There’s one more topic for us to cover with our Kill Team Tactics series, and that’s the one Commander who doesn’t fall into any of the other categories. So if you’re playing Commanders and you thought Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy was totally rad, or if you just want to model an Inquisitor in Kill Team (or, like us, have been wondering why such an obvious faction/team option wasn’t included from the very beginning), then this article might be for you.
Eisenhorn’s rules were originally published in White Dwarf in July 2019 alongside the rules for Chaos Daemons. And while he was originally reprinted with the wrong statline (he had Bloodletter stats) and missing factions, you can find an updated version of his rules published for free on Warhammer Community here.
As a Commander option, Eisenhorn can lead a team of ADEPTUS ASTARTES, ASTRA MILITARUM, ADEPTUS MECHANICUS, or DEATHWATCH, essentially giving you access to most – but not all – of the IMPERIUM factions. He comes with a decent, but not amazing, stat line that gives him a 4+ armor save and a 6+ roll to ignore wounds with his No Stranger to Pain ability. He also has the ability to re-roll all hits and wounds against Xenos factions, representing his role in the Ordo Xenos. One of Eisenhorn’s more useful abilities is his Unquestionable Wisdom ability, which extends his Ld 10 stat to friendly ADEPTUS ASTARTES, ADEPTUS MECHANICUS, and ASTRA MILITARUM models within 6″. This is particularly handy for keeping units of guardsmen from failing Nerve tests.
Top this off with some very decent weapons – Eisenhorn’s Artificer Bolt Pistol gives him a 2-damage, AP-1 ranged attack, and his melee weapons do decent damage on their own.
One final thing to note about Eisenhorn – he has the ADEPTUS ASTARTES, ASTRA MILITARUM, and ADEPTUS MECHANICUS keywords. Because of a quirk of the Kill Team rules, this means that in a kill team for any one of these three factions, he can take a subfaction, i.e. a marine chapter, a regimental doctrine, or a forge world, and add it to his datasheet like any other model from one of those factions. So not only does Eisenhorn not break your subfaction bonuses for being your Commander, he can also benefit from the relevant abilities. This is 100% unintended however and really shouldn’t be something you do if you’re playing casually with friends. On the other hand, if that path of your life has led you to competitive Kill Team Commanders, feel free to get after it.
Note that our UNOFFICIAL HOUSE RULE RECOMMENDATION is that you let Eisenhorn join a kill team without ruining its subfaction bonus, but he does not benefit from a subfaction himself, either. However, we’ve included some notes below on what traits to take if you do decided that hey, friendships aren’t all that great anyways.
Where Eisenhorn really shines is his psychic abilities – his custom Psychic power, Enforce Will, allows him to pick an enemy model within 12″ and immediately shoot or fight with that model as if it were yours. This is an incredibly powerful ability and turns Eisenhorn into a dangerous threat around any Sniper, Demo, or Heavy specialists. It’s more useful on ranged models than melee ones, simply because it requires you to have another model to attack, and WC 8 is expensive, but it’s a powerful too to have in your arsenal.
It’s also hilarious for firing off Overcharged plasma guns, where if you pick a target right, then missing can be just as advantageous as hitting.
Eisenhorn can only take one Specialism, which is fine because well, the one he can take is Strategist and that’s the best one anyways. He’s only 70 points at level 1 and that’s probably the best way to take him but boosting him to level 3 gets you access to the Master Tactician ability to reduce the CP cost of your Tactics by 1. Generally speaking it’ll be in your best interests to keep him cheap, but if you’re running an Astra Militarum or Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team
Strategies for Using Eisenhorn
Look, there’s a reason people were flipping out when Eisenhorn’s rules were released: He’s really really good. He’s got great abilities, he’s not super expensive, he can work with several factions, and gets you the Strategist specialism, giving you access to valuable extra CP. He’s at least as good an option as anything the factions he can partner with can take.
If you’re using Eisenhorn as part of an ADEPTUS ASTARTES or DEATHWATCH kill team, his biggest asset is being only 70 points, making him your cheapest option. You’ll want to take him in his level 1 state, and use the extra points on more bodies for your kill team. Note that Deathwatch don’t have the correct keywording of ADEPTUS ASTARTES to benefit from Eisenhorn’s Unquestionable WIsdom with all of their models. If you’re giving him a Chapter Tactic, Eisenhorn is going to get the most benefit from Ultramarines, where having an Ld 11 aura is pretty funny and the ability to escape combat is helpful, or from Iron Hands, where the chapter tactic combines with his No Stranger to Pain ability to give him better odds of shrugging off wounds.
For Astra MIlitarum, the story is the opposite – Eisenhorn is their most expensive Commander option, but still brings a lot to the table. Here his Unquestionable Wisdom ability does a lot more work, as boosting guardsmen to Ld 10 is a big advantage, especially once you’ve lost a few, and his artificer bolt pistol does real work on a BS 3+ body. He’s a surprisingly competent commander at everything his profile offers. He’s reasonably strong in melee and somewhat tough, although 5 T3 4+ wounds aren’t going to stand up to a dedicated assault. If you’re giving Eisenhorn a Regimental Doctrine, consider the Catachan doctrine, since boosting him to S4 makes Barbarister much better as a weapon option and increases his combat prowess. Alternatively, if you go Valhallan it won’t do much for Eisenhorn, but it will ensure that friendly guardsmen within 6″ will be effectively unbreakable.
For the Adeptus Mechanicus, Eisenhorn is your only option if you want a Psyker, meaning he can add a denial element to your team. Everything said for Astra Militarum applies here, and Eisenhorn is a solid all-rounder to add to your team. If you’re giving Eisenhorn a Forge World Dogma, consider Lucius, where the AP reduction works very well with his 4+ armor save, or Graia, since it can save Eisenhorn’s hide if he goes down and since he’s your Commander he already negates the downside.
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