Let’s revisit one of my personal favorites, which if you remember my orkwisition, you know to be Death cult assassins. Death cult assassins are what I believe to be hands down the best close combat unit in the game when properly supported.
With the release of 6th edition more and more people have shelved these little bastards for some reason. In my opinion, they are just as good as they were, if not better. So let’s see….
Let’s consider how the edition change affects assassins-
-Arguably the biggest drawback from them in 6th is the survivability of any delivery system they may be embarked upon. Whether or not you’re one of the short bus alumni who put them in chimeras, or your one of the normal people who put them in land raiders or stormravens, all of them took a hit for being able to die to glancing hits.
The other side of that coin, however, is that glancing hits don’t have a shot at immobilizing you. This means that while over the course of the game, the odds of your land raider dying have increased, the odds of it being stopped before you disgorge the contents your opponents face have actually decreased.
You also have the ability now to move the raider an additional ‘6 instead of smoking, which is terrific vs opponents such as necron armies without anything that can pen them except wraiths. It’s also worth noting that plasma is the new hotness (due to power weapons only being ap3), so melta is less prevalent.
-Another drawback to the edition change is overwatch. There is nothing much softer than assassins, so getting shot at while you charge in sucks. This is where the support comes in. Personally, I always make sure that I have some friends helping the assassins with grenades and what I assume is morale support. This generally includes a techmarine, and some other character such as a librarian or Coteaz. The overwatch is less of an issue when you have someone like Coteaz, a Grand Master or other character with a 2+ save leading the way.
-A big advantage that came with 6th for assassins is the new wound allocation. When you have your bad-ass in terminator armour lending his morale support to the assassins, he can also take wounds like a boss- especially if He is Draigo or any old Grand Master/Librarian with a warding stave. This gives you the edge you need should you be charging out of a stormraven and into difficult terrain.
-Assassins also got the benefit of the new loose definition or power weapon, which means they are extremely customizable. I prefer the sword/axe combo myself as it lets you slay marines till the cows come home and gives you the tools to defeat paladins and wraiths more easily.
So, how deadly are assassins in close combat? Let’s just say that should they charge a unit of Paladins, they should be able to wipe the unit out. This is with heavy losses for sure, but who wouldn’t swap 150pts of assassins for 700pts of paladins?
When running assassins it’s also important to choose your transport wisely- that means shelving the chimera. They need to be in an assault vehicle. I personally prefer land raider crusaders and redeemers for their frag assault launchers since assassins lack frag grenades.
Stormravens are also excellent choices due to their speed and ‘hard to hit’ special rule, but they require more character support to survive the initial blows that come when you make yourself I1 by charging through terrain.
There are ultimately lots of ways to customize assassin units- whether it’s weapons loadouts, dumb transport choices, adding banishers to screw all those band-wagon jumping demon players, or adding crusaders because you think the 3++ is all that, but regardless of what you choose, you are bound to have a brutal close combat unit- and a lot of fun. -Master Shake
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