The least-bad of a terrible crew, but also the one guaranteed to offend any spellchecking programs you might have and cause English professors to burst into flame. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies of units you’d actually want to use.
Ssylth are perhaps the most unusual of the Court of the Archon members, having a statline that is distinct from the others and a unique potential role. They share the 8″ movement of the Court models as well as weapon and ballistic skill 3+, since these are features of most Drukhari in general; however, they benefit from strength and toughness five, which is exceptionally high for infantry of any stripe, to say nothing of xenos. They also have three wounds, making them quite resilient overall, and also have three attacks. Leadership six and a 5+ save will both be irrelevant the vast majority of the time, though they are there should something unusual happen. At 27pts per model (with the usual restriction of solo squads), Ssylth are definitely on the expensive side, although unlike some of the others in the Court they aren’t abysmally so.
Special Rules and Wargear
Like all members of the Court of the Archon Ssylth can reroll failed hits while within 3″ of an Archon and don’t take up slots when taken alongside one in a detachment, which is something of a mixed blessing.
More relevantly, Insensible to Pain means they have a 5+ invulnerable save, offering them a decent level of protection against all sorts of attacks- though an unreliable one. However, with their high stats and multiwound status, it can be enough to frustrate the enemy’s attempts to bring them down with any consistency.
They also have Cold-Blooded Bodyguard, which allows them to soak wounds for a nearby Archon on a 2+. It’s honestly a bit strange that they are the only Court models with this rule, but as they are it gives them a very useful niche in terms of protecting said Archon from enemy snipers and other attacks, as a Shadowfield alone is no longer enough in the age of Vindicares and Null Zones.
Each Ssylth also packs a surprising amount of weaponry, carrying both a Shardcarbine (18″ Assault 3 Poisoned) and a Splinter Pistol (12″ Pistol 1 Poisoned) for shooting at foes as well as a Ssylth Battle-Blade (AP-1 Dmg1) for melee combat. Given their fairly solid statline, this actually makes them relatively formidable combatants overall, though not to a degree that you want to be investing in them for this purpose alone.
So, while the Ssylth may not be a star player, unlike the rest of the Court they aren’t wholly worthless. With the expansion of snipers in the game, and most especially those with the ability to target units out of line of sight, many support characters are living in a pretty dangerous world nowadays. However, the Ssylth offers a (partial) solution to this, with its ability to soak damage in place of the Archon, letting you maintain that important reroll bubble, CP farm, and/or warlord point.
Is it great at this job? Absolutely not. With only three wounds itself, the Ssylth can only take a very limited amount of punishment. And since it is not a character and thus is easily targetable, if the enemy really wants to get rid of your Archon they’ll simply shoot the Ssylth first to deny you the opportunity to use its ability. Of course, with toughness five this isn’t completely trivial, as Bolters and similar weapons will bounce off it a lot of the time, but there are plenty of heavier weapons out there that will make short work of your bodyguard snek, meaning you essentially just threw away 27pts.
It does help slightly that the Ssylth is also a decent combatant, whether at melee or range, allowing it to contribute to the battle even in situations where there are no snipers around. However, Drukhari have much more efficient choices if this is your main goal, so you really need to be leaning on their specialization if you’re intending to get any mileage from them.
The unfortunate reality is that the Ssylth simply is not enough to stop anyone running a dedicated sniper contingent, but also is too much of an investment that doesn’t pull its weight in other matchups. A good unit, but not at a good price- Ssylth need to be 20pts (or even less) in order to have any real chance of seeing the field; being able to actually take them in squads or making them characters in their own right would also add a lot of value and potentially make them worthwhile, though we aren’t likely to see these changes anytime soon.
The simplest way to deal with a Ssylth is to simply power through it- have your Eliminators or Sniper Drones point your guns at the Archon anyways and let the Drukhari player pawn those wounds off onto the Ssylth, with only three to its name it won’t last long,, and the lower toughness of the Archon means you’ll be wounding it on 3s rather than 4s or 5s, which speeds the process immensely. If you have abundant regular shooting but only a small number of snipers, you can consider opening up on the Ssylth first, but generally this isn’t needed.
The Ssylth isn’t good enough to see play in most competitive armies, but unlike its other Court friends it’s not so bad that it won’t be included in more casual or narrative armies on occasion- especially because it is a fairly unique and interesting model, with ripe possibilities for conversions. They are one of the more mediocre, but not outright bad, units from the Drukhari book, which there are unfortunately still a decent number.
And now, with this, our watch is ended and we can get back to more interesting and functional units from the book starting next week- hallelujah. As always, remember you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re starting a new army or expanding and existing one.