Assassins have gone through a few iterations but they’ve always been a fun and unique addition to Imperium armies. Now thanks to some updated rules in White Dwarf they’re gaining extra abilities, stratagems and a whole new way to add them to your army. Lets see what they can do!
The Assassins all share a number of rules in common. We’ll go over these first and then break down each type of Assassin in turn.
Points cost: They’re now 85pts across the board. An increase for some and decrease for others but this is important due to one of their new stratagems.
Profile: Each Assassin has a 4+ invulnerable save and a similar stat line. They all have a 7″ move, BS and WS 2+, Strength and Toughness 4 and Leadership 9. They also have 5 base Attacks and 5 Wounds except the Eversor who bumps this up to 6 of each.
Execution Force: This allows Assassins to be taken in a Vanguard detachment without an HQ choice. You lose the 1 CP gain from a normal Vanguard unless you take exactly 1 of each type of Assassin.
Independent Operative: This gives them deepstrike but stops them from gaining a Warlord Trait.
Priority Threat Neutralised: The first of the new stratagems. This allows you to spend 1 CP to gain 2 CP back (3 if it’s the Warlord) whenever an Assassin kills a character. A great ability and one that can potentially come up multiple times a game.
Operative Requisition Sanctioned: This is the game changer! As long as you have 85pts spare in your list and an Imperium Warlord you can spend 1 CP at the start of the game and add an Assassin of your choice to your army. Not only does this save you a detachment but you can also tailor your choice of Assassin to your opponents army. It really can’t be overstated how powerful this is. Being able to choose a Culexus against a Psyker heavy army or an Eversor against a horde can swing a game in your favour on it’s own.
The best sniper in the game is back and this time he’s got some new abilities to make him even deadlier.
Weapons: The Vindicare comes equipped with an Exitus Rifle which is 72″ range, Strength 5, AP -3 and D3 damage. It also ignores invulnerable saves and always wounds INFANTRY models on a 2+. If he connects with something’s he’s going to be ignoring all but the strongest of defences.
Deadshot: The first of the Vindicare’s abilities and it allows him to target CHARACTERS while also making any 6s to wound go up to D6 damage.
Faultless Aim: A new ability with this update allowing the Vindicare to ignore penalties to hit if he remains stationary. It wont always come up but is excellent against armies like Ravenguard or Alaitoc.
Spymask: This stops enemy models gaining the benefits of cover against the Vindicare’s shooting.
Stealth Suit: Thanks to the CHARACTER rule the Vindicare won’t be getting shot very often. However, if he does, this ability grants him -1 to be hit. Improving to -2 if he’s in cover.
Head Shot: This is the big change that really cranks up his lethality. If he manages to damage an enemy you roll a D6 and on a 3+ he causes another mortal wound. You then repeat this and need to roll a 4+, then a 5+ and finally a 6 causing extra mortal wounds each time. You’ll need to roll well to pull it off but on average it doubles his damage output.
Turbo-Penetrator Round: The first new stratagem. After you hit a VEHICLE or MONSTER you can spend 1 CP to do D3 mortal wounds instead of the normal damage. Useful for finishing off a model with 1 or 2 wounds left but if it’s got more I’d spend the CP on a wound re-roll instead. You then have the chance for more damage from Head Shot especially if you roll that 6 to wound and increase it to D6 damage.
Double Kill: Another big increase in damage output. This stratagem lets you spend 1 CP to shoot again. You have to target a different model but the chance to take out two characters a turn is huge!
When to use him: Ideally you’d be choosing the Vindicare against character dependent armies. Taking out a Farseer and shutting down an Eldar armies ability to Doom and Guide can be game winning.
Even just the threat of deploying a Vindicare can change the game. Your opponent will be forced to hide characters out of line of sight or risk losing them right away. Don’t forget he can deepstrike though. Teleporting onto a flank and Double Killing two characters your opponent thought were safe is great fun! (For you at least)
The Culexus actually took a slight nerf from his previous rules. However he’s still amazing against Psyker heavy armies and now has a couple of utility stratagems he can use aswell.
Weapons: The Culexus has two weapons. An Animus Speculum and Psyk-out Grenades. The grenades are 6″ range, D3 shots, Strength 2 and Damage 1 with no AP. This isn’t very impressive but any 6s to hit do cause automatic mortal wounds if targeting a PSYKER or DAEMON. The Animus Speculum is a bit more powerful with 18″ range, Strength 5, AP -4 and Damage 1. Like the grenade it only has D3 shots but this increases to D6 when within 18″ of an enemy PSYKER.
Psychic Assassin: The first of the Culexus’ abilities. This allows him to target a PSYKER CHARACTER even if it’s not the closest model and also lets him fire both the Animus Speculum and Psyk-out Grenades in the same phase.
Life Drain: This ability means enemies can only use invulnerable saves against his melee attacks. He’ll only be hitting at s4 with 4 Attacks but any that go through will completely ignore armour.
Etherium: This forces enemies to only hit the Culexus on a 6+ which is a huge defensive boost. Even if there aren’t any psykers on the table this ability alone makes him great at holding objectives or tar-pitting units.
Abomination: Now we’re getting to what makes the Culexus so good against psykers. This means he can never be targeted or affected by psychic powers and any psykers within 18″ subtract 2 from psychic and deny the witch tests. Previously this only worked on enemy psykers but now it will affect friendly ones as well.
Pariah’s Gaze: 1CP to increase the damage of the Culexus’ ranged weapons to D3. Situationally useful as you’re not really taking him for the damage output.
Soul Horror: 2CP to cause all enemies within 3″ of the Culexus to fight last in the fight phase even if they charged. Again this is situational but when used at the right time it can definitely swing a key combat your way.
When to use him: If your opponent has gone psyker heavy the Culexus will be a great pick. Played correctly he’ll completely shut down armies like Thousand Sons that rely on getting their powers off. Not only will he absorb any smites if he’s the closest model but he’ll also make every one of their powers harder to cast.
If you thought the Eversor was good before prepare to be amazed. With potentially 4 times the damage output per turn than his index counterpart he’s scarier than ever.
Weapons: An Eversor comes with a whole suite of weapons. An Executioner Pistol, Neuro- Gauntlet, Power Sword and Melta Bomb. The Power Sword and Melta Bomb have familiar profiles but it’s the other two weapons you’ll be using the most. The pistol comes with range 12″, 4 shots, Ap -1 and 1 damage but lets you re-roll wound rolls against INFANTRY. The Gauntlet has the same profile but is strength +1 (Bringing him up to 5) and again lets you re-roll all wound rolls.
Bio-meltdown: The Eversor’s first ability. When he’s killed you roll for each unit within 6″ and on a 4+ they suffer D3 mortal wounds. Even when he dies he’s putting out damage!
Sentinel Array: Tired of units running away from your Eversor? Well thanks to this ability he can now make a shooting attack against any unit that falls back from him. This is especially good if you tag a vehicle as you can throw a Melta Bomb when it leaves combat.
Frenzon: Here’s where he starts getting scary. This ability grants him +2 attacks on the charge (Up to 8!) and also allows him to charge 3d6 instead of 2d6. This means he’ll be reliably making those charges even when deployed over 9″ away from deepstrike.
Killing Rampage: A new ability with this update. Each enemy model killed in melee grants an additional attack against the same unit and he can also consolidate 6″ instead of 3″. With the potential to double his number of attacks per phase this is a big increase to his damage output. We’re not done there though!
Stimm Overload: 2CP for the Eversor to fight a second time at the end of the combat phase. With a potential 32 attacks from one 85pt model you’re now moving into full horde killing territory. Combined with a few pistol shots and you’ve got a good chance at taking out a full 30 mob of Ork Boyz in one turn.
Hypermetabolism: Not quite as exciting as the previous stratagem. This allows you to give the Eversor a 4+ after damage save for 1 CP. You won’t use it often but it might be just the buff you need to get to the end of the fight phase and use Stimm Overload.
When to use him: Orks, Genestealer Cult, Astra Militarum etc. If you’re facing any sort of horde army the Eversor will put in some work. The only real downside is that he’s not that great at killing actual Characters and most lists have horde killing covered by the rest of the army.
Often overlooked for the other choices I’ve actually found the Callidus to be the most impactful of the Assassins and she’s just got even better!
Weapons: For shooting the Callidus has a Neural Shredder. This is a 9″ range flamer equivalent except you roll 3d6 and if this beats the targets leadership they suffer D3 mortal wounds. Putting out mortal wounds is always great and it can potentially deter units from counter charging her.
For Close Combat she’s armed with Poison Blades and a Phase Sword. The Poison Blades grant her an extra attack at Ap -1 and 1 damage. They wound vehicles on a 6+ and anything else on a 3+. The Phase Sword is strength user (4), Ap-3 and 2 damage and crucially it ignores all invulnerable saves. When combined with the 2 damage this makes her perfect for taking out things like Smash Captains which otherwise hide behind their Storm Shield. Thanks to the Phase Sword she’s also quite good against units like Plaguebearers or Genestealers.
Polymorphine: This grants the Callidus a unique form of deepstrike allowing her to deploy 3 + D6″ away from the opponent. With the potential for being as close as 4″ away this can really mess with your opponents screening. She’ll also be reliably making her charges from deepstrike.
Hit and Run: This lets her fall back and still shoot and charge. A useful ability to have but you’ll often find she’s killed after taking out her first target.
Reign of Confusion: Here’s what makes the Callidus really special. Whenever your opponent uses a stratagem, in the first battle round, you roll a D6 and on a 4+ they have to spend an extra CP to be able to use it. Stratagems are a huge part of the game and being able to deny your opponent from using them normally can easily swing games in your favour. The best part about this is that she doesn’t even have to be on the board for it to take effect.
Acrobatic: The first of the Callidus’ stratagems is quite lackluster. For 1CP she gains -1 to be hit and the ability to advance and charge for a turn. In most cases, if she’s being targeted, this won’t be enough to save her. However if she’s in a position where only 1 or 2 units can target her due to line of sight or the character rule this could be enough to keep her alive for another turn.
Supreme Deception: 2CP to activate Reign of Confusion for a second turn. Games are usually won and lost in the first few turns. Being able to increase the cost of all your opponents stratagems for two of those can be enough to win you a game on its own.
When to use her: The Callidus is a perfect choice against CP intensive armies. Imperial Knights, Tau, Orks, Genestealer Cult etc are all wanting to use multiple stratagems and will hate having a Callidus on the table.
Assassins were good before but these new improvements have pushed them firmly into auto-include territory. Now that you can bring one without using up a detachment slot while also choosing the best type based on your opponents army you’re likely to see them in every Imperium army going forward.
Competitive rating: 5/5
What do you think of the Assassin rules? Have you had some success in your own games with them? Let us know in the comments.
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