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Grotesques Tactica

Submitted By: Date: June 4, 2007, 12:00:00 AM Views: 1700
Summary: The grotesques. The twisted abominations of Commoragh. [i]This faq is written in my own free time and made for all those Dark Eldar players who would like to know more about how to use their grotesques. I will discuss various options and tactics of the grotesques But may forget parts due to lack of knowledge of them. If so feel free to pm me and I will make notice of it..I hope after reading this Little faq you will have learned a bit more about how to field your Grotesque unit. -Archon Bjorn-[/i]

The grotesques. A unit that is rarely used by our kindred since we left the third edition rules behind us. But why? Are they still viable to play with? And how do you play with your grotesques at the moment?

Grotesque and their stats:

A grotesque his stats differ allot from that of the rest of the Dark Eldar units. This is mainly because unlike the rest of the army grotesque are made from mon’keigh. Twisted and driven insane untill they are mindless.

This gives them several advantages but also disadvantages when compared to the rest of the basic DE statline.

The first thing is their initiative. This is no higher then the average guardsman and thus unlike the rest of the army you actually strike AFTER the marines instead of first. Combine this with the faq that their save is WORSE then that of our wyches and you quickly start to see what makes most of us dislike the Grotesques.

However unlike the rest a grotesques has twice the amount of wounds of normal models. Although not a game winner by itself it does stretch their lives a little bit longer. They also have an increased S and a extra attack in comparison with the rest of our army, making them quit good at wounding things. Although this still won’t kill tons of infantry like were used with wyches.

So why would you still want to take this unit if it is even more expensive as a wych? Well my young kindred let me show you the other strenghts and disadvantages of this unit. As their real strenght lies in their special abilities.

What changed since the third edition that made them so ‘’useless’’ what I heard from other players?

The major change that caused allot of players to drop them from their lists is the target priority rule. Don’t take it for granted as I play since the 4th edition. But as I recall you HAD to shoot at the squad in front of the rest of your opponents army. Allot of Dark Eldar players used their feel no pain rule (described later on in this article) to screen off their biggest part of the army from small arms fire.

Grotesques and their strenghts:

Unlike the rest of the Dark Eldar army a grotesque is not a flexible unit. It only has a limited amount of purposes and isn’t particular fast either. This is one of the main reasons why Dark Eldar players tend to pick other unit like wyches and warriors above grotesques. however any skilled general should see the hidden powers of this unit

Feel no pain:

Unlike the feel no pain rule that is stated in the rulebook the grotesques have a special rule that is unique in 40k. They keep walking over the field ignoring incoming blows. Bolter fire? hah! they spit on it. Heavy bolters? Your only making more holes to put hooks through.

The feel no pain rule states that a grotesques can’t be wounded unless the weapon is twice the thoughness of the grotesques.. That means that you either instant kill them, or can’t harm them at all. This increases their chance of survival drastically. I might even consider calling grotesques one of the most resilient units that we have due to this rule.

But beware. This rule only works versus shooting. It is of no use in close combat (the place where you want them to end up) and thus you see the downside of this rule. Although I will explain later on why this doesn’t really matter.

Terrifying opponent:

A grotesque is a abomination. A self created horror by the twisted haemonculi of Commoragh. They are twisted and driven insane no longer belonging to their former race. They are mindless slaves. You could almost say that these creatures are the zombies of 40k.

The Terrifying rule states that a unit which loses combat versus grotesques automatically fails his morale check. This means that those LD10 Necrons are suddenly not so brave anymore as we first thought! This is one of their biggest advantages that when used properly can be devastating versus certain armies.

However keep in mind that there are also allot of armies that are fearless. This negates this certain rule and thus reduces the grotesques to nothing more then a walking piece of meat.

Weaknesses of a Grotesque.

like I stated before, the grots have more disadvantages, I will point them out in this part. I will also give you some tips and the like how to fix this.


The biggest drawback of the grotesques in my opinion is this rule. Unlike the rest of your army they are mindless and need guidance. This means rule wise that a independent character should join the squad (Archon/dracon haemonculi) Although not such a huge drawback overall. (As Haemonculi are relative cheap) it is one that should be kept in mind. Like I said before, they are not so different from some zombies.

Squad leader:

Unlike the rest of your list this unit doesn’t has a squad leader on its own. The squad leader should be provided in the form of a independent character. (see above paragraph). Although as you can see that GW’s intention has been to let this be the squad leader it still means that you have to sacrifice another slot on your FOC to make this squad work.

Aside from this, as we all know a haemonculi only has acces to haemonculi only weapons. Thus the squad can’t have agonisers and the like unless you are willing to throw in your Archon or Dracon.


Zombies are as we know, relatively stupid. This is no exception to the grotesques and thus they are not able to wield any weapons. Overall this is a pretty big disadvantage when you combine it with the faq that they ain’t as fast as the rest of our army.


So what do we see when we look at their strengths and weaknesses? The most important is that they are NOT Dark Eldar. They are not as mobile and need a leader. They won’t hold their ground on their own in close combat and therefore need to be supported.

So a small overview of units to tag with and combo’s are avaliable on the next page.

"Squad leader" Archon/Dracon options. :

Now this is something that at first sight doesn’t seem to appeal at all to you. Commanding some zombies ain’t particulair the most exciting thing to do for your Archon/dracon. However there are of course reasons to do this.

Advantages for the grotesque squad.

-You will be able to take a punisher or agoniser in the squad.

-The grotesques will no longer need to test to move.

-The grotesques will have a high leadership in case they lose combat.

-The chances to win combat increases drastically.

As you can see there are allot of advantages for your squad. But what is the advantage for your Archon?

Advantages for your Archon:

-Protected by the feel no pain rule versus shooting.

-Terrifying opponent rule

The last one is the most important. The grotesques their rules are basically protecting your leader versus shooting and helping in close combat. The most important one is the auto fail morale check thus the opposing squad (if not fearless) needs to run.

Your leader still counts as a separate unit in close combat so you are allowed to use his initiative to gain on the opposing squad. This means your archon his initiative will wipe out opposing squads like 80% of the time! Versus Necrons overall this means a dead squad.

So now you finally see what’s so good about the grotesques. Although quit useless on their own without a leader or supporting squads they are a great addition to support another squad. Making good use of their rules may make a whole difference between winning and losing the combat!

We will now move on the Haemonculi


We all know them. We take them because they are cheap or love the destructor. But what do they have to do in a grotesque squad?

Well first of all. They are the creators of these twisted beasts. Thus fluff wise it would seem normal that the squad is being led by such a figure. Besides that you don’t really need a archon to win close combat. Like I stated before you can support any other close combat squad being it wyches warriors or a talos.


-You can take several haemonculi as one HQ choice.

-You can let your archon join other squads.

-Haemonculi are overall cheap.

-Being able to use the haemonculi as a webway portal deployer.

The last one is something most of us don’t consider. This time the feel no pain rule is important. Although the squad is slow it still is very resilient versus most armies and thus you can (unless facing death wing and the like) walk with a safer pace over the battle field and deploying your web way portal. The look on all those Tau players their faces as almost nothing can stop them is always awesome to behold!


-Perhaps you prefer a Dracon to lead a incubi squad instead.

-Haemonculi are restricted to haemonculi weapons only. Thus not being able to take a power weapon.

-The squad now NEEDS support of another unit in close combat.

Overall the disadvantages ain’t that bad when you consider the advantages.

Now the main problem that you still have is that the squad is slow. So how do we fix this?

Rapid deploying your grotesques:

When using grotesques to deploy a web way portal with a haemonculi it might be worth it to buy a raider for them. You overall have more then enough cover to hide at least one raider and thus move forward and unboard them turn 1.

Even so, when your NOT using them to deploy a web way portal a raider is useful. Certainly when you decide to let them come out of the portal. This means that they are somewhat as fast as the rest of your army and thus able to support your units right away.

Units to tag along with:

So what have we learned so far? That the grotesques heavenly rely on their special rules. Besides that they need a squad leader. They don’t really need support (although still wise to do) when being led by a archon while they DO need support when being led by a haemonculi.

So with what kind of units do you tag them along with? Well basically everything that is decent in close combat. This can vary from warriors to wyches to Talos. (The top 3 in my list) I would NOT let them be supported by hellions or warp beasts as they overall ain’t able to dish out as many damage as the other squads and thus you might lose close combat.


When coming out of a webway portal or when closing in on your opponent keep in mind that the grotesques need to survive in order to use their special rule. Therefor try to keep at least one of them out of the killzone.

As a second tip: Let the other squad assault all the closest models and try to keep your grotesques as far away out of the killzone as possible. Again you only need their special rule. When your opponents starts hitting the grotesques they will quickly fall under the blades and fists of your opponent. Though their extra wound does give them more chance to survive a fury of blows they still ain’t combat monsters.

Always consider if you are able to kill more models of your opponent then your opponent will kill of you. This means that you need to win close combat. Try to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Watch out for auto killing weapons! Weapons like assault cannons and heavy gauss flayers (Destroyers of Necrons) are able to quickly gun down your squad.

Last words:

Well that’s all I have to say about out grotesques at the moment my young kindred. I hope that you have learned something and consider using this unit. As it has a potential that most of us simply don’t see. Yet they are hard to use at the same time.

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