Sunday, 10 March 2019

Officio Assassinorum: The Killers

Time to Venture into the Vault once more. In today's post I'd like to look at some of the most feared units in Warhammer 40,000; the Imperial Assassins.  The Assassins have received a "mini Codex" in the latest White Dwarf magazine, and the killers have all received a number of buffs! All the Assassins tick the Rule of Cool for aesthetics and theme, but are they good enough Games Rules wise to see time on the table top?

Imperial Players now have an option to select an Assassin to add to their force during deployment for the measly sum of 1 CP and 85 reserve points, using the Operative Requisition Sanctioned Stratagem. This allows a canny player a lot of flexibility as you can now apply a level of tailoring to your opponent's force!

I don't intend to cover every rule and statistic for these models (there are plenty of reviews elsewhere on the interweb, plus go buy White Dwarf), but I thought it would be fun to muse on the rules that stick out to me. So let's have a look at the various Assassins, starting with the master marksman, the Vindicare!

As you might expect from the look of this guy, he's a super-sniper, capable of shooting Characters regardless of normal targetting restrictions. He has solid shooting stats (BS 2+, wounds infantry on 2+), backed up by Faultless Aim (always hits on 2s if he didn't move), but he only has one shot per turn. A CP re-roll might be needed to avoid those single point of failures.

The Vindicare's guns have some unusual rules:

  • AP -3, backed up with Ignores Invulnerable Saves
  • D3 damage, converted to D6 on 6s to wound courtesy of the Deadshot rule
An average 2 damage (ignoring exploding 6s) seems a little underwhelming for an 85 point model, but the Vindicare also has the Head Shot rule where by if the target model is not slain by the gun shot then you roll a dice and on a 3+ a Mortal Wound is inflicted. If the roll was successful and the model is still not slain then you roll a further dice and on a 4+ another Mortal Wound is inflicted and so on.

So a Vindicare will likely do 3 wounds on a shot, with potential spikes on lucky dice rolls (10 max; 6 from a D6 and 4 mortals); however that's a lot of may be's and on more mediocre rolls the sniper may seem underwhelming.

I quite like the idea of taking *2* Vindicare Assassins; they provide redundancy on the dice and together should take out medium wound characters (e.g. Space Marine Ancients) on average dice.  There's a few other tricks that can be made by running these guys in tandem:

  • First Vindicare shoots, then uses the Double Kill stratagem to shoot again. The second Vindicare then finishes off whichever target is most weakened from the first (or has a boost if the first target died!)
  • If your opponent is running a Vindicare they you get 2 chances to take their Sniper out first! Given the plethora of buffing and support characters in 8th edition I can see the Vindicare being a popular choice!
Speaking of stratagems, Turbo-Penetrator Round (D3 Mortal Wounds vs Monsters or Vehicles) is a nice complement to Hellfire Rounds and Flak Missiles.

Next up is the Eversor Assassin; this melee monster is the opposite of the Vindicare. Instead of single considered shots, the Eversor is a beserk killing machine, spreading mayhem in his wake.

Shooting wise the Eversor is armed with a 4 shot pistol that re-rolls failed wounds against infantry, and melta bombs to blow up tanks! In melee the Eversor has a power sword and Neuro-gauntlet which also re-rolls railed wounds. Whilst not a particularly high strength model, the Eversor does have a lot of attacks:

  • 6 base, 8 on the charge courtesy of Frenzon (oh and a 3D6 charge roll! from the same)
  • potentially up to 6/8 more from the Killing Rampage rule
  • oh, and a fight again Stratagem (Stimm Overload)

So that's up to 32 attacks. Pretty tasty! Go point him at cannon fodder and go to town 😈

If that wasn't enough the Eversor is a living bomb! When the Assassin dies the Bio-meltdown rule kicks in; every enemy unit within 6" takes D3 mortal wounds on a 4+ roll.

I've used the Eversor in previous editions and I ran him in tandem with other assault units; I think that a similar strategy might be sensible in 8th, using a regular unit as a screen for the beserker as he goes around doing his stuff!

Next up is the Callidus Assassin. Another combat specialist, the Callidus is much more subtle that the Eversor using subterfuge and deceit to sow discord among the Emperor's enemies.

The funny pistol is a "Neural Shredder"; a short ranged weapon capable of dealing Mortal Wounds (against a Leadership test) and the sword is D2, AP -3, Ignores Invulnerable Saves! The Callidus is certainly capable of dealing damage.

The Eversor has acccess to Polymorphine which allows the Callidus to reserve deploy D6+3" away from opposing units (so close enough to use the Neural Shredder!)

More interesting is Reign of Confusion which during the first battle round can cause your opponent's Stratagems to cost more CP (on a 4+ the Stratagem costs an extra CP; if the CP isn't paid then the stratagem is lost along with the base CP). Which is excellent if your opponent wants to throw all their CP into a turn 1 Alpha Strike (looking at you Blood Angels).

What makes this even more fun is Supreme Deception; this Stratagem lets you use Reign of Confusion a second time! Play poker with your opponent; if he delays his Killer Stratagems from turn 1, then delay him a second time! Although this ability is some what unreliable I think it's bit of a sleeper, some what akin to an Imperial Agents of Vect against certain builds.

Finally we have the Culexus Assassin. Apologies as I haven't got this guy painted up yet!

So the Culexus is Mr. Anti Psyker; he forces a -2 penalty on Psychic and Deny tests (to everyone in 18"), and can single out Psyker characters for shooting attacks.

His Animus Speculum (the big helmet gun - this guy has strong neck muscles) is solid against infantry, and particularly against Psykers (Assault D6, AP -4), and can be boosted with Pariah's Gaze to D3 damage.

The Culexus has a lot of potential against non-Psykers as a tar pit. He can only be hit on 6s and has access to the 2 CP Soul Horror Stratagem that forces enemy units within 3" of the model to fight last, even if they charged. That's potentially game changing, especially if you pair the Culexis with other assault-based units.

So that's a quick whistle stop tour of the new Assassins; each has something to offer an Imperial player and if you are prepared to dig a little deeper than the obvious numbers on the data sheets. Get ready to see Operative Requisition Sanctioned becoming a staple in the Imperial tool box.

What are your thoughts? Got a favourite Assassin? Comment below, and thanks as always for taking the time to read my ramblings.

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