The release of 10th Edition brings about a complete rewrite of every faction, and in this article we’ll cover how Imperial Agents work. Unlike regular factions, Imperial Agents are designed to complement IMPERIUM faction armies, adding units that can be integrated into other armies without affecting their faction or detachment rules. This means things will be a bit different from the other faction focus articles.
Before we begin we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a review copy of the Index for review purposes.
Army Rule: Assigned Agents
If every model in the army has the IMPERIUM keyword then you can add a certain number AGENTS OF THE IMPERIUM units based on the size of the game. Agents are divided into two categories; CHARACTER and RETINUE units. You are allowed 1, 2, or 3 of each unit type depending on whether your game game size is Incursion, Strike Force, or Onslaught. So for example if you are playing a Strike Force game then you can have two RETINUE units and two CHARACTER units.
The Army rules also include a caveat that you cannot use an Imperial assassin (Callidus, Culexus, Eversor, or Vindicare) to be your WARLORD. There are no Stratagems or Enhancements in the Index.
Imperial Agents feature a mishmash of units ranging from Inquisitors to Kill Team sets like Adeptus Arbites, Rogue Traders, or Imperial Breachers. As with other factions, they all feature some kind of unique ability along with their characteristics and weapons.
Imperial Assassins (CHARACTER)
Assassins are single CHARACTER units that all have the LONE OPERATIVE trait to prevent them from being targeted at a distance. All units have T4, four wounds, and a 4+ invulnerable save. Lone Operatives are pretty rare in 10th edition so far, and with good reason – it’s a very powerful ability to have, particularly on units like the Vindicare which can sit well back from an enemy and attack without fear or retaliation.
- The Vindicare Assassin comes with Infiltrators and Stealth, two abilities which you might never use with them. That’s because their Exitus Rifle is more than capable of picking off key targets from across the table. With 48″ range, S7, AP-3, and D3+3 damage plus DEVSTATING WOUNDS, IGNORES COVER, HEAVY, and PRECISION (it already hits on a 2+), it’s an amazing weapon for killing squad leaders. But add to that the Deadshot ability, which adds 3 to the damage on critical hits and forces enemy units to take Battle-shock tests every time they’re hit with a ranged attack. And if AP-3 isn’t good enough for you, there’s always the Shieldbreaker round, which can be used once per game to not allow the target to take any saving throws of any kind against the attack. The Vindicare Assassin hasn’t been terrifying for a while but in 10th edition he’s poised to make a comeback as a particularly nasty threat who can cripple your opponent’s strategy by killing one leader per turn. Your opponent can get around this by not leaving their leaders in line of sight of the Assassin, but this just means you can use the Vindicare to funnel your opponent’s movement and keep their characters out of combats and key locations. Sometimes the best tricks are the ones you don’t have to use.
- The anti-PSYKER of the bunch, the Culexus Assassin comes with Deep Strike and Stealth and gets a 2+ Feel No Pain against Psychic attacks, making him a real menace against Thousand Sons armies. His Animus Speculum gives him a 24″ 3A, S5 AP-2 D3 damage ranged attack with ANTI-PSYKER 2+, ASSAULT, PRECISION, and PSYCHIC ASSASSIN, which gives him an extra three shots against Psykers, and makes his output pretty solid if you can push through 2D3+ damage after saves. His Soulless Horror ability debuffs enemy Ld within 6″ and can cause a battle-shock test to every unit within 6″ at the start of any Command phase, which can potentially steal some objectives and screw your opponents over in scoring.
- The Eversor Assassin is the melee monster of the bunch, and designed to take out Infantry with 6 Attacks that hit at AP-2 2 damage and have ANTI-INFANTRY 3+. He comes with Scouts 9″ and Deadly Demise D3 and during your Command phase you can pick one of three effects to apply to him until your next Command phase. These are Advance and Charge, PRECISION on your weapons, and SUSTAINED HITS 3 on your weapons. These are all solid, and will have their places. The Eversor can also Fire Overwatch or Heroically Intervene once per battle round for 0 CP, even if you’ve already used the Stratagem. These are all nifty abilities but it’s not clear this guy has the punch he needs to be really effective at character hunting.
- The Callidus Assassin is designed to threaten weaker CHARACTER targets with a ranged and melee weapons that include the [PRECISION] trait. She has two abilities: One that allows her to escape back to Reserves and another which will make an enemy Stratagem cost one extra CP for the rest of the battle. Her melee attacks are pretty solid and she’s better than the Eversor but I’m not sure she’s worth taking.
Imperial Inquisitors (CHARACTERS)
A variety of named and generic Inquisitors are also available, and with the exception of Inquisitor Karmazov they have a 5+ invulnerable save, the Leader keyword, and can lead any unit of IMPERIUM BATTLELINE INFANTRY or INQUISITORIAL HENCHMEN. Transportation isn’t an issue either, as they can embark any TRANSPORT unit that their Bodyguard can. In general these units are more about their supporting abilities than their actual attacks.
- Lord Inquisitor Kyria Draxus is a dedicated Xenos hunter who adds 1 to the Hit roll of attacks that target units without the IMPERIUM or CHAOS keywords. Her ranged and melee attacks are primarily focused against INFANTRY. She can also obscure her Bodyguard unit with a Psychic ability which, when activated on a 2+, prevents the unit from being targeted unless the attacker is within 18”.
- Inquisitor Coteaz features a ranged [PSYCHIC] attack that’s pretty devastating against INFANTRY, and in melee he hits with a hammer that hits at S9. The unit he leads gains Feel No Pain 5+ against Psychic Attacks and attacks from DAEMON models. If your opponent has any abilities which generate CP, then every time it happens Coteaz will also generate a CP on a 2+.
- Inquisitor Greyfax has okay melee and [PRECISION] ranged attacks which are good against characters. She gives the unit she’s leading [ANTI-PSYKER 4+], and enemy units must take a Desperate Escape attempt (as if they were Battle-shocked) instead of Falling Back.
- Inquisitor Eisenhorn is pretty decent against elite targets in melee and ranged, and when leading a retinue of Inquisitorial Henchmen any Daemonhost units have their attacks doubled. His most interesting ability is Dominate Will, which has a chance to either force an enemy INFANTRY unit to have a -1 hit penalty or possibly even not be eligible to shoot in a Shooting phase.
- Player also have the option to use an unnamed Inquisitor which gives the unit its leading Feel No Pain 5+ against mortal wounds and gives the player an opportunity to gain some CP when they use a Stratagem on the Inquisitor’s unit.
- Unlike the other Inquisitors, Inquisitor Karamazov cannot lead a unit. Instead he’s a T8 tank with a 4+ invulnerable save and a master-crafted multi-melta which gets 3 attacks at S10. Karamazov is designed to get into the fray, with a 6” aura that adds 1 to Battle-shock and Leadership tests of friendly units while subtracting 1 from the same tests for nearby enemies. On top of that in the Shooting phase the player selects on enemy unit within 12” to take a Battle-shock test.
The Imperial Agents RETINUE units are an eclectic combination of releases from Kill Team and various boxed games.
- Inquisitorial Henchmen can form retinue units consisting of a variety of models including Acolytes, Gun Servitors, Mystics, a Jokaero Weaponsmith, and a Daemonhost. Each of the models provides a different benefit that only works when the unit is led by an INQUISITOR. For example Mystics prevent Reinforcements from being set up within 12” of their model, while the Daemonhost provides a 5+ invulnerable save and Acolytes subtract 1 from the wound roll of all attacks against the unit.
- The Rogue Trader Entourage is… weird. It’s both a CHARACTER and a RETINUE unit, and is able to lead either Imperial Navy Breachers or Voidsmen-at-Arms. The four models have a variety of light weapons and grant Infiltrators to a unit they’re leading. The really interesting ability is Warrant of Trade, which allows you to redeploy D3 IMPERIUM BATTLELINE units and even put them into Strategic Reserve.
- Voidsmen-at-Arms are a T3/4+ unit which gains the [LETHAL HITS] ability when shooting the closest target. They’re armed with a variety of light weapons, and of course the best feature is a dog armed with a vicious bite.
- Imperial Navy Breachers are a mixed unit of a variety of ranged and melee weapons, all taken directly from the Kill Team. Units re-roll wound rolls of 1 when making attacks, or re-roll any Wound roll if the target is within range of an objective marker.
- Subductors are the first Arbites option. They’re humans with a T3/3+/4++ profile and are armed with pistols and shock mauls, and have a fight after death ability in melee along with a minor penalty for enemy units taking Battle-shock tests nearby.
- Exaction Squads forgo the invulnerable save for more ranged firepower. They get a bonus to hit one unit each round, and have Feel No Pain 5+ courtesy of a medi-kit.
- Vigilant Squads are the third Arbites option.
The Three Coolest Units
- The Vindicare Assassin. This guy is an absolute terror. Just insanely lethal and difficult to answer. His best quality is going to be the way he forces opponents to change up their tactics to avoid getting sniped.
- The Culexus Assassin. With the way Psykers impart their keyword onto the units they join, this guy’s got a surprising amount of play. He’s also great for taking on the psychic characters that lead some of the game’s strongest armies, like Eldar and Thousand Sons.
- Coteaz has a good mix of abilities and his ability to get you back CP when your opponent does is a big leg up to armies that otherwise lack the ability to generate extra CP.
The Three Biggest Changes from 9th
- More flexibility. You’re now free to mix and match Imperial units pretty much however you want, and three units and 3the characters as allies should be more than enough to get you everything you need.
- No more Stratagems. Now bringing an Assassin just involves hunting their prey – no fancy gimmicks. What you see on the table with your datasheets is very good.
- Leading from the front. Your Inquisitors can attach to any IMPERIUM BATTLELINE INFANTRY units, which gives you a ton of options – particularly in space marines – for units to buff, and ensures there’s no battleline unit you can field which can’t get character support if you’re playing IMPERIUM. With the ability to give you +1 to hit against a large number of targets, get you back CP, or get ANTI-PSYKER 4+, there are a few solid options to consider here for buffing otherwise mundane units.
There aren’t a lot of units in the Imperial Agents “faction” but there’s a decent amount of power here and a ton of versatility. You can fine tune lists by adding an Inquisitor to a unit or prep for a specific meta with an assassin, and the only real cost will typically be the opportunity cost of what else you could have taken or attached to that squad instead. You aren’t going to field Inquisitor armies any time soon, but that’s a good thing – these rules feel like the appropriate way to add Inquisitors, their retinues, and some of these other imperial weirdos to the mix. If there’s anything to complain about here it’s that the Eversor and Callidus assassin feel underpowered, but that may also be a result of how melee combat in 10th edition feels generally underpowered. On the other hand, the Vindicare Assassin is a unit to watch, as it might need a nerf down the road.
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