The inscrutable cephalyx tirelessly perform diabolical experiments on their captives deep below the earth. Masters of powerful psychic energies and advanced surgery, these alien beings shape both the minds and bodies of lesser creatures to create heavily modified laborers and warrior slaves to suit the sinister agenda of their vast underground hives.
An army made use the Operating Theater theme force can include only the following Mercenary models:
Full Model List
The models allowed in Operating Theater
This list was last updated: 2020.02 (Edit)
- Operating Theatre is a Cephalyx theme (and therefore fulfills the requirements of Selective and Limited Employment)
- Monstrosities gain Hyper-Aggressive.
- Hyper-Aggressive - When this model suffers damage from an enemy attack at any time except while it is advancing, after the attack is resolved it can immediately make a full advance directly toward the attacking model.
- Drudge models in the army gain Rise
- Rise - If this model is knocked down at the beginning of your Maintenance Phase, it stands up.
- One Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudge unit gains Ambush.
- Ambush - You can choose not to deploy this unit at the start of the game. If it is not deployed normally, you can put it into play at the end of any of your Control Phases after your first turn. When you do, choose any table edge except the back of your opponent's deployment zone. Place all models in the unit in formation completely within 3" of the chosen table edge.
2020.01 Doctor Stygius released
2020.02 Strange Bedfellows
Cephalyx Unique Rules
Refer to Cephalyx Rules.
Thoughts on Operating Theater
Recent Errata - This article needs updating
The "Basic Info" section has been updated to match a recent errata/spoiler, but the "Thoughts On" section hasn't been brushed up yet.
If you play this Faction, please delete the old irrelevant info and then delete this warning.
See also Category: Recent Change and Category: Recent Release.
- Please add some thoughts on Asphyxious4, then delete this tag
Operating Theater in a Nutshell
This theme force is used to field the inscrutable forces of Cephalyx. Most Cephalyx models can only play in this theme.
Playing as a Cephalyx player is like playing as the dealer in a game of three card monte. Most of your Cephalyx Drudges, and your monstrosities are awful, but some are going to be outstanding. And you get to decide which ones. Which of your heavies becomes the arc node for the turn. Which of your Cephalyx Drudges leaps from a poor MAT and decent attack power to an amazing MAT and attack power. And which of your Drudges gets turned into a walking bomb or spray. But there is one way to "win" a game of three card monte as the punter that's illegal in the real world. Punch the dealer in the face. In your case it's not just your Warcaster; you need to keep your unit leaders safe. The death of the Mind Bender or Mind Slaver leave you with awful troops who need to huddle together. If your Cephalyx Dominator dies your mercs run away. And your Cephalyx Agitator and Cephalyx Overlords are the key to actually hitting. Everything else is disposable.
For really heavy armour you can use one of the Mind Bender's tricks and a Combined Melee Attack well to give Drudges in the Slaver unit a MAT in double figures, and a P+S just short of 20. This is not something even the most extreme ARM-skew lists are going to survive if they make contact. Defensively, Thralls have all the DEF of a heavy warjack, and ARM high enough to make blast damage not much of an issue (although they die to any direct hits). Oh, and they are tough. As, thanks to the Dominator, are any mercenaries you brought along (always assuming you didn't shank the Dominator on turn 1 so that your opponent couldn't take your mercs out of the game on turn 3). This means that a Cephalyx list is basically a massive wave of tough, almost blast-immune infantry that excels at breaking heavy armour. And gets destroyed by enemies with good spot-removal abilities.
Cephalyx have fallen far behind the power curve and only rarely get new models, having received only three since inception (Cyphon, Stygius and Void Archons) besides Dominator-attached units. They never really caught on with the players and are likely to languish for some time due to unpopularity.
List Building Tips
- Drudges are effectively an all-or-nothing proposition. Awful troops but sometimes quantity has a quality all of its own and many lists simply can't kill 60+ points split between Drudges and Alexia Ciannor & the Risen fast enough. This works out at just over a point per model for tough troops (with Alexia recycling the killed drudges for even more annoyance).
- Spamming Monstrosities can work pretty effectively. They are cheap, tough. and with a Cephalyx Agitator hit hard.
- Errata has restored the theme to its original MK2 form with the ability to take a few cryx solos. This has opened a few more options, such as using Machine Wraiths & Pistol Wraiths as psuedo-Gremlin Swarms.
- Two Agitators should be your first choice at 6 points, and after that Mobius is 6 and the Pistol Wraiths 5.
- It is the only theme where you can essentially field all the merc units together, so long as you bring the attachments.
- Press Gangers can either ambush or advance deploy giving you an important scenario edge. Fallen unit members fuel Alexia and can be Shanghai'd back by the remaining Press Gangers.
- Croe's Cutthroats work very well with ambushers as the enemy has to turn around to deal with them, exposing their back arcs. Thexus can also turn models around telekineticly.
- Herne & Jonne can provide Artillerst to Subduers, but also to Bloat Thralls. It even stacks with Mobius's Spotter Battle Plan on the same thrall since they are rules with different names, making for a RAT 9 Despoiler shot.
- Horgenhold Forge Guard are the hardest hitting melee units in the faction. They are slow though, so they appreciate Thexus's movement tricks.
Starting a 25 point force
The following is a good grounding into the Cephalyx
You can either use Cyphon or Thexus in this list; Thexus is probably stronger at higher point values but Cyphon has a really good feat at this point value. This list has a spare warjack point. Arguably, using 3x Warden (and dropping the Machine Wraith) is better than 2x Wrecker, but if you're just starting out, 2 heavy kits might be easier to buy than 3.
The very first theme force released in mk3, it actually had its rules written into the core rulebook.
Cephalyx came out the year after Convergence, and while they had enough models to become a mini faction, PP decided to make them a Mercenary theme force instead, which turned into a failed experiment as players did not want to buy into Mercenaries to play them at the time.
Other Mercenary models
| Mercenary Index (Edit)
| Units, Solos, & Battle Engines
| Warcaster attachments
Doctor Stygius -
Madelyn Corbeau -
| Lesser Warlocks
|| Rorsh & Brine (Farrow) - Wrong Eye & Snapjaw (Gatorman)
| Non-character Units
Cephalyx Mind Bender -
Cephalyx Mind Slaver -
Cephalyx Overlords -
High Shields -
Artillery Corps -
Forge Guard -
Idrian Skirmishers -
Kayazy Assassins -
Kayazy Eliminators -
Legion of Lost Souls -
Ogrun Assault Corps -
OoI Resolutes -
OoI Vigilants -
Precursor Knights -
Press Gangers -
Sea Dog Pirates -
Deck Gun -
SH Cannon -
SH Halberdiers -
SH Cavalry -
SH Mortar -
SH Riflemen -
SH Volley Gun -
Tactical Arcanist Corps -
Thorn Gun Mages
Special CA: Cephalyx Dominator (small or medium based units) -
Special WA: Morrowan Battle Priest (Morrow units)
| Character Units
Croe's Cutthroats -
Cylena Raefyll & Nyss Hunters -
Blythe & Bull -
Herne & Jonne -
Lady Aiyana & Master Holt -
Lynus & Edrea -
The Commodore Cannon -
The Devil's Shadow Mutineers
| Non-character Solos
Cephalyx Agitator -
Gobber Tinker -
Menite Archon -
Morrowan Archon -
Ogrun Bokur -
Powder Monkey -
SH Arcanist -
SH Ironhead -
SH Gunner -
Swamp Gobber River Raider
Thamarite Advocate -
Thamarite Archon -
| Character Solos
Alexia, Mistress of the Witchfire (2) -
Alexia, The Undying (3) -
Alten Ashley -
Anastasia Di Bray -
Balthazar Bamfist -
Black Bella1 -
Black Bella2 -
Bloody Bradigan -
Boomhowler, Solo Artist -
Bosun Grogspar -
Brun Cragback & Lug -
Captain Crawtooth -
Colbie Sterling, Captain of the BRI -
Dahlia Hallyr & Skarath -
Dirty Meg -
Doc Killingsworth -
Doctor Stygius -
Eilish Garrity, the Occultist -
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios (1) -
Eiryss, Angel of Retribution (2) -
Eiryss, Fortune Hunter of Ios (4) -
First Mate Hawk -
Flugwug the Filcher -
Gastone Crosse -
Glyn Cormier, Illuminated One -
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist (1) -
Gorman the Mad (2) -
Grand Master Gabriel Throne -
Gudrun the Wanderer -
Harlan Versh, Illuminated One -
Harlowe Holdemhigh -
Hermit of Henge Hold -
Hutchuk, Ogrun Bounty Hunter -
Kell Bailoch -
Lanyssa Ryssyl, Nyss Sorceress -
Lord Rockbottom -
Major Harrison Gibbs -
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile -
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor -
Raluk Moorclaw, the Ironmonger -
Rhupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord -
Rorsh & Brine -
Rutger Shaw, Professional Adventurer -
Savio Montero Acosta -
Saxon Orrik -
Sergeant Nicolas Verendrye -
Stannis Brocker -
Taryn Di La Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage -
Thor Steinhammer -
Viktor Pendrake -
Weird Wendell -
Widget, Tinker Extraordinaire -
Wrong Eye & Snapjaw
| Battle Engines
Hammerfall Siege Crawler -
| Independent Warjack
Malvin & Mayhem
| Theme Forces (Edit)
| Flame in the Darkness - Hammer Strike - Llaelese Resistance - Operating Theater - Soldiers of Fortune - Strange Bedfellows - The Irregulars - The Kingmaker's Army - The Talion Charter
|This index was last updated: 2020.07
Rules Clarification : Hyper-Aggressive (Edit)
- Because you must move directly towards your attacker, you cannot change facing after completing your Hyper-Aggressive move.
- HA can be triggered more than once per turn.
Rules Clarification : Ambush (Edit)
- If you attach a WA or CA to this unit, and the attachment doesn't have Ambush, then they all get to Ambush anyway. (Locked Thread)
- Ambush and Apparition both occur at Step 5 of the Control Phase. However, Ambush specifies the "end" of the Control Phase so you cannot use Apparition on a model that Ambushes. (Infernal Ruling)
- Declaring Prey:
- If a model/unit is going to use Ambush, it needs to be declared before either player begins deploying models. (Infernal Ruling)
- If both players have Ambushing models, then it goes: Pick Sides, Player 1 chooses whether or not to use Ambush, then Player 2 chooses whether or not to Ambush, then Player 1 begins deployment. (Infernal Ruling)
- If you have both Prey and Ambush, then you declare your Prey target at the normal time (even though the Prey-er isn't currently on the table). (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification: Theme Forces (Edit)
Themes that change a model's Faction [Show/Hide]
- Many themes swap which Faction a model counts as. They're slightly inconsistent with how exactly this is worded. Despite this inconsistency - whenever a model is considered a different faction to normal, it will not be its original faction. (Infernal Ruling)
- For instance Lukas stops being a Crucible Guard model when taken in an Infernal army, and as a consequence he cannot take Toros or Vanguards in Infernals. (Infernal Ruling)
Rerolling the starting roll [Show/Hide]
- You cannot use the theme benefit to reroll if it is a draw. Instead both players reroll until there is a loser, and then the loser can use their reroll benefit (if they have it). (Infernal Ruling)
- If both players have a reroll, first the original loser uses their reroll.
- If the original loser still loses, fine.
- If the original loser now wins, the other player can use their reroll.
- If it is now a draw, both players reroll until there is a loser. Then the player that hasn't used their theme benefit reroll can still use it, if they want.
Warjacks/Warbeasts with bonds [Show/Hide]
- A warjack/warbeast with a bond can always be included in a theme force, whether or not they're in the list of allowed models, but only if they're controlled by that bonded model.
- This applies even if that bonded model isn't a full warcaster/warlock (changed as of 2018.06).
Including Mercenaries [Show/Hide]
Number of Mercenaries
- If your "up to one Merc" ...
- ... can take warbeasts/warjacks, then you can add warbeast(s)/warjack(s) (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- ... comes with a Companion model, then you'll get that Companion (without exceeding your "up to one" allowance)
- There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to not only take one Merc solo/unit, but the entire FA of that Merc solo/unit. It's a bug.
Mercenaries and Ranking Officers
- Adding a Ranking Officer to a Merc unit doesn't increase the number of Merc units you can take.
- See also the section on Partisans
Including Partisan Mercenaries [Show/Hide]
Partisans & Theme Forces (Edit)
- Since Partisans are Mercenary/Minion models, there are two ways you can add them to a theme force:
- If they are on the list of allowed models, then you can take as many as you want, plus another Mercenary unit/solo.(Infernal Ruling)
- They can be explicitly allowed (for example: Cephalyx in Black Industries or Kayazy in Jaws of the Wolf).
- They can be implicitly allowed (for example Scourge of the Broken Coast allows "living Cryx models" and Partisan Cephalyx fit that criteria). (Infernal Ruling)
- If the Partisan isn't on the list of allowed models, it does use up your "Up to one mercenary" slot, and you can only take one.
- Whether you used option 1 or 2 above, once they're in your theme force they count as a Faction model and so:
- They can be taken as a Requistion Option (if they fit the Requistion description).
- For example Eiryss1 can be taken as a free solo in the Legion of Dawn theme. (Infernal Ruling)
- They will get any theme benefit that they fit the description for.
- For example Storm Division gives all Cygnar models Immunity Electricity, so Partisan Mercs in that theme get immunity too.
- For example Nemo4's Mechaniks get Reposition  in Heavy Metal. (Infernal Ruling)
Requisition Points [Show/Hide]
- You can choose the same Requisition option as many times as you like, as long as it doesn't put you over a FA limit.
- You can't mix and match models from different options. Say one option allows 3 Machine Wraiths and another allows 3 Necrotechs. You can't use your Requisition Point to get 2 Wraiths and 1 Necrotech.
- If you have an option that allows one other solo, you can't use it to get something already on the list. For instance, Ghost Fleet allows 3 Misery Cages (which are FA 4) for one Requistion Point, and it allows 1 other solo. That "other solo" can't be a 4th Cage.
- If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
Free models and Specialists (ADR) [Show/Hide]
- If your theme only allows one merc solo, you can't have one in your main list and a different one in your specialists.
Unit Attachments [Show/Hide]
- If a unit is allowed in a theme, any-and-all of its attachments are allowed too. Exception: Ranking Officers are not allowed unless explicitily mentioned.
- If the theme force gives a benefit to a specific unit, any-and-all attachments to that unit will benefit too. Even if it is a "generic" attachment like the Void Leech. (Infernal Ruling)
For example, a Trollkin Sorcerer will gain Serenity if its attached to a Dhunian Knot unit in a Power of Dhunia theme force.
- If your theme allows "3 weapon attachments" as a Requistion Option, you can spread them into different units. (Locked Thread)
When to apply theme benefits [Show/Hide]
- Theme force benefits are applied when you construct your list and models keep the benefit for the whole game. You don't gain/lose theme benefits due to in-game changes.
Also, if you put a new model into play midgame, they immediately gain any relevant benefits too. (Infernal Ruling)
- For example, Scourge of the Broken Coast gives Dodge to "models in the army." If your opponent takes control of one of them, it keeps Dodge even though it's currently not "in the army".
- For example, Storm Division gives lightning immunity to "Cygnar models in the army." If you include a Mercenary unit with a Ranking Officer, they will get the theme benefit and also keep it even after the Ranking Officer dies.
See also these Theme-Specific Rulings [Show/Hide]
Rules Clarification : Black Industries (Edit)
- The entry which allows "Cephalyx models/units" only applies to Partisan Cephalyx. That's because the theme's rules start off with "this army can only include the following Cryx models". Partisan Cephalyx are the only ones that fill that condition.
- The Cephalyx Agitator also works for Cryx and can go in Black Industries but, because it is not a Partisan, it will use up your Mercenary solo slot.
- (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : The Creator's Might (Edit)
- Elias Gade is allowed in Creator's Might. (Infernal Ruling)
- You can spend the "Two Vassal solos" requistion option on one Vassal Mechanik and one Vassal of Menoth. Warroom has a bug and tells you that you can't. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Flame in the Darkness (Edit)
- You can take any number of Mercenary jacks. You can also select two additional jacks from Khador and Cygnar in any combination you like. Character warjacks with a bond don't count against this limit of 2. (Infernal Ruling)
- There is a bug in Warroom that allows you to take two Cygnar and two Khador jacks.
- Morrowan Battle Priest:
- If your warcaster is a Cygnar model that makes every unit you take a Cygnar unit, and Battle Priests can be attached to any unit.
Warroom has a known bug where it doesn't allow this interaction.
- If your warcaster is a Mercenary or Khador model, though, the only units the Battle Priest can attach to are the Morrow ones.
- If you attach the Battle Priest to The Devil's Shadows Mutineers then it can be returned via Blood Bound. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : The Bones of Orboros (Edit)
- Una1 cannot be taken in this theme (yet) due to the conflict between the theme's "Only Construct warbeasts allowed" and Una1's "Must take warbeasts with flight". There are no construct warbeasts with flight (yet). But if/when there is, then Una1 can be taken in this theme. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : The Devourer's Host (Edit)
- Bradigus1 is not legal in this theme. The theme only allows living warbeasts, his rules only allow construct warbeasts, and you can't just 'skip' his battlegroup - you have to spend your warbeast points.
- If you create a new model mid-game (ie with the Well of Orboros and that model can have corpse tokens, that model does not enter play with a corpse. Because it's not the beginning of the game. (Locked thread)
Rules Clarification : The Exalted (Edit)
- If a Construct model loses the Construct advantage mid-game, it keeps the theme benefit anyway. (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Band of Heroes (Edit)
- Boomhowler uses up your Minion slot. His Fell Calls ability is not enough to make him a "Fell Caller model/unit". (Infernal Ruling)
Rules Clarification : Magnum Opus (Edit)
- If Mosby is attached to a Mercenary weapon crew unit, they would gain 3" reposition and would not lose it if Mosby is no longer in the unit. (Infernal Ruling)