Drukhari Codex Review: Elites: Lhamaean

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.

Overview

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.

Uses

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.

Countering

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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About abusepuppy

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.)

7 Responses to “Drukhari Codex Review: Elites: Lhamaean”

  1. AlamoMelt January 15, 2020 3:07 pm #

    GW could Squat the entire Court of the Archon without losing anything of value. Although the trend to remove options from Dark Eldar has been irritating, I’m not sure I actually miss the Baron or Lady Malys, etc.

    • abusepuppy January 15, 2020 7:18 pm #

      I think the Medusa is a fin thing to have around, but their rules are so bad that at this point, yeah, Nothing Of Value Was Lost.

  2. Ohlmann January 16, 2020 3:39 am #

    Yes, they squatted hard a lot of flavorful-but-strange models in the Dark Eldar line. The trueborn and the court of the archons are super flavorful, but GW don’t like mechanically unusual factions it seem.

  3. Yeeman January 16, 2020 10:44 am #

    If they just allowed you to take squads of each of the Court options, you would be in a much better place. A squad of more than 1 Llhamaen is something to at least consider. But, not being able to take more than 1 is rubbish.
    GW could really make simple changes to each of the Court members to make them viable and very easy rule changes to them to make a not only flavorful but useful unit. They have really missed the boat here.

    • abusepuppy January 16, 2020 11:01 pm #

      Yeah if you could do it the way they used to work, where you could take mixed units they’d be great. Or if you could take squads of just one type, that’d be fine. But as solo non-character models, they are real trash.

      • Malaconia January 17, 2020 5:28 am #

        Unless they give them new models, I think at this point they would work best as single characters, the official GW models I mean. Building a squad of identical Lhamaeans isn’t ideal, but if they gave her character keyword and rules to match, maybe she could be something like company champion in space marine armies, or she could buff poison weapons of allies? They made space marine command squad into characters and they weren’t even unique models, surely they could do the same with dark eldar.

        • abusepuppy January 17, 2020 7:41 am #

          I think making the Court into minor buff characters could add a lot to the Drukhari army, yeah. It would also fit very well with the fluff of the Lhamaean.

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