Sunday, 24 June 2018

Power from Paint: Raiding with Mercenaries

The Kabal of the Sand Viper have ventured back into Real Space once more, seeking glory and slaves. I recently attended First Founding having arranged an impromptu game with Greg and his Dark Angels.  We decided points levels just prior to the game and so I had to go digging into my figure case to find some more models to add to my normal force; this allowed me to add a squad of mercenaries, a HQ and a raider to my list!

So here's the Gun Boat, but who did I recruit to ride in it?

I didn't fancy mucking about building a whole separate detachment (i.e. Wych Cult) on the spot but the points jump conveniently let me add a squad of 9 Incubi and Drazhar to the list! I hadn't used either of these units in 8th but I was keen to see what they could do.

And I was pretty impressed; the Evil Space Pixies munched their way through various Dark Angel units although I did have to use a few CP to keep them around (Lightning Fast Reactions and a morale re-roll) after they took a lot of shooting!  In fact I think the Incubi are good enough to make space for in my list. Drazhar I'm less sure about but I'll go into both units in a bit more detail.

So what are Incubi? Fluff wise they are an order of Dark Eldar warriors dedicated to war and mastery of the blade; mercenaries to the core they will fight for all. Rules wise they are hard hitting assault troops, reasonably tough (they have a 3+ save, incredibly rare for Dark Eldar), and very killy (3 attacks with S4, AP-3, D1 swords called Klaives). They are led by a sarge-type called a Klaivex who has an extra attack and whose damage jumps to D3 if he rolls a 6+ to wound).

As Blades for Hire, Incubi can be added to any Detachment without causing that Detachment to lose it's Obsession Bonus. This is quite useful as if I had added Wyches, for example, to my Kabal Detachment, neither the Wyches or the Kabal units would have gained their Obsession bonuses.  The flip side of course is that Incubi don't have an Obsession of their own to benefit from.

Incubi do benefit from the faction-wide Power from Pain rule, and with a bit of pre-planning can make great use of the Architects of Pain Stratagem: this would allow them to get re-roll charges on turn 1, and +1 to hit on turn 2.  If you have CP to spare then Onslaught is worth considering on a big unit of Incubi to maximise the chance of rolling 6s and generating extra hits.

Incubi are not without their disadvantages however. (Insert cheap shot about Fine Cast models here:)

No seriously, the official Incubi are Finecast, and suffer from the inevitable bendy sword syndrome. One even broke as I was setting up the picture. Just horrible stuff.

OK, back on point; Incubi have a couple of significant drawbacks, which we can mitigate with a bit of sensible planning and play:

  • Although Incubi are reasonably tough for Dark Eldar they are still only T3, 3+ save 1Wound models. Transporting them in a Venom or Raider provides early game protection, enhances mobility and allows you to use the skimmer to charge first and soak Overwatch. 
  • Incubi lack an Invulnerable save; try to avoid getting tangled up with units with a lot of power weapon attacks!
  • Incubi generate a lot of D1 attacks; pairing them up with a HQ who can generate D2+ attacks can help with high Wound targets.
Which leads us on nicely to Drazhar. The Master of Blades is a unique HQ choice and is essentially an Incubi on Super-Steroids who:
  • Is tougher than a regular Incubi (T4, 2+ save and a 5+ invuln).
  • Is Very Killy (up 6 attacks with re-roll wounds if he is the Warlord, and can fight twice if he charges!) 
  • Buffs nearby Incubi with a +1 to hit aura.
Drazhar does have a few disadvantages as well: 
  • T4, and a 5+ invulnerable leaves him vulnerable to high strength, low AP weapons (think power fists or thunder hammers) 
  • His attacks although numerous are only S4/S5 D1: he will struggle against tough opponents
  • He is quite expensive points wise (I personally think he's a smidge over costed)

I have to confess that I don't actually own the official Drazhar model; when I played the game I had to use of of my Archon models to stand in:

This chap is actually built from the base of a Warhammer Fantasy (AoS) Dark Elf Executioner with a few Dark Eldar bitz. I think the Dark Elf Executioners make excellent alternatives for Incubi themselves:

The Skull and Cross Swords guy is the Klaivex
I don't think I'll run Drazhar in my regular games, but I can see a use for him in bigger games (if you want to run double Kabal Battalions you'll need him if you play the Rule of Three which will limit your Archons). I'll have to think of a suitable conversion however as the official model doesn't really do it for me (plus it's Fine Cast, boo!).

The Incubi will do pretty well being run in tandem with a regular Archon:

  • He can use his Shadowfield to tank Overwatch if there isn't a transport available 
  • If he's armed with a Huskblade or Djin Blade he can deal with annoying multi wound opponents. 
Running the Archon with the Animus Vitae relic could be a sneaky trick as well; pop it T1 or T2 and the accompanying Incubi will be getting their Power from Pain buffs early.

That's it for another post; I hope you've found this useful and entertaining and we'll be back from Commorragh for another article soon!

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