Imperial factions have a ton of options thanks to the ally rules, and the Agents of the Imperium gives each army the ability to add a cheap unit or two to hold backfield objectives or just be a cheap action doer. In this article we’ll look at the non-Space Marines Imperial Factions, talk about their points and what those mean for the army, and offer some thoughts on which units and strategies seem viable.
Before we dive in we’d like to thank Games Workshop for providing us with a preview copy of the Munitorum Field Manual for review purposes.
If you’ve forgotten what the Indexes contain, go check them out from our landing page.
- Generally fairly high price tags – you’re an elite army where the units are good, but you pay for it.
- Brotherhood Terminators look like the go-to for a death star now, they’re better at the job than Paladins (though the latter looks OK as a mid-field shooting threat in smaller numbers).
- Interceptors are probably a bit overcosted when the army has tonnes of mobility tricks anyway.
- Razorbacks are priced very nicely, and probably see decent amounts of play.
- Stormravens and/or Land Raiders are probably legit at their price tags.
- Brotherhood Chaplain stands out as a very cheap buff for Terminators.
- Dreadknights are steeply priced – you probably still want a regular and a GMDK, but maybe not more than that.
Wings: Grey Knights have some super strong rules, but my sense is that their points have ended up a little on the high side, which might hold them back. Every unit you put on the table is very good, but you don’t get too many of them and don’t have defences quite as mighty as Custodes, who are in a similar boat. It also makes the faction’s mild weakness in the realm of anti-tank bite a bit harder. I think you’ll see quite a few Razorbacks taken, as they’re a very cheap way to get both an extra activation and a good anti-tank shot, and I’m pretty convinced that the Stormraven is a serious contender, again adding some nice anti-tank. The sheer power of Mists of Deimos in combination with Paladins or Purgation squads also shouldn’t be underestimated, so although my overall opinion remains that this faction ends up a bit less good than they looked on Indexes along, I’m certainly not counting them out entirely.
- Canis Rex is a steal at 405 points. His damage output is way above that of comparable Questoris Knights.
- This slightly overshadows the Gallant and Preceptor, because Canis Rex is flat out better than them at what they do.
- Free upgrades are a big deal for Questoris Knights. Now, all of them (apart from Canis Rex) can get a free gun on the roof and a melta gun upgrade if they want. Hopefully you’ve still got these somewhere!
NotThatHenryC: These points costs seem pretty pushed. You can put a lot of big stompy robots on the field. Opponents are going to find it hard to deal with the number of wounds you have, and that they no longer have once your turn is finished.
When you look at Imperial Knights compared to the Chaos version, I find the Imperials want to bring more Titanic Knights and not so many Armigers. Ideally, every model would benefit from a Bondsman Ability, all the time if possible, so you want perhaps 4 Armigers per 3 Questoris. But as Canis Rex and Dominus Knights don’t get Bondsman Abilities, you don’t need to match them with Armiger friends, lowering the number you need.
They have priced the double-gun Crusader around the same point as the Questoris with melee weapons and I’m not sure that’s right. The Crusader does suffer a lot from not being able to fall back and shoot, but it can just stand still and shoot instead.
You can build an Imperial Knight army to be a full on shooting list, a hugely aggressive melee threat, or something in between. Switching your vow and maybe a weapon or two on your Questoris Knights will give you a radically different list. So buy yourself some magnets and enjoy owning an army that isn’t at all locked to a single playstyle.
If you want a freeblade ally for another Imperial faction then you have to look really hard for reasons not to bring Canis Rex. Remember you can only bring either a Titanic Knight or Armigers as freeblades, meaning other Knights won’t get to use their Bondsman Abilites. That’s a pretty major nerf for Questoris Knights, but not for Canis Rex.
An advantage of not having very many units and not having to pay for upgrades is that you can throw lists together very quickly. You may find that you can’t fill the last 10 or 15 points, but I think most armies will have the same issue. We’re going to have to learn to live with that and not take the wrong units just to fill 2k exactly.
- Morvenn Vahl is wayyy cheap now
- Paragon Warsuits are still a little pricey
- Generic characters are cheap as well
- Most units are cheaper
- Battle Sisters close to the same points, but with free stuff
Shane: Adepta Sororitas unit costs were generally fairly cheap already, barring named characters (epic heroes now) and stuff like Paragon Warsuits. The good news is that hasn’t changed, some units have gone down in points, and named characters like Morvenn Vahl have seen significant points drops. Sadly the Paragon Warsuits and Rhinos are unchanged, but both have mostly seen durability increases, so hopefully that washes out. With basically all the characters being cheap including even epic heroes, adding leaders to units is extremely feasible, and with the bonuses they bring generally worth it. I forsee every list including 2-4 of the epic heroes simply because they help the army and cheaply.
List wise, here’s where I’m at:
3 suits 240
10 Battle Sisters 110
5 Retributors 130
5 Retributors 130
10 Repentia 150
10 Repentia 150
2 Crusaders 20
2 Crusaders 20
10 Battle sisters 110
Start 1 ret squad in an Immolator, break the solo battle sisters into 2 5 mans with the other Immolator (for miracle dice generation)
- Wardens look like a serious staple at 150pts for a unit, because once-per-game 4+ Feel No Pain is fantastic.
- A full 10-model Custodian Squad with the right Leaders looks very plausible.
- You can take dirt cheap Prosecutor units at 40pts for four models if you need something to sit on an objective.
- The Blade Champion looks extremely pushed at 100pts
Wings: Custodes toys aren’t cheap, mostly not dropping that much from their 9th Edition price tags in a world where most factions have picked up a bit of a discount. They do get surprisingly high amounts of unit configurability to partially compensate for this – unit sizes for a lot of things work on the assumption that you might turn one model from a box into a Shield Captain or Knight Centura, so you get a much bigger range of sizes compared to most factions. The real standouts are definitely full Custodian bricks and small Warden units, best able to make use of their once-per-game super moves, and nothing about the price tag here changes my opinion that two Vertus with a Shield Captain is likely to be a common sight. Being able to fill out your backfield with cheap Prosecutors is very nice too. I think I lean on the side of the points costs here being slightly too high, but not by that much. Custodes are also no longer going to be labouring under the yoke of underpowered Secondaries, which will help too. I do think there’s a possible risk of the army just not having enough stuff, but the best in breed Mortal Wound protection may well mitigate that.
- Cadian Shock Troops, the bellweather of the army, are unchanged – a unit will still cost you 65 points. The big difference is that now they can go to 20 models, something which disappeared in the 9th edition book. Catachans are also 65 points and can go to 20, getting a bit cheaper, and Death Korps likewise run 65 points and up to 20 models.
- Leontus, the model you’re going to be attaching to these double-wide squads of guardsmen, is going to run you 125 points. Also very reasonable.
- Kasrkin aren’t the feared mortal-wound machines of 9th any more but they’re more expensive than they used to be, running 120 points for 10 models.
- Rough Riders got a 4ppm drop, and now run 80 points for a squad of 5.
- Enough beating around the bush; the stand-out models for this index are the long-ranged artillery. The Basilisk and the Manticore in particular, which we’re likely to see 5-6 of in many armies as players pick up the kinds of playstyles 10th edition rewards. A Basilisk will set you back a very reasonable 110 points (30 ppm cheaper than before) while a Manticore will cost you 105 points (again, 30ppm cheaper), plus neither pays for weapon upgrades.
- A Leman Russ battle tank clocks in at 195 points, with the Demolisher clocking in at 220. It’s still the best variant, but you’re going to pay for that extra damage output. It’s still worth it to get Line-breaker. The Vanquisher is still the biggest loser of the bunch, and at 190 points isn’t even the cheapest for the trouble.
TheChirurgeon: Strong Indirect fire and ignoring the penalties for indirect is a mistake, but Guard players are absolutely not going to care about game balance when they are shelling enemies across the table with a trio of Basilisks and a trio of Manticores every game. The points here work out just fine for guard armies to take whatever they want and build effective all-comers lists, and they were ahead of the game in late 9th with a codex geared more toward the 10th house style and a game plan that frequently relied on keeping characters close to units and stacking buffs. If you’re a Guard player there should be nothing in these points that gives you pause. In fact, you’re probably laughing maniacally. I hope your reign of terror is short, but fruitful.
- Belisarius Cawl has gone up to 185 points. Expensive, yes. But his auras are going to be a defining feature of the faction, so get used to it.
- Kataphron Breachers come in at 50 points per model, a 43% increase from 9th edition. Steep, but paying that price buys you some of the best shooting in the faction with their access to full hit rerolls.
- Ironstrider Ballistarii are a shadow of their former glory, but dropping down to only 50 points per model is a silver lining that keeps them interesting.
- Archaeopter Stratoraptor is down to only 165 points, which is pretty appealing with its variety of guns and native +1 to hit bonus against non-Fly.
- Skorpius Disintegrators skyrocketed to 195 points in 10th edition, a 56% increase. Outlandish, but with their +1 to hit bonus it’s still a competitive pick, especially paired with the 4+ invulnerable save offered by a Tech-Priest Enginseer (45 points).
- Kastelan Robots are an eye-watering 107.5 points per model (must be taken in pairs). I love robots, but oof. This is a lot.
- Skitarii Vanguard are an even 100 points for a unit of 10 models. As the cheaper of two Battleline options for Adeptus Mechanicus, these will absolutely see the battlefield just to buff other, better units. They’re still bad, though, and Skitarii Rangers don’t fare any better at 125 points for 10 models.
- Bonus: Servitors are 50 points. Just why.
Pendulin: It feels like these points were made by someone handed the Adeptus Mechanicus index and told to Make It Work. Also that person had a deep personal hatred of the faction and wanted to make me suffer. There’s not a lot to love here.
Skitarii Rangers and Vanguard are bad and cost too much. Period. This makes the Skitarii Marshal overpriced, by virtue of how bad Rangers and Vanguard are. Even with a trio of free special weapons, Omnispex, and Skitarii Alpha weapons, the points on Vanguard feel too high, and are comically inflated on the Rangers.
Skitarii Ranger not only cost 5 points more than a unit of 10 Tempestus Scions, the Rangers also have a worse save, worse ballistic skill, fewer special weapons, and fewer melee attacks. It’s rough. It’s even 15 points more than a unit of 11 Guardian Defenders, who have an additional model, as well as a better Move, Save, Leadership, Ballistic Skill, Armour Penetration, and natively have Assault on their guns. Yowza.
A unit of four Kastelan Robots and accompanying Cybernetica Datasmith with Excoriating Emanation is a whopping 490 points. For context, a Knight Castellan is 495. Robots will deal an average of about 11 wounds to a Castellan across both shooting and melee, and in return the Castellan has decent odds of wiping out the entire unit of Robots. It’s bad.
I don’t love how much Belisarius Cawl costs, but I don’t hate it. His auras are just so powerful in an army that needs every buff they can get their hands on. The other Tech-Priests are mostly reasonably priced. A Tech-Priest Dominus grants the unit a Feel No Pain 5+ for 75 points; it’s not bad, but I would like to see that drop a bit.
One issue is that, despite Adeptus Mechanicus being in a dire state, I don’t know if it’s a problem that points can easily solve. I don’t see Ironstriders dropping below their current cost, but even at 50 points, they’re not really anything to write home about. If you dropped Skitarii by 20 points per unit, they’re still bad.
Most of Admech’s issues are that their damage output is so lackluster. If points get cheap enough to win based on volume of attacks, then you’ll have so many models on the table there won’t be anywhere to roll dice.
And finally, Adeptus Mechanicus must still be paying for their crimes of 9th edition with 50 point Servitors. When will our penance end and why must the weak suffer (even though the Servitors are more durable than Skitarii)?
The Imperial Agents are a collection of weirdos who get their own Index but not their own army – their units are fielded solely in other armies, where their Assigned Agents rule lets players take up to two RETINUE and two CHARACTER units from the army in every game. Generally, Imperial Agents can add both power in the form of Assassins and Inquisitors, and fill space – there are some very cheap units here, and if you’d rather have a squad of bodies to hold an objective than another Enhancement, these guys offer a solution.
- At 80 points, the Vindicare Assassin is a steal. I thought for sure he’d be at least 120 but nope, there he is, ready to snipe your characters leading squads off the board before they can do their thing.
- The Culexus Assassin is likely underpriced at 85 points, but he’s never seen that much play so it’s good to see him finally get some work.
- Kyria Draxus owns for her 75pts price tag, expect her to get a good amount of use. Other named Inquisitors are also fairly cool looking.
- At 35 points and 40 points, Respectively, the Exaction Squad and the Voidsmen-at Arms are both great, cheap units you can use to fill out the last points of any IMPERIAL list while being capable of doing damage.
TheChirurgeon: Vindicares are going to show up a lot, as they’re priced pretty cheaply for a unit which can delete most any character it sees leading a unit. And as I mentioned, we’re going to see more armies take Voidsmen and Exaction squads for that cheap way to fill the remaining gaps in lists. Inquisitors are also all priced more cheaply as characters, since they now also join unitsl
That’s it for the Imperium – Chaos and Xenos to go!
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.