Kaedes Nex. The Blood Crow. A condemned infamous murderer, obsessed with the Hunt. Corax pardoned him and invited him to become a Raven Guard Legionary. Still he was seen as an ill-omen by his brethren, even though his murder-honed skills were employed regularly in Corax's shadow wars.
Kaedes was a Moritat-Prime, deployed on Isstvan V. He vanished into the wastes to stalk traitors on his own terms. Nothing has been heard of him since.
The first thing that should be noticed is that Nex doesn't have Rad grenades... This is a huge loss IMO, but he makes up for it by having a good grenade selection.
- Two Fulcrum Hand Cannons:
- 18" S4, AP4, Pistol, Rending, Concussive
- At first glance, it's not a great weapon... Sure. It has potential, but it's no melta pistol. That said, one thing often overlooked is the 18" range. Models can only shoot what they can see. So with careful placement, you can pick off one or models a turn off a unit and they can't do anything about it without running your ass down. This is how I usually use Nex.
- Frag, Krak, Shroud Bombs, Melta Bombs
- This is an awesome amount of choice. I will go into most of these later, but remember that if for whatever reason you can't shoot some turn, feel free to throw a krak grenade ;)
- Power armor, refractor field, cameoline
- In general, this makes Nex pretty resilient to shooting, but remember he only has 2 wounds...
Sooo many rules! And layers of rules! That said, his rules are actually stronger when you realize what they are NOT. He does not have the Lone Killer rule and is not "infiltrated" (usually). Which opens up a lot of possibilities usually looked over.
- Raven Guard:
- Infiltrate & Fleet - Easily overlooked, but should your opponent not deploy an elite or HQ you can still infiltrate and normal or even outflank.
- Counter Attack:
- Cannot be a warlord or join any unit.
- Note: This is not Lone Killer. Nex can benefit from psychic powers or anything else that can give him re-rolls to hit, which is important with Decapitating Strike, since he picks up preferred enemy (independent character).
- Can use the Fulcrum hand Cannons in HTH with the full stats and they count as 2 ccws. This is a nice little pick up for HTH.
- Independant Character:
- I'm at a loss as to why he has this rule...
- Chain Fire:
- Gains the Gunslinger rule, which allows Nex to fire with both pistols at once.
- For every successful hit, from either pistol, Nex gets an additional shot with that pistol up to a total of 12 combined hits.
- You may not charge the turn you use this rule or shoot the next turn (i.e. Player Turn). Which RAW means you cannot overwatch if you are charged next turn, but you can totally Chain Fire in each of your shooting phases. To be fair, I don't think this is what they meant... but thems the rules.
- Precision Shot:
- Being able to allocated who takes wounds can be a strong rule, especially if you are hunting a specific model. In general though, you usually want to try to make sure you don't get tanked by a artificer armor sgt by thinking your positioning out in the movement phase.
- Relentless Stalker:
- Select an Elite or HQ a your prey. Deploy WITHIN 18" of this unit, as long as he is out of view. Realize that this IS NOT INFILTRATE!!! So things like Djinn site or auspex don't push you back. It's a hugely powerful rule. It also means, that you can complete turn 1 charge!
- Gains Shrouded for turn 1. So with Cameoline, you are pretty much a 2+ in cover.
- The Raven's Vengeance:
- Zealot - Overlooked, but Nex is fearless and re rolls hit on the turn he charges or is charged. It also means that he re rolls to hit with grenades. Good thing to remember with your melta bombs!
- IF prey is destroyed AND Nex is either involved in the combat OR has caused a wound on the unit, an additional VP is scored.
Putting it altogether:
It's a ton of rules to digest, but basically you can deploy Nex anywhere near an Elite or HQ unit. He is fairly resilient with a 3+/5++ and cover save 2+ to shooting, but pretty vulnerable to being charged.
- Shooting Damage Output: You are usually going to be hitting on a 2+ rerollable in the shooting phase. Statistically, that means you should hit the 12 hit cap and with rerolling 1's from preferred enemy, you should see 9 wounds with 2 or 3 rends, a couple of those shots are probably precision hits as well. So basically 4 dead marines...
- HTH Damage Output: 5 attacks on the charge with re roll 3+ from Zealot and WS5 means you will likely hit with 4 or 5 attacks, and preferred enemy Strength 4 rending likely gives you 3 wounds and a rend.
I'm not being very accurate on purpose here, but trying to present a GOOD case scenario to point out that with the 12 hit cap, you really don't have much opportunity to do much damage.
So is he any good after the nerf???? Well it depends how you use him...
- Basic Tactics:
- As a single model with a 3+/5++ and a 2+ cover, you can usually find spots to put him that he is completely untargetable. So he is actually useful in heavy reserve lists where you need to keep something alive until the reinforcements arrive. Good for Drop pod heavy decap strike or orbital assault lists.
- Nex is not a beast in hth, but he is resilient enough to charge a heavy support squad and keep them from shooting for awhile.
- In KP missions a single guy is often tempting to try to run down to catch that easy VP, but he's resilient enough to draw a bit of firepower. Also remember, that they have to pass a leadership check to charge you AND you can completely chainfire during overwatch, and you have counter-charge. Altogether, you might convince a unit to come deal with you and tie them up long enough that they don;t make it back to the battle again.
- Tank Hunter:
- Often overlooked, but a re roll to hit melta bomb can be the real deal. Considering a fair amount of elites are vehicles, you could easily deploy an inch away from a vehicle and pop it with a turn one charge. Hope you are good at roll on the Pen table ;) Also, remember that you don't have to chain fire your guns, you might get lucky on rear armor with rending pistol shot.
- If you are running a list with a TON of in your face distractions, Nex can add to that madness. I like him in a pride of the legion list I was running with all vets with fearless and melta bombs (before they changed them to stubborn). My enemy would focus so much on Nex, it left my vets less harassed.
- Rites of War:
- Decapitating Strike:
- Usually it's thrown out there that Decap Strike adds a lot to Kaedes. Yes. Preferred enemy IC is a great rule on top of Chain fire and Rending, but really you aren't truly going to do huge damage. That said, goign first is actually very helpful if you plan to use Nex aggressively.
- Liberation Force:
- I think this ROW is really where the rubber meets the road. In short, you get D3 VPs for killing your opponent's Warlord in this ROW. So if you manage to wound there warlord with Nex in the same turn you are looking at an additional +1 VP. PLUS you still get the 1 VP for slay the warlord and if it's a KP mission you might get another VP for killing a unit. It's an insane amount of extra KPs to pick up, and is a totally whack fun Head Hunter list to pull out occasionally. To pull this off though, you can't just send in Kaedes alone. You are best off softening up a unit that an HQ is hiding in or killing off an HQ with other units after Nex has wounded it. So he's much more successful with units like mor deythan in rhinos or seekers in drop pods. Or serious tank support to crack open tough transports.
- For more on the Liberation Force check out my article on here.
As a final thought, I have used the callidus assassin for years and years in 40k. She is similar in that she can be very flexible and distracting but is rarely a wrecking ball on her own. To be successful with with this type of model, I suggest you think about it like trading a bishop in chess. The worth of the trade is what you are getting for it. Nex will die if over committed or over exposed. So two ways to get more out of him is to give him support and to chose your moments carefully.
With Raven Guard, I often Alpha Strike very hard, but by the end of the game, I am left with very few minis holding objectives. Nex is so easy to hide, he can be a great end game spoiler unit near objectives.
It should also be mentioned, that you don't need to push all your chips in when you use him. I have a lot of success chipping away at units one or two models a turn. If you kill all the models that can see you, they can't shoot you back without moving... 18" is pretty generous range for pistols, and couple minis a turn starts to add up against rear units, that really don't want to move to deal with you.
Finally, it's sometimes just better to out flank him or just hide him for the entire game. Don't risk his KPs if you are not going to come out ahead in the trade.