The defintely-not-an-aspect-shrine of the Dark Eldar, this week we’re taking a look at Incubi. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
Incubi have a mostly-normal stat block, although there are a couple of nice perks in some relevant places. Movement 7″ is what we would expect from any Aeldari model, as are weapon and ballistic skill 3+. Strength and toughness three are likewise to be expected, although other features of the unit definitely go a long ways towards mitigating both of those disadvantages. But three attacks per model is a huge bonus, well above what is typically seen, and it makes them a very significant combatant. Leadership eight doesn’t hurt, either, but the real shocker is the 3+ armor save- all but unheard of for a Drukhari model. At sixteen points each in squads of five to ten, Incubi come in reasonably cheaply for what they do; as with most units, they also have the option to upgrade one model to a sergeant for plus one attack and leadership.
Special Rules and Wargear
As with most all Drukhari infantry, Incubi have the Power From pain special rule, which grants them escalating bonuses as the game goes on- most notably a 6+ ability to ignore wounds, but given their melee-oriented nature they can make good use of the other abilities as well. Note, however, that unlike most Drukhari models Incubi do not benefit from Obsessions of any kind, regardless of the detachment they are in, although they also do not prevent other units from gaining an Obsession.
Beyond that, the squad also has Lethal Precision, which adds +2 to damage of attacks when you roll an unmodified 6 to wound. This is definitely a nice ability to have, given their weight of attacks; it won’t necessarily allow them to take on tough targets such as Centurions or Knights, but it does help them drag down Primaris marines as well as vehicles that can’t fight back effectively.
They also come with Tormenters, an ability that… might as well not exist. If an enemy happens to roll a morale test, and if they are within 6″ of the Incubi, and if they happen to exactly pass the morale test on the dot, then the test instead fails and they lose one model. Oh boy? It’s strictly worse than having -1 on morale checks and will basically never matter, so you can safely put it out of your mind.
All Incubi come equipped with a Klaive, which is essentially an upgraded power sword (Str+1, AP-3, Dmg1). Although it’s not an exceptionally impressive weapon, getting the unit up to S4 so that they can damage vehicles and Marines effectively helps a lot compared to their Howling Banshee cousins, especially combined with their high number of attacks and potential to score multidamage hits thanks to Lethal Precision. Sadly, they don’t get any other weapons, not even a hold-out pistol, so they are reliant entirely on close combat to threaten their foes.
The Klaivex (squad leader) can swap out their usual weapon for a pair of Demiklaives at no cost, which grant a little more flexibility. The Demiklaives can be swung in two modes, paired or separate. When paired, they function exactly like a regular Klaive, and while separated they have one lower strength and AP (S+0 AP-2) but can make two extra attacks with the weapon.
Although Drukhari as a whole have a lot of strong close combat themes to their codex- including vehicle upgrades, stratagems, faction bonuses, Obsessions, and more- they actually don’t have all that many strong melee units to their name. There obviously are some, but Kabals lack many good options there outside of HQs and even Wych Cults tend to be more defensively-focused than anything. Enter Incubi, a solid solution to your close-in problems that work especially well in the mechanized lists that are generally Drukhari’s best bet right now.
Although Incubi can’t really compare to the hard hitters in other factions (e.g. Centurions, Paladins, etc), this isn’t really their role- instead, their job is to pick off targets that are tough enough to be a problem for the Drukhari transports but easy enough prey that they will go down to a barrage of AP-3 swings. This can be used either defensively (to pounce on an encroaching threat) or offensively (to dive into the enemy’s lines and steal away an objective or otherwise disrupt them), but the basic idea is the same.
This is particularly important in the age of the Primaris Marine, because a MEQ body in cover with multiple wounds can be a real hassle to get rid of with Splinter weaponry- it’s certainly possible to force enough saves to bring them down, but doing so can be nearly impossible if you aren’t ignoring the cover bonus (and even if you are it will take a lot more firepower than you’d probably like.) While there are other options that can make the process easier- such as Raiders with Disintegrators- having one that can strike targets hiding inside an enclosed ruin is a big help and opens up better tactical plays in many cases.
Incubi also have the advantage of being surprisingly tough, thanks to a combination of good armor and FNP working together. Whereas Wyches, Harlequins, and other Aeldari units may fear the potential for overwatch attacks to completely ruin a charge- or cause unacceptable attrition- Incubi are by and large immune to this problem, as it won’t be hard to shrug off those random bolter shots with 2+ armor saves. This also means that they have greatly increased chances of surviving any counterswings that the enemy puts back into them if you fail to completely wipe their target while also making them much more of A Problem on the enemy’s turn when they are deciding what to shoot at, as they can’t just be casually cleaned off the table by a single unit rapid firing.
The bonuses from Power From Pain can go a long ways towards making the unit deadly, as rerolling charges make them more likely to get in when needed and +1 to hit in combat means they should be landing virtually all of their attacks- a solid twelve hits even out of a minimum-sized unit, or four dead Primaris on average. The Onslaught stratagem can also be used in a pinch, as it’s only 1CP, and it makes every 6 to hit count as two hits- not a game-changer, but can sometimes tip the balance. Hunt From the Shadows (extra +1 to cover saves) can also be useful against weapons with medium AP, as it makes them very hard to kill with AP-1 or AP-2 guns when applicable.
Of course, Drazhar is the real kicker for a unit like them, since he adds +1 to wound in the fight phase and makes them drastically more likely to tear apart most kinds of targets, even medium-weight ones like T7/3+ vehicles. However, taking full advantage of him means that you’ll probably want larger squads of Incubi, which can be awkward, as Venoms tend to be the best way to transport them in a lot of cases. However, if you’re running some Raiders then they can be quite dangerous to anything that gets within charge range of you, so it’s certainly worth considering.
How do you deal with Incubi? Well, there’s a number of ways. The easiest is to simply drag them down with shooting- although it may not be the easiest way in the world, if you force them to take enough saves they will eventually fall and with only toughness three the unit will be taking a lot more saves than Space Marines would have to- especially from weapons like Lasguns. Especially if they get caught out in the open, you’ll generally find that Incubi simply don’t last against any kind of significant shooting.
Paradoxially, they are also weak in melee- if you can get the first swing in, they will often go down rather quickly, especially if you have a large number of attacks, decent AP, or both. While they aren’t quite a glass cannon, they definitely are at least a formica machinegun, so have something nearby ready to deal with them and you’ll probably make a mess of the unit. Generic utility characters that are toting 4-6 attacks and a weapon like a Power Axe or Power Sword can be perfect for this, since they’ll easily chop up the unit without needing any expensive specialist tools.
Incubi are definitely a unit worth considering in Drukhari lists these days, although they are still a little bit of a niche contender overall. But their combination of cheap price, good damage output, decent survivability, and capacity to hide inside a transport make them a solid pairing with many sorts of armies and the fact that they can be slotted into any detachment, regardless of Obsession, gives them a flexibility that is sometimes sorely missed.
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 expand an existing army or start a new one.