Thursday, 16 April 2009

Close Combat Inquisitors

I posted a couple of weeks back about a list I was playing around with which was a Witch Hunters army without using any Adepta Sororitas. Although not the most competative of lists, I like it very much, especially with rumoured plastic Stormtroopers coming along with the second wave of IG (which I may have dreamt but I'm sure I heard this somewhere).

One of the things I put in the list, was an assault oriented Inquisitor and retinue. Feedback I've had on the list from forums (and what I've read elsewhere) is that Inquisitors are weak in assault and not to bother with them. I thought I'd take a look to see if this was the case and run some tests, and see what the outcome was.

HQ or Elite
The stat line is similar for both, though the Lord gets +2 Ld, +1 I and +1 W so he would seem the obvious choice. He can also take a bigger retinue to soak up wounds.

Primary combat weapons
I was torn between three here: power weapon, eviscerator (essentially a chain fist) or the psychic power Hammerhand (doubles the users strength). Hammerhand and the power weapon are the same points cost, eviscerator is 25 points. I've done some maths to compare the effeciacy of these three weapons VS a number of different opponents, with the basic formula being:

chance to hit * chance to wound * chance model will fail its save (result rounded down and expressed as a percentage)

Vs Imperial Guardsman (WS3, T3, 6+ save)
Hammerhand = (0.66 * 0.84 * 0.84) = 46% chance
Power weapon = (0.66 * 0.5) = 33% chance
Eviscerator = (0.66 * 0.84) = 55% chance

Vs Space Marines (WS4, T4, 3+ save)
Hammerhand = (0.5 * 0.84 * 0.33) = 13% chance
Power weapon = (0.5 * 0.33) = 16% chance
Eviscerator = (0.5 * 0.84) = 42% chance

Vs Ork Boy (WS4, T4, 6+ save)
Hammerhand = (0.5 * 0.84 * 0.84) = 35% chance
Power weapon = (0.5 * 0.5) = 25% chance
Eviscerator = (0.5 * 0.84) = 42% chance

Vs Plague Marine (WS4, T4(5), 3+ save, Feel No Pain)
Hammerhand = (0.5 * 0.5 * 0.33 * 0.5) = 4% chance
Power weapon = (0.5 * 0.16) = 8% chance
Eviscerator = (0.5 * 0.66) = 33% chance

Vs Terminator (WS4, T4, 2+/5+ save)
Hammerhand = (0.5 * 0.84 * 0.16) = 6% chance
Power weapon = (0.5 * 0.33 * 0.66) = 10% chance
Eviscerator = (0.5 * 0.84 * 0.66) = 27% chance

Vs Hive Tyrant (WS5, T6, 3+ save)
Hammerhand = (0.33 * 0.5 * 0.33) = 5% chance
Power weapon = (0.33 * 0.16) = 5% chance
Eviscerator = (0.33 * 0.5) = 16% chance

So in all cases, the Eviscerator is the prefered option. This of course does not take into account the fact that Hammerhand would require a psychic test to work, and the Eviscerator makes you fight last in combat and is a two handed weapon.

Other wargear
The Lord gets a 3+ save anyway, which can't be improved with wargear, so a Rosarius for a 4+ Inv save might be helpful. I had considered also using Digital Weapons, but 20 points for a fairly weak attack seems overcosted.

Retinue build
Inquisitor Lord (45), Rosarius (20), Eviscerator (25) = 95
Acolyte with carapace armour and power weapon (8+15)x3 = 69
3 Crusaders = 60
3 Familiars = 18
Total = 242

Crusaders are pure CC troops with power weapons a 4+ Inv save. The acolytes bulk out the unit with gear giving them a 4+ save. They come with a laspistol and CCW anyway, so the power weapon will add to this punch. The familiars are basically free wounds, they'll be the first to die.

Combat tests
So I wanted to test this build out against something tough to see how it would shape up in combat. Here's what they squared up to in the first test:

7 Plague Marines (161), 1 Aspiring Champion (33) with power fist (20), melta gun (10), flamer (5)
Total = 229

Given the PM's are fearless, and the Inquisitor has Iron Will I assumed they would stay in assault until the bitter end. I assumed that the Inquisitor charged, and therefore had no charge bonus due to the blight grenades. I used Vassal40k to keep track of things.

Test 1:
Opening round took down 3 familiars, 3 acolytes and 3 plague marines, with the rest of the retinue and 4 plague marines following in round 2. Round 2 ended with the Inquisitor facing the Aspiring Champion. The Aspiring Champion then instant deathed the Inquisitor with his power fist.

Test 2:
Again, all 3 familiars and 3 acolytes died in the opening round, with the loss of 1 marine. The 3rd round ended with the champion instant deathing the Inquisitor who took him down and the remaining PM before succumbing.

From the above little test, it was clear the retinue was just too weak to cut it alone. The Crusaders were OK, but the Acolytes were a waste. The Inquisitor caused the majority of the casualties. The Inquisitors low toughness also means he's vulnerable to Instant Death from S6 attacks (power fists/klaws, Lictors, Carnifexes, etc.). The mixed WS values in the unit also mean that WS3 is in the majority and therefore this means he's more likely to be hit.

An Inquisitor can be above average in CC, it's just you need to drop a lot of points on him to get him there. He's also hampered by his low strength and toughness values making him vulnerable to instant death, and the Inquisitorial retinue just didn't help much.

I've messed around with other builds like this "Hot Plasma Death" build (comes in at 184 points):

Elite Inquisitor with plasma pistol
3 Acolytes with plasma pistols
3 Veteran Guardsman with plasma guns
2 Sages

10 S7 AP2 shots per turn within 12", with a re-roll incase of a Gets Hot! roll...


Mike Howell said...

How cool! I started Witch Hunters because I liked the Sororitas, but ended up doing the same thing as you... an all WH army with no sisters. The WHFB Empire Flagellants make great units for this. I've used them for: Arco-FlagellantsImperial Priest with Eviscerator

Chris said...


Thanks for your comment :)

I've done the same thing with the Flagellant kits to convert up a Priest, I'm also intending to use one a torturer in my Inquisitorial retinue.