Hey gang, Cavalier commission painter for Frontline Gaming and Cohost of Splintermind the Dark Eldar Podcast checking in to talk with you guys about Cult of the Red Grief in the new Codex Drukhari. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
I had the privelege to be one of the playtesters on this codex and out of all the many things that excited me about Codex: Drukhari the thing that has me the most excited has got to be Wych Cults and specifically the Cult of the Red Grief. Wych Cult units such as Wyches, Hellions and Reavers have all seen significant points decreases which truly enables you to field them in numbers, with all of their Attacks profile rocking in at 2 attacks per model base (including Wyches!), they have the volume of offense they need to be successful skirmishers capable of going after rival infantry units.
Yet for players who choose to collect a Wych Cult of the Red Grief, more exciting than the improved offense will find be the fact they are fielding perhaps the fastest most aggressive army in the game.
To begin lets look at the Red Grief’s Obsession:
“Speed of the Kill Obsession: ‘Units with this obsession can charge in the same turn in which they advanced. In addition, you can re-roll failed charge rolls for units with this obsession.”
Wow. The most seasoned players will tell you that the Movement Phase is where the game is won. An army wide ability to advance and charge is incredible when you think of units like Reavers moving 26” after Advancing and then a re-rollable 2d6” charge distance. To be able to cover this much ground and then attack gives Dark Eldar players fielding the Cult of the Red Grief the ability to make those vital preliminary attacks when their famously fragile force is at maximum strength. More than any other unit, Reaver Jetbikes scream to be played in a Cult of the Red Grief force. So lets start there:
Reaver Jetbikes: M- 18” WS- 3+ BS- 3+ T- 4 W- 2 A- 2 Ld- 7/8 Arena Champ Sv 4+
Bladevanes Str 4 AP -1 D 1
Blaster- Range 18” Assault 1 S 8 AP -4 D D6
One model in every 3 may swap out their Splinter Rifle with a Blaster
Heat Lance- Range- 18” Assault 1 S 6 AP -5 D D6 Melta rules.
One model in every 3 may swap out their Splinter Rifle with a Heat Lance
Grav-Talon- For every 3 models one model may take a Grav Talon. After Charging on a 4+ each model with a Grav-Talon inflicts a mortal wound on units with 1”.
Cluster Caltrops- Roll a D6 for each enemy unit within 1” of models with Cluster Caltrops. Models that fall back suffer a mortal on a 4+
*Note- 1 in 3 models may take a Heat Lance or a Blaster. 1 in 3 may take Grav-Talon or a Caltrops.
Squad Leader/Arena Champion Options
Agonizer- Range Melee, S: Poisoned 4+ D- 1
While these guys may not scream power, you have to remember that disruption is their game and they do it brilliantly. With their speed they can make first turn charges with almost guaranteed certainty. You can send out hordes of small units to just cause chaos by tying up key units in combat, or you can send big squads out with Grav-Talons to take out vital infantry targets. Remember they can take Blasters as well to provide extra Darklight should you need it.
While fragile compared to other armies, Reavers are fairly sturdy by Eldar standards. You can increase their Toughness to 5 through combat drugs while throwing the Lightning Fast Reflexes Stratagem (imposing a -1 to hit on your opponent) goes even further to keeping these guys alive should you fail to go first. Yet their speed and offense make up for their lack of durability. I like big units of these guys perhaps going so high as a maxed out at 12 to make efficient use of Stratagems. I’d also place them last during deployment so that you can guarantee you’ve positioned them so they can make a first turn charge against ideal targets.
The Role of Wyches
In my experience sending in the Reavers Jetbikes as the first wave screaming in, while Wyches and Hellions represent that second wave makes for a great combination. So lets take a look at Wyches and how they’ve improved.
Wyches: M- 8” WS- 3+ BS- 3+ T- 3 W- 1 A- 2(3 with stock Hektarii Blades) Ld- 7/8 Hekatrix Sv 6+/6++ In Combat 4++
Hektarii Blades: +1 Attack
Plasma Grenades Range 6” Grenade D6 Str 4 AP -1 D 1
Wych Cult Weapons- 1 Wych may replace their Hektarri Blade and Splinter Pistol with one item from Wych Cult Weapons. If you take 10 or more models two more can for a total of 3.
Phantasm Grenade Launcher
Squad Leader/Hekatrix Options
Agonizer Range Melee, S: Poisoned 4+ D- 1
Wyches were utterly despised by Dark Eldar players for many years now. However an important role for them has opened up due to a number improvement. First off their offense: they essentially have 3 attacks which can be increased to 4 attack with combat drugs. When running them in the Cult of the Red Grief I do opt for the extra Attack on one unit or extra Weapon Skill as I like to save the Strength boost for Hellions and Toughness boost for Reavers. Remember though your Hekatrix will be rocking 5 attacks with combat drugs and when equipped with Agonizer can really be a threat to general infantry or even mid-tier characters like Space Marine Lieutenants. With combat drugs a full strength squad of 10 is chucking out 45 attacks. That is very respectable, especially against the light infantry targets they are suited for.
Yet as it pertains to the Cult of the Red Grief, while you probably aren’t going to make a Turn 1 charge (unless you are running them on foot and engaging other melee type armies who are meeting you half way) they are almost guaranteed to make a charge Turn 2 after getting out of their Raiders or Venoms.This is so vital because Dark Eldar more than any other army NEED to hit hard in the early turns and being able to Charge after Advancing means your Red Grief Wychs will. Whats more they’ll have on average a 17” movement after disembarking from a Raider or Venom, meaning they wont have to settle for just making contact with anything they can, they’ll have the Movement to hunt down choice targets.
The amount of disruption you can achieve with an army with this much speed is mind boggling. Any slip-ups in your opponent deployment you will be able to seize upon their most vital assets Turn 1 in combat, killing them or taking most opponents out of the fight for a turn as they fall back. Yet even even armies like the Ultramarines and Imperial Guard who have ability to fall back and continue on offense will often have that ability stymied when the Wyches get into contact with them, due to the impact of the much improved Shardnet and Impaler.
“‘In addition, if an enemy Infantry unit attempts to fall back whilst it is within 3″ of a model equipped with this weapon, and you use the No Escape ability, your opponent rolls a D3 instead of a D6 when making the roll-off’.”
At only 5 points this item is very much worth it. It’ll mean your opponent is going to be hard pressed to fall back from any engagement with your Wyches, giving them the ability to perform in the “tarpit” role used back in the days of 5th edition. What makes this even better is using the Cruel Deception Stratagem.
“Use this Stratagem if Drukhari unit from your army Falls Back. That unit can shoot and charge this turn.”
Yet speed and disruption is not all the Red Grief bring to the table. Like I mentioned before they can bring to bear considerable offense perfectly suited to deal with the hordes of light infantry typically fielded in most games of 8th edition. Combat Drugs helps in melee enabling you to increase +1 Attack, Weapon Skill or Strength while the much improved Blaster and Heatlance all capable of being mounted on Reaver Jetbikes means you’ll have all the ranged anti-tank and anti-monster you may need while your Wyches, Hellions and other units of combat equipped Reavers deal with infantry threats.
Plus with Stratagems like Hyperstimm Backlash where you double the effects of your combat drugs you can hit hardest when you need to and with Cult of the Red Grief it will most likely be in the those vital early turns of the game.
Yet no army is complete without an awesome character leading the way and a Red Grief Succubus is the perfect choice. Taking the Blood Glaive a +3 Strength, AP -3 D3 damage melee weapon makes your Succubus capable of dealing the knock out blow to enemy infantry while, your Wyches grind other away on other infantry units.
The Cult of the Red Grief is one of the fastest most aggressive armies out there. They have a high volume of offense, just enough durability and elusivness and blinding unparalleled speed. You can also (and I’d argue MUST) balance out the aggressive front-loaded assault elements with excellent long range firepower in the form of Razorwings, Void Raven Bombers all bear the Wych Cult keyword or you can call upon the much improved Scourge with Blasters or Dark Lances as well. This means you are attacking at all ranges with units versatile enough to tackle hordes, elites and all-comers. I really feel like GW has hit a home-run with the Wych Cults and in particular the Cult of the Red Grief. Its been a long time coming but the Dark Eldar have finally had their day.
Well guys hope you are all as excited for Dark Eldar as I am. Let me know your thoughts below! If you are interested in exclusive Dark Eldar and all things Aeldarii coverage check out our podcast Splintermind the Dark Eldar Podcast, where we have just begun our Codex Drukharii review.
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