And now I’ll talk about the Troops. Yes, the troops are next, not Elites. I’ve never understood why Elites get their own little branch on the Force Organisation Chart, when the troops are so much more important in the grand scheme of things. This section has the potential to be quite short, as there are only two choices listed there in the Codex, but I may as well include Wracks as well. Because that’s what the majority of you DE playing buggers’ll be taking them as most of the time.
Anyway, Kabalites are our first stop in this spiky expedition. Back in 5th, they really had two roles. The first was that of a small tank-hunting squad in a transport, as a blaster can be bought for the minimum-sized squad and they have a respectable BS of 4. Not terrifically effective on their own, but decent in quantity and a good supplement to the usual vehicle killers. The second use was that of deckchair. Their small minimum squad size and (relatively) low point cost made them useful as an inoffensive scoring unit that may well be ignored until too late in the game. The alternative was to increase the squad size and use them as a more substantial firebase, although the only decent anti-vehicle options were Blasters and Dark Lances. Blasters were capped at one regardless of squad size and Dark Lances were not only expensive, but limited to one per ten squad members, making it a poor anti-vehicle option from an efficiency point of view. They could be easily tooled up to be a scary anti-personnel unit with a tonne of poisoned shots and splinter cannons at their disposal, but given that they can’t even scratch a vehicle and the preponderance of mechanised armies in that edition, this wasn’t a common choice unless you anticipated ’Nids. Now the situation has changed, and troops on the ground are making a bit of a comeback. The mobility of Rapid Fire weaponry has increased markedly, so I see the splinter-heavy squad gaining some ground in this edition. The roving tank-hunters are less useful than they were in my opinion, due to the relative ease they can be taken down now. Unlike most of the DE in this edition, Overwatch has been kind to the Kabalite and their stake has definitely improved. However, the same can definitely also be said for the next unit.
Wyches are awesome in this edition. Or at least; they have the capacity to be. They were a very solid choice in the previous edition down to their abilities at vehicle-killing (for when you didn’t want more darklight) and their use as a tarpit (4+ Inv and 4+ FNP). Has much changed for them in the new edition? Well, yes, in ways both good and bad. The reduction in effectiveness of Feel No Pain hurts this unit a lot, as it was a major contributor to their survivability, having no saving throw worth talking about until they get into combat. This is the major downgrade for the unit as a whole, but as mentioned before, it’s annoyingly prevalent among almost the entire army, it’s just that Wyches rely on it even more than the Kabalites and are more expensive to boot. The lack of a first turn assault is also a strike against them, as they were one of the few units who could manage this with a decent roll (with a run of 6”, they could manage 26” charge on turn one) as is the inability to assault straight out of a webway portal. However these are kind of niche tactics anyway. I didn’t know many webway armies in 5th, and I’ve no reason to believe that they will make a resurgence in this edition. All the negatives out of the way, I’m going to focus on the positives. The major positive change for this unit is the vehicle assault rules. Simply put, these guy and girls are now unparalleled in assault vehicle takedown due to three major factors. The first is that vehicles are now far easier to hit in combat (3+ against moving vehicles, straight WS vs WS for walkers). No need to explain why that’s better. Next up is the ability of glancing hits to total vehicles. With a glancing hit or better occurring on 2+ regardless of AV, That makes these wyches impossibly good at bringing down anything with an armour value. HP4 tanks and walkers may be able to survive a round against a small squad of them. Beyond that, I don’t anticipate an armoured target lasting more than a round unless you’re very unlucky. The third is a subtle one, one that I didn’t even think of until recently. Vehicle explosions are far less likely now. In the old edition, you killed a vehicle by wrecking it on a pen (or a modified glance) or by stripping every one of its guns off it and then double immobilising. The risk of blowing the vehicle up was nearly always as great if not greater than killing the vehicle safely. I have lost a great number of Wyches to vehicle explosions, which is particularly galling versus walkers, as they tend to kill more when they blow up than they can when actually putting their minds to it. Cheap bastards. All three of these changes stacked together make one hell of a good vehicle takedown unit. They have pretty much no option against flyers though. Maybe a blast pistol. Another bonus in favour of the Wyches is the challenges rules. I won’t say much about their IC takedown (not proper, multi-wound ones at any rate), but when kitted with an Agoniser, the squad leaders are going to be able to deal with regular non-ICs very efficiently, especially on the charge. Your standard marine squad leader will be hit first, hit twice on the charge and wounded once with a weapon that allows him no save. If they want to back out of that challenge and save themselves, fine. They won’t be hitting back at all. Suffice to say, the odds are good. What they can’t easily kill, they can tie up as, and even with the reduction in FNP effectiveness, their odds of survival (against non-instant death weaponry) is about 66%, which is nothing to sniff at. In fact, it’s far better than it used to be against power weapons. Big plus on their behalf!
Wow, I’ve written longer than I expected. No Wrack write-ups for you today, reader. Unless you’re reading this in the future and skip to the next post. Elites will be a two porter, I think. There’s a lot to get through, and only so much of my lunchtime (and yours) I can waste doing it!