, it helps in the earlier turns, and can be useful to offset unit that’s might rely on minuses in combat to survive. Whilst not the most obvious in terms of power, there’s definitely some uses for this with a bit of thinking.
Warlord Trait- Fear Incarnate
One enemy unit within 9” at the end of your Movement phase loses Objective Secured, stops any Actions and can’t do Actions until the start of your next Movement Phase, provided you roll over their Ld on 3D6. Might not always trigger, but this can be utterly game changing if it kicks in at the right time. Consider that the avg roll on 3D6 is a 10, and most units are Ld 7 or 8, you have a good chance of changing up your opponent’s plans. The major downside is of course getting your Haemonculus there, but as it’s done at the end of the Movement, you’ve actually got a good amount of flexibility, as well as ensuring you can get units in range to benefit from their Ld minuses.
A Stinger Pistol with 3 shots, AP -3 and ignores Invulnerable saves. It’s ok, still only Damage 1 and 12” hurts it’s utility, but Covens weren’t exactly flush for Relics already. Safely pass.
Stratagem- An Esoteric Kill, Delivered From Afar
A CORE or CHARACTER unit can ignore Look Out Sir for a turn for 2 CP, or 3CP if TALOS. Could be worthless (ohhh a Stinger Pistol from a Wrack!), could be utterly bonkers (3 Talos firing Heat Lances). But is it really worth the CP? Probably not, though don’t neglect the sheer fear it can impose, dictating movement of a key character away from certain units.
Obsession- Butchers of Flesh
Your non-Relic Melee weapons improve their AP by 1, and you can still perform Actions and shoot. The first part is of course widely applicable and offers a potent melee boost across the board. The second part is extremely niche as most of your INFANTRY (ie the units that do the majority of Actions) don’t have guns, though it’s nice to have to ensure your Liquifiers are still useful, and in missions where other units can do Actions (such as Strategic Scan) this makes your army a prime mission player.
Warlord Trait- Scarlet Epicurean
Reduce all Damage done to the Warlord by 1. It’s simple, but effective, and helps him stick around and provide his buffs for longer.
Relic- The Flensing Blade
Haemonculus Tools with AP -2 and Dmg D3, which becomes flat Dmg 3 vs CHARACTERS. A decent melee upgrade if you’re looking at getting your HQ in the thick of it. Admittedly most of the time you probably don’t want to do that with Covens, but this can offer a nasty surprise to enemy Characters, especially the support style ones lacking an Invulnerable.
Stratagem- A Most Inventive Demise
For 1CP a HAEMONCULUS inflicts Mortal Wounds after Consolidating on an enemy CHARACTER in Engagement Range, provided they aren’t a VEHICLE or MONSTER. Niche of course being limited in both users and targets, however with a very good chance (2+) of doing D3 Mortal Wounds this can help finish off a Character, or make them weak enough to finish off in a later turn. Whilst there is some appeal of fishing for the D3+3 Mortals and one-shotting an enemy Character, it’s only a 6 so don’t bank on it. Good for finishing off or weakening, not outright killing.
You can create your own Coven rules by choosing any one from each of the two categories below, or one All-Consuming Obsession (marked with a *). Note that, RAW, you must choose these if you aren’t from any of the three named Covens. However given that 1) the exact colour schemes and markings are kinda flexible, and 2) that’s a weird rule especially as there’s no “Count as being one of the main Faction” custom abilities, you can safely ignore it.
- Artists of the Flesh*- Your non-VEHICLES reduce all Dmg by 1 to minimum of 1. This will keep your big stuff around a bit longer though obviously not so useful for Wracks and Raiders. You’ll have to rely on your innate damage to do the business without help from any other trait though, so make sure you have offense to support your defense.
- Dark Harvest- Non-VEHICLES do a single Mortal Wound to one enemy unit after charging them, on a 4+. 50/50 for one wound isn’t great. Pass.
- Dark Technomancers- Let’s your units choose to go into meltdown to power up their guns (yeah no melee here), giving them +1 to Wound and +1 to Dmg to non-Liquifier guns, at the expense of no rerolls to hit, and if a 1 pops up to Hit, the unit takes a Mortal Wound, or D3 on a MONSTER or VEHICLE. A tough pill to swallow given the limited guns on Wracks, or non-applicable guns on Grotesques. Can be worth it on your tanks and Talos type creatures (it does incidentally work on the Cronos’ flamer type weapons to great effect and well worth it for them), making them hit very hard, and given the innate 5+++ the Talos have can be worth doing to ensure maximum carnage, however as an overall Obsession, it is both quite niche and risky, and without support from another trait makes it tough to justify in a “standard” build. Guess it shouldn’t have been spammed in the first place…
- Experimental Creations- +1 Str across the board is nice melee boost, pushing lots of units into a nicer bracket- Str 4 for Wracks to wound T3 on 3s, Str 6 for Grotesques when fighting T3 or T5, and Str 8 on the Macro-scalpels on Talos. If you’re looking to hit up melee with the Covens, this is a good shout.
- Hungry for Flesh- Reroll Charge rolls makes getting to combat nice and reliable, especially given you’ll be aiming for it from Turn 2 onwards when you’ve already got Advance and Charge on top.
- Master of Mutagens- Your Poisoned melee weapons autowound non-VEHICLE/TITANIC units on a 6 to hit. It’s nice, but only really affecting your Wracks and Haemonculus. Maybe netting 2-3 auto wounds a turn is ok, but at the expense of other more widely applicable traits is probably not worth it. Pass
- Master Torturers- The Torturer’s Craft costs -1 CP for you, so effectively 0CP on small Wrack units and Haemonculi, and 1CP on Grotesques and Talos. Not shabby, though given its Stratagem related and thus effectively once per turn, it’s perhaps not a go to. If nothing else does it for you, this isn’t a terrible shout as the Stratagem itself is great.
- Obsessive Collectors- Destroying a unit in melee heals the unit that did the deed for D3 wounds, or brings back D3 WRACKS. It’s ok, though rubbish if the unit in question doesn’t have any wounded models, or dead Wracks. Useful to keep a unit trucking a little longer, though relying on killing a unit completely can sometimes make it tricky to use when you might want it.
- Enhanced Sensory Organs- Ignore Light and Heavy Cover. Ignoring Light is great for your boats and units with Liquifiers, and whilst ignoring Heavy is a bit more niche and will depend on how often that is used in games you play, it is handy to have nonetheless.
- Splinterblades- Melee attacks get exploding 6s. Great given the overall large amount of melee Covens seeks to do in order to inflict damage, this can really rack up the damage across your units.
In 9th there are now sub-categories of Stratagems, essentially giving them a Keyword that has interactions with certain rules. It won’t come up all that often, just something to look out for.
Drukhari have a variety of Stratagems, with a solid mix of offensive and defensive abilities, alongside a number of ploys useful for movement and tactical shenanigans.
- Cruel Deception- Pick a unit that Fell Back, they can Shoot or Charge for 1CP, or do both for 2CP. A great utility tool, giving you options for your units should they get pinned down, and always able to pick a suitable or preferable target.
- The Great Enemy- Reroll Hits and Wounds in Melee vs SLAANESH units. Like all these Stratagems, super fluffy, mega niche, and devastatingly unbalanced against the targets in question. Use judiciously when it comes up and drink the salty tears of your foe that they dared to have that particular keyword I guess.
- The Torturer’s Craft- A COVENS unit gets reroll Wounds in the Fight Phase, costing 1CP for CHARACTERS and WRACKS with 10 or less models, or 2CP otherwise. A great Stratagem to ensure max damage in melee with your big units.
- Lightning Fast Reactions- 1CP gives a non-COVEN INFANTRY, VEHICLE or BIKER unit a -1 to be Hit for the phase. A great defensive boost, and given the reactive nature of it (when targeted), allows you to use it when needed without needing to worry about wasting it too much. A good opponent can of course attempt to bait this out and then switch targets, so consider carefully how important it might be on one unit to another.
- Hunt from the Shadows- When a unit has Light Cover, give them an additional +1 to their Armour Saves until the end of the phase. Bumps your Kabalites up to a 2+ when in Light Cover, which can give them a surprising amount of staying power if you need to them to stick around, and even giving your Wyches or Wracks a 4+ can help against small arms fire. Note this bonus applies when you have the benefits of Light Cover, so if that benefit does not apply at the time you can’t select them, but the armour save boost still applies as it doesn’t state you improve the benefits of cover by 1. This can lead to odd instances where an Ignores Cover rule can ignore the Light Cover from the terrain, but not the boost from the Stratagem if it was already activated. Contentious, but RAW.
- Alliance of Agony- Use when you have a REALSPACE RAID WARLORD (so the Archon), in order to give a SUCCUBUS and HAEMONCULUS a Warlord Trait. A 2 for 1 version of Tolerated Ambition below, but still letting you use Ambition for other Characters perhaps in other Detachments. Obviously limited by being for Realspace Raids, but still nice to have.
- Tolerated Ambition- The usual Extra Warlord Trait rule to a non-named Character. Some of them are pretty much essential to how certain characters so this will likely be used at least once
- Prizes From the Dark City- Your standard Extra Relic Stratagem. There’s some decent ones in the Codex, but don’t go overboard on taking some for the sake of it.
- Webway Portal- Put a unit of INFANTRY, BIKERS or BEASTS into Deep Strike for 1CP, or put 2 there for 3CP. Useful to have, especially if you’re looking at a cheeky insertion of a unit for a Secondary, but by no means essential, with many units having this kind of rule built in, or likely to be rocking around in boats. Don’t think of this in terms of offensive use, but rather in another way to control how you play and win the mission.
- Pain Syphon- If a unit destroys an enemy, and that friendly unit is within 6” of a CRONOS when they do so, their Power From Pain goes to Round 5 for the rest of the game. Not bad for a CP, the main benefit is to get the 5++ early.
- Eviscerating Fly-by- A WYCH CULT unit that can FLY that makes a Normal Move or Advances over an enemy unit rolls a D6 for each CULT model in the unit, doing a Mortal Wound for each 5+, or a 4+ if the enemy unit is INFANTRY. Costs 1CP for 5 or less models in the unit, or 2CP otherwise. Great for softening up units, killing Characters, finishing off units and a variety of other units. Note only a single model in the CULT unit needs to fly over the enemy unit, so this barely limits your ability to position or spread out.
- Never Stationary- Fire and Fade 2.0, letting a non-AIRCRAFT make a 7” Normal Move after Shooting. Still can’t Charge after doing so, and costs 2 CP, but the extra speed can be useful both defensively to get out of Line of Sight or range, offensively to press the attack or let units inside that weren’t in range now threaten a unit, or for utility to move block, contest Objectives, nab Secondaries etc. Well worth the 2CP for the flexibility alone.
- Prey on the Weak- A CORE unit gets reroll 1s to Hit a unit below Starting Strength, or reroll all hits if the enemy is below Half-Strength. Useful in any phase to ensure reliability, though obviously not useful vs big things or lone models.
- Screaming Jets- Like the Webway Portal but for one VEHICLE instead. Given the Vehicle will probably be carrying a unit, think of this as a buy one get one free Webway Portal for the unit inside. Can also be used to protect an asset like a Ravager or Flyer, though being limited to once per game, it’s use falls off a bit if you’re running multiples of them.
- Deadly Rivals- Use in the Command Phase to give a unit of REAVERS and a unit of HELLIONS +1” Mv and reroll hits in melee until the end of the turn, provided they were both within 12” and visible to each other. 2CP and reliant on having both units, but can make them extra threatening to the foe if you play around it.
- Swift Outflanking- A TRANSPORT wholly within 9” of any Battlefield Edge at the end of your Movement Phase gets put into Strategic Reserve. Great to protect an injured unit, or reposition the unit inside to a more advantageous position for next turn. Not always applicable, but useful to have.
- Murderous Descent- A unit inside a TRANSPORT that arrives from Reinforcements can immediately disembark, though they have to be 9” away from enemy models. Great when combined with the above to ferry units around the board to do actions or threaten charges on units holding Objectives.
- Pray They Don’t Take You Alive- If the enemy WARLORD is killed by a melee attack, the entire enemy army suffers a -1 to any Combat Attrition tests. Niche, though certainly fun, however it is rare that Attrition will swing a game, especially given you can kill units quite easily in the first place.
- Enhanced Aethersails- A RAIDER or RAVAGER auto Advances 8” instead of rolling. Great to nab objectives or do certain Secondaries, to put pressure on the opponent turn 1 via move blocking or getting the threat of the unit inside up into your foe’s face, and combines well with Power From Pain from Turn 2 onwards to let them have a massive threat range for charges. Whilst you sacrifice the shooting, tying up something can often be more important.
- Crucible of Malediction- 2CP to let a HAEMONCULUS do D3 Mortal Wounds to each enemy Psyker within 12” on a 4+. Limited, short range, random chance and wounds, once per game, and high cost. There will be games this wins it for you by deleting wounded Characters, or you set off a nuke in a Thousand Sons army, but they will be few and far between.
- Haywire Grenade- Give up your other shooting with a HAYWIRE GRENADE model to do D3 Mortal Wounds to an enemy VEHICLE within 6” if you hit. Decent in a pinch, though a few caveats to bear in mind- you have to select the unit to shoot, so no lobbing this after Advancing, and the only units that remembered to bring Grenades anymore are WYCHES and SCOURGES, so it’s a bit limited. Having said that, you can throw these into melee now, which is fun.
- Hyperstimm Backlash- Pick a CULT unit in your Command Phase to overcharge their Combat Drugs, doubling the effects of all their Drugs for the Battle Round. Pricey at 2CP, and not useful for a unit still inside a boat or Reinforcements, but can be devastating when used. 2A on the charge? Lovely. +4” Mv to ensure you steal an Objective. Great. Worried about being caught out in the open next turn? Have +2T. If you rolled for your drugs like a madman, both will get doubled don’t forget. Also can’t be used on a Succubus with the Phial Bouquet, as I guess the chance of a triple boost was too much. That was the line that couldn’t be crossed in this book…
- Shock Prow- A SHOCK PROW model (so a RAIDER or RAVAGER with said Shock Prow upgrade) does Mortal Wounds to an enemy unit on the charge, be it D3 on a 2+ vs VEHICLES, or rolling a D6 for each model in Engagement Range and doing one Mortal Wound for each roll that beats their Toughness. Less useful against Monsters or lone models, but can be brutal against big units if you hit them horizontally.
- Potent Metallotoxins- 2CP lets a unit’s Poisoned weapons work against non-TITANIC VEHICLES for a phase. Pricey, but can help if you have a tank that’s severely weakened and some Splinter weapons nearby.
Each of the Warlord Traits are locked to their respective sub-faction, so obviously no SUCCUBUS using a COVENS Trait.
- Hatred Eternal- Reroll all Hits and Wounds makes the Archon hyper reliable, and helps to offset their primary weakness of low Strength in combat, and boosts their shooting as a bonus. Great for an Archon expecting to get into the thick of it. Drazhar has this, cos he needed more rules to kill all the things.
- Soul Thirst- +1 Attack is nice, and heals a wound once per turn if any enemy models are destroyed within 6” of him. Both nice enough benefits, though Archons are generally in trouble if they start getting wounded as that means your Shadowfield is down or Mortal Wounds are flying around, and one healed wound a turn won’t help. The Attack boost is good, but the rerolls Hatred Eternal provides ensures even with fewer Attacks more will connect and be noteworthy. Safe pass on this one.
- Ancient Evil- An enemy unit in Engagement Range at the start of the Fight Phase strikes lasts that turn. A great ability that can swing combat, falter an enemy’s multicharge, and generally be a nuisance. The main downside is Engagement Range, which is not a massively ideal place for a non-Hatred Eternal Archon to be. If he’s surrounded by Incubi, it’s less of an issue of course.
- Quicksilver Fighter- +2 Attacks. It’s simple but effective, and can push your Succubus into some very high numbers in terms of base attacks.
- Stimm Addict- Roll 2 additional dice for your Combat Drugs, rerolling what you already have and Splintermind (the BS and Ld one). Certainly fun, and can give a lot of buffs to a Succubus as worst case scenario if you rolled and got +1WS and +1 BS/Ld, you’ll at least get 2 good stat boosts from here, and can lead to a hilarious Character if you use in conjunction with Hyperstimm Backlash (the perfect scenario giving you +4” Mv, +2Str, +2T and +2A on the charge), but other than being fun, it’s not reliable or as potent as the other two traits.
- Precision Blows- Every 6 to Hit does Mortal Wounds equal to the Damage Characteristic of the Weapon being used. For Damage 1 Weapons, it’s not so great. Get your hands on some Dmg 2 or even Dmg 3 weapons, and now the Succubus can inflict horrendous damage on pretty much anything.
- Master Regenesist- When the Haemonculus uses their Fleshcraft ability, they heal a flat 3 Wounds. Nice if he’s babysitting Monsters or Grotesques.
- Master Nemesine- The Warlord can reroll 1s to Wound. It’s fine, and can be cute if you somehow manage to get a decent melee weapon, but you can generally ignore this one.
- Master Artisan- +1T and +1W is a solid defensive boost to a generally flimsy Character, so you can’t go too wrong with this if you’ve no other Traits that take your fancy.
- Parasite’s Kiss- A Splinter Pistol that gets +2 Shots, AP -2, +1 Dmg, becomes Poisoned (2+) and heals the bearer for a wound each time this destroys a model. It’s pretty good so far as Relic Pistols go, but it’s still just a Relic Pistol. Nice enough on an Archon that wants to remain away from combat.
- The Helm of Spite- Deny one Psychic Power, and if you do the Psyker in question immediately suffers a Perils. Decent enough for Psychic defence, though you’ll need to be out of a boat to use it, and still need to deny successfully to do the damage. There’ll be games this makes a Psyker explode and take out half their battleline, and other games where it’s meaningless. Can generally be passed unless you’re really worried about Psykers.
- The Nightmare Doll- A HAEMONCULUS gets a 4+++ instead of a 5+++. Makes them pretty buff against attacks, but by no means essential.
- The Djin Blade- An upgrade Huskblade that gets +1 Str, AP and Dmg, as well as +2A, all for the low opportunity cost of maybe taking a single Mortal Wound at the end of the Fight Phase if you’ve fought. Turns the Archon from a mediocre fighter to a pretty scary one, especially if combined with Hatred Eternal, and the downside is minimal.
- The Animus Vitae- A once per game Grenade that does D3 Mortal Wounds if it hits, or D3+3 if used on a unit with 11+ models. In addition, provided it at least hit, your entire army treats Power From Pain as one Round higher until the end of the turn. Short ranged of course, but can be devastating just for the army wide boost it can do if timed right. Getting the +1 to hit a turn early can cripple your foe, or the 5++ when you have lots of stuff in melee can make you that much harder to shift and turn the tide even further in your favour.
- The Triptych Whip- A SUCCUBUS gets a super Agonizer, becoming Poisoned (2+), Dmg 2 and +3A. A great all round weapon to help the Succubus blend the majority of what she touches.
The following are available if you have a DRUKHARI WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one Drukhari Secondary per game regardless of its category.
Purge the Enemy - Take Them Alive!
At the end of each Battle Round, score 3 VP if a CHARACTER or MONSTER was destroyed in Melee this Round, or 1 VP if any other unit was destroyed in Melee this Round. Whilst they stack, killing at least 1 unit and 1 Character or Monster each Round can occasionally be tricky, especially as you don’t generally have the staying power to keep doing it turn after turn. You can probably net around 6-9 VP from this, so it’s certainly not a bad choice, but depending on what you’re facing you might just be better off taking Assassination or Bring It Down, especially if you aren’t confident you can’t get to the Characters in melee to net the points.
Purge the Enemy - Beasts for the Arenas
For each MONSTER, BEAST or CAVALRY unit destroyed by a CULT unit in melee, score 3VP. Pretty tough to achieve as Wyches etc aren’t fantastic vs Monsters in melee, and very obviously match up and army composition dependent. Given you can’t really plan for this one, you probably won’t want to rely on it even if it does turn up. Safely ignore its existence, despite its awesome fluff.
No Mercy, No Respite - Fear and Terror
At the end of each Battle Round, score 1VP for each enemy model that flees. You might overkill and get nothing. You might net 10 VP in a single turn if you’re lucky. Tough to plan around, though against some armies this could be one of the easiest Secondaries you’ll achieve. Simultaneously, leaving stuff alive is asking for disaster if those units are near Objectives. A tricky one to justify picking.
Battlefield Supremacy - Herd the Prey
Score 2 VP for each Table Quarter that has no enemy units wholly within them at the end of each of your turns. Can’t be scored in the First Battle Round. A slow gain Secondary that ramps up throughout the game as units are destroyed, quite capable of netting you 4-6 VP each in turns 4 and 5. Can cause headaches for opponents in terms of movement dictation, as they’ll either have to have to move to try and deny you points and get into your threat range, or stay away and give you the VP anyway. Given the high damage output and speed threat of Drukhari, you can often pounce on units that might try to deny this with relative ease, and rack up points quite easily depending on what you’re facing.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the Drukhari Codex.
Provided your whole army is DRUKHARI, any units with this rule get a bunch of cumulative rules as the game runs its course.
- Battle Round 1 nets you a 6++, a minor but occasionally helpful survivability boost.
- Battle Round 2 gives you Advance and Charge, making your melee units capable of threatening a huge swathe of the board
- Battle Round 3 grants +1 to Hit with Melee as well as letting you ignore the -1 to Hit for Heavy Weapons when using Big Guns Never Tire. Your Vehicles and Monsters become fantastic at tying stuff up and care less at being tagged as they aren’t too afraid of losing efficiency, and your units become hyper accurate in melee.
- Battle Round 4 bumps the Invulnerable Save up to a 5++, giving even better survivability during the late stages, making shifting you off Objectives tougher.
- Battle Round 5 finally gives you autopass to Morale Tests and count as double wounds remaining on your VEHICLE profiles. Whist both are more niche than other rounds, they ensure you basically have to be destroyed to limit your Objective holding as well as giving a potential life line to damaged Vehicles for a final attack or dash to an Objective.
All told Power From Pain is a great spread of rules, with the majority of its value being used in Turns 2 and 3, when you want to hit Melee and deliver the coup de grace. Later turns are a bit more niche, as either you’ll have crippled or neutered the enemy to the point their attacks back are already minimised, or the defensive boosts are too late to help you, however don’t forget about them especially in those situations where it can go to the wire.
Weapons with this rule wound successfully on an unmodified roll of their set value (usually 4+, sometimes better). Doesn’t work against VEHICLES or TITANIC, however remember you still use your base Strength when rolling to wound, so if you have a scenario where the Strength is higher than the opponent’s Toughness (admittedly a rarity), you will still wound on 3s. Also worth noting this will bypass any -1 to Wound rules that exist out there (attackers priority does apply here), but not things like Transhuman that specifically say they win out over any other ability.
Everyone gets an additional AP on 6s to Wound in Melee. A great force multiplier, making your dedicated combat specialists better, and even your non-combat forces occasionally more threatening in melee. Will stack up nicely over time, and literally everything barring the beasts have this, even your Vehicles, so never forget it.
A 5+++ for your non-VEHICLE COVENS units, this gives them a good modicum of survivability against many attacks as well as Mortal Wound protection (a rarity for the Drukhari), though it’s by no means perfect, and you’ll still need to be careful in your use of them as without a decent Invulnerable until the late game, you’ll need to rely on your base Toughness to mitigate damage before it gets to this stage. Useful, but don’t bank on it, and multi-damage weapons will be the bane of your life.
A bunch of stat boosts for your non-VEHICLE CULT units you can assign pre-battle in your army roster, either choosing one or rolling for two (rerolling until you get two different results in the case of duplicates). The flexibility to assign gives your CULT some nice power boosts in melee, or extra utility in case you had other roles in mind for them. Rolling can be fun, but generally you will have your eye on one particular boost for a unit’s job, so don’t take the risk of rolling unless you’re happy to lose the chance of something you really wanted.
- Adrenalight- +1A when you Charge or Heroically Intervene adds to the already incredible number of Attacks Wyches and the like get, and this is usually a go to for a unit that is already packing decent Strength like Hellions, or for Succubus with Agonisers.
- Grave Lotus- +1 Str helps push you into the “magic” Str 4 category, bumping you into better wounding brackets for a large number of things. Less handy on Cult of Cursed Blade who effectively already have it, or for Reavers and Hellions whose weapons are already stronger, however don’t knock the ability to go to Str 5 if you’re expecting lots of T4 and 5 opponents that you want to edge out over.
- Hypex- +2” Mv is a solid benefit, giving you a larger threat range as well as being useful for Objective play. Not as obviously powerful as some of the others, and may not be as useful as others due to the innate speed of CULT units already, but can be worth it if the units goal is harassment and objective play.
- Painbringer- +1T is a nice survivability boost, however Drukhari will still fold like wet tissue if shot up outside a Transport or not killing enough units to minimise casualties back. Nice on paper, but with boats and terrain to protect you, more aggressive options are usually better. Can be some use on big units of Hellions and Reavers that are more difficult to hide, helping them resist small arms fire a bit better.
- Serpentin- +1WS would be great, if you weren’t getting +1 to Hit from Power From Pain from Round 3 onwards. However this can be helpful for Turns 1 and 2 of course, as well as helping to mitigate any minuses an opponent might have to ensure you’re still hitting incredibly accurately.
- Splintermind- +1BS and +1Ld. The niche-est of the lot, as these will be entirely dependant on what the unit is running. BS2 Splinter Pistols on Wyches, not so great. BS2 on Heat Lances for some Reavers, quite nice. The Ld bonus isn’t the best, but effectively allows a unit of 10 to lose 3 models rather than 2 before worrying about Morale.
The KABAL HQ, giving you the standard 6” Aura of reroll 1s to hit for KABAL CORE and INCUBI units. How often that occurs will be dependent on if you’re on foot or not, but always handy for reliability. Comes standard with the infamous Shadowfield, giving them an unrerollable 2++ that has to be rolled one save at a time, as the first time it fails, it turns off for the rest of the game. With T3 5W, and only a 4+ save on top of that (outside of Invulnerables from Power from Pain or Relics), that’s not a good position to find yourself in, so don’t assume practical invulnerability just because you have theoretical invulnerability. Wargear wise they’re also a bit lacking, basically needing Relics and Warlord Traits to be threatening in combat, so the Archon generally falls into three camps- a HQ tax for a Detachment, an Aura caddy for some Incubi, or as a combat threat via some rules investments. Either way, he’s not terribly expensive even with some investment, though if combat is your jam there is generally enough in the book to do that for him (appropriate, not getting their hands dirty).
Leaders of the CULTS, and your generic melee specialist. Come stock with a 4++ all the time, No Escape (see Wyches below) and a 6” Aura of reroll 1s to wound for CULT CORE in melee. Similar to the Archon however, their basic wargear is a bit mediocre, but once blessed with Warlord Traits and Relics they become terrifying, and one of the most points efficient combat units in the game, able to cripple if not outright destroy way beyond their points cost in a single turn, albeit they need those upgrades. With the right tools they can be sent off to threaten a significant unit or part of the battlefield and give you a great return of investment.
COVENS have these guys as their boss, and unlike the other two are more focused on support, giving a nice +1T to all COVEN CORE units in 6”, as well as the ability to heal D3 wounds to a MONSTER or GROTESQUE within 3” at the end of your Movement Phase. However outside of this they don’t offer much in the way of offense, with no reroll oriented auras, and as with the other two, requiring Relics and Warlord Traits to be more threatening at melee, though they are even more limited as a lot of those are tied to certain Covens. Nevertheless, a decent support unit to make your baseline COVEN units that bit more resilient.
Named Master Succubus of the Cult of Strife, with a plethora of special rules that doesn’t quite make up for the fact that she doesn’t really know what she wants to be. Being a Master Succubus grants her the Show Stealer ability to consolidate 6” in any direction, alongside a -1 to be Hit in Melee, makes her slightly more survivable. She also has an extra Attack, and 6s to hit explode (hilariously becoming 3 extra hits if she’s your Warlord), as well as rerolling all hits and wounds vs CHARACTERS, and finally she can choose one of two rules in your Command Phase for that turn, either granting Fall Back/Advance and Charge, and enabling her to Fight Again at the end of the Fight Phase provided she killed at least one model. She’s also not massively expensive either. So what’s the issue? Well she doesn’t take Combat Drugs meaning you lose a little bit of flexibility for here, and her weapons whilst nice at +1 Str (though still only Str 4) and AP -3, are only Dmg 1. So is she a horde clearer, or a Character hunter? Well, she clears hordes very well…as do normal Wyches. And against Characters, she will do about 4 Wounds to a MEQ with a 4++. Sure she won’t get attacked back due to Show Stealer, but it hardly inspires fear is the point. Generally anything Lelith can do, another Succubus kitted correctly, or even a unit of Wyches, can do better. Lelith Hesperax- Named Master Succubus of the Cult of Strife, with a plethora of special rules that doesn’t quite make up for the fact that she doesn’t really know what she wants to be. Being a Master Succubus grants her the Show Stealer ability to consolidate 6” in any direction, alongside a -1 to be Hit in Melee, makes her slightly more survivable. She also has an extra Attack, and 6s to hit explode (hilariously becoming 3 extra hits if she’s your Warlord), as well as rerolling all hits and wounds vs CHARACTERS, and finally she can choose one of two rules in your Command Phase for that turn, either granting Fall Back/Advance and Charge, and enabling her to Fight Again at the end of the Fight Phase provided she killed at least one model. She’s also not massively expensive either. So what’s the issue? Well she doesn’t take Combat Drugs meaning you lose a little bit of flexibility for here, and her weapons whilst nice at +1 Str (though still only Str 4) and AP -3, are only Dmg 1. So is she a horde clearer, or a Character hunter? Well, she clears hordes very well…as do normal Wyches. And against Characters, she will do about 4 Wounds to a MEQ with a 4++. Sure she won’t get attacked back due to Show Stealer, but it hardly inspires fear is the point. Generally anything Lelith can do, another Succubus kitted correctly, or even a unit of Wyches, can do better.
Master Haemonculus of the Prophets of Flesh, with +1A, +1T, halves all Damage, gives +1 Str and +1 Ld in addition to +1T to COVEN CORE units in 6”, as well as some negligible Mortal Wound chances in combat and essentially a once per game Twin Liquifier with Str 3. If you’re running Prophets of the Flesh Master Haemonculus anyway, and aren’t interested in the Relic or Trait they get, Urien is the same but with extra rules. The downsides are that those things are quite good, and obviously being set in his Trait/Relic means a little less customization (plus being Prophets isn’t the sell it once was). Not a bad choice, but certainly not an autotake.
However if you want to talk combat characters, Drazhar is your boy. He’s pricey, being the most expensive Character in the book, but what he brings is extremely good. Tough as nails (for an Eldar) thanks to his T4, 6W, 2+/4++ and -1Dmg, grants a phenomenal +1 to Wound Aura to INCUBI (of which he is one, so one of the few 9th Edition Characters to benefit from his own Aura…because…), flexible weapons for clearing most units, Tormentors as standard to invoke Fight Last on a unit, and the ability to attack twice. He can and will rip his way through pretty much most things in the game, and it is not unheard of for him to one shot healthy Knights. Yeah. Be afraid. Whilst he is expensive and can suffer if caught flat footed (though this applies to pretty much every unit in the book admittedly), he will usually make his points back. Main issues revolve around one, trying to squeeze him into a Realspace Raid (usually costing you the 2CP for an Auxiliary Detachment, though often he’s well worth it), and two, should he be your Warlord if not in a Realspace Raid? Hatred Eternal grants him maximum reliability, all but ensuring whatever he touches dies, however with his own Aura and the reroll 1s from an Archon (yes it’s a thing), he’s often reliable enough to not need it. If you weren’t fussed about having Hatred Eternal on an Archon however, then go for it.
Kheradruakh the Decapitator
Kreullagh the Vile (remember 40k has always been a serious game seriously designed for serious people)
The KABAL Troop (shocker, given the name), each packing a Splinter Rifle and a fairly decent, if fragile, statline. Able to pack a Special Weapon per 5, and a Heavy Weapon per 10, they can be flexibly kitted out for transporting in Venoms, Raiders, or even footslogging (which is a weird flex, but you do you). A steal at 8pts, they’re not the killiest units, but they can add some decent chipping firepower, cheap access to bodies, and a liberal sprinkling of Special Weapons ensure even cheap and small units can offer threats to a variety of targets, especially when used en-masse. Good action caddies as well as Objective holders, especially when in Transports as your opponent almost won’t want to kill the boat lest ObSec models jump out all over the place. You can’t go wrong with a few units, and with many units you can add a significant portion of firepower efficiently to the army.
Melee specialist Troops for the CULTS, that pack more attacks than you can shake a stick at as well as some nice defenses with their Dodge to grant them a 4++ in Melee, and No Escape to prevent non-TITANIC units from Falling Back from them should you win a roll off (yup, tanks and giant monsters can find it hard to move away from lithe Eldar at times). Whilst not the strongest or most survivable of units, they make up for it in speed and sheer number of attacks. They’re capable of blending through hordes, tying up units, or taking their points back and more before being killed, and whilst pricey enough at 12pts, they still can bring down their weight and more. Practically need to be in boats however, as T3 1W 6++ will not make it across the board unless you are playing with Obscuring Walls on 75% of the table.
COVENS round off the Troops with a sort of hybrid of the two units, having a blend of survivability and combat prowess, at the expense of pretty much any ranged weaponry outside of 1 special weapon per 5 and 1 on the Acothyst, though the ones they can get are quite decent. Whilst their T4 and 5+++ is nice, they don’t really have much of a save otherwise, so they aren’t amazingly survivable unless buffed up with a Haemonculus or you find yourself in later turns for the 5++ from Power From Pain, however they make good Objective being that little bit tougher than Kabalites against most weaponry, as well as prime Action users given their general lack of ranged weaponry. Cheap again at 8pts a model, should your opponent need to divert attention to them, they’ve done their job of absorbing firepower from other units.
A bizarre unit made up of Mercenaries and other Xenos, the Court is still a KABAL unit that has some decent melee punch and support options, as well as being quite tough for their cost despite T3, as 3W per model as well as access to 5+++ on 2 of the types make them quite tricky to shift. Whilst not ObSec, given their toughness and quite good melee, they can work in tandem with other units to hold onto an area of the battlefield, be it to support the midfield in clearing units away and holding Objectives there, or be used as backfield campers to protect home objectives and do Secondaries. Commonly seen as 4 Sslyth and 4 Ur-ghul for the To The Last Secondary, given the comparative high cost to other units (which says a lot about the Drukhari Codex really), so can be worth putting them for access to a relatively easy to achieve Secondary in keeping them alive.
BLADE FOR HIRE combat blenders that excel at fighting other elites, though will deal with most things very well. WS2+ means they’ll hit accurately against virtually everything, and 3A at Str 5 AP-3 Dmg 2 makes them great at carving through most things that stand in their way. 6s to Wound also add +1 Dmg (on top of making them AP -4 for Blade Artists), meaning they can even threaten Tanks, Monsters and 3W models with ease. Finally their Tormentors can force an enemy unit in Engagement to Fight Last if you beat their Leadership on 2D6, which isn’t the most reliable but with ways to manipulate Ld reasonably well in the book, as well as being able to select the same unit with different Incubi multiple times until they fail, you’ve got decent redundancy. A 3+ Sv is nice, but they’re still only T3 and 1W, so treat them as the glass cannons they are. As with most melee units in the army, they can punch well above their weight and kill far beyond their meagre 18pts before being destroyed themselves, so don’t be frightened about losing them as making their points back is fairly simple. The Klaivex should always take Demiklaives for the Dual option to give some extra anti horde support, and it’s free so there’s literally no downside.
Sneaky quasi-Daemon Drukhari that do decent shooting and melee, all at Str 4 -1 alongside a good number of attacks and chances for Mortal Wounds with the Shooting, a 5++ and -1 to Hit for defense, and some nice deployment rules, being able to deploy 9” away from enemy Deployment and models, and once per game they can go into deep strike for the next turn, making them useful for various Secondaries and sneaky Objective plays. BLADES FOR HIRE and non-CORE means whilst they can slot nicely into a variety of armies, it is usually without much in the way of benefits themselves, and at 15pts they aren’t quite as killy as the Incubi they compete with for slots, though they make up for it in the ability to apply early pressure as well as their redeploy shenanigans.
Big beefy COVEN melee unit, packing a nice T5 and 4W, as well as stock with 4A at Str 5 -2 Dmg 2 +1A with their Cleavers, or the option to fish for Mortal Wounds with their Flesh Gauntlet vs non-VEHICLES. You can swap out the Cleaver for a Liquifer on any of them for 5pts, though that leaves you with the Gauntlet only, and at only 4A to boot. That’s kind of all they do though, being tough and quite choppy, and whilst they’re large to transport, they aren’t terribly costed at 35pts. If you want units to kill stuff in melee, Incubi and Wyches are the better choice in terms of efficiency, however as far as an anvil goes, they’re about as good as you get in the book.
A CULT CHARACTER that only benefits the Beast units found in the Fast Attack section, giving them a 6” Aura of reroll 1s to Hit and his Ld of 7, as well as the ability to pick a BEAST unit within 6” in the Command Phase and give them Advance and Charge. The first one per Detachment won’t take up a slot if you have a BEASTS unit, though at T4 3W and a 5+, he’s prime Assassination material. Obviously if you don’t have any Beasts, he’s basically useless, and he’s mandatory if you do have Beasts, so if you’re looking to use the gribblies you’ll need him too, so just ensure to keep him safe and not give away easy Secondaries.
Basically Grotesques that don’t get all the Drukhari and Covens things, but do have 4” of extra Mv and get an extra Attack if one of their number is injured. At 25pts a model, they’re actually quite cheap for a distraction, whilst still capable of making a mess of what they might touch. Not the most accurate at WS4+, and with only a 5+ their T5 and 4W can only go so far, so don’t expect too much from them given other units can do what they do better, alongside getting more rules, for a few more points. This is common for all three Beast units however.
Flying swarms of birds with pitiful offense and even worse defense, their main saving grace is being cheap and fast, however they’re still slower than the other CULT Fast Attack units, whilst not being much cheaper. You can safely pass on these unless you’re really adamant on trying to recreate The Birds in the 41st Millenium.
Daemon dogs that have a 5++, though that won’t last them long given the T4 and 1W. Decently fast and cheap at only 10pts, they might have a use as harassment unit to tie up lesser units that can’t threaten them all that much back. As with the Razorwing Flocks however, they don’t really do anything the other CULT units can’t, though again their cheapness might make them a viable throw away option. Realistically though you’ve better units for the task.
The speediest Jetbikes in town, with a whopping 18” Mv and auto advance of 8” to boot, these crazy CULT bikers will make combat pretty much anywhere on the board in Turn 2. They aren’t amazingly tough at T4 2W and a 4+, and are only packing a single Splinter Rifle each, but pack a solid punch in melee and being fast enough to threaten key units even if just to tie them up makes them a decent pick. They can also be geared up with a variety of wargear to do Mortal Wounds either on the Charge or if an enemy Falls Back from them, as well as access to Special Weapons to help them crack open heavier targets. Fairly well costed at 20pts, they provide an incredibly fast threat to opponent’s backline and smaller units that might be holding Objectives, and whilst they might not kill a huge amount, dictating a unit’s options is crucial.
A more offensively minded CULT flying unti, trading some speed and Sv for Dmg 2 in melee, the ability to Fall Back and Charge, as well as better basic shooting at the cost of no special weapons. Cheaper at 17pts, they offer a different roll by aiming to kill units rather than just tie them up, though they can do that as well should the opportunity arise. Weirdly they’re INFANTRY, meaning they can benefit from cover, putting them on par with the 4+ Sv of the Reavers when in terrain. The slightly slower speed can sometimes leave a target just out of reach, but it’s still plenty fast enough to offer lots of options for the unit.
BLADES FOR HIRE that are Heavy and Special weapon…well, specialists, all coming stock with a Shard Carbine for anti infantry firepower, a 4+/5++ for some half decent defenses, as well as 14” FLY move and Deep Strike ability for maneuverability. Access to 4 Heavy and Special weapons gives good flexibility, though generally you’ll want to focus on a dedicated role, be it anti infantry or anti tank. Their basic guns cover anti infantry fairly well, though you can look at Shredders or Splinter Cannons for some more oomph, though they do bring the cost up a bit as well as the cannon being Heavy, which they don’t have a way to mitigate should they move. For anti tank you can go for the Blaster, Heat Lance, Dark Lance or Haywire Blaster, though again the latter 3 being Heavy makes them tricky to justify, especially with the low number of shots. All told Scourges are quite cheap base, though can wrack up points quite quickly given all bar the Shredder and Dark Lance are 10pts each, with those weapons being 5pts and 15pts respectively. With no way to mitigate moving and shooting with Heavy Weapons, and the only rerolls from a REALSPACE RAID ARCHON, they aren’t the most accurate or survivable units, and with their weapons accessible elsewhere usually more efficiently, they can be outshone in their desired role.
Rather than tanks, COVENS use what amount to units of Dreadnoughts, being melee focused MONSTERS with a variety of wargear options to fulfill different support roles via shooting. They’re not too expensive at 100pts, though some of their wargear does cost extra and is debatable if worth the cost, and with only a base T6, they kind of need a Haemonculus to babysit them, as with only a 3+/6++/5+++ (until Turn 4), they need the extra survivability boost. Having said that, 8” move and FLY means they can threaten a decent amount of the board, and they can really pile on the pain when they make combat. They’re a scary unit and tough to shift with support, but don’t trade quite as effectively as other units for their cost, so don’t throw them away or against units they might struggle to shift in a turn or 2.
A more support based version of the Talos, bringing some special rules in place of raw stats and output. Coming stock with Reservior of Pain, each time they manage to destroy an enemy model in combat, one CORE unit within 6” either heals 1 Wound, or if no one is wounded, a model is revived with 1 Wound remaining. Now with only 3A at Str 5 -1 Dmg 1 (though Dmg 2 on 6s to Wound), this won’t come up all that often, though it’s nice when it does, bringing a unit back from the brink or reviving a powerful unit like a Talos can swing a combat drastically in your favour. In addition they can be given a Spirit Probe for a mere 5pts, giving them a 6” Aura of reroll 1s to Wound in melee for all CORE and CHARACTER units, making them a handy utility piece. They also have some short ranged anti infantry weaponry, at Str 5 -2 Dmg 1, though with the same 6s to Wound become Dmg 2 rule as their melee. Fairly cheap, starting at 75 and only 90 when fully loaded, they’re a decent support piece that can help soften or clear hordes that might tie up your heavy hitters, whilst also providing them buffs as they go.
Gunboats for the KABAL, packing 3 weapon slots for either anti tank Dark Lances, or the anti heavy infantry Disintegrators. Decently survivable thanks to their 11W and 5++, as well as being maneuverable with their 14” FLY move, Ravagers make good backline gunboats that can reliably hold Objectives as well as move to protect themselves or ensure their shots can be lined up. Starting at 130pts before taking any additional wargear or “upgrading” your Dark Lances to Disintegrators (no, I don’t know either), doesn’t make them hyper expensive as far as anti tank goes, and provides a compliment should they be required, though sometimes the anti heavy infantry and anti tank it provides can often be covered elsewhere in the book, usually for cheaper or in more accessible numbers.
Contestant for most obnoxious Vehicle in the game, coming in at a low 100pts base for a 11 Capacity, 14” Mv, FLY Transport that packs 10W, a 5++ vs Shooting, and the ability to carry pretty much whatever it wants in terms of KABAL, CULT or COVEN Keywords, allowing you great flexibility in terms of what Detachment rules you might want it to have. Can be given various upgrades, for more weapons, better combat, Stratagem access, Ld debuffs and improvements to certain units inside, all of which are decently costed though by no means necessary, depending on your game plan. You can have a Disintegrator or a Dark Lance for 5pts more, which is still the best choice. Pretty much crucial to the Drukhari’s success, the Raider is spammable and cheap enough as it does so, whilst giving you access to good anti tank as well as fast transport that is surprisingly tough to shift, capable of delivering and protecting your key units until the time is right to strike. If you aren’t using Raiders, even with the points increases, you don’t really have an excuse unless your entire army basically can’t use them.
The smaller brother boat of the Raider, it loses 1T, 4W and 5 Capacity, though gain +2” Mv, doesn’t degrade, has a -1 to Hit from Shooting. It also goes for anti Infantry weapons in the form of Splinter weapons, as well as having less wargear options, though also it is a bit easier to hide by virtue of its size. The downside is that it’s only 10-20pts cheaper than the Raider depending on loadout, which tends to bring more in terms of damage, having greater Capacity offers it more flexibility for different units and who it carries, as well as the higher T and W offsetting the defensive gains the -1 to Hit should offer. It’s by no means a bad Transport, and can be useful alongside smaller units to act as a gunboat to provide support to larger units using the Raiders to close the gap, but consider if you can’t afford a Raider instead.
A fast attack jet with some anti infantry missiles, a nose mounted Splinter weapon (twin Rifle or single Cannon), and choice of two Dark Lances or two Disintergrators. As with the other Vehicles, the Disintegrators are a paid upgrade because something about paying for the sins of 8th, I dunno, just use Dark Lances. A built in 5++ vs Shooting is handy, but at T6, 10W and only a 4+, it needs it. Unfortunately, like most Flyers in 9th, it’s fairly costly and kind of out of place in the game, not able to interact with the missions and not really able to do anything that other units can’t do. Consider a Ravager instead if you’re really looking for an anti tank gunboat…or just use more Raiders.
Coming in at 175-200pts depending on loadout, this second of the two Flyers is “slightly slower” (at 60”) but packs an additional 2W for the trouble. It’s main guns are basically just bigger versions of the usual Disintergrator/Dark Lance choice, and the Missiles are more limited (and a paid upgrade, because you might not have glued them on…), but what it does pack is the once per game Void Mine, basically letting you nuke a point on the radius on the battlefield, doing D6 Mortal Wounds to any unit in a 6” radius on a 4+ (or 5+ if a CHARACTER). This might do nothing. It might cripple the opponent’s army turn one. The average is you’re looking at doing 2 Mortal Wounds to a unit however (accounting for the roll to go off is 50/50 then 3.5 is the average on a D6), so it’s not that devastating. What is good for is the threat. Do you really want to risk losing your Characters before they do anything, or have your force bundled up out of Line of Sight Turn 1 only to have them obliterated by some jammy rolls by a Void Mine? The counterplay is pretty simple however, as the Voidraven isn’t the toughest thing around, and being a Flyer easily targettable, but it kind of has to be dealt with lest it decide the game Turn 1. And if it’s being shot, other stuff isn’t, or your putting those units into an area they might not want to be. Not a bad choice, albeit a fairly expensive and swingy one.