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Sslyth Mercenary

Sslyth Mercenary

Sslyth Mercenary

Type: Army Unit
Faction: Dark Eldar
Cost: 1
Attack Value: 2
Hit Points: 2
Command Icons: 2
Traits: Warrior.

Action: Pay 2[Resource] to take control of this unit if it is at a planet. Any player may use this ability.

Set: Gift of the Ethereals Number: 62 Quantity: 1
Illustrator: Ameen Naksewee
Recent Decks Using This Card:
Want to build a deck using this card? Check out the Warhammer 40,000: Conquest Deck Builder!


Very intresting card that is hard to rate as it creates a sub-game within Conquest.

While I doubt we will see much play for it (just yet). I do think this this card holds quite the potential but does not synergize well with the general DE choke approach.


Rating will come after significant testing (30+ games)!

This one isn't as easy marked to good/bad as most other cards.

The problem is, as Killax points out, the lack of synergy with the card choke archetype. Should resource choke become a thing it'll be a good option.


It's also interesting as a late deploy (especially turn 1) when your opponent has already spent his resources. Then you know you'll get 1 command round out of it, and if you can shut down command (or have initiative and waste a Twisted Lab action) you'll get a combat too (where hopefully it dies or heads to HQ). All a bit fiddly though.

Too powerful. And even worst, not Loyal, so Eldar decks with Guardians and Mercenaries are a reallity... >_>

This guy is badass, but forces you to battle for gold. DE/E have many tools to deny gold, or at least gold gain. If you are on the winning side of the upcoming command struggle, you really want your opponent to waste their money trying to bribe the mercenaries, as you will bribe them back until depleting your opponents economy. You can also send it to the first planet and let your opponent waste resources to deal with a 2 command 2/2 model (plus anything else you put there).


Moreover, just think about drawing 3 of them in your initial hand. Just sick.


Maybe Cato will be a major problem because of his gold earning ability, but in general I find it very solid.


Totally useless if you are heavily outmatched in gold, though.

Have given this one a lot of tought and not nearly enough play as I wanted but this card can be used against you this game quite a lot. The Dark Eldar and Chaos Command presence is to instable to really profit from this card. Eldar could profit from this card but currently don't need this.



I don't rate this at all.


1C/1R for 2/2/2, thats really nice.


Your opponent then spending 0C/2R for 2/2/2, well that's nice at all.


Then back to 1C/3R for 2/2/2, hmmm, not looking so good.


Then back to your opponent for 0C/5R for 2/2/2, thats still ok.


Basically, the opponent has a much better chance of getting a sweet deal than you do, and if they come out ahead of you in Resources after the command phase, they get another chance then. They might even do it when they know you can buy it back, just so they can resource-choke you down to less than 4 resources, which was how many you were holding back for Klaivex Warleader.


No, I don't rate this at all. Its strong only when you're winning, and if you're winning, you don't need to make risky plays. If you're losing, it becomes "lose more".



    • wyrm187 and FedericoFasullo like this

We'll, if you deploy de unit last, you will easily catch your opponent with no resources to bribe it. And 2 command icons for cost 1 is a big deal, probably giving you back that 1C/1R in the command struggle.

    • Killax likes this

We'll, if you deploy de unit last, you will easily catch your opponent with no resources to bribe it. And 2 command icons for cost 1 is a big deal, probably giving you back that 1C/1R in the command struggle.


Ding ding ding! And we have a winner, altough afterwards it's quite likely to explode in your face.


Now the other option is just to deploy it a lot on planet 1. It can't be pulled back from HQ and if it nets you more cards than your opponent it can be quite good. This is also a way of getting rid of it quicker.


The main difference why I can't rate it above 3/5 is because I feel it's value decreases a lot after that initial turn.


In a way he feels like a Heretek but can be used against you more after the Command phase. Nontheless in strong Command decks it only counters more of your opponents Command presence, which can be a really good thing.

Even in Hakkor and Killax's examples the fact that it's an any phase action means if the opponent nets 2R in the Command struggle he can yank it off you for the ensuing combat. If you've got the Command Struggle locked down to the extent he can't do that... then you probably don't need this in the first place.


If Resource choke becomes a viable archetype (e.g. a Murder of Resource-wings get released) then this may be worth revisiting.

What about calamity?

If Resource choke becomes a viable archetype (e.g. a Murder of Resource-wings get released) then this may be worth revisiting.


There we fully agree, on the other side, if we have a Action that requires you to sacrifice a unit, this dowside can also be easier migated. 


So far his use seems very limited to the initial turn where you can make sure your opponent can't grab it back. After that it becomes quite the risk if he is still around, in special against Cato but generally many others if you also try to card choke. Which in turn leaves your opponents with enough resources etc. etc.



What about calamity?



What about calamity?

Calamity is worth mentioning here.


In the HQ phase, a played Calamity will return the card to the owners hand, letting you start the whole process again. Also, DE Calamity decks will be a thing by the end of cycle, with Half Blood Kabalite and Murder of Razorwings being cards that benefit. This card would be a better fit in that deck than in most DE decks.

Feb 22 2015 10:45 AM

I have a rather amusing question about this unit :)


If my opponent plays this one, and then I use the action. Afterwards, the mercenary gets killed by my opponent. Does he go to my discardpile or to my opponent's? In real life, he'd go to my opponents discard pile of course, because it's his card. But for gaming purposes, would it be in his or my discard pile?


I ask this, because of Virulent Plague Squad, that gets +1 ATK for every unit in your opponent's discard pile. Any ideas?

Cards leaving play are always placed in their respective owner's out-of-play area.

Given my upthread comment on this, I think its incumbent on me to say my assessment of this card has changed with use in play.


While you do still hit situations where you can't play this and it sits as a dead card, I missed in my previous assessment the timing factors involved and the fact that the 2 command is likely to put you ahead on resources at the start of the combat phase.


I now rate this as a 4/5, as it fits well in the overall shape of Dark Eldar decks, in particular with a clever emergent play synergy in an environment that has Raid in it (as most players going against DE will be careful to run ahead of you in resource spending to avoid being Raided). Its very common that you can play this as a final deploy, and end up ahead of the command and combat game because of it.


Only caveat here is that if you're playing against Cato, you may as well resign yourself to it being dead in hand.

Feb 24 2015 05:43 PM

This card is outstanding in practice. Play it across from pirates all the way up to falcons and trailblazers, it is a resource win. If your opponent pays 2 res on top of what they have already paid to secure the planet in the first place then then you either buy it back, now you've still spent less resources than them and are now winning command again, or you've spent less than them to tie their command up. It's also excellent early, as a 2/2 


You are paying 1 for a 2/2/2 that can be stolen for 2. Your opponent, however, is paying 2 for a 2/2/2 that can be stolen for 2 - a much worse bargain for them when the card is on their side of the board. It is rarely profitable to purchase the mercenary from the person who played it. It is almost always profitable for the Dark Eldar to purchase it *back* from the player who stole it.


The only situation you need to avoid is playing the merc onto an empty planet, leaving you without enough money to buy it back while your opponent has the money open. Don't be afraid to play it on planet 1 and rush them down with the cheap 2/2. Kith + Merc + Khymera is a very potent way to contest planet 1 on both command and combat ability for a single resource. 

Thus far every time this card has been played against me it has been to its controller's disadvantage. I am currently testing it in my own deck, because it's possible my opponents have been misplaying it, but I think it's significantly worse than some are saying here.


It's important to remember that when you pay for it you're paying one resource and one card for a 2/2/2, while your opponent can pay two resources and zero cards for the same. Under normal circumstances, a resource and a card is worth less than two resources, so the DE player is down on that exchange.

Feb 24 2015 09:38 PM

Even in a simple example where the card is played across a void pirate as both player's opening action and the opponent of the Merc decides to call the bluff:


Your opponent pays 1R 1C for the pirate.

You pay 1R 1C across the pirate, and win command of the planet.

Your opponent pays 2R 0C for the Merc, and wins command of the planet having spent 3R 1C. In the case of many planets in the queue this is already unprofitable for him. If it's not a Void Pirate, it is unprofitable for him on any planet. He also has 4 resources + 1 planet to your 6 resources, which leaves you in a superior position as your resources can be spread over the remaining 4 planets more effectively. You are also now able to present a greater threat or more command icons at planet 1 and leverage that to net a planet gained anyway. The extra command money earned can buy the Sslyth back during the combat phase if you need it.


You purchase the Merc again, and win command of the planet having spent 3R 1C. You remain ahead of your opponent's resource generation with the same resources spent.

Your opponent can buy the Merc again, but that would mean he spent 5R 1C for a planet's resources, which would not be profitable on any planet even with his innate card/res bonus. You can now leave the Merc to him and play cards elsewhere to profit, or buy your Merc back for final command of the planet since he will be left with 1R in his bank.


In the vast majority of cases you are ahead when you buy your Merc back. Playing what is essentially a better-statted Biel-Tan Guardian across from your opponent's occupied planet is usually very disruptive to their command phase. If a deck particularly weak in command tried to use this to improve their resource generation they may run into a problem when they can't exploit those inefficiencies due to not having excellent command units but Dark Eldar don't really have that issue. I think it is, however, largely a Dark Eldar-only card as in most cases, the free bodies from Kith allow her to do better in an environment where both players spend less money on potential combat units.


If you play one across from a Shining Falcon, you have created a 2R swing in your favor this turn, which is essentially banked for you to win the planet next turn if it needs to be bought back across an empty planet when the falcon moves away with Mobile, but the opponent is less likely to be in a position to do that safely because you have spent one turn ahead of him by 2R, which is either 2 more planets worth of command gained/denied or a combat-ready body on a relevant planet in your favor. Subsequent would turns get bad for the opponent as by moving the falcon and buying your Merc he is spending upwards of 5R 1C (7R 1C if you spend the 2R you banked to buy the guy back!) for the yield of only two planets without modifiers, if he was ever able to afford that in the first place.

Feb 25 2015 10:35 AM

Agree with kinglsley. I'm not sold on this card. Its drawback is huge and it makes your deploy phase a pain. If you are the first player and you have just 1 resource more than the opponent this thing could screw your deploy because with his last action your opponent could steal a planet very easily. So you might be forced to stall the deploy which is not really that simple.


I'm currently playing them in 1x, having more of them is too risky :\

Thus far every time this card has been played against me it has been to its controller's disadvantage. I am currently testing it in my own deck, because it's possible my opponents have been misplaying it, but I think it's significantly worse than some are saying here.


It's important to remember that when you pay for it you're paying one resource and one card for a 2/2/2, while your opponent can pay two resources and zero cards for the same. Under normal circumstances, a resource and a card is worth less than two resources, so the DE player is down on that exchange.


Yeah, that was my theorycrafting observation as well, a few posts back.


However, the strange reality of it is that its very hard to not end up in control of the Merc, at least on turn 1.


Say you start with 7R, and spend 1 to play this. You're now on 6R with the card.

The opponent starts the bidding war, and spends 2R to grab it, then you grab it back, and so on.


1) Me: 6R, I have it

2) Opp: 5R, opponent has it

3) Me: 4R, I have it

4) Opp: 3R, opponent has it

5) Me: 2R, I have it

6) Opp: 1R, opponent has it

7) Me: 0R, I have it.


At the end of that crazy exchange, I have the unit back, though its cost me 7R. But thats fine, because my opponent can now play 1 card costing 1 Resource. If my Merc is better than that unit, then I am up on the game. Especially when I am likely coming to battle with a Warlord, a 2/2 and a 2/1 Khymera, while my opponent is coming in with a warlord and a 1R cost chud.


Thats an ad absurdiam situation of course, but the weird thing is that while this card looks like its always a better deal for the opponent (because of the card cost as you say), the back and forth tempo and the 2 cost mean that it always ends up in the hands of the person who played it, and the 2 command means that the a command struggle will be won to help hold onto it, and the 2/2 stats mean that it gives a reasonable combat presence too.


Not that playing this card usually looks like that: rather its played as part of a low cost curve deck, typically just after the opponent has run down to 1 or 0 Resources and can't steal it back before command, and then used to win command in such a way that you end up with more resources than the opponent.


I'd agree that played badly this card can ridiculously backfire, and actually in some circumstances it can be impossible to play safely. However, its sheer efficiency in games where it CAN be played safely makes it worthwhile.

I'm currently looking to include it in a Chaos deck, where you can nuke it away with a Warpstorm if the opponent insists on spending resources to steal it from you. Added to the Incubus and the cultists you have a very powerful initial command presence.


The idea of the Warpstorm comes from finding myself always playing the Mercenaries last in the deployment phase, so that my opponent can only bribe it in the combat phase (or in later turns, but she will probably die in combat anyway). If he spends 2 resources on the mercenaries in cobat, nuke the battlefield in an appropiate moment. If he doesn't not to waste 2 resources for nothing, as he may think that you are going to nuke anyway, better for you.


Does it make sense?

It's an amazing unit as long as you meet one of 2 criteria:

1) You stall the deployment more than your opponent and drop it uncontested. (the next action window resolves after the command struggle yields)
2) You have a resource advantage over your opponent.


Agree with that. Not to say it can't go wrong: finished a game recently where I had three in hand, sitting there dead, for pretty much the whole game. Despite that, still won that game, but no thanks to this unit.


I do agree that its not a 5/5 card, because of the risks, but I also think that its very nature as a 1-cost 2 command card in a deck that wants to play a choke game and wants cheap command plays makes it a very viable include.

I've been testing it and I've been using it as a tool more than a "unit" per se. So for instance I had a situation where it would have been an "ok" deploy, but I was already winning in command, so I skipped that turn and kept it in hand - next turn he had a command-advantage on me at a planet, so I used it as my last deploy action and wound up winning the command and using it battle.

The more I use it, the more it reminds me of an event or an attachment than an actual unit - it just happens to be a unit. So I think Davis Kingsley put it best - "Its a unit that rewards high skill-level play, and really hurts low skill-level play." (paraphrased)


Think of it more as exactly what it is: A mercenary. You wouldn't call your local mercenary for any-old task, just keep him in your back pocket for just the right moment and he's got some real potential.

    • Boxduck likes this

Just looked back at my original comments on this card and I'm so glad I threw it into my decks once it was actually out, despite those reservations. Right now I consider it one of my best pieces (after Klaivex, Den, Palace). Amazing and surprisingly flexible card, that just requires some care in its use.


As well as the late deploy (which in some planets automatically profits, especially if over-capping, even if it gets stolen later), you have the resource choke deploy (either reinforcing the choke, or allowing you to also nab some cards whilst locking the R planets); the over-cap at a strategically irrelevant planet (essentially making them pay an extra 2 to keep the command they had, which again works if there's a resource shortage); the forward-backwards ping to burn up resources and shrink the game; and even the rare but occasionally effective, cheeky Planet 1 solo attempt - if they can't steal it they have to counter it or cede the planet, if they steal command with warlord and use the resources to buy it off you, it's actually not much use to them following the warlord around.


And of course it's frequently very strong in an opening hand, which is always a good thing as it increases the odds of being able to create an early lock, and decreases the odds of needing to mulligan or make a comeback.