We don’t know how to spell it, we don’t know how to say it, and we certainly don’t know what to do with it! Click to read more, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
Members of one of the more elusive and obscure cults in Drukhari society, Lhamaeans are dedicated to poisoncraft in its every form- whether administered by blade, by food, by physical contact, or by spiritual curse. Their sinister ranks venerate Shaimesh, the Father of Poisons, from whom many of their secrets are descended- but they also are known to innovate constantly, concocting new and terrible toxins with which to slay their enemies. An Archon who employs a member of the Lhamaean Cult can be assured to have the most agonizing and unearthly of demises available to them, though few trust the Cult and is shadowy motives.
On the tabletop, the Lhamaean is something of an unusual duck, although much of its statline is common for an Eldar. Movement 8″ is pretty standard within the codex, albeit slightly high for a Kabal model. Weapon and ballistic skill 3+ should be no surprise at all, nor should strength and toughness three. Three wounds, however, is unusual to see on a non-character model, and along with two attacks and leadership eight marks the Lhamaean as an “elite” unit, though the 5+ armor save does it no favors. With a squad size of one and 15pts per model, Lhamaeans are very awkward to actually bring to field in many ways, although they can unlock some interesting builds when used correctly.
Special Rules and Wargear
Like all Drukhari infantry models, Lhamaeans come with Power From Pain, which gives them escalating bonuses as the game goes on. The 6+ ability to ignore wounds is the main one, but the close combat bonuses can also be helpful.
Beyond that, Lhamaeans also come with Court of the Archon, which means that they do not take up a slot in a detachment that contains at least one Archon (which is to say, pretty much always) and can reroll hit rolls when within 3″ of such a model.
More important is the Lhamaean’s weapon, the Shaimeshi Blade. In most respects a standard close combat weapon (AP0, Dmg1), it is Poisoned, meaning that it will always wound on a 4+ except against vehicles. Moreover, against nonvehicle targets it also adds a +2 to wound rolls, and any 6+ results in a mortal wound in addition to any other damage caused- in order words, the weapon wounds on 2s and causes mortals on 4s, which can be fairly scary against many kinds of targets.
The Lhamaean is a good example of why design principles need to take gameplay into consideration when working with material from the fluff- because the Lhamaean absolutely does not work on the tabletop for a wide variety of reasons.
They simply are too absurdly fragile individually. Current 40K is, of course, an extremely lethal game in all respects, but this is especially true for units with weak stats, weak saves, and low model counts. Even for its price, a Lhamaean is less durable than a squad of Guardsmen, which is not a particularly great place to be.
This is largely because of the odd nature of the Lhamaean’s rules; they are statted out like a character and act in small, individual squads like characters, but do not benefit from the actual character rule because… Games Workshop didn’t want the faction to have access to a bunch of cheap characters I suppose?
However, all of this just reinforces the point that a melee unit is not defined by its killing prowess alone; because in that regard, the Lhamaean is actually reasonable. However, in terms of ability to get there, survive counterattacks, and other factors that are critical to a good melee unit the Lhamaean falls well short.
The only reasonable use for them, in fact, is something of a corner case- as the cheapest unit in the codex (tied with the Ur-Ghoul), the Lhamaean is the least-expensive way to open up a Dedicated Transport, such as the ever-popular Venom. If you are working with limited detachments but want to bring a truly ridiculous number of Venoms, the Lhamaean offers one way to achieve this goal, though admittedly even this is something of a niche case.
Well, you take a model with a basic weapon, and you wait until your shooting phase, and you declare a shooting attack with the Lhaemaean as your target. It’s actually not very hard.
The Court of the Archon unfortunately suffers heavily from some of the choices made early on about how to handle “retinue” units in 8th Edition, which have sadly left it all but worthless in terms of gameplay. One hopes that in a future iteration of the game- or perhaps even the codex- we’ll see the unit updated to be more functional, but for now they may as well be blank pages in the Drukhari book, especially considering how many other good units there are available.
As always, remember that 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.