The latest and greatest psychic awakening book brings us two legendary named characters. They are Ephrael Stern and Kyganil of the Bloody Tears.
I’m not going to dig into the lore behind them. If you want to learn about them read up here and buy the comic here. What am I going to is talk about them from a competitive and playability standpoint. I.E. What you should know if you are going to be fielding them or facing them.
Heres a quick overview of their stats:
Images Credit Games Workshop.
She also has a 4++ and is naturally -1 to be hit.
Here are Kyganil Of The Bloody Tears Stats:
Images Credit Games Workshop.
From a playability standpoint theres nothing really interesting about him however it’s kind of amusing that the first named Harlequin we get is only playable in Imperial armies.
He does however have a 4++, always fights first, and a Harlequin’s Kiss.
Neither Ephrael Stern and Kyganil Of The Bloody Tears can be your warlord, they may be included in any Imperium army, do not break battle forged and/or any rules that require you to be pure to unlock (Canticles, Combat Doctrines, Sacred Rights, etc…), are slotless, and maybe set up in reserves for free. There’s a minor constraint to the reserve part as when they come in this way they must be within 3″ of each other as well as the usual 9″ away from enemy models.
Points wise they are 125 for the pair. You have to buy them together.
Looking at the two in the vacuum they feel kind of lack laster and closer to a black library special character (I’m looking at you Severina Raine ) as opposed to an actual special character (Trajann Valoris, Mephiston, Celestine, etc…). They kind of leave you wanting a bit… more. That’s mostly because of how legendary of a character Ephrael Stren is. If she were just a random, new, somewhat “no-name” character (once again I’m looking at you Severina Raine) she would be fairly cool. She wouldn’t be any more competitive nor would it change your desire to take her but she wouldn’t leave you with such a bad after taste in your mouth.
A few paragraphs ago I said that it’s interesting that Ephrael Stern has the “Adepta Sororitas” keyword. That comes into play if you have access to Adepta Sororitas Stratagems. Here’s are all the ones she can use.
The following Stratagems she technically has but can’t use due to either not having the “Acts of Faith” ability, not being able to take a warlord trait, or an FAQ:
Heroine in the Making, and Vessel of the Emperor’s Will, Divine Intervention.
She can however use the following stratagems:
Moment Of Grace- 1CP and up to 3 Miracle dice you can increase a hit, wound, or saving throw by how many Miracle dice you spend. This is might be the strongest Stratagem in the Adepta Sororitas codex. Being able to modify dice is a really really powerful. The fact that Ephreal Stern can use it is all the better.
Holy Rage – 1CP, advance and charge. This is pretty useful for her. Her main value is in combat and this helps her get there faster. The only downside is that using this you will inevitably outpace your Harlequin bodyguard and the 5+++ he gives her.
Purity of Faith – 1CP, stop a psychic power on a 4+ within 24″ of an Adepta Sororitas Character. Despite the fact that she should have something like this built into her datasheet this is really powerful and remains to be one the Adepta Sororitas’ best stratagems. Being able to use it on Ephrael Stern is just cake.
Suffer Not The Witch – 1CP, re-roll all wounds vs psykers in a phase. Situational and feels kind of lackluster given that she only has 4 attacks. However, in a pinch or bind when you really need to kill that psyker dead this will get the job done.
Judgement of the Faithful – 2CP, Fall back and shoot/charge. On its own this isn’t a bad Stratagem (and with the changes coming in 9th this it’s going to get a lot better) but spending 2CP to be able to shoot with a bolt pistol/Krak grenade and charge in with 4 attacks feels like a bit of waste.
On a whole she has access to a pretty good set of Stratagems. “Moment of Grace”, “Holy Rage”, and “Purity of Faith” are great. You can also easily make a case for “Suffer Not The Witch”, and in fact, in the right situations, it can be game-winning. The only one that feels lackluster of her due to its cost is “Judgement of the Faithful”. I think that’s more of a case with the Stratagem not scaling based on who/what it’s used on rather than what it does. However, that’s a different issue entirely.
Keyword/Stratagem wise there really are not any secret combos or unlocks for Kyganil of the Bloody Tears.
On their own and in a vacuum I don’t think the pair is worth their fairly low point cost.
Ephrael Stern is basically a T4/S4/6W Canoness without a re-roll aura, a weapon that’s a cross between a Blessed Blade and the Blade of Admonition, and a modified Brazier of Holy Fire. She wants to be a beat stick character but she only has 4 S5 attacks, no way to get more, and unless she’s fighting a psyker, no good way to re-roll anything. She is fairly survivable though. Even more so if you can keep her within 3″ of Kyganil Of The Bloody Tears. However, if you are using “Holy Rage” on her chances are she will quickly find herself without her 5+++.
Kyganil Of The Bloody Tears is more or less a really really weak Troupe Master. 8 attacks at WS 2+ are cool but they are only at s3 ap1. He wants to be a blender expect once he gets into combat with the things he wants to be fighting, he’s only going to kill 2-3 models. Kyganil Of The Bloody Tears does have 4 S4 AP1 d3 damage attacks but once again that’s still only going to kill 2-3 models. His value is pretty much giving Stern a 5+++ but if you’re using the “Holy Rage” stratagem you’re going to find that very quickly he won’t be within 3″ of her.
I would have liked to see the option to take Ephrael Stern on her own in Imperium armies as well as the same for Kyganil of the Bloody Tears in Harlequin armies. If feels wrong that in order to unlock her Ephrael Stern’s true potential I have to take a Harlequin with my Adepta Sororitas. It also feels really wrong that Harlequin players don’t even get to the option use their first named character in their force, regardless of how good or bad he may be.
Important things to note:
1: Ephrael Stern can not go in a Rhino/Immolator/Repressor as she does not have the “Adeptus Ministorum” keyword required to do so.
2: Due to the same reasons as above she can not be healed by friendly Hospitaller.
3: Lastly, due to the reasoning in point 1 again, Ephrael Stern does not gain extra attacks for being near a Missionary or Priest.
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