Previous articles in this series:
- Part 1: Army Special Rules
- Part 2: Drukhari Stratagems and Relics
- Part 3: Drukhari Artefacts of Cruelty
Today we’re reviewing the Drukhari Kabal special rules, Obsessions, Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics.
I rarely ever see units as “broken” or “garbage” which is the typical binary judgement in internet hyperbole. Even the worst unit can win you the game if it is in the right place at the right time. Units are all simply more or less efficient based on the current situation of any given game. So with that in mind, here is the shiny new rating system:
- Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
- Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combo’d up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
- Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.
The Kabals represent the “standard” Drukhari forces. In practice we’ve found them to be very good and tend to form the core of a Drukhari force, typically providing a Battalion to build your army on with Kabalite Warriors, Archons and Raiders as the core with a selection of support units to taste. As you can see by the red ink all over the place, you have some excellent options to choose from as a Drukhari player. However, picking your Kabal is the first step so let’s look at what each of them has to offer.
Generic Kabal Warlord Traits
- Hatred Eternal: Your Warlord can re-roll failed wound rolls.
- Amazing. This is such a strong Warlord Trait if you want to build a beat-stick Archon and remember, this works in shooting, too! Not as good as Labyrinthine Cunning for general purposes, but damn good. Competitive.
- Soul Thirst: Add 1 to your Warlord’s Attacks characteristics in any turn in which they charged, were charged or Heroically Intervened. Additionally, the Archon regains a wound each time they slay an enemy model in the Fight phase.
- Bad ass! Another winner and this one REALLY helps to keep your Archon alive after they lose their Shadowfield. Combo this with the Parasite’s Kiss relic (a pistol which gives the bearer wounds back when you kill enemy models with it) and you can become very, very hard to kill. Competitive.
- Ancient Evil: Your opponent must roll an extra die when taking Morale tests, keeping the highest while within 3″ of your Warlord.
- This is a trait that can be excellent particularly when combo’d with the Dark Creed Haemonculus Coven or against armies with lower morale defense. However, against some armies it will be nearly useless. Situational.
The Kabal of the Black Heart are the “Ultramarines” of the Drukhari, being the iconic force. They also have a cool set of special rules. Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic Kabal to base the core of your army off of as every single rule they get is gold. The only downside here is that The Black Heart is so good, it will probably form the core of every competitive Drukhari army.
- Obsession: Thirst for Power: their Power form Pain ability is counted as being 1 turn higher than the current turn. Units without Power from Pain gain the Inured to Suffering ability (6+ FnP).
- As the Power from Pain chart is quite good on its own, having it count as one higher is obviously awesome. Also, gaining additional defense for all other units is fantastic as well. Competitive.
- Stratagem: Agents of Vect: 3 CP, cancels out an enemy stratagem on a 2+. On a 6, the strat is cancelled and they do not get their CP back, either.
- This is the absolute business! Probably the most powerful stratagem in the game. Game altering, in fact. Many lists rely on a critical stratagem as the fulcrum upon which their strategy works. If you take that away, you really screw up their plans. Imagine a Blood Angels army unable to use Descent of Angels, a Chaos army without the ability to shoot twice, or use Tide of Traitors, etc. It is phenomenally powerful. Competitive.
- Relic: Writ of the Living Muse: Archon only, re-roll wound rolls of 1 for friendly Kabal of the Black Heart units within 6″ of the bearer.
- Again: amazing! Turns your Archon into a mini-Guilliman. Re-rolls of 1 to hit and wound on a 70pt base model that comes stock with a 2++…. So good. Competitive.
- Warlord Trait: Labyrinthine Cunning: While your Warlord is alive, roll a D6 for each command point spent by you or your opponent for a stratagem. On a 6, you get a CP back.
- Another home run for the Kabal of the Black Heart. Drukhari are hungry for CP and this helps you get more mileage out of those fantastic stratagems. If you want to maximize your strats, this is it. The melee options in the dex are bad ass but you can use something like the Alliance of Agony stratagem to get a Warlord Trait for a different unit in your army to gear up for melee such as a Succubus with the Triptych Whip and Stimm Addict or the Phial Bouquet and Blood Dancer combos. Competitive.
The Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue is not as all around powerful as the Kabal of the Black Heart in my eyes, but is quite good and has some really fun, effective combos.
- Obsession: The Serpent’s Kiss: re-roll wound rolls of 1 for melee weapons and poisoned weapons, excluding relics.
- Well, it goes without saying that in an army full of poison weapons, balnket re-rolls of 1 to wound is pretty damn good. The added bonus of also getting melee weapons with re-rolls of 1 to wound is also awesome. Competitive.
- Stratagem: Insidious Misdirection: 2 CP, re-deploy up to 3 units before the game begins but after determining who goes first. Units in a transport get to go with it.
- These style of stratagems are amazingly good. Many folks don’t see it right away as it is hard to theory out movement tricks but in practice, they’re awesome. I use the re-deployment start with my Eldar army in almost every single game, and this one functions in the same way. You can bait your opponent by putting good units out in the open, luring them into a bad deployment and then moving. Or, you can deploy ultra-aggressively and if you don’t get first turn, re-deploy to safety. Competitive.
- Relic: Soul-Seeker: replaces an Archon’s Splinter Pistol with the following (amazing!) profile: 18″, Pistol 2, always wounds non vehicle models on a 2+, AP-1, D3 damage, can target Characters, ignores line of sight and cover.
- Ahhhh, yeah. Lol, most of the pistol style relics are fun but not optimal, this is most assuredly an exception to that rule. This gun is AMAZING. You will often one shot enemy light Characters such as Primaris Psykers, etc. Competitive.
- Warlord Trait: Towering Arrogance: Friendly Kabal units within 12″ can use the Warlord’s leadership instead of their own.
- Not bad, but not amazing. As Warriors are already Ld8, this isn’t that awesome and will not typically be taken. Situational.
The Kabal of the Obsidian Rose work very well with big chunks of units that utilize the Webway portal strat, as well as with units that want to hang back at longer ranges and pluck away at the enemy.
- Obsession: Flawless Workmanship: the range of all Assault, Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons used by units with this obsession is increased by 6″, excluding Eyeburst or Artefacts of Cruelty.
- Excellent Obsession. Increasing range is pretty universally very strong in any army with as much firepower as Drukhari, particularly when you account for Rapid Fire weapons. Competitive.
- Relic: The Armour of Misery: Archon only, 3+ save, -1 to hit in the Fight phase.
- This is a great piece of kit. Archons have the amazing Shadowfield of course, but once they fail it they drop down to a 5+. The 3+ is amazing but even better is the -1 to hit which when coupled with the other defensive layers makes your Archon extremely tanky. Toss on a punchy Warlord Trait and you can make a very potent melee Archon. Competitive.
- Stratagem: Failure is not an Option: 1 CP, when a unit fails a morale test, pop this strat and choose which models flee but before doing so, they shoot as if it were the Shooting phase or fight as if it were the Fight phase.
- Again: an amazing tool for Drukhari players! This is like the Space Marine relic banner but better as there is no chance of failure, can be used anywhere on the table and only costs 1 CP. On the downside, it can only impact a single unit a turn but you can choose which unit that is in most instances. A perfect example is dropping down a large unit of Warriors with the Webway Portal strat, blasting your opponent then when they inevitably counterattack, you pop this strat and blast them again in death. Also, as you use it in the Morale phase, you can wait and see where it will be applied to best effect. Competitive.
- Warlord Trait: Deathly Perfectionist: Increase the Damage characteristic of the Warlord’s weapons (excluding relics) by 1.
- This is very strong and gives the generic Hatred Eternal or Soul Thirst traits a run for their money. I would rather re-roll failed wound rolls personally but if you plan on using the Archon more to shoot but in melee if you manage to land some hits that bonus damage can really add up. Efficient.
The Kabal of the Flayed Skull is great for those players looking for a Mechanized play-style.
- Obsession: Slay from the Skies: Add 3″ to the Move characteristic of units that can Fly. Additionally, models with Fly or that are embarked on Transports that can fly ignore cover and can re-roll hit rolls of 1.
- Very good! Any rule that impacts movement, nearly without exception, is mega powerful. This gives you additional speed AND allows you to greatly increase the power of your units. This is essentially screaming at you to run a mechanized Drukhari army and you know what? I’m cool with that! Warriors in Raiders or Venoms will be much more effective with this rule as will Razorwing Jetfighters and Voidraven Bombers. Poison Weapons hate things like Marines in cover with a 2+ and this rule doubles your effectiveness against them. Also, a 19″ move Venom? Yeah, lol, amazing. Competitive.
- Stratagem: Masters of the Shadowed Sky: 1 CP, a Kabal of the Flayed Skull unit gets +1 to hit vs. a unit that has the Fly keyword.
- Not bad. More units than you think have the Fly keyword so this does pop up pretty frequently and it is cheap at only 1 CP. This is a strat that when it is good it is amazing, but otherwise is literally unusable. Efficient.
- Relic: The Obsidian Veil: Archon only, gains a 4++ after their Shadowfield fails.
- Just as with the Armour of Misery, this is great to keep your Archon in the fight. Combo it with a Warlord Trait like Famed Savagery, Soul Thirst or Hatred Eternal and you have quite the beat-stick. Competitive.
- Warlord Trait: Famed Savagery: Your Warlord’s strength and attacks increase by 1 on a turn in which they charged, were charged or Heroically Intervened.
- Not bad at all, particularly when combo’d with the Obsidian Veil or other combat oriented Relic. However, I would typically want to take one of the other combat oriented Warlord Traits over this one in most cases. Efficient.
And there you have it! They’re all solid with great options but for matched play games I think we will be seeing the Black Heart Kabal the most due simply to their combo of great Warlord Trait and simply outstanding stratagem. The others though, are very good and can be used in specialized detachments to excellent effect. Which is your favorite Kabal? Next up: Wych Cults!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!