Rules Review: Forge World's Canoptek Acanthrites

Acanthrite image from Forge World, used for review purposes only.

It's time to do more RulesMan stuff around here! Starting with a review of Forge World's new and rather snazzy looking Canoptek thingy. Experimental rules are here and Bryss & 'Scape Inc is here.

The first thing that springs to mind when looking at this thing is that it's rather like a Wraith, however on closer inspection the only thing they really share is aesthetic design and their Jump Infantry type. The Acanthrite has one better Toughness (which means it doesn't die to missiles and other sundry S8) and one more Wound, at the cost of losing the handy Wraithflight power and the Phase Shifter, as well as having one less attack.

Next, I'll explain their special trick. After this jump.

What makes the Acanthrite so special is that they've nicked a weapon from the Dark Eldar catalogue and re-named it. Namely, the Heat Lance, rather imaginatively re-named to the Cutting Beam. But, it gets worse. You see, one Scourge with a Heat Lance is 44 points. That's a one-wound, flimsily-armoured T3 model. You could, I suppose, argue that the Heat Lance gets 6 more inches of range and is AP1. But that doesn't take away from how efficient this unit is. 5 Scourges with 4 Heat Lances are 158 points, and Scourges need all four heavy weapons to be a legitimate threat. 3 of these is enough to put your opponent on ice, for just 135 points.

A lot of the efficiency of this unit comes from survivability. The aforementioned unit of Scourges dies in a heartbeat once they fire one round of shots. These guys can probably get in an extra turn. They also get Stealth, meaning they can hide and survive until they're needed very well, and if you choose to Deep Strike them and miss it's not the end of the world. Add to that Fearless, although Necrons in general don't run away too often.

Finally, as if all that wasn't enough, they get Voidblades. Yes, Voidblades. So despite having one less attack and two less strength than Wraiths, they are arguably better against vehicles, and can still hold their own in combat to a lesser degree. Being able to take Power Fist hits helps.

There are a few things that help limit it. For one, you can't take them in squads of less than 3, so no running 3 squads of 2 at 1000 points for laughs. For two, if you actually manage to catch them, which is doable under 6th charge rules, they're easy to tarpit with a unit like Crusaders (but not Wyches, unfortunately). For three, they can't buy a Night Scythe, but unfortunately still fit in one.

However, none of these things really help solve the problem this unit have. Nobody in their right mind would give you permission to use them until they go to at least 55/60 points. Overall, I give the unit 6.5 out of 10. This would rise to 8.0 if they were costed better.