The Basics (skip to the next section if you are familiar with the stat line and generic special rules the Assassins have).
This review will look at each of the Assassins highlighting some of their key strengths and weaknesses. This will be based on the assumption that they will be placed into a balanced list. Key elements of their stats are that they are as strong and tough as a space marine but with 3 wounds, they all have WS and BS 8 and they rock 4 base attacks at I 7. All of them have Fearless, Infiltrate and Move through Cover. They can never be joined by other characters or join units; they come with a 4++ and don’t suffer from the initiative penalty for charging through terrain. Plus, characters have a -2 penalty to their Lookout Sir from wounds allocated by an assassin.
He’s a rather odd psycho as he’s not really built to assassinate. Like at all. What you do have is a model that excels at disembowelling weak to medium infantry.
Why He Kicks Off…
+ Comes with FNP 5+.
+ 8 attacks on the charge (which he should get as he has a 3d6 charge move).
+ Power Sword for AP3 (at S5 on the charge) or AP- with Fleshbane and Shred.
+ Brought a Melta Bomb with him for cracking open armour.
Where He Falls Down
– Lacks an AP2 weapon, he will seriously struggle against heavy infantry or well armoured characters.
– This is compounded by no access to Instant Death or ignores invulnerable saves. This is kind of a big deal as he is now relegated to killing the fodder of your opponent’s army.
– I put FNP in pro’s however he is still arguably the least survivable of the bunch. He is the cheapest but only by 5 points at best. He does explode when he bites the dust, however it’s only S5 AP- with d6” range.
– His ranged firepower is poor, he has four shots always at full BS (even when overwatching, which is nice) at either 12” S1 AP- Poisoned 4+ or 12” S4 AP5.
Tactical Asset or Characterful Liability
The new plastic model is immense, dynamically sculpted and seriously menacing. However, his rules let him down. He fulfils a role that a lot of units can do better for less points and probably more reliably. Trouble is, one S8 hit and he’s got a 50/50 chance of exploding in a cloud of red mist. I’d only include him in games against casual opponents, he’s just a bit lack lustre compared to the others. Realistically despite his nice stat line he should have been 90 points and here’s why: You can buy an Inquisitor with a Nemesis Daemon Hammer, Terminator Armour and a Psycannon for 80 points. That gives you a chap with a 2+/5++, a 24” range S7 4 shot rending gun and 3 S6 concussive attacks at I1 but at AP2. Yes he’s only toughness 3, but that 80 points has bought you a more well-rounded character; that can deal damage at range, hold his own in combat and even tank some wounds if needs be.
Another great model, though I’d probably shave some of the rock she’s standing on down a bit. Role wise, she fulfils a mix of light infantry killing and medium infantry killing. She can also take on mid-range character as long as they’re S7 or lower without access to ID. Further to that she provides a small buff to your army and a debuff to your enemy which rounds her off nicely.
Why She’s a Sly Devil
+ Can infiltrate within 1” of an enemy unit, which is great because…
+ She packs an AP2 flamer which always wounds on 4+. Nice.
+ You get to reroll the dice to Seize the Initiative to grab first turn.
+ She can arrive from the enemy’s table edge if she comes in from reserves.
+ Your opponent is at -3 to their first reserves roll.
+ First turn she’s on the board enemies can only snapshot at her. This is a massive help in keeping her alive so that she can get a decent charge in.
+ Poisoned 3+ AP- rending blades provide a solid go to anti infantry killer, which is pretty decent….
+ However she also packs an AP2 phasing sword. If she uses this weapon, rolls of 6 to wound ignore invulnerable saves as well as armour. Damned useful close combat loadout, and neither weapon is specialist (bumping her up to 5 attacks 6 on the charge).
+ Hit and Run means you can pick your battles (as long as you survive). Disengage at the end of your opponents close combat phase. Then in your turn shred some neurons with your flamer, and then charge back in to the fray.
Is She a Glass Cannon?
– Arguably tied with the Eversor for least survivable Assassin. She’s got a good chance of surviving the first turn she’s on the board, as your opponent has to snap shot at her but after that you’re relying on a 4++ at T4 with 3 wounds.
– Literally useless against vehicles, one dreadnought could wreck her but if she does survive at least she can Hit and Run out of the combat.
– Hordes in combat could drag you down; however having precision strike could let you deal with characters and/or specialist weapons.
– She’s a jack of all trades (accept vehicles) in that she can deal with a surprising amount of targets. Admittedly you’ll always be hoping to roll hot dice with her, as 6’s are your best friend. This is in the negative column in reference to the jack, as she is a master of none and weighing in at 145 points she needs to be used pretty wisely to validate her presence.
A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?
She’s a fairly solid choice but survivability is a key issue. This is the epitome of high risk versus potentially decent rewards as she has the ability to decimate heavy infantry and mid-range characters. Question is, do you feel lucky? If you can pull off those phasing hits, her points will pay for themselves. You can also create some serious disruption by having her infiltrate within 1” of an enemy unit, so that she’s uncomfortably close to your opponent. If she can survive one turn she can then potentially wade in to a unit and decimate them. A lot of ifs, ultimately one S8+ hit could end her. Overall, she’s a decent choice for the devilishly tactical thinkers out there. Combine with Lias Issodon of the Raptors for hilarious infiltration combos so that your opponent is saturated with targets.
My personal favourite, he rocks at 140 points of pure awesome. He has some ridiculous abilities to debuff (read cripple) enemy psykers. Grey Knights, Daemons and Eldar players will weep tears of blood when this guy is placed on the board. I like to Drop Pod him in for a truly awesome entrance. Plus the new model is insanely slick; it really captures the menacing presence of a Pariah given military form. He is the perfect complement to any dark alley.
+ Ignores armour saves in combat. It gets better…
+ Rolls of 6 to wound in combat inflict Instant Death. Better yet…
+ Against Psykers in combat, you have preferred enemy and all of your attacks inflict death! He has the potential to threaten any infantry, monstrous creature or character on the board (unless they have Eternal Warrior).
+ So the above shows that most opposition are going down, hard, but how survivable is he? Surprisingly, very. Any enemy targeting you is resolved at WS and BS 1, so that’s 6’s to hit in shooting (and shots that scatter could go way off target) and 5’s to hit in combat.
+ Next up is the insane debuff. Psykers (friend and foe) within 12” have -3 LD, do not generate Warp Charge and only harness WC on a 6. The Culexus can never be targeted or affected by Psychic Powers. The 12” bubble ceases any blessings or maledictions in play (goodbye invisibility, mwa ha). Holy Throne that’s immense, he is the bane of the Psychic phase.
+ Also, all those Warp Charge that you absorb can be used in the Psychic phase as a shooting attack, range 18” S5 AP1 with X number of shots were X is the total absorbed warp charge that phase, plus up to 3 WC from your pool of dice. Icing on the cake really, and you can even run in the shooting phase if you need to get behind cover, as it’s shot in the Psychic phase (though let’s face it, this beast is at his best when charging down Daemon Princes and the like).
– Vehicle walkers are his ruination, just stay away, seriously he’s only S4 and has no way of bailing from combat (as he’s fearless).
– Like the others he can still be pasted by S8+ or Instant Death, however being hit on 6’s or 5’s in combat seriously ups his survival rate.
– Aside from vehicles, tarpits of light infantry are his anathema; it’s just a waste of the Culexus’ points to be bogged down in masses of low point infantry.
Abomination or Just Plain Abominable
I am biased on this; however that’s due to the Culexus never having let me down. Quite the contrary, he has been bloody amazing, he is the king of overachievers. I’ve fought Grey Knights with him a few times and by the Throne he has annihilated Strike Squads, Termainator Paladins, Characters and even a Dreadknight. He’s hard to kill, kicks out an ungodly amount of punishment and if used correctly he can shut down your enemies’ psychic phase with ease. I have regularly tripled his points worth. I do play pretty bold and I’ll admit lady luck has been on my side more than a few times. His survivability is fairly pseudo but he can reap a fearsome toll. Also, as a side note, I have slung him into combat and had Inquisitor Karamazov (the chap on the dreadnought throne of judgement) orbital bombard the Culexus with a lance strike at least twice (as it does not scatter when placed on friendly models). Both times, not only has the Culexus survived, but the opponents he had been facing were left as stains in the dirt. This left the abomination free to charge at a fresh enemy unit. I have found that even if your opponent is not taking any psykers, the Culexus is a solid choice for any army of the Imperium.
I’ve always liked the Vindicare, he personifies the ruthless nature of an uncaring assassin. He waits patiently in hiding for hours, days, even months for his prey to come into view. When he finally does, the assassin takes aim and squeezes the trigger. Target eliminated. However, in 40K he is easily the toughest assassin to use, but potentially the most devastating.
+ He has stealth which gives you +1 to your cover save, if your board has ruins make sure you place him in them so that you can grab a 3+ cover save.
+ Counts as having precision shot on successful to hit rolls (excluding snap shot).
+ Ignores cover saves (excluding snap shot).
+ He’s packing the Exitus rifle, range 72” AP 2 Sniper (always wounds on 4+). Make use of his insane range whenever you can, ideally hug cover by your board edge as long as he has a good field of vision.
+ The Exitus rifle uses special ammo, you choose each shooting phase. They are: Shield-breaker, ignores invulnerable saves. Turbo-penetrator, counts as S10 against vehicles or inflicts D3 wounds rather than just 1. Hellfire, always wounds on 2+ (this is not a poisoned shot, it’s just wounds on 2+).
+ As the above shows, there’s very little that you can’t blow apart, however on average you’ll get 6 turns in a game. If he’s never in combat and doesn’t get killed; you’re 150 point assassin gets 6 chances to make/exceed his points worth.
– Like the other assassins S8+ and instant death will deal with you quickly. Make sure he gets a 3+ cover and is out of range of your opponents guns.
– Vehicle walkers and most monstrous creatures will end the Vindicare, as he is S4 with only a combat weapon and a pistol. So he’s relying on his decent stat line in combat which will pretty much only help him against weak medium infantry at best.
– The main con is his biggest strength, the Exitus rifle. Target priority is an absolute necessity with the Vindicare, as he has a low number of chances to make his points back.
Terminator or Terminated
Oddly he might be best served as a medium tank killer… he hits on 2’s followed by 4’s and would glance armour 12 on a 2+. Then he gains +1 on the vehicle damage chart as the Exitus is AP2. Extrapolate against anything open topped and keep in mind he ignores cover. He’s risky against high end characters as most marine players will protect their characters with a storm shield for a 3++. However, he could be an asset at picking off high value specialist/heavy weapon infantry. For instance, a devastator with a Lascannon would make a fairly easy target if you use hellfire rounds (wounds on 2+). Next up are unit characters, Dark Reaper Exarch bothering you? Why not greet him with a round to the face.
The new Assassin models are fantastic sculpts. They can easily fit in to most armies and generally will add a new tactical element to your strategies. They all require a bit of trial and error as they are all glass cannons in one way or another. Are they worth the 135+ points price tag, debateable. However, hopefully this tactica has illustrated a few of their strengths and weaknesses. I recommend a Drop Pod for the Culexus to get him whre he will cause the most disruption. An army that has a few infiltrators to support the Callidus, Sicarian Infiltrators could be a good combo with their disruptive debuff (-1 WS and BS within 6”). The Eversor could do with an assault vehicle really, as he absolutely needs to pick his battles. As such, stick him in a Land Raider in casual games: it’s an oddly effective way to launch him at the enemy (Land Raider 6” move, disembark 6” then charge 3d6, on average this will give him a 22” threat range in the first turn). The Vindicare is an easy include but requires careful thought, pick your targets wisely and he could devastate your enemy. He would work well in a gun line or as ranged support for a combat army. Park him on an objective to make the most of his static nature.
Hope this was useful, have an ace one all.