Drukhari Codex Review: HQs: Succubus

Learn about the perils and pleasures of pluralizations in this punctilious pointification on poisonous powerhouses! Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

Succubi, who are almost always female, are the leaders of the Wych Cults. Although they must deal with the same backbiting, treachery, and assassination attempts as a Kabal’s overlord might face, these are not the way to the top of the ranks among Wyches- instead, their hierarchy is governed by much simpler rules, namely that popularity in the Arenas is everything. Wyches live and die- often literally- by the showmanship they demonstrate in the death matches and a Wych whose kills are lackluster, or who shows weakness in battle is likely to find herself set upon by every rival- or worse, ignored completely to fall by the wayside and disappear. Those rare few who show a consistent talent for both entertainment and leadership may someday rise to the level of the Succubi, each of whom is a master of esoteric violence and artful executions.

On the tabletop, Succubi are of the fairly common variety of basic HQ characters. An 8″ movement is speedy compared to most things, although not so fast as to make them be uncanny in terms of mobility. Weapon and ballistic skill 2+ are expected of an Eldar character, as are strength and toughness three. Five wounds is pretty average for all characters across the game, and leaves the Succubus with reasonable durability against most weapons; four attacks is similarly pretty standard, although we might prefer a bit more if we had the choice. Leadership eight and a 6+ save are both irrelevant overall, given other factors. The true selling point, though, is the price tag- at a mere 54pts, the Succubus is about as cheap as you can expect any HQ to be, which is a huge selling point.

Wargear and Special Rules

Like all Drukhari infantry, a Succubus comes with Power From Pain (giving her ascending bonuses as the turns go on) as well as Combat Drugs, which add a bonus to one of her characteristics; both are extremely useful and help support the Succubus in her primary role, namely combat. She also gets an upgraded version of the Wyches’ Dodge rule that gives her a 4+ invulnerable save against all attacks, rather than just close combat ones. Similarly, she still possesses the No Escape rule, which prevents enemy Infantry from falling back from a combat with her unless they win a roll-off.

The Succubus’ only unique rule is Brides of Death, which gives you a 6″ aura of rerolling 1s to hit during the fight phase. Note that unlike many other versions, this works only in melee and thus won’t help your pistol/grenade attacks, though this isn’t a terrible tragedy since it would be a fairly minor source of damage in any case.

A Succubus comes armed with an Archite Glaive (+2Str, -3AP, -1 to hit) and an Agonizer (-2AP, Poisoned); these aren’t terribly impressive weapons, but neither are they awful ones. It can trade out both items for one selection from the Wych Weapons (e.g. Shardnet/Impaler) if you want, which will cost you perhaps a point at most, but as these largely have inferior stats they generally aren’t what you want. You can also trade the Agonizer for a Splinter Pistol (AP0, Pistol 1, Poisoned), which will save you 4pts and bring you down to her minimum cost of 50pts; alternatively, you can take a Blast Pistol (6″ S8 AP-4 DmgD6 Pistol 1) for +6pts or an Impaler (melee AP-1 Dmg2) for +1pt. I don’t favor the pistol much, as it’s too short-ranged to realistically use most of the time, but the Impaler has some value as her only option for a multidamage weapon to fight other characters with- still, it’s not exciting and I’d generally prefer to keep her as cheap as possible.

Uses

Like the Archons who are their counterpart on the Kabal side, Wyches are essentially mandatory for any Drukhari army that wants to bring their particular variant of the subfactions, since they are the only HQ choice available. However, they do have the advantage of being noticeably cheaper than their counterparts at roughly two-thirds the price, saving you those few extra points to invest into other units. They also have a much better-defined role despite having essentially the same abilities- both models give reroll 1s to their friends, but since the Succubus actually wants to be getting in close and doing the same kind of work as the Wyches she accompanies, this ends up being a lot more functional for her.

This is perhaps the biggest takeaway for the Succubus- they may not be impressive combatants, but they are acceptable ones. With an invuln save and a reasonable number of attacks the Succubus can put some damage out on most things while not just evaporating as soon as an enemy character look at her. Wounding Marines on 3s and cutting through their save makes her fairly threatening to them, and while she does lack a good multidamage weapon that’s probably to be expected given her cost. That’s something we need to keep in mind here- yes, a Succubus stands no real chance of beating a Smash Captain or Daemon Prince, but coming in at a third or a quarter of their price, we shouldn’t expect her to- she’s there to carve up basic squads and harry enemy characters who are wounded, not go into head-to-head fights with them. (Ironically, regular Wyches are usually better for this.) Keep your expectations for her low, because her price point is even lower, but she’s more than capable of kicking enemy support characters (e.g. Librarians) around and can bully weaker units- or wounded HQs- as well.

Choosing the right Combat Drug can also be a major contributor to a Succubus’s success, as they can vary a lot in terms of usefulness. +1 Strength and +1 Attacks, as always, are handy; probably no further explanation is needed for either of them. +1 Weapons Skill generally is not, and should be a pick of last resort. +2 movement, though, is actually pretty nice to have around as it lets you reposition her aura more effectively and shortens charge distances when you are on the move. +1 Toughness is also a pretty nice deal, as it will make it harder for most models to wound you- especially those dreaded S3 and S4 attacks from random dorks. Since you are limited in how you choose your Combat Drugs, I often end up taking +1T or +2Mv on my Succubi, since the Wyches will be taking the offensive picks of +1S/A for themselves; however, this does depend on what your overall strategy is. Also, don’t be afraid to roll randomly to try and get one you want if you are fielding a lot of Wych Cult units- the loss of rolling a “bad” drug on a Succubus is a lot lower than it would be on a large unit of Wyches or Reavers.

This danger to enemy units can also go up exponentially with the right relics, many of which drastically enhance the Succubus’s danger. The Triptych Whip gives you three extra attacks with an Agonizer (taking things up to seven), and is perhaps the least dangerous of the possibilities; better yet is the Blood Glaive, available only to Cult of the Red Grief, which brings her attacks up to S6 AP-3 DmgD3 and drops the normal -1 hit penalty for using the weapon; with this, a Succubus can be a pretty good killer of most units, even more so with the right Combat Drug choice, as it cures the majority of her woes in combat (especially if you take the warlord trait that is +1 to invuln saves to go with it.) The final, and most insidious, option is the Traitor’s Embrace- when killed during melee, on a 2+ she will do d6 mortal wounds to whatever unit slew her, which is usually enough to down most characters (especially if she has slipped in a damage or two of her own before dying.) Trading a 50pt character for your opponent’s 150pt one, or even for something big like Ghillieman? That’s great. But it’s even better when you keep charging their big, nasty character who then keeps falling back from combat, because they are terrified of getting eating by your spring-loaded bombhead.

Succubi should largely be relegated to a support role, as even with enhancements they aren’t overwhelmingly powerful; like any character, they can keep one toe on an objective or simply stand near a fully-sized unit (or two) and give them rerolls to hit. Once turn 3 comes around and your basic Wyches are hitting on a 2+, and rerolling 1s to boot, you’ll find that they output a shockingly large amount of damage on even tougher models, and the Succubus can be a key part of making this happen; she also has a lot of value in shoring up your Wyches against enemies who have penalties to hit in combat (like Plaguebearers), as she makes things a fair bit more reliable there. And, of course, being a character she can Heroically Intervene in inconvenient ways as well as generally make a nuisance of herself on the battlefield, as characters are wont to do- but always keep in mind that she’s a pretty small number of Bolter shots away from being dead, so don’t leave her exposed, take overwatch fire when you don’t have to, etc, as otherwise the Succubus will not be long for this world. T3/4++ is not a lot to protect her and if you take any attrition at all it will add up quickly.

Countering

When facing a Succubus, you need to remember two things: first of all, they are not major threats, and second of all, they are quite fragile. A Succubus, by herself, is probably not going to cause a lot of problems; while she can certainly cut down support characters if you get them too close to her and take swipes at squads of troops if they are in range, she’s not actually good at this and puts herself in significant danger when doing so- as such, the Drukhari player will usually be fairly conservative with her in order to preserve the rerolls. Should you play a careful game with your units as well, you probably will not be in a lot of danger from the Succubus herself (although you still will need to be wary of Wyches.)

To the second point, remember that there are a lot of things out there that can give a Succubus a bad time. With weak saves and toughness, even Lasguns are a real threat to a Succubus and it doesn’t take many volleys of fire before she is going to think better of getting any closer to you. Of course, shooting her can be difficult due to character status, but close combat attacks can work nearly as well- it’s very plausible that a simple squad of Guardsmen will cause several wounds to a Succubus just by weight of attacks, to say nothing of stronger units. Also, if she has to face overwatch on the way to her target, the Succubus is in a much worse place; as such, be careful of built-up terrain that can deny you line of sight to her during a charge.

Final Thoughts

While the Succubus might not be the most awe-inspiring of characters, she does her job extremely well for a price point that most books would be envious of; a bare-minimum Wych Cult battalion is almost comically cheap as a result. Leveraging this low price point combined with surprising utility is a major strength of the Drukhari codex, and there’s a lot to be taken away from the usefulness of the Succubus that can be extended to other units. Even in mixed battalions, being the cheapest HQ (while also being a nontrivial threat in a fight) is a pretty good place to be, and it doesn’t hurt that they are easily convertible from the basic Wych kit when desired as well.

As always, remember you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.

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AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

4 Responses to “Drukhari Codex Review: HQs: Succubus”

  1. AlamoMelt September 12, 2019 3:46 am #

    I’ve had some fun moments with a Blood Glaive Succubus and “minor” space marine characters. Sometimes it seems like a blast pistol is a worthwhile addition for a character hunter, but I’m not certain its been that effective. When I’m running a Cult battalion, I’ve had success giving the other Succubus a shardnet and impaler.

  2. Ridvan 'Skari' Martinez September 12, 2019 4:03 pm #

    Suicide succubus is a legit strategy as well. 😀

    • TheFleshIsWeak September 13, 2019 6:34 am #

      Out of interest, do you use the relic that inflicts Mortal Wounds on the unit that killed them or do you just give them the Blood Glaive or such and simply not care if they die?

  3. Casey H September 12, 2019 7:12 pm #

    I’ve been assigning +1 S, A and WS to the wyches and +1T and +2″ move to the succubi all through this codex, since summer of 2018.

    The only other thing I will contribute to this thread is my +2 movement succubus is called “Velociraptrix”. Semi clever, but not especially funny.

    A player at Broadside Bash named the extra tough one, “The Ex (wife).”
    😀

    -Casey
    that BeerHammer guy

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