Monday, May 2, 2011

Making the Dakkafex Work for You

Old School here to talk about the Dakkafex and to show off my childish Photoshop skills ... and now that we have had a chuckle, let's begin ...
... the dakkafex is simply a Carnifex armed with two sets of Twin Linked devourers with Brainleech Worms. The set-up is nothing new, but something that I rarely see locally, so I wanted to discuss the pros/cons and felxibility of the Dakkafex as a unit.

One of the reasons the Dakkafex is rare is that the heavy support slot is occupied by choices like the Trygon (far superior in CC than the carnifex of any build) and the Tyrannofex (far better at ranged anti-tank than the Carnifex in any build). Each of these units is better in their own specialty and on the surface each is more durable. What the Carnifex does offer is a unit in-between the two that can add some synergy to certain army builds.


The fex has the unimpressive ballistsic skill of 3, but with twin-linked weapons, your results will yield slightly better statistically than BS4. After running the Dakkafex for some time, I have found that 9-10 shots hit consistantly. 9-10 shots at S6 will put the hurt to units like light and dark Eldar, other nids, orks, guard, Marine squads and even Grotesques. The volume will also help lighten the the load of incoming Terminator units by 1-2 termies depending on how their saves and your to-wound rolls pan out.

Additionally, Dark Eldar feel the pain two fold against the Dakkafex as it takes away the FNP of their average units and offers Instant Death to their ICs and characters (I took out Lilith last game SeerK brought here), in fact, a standard set up for me against Dark Eldar is to push the Guant screens out to bait the dark eldar wyches, let them die, then hose the wych unit in my turn with the Dakkafex. Thanks to the Devourer's ability to lower enemy leadership, this often leads to the surviving squad members running away.

Now it should be noted that the Devourer has an AP value of -, meaning it will get a -1 on the vehicle damage chart. This means that AV 12 vehicles or any vehicle you stand to only glance will likely take a stunned result only. On the flip side, vehicles that you do penetrate and destroy will end up being wrecks, which at time will save your gribbly little Nids from dying to explosion results. The big caveat here is that while you have a lot of firepower, it still only serves to supress vehicles (much like the rest of our arsenal) and shouldn't be leaned on for anti-tank. A good list will have ways to synergize with the supression factor offered by the dakkafex.

How I run the Dakkafex:

Again, nothing new here, but I run my Dakkafex with a Tyranid Prime attached. The attached Prime makes up for the Carnifex's percieved lack of durability in two forms: The Prime is an infantry model and as such gains cover from being behind infantry models. With a unit of Gaunts or Gargoyles screening the Prime, the unit (50% of the models) is in cover, doubling the survivablity of the Carnifex against AP3 or better firepower. The Prime also adds the ability to shuffle wounds around between itself and the Carnifex.

This unit isn't just durable, it also provides a form of synapse and a decent little counter assault unit. The Prime in this case should be armed with dual boneswords or bonesword and lashwhips. If you want to hamper high I units, go for the lashwhip, but if you want to offer the most threat to T-Wolves and Warbosses, then go for the boneswords, so can can clench the Instant Death kills. Being S5, there are pluses and minuses to taking toxin sacs, but I generally go for it to combat my own bad dice. Other upgrades like deathspitters or scything talons are really up to your own personal tastes. The deathspitter does add to the already impressive firepower of the fex and will help crack the tougher infantry squads out there.

Dakkafex stars ran the way described above tend to benefit from lists with Tervigons for their ability to poop screening units and for the strong counter the fex unit offers anyone who wants to assault the Tervigon.

A good sample list of how to run Dakkafex stars in a list can be found on Hulksmash's Homeplace. I really like this list and have been hard pressed to improve upon it and it demonstrates the principals of synergy, screening and board control that play to the stregnth of the Tyranid Codex.

Don't forget that you can squadron the fexes up and still attach Primes. Two Primes and Two fexes will still give you cover possibilities and regen on the primes will allow for more wound allocation spam, though I think 24 shots is a little overkill from the fexes and would rather have them in two seperate units. This does allow you to add more heavy support, especially for larger games.

Another way to run the Dakkafex would be to drop them in spore pods. This allows the fex to have one turn of shooting side armor, while ignoring synapse, but without synapse support, he will likely rage the next turn. Another reason I don't advocate this is that you can drop a Trygo with adrenal glands in for less or a trygon prime for just a few more points. The exchange is simply less quality shooting for a more durable CC MC. Personally, I would rather take the trygons in a Hive Commander or reserve list.

That is really all I have to say about Carnifexes in general because I place so little value on the other builds available to them and I advocate that if you have the models, try them out or proxy them for a game or two. You will be suprised by how they perform for you and by how most opponents ignore them until it is too late (thanks internet).

Comments, questions and feedback are always welcome.


  1. Thanks for the well thought out and written advice.

  2. Awesome article!

    I recently bought and built 3 "dakkafexes". I posed them in really dynamic poses as opposed to the normal hunched over carnifexes.

    I was really inspired by one of the apocalypse formations - it had a photo of these three REALLY awesomely painted screamer killers. They were jumping and doing all kinds of stuff.

    Anyway I used the brood of 3 in a game yesterday vs Grey Knights. I know it isn't wise to use them all together but I figured the mission was kill points so I'd put them together. Also with our campaign rules if the unit dies it can't be in the next mission. Killing three is much harder than 1.

    Anyway, I think the best thing about carnifexes and trygons and other huge beasts really is that they distract the opponent from what they should be doing. Leth over at MI40k was talking to me at the last tourney about this. If they're shooting my carnifexes, they're not shooting my general, which is the point of this battle mission! (Surgical strike).

    The carnifexes withstood a grey knight jaws template (psychic check failed due to SiTW from my tervi) and then turned those 36 shots on grey knight terminators with Mordrak and a librarian. As Lil Flip said "Game Over".

    Shot at the dudes with the carnifexes, resisted the urge to charge them in and threw 14 poisoned / furious charging gaunts into the fray. So awesome.

  3. I have to say after facing two of these buggers they are pretty effective. I saw through the Gaunt screen, but ignored the Dakafexes. This was my undoing. They were able to scrap my get away vehicles and lay waste to my wyches.

    Its crappy when you have to try and take out a unit that is that tough and can shoot you to death and rip you to shreds in close combat.

  4. I love me some Dakkafex! The judge gets his taste of the Wednesday at the Day of Judgement! Suprised nobody liked the Genestealer photo ...

  5. Fine article OST - been considering that dakkafexes are a pretty decent counter-unit to GK mid-ranged firepower. I hate the absolute need to take tfexen to (ranged) counter land raiders though.

  6. I love me some dakkafex's and run them in pairs with a Prime. That is one unit that has always got its points cost back and still been standing at the end of the game.

    So far I haven't found 24 TL S6 shots overkill - just awesome fun!

  7. At 2k I run 5 (yes 5!) dakkafexs. A squad of 3 with a prime and 2 in mycetic spores. Combine with 2 tervigons and 2 sets of devil guants (devil gaunts also in spores) and finally a few hive guard for support I have been popping vehicles and slaughtering like a boss as of late.