Monday 19 December 2016

A Review of Codex: Imperial Agents

One of our focus group gets to work
The new Imperial Agents Codex came out at the weekend, and as a massive nerd when it comes to obscure little detachments and the weird corners of the Imperium, I was super excited. I've inhaled the entire thing through my eyes, so will now regurgitate some excellent and useful facts and opinions for my dedicated readers.

TLDR Version

This book is quite good and has plenty of cool stuff in it. Narrative gamers will have plenty of awesome ideas to plunder. More competitive gamers will find several old favourites thoroughly nerfed, and only a few 'good' options amid some really weird stuff. Some of the rules stuff is a bit unclear and needs a little clarification.

Cult Mechanicus

Broadly, this gives the Astra Militarum Tech Priest the Cult Mechanicus faction, a few more equipment options, and lets them have "Canticles of the Omnissiah" rule from the Cult Mechanicus Codex.

It doesn't help with Guard formations that have to include a Tech Priest, which is where most of them are likely to turn up in an army, but if you are not putting them in a Astra Militarum formation, use this to buy them, as you get some nice free rules.

Law of Unintended Forge World
Trojan Support Vehicles are a Dedicated Transport for Tech Priest Enginseers. If they are allowed for Cult Mechanicus Enginseers, that adds an extra unit with Canticles for cheap.

Aeronautica Imperialis

I want to like this so much, but it's really not very good at all.

So, you get a Fast Attack slot with an optional HQ, with the Aeronautica Imperialis faction. The only options available are Valkyries and an Officer of the Fleet as an Independent Character. The latter is amazing, the former is rubbish.

The problem is Death from the Skies. That supplement has a detachment for Valkyries that grants them Objective Secured in hover mode, which is spectacularly better than getting to reroll some reserve roles. Getting to hide away your Officer of the Fleet as an Independent Character rather than part of a Command Squad is great - but not at the cost of your flight wings losing Objective Secured.

Law of Unintended Forge World
This will be where this detachment could shine. If Forge World put out a PDF listing any number of it's fighters or bombers as Fast Attack options for the Aeronautica Imperialis faction, then they gain nothing from the Death from the Skies detachment and something nice from the Imperial Agents detachment, and you can take your improved Officer of the Fleet.

Adeptus Astra Telepathica

This is where good stuff happens. Primaris Psyker is more or less the same. The Astropath from the Astra Militarum Codex gets a nice tasty upgrade, getting an option of a second psychic level, and becoming an Independent Character. As cherry on the cake, the HQ option then gets bonuses if near a unit of Wyrdvane Psykers.
From a competitive standpoint, this leaves you with an excellent source of Telepathy Psykers for cheap. From a narrative gamer stand point, I really want more Astropath figures...

Adepta Sororitas

Most of the most recent Sisters of Battle Codex, with tweaks. Mostly, it has an impact on how Inquisitorial Warbands work later. The Ministorum Delegation is a fun little unit that lets you have a Priest, with a pick of optional miscreants to accompany them.
Arco-Flagellants, Crusaders and Death Cult Assassins are all now Adepta Sororitas units with tiny minimum unit sizes (the size, incidentally, of a blister from GW). You can then package them up with a Priest or Uriah Jacobus to form an Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave, like the old unit.

Special Mention goes to the Mace of Valaan, which gains Fleshbane and Armourbane when wielded near a model with the Daemon special rule. Over in Inquisition-land, a Daemonhost can be put in a unit with a Priest, who can take said Mace... Do not take this combination when playing with people you want to stay friends with.


Simple squad of Deathwatch, included as relevant for future options. Mini Kill Team detachment for the casual buyer who doesn't have the Deathwatch Codex - which has much better synergies. This stripped back approach may be worthwhile for people wanting a small Deathwatch investment though...

Grey Knights

See Deathwatch. Just a little bigger - you get a Troops or Fast Attack unit as Compulsory with an Optional Heavy Support. The key thing here is that you're not restricted to the units included in the book. They just have to have the Grey Knight faction. So, you can still have Purgation Squads, Stormravens and so on if you want (although I've not looked at which ones get good synergies with the detachment itself).

Legion of the Damned

Those whacky invulnerable saving, deep striking, cover ignoring ghostly Space Marines are back again. They don't have the Relics from the LotD book, but do get a command ability in their detachment to choose to automatically pass or fail reserve rolls. I'm not sure if that was there before or not.

They remain the Legion of the Damned. They're pretty good. They do a job. I kind of want some.

Officio Assassinorum

See Deathwatch, except it's basically every rule from the Assassins Codex. Including the formation.

The Inquisition

... what a show!

So, this is where it all gets a bit weird. There's quite a big overhaul, and this removes almost all the broken "competitive" combos people were using the Inquisition for before. Servo Skulls are gone, warbands are no longer a Codex entry, and you can get Acolytes, Jokaero and Daemonhosts.

You now get a Detachment with one Inquisitor and 3 Elites choices, and a Formation called an Inquisitorial Henchmen Warband.
And this is where it gets really weird.

Acolytes get Dedicated Transports from the Sororitas (Rhino), Aeronautica (Valkyrie) and Grey Knights (Land Raider variants). This is fine, despite people's panicking (p120, main rulebook - Dedicated Transports gain the faction of the unit they are picked with).

What is confusing is whether the non faction Dedicated Transports can use the vehicle upgrades from the Inquisition list (psybolt ammunition, etc) - current strict reading is "no", but that may not have been intent.

There's a light upgrade to Inquisitorial Rhinos as they theoretically gain Shield of Faith. I'm also not sure if it's intentional that Ordo Malleus Inquisitors can use Malefic Daemonology as well as Sanctic, as the other Inquisitors can't, and the wording for each is "Inquisitors".

The Henchmen Warband has some changes. You can't go all Death Cult Assassins in a Land Raider - but you can still have quite a lot of Death Cult Assassins in a Land Raider, with a few ablative acolyte wounds, a guy who can repair the Land Raider, and an Astropath to try for Invisibility. This is on top of the light comedy of the Priest with Mace of Valaan and a Daemonhost.

There's also a side option that you can take of a unit of Sisters, Deathwatch or Grey Knights to be a buddy for your Inquisitor. I already have some plans for this from a narrative point of view.

Final Thoughts

I really like this book - the updates clear out some old tired combos and give us new ones from a competitive standpoint. From a narrative stand point, we can achieve more or less the same thing as we could before with Inquisitors. We just have to go about it in slightly different ways.

I've actually found that I was stalling on inspiration for a lot of my Inquisition stuff because there was so much choice. With the formation structure a little more ordered, I'm finding myself thinking up an assortment of ideas I really want to try out. I'm really pleased with this, and am looking forward to using it!


  1. Thanks for the review. That is really useful. I have missed using Inquisitors since the new Grey Knights codex came out. Yes, there is the digital codex, but hate using digital, so this is awesome. REALLY hoping for plastic sisters!!!!!

    1. Coteaz with Plasma Cannons is gone, as are Servo Skulls, but there's still plenty of good stuff there!

    2. Yeah, that was my 'go-to' option, but when I get my hands on a copy I will work something out I am sure.

  2. Thanks for this. I was thinking of a possible kill team 'Inqs' Vs 'space Wolves' thing. Your review has proved most useful.

    1. Argh! Kill Team!

      That's the one thing that suffers here - as they are all separate entries, the beautiful kill teams of old won't work...

    2. That's only a problem for Kill Team events - when playing with narrative games with friends I recommend "Unbound" Kill Team with just the 200 point limit (and maybe the vehicle caps). HQ and Psychers really don't break Kill Team as much as you'd think they might! ;-)

    3. I have been pondering a Warband on Warband Killteam game at some point.

  3. I had not thought of that Mace of Valaan and Demonhost combo! Wow!!

    I wonder, Coteaz gives all non-vehicles in his Detachment objective secured. So obviously him and his warband. But he can also take a unit of Grey Knight terminators. Would them become Inquisition faction? Would they also gain objective secured?!

    Also, the Detachment and formation confuse me. The Detachment is 1 HQ and 3 elites. Does that mean 3 Jokaeros for example become independent characters?

    1. So, lets cover this a step at a time.

      A Formation is basically a kind of detachment - so his "Objective Secured" would transfer to the Grey Knight Squad. They do not become Inquisition faction by being in a joint formation.

      Side note: Coteaz in the "Castellans of the Imperium" detachment from Gathering Storm I grants Objective Secured to an obscene amount of infantry if he's the Warlord. Good times.

      The detachment and the formation are different things.

      If you take the detachment, you can take 3 Elites. This would just be 3 Jokaeros. They do not become characters or independent characters, they're just single model units.

      The formation is where this all then makes sense, because the formation mashes everything up into a single unit. It's not a part of the detachment, it's a stand alone formation that takes an Inquisitor, Acolytes, and a bundle of options for the Acolyte squad.

  4. Thank you for clearing up this Detachment and faction. I am looking forward to dropping some ObjSec terminators onto some unsuspecting heretics.

    I hadn't thought about Coteaz in the Castellans detachment! By the throne! Makes a demi-company look puny by comparison!

  5. how exactly can you buy Stormravens for a Grey Knights detachment when they are not in this book nor does it say you can use any units form the Grey Knights codex?

    1. The Grey Knight detachment in the book simply says all units in the Detachment need to be of the Grey Knight faction.

      Compare that to the Ministorium Delegation, which says they all have to be Adepta Sororitas Faction, and the HQ needs to be a Priest.

      In short, at no point does the Imperial Agents say "Units in this book" - it either refers to specific units, or units with a particular faction.

      Some tournament house rules may change this, but as written, it's fine.