The Culexus, Your Psykers, and What’s Love Got To Do With It?

culexusIf there is one figure that psykers in the 40k universe fear more than anything else it has to be the Culexus, most terrifying of the Imperial Assassins. This single model can literally shut everything down just by moving close to your models and will then proceed to suck their psychic energy dry and destroy you with it. For a measly Thunderfire plus 40 points you can unlock the best psychic defense in the game and a character that will strike fear into your psychic deathstars heart. He is a terrifying killer for the Imperium!

The Rules:

One of the problems that Culexus players have is he has so many rules to memorize.  He has Fear, Fearless, Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, and Preferred Enemy (Psykers).  He can’t join other characters, has a 4+ Invul save, Ignores Armor saves in close combat, inflicts instant death on a 6, inflicts instant death to psykers, shuts down all psychic powers within 12” and does not allow them to generate warp chargers, can’t be targeted by psychic powers, gives enemies a -2 to look out sir, and has a fantastic psychically charged weapon that is strength 5 and AP1. It also has psi-shock grenades the cause perils on a hit, units don’t get extra attacks when charging this model unless he has gone to ground or is already locked in combat from a previous turn, and all attacks are resolved at BS and WS 1…….just those rules…right there….that is all…move along.

All those rules packed into a tiny frame make this one of the best single models in the game that can completely change the outcome of a battle, even if the enemy doesn’t have any psykers as he can still use his psychic powered weapon in the psychic phase, then shoot and assault another unit later on.


The Damage:

This mighty model is the bane of psychic deathstars like Centstars, Seer Councils, and other psychicically charged and defended units. He can tear through a unit like that in a turn or two easy as I’ve seen from personal experience. There is nothing like seeing your thousand point unit go up in smoke from a unit about the tenth of its cost. Feels a bit unfair! But truth be told I bet some of my opponents would say the same thing when I’m rolling hot in the psychic phase.

The Culexus is also great at tearing into MSU units. Scouts, Marines, Fire Warriors, any small unit that isn’t backed by invuls or high amount of close combat attacks are great for the Culexus to tear into as his attacks ignore their armor saves and they will be hitting back on 6’s in shooting and 5’s in close combat.

Getting The Culexus to Max Damage:

Probably the key I’ve seen in using the Culexus for most damage is making sure you have a means to get them there. This will most likely mean a transport of some kind. Since you will most likely be allying him with Imperium forces, then you will have access to transports like Rhinos, Drop Pods, Chimera’s and even flyers like the Vendetta, which puts his 12” bubble to massive effect as it now comes from the hull.

Drop Pods are perhaps the best means of transport. They are cheap and can be directed to just about any point on the battlefield, making the Culexus super useful and able to pinpoint his destruction on the table.

Don’t forget that he can infiltrate as well, which could be a very useful tool in certain circumstances.


What To Do Against The Culexus:

So if you are running a psychic heavy force, what are you to do? I’ve run up against the Culexus far too many times as of late and I’ve had to think quick and plan ahead to try to make the best of the game. Here are some thought about what you can do if you come up against this potent powerhouse of pleasure.

Null Deploy – For those that don’t know, this is where you leave most if not all of your forces off of the table in order to choose when they come in. Drop Pod players do this a lot and it is a great tactic as you hope the Culexus comes in before your psykers make it to the battlefield and can just avoid where the Culexus comes in at. You will want the bottom of the turn to ensure that you have a better chance of not being shot off the battlefield. I employed this tactic recently against the Mediocre Gamer and it worked in avoiding the Culexus, but didn’t pan out when nothing else came on when I needed it to and I couldn’t get Invisibility off to save my life. Check it out.

Alpha Strike – This is where you try to do enough damage that when the Culexus comes in it is pretty much moot. You take first turn and buff up the star and bring in your heavy hitters to tear through the enemy. I was able to do this recently, barely, in a game against Space Wolf Steve. I was able to take out a lot of his forces and get ahead on the maelstrom, putting him into a reactionary position to try to catch up. This can also be helped if the Culexus fails his roll to come in and his army is left open to your attacks.

Kill It – The Cullexus is hard to hit, but if you do is actually fairly fragile overall. At only toughness 4 and only sporting a 4++, simple bolter fire can take him down. This is wear twin-linking and other reroll rules like Hatred will help out a ton against the Culexus. He has three wounds but it you have a fifty-fifty chance of hurting this model should your attacks stick. Utilize high volume of fire or attacks that has internal rerolls to put a lot of hurt on the Culexus. Or just keep shooting it with everything until it dies.

Ignore It – If your opponent places them poorly or you can get away somehow then just leave it to wander around in the wastes. Go after their soft underbelly and let it get into your soft underbelly and see whose soft underbelly drops first.

Final Thoughts:

So there you have it, some things to know, watch out for, and some ideas to utilize against this psychic downer. What about you? What have you found to be effective against this pain in our psychic butts? Post below and be sure to check out the Tactics Corner for more great tacticas!


About CaptainA

Aaron is a longtime gamer of many systems. He is an avid community builder of 40k and after running many 40k events in Portland, Oregon, has recently moved to Boise, Idaho and continues to host and run leagues and events. He has also recently expanded his repertoire and entered the second hand Warhammer business. Check out his website at to see how he can help you get rid off your old and unused models.

19 Responses to “The Culexus, Your Psykers, and What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

  1. The Mediocre Gamer
    The Mediocre Gamer December 12, 2015 11:02 am

    This was a really fun game. Aaron is a great guy, and we had an enjoyable few hours of rolling dice and playing man-Barbies.

    It was going to be an interesting matchup from the start. My army is about as hard a counter to the cent star around. But the kill point mission favored Aaron, in that I had far more available points, most lightly armored, to obtain.

    I won the roll and chose to go first. Normally I prefer second in ITC missions, with the exception of kill points. Fearing the Culexus, Aaron made the choice to null deploy, and that frankly affected the game more than any other factor. Through some unfortunately bad dice rolling, his army dribbled in piecemeal for the entire early game, and never had a chance to bring weight of fire against the AdMech. His null deploy also allowed me free rein to place infiltrators, and make scout moves, which placed me in firm control of all three maelstrom objectives by the end of turn one.

    A very interesting thing occurred on turn three. I had delayed the Culexus’ arrival the first two turns, but turn three he came in, alas. But there was still no Centstar to drop him next to. I chose to intentionally try and mishap him, on the hopes of putting him back into reserves. Now I chose to put the pod in my back corner. In retrospect, I should have placed the pod in Aaron’s back corner, which would have had more potential to affect the Centstar in future turns. It worked out in the end however, as the Culexus mopped up that corner and won some kill points, so it wasn’t a total loss.

    The MVPs for AdMech were whom I’ve come to expect: the destroyers and the infiltrators, and the Culexus who dictated the flow of the battle. As an aside, although they didn’t get a chance to shine in this battle, I really like the Dragoons. I know most War Convocations are running Ballastari, and there is certainly much merit to that. But I love the Dragoons ability to pop vehicles – a useful skill in this free transport world we live in. They also can put the hurt on a knight, especially with the right Canticle. And being as they are close combat, I just mentally feel more comfortable running them into the center, and popping from objective to objective, and being more aggressive. Could I do that with Ballastari, sure. But like I said, for some reason it feels easier with Dragoons. That’s my own mental hangup, I understand.

    If I’m going to change anything, I’ll probably change the knight. I run an errant because that’s what I have painted. He even lights up. And against the Centstar he’s ideal. But I think I probably need to move over to the Warden. I just need to assemble a gatling cannon and try it out.

    But getting back to the Culexus, the point of Aaron’s excellent article here, he’s a great unit. And even if doesn’t engage the psychic unit you hoped for – as in this battle – he dramatically influences the behavior of your opponent, and for that alone he’s worth every point.

    • CaptainA December 12, 2015 2:36 pm

      Even though crazy things happened, I had a great time and look forward to it again!

      Afterwards when we were talking, I think you should have made me go first. It wouldv’e forced me to start more on the table and get shellacked by the Destroyers and Culexus.

  2. Kevin Lantz December 12, 2015 10:12 pm

    I love the culexus, but I’ve seen too many games where the opponent from backfield with lascannons shot it turn 1… or any of the assassins, never mind you have a 2+ cover in that ruin or whatever… it insta dies 50% of the time to str 8+ weaponry.

    • Kevin Lantz December 12, 2015 10:15 pm

      also the horseshit about “your psyker coming in at the bottom of the turn to avoid it” is bullshit.

      invisibility which is the only real blessing that matters in this scenario, happens in your opponents phase, which they can move him a 6+d6(run) to negate if they really want.

      Any argument that you going second benefits you against a culexus is wishful thinking. any malediction you cast against him or anyone within 12inches is negated… which are the only things that matter in your phase…

      • Kevin Lantz December 12, 2015 10:18 pm

        your answer is either this, dedicate enough shooting to bypass toughness 4, and dodge 4++, and feel no pain 6+… (yes it’s dodge, not invulnerable, which some items bypass…)

        or ignore it. it’s a 12 inch bubble on a 1inch base model.

        • Reecius
          Reecius December 13, 2015 9:59 am

          Again, he should be in a vehicle. A Culexus in a Rhino is incredibly good, stupid good.

        • Ccrraazzyyman December 13, 2015 10:58 am

          The assassins don’t have FNP anymore 🙁

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 13, 2015 11:17 am

            Eversor does! Haha, but, hey, he’s still the weakest of the bunch =(

      • WestRider December 12, 2015 11:42 pm

        “Avoid” can mean coming on far enough away to be out of range of the effect.

        • CaptainA December 13, 2015 12:19 pm


      • CaptainA December 13, 2015 12:25 pm

        Well thanks for the kind words Lantz!

        Going second is perhaps one of the better strats IMO. If he has one drop pod with the cullexus, you know that the cullexus is going to come down turn one, so you can then come on the other side of the table on turn two and ignore it. Since I have Gate, I can just Gate away to the other side of the board or very much out of reach of the Culexus. If there are more drop pods, I still have a better chance of avoiding a drop podded Culexus as again, I can counter then Gate away. Flyers are the same thing. They come on first, I react to it and at least get a turn of getting to where I want to be. Rhinos are a bit trickier, but I can deep strike the dreadknight and try to pop it so the culexus is walking the rest of the game.

        Since I have seen what a Culexus can do to my near 1000 pt unit, I am damn sure going to try to put myself in the best position to avoid it and play my game and try to shoot it off the table if I can.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 13, 2015 9:58 am

      You know you hit the Culexus on a 6, right? Also, it should always be in a transport vehicle or a drop pod, he should not be sitting out in a position to get shot, that is poor play.

      • Kevin lantz December 13, 2015 8:32 pm

        Yeah people still like trying to insta gib assassins

  3. Tolemykus December 13, 2015 6:55 am

    Another way to get around the Culexus’ WS1 effect is a large assault unit. Hammer of Wrath attacks do not need to roll to hit. Of course, wounding and its’ saving still apply.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 13, 2015 11:17 am

      Yeah, HoW, Vector Strike, etc. (antyhing that auto-hits) smoke him, quick style.

    • CaptainA December 13, 2015 12:20 pm

      Nice points man!

    • abusepuppy December 13, 2015 3:36 pm

      And, as mentioned, weight of fire will do him in pretty quickly as well. Even at BS1, Bolters and Lasguns add up pretty quickly. I’ve seen more Culexuses (Culexii?) die to random Boltgun shots than just about anything else.

      • Kevin lantz December 13, 2015 8:33 pm

        Yeap… Still my favorite assassin but all assassin s die to mass fire…. Or sometimes just one unit shooting lol

  4. Elzako86 December 14, 2015 1:24 am

    I find the best way to kill the culexus is with the screamer fly by attack 6D3 hits usually equals dead assassin, or just charge a dreadnought into him.