What are the masters of fear afraid of? FAQs and points changes, mostly. But sometimes it ain’t so bad. Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews.
Chapter Approved this year saw some factions with a lot of changes, but others with not so many. Drukhari were one of the factions that got only a handful of tweaks, which is unfortunate in the sense that some of their units could’ve used a bit of help, but they also didn’t see any big losses, which was potentially in the cards, so as a whole it can be considered a fairly acceptable result. There were, however, a few pieces of good news, so let’s go ahead and start out with those.
The Archon, long considered to be a bit overcosted by most players, came down 15pts- nearly a quarter of its price. Considering this is the mandatory HQ for one of the subfactions and your source of rerolls, that is some very good news. Of course, Legends deprived them of the Blaster option, which is unfortunate, but at 57pts for a 2++ and a reroll aura you’re not doing too bad overall.
Just as importantly, Drazhar came down 20pts, clocking in at an even hundred. I was a little middling on him at his previous price, but at 100pts he is a monster in combat that can wound virtually everything on a 4+ or better (including Knights) and can easily throw down enough attacks and enough damage to put the fear into bigger targets, so he makes a perfect 4th or 6th HQ when you’re running multiple battalions. He’s not quite an auto-include, but he’s one of your strongest melee options.
Incubi are also down two, and although I doubt it will be enough to sell them it’s a nice little bump that moves them towards usability. Even running in concert with Drazhar I just don’t feel they are good enough, although with the preponderance of Marines we may see that shift, but I don’t think it’s terribly likely overall. Lacking any benefit from subfaction traits is a big hit to them, as it denies them some otherwise useful options.
Similarly, Mandrakes are down a point as well; their built-in -1 to be hit and invuln as well as a shooting attack that can do mortal wounds is pretty nice; however, they are very vulnerable to anti-infantry shooting and that leaves them in a rough place against the current meta, but we have seen some success with them so it’s possible that will continue.
Reavers came down three points, but I think they are simply far too fragile to expect to accomplish anything, either in shooting or in melee, which doesn’t do them many favors. They do have the advantage of being insanely fast, but when a single unit of Intercessors can scoop you off the table without thinking twice that simply isn’t enough.
The other vaguely-notable change is that Dark Lances came down to 15pts, making them on par with Disintegrators in terms of cost, and thus a much more viable option- especially as we’re seeing a lot more heavy vehicles. I still think the Disintegrators will be the go-to choice in most cases due to other factors (e.g. the availability of buffs), but you can at least consider using them more often now. It also benefits Kabalite Warriors if you decide to equip them in that fashion, as hiding a heavy weapon behind eighteen expendable bodies isn’t a shabby plan.
So, fortunately this list is actually quite small- which is something of a relief, given many of the rumors that were flying around. In fact, I would go so far as to say that most Drukhari lists won’t be significantly affected- the extra points spent here will mostly be balanced out by those gained from the above units, in essence leaving you even (or at worst token number of points down, which can easily be absorbed.)
The Ravager is the first of our two losers, with the base price of the chassis going up 15pts. Given that it was a mainstay of virtually all Drukhari lists this isn’t at all surprising, and the change is small enough I doubt it will be the difference between using it or not in most cases. The Dark Lance version actually stayed the same price overall thanks to its weapon change, but its popularity remains to be seen.
The Razorwing also saw a price jump, although slightly smaller at 10pts. This still leaves it as a very excellent gun platform, albeit a vulnerable one, considering the effects of some of the new subfaction traits it can benefit from. Given that the six-flyer list is well and truly dead, we’ll probably see the Razorwing continue to show up by ones and twos in various mechanized armies.
So, let’s take a moment to consider the third category: things that didn’t get anything in Chapter Approved. Now, this might seem a bit of an odd subject to discuss, but it’s especially relevant to Drukhari because there were a ton of candidates in their book that could’ve been in the running to get a price hike, but managed to escape unscathed.
The far and away most obvious choice here is the Venom. It is fielded in significant numbers by most every iteration of Drukhari list, almost regardless of other factors, and it isn’t at all uncommon to see “spam” lists that field 8+ of them. Moreover, they have been extremely successful at a variety of tournaments and it’s long been assumed that they would be on the radar, but with two years running of Chapter Approved with no changes (though their chances of getting anything in the first one were quite low), I think we can safely say that GW is happy with where the Venom is at.
Talosii and Grotesques also got away unscathed, despite a lot of assumptions. Along with the Venom they were some of the most common features in Drukhari or Aeldari lists, so it wasn’t unreasonable to expect them to get some kind of nerf, but with neither of them featuring consistently in lists that dominated the top 4s, it isn’t too surprising overall.
Lastly, we should talk about the Drukhari troops. Now, this is a little bit more of a mixed bag; while Warriors were certainly a very efficiently-costed option, Wracks are somewhat less so and Wyches still strike me as being slightly on the expensive side, as you don’t see much of them outside of Sean Nayden’s lists. So, all three of them staying where they are obviously doesn’t hurt the faction any, it also doesn’t help some of the underutilized stuff- which is a problem for units like Scourges and the like as well.
All in all, the Drukhari codex comes out of things essentially unscathed. Of course, a lot of other factions got significant buffs in at least a few areas- even including other types of Aeldari, but the Drukhari codex is widely considered to be one of the more overall-balanced books and sat fairly near the top of the pack overall, as it didn’t strictly rely on any single unit or gimmick to work and could easily run a number of different tricks.
With GW’s overall goal being to bring most books to this standard- that is, to give them multiple builds, multiple effective subfaction choices, and a good smattering of stratagems to help them play in the fashion they want, it’s not much of a surprise that they ended up being the measuring stick that other codices were matched up with. I think their stratagem pool could still use some work, but aside from that, Drukhari are left in a pretty good place- and with both of their potential allies being shored up in a variety of ways, they actually made some significant gains on the side.
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