With 8th edition officially dropping this Saturday, and my most difficult exams having already passed, I couldn’t resist the itch to write a preview about the other army that I plan on using the most in the new edition, the Officio Assassinorum.
I know they usually aren’t an army on themselves, but I casually converted 10 of them for my last tournament (I lost every game but, oh man, did I have fun… no characters where left alive!) and I plan to still use them in 8th edition.
The thing is that when I first saw the rules I was kind of disappointed because of all the things they had lost with the general simplification of the game… but then I saw their points. These guys now cost almost half of what they used to, so they can be spammed in greater numbers. Overall I think that imperial assassins, specially Eversors, will be seen on the table to fit gaps in certain armies.
I would also like to clarify that I still haven’t played with them, this is just what I got from reading the rules, so my opinion might (and possibly will) change with time.
The four playable assassins have two rules in common:
- Lightning Reflexes: they all have a 4+ invulnerable save, which used to be too low for such expensive models, but with the huge price reduction it should be more than enough.
- Lone Operatives: they still cannot get warlord traits, whicy is kind of unfluffy when playing Execution Forces and, instead of Infiltration, they can now use the new DS mechanic of appearing within 9″ of an enemy at the end of the movement phase. While this is usually much better, allowing for turn one charges and preventing your assassins from being shot at before they get into range, it also means that in pure Officio Assassinorum armies like mine you can only use this for half of your guys, so either half of your army is made out of Vindicares or you’re going to footslogg.
Another notable thing is the wounds increase they’ve all received, usually to 5, even though their points have been reduced, but it should also be said that weapons now have damage values, so a lucky meltagun will still one-shot the assassins. However this, added to the loss of Instant Death and the new character-shooting mechanic, should make assassins more durable overall.
On the other hand, the dissapearence of initiative certainly is against them, as they usually went first before, so now it will be more important to position them well to avoid being charged.
CALLIDUS ASSASSIN – 80 points
The queen of disguise, this gal used to be famous for deploying within 1″ of the enemy and shooting their brutal AP2 flamer, but she now seems to work in a different way. The distance from which she can arrive of the enemy is now random, which is certainly worse, and the updated Neural Shredder deals 1d3 mortal wounds on a failed ld test with 3 dice, which should be better against characters, vehicles and monsters, but looses its devastating effect against units.
She has however gained in CC power, as she now always ignores invulnerables with the phase sword, and hits on a 2+, so she should be great at hunting those characters which rely heavily on invulnerable saves, mixing the phase sword attacks and the mortal wounds of the Neural Shredder. Here you can see the average wounds that they deal against MEQs, GEQs, TEQs, and Rhino-like vehicles (saves already taken into account).
You may be unimpressed, as it isn’t that much, but taking into account that she has a great chance of making Turn 1 charges due to Polymorphine, and that she has the rare ability to deal mortal wounds outside of the Psychic Phase, she may be worth her points.
CULEXUS ASSASSIN – 85 points
This used to be the best assassin by far, with the awesome permanent invisibility and his ability to completely counter the so-powerful psykers of 7th edition. However I fear that, with the loss of importance of the Psychic Phase, and the nerf he has suffered on his nullifying abilities, the Culexus is now only a shadow of his former glory.
He has, however, gained in durability even more than the other Assassinorum operatives, as he now simply changes the WS and BS of anyone targeting him to 6+, meaning that, even though he should now be weary of to hit modifiers (which usually are given by characters, which shouldn’t last much anyways against an Officio Assassinorum list…), is now also hit on a 6+ in CC, even ignoring the ability of Khârn the Betrayer as, technically, it is not a modifier, just an outright change.
However he now only gives a -2 to Psychic checks to nearby enemies, meaning that powers can still be cast and go on if they had already been thrown, so he is much weaker in that regard, and with the Animus Speculum simply changing from d3 shots to d6 when there are enemy psykers near you now can’t even feed him lowly inquisitorial psykers (which now don’t even exist, they’re part of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica) to make him more lethal.
Additionaly, with only 4 attacks (why does he have less than the others?) and the increase in wounds on most things, not even his armour ignoring ability and the improvement on his BS will make him impressive in combat, as proven by the average wounds chart, dealing less wounds than the Callidus without having such good chances of a Turn 1 charge and worse shooting:
However he still has a role in being the assassin that footsloggs through the table (because you can only start with half of your army on reserves) while tanking wounds, meaning that if you have an equal number of each Assassin you’ll be able to deep strike the Callidus and the Eversors, which are the best at CC, while deploying normally the Culexus and Vindicares, which are either lethal at a distance or can resist punishment well enough.
EVERSOR ASSASSIN – 70 p
Possibly the new best assassin, as he’s the one with the most damage dealing potential, and having kept his ability to charge 3d6 means that he now will get Turn 1 assaults on average, with the impressive number of 8 attacks on the charge and very decent stats, as well as being the only assassin with 6 wounds instead of 5.
He is also the cheapest, you could potentially bring 10 of them for only 700 points, and can deal mortal wounds when he dies, with even better chances than a vehicle! But be careful, this guys can also explode on your face and even though they now have more wounds, they’ve also lost their feel no pain save to protect them.
As said before, Eversors are the killiest of the bunch, as shown in their statistics table:
Still not that much wounds, but more than anyone else, and with the new Moral Phase taken into account this numbers should increase a bit, specially against horde units, and we shouldn’t forget that, as the other assassins, he’s better at disrupting enemy tactics than actually doing damage, and with so many weapons he’s actually kitted out to deal with any kind of enemy.
VINDICARE ASSASSIN – 90 points
Still holding the title of the most expensive Assassinorum operative (though he has still gone 60 points down), the Vindicare should now be a pretty awesome option, as he has the ability to snipe characters even if they’re not the closest unit, and now has all of his old exitus ammo effects active at the same time (except for the s10 against vehicles, he’s worse on that regard).
So, with an AP of -3 and the ability to ignore cover and invulnerable saves, not many things will be able to save against a Vindicare, and he always wounds infantry on a 2+, meaning that it will be rare for him not to deal damage at all.
He shouldn’t be shot at much, as it will be rare the occasion in which he’s the closest model (the new character-targeting rules are so great for Officio Assassinorum armies!), but when he is he’ll be able to resist some shooting, as he gives a -1 to hit debuff to any unit that target hims, -2 if he’s in cover, and now has blinding grenades which give an additional -1 to hit to the target unit (only a 12″ range though, and I think it can’t be used besides the Exitus Pistol).
The average damage chart I’ve made for him doesn’t take into account that marines and guards have a single wound, as the other tables, as Vindicares will be usually shooting at multi-wound characters; and only shows the stats for the Exitus Rifle, as the Pistol is the same but with reduced range:
As you can see, because they now wound vehicles on a 5+, they’ve lost the anti-tank role they used to have, but should be great at killing enemy characters, specially if paired with other Vindicares!
So, this is all for now, I will make more articles about them with more sophisticated statistics and when I have some games under my belt with them, I hope this to be the edition of the Assassinorum (what the hell, it won’t be, but they will still be fun)!