The Backbone of Drukhari: Strats, and Relics

Continuing on with our review of the new Codex: Drukhari, we are going to be looking at Stratagems and Relics this time. The Strats are quite good, none seem broken, but all add a lot of flavor and tools to the army. The Relics…. well, they are not Bad per se, but the authors may have been tired by this point of writing and their Overlords out on a Raid. A few are good, but I am getting ahead of myself now. Read on to see exactly what tools the True Kin have at their disposal.

Ranking System

As before, I will be using the same grading scale, reproduced below

  • Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
  • Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combo’d up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
  • Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.


I have decided to Include the Obssesion Specific ones here, for the Sake of Completeness. I will not, however, include the Book of Charadon. That will come in a separate review. I would also like to point out how awesome the names of these strats are.

  • Cruel Deception – 1/2 CP: This strat is used when you pick a unit to fall back with. For 1 CP you can either fallback and charge, OR fallback and shoot. If you want to do both with a unit, pay 2 CP. This is pretty big, as it offers a nice bit of flexibility. Wyches typically don’t care about the shooting part, so paying 1 CP to be able to charge is nice. Likewise, warriors tend to not care about the charging part. Hellions, who want to do both, can already fall back and charge. For something like an Archon, Raider, or in those times you do want to add more shooting / charging, it is nice to be able to kick this up a notch. Competitive
  • The Great Enemy – 1 CP: This is your fluff based Strat, and as Fluffy strats go, its not to bad. When fighting against Slaanesh, you may re roll all hit and wound rolls in Close Combat (CC). When you need it, it is great. Most of the time it won’t come up though. It is nice too, that you activate it when one of your units is selected to fight. This means if you get hit hard before you get to activate a unit, you can see if this strat is worth it or not. By it’s very nature, this strat is Situational, but, when matched up against a Slaanesh army, it becomes Competitive
  • The Torturer’s Craft – 1/2 CP: This strat is used when a Coven unit fights in CC, and allows them to re-roll the wound roll. Characters and Wrack units of 10 or less pay 1 CP for this, everyone else, 2. This is solid. Gives some very good reliability and with Wracks being much better in combat now, really lets even your basic troops punch above their weight class. In the past, re-rolling wounds via Doom was a large part why people with bring Craftworld allies. Getting this as a strat goes a long way towards helping Mono-faction play be better. Competitive
  • Lightning Fast Reactions – 1 CP: It’s still here, the dreaded Lightning Fast Strat. Basically unchanged, it is still -1 to hit for any non-coven unit. The cost dropping to 1 CP feels appropriate too with how minuses to hit have been capped in 9th.  Efficient
  • Hunt from the Shadows – 1 CP: This is an interesting one. You use this on a unit that is already getting the bonus of Light Cover (so, +1 to their save) and give them an additional +1 to their save (so, +2). This is quite nice on units of warriors, who already have a 4+ save. Pushing the to a 2+ can really boost their efficiency vs some small arms fire. Efficient
  • Alliance of Agony – 1 CP: A DE favorite makes it’s return, albeit slightly different. Now, to use this you must have a Real Space Raid (RSR) Archon as your warlord. Then, for a whole one CP, you may give a Succubus and Haemonculus unit a Warlord Trait as well. Interestingly, these need not be the ones in your RSR detachment – although why you wouldn’t I am not entirely sure (Unless you were including a second detachment of Cult of Strife for their supplement…). This is a strong case for taking a RSR, and is a Competitive choice although if you don’t want to take one but still want extra WL traits, then check out…
  • Tolerated Ambition – 1 CP: This is the Standard extra WL trait, allowing 2 extra characters to pick up a trait for 1 CP each, in a 2k army. As this is always based on how good the warlord traits themselves are (and they are solid), this is Competitive
  • Prizes from the Dark City – 1 CP: Likewise, this is the extra Relic strat. While the Relics available to the True Kin is probably the weakest part of the codex (we need to have something to raid for…), it is still nice to be able to get 2 extra relics as you want to. Competitive
  • Webway Portal – 1/3 CP: This is your Deep Strike strat for an Infantry, Beast, or Biker unit. I am a little sad to see this as 1 CP for one unit, and 3 CP for two. It makes it quite expensive to do more than one unit, but in all honesty, there are not a ton of units you would want to use this on. Situational
  • Pain Syphon – 1 CP: Oh, oh my. I hate that they added this, because now I keep trying to figure how to add a Cronos to my lists… If a DE unit, within 6″ of a Cronos, kills an enemy unit, you can use this strat to give that unit the entire Power from Pain chart at turn 5 for the rest of the battle. This can let a unit kick up to full benefits t1. The biggest thought I have is a Talos unit dropping something at range and immediately picking up a 5++ and +1 to hit in CC. This is pretty good. The trick now, is figuring how to make this work in actuality. Efficient
  • Eviscerating Fly-by – 1/2 CP:  Such evocative names on these strats! This one I am expecting an (unwarranted) FAQ nerf. It sounds a Lot better at first than it is. Don’t get me wrong, it is good… but not as abusable as it first seems. In short, when a Wych unit that can fly moves over a unit, you may activate this stratagem, rolling a d6 for each model in the unit that flew over. On each roll of a 5+ (or 4+ if the enemy unit is infantry), that unit takes 1 mortal wound. If the activated unit is 5 or less models, this strat costs 1 CP; 6+ models, it costs 2.

Now, everyone immediately looks to Hellions, who can come in a unit size of 20! And, they think, man, 2 CP to drop 10 mortals on a character – that is broken! And, yes, that is. But. But. 20 Hellions is a lot of space to occupy. And a lot of points (340). And not a lot of toughness. Defensively this is a unit at T4 (maybe T5 with drugs), 2 wounds, and a 5+/6++. This is not a hard unit to kill. Even if we stack -1 to hit on them, they will not be too hard to see and not too hard to kill. Alternatively you can use this strat on Reavers, or, I guess if you want a Hail Marry, a Vehicle. It is also worth noting, this strat may not be used when falling back. Watch for this one. Competitive

  • Never Stationary – 2 CP: This is Fire and Fade. Shoot, then move 7″, and can not make a charge afterwards. Not sure why they changed the name of it, except to help soup…. which is so strongly discouraged… Anyways, yeah, it’s good. Competitive
  • Prey on the Weak – 1CP: YESSSSSS – this entire codex should be called this. Codex: (Prey on the Weak) Drukhari. Anyways…. Use this when making attacks in either the shooting or fight phase. If your target has lost any models, re roll ones to hit. If they have lost more than half their starting strength, re roll all hits. Yes please. Competitive
  • Screaming Jets – 1 CP: You may only use this strat once, but it allows you to Deep Strike a Vehicle. Not bad, and better with the new Murderous Descent strat (keep reading for that one). Efficient
  • Deadly Rivals 2 CP: This one is interesting. You pick one unit of Hellions and one unit of Reavers that are within 12″ of each other in your command phase. Then, both units get +1 movement and are able to re-roll hits in CC. This is interesting. T3 you get +1 to hit in CC already, so hitting on 2’s, re-rolling 1’s is very reliable. It also lets you fish for 6’s if you are using the exploding 6’s cult trait (not sure that is a great idea though…) Efficient
  • Swift Outflanking – 1 CP: Eldar Shennanigans at it’s finest. Use this strat when a Transport is within 9″ of a board edge at the end of your movement phase. Whopsie Daisy, it’s now in Strategic Reserve. Great way to deny points, reposition a unit, or come in from an unexpected quarter. Not always going to be needed, but the tricks you can pull with this are pretty big. Efficient
  • Murderous Descent – 1 CP:  Remember I mentioned this one above? You use this after a Transport has come in from reserves.. like with Screaming Jets or Swift Outflanking or Insidious Misdirection. It allows for any units embarked (yes, plural) to disembark. Those units must still be 9″ or more from enemy units. This can be good for for claiming some objectives latter on, especially as you can disembark within 3″ then use Never Stationary to move onto an objective. EDIT: Scratch that, I completely missed a core rule. Still good. Just no moving after coming in as reserves. Efficient
  • Pray they don’t take you alive – 1CP: Add insult to Injury! Use this when you kill the opponent’s Warlord in CC. Until the end of the battle, subtract one from the Combat Attrition tests made for every unit in the opposing army. When it is useful, and comes up, and vs certain styles of armies…. it can be pretty good and fun. Otherwise, vs say…. Marines, it is useless. Situational
  • Enhanced Aethersails – 1CP: This Strat allows a Raider or Ravager to hoist up a red flag, and auto advance 8″. Raiders can now Advance and Charge thanks to Power from Pain (and a Black Heart one can do so on T1), with a 14″ move…. there is some thoughts to a Raider Missile down the gullet of the opposing army. Shut down a unit like Eradicators for a turn, or at least make your opponent spend CP to be able to use them. Fun, but probably not the most competitive use. It is, however, great for booking it across the board. A raider on the bottom bracket moves 6″. Use this to boost again to 14, and that isn’t to shabby. Don’t forget, if for some reason, you absolutely need that raid to live, you can get to pop Swift Outflanking. Competitive
  • Crucible of Malediction – 2CP: Man, I really want to like this. I do. It is a once per battle strat, that only a Haemonculus can use. Hoop 1. Hoop 2. Hoop 3: Roll a d6 for each psycher within 12 of the Haemonculus, on a 4+ (that was Hoop 4), that unit takes d3 mortals. Ugh. Why, why, why does Games workshop so over value this kind of thing? Sure, it can be very powerful vs Grey Knights or Thousand Sons, but vs almost anyone else, it is a solid meh. Especially at 2 CP, and once per battle. At 2 CP, this should auto go off, or do a flat 3 mortals. For what the strat as it is, it should be 0 CP. It is there for the times you may find it useful. Situational
  • Haywire Grenade – 1CP: This strat is used when a unit with the Haywire Grenade Keyword (so.. um… wyches and bloodbrides? I can’t find any others) is selected to shoot. One model can make a single attack vs a vehicle within 6″, doing d3 mortals on a hit. I guess it can have it’s uses. If this let every model chuck one…. but it doesn’t. Pass Situational
  • Hyperstimm Backlash – 2 CP: Now, without the Backlash! Select a wych cult unit, and double the effects of their drugs. This can not be used on a model with the Phial Bouquet Relic, but nothing stops it from going on one with the Warlord Trait Stimm Addict can use this. Useful when needed, but not always needed. Efficient
  • Shock Prow – 1 CP: Purchasing a Shock Prow on your Raider or Ravager opens up taking this Strat. When you charge an enemy Vehicle, this does d3 mortals to it on a 2+. If you charge a non-vehicle, then roll for every model within engagement range. If your roll exceeds or meets the toughness of the model, it takes a mortal wound. This is not a bad little strat, and can catch a lot of models in engagement range or finish off a wounded vehicle. Drukahri have a lot of ways to sprinkle mortals around, and this is another one. Efficient
  • Potent Metallotoxins – 2 CP: Use this in the shooting or fight phase. This allows non relic attacks to wound vehicles (but not Titanic) on whatever they normally would wound. So a 4+ poison weapon will still wound on a 4+ vs vehicles with this. Wracks, with 2 attacks each, and ap -1, can do some damage. Wyches, with up to 5 attacks each, can do a lot more. This lets both threaten things that used to tarpit them. Efficient
  • Kabal of the Black Heart Agents of Vect – 0 CP: Nope, not a typo. It’s a zero CP strat. Once per battle, after the opponent uses a stratagem (other than command re-roll), you may play this. The next time they use that stratagem, the cost of it is increased by one. This can be pretty big for armies that rely on certain strats, or are strapped on CP. Since it is free too, you can use it without worrying too much about the cost. 

Now, this stratagem has sparked a fierce debate with the interaction of this strat and with the Chief Apothecary from Space Marines using the Combat Revival Stratagem. In short, the Apothecary says “Each time … return a model using the Combat Revival Stratagem, that Stratagem costs 0 Command Points”. Vect says, “Until the end of the battle, the CP cost your opponent must pay to use that Stratagem again is increased by one”. This one truly needs an FAQ, but, following order of operation.

      1. The SM player uses Combat Revival (normally costs 1 CP) for 0 cp
      2. The DE player Vects this
      3. The next time the SM player want to use the Strat, it now has a cost of 2 CP. Which their Apothecary makes 0. 
      4. The next time the SM player wants to use the strat, it costs 1 CP, which they make 0 and then it is increased by one. 

The dilemma comes down to exactly when the cost of the stratagem is factored. Does the strat become 2 CP, or is it +1 added when used. Rules as Written, I think this becomes 2 CP then dropped to 0, but the debate is fierce right now.

Anyways, Vect is a great strat. Competitive

  • Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue Insidious Misdierection 2 CP: Use this strat at the start of the first battle round. Up to three Poison Tongue units may be re-deployed, including putting them in reserves, without spending any extra CP. This will let you take transports and their occupants too. This is pretty big, and allows you to play mind games in the deployment phase, or deploy aggressively and see if you get the first turn. Competitive
  • Kabal of the Flayed Skull Master of the Shadowed Sky – 1 CP: Use this when shooting with a Flayed Skull unit, adding one to hit vs anything that can fly. Vs Aircraft, add 2 to hit. Eh. It’s not bad, and there will surely be situations where you want to use this, but it is not something to build around. Situational
  • Kabal of the Obsidian Rose Failure is not a Option – 1 CP: This strat is the same as before, just with wording updated for 9th ed. When you fail a morale check, and go on to the attrition test, you can use this. For each model that would flee, you may make a shooting or  a single melee attack. If they kill any models, no models in your army flee. This is too situational, and to high of risk for minimal reward to typically use it. Do you really want to gamble your Blaster on if he can hit, wound, and do enough damage? Situational
  • Cult of Strife No Method of Death Beyond our Grasp – 2 CP: This strat is one of the many reasons Cult of Strife is considered one of the best Cults. Once per game a unit of Wyches may choose to shoot (Why???) or fight (that’s more like it) again. Solid. Pure, solid gold. With the amount of attacks wyches can put out now (can get up to 5 per wych) and the fact squad sizes can go to 20…. Competitive
  • Cult of the Cursed Blade Venemous Shardbombs – 1 CP: This strat allows you to overwatch with your wyches. Up to five models may also throw Plasma Grenades, which gain the Poision (2+) keyword. About the only time I might consider this strat, is when being charged by a unit of 11+ models, as the Grenades are blast. Situational
  • Cult of the Red Grief Athletic Aerialists – 1 CP: Use this when a Red Grief infantry unit made their CC attacks, but before they consolidate. If, every model is within 6″ of a transport, instead of a normal consolidation move, they may instead embark into the transport. This is a sneaky one. It does not seem to matter if the unit embarking is based, nor does it matter if the transport is in combat. Additionally, the unit may even embark in the same turn they disembarked. This is pretty strong, allowing your squishier units to strike, then fade away before the retaliation comes. Competitive
  • Prophets of Flesh Sins Writ Large – 1/2 CP: This allows a Prophet of Flesh infantry that is within 6″ of a Haemonculus to re roll hits in the fight phase. Seeing as Prey on the Weak is available as well, this one may not see as much use. It does give another option and does not require the target unit to have lost any models yet. Combined with Torturer’s Craft, this can very much help a unit punch up. It costs 2 CP if used on Grotesques. Efficient
  • The Dark Creed An Esoteric Kill, Delivered from Afar – 2/3 CP: Same as before, this allows a unit to ignore the Lookout Sir rule when targeting characters. Considering how the weapon upgrades have made Talos a bit more attractive as a gun platform, this now costs 3 CP if used on them. Still, being able to potentially make them fire 6 heat lances into a character, that could be worth it. No other unit really has enough ranged threat to make use of this. If you wanted to, you could do flamer Grotesques, but that seems to be a poor use of them. Better to take them as Dark Technomancers. Situational
  • Coven of the Twelve A Most Inventive Demise – 1 CP: Use this after a Coven of Twelve Haemonculus consolidates, and there is an enemy character (who is not a Vehicle or Titanic) within engagement range. On a roll of a 2-5 they take d3 mortals. On a 6, d3+3. This is quite good, and can spike into a ton of damage. Very few characters can take 6 mortals, and even one or two can chip away at them. If you wanted to run Coven of the Twelve for some reason, this would be very good. Competitive

And, there you have it. All the Stratagems available to the True Kin. Overall, these are quite good. Very few seem like a wasted opportunity, or filler. Even ones that are situational, are, in the right situation, effective. It is clear that a lot of thought and effort went into making these. Which is why the…


… are such a disappointment. It’s not that they are bad exactly, but that they are very unimaginative. There is nothing new in the generic ones, in fact we lost a number of relics (most were bad anyways), but there is also quite a limited number of them. 6 generic one, 10 obsession specific, and three behind character upgrades. Anyways, let’s take a look at what few Prizes of the Dark City were left to us

  • Parasite’s Kiss: And right off the bat, we start with a bloody pistol relic. GW really needs to either stop trying to make pistols work, or figure out how to – but that is a discussion for elsewhere. This relic pistol replaces a Splinter Pistol, and becomes a 3 shot poison (2+) weapon that has an AP and Damage of 2. 12″ range is respectable for a Pistol, and DE do have the movement (now that Transports will let characters join squads in them) to get up the board and into range. Additionally, for every model killed, the bearer may regain a wound. See. No. Most of our characters are not bruisers. They don’t want to be trading blows, nor do they want to be relying on maybe regening wounds latter. Just, pick a better relic. Situational
  • The Helm of Spite: This is our deny the witch relic, allowing the bearer to attempt to deny. If successful, the enemy psycher suffers perils. This is not bad, but should be an innate ability of Haemonculus in my opinion. Or an upgrade for them. As a relic, and the fact that you have to write on you data sheet what relics unit are taking, this has a much higher opportunity cost. If you go to an event and play multiple games with no psycher, or ones that are constantly out of your reach, or have big modifiers to their rolls, this relic may never get used. In certain armies and situations, it can be nice, and it can make opponents burn CP when not needed as well. If they roll a 5 to smite, and know you can make them perils if you deny, they may choose to re roll that rather than potentially lose their psycher. All in all, this relic is a bit hit-or-miss for me. Not an amazing one, but not as bad as the relic pistols.  Efficient
  • The Nightmare Doll: This is is simple and straightforward. Haemonculus only, it gives you a 4+++. Being able to (eventually) have a 5++/4+++ makes that character pretty tough. However, Haemonculus got rather gutted this edition, losing all wargear options. This means, if they are going to take anything unique, it will have to be a relics and warlord traits. This isn’t terrible for making them tougher, especially as they no longer benefit from their own +1 toughness aura. There are other relics, such as the Alchemical Maestro Poisoner’s Amplue that are better. Efficient
  • The Djin Blade: This weapon replaces an Archon’s Huskblade, and is the only reason you would ever, ever take a huskblade. It gives +1 Str, ap -3, and 3 damage. It also allows the bearer to make two extra attacks. After all attacks are made, roll a d6. On a 1, the blade bites the bearer too and they suffer a mortal wound. This is solid. If a combat archon is what you want to build, this would be a key part of it. Going up to 7 attacks at Str 4, it will not be taking out heavy infantry or vehicles, but your archon won’t be a dead weight either. Efficient
  • The Animus Vitae: Once per game (and I immediately devalue this a lot. It needs to be bloody amazing from here on) the bearer may throw this in the shooting phase. It has a 6″ range (it’s getting worse), and, if it hits (wait, a once per game relic can miss?) the target unit suffers d3 mortals. If the unit is 11 or more models, it suffers d3+3 mortals. So, a 6″, once per game smite. Until the end of the turn, all friendly units count the turn as being one higher than it actually is in regards to the Power from Pain chart. It is nice that last part does not tie in to actually doing anything with this model, but I am not sure there are a ton of times I want to increase the chart. Maybe turn 3 to 4 in order to get the 5++ save a turn early… but that is about it. I could see a full black heart detachment burn this t2 to get the 5++, but I am not sure that is worth it. Situational
  • The Triptych Whip: This whip may go onto a succubus with an agoniser, and is str user (but Poison 2+), ap -3 and flat 2 damage. Solid, considering succubus can potentially get up to str 6. It also gives the bearer an additional 3 attacks. With a base of 6, this is starting to look pretty good. There are a number of builds and ways to deck out a succubus, between relics, drugs, traits, cults, and strats, but this relic is a solid one for boosting the combat effectiveness of any succubus.  Competitive

Those Generic relics…. um. Wow. Good thing is, there are better ones elsewhere. Such as in the Obsessions and the Character upgrades.

  • Kabal of the Black Heart Writ of the Living Muse: This popular choice returns, and it is much the same. It now only applies to Core units though (so no character or vehicles, sorry Ravagers). If taken by a Real Space Raid Archon, it also applies to Blades for Hire (Incubi, Mandrakes and Scourges). It allows units within 6″ to re-roll 1’s to wound. Coupled with the Archon’s own re-roll 1’s to hit aura, and it is a decent buff character, if you want to build him that way. Competitive
  • Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue Soul-Seeker:  This relic replaces a splinter pistol (Yay, another relic pistol) and has two shots at range 18″. That is better. It is a poison 2+ pistol, at ap -2 and d3 damage. It allows the bearer to fire at characters and ignore the lookout sir rule. It also ignores the effects of light cover. So, two shots, lets say at a space marine captain as a comparison mark, will take about 5 turns of shooting to kill him. Why would I ever take this? Situational
  • Kabal of the Flayed Skull The Obsidian Veil:  This gives the bearer an 4++ save. Yes, we can get to a 5++ on turn 4, and yes, he has a 2++ in the shadowfield. But, when that thing pops, it is nice to have a backup invul in place. A 4++ is pretty decent, and you don’t have to worry about what turn the shadowfield pops on you. This actually pairs decently well with their Warlord trait too, to allow an archon to actually be a bit of a presence in combat. This also lets you take some shots on this shield and save the Shadowfield for bigger damage things. Efficient
  • Kabal of the Obsidian Rose The Armor of Misery: This relic upgrades the Archon’s armor, giving him a 3+ save and -1 to hit. This is actually a bigger deal than you might think at first. Nothing says you must take all your saves on your shadowfield. Often times, vs small arms fire, I will choose to take my Archon’s armor save until he is down to one wound. Taking it on a 3+ means less stress on your shadow field, means less chance of it shorting out on you. Few things feel as bad as losing the shadowfield to a lasgun. Like the Obsidian Veil above (you would think the Obsidian Rose would have the Obsidian Veil.. but whatever), this is a decent choice in making you Archon live longer. Efficient
  • Cult of Strife The Phial Bouquet: This relic is rather fun. At the start of each battle round, roll a d6. The succubus gets the benifit of that drug for that battle round. It could be great, it could be useless. She doesn’t have time to look at what she is injecting herself with, there are scalps to collect. The fact this can double up on a drug she already is taking is nice. If you really want to go to town, it is possible for her to have 4 drugs normally, then chuck this on top. The issue is the randomness. You typically want to mitigate as much uncertainty as possible so you can best plan and execute your plans. There is a lot of uncertainty in 40k, and the more control you can have over the game, the better your chances of winning it are. Efficient
  • Cult of the Cursed Blade The Traitor’s Embrace: If the bearer is destroyed by a melee attack, on a 2+, the attacking unit takes d3+3 mortals. Considering that you can also make this chick do a mortal for each 4++ that she makes, she can be quite the porcupine. I typically don’t like rely on my opponent to kill my models for them to do damage, but in a triple patrol of Cults, I could possibly see running this gal as a fun suicide bomber into the middle of my opponents elite CC unit. As a 60 pts throw away, it is not bad. Efficient
  • Cult of the Red Grief The Blood Glaive: This relic replaces an Archite Glaive. It is Str +2, ap -3 and 3 flat damage. That is it. Big, swigging, beat stick. Again, this is on a base Str 3 and 6 attacks model, who can pick up drugs to augment herself. War lord traits make her even more deadly. Competitive
  • The Prophets of Flesh The Vexator Mask: Another favorite returns. Enemy units can not fire overwatch at the bearer. This is not as big a deal as it used to be, but can still be effective. Additionally, at the start of the fight phase, you may select one enemy unit within 3″ and make them ineligible to fight until all other units have done so. This is quite solid. The overwatch is situational, but the fight last is very strong. I still think Prophets of Flesh are a solid obsession pick, so expect to see this relic a bit. Competitive
  • The Dark Creed Spirit-Sting: Another Relic pistol. Situational
    Wait, ok, I should at least review it first… So, it is a 3 shot pistol at range 12. Ok, I guess. It is also poison (2+), at AP – 3 and a whopping 1 damage. Invul saves may not be taken vs this. Again, shooting at a basic SM captain, this will take 5+ turns to kill it. I guess against something like 1 wound deamons you could kill one or two… buy why? 
  • Coven of the Twelve The Flensing Blade: This blade replaces the Haemonculus tools, and is Poison (2+), AP – 2 and d3 damage. Vs characters, this is a flat 3 damage. Not to shabby, and the fact if you can get multiple rounds of combat and their specific strat, this is actually ok. Efficient
  • Master Archon Soulhelm: This relic gives the bearer a 5+++ and -1 to be hit. Decent, but for defensive relics, I would rather the Obsidian Veil or Armor of Misery. If you are not in one of those obsessions though, this is not a bad defensive upgrade. Efficient
  • Master Succubus Dancer’s Edge: This relic replaces a Glaive, and gives +2 Str, ap -4 and a flat 2 damage. Should you roll a natural 6 to wound, invul saves may not be taken vs that attack. This is pretty solid. A few two damage attacks going straight through can add up, and the rest will force invul saves if the target has them. Competitive
  • Master Haemonculus Poisoner’s Ampule: Once per battle (I typically don’t like once per battle things. This better be good…), you may select an enemy unit within 9″ (decent range). On a 2+, that unit takes d3 mortals – so a smite. Not bad. Also, regardless of the 2+ roll, that unit can not use any auras it has, nor be effected by any. Now, that, that is good. Turning off an Aura is big.

    One of my main opponents is a Dark Angles player. He uses an Aura to make his 6 man Heavy Eradicators have the Obsec ability, and uses them to pick up 15 points on Stubborn Defiance. Killing that unit off is rather difficult, and when you do, they tend to shoot on death doing significant damage (He has picked up Mortation due to fire on death). 

    This relic shuts that down for one turn entirely. I don’t even need to kill that unit. T3 I stop them from getting Obsec, from benefiting from the Apothecary Feel no Pain ability, from being able to shoot on death. I don’t even need to kill that unit, and I can cost him 8 points. This is big, and not just vs DA. Aura’s are such a big part of many armies and strategies, being able to selectively and reliably turn these off for a turn is big. Competitive

And there you have the avialable Relics and Stratagems to the True Kin. Over all, some very, very good options. Even most of the ones that are not top tier have some good play-ability (excepting relic pistols…. seriously. Stop).

I realized too I need to do an article on the Warlord traits and Secondaries available, and seeing as this article is long enough… that will be next!

Thanks for reading, and happy Wargaming Raiding!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



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1 year ago

Hi, great article. I think however, that you cannot use Never Stationary on a unit that used deep strike/ came in as reinforcement even if they were on a transport and disembark using Murderous Descent. Those units disembarking should still count as reinforcements imo and not be able to do a “normal move” etc. Or did I misunderstand something about the point you were trying to make there? 🙂

1 year ago
Reply to  Hundog

Yeah, so that was an 8th ed faq rule. In 9th, reinforcements didn’t need this faq cause it’s built into the core rules. I went to the faq and didn’t see it there… My bad. You are correct, the never stationary strat does have you “make a normal move…” And reinforcements ,” … Can not make a normal move… … for any reason”

Good catch

Casey H
Casey H
1 year ago

Good write up. I’m having a roller coaster ride in delving into the book’s nuances.

Dark Lances great anti-Tank again. Haywires renamed & reshelved (I’m dreading what will happen to Harlequin haywire bikes).

This article helps focus on how to make the army work better through the strategems. I think, overall, the army went from a reasonably strategic army, that is not too push-button, like say 5e or 7e, but now a very nuanced crew needing a plan and deft hand to general through a battle to win.

1 year ago

You forgot to mention that the Tryptych Whip is Poisoned 2+ and gives the Succubus +3 attacks. Compared to that, the rest of Sucubbus relics are lackluster

Jeff B
Jeff B
1 year ago

For the Writ of the Living Muse, Mandrakes don’t gain a benefit from it because they aren’t core. Somehow Talos are core and Mandrakes aren’t.

1 year ago

Nice review.

With regard to the relics, I think a big problem is that the Archon is such absolute arse on his own. He has:
– A crap aura with 0 synergy in his own army. Boy, can’t wait to buff my Trueborn retinue in their Raider… oh wait that immediately disables my aura completely.
– No other support or strategic abilities – even when upgraded to Master.
– No meaningful shooting options.
– Probably the worst selection of melee weapons on any melee character in 40k. A bloody IG Commissar is better at killing Marines than the Archon. Let that sink in. And this on a character who (as you can see from the above) has no function other than melee.

In other words, Archons need relics (and warlord traits) just to achieve baseline functionality as HQs.

Hence, it’s not really any surprise how underwhelming most of the artefacts feel. Not just because they’re weak but because if you take anything other than the Djin Blade or Writ then the Archon has no bloody function. Without the Djin blade he has no claim to being a melee character and without the Writ he has no claim to being a support character.

Want an Archon with a more defensive artefact? Then the result won’t be worth protecting. Want an artefact with a fun pistol? lol, enjoy your fun build being garbage not only in melee but also at shooting because DE aren’t even allowed good relic pistols.

Hell, it probably says something that you could give Archons Parasite’s Kiss or Soul Seeker as their *standard weapons* and it still wouldn’t feel remotely overpowered. Hell, it might actually give them an actual niche within the codex.

“Hey, no one ever took the Soul Seeker in 8th because it couldn’t even kill a Platoon Commander on average dice. How can we improve it?”
“I know, let’s remove its ability to ignore Line of Sight! Wait, what problem were we fixing again?”

“Hey, you know how Archons now have a 5++ by turn 4 at the latest and Haemonculi have a 5+ FNP as standard? Should we maybe tweak the artefacts that give the Archon a 4++ and the Haemonculus 4+ FNP?”
“Nah, that’s far too much effort. Just leave them be.”

It’s a shame as there’s so much good stuff in the codex but they really dropped the ball with Archons and the non-Succubi artefacts.

It’s like they decided that only Succubi mattered and didn’t even bother trying to make Archons or their artefacts remotely worthwhile (and haemonculi aren’t much better).

1 year ago

Good read, a few things :

“Haywire Grenade – 1CP: This strat is used when a unit with the Haywire Grenade Keyword (so.. um… wyches and bloodbrides? I can’t find any others)”

Scourges also have haywire grenade.

Also you mentionned wyches in your Potent Metallotoxins paragraph, and they don’t have poison, unless you take an agoniser on the hekatrix.

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