Assassins aren’t just for the Imperium any more…
It’s been pretty clear for a while that Imperial Soup armies are in big trouble in the meta. While they remain a very popular army/faction, its pretty clear they need help. I mean look at the most recent big tournament, LVO, out of scores, or maybe hundreds, of Imperial soup lists only ONE managed to win. I bet if you crunch the numbers you’d find that Imperial armies have lost more games than any other faction. From the edges of Cicatrix Maledictum, to the heart of the Ultma Segmentum to the scorching heat of the deserts of Las Vegas Imperial armies are clearly on the run. Thankfully the Emperor has seen fit to move the hearts of the design studio at GW to put out new Assassin rules in the March White Dwarf, giving much needed reinforcements to His embattled forces. Yet it seems there is nothing good that the great enemy cannot take and corrupt to their own uses. Lets talk about what Assassins mean for Imperial and Chaos forces.
For those just tuning in the new up dated rules for Assassins coming in March’s White Dwarf leaked over the weekend. We’ve covered them here and here. Goatboy has already done a good rundown, and give his thoughts, as well which you should check out, its a good overview. In short, the rules gave us new ways to field Assassins, not only though a Vanguard Detachment or Auxiliary Detachment but also with a new stratagem.
In addition to that, each Assassin got two stratagems to work with, as well as a generic one that gives you CP’s for killing enemy characters with your Assassins. Overall I think all the Assassins got at least a little better, and are well worth the points. The Culexus didn’t change at all, aside from two good stratagems, but was already really powerful. Both Vindicare and Eversor got pretty big reworks and good strats. Callidus got a minor tweak, two damage on her sword, and some kind of lackluster stratagems. I think they are the worst of the lot.
Aiding The Emperor’s Forces
So what do Assassins mean overall for the Failing Imperial Forces? Well, I think they are going to be a pretty big boost for them. I think that most competitive Imperial Armies will be bringing Assassins to the table. The new stratagem Operative Requisition Sanctioned is just that good. Imperial Assassins have always been pretty decent in 8th, and we saw them popping up in some of the early armies, especially Culexus and Eversors. What killed off their usage wasn’t a power drop but that it merely got hard to take them. The introduction of the Battle Brothers rule meant that to take Assassins you either had to take 3+ in a Vanguard Detachment, a decent investment, and costing you a detachment (that didn’t give you CPs) or you could take one as part of an Auxiliary Detachment, costing you a CP and a detachment. Imperial soup often uses three detachments, IK, AM, and X so those are both real costs.
With the Stratagem, however, an Assassin is a natural addition to your army. Since all Assassin are now 85 points, you can simply set that aside, and pay the CP at the start of the game to add one in. It’s effectively that same cost as taking one in an Auxiliary Detachment, but it doesn’t cost you the detachment. Even more important than that is the flexibility that this gives you. Each Assassin is good at something in particular, and with this stratagem, you can pick which will help you most in a particular game. Need to kill a lot of “minor” characters as you find in AM, SoB and GSC armies? Bring a Vindicare. Facing a lot of Pyskers, like Ynnari, Chaos or Nids? Tag in a Culexus. Gotta get rid of chaff, like Ork boys or cultist? Bring the Old Eversor, with his new rules and stratagems he can kill up to 32 models in a single combat round. Want to be weird? I guess you can bring a Callidus.
The result here is that Assassins give you a bit of a “sideboard” to pick from at the start of each battle, which is pretty powerful. At 85 points they are not a huge investment, and most armies can find the points for one. Given how good they are they are almost certain to make their points back, and can even gain you net CPs using stratagems. It is the kind of flexible tool competitive players love to have, and unlike Daemon summoning, there is no randomness to it. I think most players are going to be bringing along a Vindicare, Eversor, and Culexus to pick between each game – giving the poor Imperium a nice boost.
No doubt some of you have been giving the side-eye to the start of this post where I talk about Assassins being used in Chaos armies. Now obviously I was just kidding up there. After all Assassin Detachments can only be taken in Imperial armies, and the new Operative Requisition Sanctioned can only be used by a Warlord with the Imperium keyword. There is not a Chaos character that also has the Imperium keyword. That would be ridiculous; he’d have to be some kind of mysterious figure that flirts around the edges of the great conflicts sometimes serving one side, sometimes the other, he’d be some kind of… cipher.
Yep, that’s right everyone favorite mystery man Cypher has both the Imperium and Chaos keywords. Now, he’s a little hard to take these days, since he doesn’t have the Heretic Astartes keyword you are forced to either take him alone in an Auxiliary Detachment or Vanguard Detachment with some units of Fallen. Also, he never gets a Warlord Trait, though this does not prevent him from being your warlord. Thus if you want to spend the points, and potentially CP to get him, and sacrifice your warlord trait you can gain access to Assassins in a Chaos army. It turns out Cypher can’t summon Daemons, but he can summon Assassins.
I’m not sure this is all that great, you’ve got to jump through some hoops to do it, but it is possible. I’d love to see someone come up with a broken way to make use of this, but I’m not seeing it right now. It could lead to some cool themed lists though. It’s also very possible that GW will FAQ this to not work since I don’t think they intended Chaos to be able to use Assassins at all. Until then feel free to have your Eversors shed some blood for Blood God.
Let us know how you plan on using Assassins, down in the comments!