Sunday, January 4, 2009

Typhus: Tactics and Evaluation

Points-wise, Typhus is one of the most expensive HQ choices that a chaos space marine player can select, coming in third place behind Ahriman of the Thousand Sons and Abaddon the Despoiler himself in top place. Are these well-invested points? How does Typhus perform on the battlefield and what role does / should he have?

Points comparison.
Typhus is somewhat akin to a chaos sorcerer in the statistics department, but with an extra wound. In the old chaos marine codex, an extra wound is worth about 15 points, so the base cost for a sorcerer with 4 wounds should be circa 115. We'll add on to the sorcerer a Mark of Nurgle (20pts), Nurgle's rot (15pts) and Wind of Chaos (30pts). Already Typhus breaks the standard rules by being able to take 2 sorcerous powers, so we'll have to give the sorcerer a familiar (5pts) to enable him to select the second power. The chaos sorcerer analogue is already coming in at an impressive 185 points!

To make the sorcerer more like Typhus, we'll give him terminator armour (15pts) with a force weapon, and a personal icon (5pts). But the manreaper wielded by Typhus is a daemon weapon in addition to being a force weapon, so we'll also give the sorcerer a daemon weapon (40pts) - which in reality a chaos sorcerer cannot select as an option. That takes the cost up to 245 points, which makes Typhus look like a bargain at 225 points.

But in addition, Typhus also has the feel no pain special rule (just like plague marines do, but unlike any lord given the mark of Nurgle). He also has the destroyer hive (frag and blight grenades - much like plague marines) and is a herald of Nurgle (automatically passes all psychic tests like a daemon and never suffers perils of the warp)! Brutal.

Yet, Typhus is still very costly compared to even Kharn of the World Eaters or a generic chaos lord. In 4th edition, it was often said that HQ choices shouldn't amount to more than about 10 per cent of the total army cost. Even if 5th edition, I think this yard-stick isn't a bad rule of thumb. So, my knee-jerk reaction is to only use Typhus in a 2000+ points game. I might consider using him at 1750 points, but I'd have to have a darn good reason to. At 1500 points, 15% of your points being locked up in a single miniature that can suffer instant death is highly problematic and not recommended - get a land raider for 5 points less instead.

The question can be asked as to whether I actually have ever played with Typhus? The answer is "yes" - but only in Apocalypse! Maybe I'll use him in a 1500 points army one day for fun and fluff. He takes a whopping 216 standard bolter shots from a loyalist marine to kill, afterall (see also the Advantages of a Death Guard Marine).

Role and Tactics.
To be clear: Typhus can be deadly when used right ... and with a little luck. As a terminator independent character, we can play the usual tricks of placing him in a squad of death guard terminators and deep-striking in to play, or rolling up the battlefield aboard a land raider. Either way, being among other death guard is a good way to go with Typhus.

With a personal icon, he can very effectively become the tip of a "plague spear" and lead the charge to the enemy whilst simultaneously summoning down hordes of lesser daemons. This requires a very tuned army list and represents a big gamble by the player - it either works very well, or not at all. With more terminators and obliterators held in reserve, Typhus can prove a big obstacle to any foe.

The manreaper makes Typhus excellent as a monstrous creature slayer, or independent characters killer. So long as the daemon weapon doesn't roll a 1 for the number of attacks, Typhus can take out other characters very efficiently and deal with small infantry with near impunity. Combined with his ranged psychic attacks that can also be used in close combat (Nurgle's Rot), Typhus is a force to be reckoned with. But he must avoid instant death at all costs. This means being wary of ordnance (vindicators) and other powerful incoming barrages and can also mean permanently attaching him to a larger squad.

I feel Typhus is most valuable in Apocalypse where I don't mind having so many points in a single characters, screened by masses of other troops or deep-striking in behind enemy lines. The big weapons (ordnance; las cannons) usually have better targets than Typhus. Hence he can rely on his high toughness and terminator armour more to get around. The zombie plague special formation is an interesting one and can be played with Typhus for a very fluffy depiction of what he likes to do.

1 comment:

suneokun said...

I met Typhus several times in APOC and he is a monster ... surrounded by Terminators, he can spearhead a dirty great horde of oblits, Deamons and Deathguard in to the middle of things. He's also good at shrugging off all but the S10 AP1 weaponry.

Although look out for Destructor weaponry as this can kill him pretty darn quick. Additionally ... Typhus will be hot from the moment he arrives. In one particular game we had both Typhus and Ghazghull stomping around in the home field ... very very nasty!

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