Buckle in folks, it’s time for another terrible unit with faux-Latin misspellings in its name to maeke aet saem morae faencae. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
On the tabletop, Medusae have a pretty standard statline for their type, with movement 8″ (common to many Drukhari, if a touch above the average), strength and toughness three, and weapon and ballistic skill 3+. They do come with three wounds, making them a bit more durable than one might assume, but with only 5+ armor they will still go down pretty easily to any kind of concentrated attention. With only one attack each, they are ill-suited to combat even when other bonuses are available. At 21pts per model the Medusae are actually a bit pricey for what you get, so don’t expect to be seeing them in a game anytime soon. With a squad size of one model, Medusae are also fairly awkward to bring to the table in many cases.
Special Rules and Wargear
Medusae come with Power From Pain just like all other Drukhari infantry models, which grant them escalating bonuses as the game continues- most notably a 6+ to shrug off wounds. They also have Court of the Archon, which is common to all of the Court models, giving them rerolls to hit as long as an Archon is nearby and preventing them from taking up a slot if an Archon is in the same detachment as them- something of a mixed blessing.
The Medusae’s only weapon is Eyeburst, which used to be a template attack. Unlike every other template in the game, however, it is not a “random shots that autohit” gun now, but rather a 9″ range, Assault 4 gun with S4 and AP-2. This is a pretty unimpressive statline (being arguably worse than the Inferno Bolter than a Rubric Marine comes with) and since it is the only feature of the unit, it leaves them pretty disappointing overall.
I guess you could load several Medusae up into transports and have a vaguely-threatening bunch of units to push around the table and shoot at enemy infantry, but considering every one you take is most of a squad of Kabalite Warriors that you didn’t bring (who put out similar firepower against most targets but are much more survivable and give you CP) I don’t see any real point.
The Medusae- which somehow is a singular name, absolutely infuriating- is a prime example of some of the missteps of 8th edition’s paradigms. We already talked about the problems of single-model non-character units at significant length in our previous article on Lhamaeans, but the Medusae (ugh) share many of the same issues while also showcasing a number of problems of their own.
This is most noticable in the terrible weapon loadouts both of them share- Lhamaeans being built for melee combat and Medusae for shooting, each of them carries only one middling weapon for their chosen role, with no alternative options at all. This might be more defendable if either were actual specialists who were good at their job, but they most assuredly are not, which leaves them in the position of being mediocre at one job and terrible at all others.
The Medusae’s loadout is especially egregious because it was translated so badly from previous iterations of the game. In prior editions their weapon was a template with decent AP, something that wasn’t often seen in most factions, and so allowed them to significantly threaten infantry units in cover as well as anything that charged them. I can’t think of any good reasons why the Eyeburst wasn’t made to autohit the way every other template in the game was, but for whatever reason GW decided that a fragile solo model with a reasonable gun would be too much for players to handle and thus stuck them with the absurdity of a weapon that literally hits anything they look at… but that somehow misses one third of the time. Medusae, have you… considered getting your vision checked out?
It’s hard to over-emphasize just how bad the Eyeburst is, because it comes with almost every possible disadvantage. 9″ range is absolutely atrocious, making it essentially impossible to use unless you are riding in a transport. Which by itself isn’t awful- there are many short-ranged guns in the game that necessitate some kind of delivery, but generally they pay off by having extremely good stats to make up for it. The Eyeburst does not meet this bar, since it has poor strength, middling AP, only one damage per hit, and not enough shots to scare any kind of massed infantry.
If you happen to get into position with it and if you find an ideal target (that is, infantry with low toughness and decent armor), the Eyeburst still underperforms- it kills slightly more than one Battle Sister or nearly TWO Fire Warriors. Of course, now you are at point-blank range against an enemy with a strong basic gun using a model with abysmal defenses, so you’re definitely not going to get the benefit of a second shot- and even assuming you’ll get a first one is somewhat optimistic.
The best way to beat a Medusae is actually in the pre-game step; although this takes some extra planning and work, it can pay off quite well if you are clever about it. The exact details are a little complicated and will vary from match to match, but it basically works like this: when you are writing up your list, you will be given a choice of different units to draw from. When selecting said units- and this is key to the whole thing- you don’t pick a Medusae.
Of course, that only works if you are the Drukhari player. If you are facing Medusae, just like shoot them with guns or whatever.
The whole Court of the Archon is a complete mess, as every one of the units in it is bad in their own unique and terrible way; honestly, Games Workshop needs to scrap the whole thing and rethink how they want them to function, because as it stands they are one of the worst sets of units in the whole game. Given how far they have come in making what were once truly atrocious units (e.g. Chaos Spawn, Pyrovores, Mutilators) better, it’s rather surprising that they went backwards on the Court and rendered them effectively a blank dataslate for even the most casual of players.
As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.