Codex Drukhari Review Part 6: Haemonculus Coven Obsessions, Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics

Hey everyone, Reecius here with the Haemonculus Coven part of our Codex: Drukhari review! Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews and articles.

Previous articles in this series:

Today we’re reviewing the Haemonculus Coven Cult special rules, Obsessions, Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics.

Rating System

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 Haemonculus Covens are most assuredly the most disturbing of the already disturbing Drukhari faction. They are obsessed with twisting the flesh of still living subjects into bizarre and horrible new creations. Let’s take a look at what they have to offer on the table.

Generic Haemonculus Coven Warlord Traits

  • Master Regenesist: The Warlord regains D3 lost wounds at the start of each of your turns.
    • This is an extremely powerful Warlord Trait and as you can make Haemonculi into powerful melee characters, this trait is very good to keep you alive and fighting. Competitive.
  • Master Nemesine: Add 1 to wound rolls made for this Warlord in the Fight phase.
    • Again, very strong trait. A Haemonculus has 5 attacks base and if you equip one with say, an Electrocorrosive Whip (AP-2, 2 Damage), this trait has you wounding on 3’s instead of 4’s which nets you quite a bit more damage. Alternatively, take a Flesh Gauntlet which is now doing Mortal Wounds on a 5+ to wound roll. Competitive.
  • Master Artisan: Re-roll inured to suffering rolls of 1 for friendly Haemonculus Coven models within 6″ of this Warlord.
    • Not bad. it gives you a slight boost in durability. Again, not bad but not great, either. However, if you take it with the Nightmare Doll relic (giving you a 4+ Inured to Suffering roll) it becomes very powerful in keeping your Warlord alive longer. Situational.

The Prophets of Flesh will be the most commonly used Haemonculus Coven in my opinion. They have a great obsession and they also give you access to Urien Rakarth, who is a solid HQ choice.

  • Obsession: Connoisseurs of Pain: +1 to their Insensible to Pain save, bringing it to a 4++.
    • This is a fairly obviously awesome obsession. When a big chunk of your entire army gets a 16.66% increase in durability, not much to say about that other than yeah, it is damn good! Competitive.

  • Stratagem: Black Cornucopians, 2 CP: Used in the movement phase, a unit of Wracks are removed from the table then set up again at full starting strength within 6″ of a table edge and more than 9″ away from enemy units.
    • Not bad. This is a strat that can be really useful in the right circumstances. For example, jumping on an objective at game’s end, or countering an enemy move, etc. It isn’t one that you may find yourself building a list around as with Tide of Traitor for Chaos Space Marines, but it will be very good for board control and late game trickery. Efficient.
  • Relic: The Vexator Mask: Haemonculus only. Enemy units cannot fire overwatch at the bearer, and each Fight phase, the bearer may pick an enemy unit within 6″, that unit may not fight until all other units have fought.
    • This is a sneakily good relic. The ability to ignore overwatch is awesome as you can go in to say, a Baneblade or what have you, and lock it down before other units come in without getting shot to ribbons. The ability to alter the order of combat is also quite good in prolonged combat as it gives you the ability to strike first and often kill a unit before it gets to attack. Efficient.

  • Warlord Trait: Diabolical Soothsayer: Once per battle you can re-roll a single hit roll, wound roll, saving throw or damage roll for your Warlord. Additionally, if your army is Battle-forged you gain D3 extra Command Points before the game.
    • This will be a very commonly used Warlord Trait in conjunction with the Alliance of Agony strat. Personally, I prefer to kit a Haemonculus out for melee as they’re quite good at it but this is certainly not a bad choice at all, and once that many will go for. Extra CP is always nice. Competitive.

The Dark Creed have some interesting rules and can work very well in conjunction with a Kabal or Wych Cult detachment.

  • Obsession: Distillers of Fear: Enemy units have a -1 to their leadership for each unit with this rule within 6″ up to a maximum of -3.
    • As a Night Lords player–who have the same rule–I can tell you that this is a massively underrated ability. Especially in a fast, MSU style army like this one can be. You swarm your opponent, kill a few models from multiple units, and they start losing loads of additional models in the morale phase. This combos very well with an Archon with the Ancient Evil Warlord Trait, to force enemy units to roll an extra die for morale and keep the highest result. This is especially punishing to enemy MSU armies that do not have a fearless mechanic. However, the Dark Creed stratagem will help deal with that if it is generated from an enemy character! Competitive.

  • Stratagem: An Esoteric Kill, Delivered from Afar, 2 CP: Used in the shooting phase on a Dark Creed unit, allowing them to target enemy Characters even if they are not the closest unit.
    • Brutal! This strat alone makes Dark Creed worth considering as it is so deadly. The ability to have en entire unit (like 3 Talos, for example) target a characters means in many instances a dead character, apart form those that are very durable. This also combos especially well with their Obsession as if your opponent has something that lets them ignore or mitigate morale, like the relic banner for Space Marine, you can pretty easily take that character out if you can see it with this strat. For armies with lots of light support characters such as Astra Militarum, this is just devastating. Very, very strong. Competitive.
  • Relic: Spirit Sting: replaces a Haemonculus’ Stinger Pistol: 12″, Pistol 3, Poison 2+, AP-4, 1 damage. Invulnerable saves cannot be taken against this weapon.
    • This is not bad at all. Hitting and wounding on a 2 with 3 shots and AP-4 means you will often kill 2 to 3 models a turn with it. And if you can get in position to shoot a character with it, or a unit that relies on an invul save such as Spiritseers, Harlequins, or Daemon units, this weapons is very nasty. While perhaps not the most exciting relic in the game it is quite good and on a melee Haemonculus armed with it and an Electrocorrosive Whip that is diving in to the enemy and dealing damage, this will certainly help you achieve that goal. Efficient.
  • Warlord Trait: Fear Incarnate: Roll 2D6 at the beginning of each Fight phase for each enemy unit within 3″ of your Warlord. If that number exceeds their Leadership, they take a Mortal Wound.
    • Not bad at all and obviously pairs very well with their Obsession. However, with a 3″ radius, you are typically going to be impacting a single unit a turn in most cases (although not always, you could snag a few with it) it isn’t going to kick in as much. I’d rather go with +1 to wound, for example, as that usually will usually net you more kills. This is a Warlord Trait that in the right circumstances (say, you are fighting an MSU melee army) it can be awesome, but typically won’t be chosen. Situational.


  • Obsession: Butchers of Flesh: Improve the AP value of all melee weapons by 1.
    • This is an Obsession that pretty much tells you exactly how to play this Haemonculus Cult, and that’s fine. You get in and you get busy in melee! I actually feel that this is a very powerful Obsession but one that is not going to be taken that much. If, however, you want to do something different building a Haemonculus Coven assault detachment using the Coven of Twleve will be very effective. It bumps Talos and Grotesques into the even scarier range, Haemonculus who are already good in melee become nastier still but really the gem for me is that it makes Wracks a LOT scarrier in melee and they are a melee unit. So in short, not the Obsession for everyone but it is very good if you build for it. Competitive.

  • Stratagem: Administer Punishment, 1 CP: Used when you select a unit to shoot in the Shooting phase. Until the end of the phase, models in that unit can target enemy units within 1″ of friendly units. If you roll a 1 to hit, it is resolved against your own unit. Weapons that hit automatically hit friendly units on a 1-3.
    • An interesting strat. You are able to lay into a unit you are engaged in melee with at the risk of damaging your own units. If you go in to enemy infantry with say, a Raider and then shoot them with Poison weapons, you actually stand very little chance of hurting yourself, can take away their shooting phase and jam up their movement. As your Raider has the Fly keyword, you can then boogie out and still shoot in your turn. Also, if your opponent is trying to keep a unit safe by charging in to melee, this means they will find no safe harbor. This is a strat that will be good on occasion but perhaps not a staple in your repertoire. Efficient.
  • Relic: The Flensing Blade: Replaces a Haemonculus’ tools: Melee, Poison 3+, AP-2, D3 damage, becomes damage 3 against enemy Characters.
    • This is a solid weapon. If you combine it with the Master Nemesine Warlord Trait, you will be hitting and wounding non-Vehicle units on 2’s. Not bad at all. If you want to gear up for combat, this is a solid choice. It may not be worth it over a different relic like the Nightmare Doll for example with a whip, but not bad if you do decide to go with it. Efficient.
  • Warlord Trait: Scarlet Epicurean: Reduce all damage inflicted on your Warlord by 1 to a minimum of 1.
    • This is a VERY good Warlord Trait. Not taking damage in the first place is better than healing it later. If you take this Trait, you want this Haemonculus to go after models in combat that do multiple damage. Combine this with the Nightmare Doll and you have a very tanky character as they have -1 damage and a 4+ FnP style save. Competitive.

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

14 Responses to “Codex Drukhari Review Part 6: Haemonculus Coven Obsessions, Warlord Traits, Stratagems and Relics”

  1. Faitherun
    Faitherun April 10, 2018 8:36 am #

    Reecius, hoping you can help me see something I am missing. An esoteric kill from afar… Coven units with shooting are 1 per 5 wracks, grots with flamers, transports, and pain engines… If I am remembering correctly.

    Dual heatlance talos is about the most threatening and even that I’m not sure about. If this could go on a kabal or even wych unit, I’d be all over it… What am I missing?

    • Avatar
      Embrace Your Inner Geek April 10, 2018 8:55 am #

      A Tantalus can be a Coven unit…..!

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 10, 2018 9:00 am #

      Well, at present it actually works on a Tantalus too, lol, but that needs to be FAQ’d as that is a lot too much.

      However, even a Venom will smoke a light character.

      If you’re trying to go after Bobby G or whatever, probably not, but Warlocks, Spiritseers, AM Commanders, Primaris psykers, Librarians, Lieutenants, etc. are all prime targets.

      • Faitherun
        Faitherun April 10, 2018 12:04 pm #

        Alright, thanks. Seems like going after light characters it’s decent, and best I can think of is a raider with display cannon.

      • Faitherun
        Faitherun April 11, 2018 5:26 am #

        Found what I was missing. The fact you can take three talos. Now you have 6 heat lances at a character, and that is your potent killing unit. Now I’m on the pain train

        • Reecius
          Reecius April 11, 2018 12:58 pm #

          Yeah, a unit of Talos is really strong with this.

        • Avatar
          zyekian April 11, 2018 1:59 pm #

          Also they still have the goop gun option, right? Liquifier?

          • Faitherun
            Faitherun April 11, 2018 2:30 pm

            And they can take them and either a heat lance, haywire, or splinter cannon

    • Avatar
      Spera April 10, 2018 9:06 am #

      You are missing Tantalus and Reaper(both FW models) this two can hurt. And tantalus can hit two characters, since it has two cannons.

  2. Avatar
    Spera April 10, 2018 9:08 am #

    Will there be next chapter, with unit by unit evaluation?

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 10, 2018 9:12 am #

      We can certainly do that, yes =)

  3. Avatar
    Xzandrate April 10, 2018 5:42 pm #

    You left out one of the best parts of the Spirit Sting relic. Invuln saves cannot be taken against it.

    So you have 3 shots hitting on 2+ wounding on 2+ with virtually no save. Combined with the Strategem, you can take out minor characters, or finish off big bads. If it’s only efficient, I’d call it highly efficient.

    • Avatar
      Victor April 10, 2018 11:05 pm #

      Not enough to reliably kill even a warlock in one go. Better have a backup plan to charge the target character to finish him off if the spirit sting is not enough, but yes, the spirit sting is a good tool for character targetting

      • Reecius
        Reecius April 11, 2018 12:59 pm #

        I did forget that, thanks for the reminder! And yeah, it is very strong in the right circumstances.

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