Wych Cult for Dummies – Part One, 4th edition Wyches - Warhammer 40K Fantasy
 

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  1. #1
    Archite of Caerbannog KwiKwag's Avatar
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    Wych Cult for Dummies – Part One, 4th edition Wyches

    A couple weeks back a fellow DE member "Silver" asked me if I found Wych Cult lists more successful than Kabal lists – although I thought the question is easily answered I discovered it wasn’t easily explained. I have tried 5 or 6 separate attempts to tackle the question and what I have found was that there were too many things (variables) that dictate “synergy” or “harmony” or “zen” in a list. Variables such as, raider rush vs. wwp, last turn grab vs. “tabling”, mechanized vs. non-mech and even retinues vs. non-retinue units all can be considered pieces to a larger puzzle and finding how they all best fit together to give you the means to adapt, survive and conquer a normal 40k game. I think for this thread I will have to take it down to the grass-root level and describe the changes I believe have affected a very common squad selection (found in both Kabals and Cults) and that is the basic Wych Squad. Even if you do not play Wych Cult, I think you might find some insight of some sort even if you are only taking a squad of them in a normal Kabal list.

    I also want to chime in that the new nuances of 5th edition also had a huge impact in that some of us are just now realizing. I think 4th edition tactics and popular 4th edition formations are still evident in many of the lists I see and I think their role gets convoluted beyond successful productivity in some cases. So my goal at first is to take a look at a wych squad and compare their advantages from one edition to the next. Some may say their effectiveness hasn’t changed much and still expect them to kick some butt as they did in 4th but I think this is where many fail to realize that the arena has changed – with this I hope to shed some experiences and examples.

    Let’s start looking at the common Wych Squad in the 4th edition spotlight - I'll have to make a generalization.

    I can expect that the unit was always mounted on a raider and even though raiders were a flying “death trap” you couldn't get them into close combat without them (fortunately, raiders are a little safer in 5th). The means of getting the wyches on a raider into close combat was either by using a Web Way Portal or a massed “Raider Rush”. Although I believed that most lists that used wyches in mass tended to use web way portals (used mostly by experienced players) that even the raider rush tactic had the "skimmer moving fast rule" that did a fair job of getting the wyches across the board. I will at this point just presume that most DE players mounted their wyches no matter what method of delivery they used as the thought of anyone putting them on foot is just too far-fetched.

    Next, the squad size. In 4th edition I noticed that most wych squads were at least 8 to 10 wyches strong and every one of them outfitted with a succubus with some sort of power weapon, wych weapons and plasma grenades. The reason for 8 or 9 wych squads was to have a raider available for a lord of some sort to ride in the raider due to the funky reserve rules we had to deal with when working with the portal. Retinues may have been the exception here as a lord with a retinue was already a potent squad and I do remember seeing squad sizes as low as 5 to accompany Lelith or an Archite. For the most part, retinues were a little more popular in 4th edition because it ensured a lord would ride on raider when entering the game through a web way portal. In 5th, some still use retinues to either shield a lord or because it was the only way to get a certain squad into the list (like incubi) or because some sort of advantage can be utilized (like Lelith being able to choose her drug for the whole squad to use). I think retinues warrant some discussion but I would probably address that later in this topic and for now just focus on the rank ‘n file wych squad.

    Now I am going to just mention the choice of adding blasters to a squad like this but overall the feelings I got mostly in 4th edition was if you were playing the Web Way Portal tactic then the wyches coming out of the portal were going to come straight out, disembark and charge a target in one turn. Blasters were taken simply because most portals were placed so close to the enemy that the wyches could spare the “fleet of foot” move in the shooting phase and use it instead to “soften” their target before the charge (while being 1" away!). In “Raider Rush” lists blasters were frowned upon since the wyche’s raider would be starting in their own deployment zone and most often or not the squad would most likely need that “fleet of foot” move to get within charge range. Even if the squad did get close enough to shoot, you ran the risk of either causing the target to flee in the shooting phase or you ended up killing the only models within your charge radius. Blasters were not sure thing in a 4th edition wych squad so for the most part not a factor – I will exclude them for now even though I always used them in a wwp list.

    All right, we have a common 4th edition wych squad of 8 to 10 wyches strong with all the trimmings I mentioned above on a raider – what were the expectations of this unit? I think the first thing that most people expected was that a wych squad was a dedicated assault unit that needed to get into assault as fast as possible, hit so hard on the charge that the enemy would fail morale (or at least fight back weakly), outnumber the opponent, “sweep” the unit and “massacre” into another assault. The ideal situation was to get into assault and “roll” the enemy line and the enemy could do nothing about stopping the wyches as they were always in close combat and couldn’t be shot at. (Personal note: I strongly feel that the new 5th edition rules purposely targeted WWP Wych Cult lists - probably not but this world was absolutely shattered when 5th came out).

    Now, I do believe that some DE players thought that a single ordinary wych squad can beat an ordinary squad of marines in a fair fight and as long as we got the charge. Here I want to interject that I usually did not have such high expectation and it really depended on what drug the wyches had, how many marines they killed in the shooting phase and how many marines I could “clip” limiting the amount marines that could strike back. I did however, embrace the ideology that we should never fight fair and avoid 1 on 1 confrontations. However, I’d say that most often than not, a squad of wyches could win that fight most of the time (if they got the charge and average luck in the opening assault) and still keep some combat potency when finishing the marine unit – if a lord was present, it was pretty much a slam dunk combination and the marines were as good as dead and eventually the wyches would massacre into a new assault when they were done to the man.

    How many squads were there in a list? In my wych cult lists I would say about 4 squads were the average and in a Kabal list I’d say 2 was the norm and 1 or 3 squads was not unlikely – having no wyches was unusual but not unheard of. This is for the most part, what I see in lists in 5th edition. In fact, many Kabal lists I see now could have been easily played in 4th edition with the bulk of the points invested in specialized assault units while skimping on the Troop selections with min/max squads geared for shooting only that are 1 dimensional in nature (just shoot baby!). Maybe it’s habit or it is still believed it gets the job done but these formations haven’t changed much in today’s lists (although I think we are seeing more min/max raider squads with lances and less sniper squads (down to 1 or 2 squads). I think it is fair to say a 4th edition wych squad was a specialized assault unit that looked something like this:

    8 to 10 wyches, ww, plasma, succubus, agoniser, pistol, raider

    I honestly believe I needed to go through all this information as a “common” ground to work from so I can continue the rest of my point. Now that I am delving into 5th edition I can point out the changes I have made and observed in the last year and a half. Hopefully, even if you never used your wyches in the way I described that perhaps you can still get what I am trying to say and you just might be able to apply in your own way.

    So sorry for the lengthy post so far – I thought it was unavoidable if you wanted to understand everything I wanted to say.

    Part 2 will be some of my thoughts and experiences using 4th edition wych tactics in a 5th edition game.

    I would love to hear of any wych formations or expectations you might used that I did not mention above or if you thought I missed something - I do make mistakes quite often. Thoughts or suggestions?

    "On a hunch, I melted them down and inhaled the fumes and read the dark eldar codex again, AND FOUND A BUNCH OF NEW RULES HIDDEN BEHIND THE OTHER WORDS..." [Gardeth on modelling & interpreting the DE Codex]

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    Back in 4th wyches were nice in close combat as you could pick off pieces of a sqd without dealing with the rest of the sqd. Now that pilingin exists I feel it greatly decreased the surviablity of the wyches. Now in terms of killing power wyches are just warriors with close combat weapons and I6 and the only thing you can really rely on to get kills for you is an agoniser which either performs mediocre or poor. My take on wyches are they are for tarpiting sqds, linking combats together so than i can rely on the durability of the wyches in cc to surivive and use the combat resolution of a more hard hitting sqd like a lord and retinue to win the fights, then with high I of the wyches run down the sqds.

  4. #3
    Archite of Caerbannog KwiKwag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epidemic4774 View Post
    Back in 4th wyches were nice in close combat as you could pick off pieces of a sqd without dealing with the rest of the sqd. Now that pilingin exists I feel it greatly decreased the surviablity of the wyches. Now in terms of killing power wyches are just warriors with close combat weapons and I6 and the only thing you can really rely on to get kills for you is an agoniser which either performs mediocre or poor. My take on wyches are they are for tarpiting sqds, linking combats together so than i can rely on the durability of the wyches in cc to surivive and use the combat resolution of a more hard hitting sqd like a lord and retinue to win the fights, then with high I of the wyches run down the sqds.
    Exactly!

    This was never publized but it was a huge (negative) change for us - suddenly, mandrakes, grotesques and even the Decapitator have been rendered useless because of the "defenders reaction" rule. I call it "clipping" as it became an art to barely get your squad into combat having 3 of your units in base to base contact of that lone model standing on the fringe of an enemy squad.

    As you noted, it had a big effect on how to engage the enemy - it really substantiate the need to outnumber your target on the charge and no-more 1 on 1 confrontations.
    "On a hunch, I melted them down and inhaled the fumes and read the dark eldar codex again, AND FOUND A BUNCH OF NEW RULES HIDDEN BEHIND THE OTHER WORDS..." [Gardeth on modelling & interpreting the DE Codex]

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    Scourge Lord Krovin-Rezh's Avatar
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    A well written explanation Kwikwag. Strange, I didn't catch on to the difference Pile-In makes until now. I do remember "clipping" other units with charges so my units could safely tie up the enemy for a round (while throwing in some cheap shots) before the enemy could attack with more than just a few of their squad members. That part of the game is completely gone now, and our army needs some tool at their disposal to replace the void left.

    I'm aware any army could do the same thing, but few armies relied on this tactic like the fragile Dark Eldar units.

    --•-My 40K projects-•--

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