A Player’s Guide to Agents of Vect

The Agents of Vect Stratagem has long been one of the more potent weapons in the Drukhari arsenal, throwing off an opponent’s plan and causing them to rethink key strategies. 

Credit: Games Workshop

In this most recent iteration, the Agents of Vect Stratagem has gone from being “potentially game-breaking” to “merely very good,” and requires a lot of thought and finesse to play effectively. As a Drukhari player, identifying the right stratagems to use Vect on requires understanding your opponent’s army, the key plays it will rely on, and how Agents will deter them from acting in their best interest in future turns. 

In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about using Agents of Vect in your games, from both sides. For Drukhari players, we’ll cover when and how to use the Stratagem, and the best stratagems to use it against for each potential opponent, and for non-Drukhari players, we’ll talk about how to effectively play around the Stratagem and avoid getting hosed by its use.

 

Act I: Using Agents of Vect Effectively

Agents of Vect is a powerful Stratagem, and for 0 CP it’s free real estate. Unless your opponent literally has no stratagems they’re likely to use twice – and we’ll see a few factions kind of fall into this category – you want to make sure you use it pretty much every game. Because it requires a Stratagem be used once and then be something an opponent wants to use again – whether or not they actually do isn’t the point – you’ll generally want to use it on either the first or second battle round to ensure that you’ve used it early enough to actually have that impact. 

When you do choose a Stratagem for Agents of Vect, your ideal targets – besides things that will be used again – are stratagems with a high upside that will force your opponent to play differently. You’re not necessarily going to stop an opponent from using them at all unless they’re strapped for CP, but you can force them to play more cautiously or adjust their strategies if they can non longer afford to blow 3-4 CP on a combo. In that sense, it can be very tough to get positive feedback for a successful Vect – it’s difficult to watch for what someone isn’t playing thanks to your use of the Stratagem. So you have to be mindful of what an opponent could do and what you’ve prevented them from doing by choking off some of their CP.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Act II: When to Use Vect, and On Which Stratagems

Of course, when and how to use Agents of Vect most effectively means knowing your enemy. So our competitive correspondents got together and compiled a quick rundown of the game’s key factions, and when and how you’ll typically want to use Agents of Vect against them. Even if you’re not a Drukhari player, this section will help you understand what the most common effects are for each faction. Before we dive in here it’s worth mentioning Counter Offensive, which can, depending on your strategy and the likelihood you’ll be involved in multiple combats on multiple turns, be a great pick for Agents of Vect, particularly as it costs 2 CP base.

Adepta Sororitas

Shane: Against Sisters there are a few stratagems that you’ll see used frequently during most games. Moment of Grace allows them to modify a hit, wound, or save after it is rolled, so being able to make this cost more early will either increase their variance or cost them a few CP over the course of a game, making it win-win. Additionally Blessed Bolts is a good pick, as is Cleansing Flames if they are running Order of the Ebon Chalice, as both of these are used to dish out mortal wounds through shooting and will likely see multiple uses.

Adeptus Custodes

Shane: The Custodes stratagems you want to look for here are Emperor’s Auspice, which costs 2 CP and prevents you from re-rolling any dice on attacks against a unit, helpful if you are coming in with a plan to re-roll hits or wounds using a Succubus’ or Archon’s auras. If you’re up against a player running the Shadowkeepers, then Grim Responsibility, which gives incoming attacks -1 Strength, is a good target as well.

Adeptus Mechanicus

Rob: The Adeptus Mechanicus have a ton of tricks they can pull, though a few of them lost a lot of bite after the recent nerfs – you likely won’t have to worry nearly as much about Enriched Rounds any more, though they weren’t really a huge concern for Drukhari to begin with. Likewise, Acquisition at Any Cost is now off the menu as a once per game Stratagem. If your opponent is running the Mars Forge World then Wrath of Mars is a great pick for Vect, as it’ll likely be used early and often to drop mortal wounds on your units. If they’re running Electromancers, then Electromancer’s Wrath is also a solid pick here. Galvanic Volley Fire is another solid pick, though with that and Electromancer’s Wrath you’ll want to do some quick back-of-the-napkin math to consider how long the units using those stratagems will be on the table. If your plan is to wipe out the Rangers immediately, then using Vect on their Stratagem isn’t all that helpful. 

If you’re up against a Metalica force, Purity of the Machine is a great target, since it’ll stop you from benefiting from Lightning Fast Reactions. And against a Metalica or Ryza Veteran Cohort looking to go heavy on melee, Aggression Override can be a good target.

Astra Militarum

Scott: Guard is a tough one because I’d say the key stratagems are probably only coming up once or twice per game. The first two I’d look at are Direct Onslaught (+1 to hit for a Manticore if it has LoS) or Hail of Fire (maximum shots from a Leman Russ). Relentless isn’t a bad choice if you plan on letting bracketed vehicles stay alive, but you’re playing Dark Eldar sooooo just don’t do that. Otherwise, if it’s a Guardsmen heavy list, Consolidate Squads and Fight to the Death! are likely to come up multiple times per game. Lastly, if you ever see Regiment or Tempestus Regiment specific stratagems, you’re probably going to want to consider using Vect on them – they tend to come up a lot if you’ve built your army around it.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Black Templars

Rob: Devout Push is going to be your first priority here, since it’s a great way for Black Templars to get free movement in the Fight Phase. The Emperor’s Will can also be a good target, since making it more painful for the Templars to Advance and Charge will likely slow them down a bit. 

Blood Angels

Rob: Perhaps a testament to the book’s flaws, there isn’t really a good target for Vect in the Blood Angels stratagems; their best effects are already limited to one use per game. So just be on the lookout for regular Marine stratagems here like Transhuman Physiology.

Chaos Daemons

Mike P: The upside of having to spend all our CP pre-game, and having an abysmal suite of in-game stratagems, is that Daemons don’t present any standout targets for Vect. 

For Disciples of Be’lakor lists Minions of Magic (1 CP to cast a spell on a 9 without having to roll for it) is a key tactic if the list features a Changecaster. Boosting that cost to 2CP will really hurt. The Daemons player will have to choose between paying a ton of CP or rolling for spells that could completely ruin their plans if they fail. Mortal Boon could also be an interesting target if their lists features lots of Pink Horrors or Plague Drones seeking to abuse the ability to resurrect models instead of taking morale tests. 

For more generic lists, Aura of Acquiescence (1 CP to generate an aura of -1 Attack off any Slaanesh unit for a Fight phase) is a key tactic against melee Drukari lists that you’ll want to nerf. Warp Surge (2 CP for +1 to a unit’s invulnerable save) is another good pick if they have a single key unit they want to protect, like a Great Unclean One buffing a horde of lesser daemons and Beasts. 

Chaos Knights

Scott: Literally just Rotate Ion Shields.

Gunum: Trail of Destruction, which lets a Chaos Knight re-roll all hit rolls, is also a good play here and with a 2 CP base cost it’ll hurt quite a bit to knock that one up with Vect.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Chaos Space Marines

Rob: Chaos Space Marines are a big tent to talk about, but the majority of competitive lists right now lean heavily on Slaanesh, and that means using Endless Cacophony multiple times per game. Increasing that from 2 CP to 3 is huge, and if they aren’t playing Slaanesh then using Vect on Veterans of the Long War is another safe bet. Excruciating Frequencies is a common one for Emperor’s Children armies running Noise Marines, and Stoke the Nails or Wild Fury are solid picks if you’re up against World Eaters. 

Mike P: Rob nailed a lot of the picks for specific Legions, but I’ll keep it really simple for people who can’t tell a World Eater from a Word Bearer: 

If they have lots of Infantry, you can never go wrong Vecting Veterans Of The Long War. If they have lots of Daemon Engines, you can never go wrong Vecting Daemonforge. If you can’t tell whether to pick Veterans Of The Long War or Daemonforge, pick Veterans Of The Long War.

Craftworld Eldar

Wings: Fire and Fade. Craftworlds still get this for the bargain price of 1CP (near certain to change to 2CP when their book arrives, since the Drukhari equivalent did), and it’s prolifically used by several of the best units currently available to the faction – if you see Dark Reapers without tempest launchers, definitely shoot for this. If your opponent doesn’t have any units for which this is relevant your other choices are honestly pretty sparse – Seer Council or Lightning-Fast Reactions are probably your next best bets (the former especially against pure Craftworlds builds).. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Dark Angels

Gunum: In the Drukuari matchup, one thing Dark Angels can be a tiny bit worried about is close combat. From Wyches to Incubi the threats brought to the table can slice and dice up a Dangel line, regardless of Inner Circle. Enter Line Unbreakable, stopping units from fighting from outside of a ½” could be a real game changer, so being able to slow this down and bleed the Dangel players’ CP could be a real game changer. In the current Dangel meta, we are also seeing Assault Hellblasters just about everywhere, so of course Weapons from the Dark Age is a fantastic target, making it cost 3 per-use forces the Dark Angel player to only use it once or twice in an entire game. High-Speed Focus is one that can be used, but as Dark Angels vehicles outside of the Land Speeder Vengeance and the TalonMaster, I don’t know how important this would be to Vect, going to be matchup dependent for sure. 

Next, we have Deathwing Assault for 1CP,  you’ll only see this used maybe once, period. So don’t use it on this. It’s a trap!

Next, I have seen some rumblings of making lists that are focused around Tactical Appraisal, this moves a unit within 6” of your warlord into the Doctrine of your choice. This can be very powerful when we are looking at units like Deathwing Terminator bricks, Hellblaster squads, and my beloved Dark Talon. Moving units into the doctrine of your choice can be incredibly powerful, and as the strat is also only 1CP, pushing either of these to two makes a heavy difference to that Dangel CP total, so keep the pressure on! 

Death Guard

Rob: Some of this depends on how the Death Guard army is built. If they’re running more than one Plagueburst Crawler, then using Vect on the Disgusting Force Stratagem is a good play since they’ll likely use it multiple times during a game to push out 3-damage shots against raiders and get the splash mortal wounds. Terminator-heavy lists may also make use of Vermid Whispers more than once, and Flash Outbreak is another good pick if your opponent’s plan is to get close and use the stratagem to push out Ferric Miasma on your units. 

Deathwatch

There’s nothing you can do about Teleportarium, so the question is “what’s left?” If you’re planning on using Lightning Fast Reactions, Deathwatch can use Prognosticating Volley to ignore hit/BS modifiers, and that might be a decent play for preventing them from countering your plays. Wisdom of the Ancients is also a good pick against dreadnought-heavy lists looking to give themselves re-rolls every turn.

Drukhari

Rob: If you’re up against other Drukhari, you probably already know what they’re going to use multiple times per game. Lightning Fast Reactions and Cruel Deception are likely to see the most play in any given game, though Hunt from the Shadows may also see multiple uses depending on the table. 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Genestealer Cults

Jonk: GSCare a weird one as a lot of their key stratagems are used before the battle and only a one-time pop off strat. Having said that here are a few to look at: A Perfect Ambush (they will most likely have more than one unit and in more than one turn that they want to use this and making it cost 4cp will just be crippling), Lying in Wait, and Return to the shadows.

Grey Knights

Wings: Truesilver Armour is Transhuman Physiology but already slightly more expensive, so go ahead and crank those CP cost numbers up even further if it takes your fancy. Alternatively, hitting either Teleportation Shunt or Fight on the Move can dial down the power of Dreadknights or Interceptors, both strong units in the new book. Mental Focus or Psychic Channelling can also tax the casting of a variety of characters. Finally, if your opponent has brought a unit that’s clearly loaded for Psychic Onslaught and you don’t think you’re going to be able to kill it early, this can be a pretty reliable choice.

Harlequins

Gunum: We’re getting to a juicy faction here for Vect choices. This is an army that is rollin’ in stratagems it wants to use, so being able to make those just a little more difficult is a huge deal. The first of the ones I think you’ll see used multiple times is going to be Virtuosos of the Webway, this allows the clown player to pick up any unit it wants, and place it 9” away at the end of their following movement phase, a strategy that can be used on MSU Player squads to try and get ROD. Next, I’d keep an eye out for the classic Fire and Fade, in the more ride focused lists, this is used to cheese up their Melta-pistols right up into your face and may be used often. Lighting Fast Reactions is my next one, this can be used to protect their very squishy infantry and may be used multiple times, making it cost 3CP, makes it a non-starter. I’ll end on my favorite, most used one myself: Prismatic Blur. Harlees advance, ALL the time. So they will be pushing their invulnerable save down to a 3++, often. Make them pay for it, Elves aren’t supposed to be that durable! They have a bunch of other stratagems, but seeing them used more than once may be hard, as they would have used a ton of CP already before it would come up. 

Imperial Knights

Scott: Literally just Rotate Ion Shields.

Orks

Wings: The new book is still being experimented with, so things might change here, but early standouts include Get Da Loot out of Freebooterz, Drive By Dakka from Evil Sunz and Tough as Squig Hide if you find yourself facing down Squighog Boyz or a Squigosaur. Once the Kill Rig is available, expect Monster Hunterz to be a great choice as well.

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Necrons

Gunum: This is my pet project army and with that, I was able to hyperfocus onto the stratagems that I thought were standouts, and I’ll share it with our Drukari overlords. Extermination Protocols is a very powerful stratagem, giving the Lokhust Destroyers reroll all wounds. It’s a fantastic target for Vect, especially since it is set at 2CP. Let them have their turn of rerolls, using 3CP on it the next time is a major feel bad. Another one you may see with people who are bringing DoomsDay Arks, is Techo-Oracular Targeting, this is a bit of a throw away 1CP strat that allows a single shot from a unit to Auto-wound. You’ll see this come through when that darn Space Zombie Robo wants to really get damage through. The other options are very matchup dependent, talking about Reconstitution Protocols, (1CP heal an extra D6 unit with a Ghost Ark instead of D3) Quantum Deflection, (1CP, 4+ invul on a Quantum Shielding unit) and finally Blood Rites, giving Novokh units an extra attack.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out Dimensional Destabilisation, allowing a C’tan to use an extra power after its built in ones. If you’re playing vs a C’tan, you’ll see this often and is a huge target for Vect. 

Wings: I’d add that if you see one of the surprisingly popular Skorpekh spam builds then Whirling Onslaught is a very good choice as well, as those lists are likely to be using it multiple times a turn.

Space Marines

JonK: Using this on Transhuman Physiology will almost certainly get you the most value against the broad spectrum of Marine factions. Outside of that it is pretty tough to say because depending on the faction they really value some and have no use for others. Know the marine faction you are playing and what is and is not valuable to them.

Wings: As mentioned under Deathwatch, Wisdom of the Ancients is another good choice that may as well be generic since the vast majority of Marine lists are packing either Redemptors and/or Volkite Contemptors. Combat Revival is the other one you’ll see a lot, and hitting this will be deeply frustrating to Marine players who’ve paid a premium to buy a Chief Apothecary.

Space Wolves

JonK: Using this stratagem on things like Keen Senses will likely net you the most value.  Anywhere you can find a way to make their lives more painful is a big help as most competitive lists these days come in at 5-8cp to start. Cloaked by the Storm will also net you decent value early on if you want to basically stop a wolves player from using this combo; at 3CP it’s just not worth it anyway and thus no one will use it the rest of the game.   

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

T’au Empire

Jonk: Coordinated Engagement is a pretty important stratagem if you see a large brick of Crisis suits across from you, moving this from 2 up to 3 CP will really hurt the already sad-sack Tau. Command-and-control Node and Multi-spectrum sensor suite will be quality places to also use Vect.

Gunum: Those of you who have seen my recent HMO showing may have the keen eye that I am currently really into these guys. JONK has touched on the primary options here, but there are a couple I really wanted to bring up. First, Uplinked Markerlight is a 1CP strat that adds D3 more markerlights, and will be used every turn possible. Next, for all of those Farsight Enclave crisis bombs out there, you’ll want to Vect Defence in Numbers, this pushes their ignored wounds on a 5+ to 3CP, which is huge and going to help this option get removed from the table due to the cost. The other one you will see often, and I’m talking about every game, is Aerial Targeting. This is picking any unit on the table and applying one more Markerlight to it. Incredibly helpful to get any markerlight count to 5, and you’ll see this often. 

Thousand Sons

With a new Codex coming out it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what strategies will look like for the book but Wrath of the Wronged, Infernal Fusillade, and Malefic Scroll all seem like decent picks likely to be chosen multiple times per battle. If your opponent is running Scarabs, then Unwavering Phalanx is also a good target if you plan on being able to attack the unit with 2+ damage attacks multiple times per game.

Tyranids

JonK: With tyranids you will want to use this on Single-Minded Annihilation since anyone with hive guard will always want to be firing twice every single turn. The deepest shadow, Opportunistic advance, Pathogenic slime are all pretty strong stratagems most tyranid players will try to use almost every turn depending on the list.

Gunum: With recent changes, Symbiotic Devastation could be one you see more than once as you reach out and try to touch Exocrine. At 1CP to fall out and shoot, making this less of an option could be a thing you’ll see. Unyielding Chitin is another common one used in quite a few lists. Tyranid Warrior bombs have been replaced by the Dimacarian in a lot of lists, but if you see a brick of 9 of these guys across from you, making this go up to 2CP would be great. Final one I’ve got here is Rapid Regeneration, healing a unit for D3 wounds at 2CP may not be used often, but if you’re playing versus some of the larger monster mash lists, making a heal strat cost 3 will almost make it useless. 

Ynnari

Wings: Fire and Fade is still a good pick here, but depending on the list you might actually do better with Inevitable Fate, since generally if someone is going in on Ynnari it’s because they have exciting plans for getting big value from wound re-rolls.

 

Credit: Robert “TheChirurgeon” Jones

Act III: Playing Against Agents of Vect

What if you’re not on the offensive with Vect but instead going up against the Stratagem? Well there are a few things to keep in mind as you take on opponents waiting to use it on you.

Don’t be afraid to execute your strategy. Vect is a pain, but it can only be used after you use your key stratagem, which means that you shouldn’t be afraid to execute the first time. If you spend all game avoiding a key strat and letting your opponent dictate the matchup, then you’re basically letting your opponent get the benefit of Vect without ever having to use it, which is even worse.

Find ways to bait out Vect. If you’re really worried about a particular Stratagem, try tossing out some others first that are good Vect targets. Your opponent likely has certain things in mind as they’re watching you play, and if you give them other juicy options for Vect they may bite on one of those.

Find other ways to accomplish your goals. Sometimes there’s more than one way to take out a key unit or get yourself into position without using a Stratagem that will expose you to hurt. In those cases, see if you can take an alternate route to success that doesn’t open you up to Vect. If you can hold off on using your key Stratagem for a turn, you may be able to force your opponent to hold out with Vect until it’s too late to get real value out of it.

Regardless of what your opponent does, remember that Vect is only going to cost you CP in the long run so after you’re hit with it, think about how it will affect your future CP spends and plan accordingly. Some armies will fare better against Vect than others, but there are few for whom the effect is crippling.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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