Unit Tactica: Carnifex

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 Introduction to Carnifexes; Close Combat
 Ranged Carnifexes
 Carnifex Weapons; Statistics



Introduction to Carnifexes; Close Combat

Ahhhh... The Carnifex. What better place to start? Our Codex tells us that it "Is a living engine of destruction evolved for us in shock assaults, space ship boarding actions, and massed battles where it can smash through almost any obstacle, whether it is a defensive line, enemy tanks, or a fortified position. The assault of these creatures is tarrying to behold, a primeval force which smashes men and vehicles aside like children's toys." I always liked the sound of that, and I've always liked fielding Carnifexes.
However, an army made up entirely of these beasts is often seen as quite cheesy; however, used right, they can win nearly any tournament. Admittedly, I was drawn in by this lure of power, and I have sadly seen the light: Playing an army full of shooting Carnifexes is really boring. I'd advise you all to stay away from Godzilla lists because they are just so boring to play. You may win a lot, but there's no pleasure in winning if there was no competition, and nobody will like battling you all that much. Instead, I suggest you have a little fun with your games, and what better way to have fun with your games than to have a lumbering 200+ point Carnifex walking it's way across the field!?

Close Combat Carnifexes

Before we look at actual examples of these monsters, we look at all of the upgrades individually:
Note: I prefer the concept of quantity over quality, even when comparing fexes, so keep that in mind, as you may disagree with some of these.
Acid Maw - Probably should be brought on every fex. Everybody rolls ones, even if you're 20ft tall. Waaait... Fexes don't roll dice. Oh well. Still bring it. Re-rolling one bad roll against a Marine pays for itself for two and a half games.
Adrenal Glands (I) - Everybody knows that powerfists are the enemy of the Carnifex. A must have for any close combat Fex.
Adrenal Glands (WS) - In my opinion, another must have. If you bring this along with Toxic Miasma, you make your average enemy hit on 4+ and you on 3+, instead of the other way around. For 12 points total, a very good investment, although not a must have.
Bio-Plasma - I personally don't think that this is worth it, because you don't ignore saves with it, so it's just an extra s10 attack for 8 points; however you are only going to kill a space marine 1/6 of the time. You might kill one every other game, so it might pay for itself, but just barely. If you play against a lot of skimmers, this could come in handy, although I don't think many good players are going to leave their skimmers near your fex... I'd leave this one at home, or at the bio-engineering bay, or wherever this can be left.
Bonded Exoskeleton - This is pretty tight. Anything that is s3 can't do anything to you anymore. If you're fighting eldar, or IG, or Orks... Fantastic. You literally can't be killed if you make it to CC with the right people. These can also help a lot with some of your biggest problems, such as high rate upper-middle strength weapons, such as starcannons and the like. Good upgrade, but against some races it might not do that much.
Extended Carapace - This can be very helpful. Against non-power weapon attacks, this upgrade can double the life of your Carnifex. If you think you have a strategy that will keep you away from power weapons, by all means, bring this! I don't believe that is going to help you all that much, however. You aren't going to be wounded very often. From nine s4 attacks you are going to be wounded one time, before your save. So you either take a wound from every 36th s4 attack, or every 72nd s4 attack.
Flesh Hooks - One point for all those effects... Bring them, always.
Implant Attack - Most things that you are going to be facing can be instakilled anyways, so I don't think that you are going to need this. Wraithlords, C'tans, etc, however, it can be very useful. Not sure if I think it's worth the points or not, but I lean towards not. If you have some extra points, bring them, but they belong on a winged tyrant before a Carnifex, as you generally aren't going to get to assault what you really want to (IE: The wraithlord/C'tan)
Regenerate - This can be a very useful tool. I've never battle tested it, however I do believe that it could be worth it. If you have a 160 point fex, and you regenerate one wound, technically it has paid for itself. I believe that I would tend towards Reinforced Chitin before this, but if you have the 15 points to go from Chitin to Regenerate, I think it is the next logical step. Just be careful, and don't depend on your fex regenerating, as if you miss your rolls, you just left yourself open to have your monster killed. Very saddening. Take it as a chance, not a precaution to your fex dying.
Reinforced Chitin - You already have 4 t6 wounds, and you want another one?! Fine, fine. I could see how that makes sense. I think I would bring this on my expensive fexes, IE: 175+ points, but not below that. On your cheaper fexes your points are spread far enough apart. I personally think this is a personal preference issue, and I think that you could find the points to make another fex if you skimp on upgrades like this, so think about that before you blow 60 points making your t7 5w regenerating monstrosity.
Spine Banks - For five points, two s6 shots is pretty good, and you could end up killing some cheap troops. I think this is another 'If you want to spend more points, take it, but otherwise, look for more useful things' However, it could end up being the only kill you get with your fex is with this. But if you don't plan far enough ahead to keep your enemy from running... Why are you using CC fexes?
Spore Cysts - You want to give your fex something that could wound it? What are you, crazy? Leave these alone. Please.
Symbiote Rippers - Do you really ever need to count as more than 10 models?
Mace/Scythe Tail - In my opinion, you generally aren't going to be in contact with four models, so you aren't going to get much use out of these. However, if you face swarms a lot, then you could make good use out of it. Cheap, could be useful, but could also never see use. They look pretty cool though... So if your group is crazy about WYSIWYG, you may want to pay for it just so that you can model it... But then again I'm crazy and like modeling cool things. But if you're paying 200 points for a model because it looks awesome, why not drop another 5-10 points to make it look even more awesome??
Thornback - Do you really ever need to count as 20 models?
Toxin Sacs - Could be useful... Allows you to instakill 5T models. Worth it, in my opinion. For the points, I'd take it.
Toxic Miasma - See Adrenal Glands (WS) entry. Allows you to hit on 3+
Tusked - I don't think that you are going to get use out of this more than once, maybe twice. For the points, not worth it. However, pretty cool modeling purposes.
Weapon Symbiotes - If I make a CC fex, he only does CC. So we're skipping the ranged symbiotes.
Crushing Claws - This is the only way you are going to get more than four attacks with your Carnifex. Compared to two sets of scything talons, 1/3 of the time you're going to get less attacks than you normally would, 1/6 of the time it'll be equal, and 1/2 of the time it will be more. Decent investment, but there are probably better choices out there.
Lash Whip - I don't personally think that these are worth it. I heard once that a small brood of warriors with lash whips would work quite well for this, as well as provide some extra attacks. Could be an interesting idea. It could also help knock out some powerfists before they hit your Carnifex, as well as cut down on the number of powerfists striking in the first place.
Rending claws - Okay... Honestly, are you just trying to fill up a symbiote spot? What in the world would you need Rending Claws for? You ignore armor saves, you have enough strength to auto-penetrate some vehicles, and roll 2d6 for penetration anyways, and there's nothing in the game that you don't wound on a 2+ if you took toxin sacs!
Scything Talons - These are the logical choice for fexes if you don't want crushing claws, or crushing claws and a set of these. If you prefer consistency over potential power, go with two of these over crushing claws, otherwise take a set of crushing claws and a set of these.

Example Carnifexes

Elite Carnifex -
Carnifex with Adrenal Glands (WS), Toxic Miasma, Flesh Hooks Scything Talons, and Scything Talons Points: 114
or
Carnifex with Adrenal Glands (WS), Adrenal Glands (I), Flesh Hooks, Scything Talons, Scything Talons Points: 112
 This is, in my opinion, one of the better uses for a Carnifex. He's cheap, he's effective, and in 1500+ point battles, he can be used as an elite choice! Depending on if you are going to be facing Powerfists or not, you can choose between these two.
Carnifex with Adrenal Glands (I), Adrenal Glands (WS), Flesh Hooks, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Crushing Claws, Scything Talons Points: 143
This is personally my poison of choice. He gets a good number of attacks, strikes before powerfists, hits most things on a 3+, and can instakill almost anything. And at half the points of some of the monstrosities walking the fields, I can take a lot more of these than you can take of yours, and I'm going to kill more things, as well as have more tactical flexibility and actually get into CC. I would tend to run these in pairs, and get on either side of a big unit. Then, it really doesn't have anywhere to run, and if it's a cc unit, it's a waste to run backwards.
Aright, aright. Everybody wants to see them. The big'uns! These guys are flat out expensive, and I never use them, however, I made them so you can oogle. Have fun!
Carnifex with Adrenal Glands (WS & I), Extended Carapace, Reinforced Chitin, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Thornback, Tusked, Scything Talons, Scything Talons.Points: 180 .
A basic, fairly resilient troop killer, useful in smaller games where you'll be up against less anti-tank weaponry. It gets 6 st10 attacks that will hit on a 3+ against most things on the charge, and as it counts as 20 models it will impose some nasty outnumbering modifiers on the enemy.
Carnifex with Adrenal Glands (WS & I), Bonded Exoskeleton, Extended Carapace, Reinforced Chitin, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Thornback, Tusked, Scything Talons, Crushing Claws, Flesh Hooks. Points: 228
A little more resilient than the first one, and a bit riskier as it has Crushing Claws-anywhere between 4 and 9 st10 attacks on the charge. However, it may well draw a bit more fire, and is a bigger blow if it dies.
Carnifex with Acid Maw, Adrenal Glands (WS & I), Bonded Exoskeleton, Extended Carapace, Reinforced Chitin, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Thornback, Tusked, Scything Talons, Crushing Claws, Flesh Hooks, Regenerate. Points: 264
This is more like it; we've broken through the mythical 250 point barrier by adding Acid Maw and Regeneration. Once it gets to this stage, regenerate becomes very useful to try and repair a wound or two in the later stages of the game to keep it going a bit. Acid maw is also a generally useful upgrade with crushing claws-if you roll a poor number of attacks against a wraithlord or the like, you'll want to ensure that every one of them wounds.
Carnifex with Acid Maw, Adrenal Glands (WS & I), Bonded Exoskeleton, Extended Carapace, Reinforced Chitin, Toxin Sacs, Toxic Miasma, Thornback, Tusked, Scything Talons, Crushing Claws, Flesh Hooks, Regenerate, Implant Attack, Bioplasma. Points: 290
This is about as expensive a CC fex can get, really. I've added a scythe tail to stop it getting bogged down in combat, Bio-plasma to have a pop at passing skimmers and perhaps claim an extra kill here and there, and Implant Attack if any monsters wander into attack range.

Tactics

If you are exactly 24" away, you should hit combat on turn 4, 3 if you're lucky. There is something you can do to speed this up though-force him to move towards you. There are a number of ways you can do this:
A) Play missions which revolve around taking table quarters, objectives, etc. March the Carnifex right towards said quarters/objectives, and watch the foe try to decide whether to move towards the fex, or surrender that area to you. Even if he vacates that objective and the fex never hits combat, it doesn't matter-denying an objective can be just as much a way to win as killing the enemy.
B) Plant a Lure. Take a small, vulnerable squad and deploy it with the carnifex a little behind. Try to get the enemy to assault the lure-this will have the effect of moving them about 12" closer to you-I've used this trick to get a turn 2 assault with a big 'ole CC carnie. 6 Scuttling genestealers with carapace was what I used-the threat of them pouncing on turn 2 and ripping though a squad was too much for my opponent, who charged them with a squad of Chaos Marines, flattened the stealers, and then got stomped by the carnie.
C) Put threat behind his lines. If many units appear in behind him and threaten his backfield, it can sometimes trick him into moving to get away from them-if you're clever, this can make him move right into the path of the Carnie. I've only pulled this off once though, and it relied on combining three lictors, 5 single-brood raveners and the red terror deep striking in (this was playing with two detachments), and two CC carnies-one on each flank. He split his forces to try and outflank me, and ran straight into the juggernaughts, which rumbled right over him.
D) Work out in advance if any parts of his army will be moving towards you of their own accord-bikers, jump troops or squads in transports who may try to launch assaults on the less-assault elements in your army-Gaunts, biovores, zoanthropes, shooty warriors, shooty fexes etc. Deploy the Carnie where you think he'll launch his assault-either he runs towards the fex, or you disrupt his plans.
Ok, now you now how to get it into combat on time-now, ways to keep out of the enemy gunfire:
A) Hug Cover. Like you didn't see this one coming! Pretty simple really, try to make sure there's a small warehouse worth of terrain in the way of the fex and whatever's trying to shoot at it. Even a 5+ cover save can help save the odd wound here and there.
B) Another simple one—tie up the enemy guns. Use cheap, fast units like basic hormagaunts, scuttling spinegaunts, gargoyles (ok, gargs can be quite pricey), or even lictors (though they ain't cheap either!). I've found lictors the be the most useful for this job, they can often score a kill or two themselves, leave plenty of room for the fex to get into combat, and can help chase down the opponent when they flee with his monster Initiative.
C) Give him more pressing things to shoot at. Often heavy weapons come in squads with rapid-firing weapons. If there are a load of gaunts about to attack, he may well want to rapid-fire at the gaunts. If he does, then the Lascannon won't be pointing at your fex, and that's never a bad thing. Even if he does kill the fex with said lascannon, you can get him with the gaunts.

Ranged Carnifexes

The first question that comes to mind when you start thinking about a Carnifex tactically, instead of just on paper, is what CC upgrades to give to him. Suppose he gets charged by a group of powerfist Terminators. Don't you want him to have some upgrades so he can deal with them?
Personally, I feel that you should never let your ranged Carnifexes get into combat, but that isn't always possible. However, the cheapest way that I've found to keep them out of trouble is to keep a brood of 8 spinegaunts near by for a counter charge, or just as a tie up unit. I thought about using rippers, however, the stuff you're really worried about is going to be able to instakill rippers, so why use those? A small brood of warriors also works quite well. I generally bring lash whips and rending claws on mine if I am using them to protect my Carnifex, because they will tie up the enemy for a lot longer, and you really don't want that many powerfists hitting you, which is generally what you'll use the warriors to stop.
I've thought about bringing an initiative upgrade on my ranged Carnifexes before, and it always just seems that it could be better spend somewhere else in my list. However, if you have a few points left over, feel free to give initiative upgrades to your ranged Carnifexes, incase they get charged by powerfists or the like.
I just kind of had that as a thought as I started to write this, and I thought I should include it. There will be more tactics at the end of this. Now onto the actual Carnifex!

Biomorphs

I'll only cover the ones that pertain strictly to ranged ability, as I think that you should choose a roll for your Carnifex, not combine jobs, as they'll never get to use their full potential. (Wow… that list is a lot shorter than I thought it would be…)
Enhanced Senses - Must have for your ranged Carnifex. Come on, you really want to go and try to shoot stuff with that BS? Puhlease.
Spine Banks - I've never been that big on this upgrade, mainly just because I don't like stuff getting close enough to my Carnifex that I'd actually be using this upgrade.
Spore Cysts - I personally think that this upgrade is just kind of stupid. You're almost guaranteeing to give yourself a wound at some point during the game. Your opponent will thank you for the help.
Toxin Sacs - These… These don't actually give any bonus to any of your shooting weapons, as you are already maxed out already.
From there, we have all of the other upgrades that could make sense on a Ranged Carnifex (Survivability upgrades and the like).
Bonded Exoskeleton - I've never seen a whole lot of usage come out of this, however I've been told that it can be useful against some weapons. I've personally never been big on it, but if you know your opponent is going to field a lot of S5/S6/S7/S8 weapons with AP2, it could come in handy.
Extended Carapace - This one comes down to personal preference. If you know your opponent is going to use a lot of ap3 or worse weapons, then this can be a great upgrade. It doubles your survivability against AP4 and worse, and makes you live 83%!! longer against AP3!
Flesh Hooks - These are pretty cool in my opinion, and for one point, I generally bring them. The power to jump over a wall and blow your opponent to pieces is well worth it.
Regenerate - This upgrade is the great gamble. It's really hit or miss. Some people swear by it, some people shun it. It's your choice here.
Reinforced Chitin - An extra wound never hurt no body. Good upgrade if you're looking for one, as it will always work, no matter what weapon is being thrown at you.
Just as a general thought on the survivability upgrades:
If you plan on using Devilfexes or any other kind of Monstrous Creature that you want to keep alive, stray away from the Survival upgrades. When your opponent sees a creature that is going to be really hard to take down, he's going to go with the softer target. So if you field a 200 points winged Hive Tyrant, and a 200 point Sniperfex with 5 wounds, a 2+ save and 7 toughness, he's going to down your Hive Tyrant. Not what you want to see happen, right?

Example Carnifexes

Really... There are only two sample Ranged Carnifexes. The Devilfex and the Sniperfex.
Devilfex
Carnifex with Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Twin-Linked Devourer, Twin-Linked Devourer 114 Points
This guy is the prime choice for Elite Carnifexes. 8 shots that re-roll everything.
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: 1.66
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 3.33
Sniperfex
Carnifex with Enhanced Senses, Flesh Hooks, Venom Cannon, Barbed Strangler 149 Points
This is your tank killer and your Heavy Support Carnifex. Venom Cannon drops transports and Barbed Strangler pops the guys that come out, or the Venom Cannong glances and the Barbed Strangler penetrates. See the accompanying chart of what Carnifex Weapons can do for a full look at what these guys are capable of.
Tactics... Ranged Carnifexes don't really have tactics. Plop them down in some cover and fire away. Always remember to bring multiple Devilfex to bare if you are trying to kill a unit. Always consider what you cuold do with all the points you are spending on needless upgrades on your Carnifex after you are finished with your list. keep 'em simple, they're more effective. Trust me.

Carnifex Weapons; Statistics

Well, as I was working on my Carnifex tactica for the shooting part, I noticed that I needed all these numbers and I kept having to calculate them again and again, so I just sat down and did the entire thing, so here are the fruits of my labor:
(all numbers are calculated using enhanced senses)

Against Vehicles

Venom Cannon against Close Topped Vehicles
AV10:
1 Glancing hit per shooting phase
AV11:
1 Glancing hit per shooting phase
AV12:
.83 Glancing hits per shooting phase
AV13:
.66 glancing hits per shooting phase
AV14:
.5 glancing hits per shooting phase
Twin-Linked Venom Cannon against Close Topped Vehicles
AV10:
1.5 Glancing hits per shooting phase
AV11:
1.5 Glancing hits per shooting phase
AV12:
1.25 Glancing hits per shooting phase
AV13:
1 glancing hit per shooting phase
AV14:
.75 glancing hits per shooting phase
Venom Cannon Against Open Topped Vehicles
(I know some of these don't exist, but for completeness they're here)
AV10:
1 penetrating hit per shooting phase
AV11:
.17 glancing hits per shooting phase
.83 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV12:
.17 glancing hits per shooting phase
.66 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV13:
.17 glancing hits per shooting phase
.5 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV14:
.17 glancing hits per shooting phase
.33 penetrating hits per shooting phase
Twin-Linked Venom Cannon Against Open Topped Vehicles
(I know some of these don't exist, but for completeness they're here)
AV10:
1.5 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV11:
.25 glancing hits per shooting phase
1.25 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV12:
.25 glancing hits per shooting phase
1 penetrating hit per shooting phase
AV13:
.25 glancing hits per shooting phase
.75 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV14:
.25 glancing hits per shooting phase
.5 penetrating hits per shooting phase
Barbed strangler
AV10:
.08 glancing hits per shooting phase
.33 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV11:
.08 glancing hits per shooting phase
.25 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV12:
.08 glancing hits per shooting phase
.17 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV13:
.08 glancing hits per shooting phase
.08 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV14:
.08 glancing hits per shooting phase
Twin-Linked Barbed strangler
AV10:
.12 glancing hits per shooting phase
.50 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV11:
.12 glancing hits per shooting phase
.28 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV12:
.12 glancing hits per shooting phase
.25 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV13:
.12 glancing hits per shooting phase
.12 penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV14:
.12 glancing hits per shooting phase
Twin-Linked Devourer
AV10:
.5 Glancing hits per shooting phase
1 Penetrating hit per shooting phase
AV11:
.5 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.5 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
AV12:
.5 Glancing hits per shooting phase
Twin-Linked Deathspitter
Av10:
.13 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.38 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
Av11:
.13 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.25 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
Av12:
.13 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.13 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
Av13:
.13 Glancing hits per shooting phase
Spine Banks
Av10:
.25 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.5 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
Av11:
.25 Glancing hits per shooting phase
.25 Penetrating hits per shooting phase
Av12:
.25 Glancing hits per shooting phase

Against Infantry (All numbers are calculated using enhanced senses)

Barbed Strangler (assuming five models are hit)
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: .69
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 2.08
Twin-Linked Barbed Strangler (assuming five models are hit)
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: 1.04
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 3.12
Venom Cannon
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: .28
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: .83
Twin-Linked Venom Cannon
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: .42
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 1.25
Twin-linked Devourer
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: 1.94
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 3.89
Twin-linked Deathspitter (assuming one model hit with two partials)
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: .42
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 1.25
Spine Banks
Average MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills: .42
Average GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentkills: 1.25




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