Hey guys, its’ Adam from TheDiceAbide again, here to talk about my favorite army in 40k, the Khorne Daemonkin! Today we’re going to go over a unit that is ubiquitous to nearly all KDK armies, the Maulerfiend.
The Maulerfiend is the war engine equivalent of a daemon possessed torpedo… with tentacles, fists, and high powered magma cutters. It flings itself across the field at incredible speed only to plough into the enemy lines, crushing vehicles in it’s wake. It’s equipment isn’t terribly fancy, and it’s tactics aren’t what you’d call “sophisticated,” but that fits right in with the ranks of the KDK.
The Maulerfiend is essentially a fast combat dreadnought. It has some exceptional anti-tank power, and can even be a neussance for larger warmachines like Imperial Knights. It’s not terribly resilient, though it is a fairly inexpensive and fast threat to your opponent, the presence of a few Maulerfiends will almost certainly force your opponent to consider how to deal with them immediately.
- Two Power Fists – Not one, but two power fists! With a pair of them, you’re getting a third attack, plus you can suffer a weapon destroyed result without losing S10 Ap2.
- Two Magma Cutters – The default load out, the Magma Cutters grant you free melta bomb hits against models that you hit (but do not kill) in melee, at Initiative 1. As long as you get at least one hit, you will get the bonus hit, but if all of your attacks hit, you will score 2 hits, not too shabby.
- Two Lasher Tendrils – My personal favorite, for each set of Lasher Tendrils you have any enemy models in base to base suffer -1 attack, so obviously, having two of them is twice as good!
- Daemonic Possession – Allows the Maulerfiend to ignore Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned on a 2+, critical for getting you across the board reliably.
- Blood for the Blood God! – ever present in the KDK book, this rule allows the Maulerfiend to be buffed through Blood Tithe, and it also allows for the generating of it.
- Daemon of Khorne – A bit of protection in the form of a 5++ invulnerable save, though the strength granted from Furious Charge is a bit redundant.
- Fleet – YES! What’s a fast melee monster without fleet?!
- It Will Not Die – Having a 1/3 chance to recover a HP at the end of every turn is nice, but it can’t fix being Immobilized, which seems to be the only damage result possible on these guys.
- Move Through Cover – Much like Daemonic Possession, this rule helps insure you don’t get stuck moving across the board to reach combat.
- Daemonforge – An interesting rule, often forgotten, but when you remember it and need it, it’s amazing. Once per game you can re-roll all failed to wound or penetrate rolls, though you must declare using the ability before you roll to hit. At the end of the phase, you roll a dice, on a 1 the Maulerfiend suffers a HP with no saves.
- Siege Crawler – This allows the Maulerfiend to move 12″ in the Movement Phase, and to not be slowed by difficult terrain, even when charging (though you are still I1 when charging through terrain). In addition, you get +1 armour penetration against buildings.
The first and most obvious tactic with the Maulerfiend is to run it across the board and slam it into something! Being incredibly fast, it can keep up with Bikes, Bloodcrushers, Flesh Hounds and Bloodthirsters, adding to your arsenal of units that are moving 12″ and want to be in melee. Since it does strike at S10, it is a deadly threat to just about anyone, so having 2-3 of these backing up your other fast units means your opponent is going to be forced to make some tough decisions. The best part is, thanks to Daemonic Possession, they’re going to have to Immobilize, or outright destroy the Maulerfiend to have any reliable chance of stopping it, which hopefully means you’ll at least be getting a point of Blood Tithe out of the deal!
Aside from just being a distraction, the Maulerfiend does actually have some good battlefield roles. When armed with Lasher Tendrils, it makes a great buddy team with the Bloodthirster of Insatiate Rage to go after big game, like Imperial Knights and Stompas. Delivering both of these units into a Knight means it will be reduced to one attack and must decide if it’s going to swing at the Mauler, which it will hit on a 3+, or go after the Bloodthirster that it will only hit on a 5+… If they go for the Maulerfiend, the Knight is going down, if they go after the Bloodthirster, there’s a good chance they’ll miss entirely and still end up getting annihilated.
Maulefiends armed with Magma Cutters are devastating against vehicles, there is a respectable chance of hitting with all your attacks, meaning if the fists don’t wreck the tank, the Magma Cutters hopefully will finish the job. Against immobile vehicles and fortifications your’e guaranteed the two extra meltabomb hits, making them ideal for racking up Blood Tithe through eating Drop Pods, should they not be needed elsewhere. You can even have them run buddy-buddy with a Lasher Tendril armed Mauler, doing the same kind of 1-2 hits that the Bloodthirster combo is doing, having both of them on a Knight means the Knight needs to pick between taking out the model reducing it’s attacks, or taking out the model that’s most likely to do heavy damage.
The greatest thing about Maulers is really their speed. The KDK army is packed to the gills with fast melee units and having a vehicle that can get across the board and in combat as fast as the Maulerfiend is key. If the enemy lacks melee anti-tank, the Maulerfiend is really going cause them problems if it gets in combat, and if their only option is Krak Grenades, the Mauler will still probably hold them down for a few turns, long enough for other units to make it in and wipe out the enemy.
Unfortunately the Maulerfiend isn’t without it’s flaws, the most glaring one is it’s weak armour 12/12/10. Because it is only moderately armoured, it is pretty easy to take down with focused fire. If you only have one Maulerfiend on the board, and your opponent finds them to be a big enough threat, it isn’t much of a challenge for them to take it out of the game. Really, to use Maulerfiends, you will have to invest in at least 2.
The other major flaw in the Maulerfiend’s design is the lack of a ranged weapon. While we all know it’s made for one job, the lack of any kind of gun means should you end up being Immobilized, you’re totally screwed, it will just become a big block of daemon possessed brass and steel, spitting and cursing, since it will perform no other function the rest of the game. Best case scenario, you’re immobilized on an Objective, though it never seems to work out that way.
For the price tag, Maulerfiends are an amazing unit in any KDK army. They embody the strengths of the army perfectly, fast and hard hitting. Be mindful of what the enemy can counter attack them with, since their AV12 means they aren’t all that resilient, and whenever possible run them in 2-3’s or more if you can.
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