The Inquisition is the one of the most fearsome bodies in the Imperium, the very thought of attracting the attention of its agents being enough to reduce planetary governors to quivering wrecks and many of the plans of the enemies of Terra thwarted by its hands.
This has… not been terribly well represented on the tabletop for the last two years. Having seen occasional use early on prior to the introduction of the Battle Brothers rule, the forces of the Inquisition have largely vanished from 40K battlefields since it arrived, hampered by being pretty much the only remaining faction still using a launch-day Index and having a very limited unit list. Brave souls would occasionally deploy a Supreme Command detachment, but by and large the hands of the High Lords retreated to the shadows.
The wait is over, because they’re finally back, and in a big way! Not only does the Inquisition get a tuned up unit list, expanded range of psychic powers, warlord traits and relics, they get what’s been crucially missing up till now – a way to slide into other Imperium armies without using up a detachment slot, Assassin style. Even better, unlike Assassins this is fully compatible with the new Space Marine codex, allowing the current top dogs of the metagame to make use of these cool new options as well. That pretty much guarantees that we’ll see these tested out at the highest levels, so whether you shed a tear each time you gaze upon an Aquila or wake up every morning cursing the name of the Emperor and plotting to tear down all his works, read on to find out what we think these new rules bring to the table.
Inquisitorial forces get two special army construction rules, one a restriction and one a very important bonus.
- If you have an inquisition detachment, you can only include one INQUISITOR. This is presumably intended to make a detachment represent a single Inquisitor and their retinue.
- If your army has no INQUISITION detachments and every unit in your army is either IMPERIUM (excluding FALLEN) or UNALIGNED you can add a single INQUISITOR unit to any other detachment without using up a detachment slot. This does not prevent that detachment from benefiting from abilities like Chapter Tactics, and also doesn’t prevent your army benefiting from abilities requiring your whole army to share it (like the most important example, Combat Doctrines).
It is very likely that the overwhelming majority of Inquisitors that get used are going to be being added by the second method. The psychic powers in this Index are very potent, and allowing Imperium armies to access them without messing around with their construction is a huge boon.
Having gone through the Index, we think it is plausible that you’ll occasionally see full detachments used just because of how cheap and potentially useful a minimum sized Vanguard is for some armies. Acolytes can be taken as single model units for 8pts a pop and become CHARACTERs when they do, meaning that the cheapest possible Vanguard is only 79pts. If you aren’t using all three of your detachment slots you can do worse than to put this in – three back-line objective holders and a useful psyker are a pretty good deal at that price!
Ordo Alignment and Quarry
Ordos are the inquisitorial sub-factions, with each unit having an <ORDO> keyword to replace with your chosen one from a list of four (named characters obviously have specified ones).
As well as determining compatibility for some abilities (like the ability of Acolytes to throw themselves in the way of bullets for an Inqusitor) they also determine the effect that’s on most of the datasheets in the index – Quarry.
This provides any units that have it with re-rolls to hit and re-rolls to wound against any units with specific keywords. The difference between the Ordos are which keywords are affected, representing the different kind of target each faction hunts. The options are as follows:
- Ordo Malleus: CHAOS or DAEMON units.
- Ordo Hereticus: CHAOS or PSYKER units.
- Ordo Xenos: Any units that are not IMPERIUM, CHAOS or UNALIGNED.
- Ordo Minoris: CHARACTER units.
Full re-rolls on everything is a hefty bonus. Doing damage isn’t usually the be all and end all of what an Inquisitor is going to be doing for you (as we’ll see) but sending one against the right targets gives you a hefty boost to your output.
In a world where Space Marines are by far the most popular faction that would naturally draw you towards the Ordo Minoris option, but there’s a snag with that – because these represent smaller orders with less of a unifying purpose they don’t get unique traits, relics or psychic powers, and don’t boast any of the named characters.
Outside that, the Ordo Hereticus has the broadest target spectrum – it’ll let you go after 95% or the same stuff Malleus does (as DAEMONs without the CHAOS keyword are very few and far between) while also letting you take a swing at any Psykers from Imperium or Xenos factions you might come across.
That makes it the safest pick on this basis alone, but we suspect you’ll probably end up choosing your Ordo based on some of the other rules in this Index. Malleus might appear to be the weakest based on this alone, but they have some very powerful options down the line that potentially swing them all the way towards being the best choice!
Common to all INQUISITOR units, this lets friendly IMPERIUM units make use of the Inquisitor’s Ld characteristic instead of their own while they’re within 6″. This is mostly a nice to have, but a pretty good one. All Inquisitors have at least Ld 9 and there are options to have one with 10 or even 11 in the case of Karamazov. That means most Imperium units will get at least a small boost to their resolve by having an Inquisitor nearby and if you find yourself loading up on lots of guard infantry squads this can evolve into an actually genuinely useful boost.
TheChirurgeon’s Note: Unlike many abilities that allow for Leadership sharing, this one works all the time, not just for Morale tests. That means it can also be used to protect against psychic powers that involve roll-offs with leadership, or even offensively — Inquisitor Coteaz can give a Dark Angels Librarian Ld 10 when casting Mind Wipe, giving them an extra edge against big targets.
Authority of the Inquisition
Any INFANTRY models with this ability (and it’s all of them) can ride in any IMPERIUM transport regardless of its normal faction keyword requirements, with the exception that TERMINATOR models can only go in transports that can already carry them. This doesn’t get you around limitations on some more specific transports like anything that specifies PRIMARIS marines, but gives you quite a lot of choices.
Transports are very useful things to have for characters, as they keep your drop count down and protect them from snipers early on. Squishy high-value infantry like Acolytes definitely need some sort of protection to be worth thinking about, so this makes them more likely to be usable as well.
However, that’s only the boring way of thinking about it, and the Inquisition is for exciting, dynamic people (or at least people who tell you to be more boring at gunpoint). This ability is unusually, some would say dangerously broad, and we would be remiss if we didn’t consider some of the more esoteric things that you can potentially do with it.
The following Imperium transports have some sort of ability over and above the norm that could offer some unusual strategies:
- Sororitas Repressor: Open topped, allowing for exciting drive-bys with Acolyte units. If you like drive-bys, but want to shoot a lot of guns you could instead take…
- Astra Militarum Stormlord: Do you want to pack 18 plasma gun wielding Acolytes into a single, already dangerously-fragile-for-its-cost package? You can! Should you? Absolutely not!
- Valkyries: You can drop these out using Grav Chute insertion (or even the specialist detachment enhanced version), but the payoff doesn’t really feel like it’s here – you can already pack these with special weapons with better BS.
- Terrax Assault Drill: A very potent delivery tool. Probably quite good letting your Inquisitor pop up with some AdMech electro-priests and suppress overwatch.
- Drop Pod: …uh-oh. Our candidate for “thing on this list most likely to get a swift FAQ”, nothing about the current wording on Marine drop pods stops you loading them up with Inquisition stuff and deep-striking turn one. Six tooled up Acolytes with a Jokaero and an Inquisitor seems like a pretty vicious (if fragile) thing to be able to slam down with impunity and you can even use the Ordo Xenos psychic power to force the enemy to waste shots on the drop pod first if they want to shoot them back. As it stands this might be the best way to deploy acolytes as an attacking force. It’s probably not actually broken or anything but it’s potent and probably not super intentional, so quite likely to get a swift nerf.
“But wait Wings”, you say, “doesn’t this sort of stuff normally come at the end of the review?”.
Yes, they do, but the contents of the stratagem list for the Inquisition makes them something of a special case. We think most Inquisitors are going to show up as lone agents in other armies, which would normally make them unlikely to be your warlord, making traits and relics kind of academic. However, GW have cunningly foreseen this, and the first and most important stratagem on this list is as follows:
- Inquisitorial Mandate – 1CP: Use this stratagem before the battle. Choose an INQUISITOR from your army and give them a warlord trait, and if they aren’t a named character give them a relic as well. A
This opens the floodgates on making use of the Warlord traits and relics on ride-along Inquisitors and should see heavy use. The relics are merely fine, but all three of the Ordos have extremely good Warlord traits that are part of what are going to make their Inquisitors worth taking. This is why we’ve brought this section forward – for the Inquisitors in the units list, access to this stratagem and the associated traits is a huge part of why you’re going to want them.
Obviously this goes down in value a bit for named characters, as they don’t get to take a relic and have a fixed trait, but all of them get a trait that contributes effectively to what they’re best at doing, and have special tricks that are considerably better than any of the relics, so it doesn’t hurt as much as it could.
Before we cover out traits and relics, the rest of the stratagems are as follows. You gain access to the above and all of the rest by being a battle forged army with any INQUISITOR units in it:
- Cyclonic Torpedo – 4CP: Once per battle in your shooting phase, pick a point on the battlefield and drop some light Exterminatus on it. Roll for each unit within 2d6″ and deal d3 MWs on a 4+, or 5+ for characters. 4CP. 4CP. Orbital bombardment style effects tend to be trap choices anyway as they’re usually costed for the situations where they overperform, as making them too good would lead to some serious feel bad games. I assume the threat of triggering this and other similar effects in the same turn made them hike the cost up but god damn, maybe just include “cannot be used if you have already used ~other strats this turn”? Regardless, this is not worth spending 4CP on. D
- Seize for Interrogation – 1CP: Once per battle when an enemy character dies within 3″ of any of any INQUISITION units from your army, gain D3 CP. This won’t come up every game, as Inquisitors are overwhelmingly “OK” at combat rather than “good” at it, but it’s pure upside when it does. Don’t do really stupid stuff just to trigger it. B
- Requisition – 1CP: Use during the shooting phase, fight phase or enemy charge phase. Give a friendly IMPERIUM INFANTRY or BIKER unit re-roll 1s to hit against a unit matching your quarry. Very marginal, to be quite honest – Imperial armies tend to have excellent re-roll support and if that support is, for some reason, not in position it’s pretty unlikely your Inquisitor will be. Even then, the enemy has to have the right keywords. Will rarely come up, but still can’t really go below a C because on the occasion that it does it’s probably worth the cost. C
As already foreshadowed, the Warlord Traits section is really where the good times start to roll in this Index – this is a fantastic trait list, with to our minds three excellent choices, and three that are a bit less stunning but still aren’t bad per se. We think Inquisitors will pay to get a pick from this list a very high proportion of the time.
- Radical: Once per battle round you can re-roll a hit roll, wound roll, damage roll, psychic test or deny the witch test for the warlord. Stolen from the Eldar codex, which I will grudgingly allow as making thematic sense, this is an extremely good start – broadly applicable re-rolls are great anyway and having the option of a both-dice re-roll on key casters (which Inquisitors are often going to be) is very handy, as it helps mitigate the risk of a double one. Is the mandatory trait for Eisenhorn, and given his main draw is being a two-cast psyker with access to the Ordo Xenos power, is pretty good on him. B+
- Puritan: Add one to the invuln save of the warlord (to a maximum of 3++). This is…fine but probably not what you’re taking here – when you spend a CP to take a trait it’s going to be for a purpose, not to make a unit you don’t really want in a fight a bit tougher. C
- Formidable Resolve: Add one to the leadership of the Inquisitor and add 6″ to the range of their unquestionable wisdom ability. Normally you can pretty quickly write off any trait with “leadership” in the wording, and I don’t think this actually gets there, but you do have to stop and at least consider it, because this very nearly says “your entire army is Ld10 most of the time” (or Ld11 if you take this on Karamazov, who has it as his mandatory trait). The strongest argument against it is probably that there aren’t any armies that are going to want this enough to pick it over some of the spicy Ordo-specific ones, but we wouldn’t be totally if this turned out to finally be a Ld boost effect good enough for people to want it. C+
TheChirurgeon’s Note: See my earlier note about offensive shenanigans with Leadership and now apply them to Karamazov. I doubt it’s worth taking him over, but having Ld 11 casting on your D6+Ld abilities is hilarious.
- Ordo Hereticus – No Escape: The warlord has a 6″ Heroic Intervention move and units without a minimum move can’t fall back if you roll a 4+ when they try. The extra Intervention range is nice but the fall back blocking is the big money here – it’s a rare and extremely powerful ability when used properly, and there’s even an Overwatch suppression psychic power to go with it. The power is held in check a bit by there not really being any delivery options for inquisitors other than transports, but this is very helpful to Greyfax, who has it as her assigned one, giving her something to do in games where her psyker-hunting capabilities aren’t in demand. B-
- Ordo Xenos – Esoteric Lore: As long as the warlord is on the battlefield, gain a CP on a 5+ each time your opponent uses a stratagem. Er. Sure. Add CP farming to any Imperium army for 55pts and a CP. Sounds good to us. A
TheChirurgeon’s Note: Thanks, I hate it.
- Ordo Malleus – Psychic Mastery: The Warlord knows an extra power and gets an extra cast and deny. Hot damn. The psychic powers are one of the biggest draws to this Index and getting to pick two of them instead of one is a massive deal, especially as this can go on a teleporting Terminator Inquisitor. This is probably going to be the trait we see the most and is also the mandatory choice for Coteaz, taking him from “probably the best named character” to “definitely the best named character.” A
The Ordo Malleus and Ordo Xenos are the biggest winners here, both giving you strong reasons to pick those Inquisitors for your army.
Amongst an otherwise very interesting Index, the relics are a bit of a letdown. Inquisitors could have all kinds of wacky tools, but instead there are five weapon options and one mild defensive buff. Ultimately, you’re usually getting one of these for free because you want a warlord trait on a non-named Inquisitor, so they’re nice to have, but extremely forgettable.
- Blade of the Ordo: Relic power sword. S+1, and D3 Damage, or straight 3 Damage against your quarry. It’s fine, but even once you add it you’re attacking at WS3+ S4, which is really not what a capable 8th ed combatant is made of. It also means paying for a power sword. C+
- Digital Weapons: Straight from the Marine supplements – make one extra attack each time you fight, and deal a flat MW on a hit. Extremely not worth it – if you’re paying for a weapon loadout one of the other options will do more, and it’s a far worse “free” option that the next one. D
- Blackshroud: -1 to wound the bearer. Boring but probably the default choice – there just isn’t really a way to make an inquisitor murderous enough to combat spec them, so “marginal boost to chances of getting out of a tight scrape” is probably the pick a solid 90% of the time. Still not getting an A because of how dull it is. B+
- Ordo Hereticus – Ignis Judicum: Relic inferno pistol with 12″ range that always gets the melta bonus against CHAOS or PSYKER units. This sounds OK until you realise that for 8 extra points you can just buy a meltagun for your Inquisitor and take the Blackshroud instead. I guess the only big selling point is that if your Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor successfully traps something in combat they can shoot them with this. OK fine I guess that’s funny enough to add “+” to the grade. C+
- Ordo Xenos – Bio-Corrosive Poisons: The bearer’s melee weapons always wound non-VEHICLE and TITANIC targets on a 2+. I went through the melee weapon list, and adding this to a force sword actually is OK in some matchups, letting the Inquisitor act as at least a modestly potent counter charge threat against incoming enemies, especially MONSTER heavy factions. Might just about persuade me to stick a force sword on said Inquisitor so I have the option in the right game, so gets a B-
- Ordo Malleus – Tainted Blade: Each time you fight you have to roll a d6, and on a 1 can’t use this and take a mortal wound. S+3, and each time an enemy fails a save against this you can make an extra attack. This is…awful. Inquisitors only have four attacks at WS3+, so most of the time 2 extra attacks from this is the ceiling of what you can get out, and you probably don’t want your Inquisitor wading into the kind of chaff where you’d be pulling that off anyway. The fact that this has a drawback on top of that is just absurd. D
Blackshroud is the overwhelming favourite here – you aren’t usually going to want your Inquisitors in a fight, and it helps them get away in the case they’re forced to have one.
Psychic Powers – Telesthetica Discipline
Last but extremely not least for the army-level rules, we have psychic powers. These is some spicy stuff in here, and that’s a big part of why we think the Ordo Malleus (who can pick two) are likely to be the biggest players out of the Inquisition.
- Terrify – WC6: Give an enemy unit within 18″ -1Ld and make it unable to fire overwatch. Overwatch suppression is a crucial ability to have in some matchups, so giving access to it to the whole Imperium is very impactful right out of the gate. B+
TheChirurgeon: You are out of your damn mind to only give this a B+. This thing is an open-palm windmill-slam, I-am-taking-this-for-my-White-Scars-Lightning-Claw-Vanguard-Veterans-all-day-long layup for powers that are going to quickly make everyone regret that they exist. A+
Wings Counter Note: …or you could just use the Scars-native overwatch suppressing power that actually works properly against Tau on them? Look, a B+ is a good rating, this is a good power and all but I had a good hard think about what stuff Imperium armies are currently charging with and into what targets and concluded there were too few situations where it felt broken enough to get the top grade. The best users for it are probably Blood Angels and Space Wolves, and maybe it’s so good there that it revitalises them substantially and you can be smug at me. B+
- Psychic Fortitude – WC4: Make a friendly unit within 12″ immune to morale till your next turn. OK there had to be one miss. The circumstances where this will do anything are outrageously narrow and it’s pretty much worthless. Don’t think I don’t see you there in the comments typing “what about conscripts”, and you may as well not bother – it’s still terrible. D
- Dominate – WC6: Select a non-VEHICLE model within 12″ and roll 3d6. If you beat their leadership, you can make one melee attack with them or shoot one weapon. This is a pretty heavily gimped version of GSC’s mind control – not being able to hit vehicles in particular is a huge blow. It can still do neat stuff, but the success cases are pretty narrow, and you’ll usually pass if by for the better options. C
- Mental Interrogation – WC6: Pick an enemy character within 12″. They get -1 to hit until your next psychic phase, and you also roll against their leadership on 3d6, getting a CP if you equal or beat it. This is an exceptionally good flex pic against Knights, and might manage to harvest you a few CP in other games, although the short range is going to hold that back. Still, when it’s good it’s great so it gets a B+
- Psychic Pursuit – WC7: Pick a <10W enemy CHARACTER within 18″ and an <ORDO> unit within 6″. That <ORDO> unit can target that character even if they aren’t the closest target. This is a weird one because as there’s no ranged loadout you can arrange on an Inquisitor to let them threaten to reliably one-shot something, this needs you to bring a full detachment and find a way to make acolytes do work with it. We will cover a full blown galaxy brain way to try and make this viable later on, but it’s not going to get any generic use. D*
- Castigation – WC6: Pick a visible enemy unit within 18″ and roll 3d6. If you beat the lowest Ld characteristic in it, deal d3 MWs. Pretty good as targeted smites go – as you’re almost always odds-on to land the hit once you’ve cast it. The fact that it does still tend to underperform smite means this is mostly for Malleus inquisitors with two casts, but as I well know from putting Yvraine into Craftworld lists being able to randomly tap in a double smiter is really handy for many lists, and priced to move here. B+
- Ordo Hereticus – Ascertainment – WC6: Pick an enemy unit within 12″. They get -1A until your next turn (to a minimum of 1). In addition, roll 2d6. If you equal or beat the highest Ld, they also get -1 to hit. The mass target counterpart to Mental interrogation, this can be good but is surprisingly hard to line up – a lot of powerful melee threats do their best charges out of deep strike and putting a caster within 12″ pretty much necessitates getting within their threat range and thus in fairly severe peril. The Ld rolloff is also way less reliable here. I think ultimately you only want this if you’re using it offensively to mitigate the risk of sending one of your own melee units in to tangle with something spicy – trying to use it as a purely defensive tool isn’t going to pan out. I guess it’s also theoretically a combo with the Hereticus warlord trait, allowing you to soften up something you’re planning to trap in melee, but it still doesn’t make it safe to charge, say, a Knight. Ultimately, there’s some interesting stuff going on here and I can see it getting used sometimes, but it’s not a slam dunk. B-
- Ordo Xenos – Psychic Veil – WC5: Until your next psychic phase, Ordo Xenos units within 6″ cannot be targeted unless they’re the visible closest target, and can only be charged from within 6″. This can be combined with Eisenhorn and Psychic Pursuit for a galaxy brain combo, but unlike the other power it’s much more defensible in its own right, to the point of making Xenos the easy pick for anyone who actually wants to bring an Inquisition detachment. The lure of acolytes is that they can load up on cool toys, but the downside is that they have guardsman defensive stats, so doing so makes them massive glass cannons. This lets some Xenos acolytes lurk in a second rank and blast away with their plasma guns (or whatever) with relative impunity. The other potentially quite important thing this can do is let you use a Xenos detachment to provide a nigh completely impermeable deep strike charge screen, with the only viable counter being the GSC Perfect Ambush stratagem. All you have to do is have one plane or something that flies forward to stop them being shot up, and then three units of Acolytes can emanate out from an Inquisitor in three directions and ward off a huge proportion of the board. Deep strike charges are a little bit on the ebb at the moment metagame wise (and/or the best ones also have 11″ range flamers) but if that changes this could be a viable tech option. Between that and giving people a way of actually playing shooting Acolytes, I feel we have to give it a B
- Ordo Malleus – Power Through Knowledge – WC6: Give an IMPERIUM BIKER or INFANTRY unit a 5++ till your next psychic phase. Goodness me. This is one of those “think of all the possibilities” moments, and is by far the most likely thing here to turn out to have something properly excellent you can do. Off the top of my head the best targets are probably Space Marine things – any of Aggressors, Bikers, Hellblasters or hell even just 10-model intercessor squads get a big boost out of this. This is especially true for Raven Guard or White Scars, as being able to bring one of those units onto the board and immediately tag a 5++ onto it means they never have to be “shields down”. Jump pack Death Company in Blood Angels are also big winners. Astra Militarum also have some uses – this is where I’m marginally more inclined to wonder about Conscripts as you can stack it to a 4++ with Psychic Barrier, and protecting some inbound Tempestus Scions is also probably at least fine. Assuming their defensive stats are unchanged from the Index, Arco-Flagellants also love this a lot out of Sororitas. This is one of those powers that’s extremely difficult to analyse fully out of the gate because its possible applications are as broad as the INFANTRY and BIKER keywords for all existing and future IMPERIUM units, which is quite a lot of stuff. Even with my first impressions there’s a whole bunch of units I’ll look at again just because this exists, so it has to be worth an A
TheChirurgeon’s Note: This power is a huge mistake.
There is some depth going here. Probably the most common configuration in competitive lists is going to be a double-cast Malleus inquisitor with Power Through Knowledge and Castigation, but there’s several here you’ll swap in for one of those in the right game (or if you don’t have a PTK target).
With all that cleared out of the way, we can finally go through the actual units the Inquisition has to offer. Attention will obviously be focused on the HQ slot where Inquisitors both named and otherwise reside, but the Elites slot fills out the options for taking an actual detachment, and for players wanting a thematic Inquisition contingent you’ll need to look there.
Easily the most visually impressive Inquisitor, Karamazov is sadly a bit lacklustre when it comes to actual rules. He stomps around on the Throne of Judgement, a dreadnought-like contraption that gives him some souped up defences (T5, 8W and a 4++), mounts a master crafted multi-melta (which is R30″ and Assault) and makes 2d3 extra stomp attacks when he fights. At only 115pts Karamazov is a pretty cost efficient package, but is still unlikely to be one of the more popular Inquisitor options. His fancy robo-throne only has a paltry movement of 5″, and he eschews psychic powers in favour of being very good at stopping powers that target him – but doesn’t provide any wider psychic defence. Overall, this makes him quite tough to use effectively, and while a character-screened multi-melta shot isn’t nothing, most armies would probably rather spend the points on a character that filled an HQ slot and had better synergies with their existing plans.
If there is any army that wants him it will be for his leadership buff. His mandatory warlord trait is Formidible Resolve, which takes him to Ld11 and gives his Unquestioned Wisdom ability a 12″ range. Combined with his large base, that’s Ld11 for most of an Imperium army right there, and if an army arises that needs that to solve a problem, Karamazov is waiting. For now though, we’re not convinced that army exists.
If a use is found for actual detachments of Inquisition forces we think there’s a good chance Eisenhorn will be part of it. At a 25-point premium over a normal inquisitor he picks up a second cast and known power, along with some OK weapons and a 6+++ (though he loses the 5++ most Inquisitors have). Being a two-cast Ordo Xenos psyker is very useful for making a detachment, as it potentially lets him use both Psychic Pursuit and Psychic Veil in a single turn, letting some Acolytes go after a character while suffering minimal reprisal.
As well as this, if you keep 25pts in reserve with him you can summon a souped up Daemonhost (representing Cherubael) at the end of any movement phase in exchange for switching off his Unquestioned Wisdom ability (summoning Daemons is bad, kids). The Daemon gets +2 to S, T, W and A, and gets +1 to hit, wound and save while within 6″ of this model. That’s a reasonably nasty package overall – while it lacks the multi-damage weapons to go after characters, it’s very good at chewing through chaff and is a decent counter-charge investment.
The main question is if it’s worth it outside dedicated Inquisition detachments. Bringing 2 casts and a floating friend is an OK offering, but in most Imperium lists Coteaz is going to get the nod over him. As said, however, if you want to actually bring acolytes, Eisenhorn is likely your best bet. Also, when he gets them all brutally killed, it will be thematically appropriate.
Greyfax is where we start to get warmer on things that might get dropped into wider Imperium lists, as she’s a very potent anti-psyker tool. Coming in at a pretty reasonable 85pts, she packs two denies at +1 (along with a single cast for whatever utility power you want) and can snipe enemy psykers with her master crafted condemnor boltgun, which at D3 against psykers does actually threaten to randomly pop them sometimes (remembering that she’ll have full re-rolls).
She’s also OK in melee, having remembered that she needs to bring a D2 weapon to have any change of performing, but will be held back a bit there by only having S3. She’s also probably more “optional” to add a warlord trait to than most, as if you don’t think she’s going to get into a fight you don’t need to by her melee-focused trait. If you’re tight on CP that makes her pretty interesting, and bringing her in as psychic defence in something like Knights might be pretty common – were it nor for the existence of…
Daaaamn son. Coteaz is our pick for best thing out of this Index, and probable fixture of Imperium lists in the near future. He sports a 90-point price tag compared to 55 points for a vanilla Inquisitor, but gives you a lot for the extra points. He sports a 2+ save and a very decent melee profile (A4, S6, AP-3, 3 Damage), meaning he can actually tangle with stuff, and comes with two casts as baseline (though only knows one power, meaning one cast is always smite).
What pushes him over the top is two things:
- He has Psychic Mastery as his mandatory warlord trait, giving him a second known power, two denies and a mighty three casts, letting him Smite, Castigate and use a utility power. That’s a bargain for 90pts, considering the popularity of Yvraine in a similar role in Eldar lists at 115pts.
- His Spy Network ability is awesome.
Spy Network has two effects. The first is that whenever an enemy unit is set up on the battlefield, one ORDO MALLEUS within 6″ unit can shoot at it. Even if you aren’t bringing any other units this is actually alright as Coteaz has a shooting attack via his psyber-eagle. The attack is relatively weak but it triggers every time an enemy unit pops up and is only limited by the range of the bird (24″), meaning that if GSC want to bring in multiple squads of flimsy guys there’s a good change they lose a model from each. Not massive, but every little helps.
The big effect is much more significant. Once per game when an opponent uses a stratagem, you can force them to spend an extra CP or have the stratagem have no effect and the CP refunded. This sounds innocuous, but is heinously powerful towards the late game. If your opponent has exactly enough CP left to activate a multi-stratagem combo, they just…can’t, any more. If they have 1CP left, when they try to use that crucial re-roll you can just stop it. Sure they can have the CP again to use in a later phase, but as we know from Vect and 4AE, temporarily stopping a stratagem can be game winning.
Not forgetting that Imperium lists can also pack in a Callidus or use the Raven Guard stratagem to further tax enemy CP this is a very good ability, and comes stapled to the kind of package you already love to see. Expect Coteaz to do work for the forces of the Emperor, and sadly to probably outshine most of the other options here while doing it.
Ordo Malleus Inquisitor in Terminator Armour
A firm runner up behind Coteaz and the best of the generic options, the terminator Inquisitor is another very powerful option. Because of modern GW mostly sticking to only making rules for models that exist you can only have a Malleus Inquisitor in Terminator Armour, but that’s just fine most of the time. If this guy is what you want it’s because you’re planning to deliver one or more of the psychic powers to the battlefield by Deep Striking in at a crucial moment, meaning the Ordo Malleus giving you two powers is almost certainly the best possible option for you anyway! It’s also quite likely, if you’re doing this, that you’re planning to drop Power Through Knowledge on another Deep Striker and then maybe suppress Overwatch to open up a safe charge for them. Malleus is the correct order for doing all of this, so you really don’t mind.
Given that these plans involve getting close to the enemy, the extra wound and 2+ save from terminator armour is also very welcome, giving one of these a pretty decent level of resilience.
You can also tool them up with some cool weapons, but that starts to run into the one problem with this unit – it’s pricey. The cheapest possible build (force weapon and storm bolter) is still running you to 101pts, 11 more than Coteaz and a significantly weaker fighter than him to boot. If you really, really want to reliably deliver powers exactly where you need them every time this guy could turn out to be worth it, but our current theory is that Coteaz getting a third cast, spy network and being cheaper will see him be the option of choice for Imperium lists.
Your basic inquisitor starts out as vanilla, but can be customised with a truly eye-watering array of equipment. Sadly, you usually won’t want to, but we’ll get to that.
First of all, when you pick this datasheet you get to choose whether your inquisitor is a psyker or not, and by choose we mean make your inquisitor a psyker, every time, no exceptions. If you decide not to be you gain the Iron Will ability, effectively allowing you to attempt a deny on any power that targets this, and only this, model. If you succeed, this model is unaffected (but other models still are, if relevant). Woop de do. We could instead have a cast and a deny. Let’s do that.
Then we have weapons choices. So many weapon choices. Combi-weapons of all flavours. Melee weapons of all flavours. “If” a psyker, force weapons of all flavours. So much excitement – and all, sadly, probably not worth the points.
The realtalk here is that the basic Inquisitor is cheap. Running 55pts and being able to load out entirely with free equipment if desired, being as cheap as possible is the big draw to these over the named options or the terminator. The most compelling uses are:
- You really want exactly one of the powers and nothing else. Most plausibly, you have something you want to give an invuln to that’s starting on the board with your army.
- You want an Ordo Xenos CP farmer to sit in the backline. Eminently defensible.
- You want a double smiter to sit in your lines and can’t quite find the points for Coteaz. In this case I think you should try real hard to find the extra 35pts for Coteaz, but sometimes you can’t.
Plenty of the upgrades aren’t super horrible, and as covered in the relic section giving a Xenos Inquisitor a poisoned force weapon is pretty funny but the laws of list building probably dictate that these are mostly going to be cheap and cheerful when they appear.
So all of the above can be slotted into an army by themselves, but what if we really want a full inquisition detachment? Well…
Representing the diverse range of inquisitorial hangers on, Acolytes are kind of two datasheets in one. You can either take them as an infantry unit of 2-6, or you can take a single model unit that becomes a CHARACTER.
Whichever option you choose, these guys are kinda bad statwise – they are basically guardsmen with an extra point of Ld and A but cost 8pts each. The theoretical advantage they have is that they’re highly customisible, able to load every model out with a special weapon if desired. The actual advantage they bring most of the time is that a detachment of a Xenos/Malleus bare bone inquisitor and three solo acolytes has no business being only 79 points to fill a detachment and provide four character-screened objective holders. Any non-Marine Imperium list with a spare detachment slot needs to look seriously at that as an option – it’s so cheap. Obviously if you do go that route, you should go ahead and keep them on a free bolt pistol/chainsword loadout.
If you want to load these for bear and try and kill stuff with them, you should pretty much always go Ordo Xenos so you can use Psychic Veil to stop them getting shot and buy them some sort of transport to start the game in. With their terrible stats you still might not get a lot of value out of them, but either a unit loaded out Plasma or Melta squad or maybe just a bunch with Storm Bolters isn’t totally indefensible once they can’t be shot back. If you are doing this you almost certainly want to bring a Jokaero (who we’ll get to), as it’s the only way to reliably load them up with “general purpose” re-rolls.
The last possible use relies on being Xenos again (realtalk – you are extremely probably packing Eisenhorn if you’re trying to make these work so that’s fine), which is three units of bare bones ones with an Inquisitor to be a Deep Strike screen. The Xenos power makes them unchargeable from outside 6″, so a few units of these strung out can just completely shut down charges from Deep Strike. At the moment the metagame isn’t sufficiently tilted towards heavy melee deep strike (or at least, not to armies that can’t just shoot Acolytes off the board) but I can believe in a metagame existing where you might want that.
Weird floating Daemons following Inquisitors around is certainly iconic but that isn’t the same as good. These aren’t super expensive at 25pts but you can buy an entire detachment’s worth of Acolytes for that, and these in no way do enough to justify their price or including one in your army. They’ve got basically one decent damage dealing ability on the whole datasheet (throwing Mortal Wounds around 1/3rd of the time) and even that requires a prohibitive level of setup. Their weapons otherwise just aren’t up to it, especially given it still only has WS/BS4+.
The mild exception is Cherubael, Eisenhorn’s souped-up summoned Daemonhost. It turns out that giving a unit +2 to four stats and bonuses to hit and wound most of the time without upping the cost is pretty good. Who knew? Even then the model isn’t going to go out brutally murdering characters or anything (only having D1 melee attacks is pretty much a hard no on character hunting in 8th) but against pretty much any sort of infantry they’ll make their points back in one or two rounds of combat while being pretty tough to down. With that in mind, if you have the points it’s a potentially interesting way to spend them, though it would be way nicer if Imperium had some other ways to spend reinforcement points in games where you don’t need it.
Finally, we have a…gun monkey? For some reason?
Jokaero have a weird set of abilities but happily a very easy yes/no for inclusion. Do you have at least one tooled up Acolyte squad? Bring one. If not? Don’t bother.
The key ability here is Inconceivable Customisation. At the start of your shooting phase you pick an ORDO unit within 3″, and roll a D3. One third of the time they re-roll hits, one third of the time they re-roll wounds, and one third of the time re-roll both.
This is obviously a big force multiplier whichever ability you get and a huge one if you roll the 5 or 6 to land the best one. For 22pts that’s a complete no-brainer if you have a full unit to benefit. It does also get some OK shooting of its own, either one big D3 shot or an Assault 6 close range option. Its BS4+ makes this incidental at best, but if it’s already doing something good for you, why not?
As is only fitting, if you’re trying to make an Ordo Xenos detachment work, bring the alien monkey. Otherwise, leave it in the cells.
This section has been added late, as someone pointed out that named character Forge World Inquisitors exist. They’re in the Adeptus Astartes FW Index. Obviously. Where else would they be?
Oh dear. It turns out that, as seemingly happens every with a new rules release, there’s some preexisting Forge World stuff (one unit in this case) that completely snaps it all in half.
Inquisitor Lord Hector Rex exists, and he’s an absurd bargain with the new rules. For 110pts, he starts as a 2-known, 2-cast 3-deny psyker with a psychic hood, and he’s also Ordo Malleus so can gain Psychic Mastery. This takes him to a ridiculous 3-known, 3 cast, 4-deny psyker. He also comes with a storm shield for a 3++ and has teleport strike for some reason despite not being a terminator, so that’s nice.
This near completely obviates any reason to take a Terminator Inquisitor, and even kind of leaves Coteaz in the dust if you can find the extra 20pts, although the latter having his Spy Network is one small advantage this guy doesn’t bring. I’m basically grasping at straws even with that though – this guy is completely busted and will often be the default choice. Thanks Forge World.
There is another named character (Solomon Lok) but he’s worthless. Small mercies.
Using These Rules
The Serious Uses
We’ve basically already touched on this with the unit entries, but if you’re building an Imperium list you should basically be looking at the following:
- If you want a great all around addition – Coteaz (edit: or Hector Rex)
- If you have very specific psychic delivery needs (edit: and I guess don’t have the extra 9pts for Hector) – Terminator Malleus Inquisitor
- If you want cheap CP farming in the backline – barebones Xenos Inquisitor.
- If you really want psychic defence – maaaaybe Greyfax (but honestly Coteaz will bring more to the table a lot of the time, and lol, Hector Rex).
Those are the best uses of what’s available here. But what if that wasn’t scratching the itch to really show the enemies of the Emperor?
Galaxy Brain Drop-Pod Shenanigans
…and what if we also wanted to see how badly we could smash the rules in this supplement to bits? That’s right kids, bad Wings is loose and it’s rules shenanigans time.
Let us imagine you had somehow contrived to have an inquisitorial detachment, access to a drop pod, and some big target you really want to kill?
No problem! Fill the drop pod as follows:
- 6x Acolytes with your choice of special weapons. Probably meltaguns.
- 1 Jokaero
- 2x solo Acolytes
Drop pod in and set up so that your units are closest to the enemy lines in the following order:
- Some extremity of the drop pod’s massive footprint.
- The first solo Acolyte
- The second solo Acolyte
- The Jokaero
- The big squad
You come in and Eisenhorn casts Psychic Veil. Your Acolyte squad grabs the Jokaero buff and blows something up. If your opponent is a relatively elite army, they now have a big problem.
Because of psychic veil, none of this stuff (other than the drop pod) can be targeted unless it’s closest. Let’s imagine your opponent is running Knights, has a five model army and you just killed one of them. They’re in deep trouble, because:
- The first Knight can’t target any of the good stuff here except the drop pod.
- Assuming they kill that, the second can kill the first hapless Acolyte. They go to the Emperor knowing they have served a part in the great plan.
- The second Acolyte experiences a brief moment of optimism, then the third Knight exterminates them.
- The final remaining Knight can eliminate the monkey. Take one for the Jokaero. He took one for you.
That leaves your melta squad…unscathed and ready to shoot again. This is not a great situation for your opponent.
Now look, obviously this has a whole tonne of fail cases and I’m not actually advocating it as a top-tier strategy, but Psychic Veil is a weird power and I think this helps illustrate how you can warp its effects. I’m still comfortable that solo Inquisitors are the “real” output from this Index, but hold out hope that someone will make some silly Xenos detachment actually do real work.
Is that someone you? Do you have diabolical plans to conquer the galaxy aided by a loyal if incomprehensible techno-simian? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Facebook Page. Otherwise, stay tuned to Goonhammer for reviews of Faith and Fury and the Sisters of Battle Codex, coming soon!