Hello, and welcome to another tactical tidbit by Skari from Art of War. In this article, I will be discussing the Drukhari Faction in 9th edition and how I feel about the army initially as we jump into the new edition.
First, we will look at the initial impression, and then I will talk about what I have found while playing the missions and using the new points. Lastly, I shall share an army list that I think will define the faction in the future. This article aims to educate ourselves on the changes that have occurred and approach them with an open mind and a student mentality, taking that information and adapting to the changes effectively. For more tactical information, coaching and training reach out to me through the War Room.
“Ahhh, The Dark Kin…”
The new edition is upon us! As an aspiring Archon, Succubus, or Heamonculus, you open the new points, the new rules, and the new missions with eager anticipation! … What do we find? Well, what we see is not 8th edition, that is for sure!
The first thing that jumps out is the point changes to the faction. The troop choices have gone up, the tough grotesques and Talos have gone up, our dedicated transports have gone up, and even the humble (let’s face it, the awesome) Disintegrator has gone up making Ravagers and Razorwing Jetfighters quite the pricey option. Many of these units were not in the best position to start with competitively in 8th, so it is surprising, to say the least. At first, this is a shock therapy session; however, in my opinion, I feel that it is not the end of the world as I will discuss this in the next section. Still, I think that a lot of these point increases can be leveraged towards playing the new missions. As Aeldari, we can always count on our Craftworld and Harlequin cousins for units that can fill some of the gaps that might open (I know that I am a die-hard mono-factionado, but it’s not the only way). Most of the other factions also received their point increases! This will help balance out the increases that we received even if they do seem a bit extreme in some cases.
The other thing that affects the army is some of the key changes to the game’s core mechanics. The main one that seems to concern our army is the change to the fly keyword. This no longer allows our units with the fly keyword to fall back and shoot anymore, things like Ravagers and Venoms and Raiders and Talos, and Scourge and Reaver Jetbikes… these units no longer have as much versatility as they did before, right? Well, in practice I have found it is not as much of an issue as it seems. Most of the time, I would be using the cruel deception stratagem on a unit that I needed to fall back and shoot because I wanted them to charge back in again (like Talos or Reaver Jetbikes). However, things like Venoms and Ravagers usually die when they are tagged in close combat anyway! (we are made out of paper after all, and we know it). Other core mechanic changes are both positive and negative for the faction, and I am interested to hear which ones you think are the most impactful to how the faction plays.
The Drukhari Faction plays best when there is a lot of terrain on the table. They enjoy missions that reward speed and moving on the table to complete objectives. The new missions (book and GT pack) both reward this play style and the addition of the terrain traits, especially the Obscuring trait, really let the strengths of the Drukhari shine! I have been playing the new missions and the new points for a bit now, so I can accurately talk about how I feel this impacts the army from the point of experience, not simply theory-crafting… so, on to the next part.
Playing the Missions
“Practice makes perfect.”
I have been to two tournaments with the new rules and have won 5/6 games at these two events, playing against some of Canada’s best players, such as Devin and Dustin, placing 1st and 2nd. I bring this up to illustrate that what I am talking about has weight, not just theory crafting. The Drukhari play to the current missions very well, and even though they have gone up in points, there are some essential elements to keep in mind. So, I want to shortly discuss the different games that I played and what I found.
Game 1 – vs Chaos
The Chaos player ran a lot of infantry and Abaddon with shooting Oblits and psy support. In this game, I saw the value of picking the correct secondaries. I feel like the Drukhari need to take the secondaries seriously. Being able to score them effectively through the whole game can offset the lack of primary points if you have a hard time controlling objectives because your opponent has a lot of units that can deny your objectives.
Game 2 – vs Tau (Devin)
Devin is a fantastic player. His Tau armies are designed (at least in 8th) to shoot you away and hit you when you are down. It is hard to come back from 9 broadsides shooting you in a turn, for example. In this game, I learned that when your opponent has overwhelming firepower, if you can deny them from scoring the primary mission and score a bit of it yourself while using terrain to keep units alive, you will win. Drukhari might have expensive troops, but Wracks are still some of the best, most durable, troops in the game. Plus, all of the Drukhari troops are fast, move + advance + fire and fade – you can deny objectives that your opponent is trying to defend, and they can lose lots of points because of it.
Game 3 – vs Dustin
In this game, I learned the value of tying things up in CC. Nine Ridge Runners shoot a LOT, and they will continue to be a key element in many GSC lists! Even though tanks can shoot into close combat now (except blast weapons), it is important to try to tie things up and to plan to do this with units such as Venoms or Grotesques or others. This allows your units in the backfield to survive longer to achieve objectives and get you points through the game.
Game 4 (tourney 2) – vs Iron Hands
The OG baddies of 8th Edition. This game showed me that even though Talos and Grotesques are more expensive than they were, they are very much still worth every point you spend on them. They are durable and deal a lot of damage to kill enemy units on the ground or in the air! Being able to put pressure on your opponent with something tough, and forcing them to deal with them while your weaker and faster units take the objectives behind them, is of great value. Take the points, deny your opponent theirs, and you will succeed.
Game 5 (tourney 2) – vs Necrons
Necrons are in a bit of a grey area waiting for their new codex. However, don’t underestimate three Doomsday arks and 15 Wraiths. In this mission, I learned that keeping things in reserve in this edition is more potent than in 8th. As the game flows, many gaps will open, allowing your reserves to be even more effective than in the past. Even with the smaller table! Don’t be afraid to play cagey. I also learned that my new favorite heavy support choice is the Drukhari Forgeworld Reaper. Being able to hide it behind a building to prevent it from getting shot, moving out, shooting, and then firing and fading back behind is amazing, and I urge you to check this unit out.
Game 6 (tourney 2) vs Custodes – Devin again
And we come to the last game of this series. This time I was up against the shiny new boys on the block. Custodes are quite powerful in this edition. They are elite, objective secured, they have speedy elements and durable elements as well. In this game, I was putting a lot of pressure on the mission, and the first three turns went well. One long charge from some Allarus Terminators later and my flank folded, leading me to lose on the primary. It was a very close game (only 13 points apart), but I learned in defeat. The lesson I took from this was that we have to look at some of the wargear choices differently. The Disintegrator might not be as powerful in this edition (just not as efficient). Talos are also fantastic, and I want more of them and make sure you have troops that are expendable and maneuverable.
So, I hope these small examples give you an idea of what to expect. Onto the last part: what do I think will come?
9th Edition Drukhari
‘Base Army List’
Here is what I have cooked up for the new edition with the practice in mind: my revamped 9th edition, mono-faction list. Feel free to take it, use it, change it comment on it! Etc.
- Triple Patrol
- Alliance of Agony
- Extra Relic
Patrol 1 – Kabal of the Black Heart
- Archon – Blast Pistol, Husk Blade- Warlord lab cunning – writ of the living muse relic
- 5 Kabalite Warriors – Blaster
- 2 x Forgeworld Reapers
- 2 x Venoms (single cannon)
Patrol 2 – Prophets of Flesh
- Heamonculus – Hexrifle, Elecro Whip (extra WL trait, +D3 CP) Extra Relic – Vex Mask
- 5 Wracks – Ossefactor
- 3xTalos – 6 Heat Lances
- 3xTalos – 6 Heat Lances
Patrol 3 – Prophets of Flesh
- Urien Rackarth
- 5 Wracks – Ossefactor
- 5 Wracks – Ossefactor
- 3xTalos – 6 Heatlances
And there you have it! It has elements to engage and destroy the enemy up close, kill things like Custodes and tanks up close, and the movement and durability to take the objectives. If you get a chance to try this out, let me know, and I hope you find this useful. As always, reach out to me for coaching or list building advice on the Art of War. Thanks a lot for reading, and I shall see you on the next Skari Tactical Tidbit.
Skari – Out
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