Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Pink Horrors of Tzeentch

The pink horrors have changed quite a bit since the last edition.  Their saves are weaker (5+, but re-roll 1's) and their shooting is no longer assault 3 -- rather, they are a brotherhood of sorcerers with access to the change discipline.  They are, however, quite cheap.  And that is perhaps their strongest appeal.  But that has to be weighed up against the fact plaguebearers cost the same (and are hardier), as do daemonettes (and are better in close combat).  Even if the primaris Tzeentch power is okay, this is truly not a strong shooting unit any longer.

The best use I can think for them is as a screen for a herald.  Indeed, a herald of Tzeentch is about the only reason that I'm going to field my horrors any longer.  The instrument is fine, and the icon is welcome.  The retaliation wounds from the blue horrors arising is okay (but a bit meh).  Take a lesser reward hoping that you get a shooting (2 in 6 chance) attack if you like.  But don't worry about them otherwise I think.

Here's a few builds:

18 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch, with an iridescent horror that has 1 lesser reward, instrument of chaos, icon of chaos upgraded to blasted standard,  (207 points)
Fluffy (because its a multiple of 9!) and fully upgraded.  They get 3 warp charges per turn and are otherwise completely expendable.  That's probably why you're not going to take them!

10 Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (90 points)
Seriously: they're a cheap screen.  Use them as such.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Bloodletters of Khorne

The bloodletters of Khorne have lost 1T compared to the previous edition.  This is actually a serious detriment to bloodletters and their survivability.  To compensate, they've also become plenty cheaper.  But with a 5+ invulnerable save, they're frequently not going to make it to their target.

So what use are they?  Well, I'm still seeing them as a herald delivery system (or skulltaker delivery system).  They are simply there to soak up some wounds and be part of a large Khorne horde.  Their attacks are nothing to be ashamed of: AP3 is still powerful and on the charge, they are going to take care of space marines readily.

In terms of options, they can get plenty of extra members for their unit: clearly if playing horde this is a great option.  One member can also be upgraded to a bloodreaper, gaining an extra attack.  For a small investment of extra points, this is one that should always be taken (unless you're worried about challenges?  but you're playing Khorne - you shouldn't be!).  They can have lesser and greater rewards as well. As an option, the Axe of Khorne seems appealing as well.  The instrument is also a good option here.  For a khorne army, the icon is a good idea, as might be the banner of blood for extra charge range.

Here are a few sample builds.

10 bloodletters of Khorne, including 1 bloodreaper with an Axe of Khorne, instrument of chaos (125 points)
A distraction unit.  Used as a screen.  If it survives, it charges and makes a mess of space marines.

20 bloodletters of Khorne, including 1 bloodreaper with an Axe of Khorne, instrument of chaos, icon: banner of blood (245 points)
The fully upgraded unit.  And the price tag is still rather reasonable, even despite the low toughness models.

16 bloodletters of Khorne, including 1 bloodreaper with an Axe of Khorne (175 points)
A herald delivery unit, with a fluffy number of models.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Herald of Slaanesh

The Herald of Slaanesh is a neat choice, and has application in both mono-Slaaneshi forces and mixed forces.  I think these daemonettes have many interesting configurations and options.

Firstly, in terms of the rewards that they can choose, the Slaaneshi weapons in both lesser and greater rewards are tempting (S5 rending and 2d6 ranged assault weapons).  The etherblade is not bad either with AP2 (but we already have rending), so if we're doing that, then perhaps a greater etherblade would be superior.

In psychic abilities, the herald has access to the telepathy and Slaanesh's own discipline.  Telepathy is, of course, powerful, but it can be a bit of a gamble to get a good roll there.  So if we're doing psychic abilities, I'd be taking level 2.

The Locus abilities are similarly strong.  I'm particularly smitten with the exalted locus: re-rolling all to hit rolls and selecting who accepts a challenge in melee.  The greater locus (+5 I) is neat, but perhaps not as needed.  The lesser locus (move through cover) is okay.  But for me, the exalted locus is where it is at!

The herald can also select a steed of Slaanesh, chariot and exalted chariot.  The first is useful so that the herald can run with the other pleasure-seekers, whilst the chariots are a good way to top up the totaly number of chariots in the army should a mono-Slaanesh player be going down that particular route.

Here are a selection of builds to consider:

Herald of Slaanesh, Exalted Locus of Beguilement, witstealer sword (85 points)
A lower points value build, but valuable inside a maximum sized squad of daemonettes.

Herald of Slaanesh, Exalted Locus of Beguilement, Steed of Slaanesh, Level 2 Psyker (140 points)
To run with the seekers!  Consider a greater etherblade to taste.

Herald of Slaanesh, exalted seeker chariot, lash of despair, level 2 psyker (195 points)
A hugely expensive herald, but a way to have many more chariots inside the army.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Masque of Slaanesh

The victim of one of Slaanesh's mood swings, the Masque is cursed to eternally dance across the galaxy and draws mortals and unborn alike in to her jig.

As per the previous edition, her major draw back is the lack of independent character status.  She can and will get shot to shreds in next to no time should the opposition desire it.  So to use her, she needs to be screened until she is in position (12") to use her dance abilities on enemies at which point she wants to charge (along with another nearby unit preferably).

She has 3 different dances that she can use on opponents.  These range from -5WS (strong, but not the best), some AP2 hits (not going to do much given S1), and -5BS with no overwatch.  This latter one is powerful and can keep (e.g) potent flamer units at bay.

Her final boon is to re-roll her invulnerable saves: this is a solid buff, but it won't stop her from getting slaughtered.  Her low toughness and lack of independent character status will bring her down very quickly.  I used to use her in the previous edition to drag opponents out of cover, but this is no longer possible.  Hence I don't think I'll be using her any longer.  This makes me sad, but its kind of inevitable.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Herald of Nurgle

Unlike Epidemius, the Heralds of Nurgle have remained a reasonable option in the Chaos Daemons army.  Certainly their cheap base points cost make them appealing, and combined with their high customizability, I can certainly see that they're going to get used on the battlefield (me included!).

For the rewards available, I think the plague flail (lesser reward) is entertaining and tempting.  For a +1 S weapon that allows an extra wound from a T test (should an unsaved wound be caused in the first place), a few of these heralds could spell trouble for any multi-wound opponent (especially space marines).  The balesword (greater reward) doesn't do much for me though -- instant death is good, but its mixed in with an anti armour ability that means its points are probably wasted.  I can see some reason for it, but the plague flail feels better to me.  Most of the exalted rewards are probably not quite worth it on a herald, but I could see a portalglyph being employed on a deep striking unit.  The high T of the herald means that the herald stands a chance to set it up when he wants.

For the loci, the lesser one (2+ poison on a 6+ roll to hit) is somewhat appealing, but pales into insignificance against the feel no pain greater locus.  The exalted locus is okay (suffering an additional hit on a 6+ to hit), but the greater reward is still much more of a buff for the unit in my opinion.

For survivability, the palanquin ranks up there as a great way to take a herald up to four wounds.  But I find myself wondering if this is strictly needed.  Sure: 4 wounds at T5 (presumably with FNP) is awesome.  But can still be instant killed.  I think I'd somewhat prefer to have a cheaper herald hidden in a big mob (although yes: I realize that he could still be sniped).

And the psychic powers are strong here as well.  Biomancy inparticular is strong in combination with Nurgle.  Added to that is probably the best psychic power in the book: plague wind (at least in terms of pre-close combat assault!).  Plague wind (a large template poisoned attack) is also pretty good should it be rolled.  Hence overall, having a psyker herald is sorely tempting.

Here are a few builds to consider.

Herald of Nurgle, Greater Locus of Fecundity (70 points)
This should be everyone's baseline herald of Nurgle.  He grants his unit feel no pain - enough said.

Herald of Nurgle, Greater Locus of Fecundity, Plague Flail, Level 1 psyker (105 points)
The plague flail adds an extra dimension to the herald, whilst the psyker ability allows a strong assault orientated power to be selected from Nurgle's own domain.

Herald of Nurgle, Greater Locus of Fecundity, Level 2 psyker (120 points)
A more buffed up psyker who is relying on these abilities in place of a plague flail.  Probably much more effective to be honest.  But the price is getting up there as well.  This flavour is going to be seen frequently at higher points games.

Herald of Nurgle, Level 2 psyker (95 points)
Replacing the feel no pain for a little biomancy.  Not a bad exchange perhaps?

Herald of Nurgle, Greater Locus of Fecundity, Level 2 psyker, Palanquin of Nurgle (160 points)
An expensive distraction. Deep strike in the back lines and watch as the enemy tries to take it down.  Hope that they don't have S10 weapons.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Epidemius

Oh woe is Epidemius.  For his army wide multiplication rule from the previous edition has been replaced by a radius of effect.  To be fair, this had to happen, much in the same way that psychic hoods in space marines had to get a radius of effect.  What is irking though, is that Epidemius' ability to pump up his allies no longer extends to anything with the Mark of Nurgle.  Rather, it is now only daemons of Nurgle with 6" that benefit from the Tally of Pestilence.  Still, at least all unsaved wounds anywhere on the board by Nurgle daemons still count toward the tally -- it could have been worse.

The Tally itself sees a re-jig.  The first boon is +1S, followed by a toughness increase (to take plaguebearers back to what they were in the last codex - lol!) and then poison and feel no pain (at advanced rolls).  But the numbers needed for each have gone up too.  And there's no power sword equivalence any longer.

In terms of other equipment, he carries a standard plaguesword and has a lesser locus of virulence.  This rule (if playing for Tally increases) will rapidly become useless thanks to the poisoned attacks granted by the Tally.  I personally would have liked to have seen at least the greater locus for Epidemius.  But, of course, this could be purchased through an additional herald and added in to the unit for good measure.

The other good thing about Epidemius is the fact he has 4 wounds.  But hold on, his toughness is only 5.  So he can still be instant killed until the Tally gets above 14.  Better get the runs on the board quickly!

In terms of what to run him with, I'd take him with a complementary herald of Nurgle, both of which are buried inside either a large mob of plaguebearers the deepstrike the front lines, or within a large swarm of Nurglings - for laughs (but could be very deadly in due course!).  Beasts and plague drones have a different movement rate, so don't pair Epidemius with them.  Adding in a Great Unclean One seems like overkill (but I can imagine such a "plague star" unit hitting the board).

To be honest, at his points value, he's actually reasonable quality, but only take him in (near) pure Nurgle daemon armies.  He gets wasted (in terms of fulfilling his potential) doing otherwise.

Friday, March 15, 2013

40k Movie: The Lord Inquisitor

I'm not sure how this one has slipped under my radar for so long:

I took a look at it today and am deeply impressed with the quality of the animation seen.  Seriously, I have high hopes it will eclipse the Ultramarine movie.  *excited*

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Herald of Tzeentch

The herald of Tzeentch is highly configurable, much like all of the heralds.  But the thing that really appeals to me is the ability to configure them as a high level psyker for a low points level.  Importantly, the not only get access to Tzeentch's own Change discipline, but they also get access to Divination.  Much has already been made of how good divination can be, so I won't repeat that here.  But this is the prime reason that I can see to take and configure the herald for.

In terms of the available rewards, the staff of Tzeentch is a decent anti-character weapon, but why do we want horrors of Tzeentch in melee? The mutating warpblade is fun: I've always been fond of creating chaos spawn out of enemy characters.  But again, this version of the spawn maker needs to slay the characters in question.  Again: horror's aren't true close combat exponents.  But the appeal is there for me personally!  Out of the exalted rewards, the portalglyph seems appropriate.  Since the horrors and the herald are avoiding close combat for the main part, they seem like a reasonable choice to set up the portalglyph and watch the ensuing madness. The Grimoire of True Names has a certain appeal as well, but I'd soon that be taken by a tougher HQ choice to be honest.

Of the loci, the locus of transmogrification is clearly there to be used in conjunction with large numbers of horrors.  This could actually be a useful road-bump ultimately, but little more.  The greater locus of change will result in an improved S value more than half of the time - its just a pity that it doesn't stack with the lesser locus.  The exalted locus of conjuration gives +1S to psychic powers.  This is actually worth while to have (and not random!), if it weren't for the points cost.  You'd certainly want to run such a herald with horrors for maximum benefit, but I can see that a solo herald on a disc or chariot would also be cool.

Naturally, both the disc of Tzeentch and burning chariot option make the manoeuvrability of the herald much greater.  I still like the chariot option and it can be a good option.

Here's some sample builds.

Herald of Tzeentch, Level 3 psyker, burning chariot of Tzeentch, exalted locus of conjuration (170 points)
Drop the locus if the points cost is too high, but otherwise, this is quite a functional herald: able to zoom around the battle field taking pot shots at any and everything.

Herald of Tzeentch, Level 3 psyker (95 points)
Run with a batch of horrors.  A happy and cheap configuration that is worth it.

Herald of Tzeentch, Level 3 psyker, Portalglyph (125 points)
Set up the portal, and then go forth and out-psyk the opposition.

Herald of Tzeentch, lesser locus of transmogrification (55 points)
The road bump.  Implant within a huge horror squad and tie up a suitable enemy unit for a couple of turns until help arrives.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: The Blue Scribes

They're not psykers!  Yes -- they don't need to pass any psychic test.  AND they still manifest powers.  That said, the power manifested is a randomly determined one from a psychic discipline of the player's choice.  This is the only unit in the game that retains this kind of ability from the previous codex. But the drawback is huge: you never know what you're going to get for this power!

Their other principle power is interesting.  For every enemy psychic power that goes off, the scribes get a counter.  At the start of the turn roll a d6 for each counter.  On a 6, a friendly nearby unit gains a warp charge point.

Now the latter ability mechanic is actually awesome ... if only the roll weren't a 6.  A 3+ (or thereabouts) would have been much better.  And might have meant that the Blue Scribes were worth taking.  To be clear: I don't think they are.  They haven't even got a locus ability.  Even in Apocalypse, the Blue Scribes are not going to be seen.  Take a Herald of Tzeentch instead.  On a personal note, I actually sad about what has happened to the Blue Scribes.  The previous codex was better, it only needed tweaks (psychic tests, change of points value) to bring it in to line.  This incarnation of the Blue Scribes is just not worthwhile.  Sorry!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: The Changeling

Alas, gone are the days of the Glamour of Tzeentch and controlling the opposition's firing solution.  In its place, we have a new HQ (instead of unit upgrade) that is able to and and all of its prime stats (WS, S, T, I, A) to that of an enemy it is in base contact with.

In addition, he comes with a lesser locus of transmogrification which means (on average) more blue horror tokens for squads of horrors when they perish in close combat.  Its not fantastic, but clearly suggests that he should be placed inside a pink horror unit to make the most of him.  And clearly, a pink  horror unit (a large pink horror unit at that) is probably a good way to "deliver" him in to base to base contact with an enemy.

He (she, it?) is also a level 1 psyker, selecting powers from Tzeentch's own change discipline.  This isn't much, but can provide a powerful shooting attack when required.  The major drawback of The Changeling (in common with most entries in the daemons codex) is the relatively poor saving throw.  Even with the mark of Tzeentch and being able to morph in to the stats of another creature, the best we can hope for is going to be a stalemate.  I can almost guarantee that anyone he is put up against is going to have a better saving throw.  Hence the Changeling has become a road bump.  An interesting one, to be sure.  But little more.  Take him as part of a mob of pink horrors and cause a little havoc engaging enemy characters and their "command squads".  But make sure there's some backup coming.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Herald of Khorne

The herald of Khorne is an enhanced bloodletter with a variety of options to select between. They can choose one loci form any of lesser, greater and exalted.  Of these, the greater (rage for the unit) and the exalted (hatred for the unit) are both strong options and one of them probably should be taken.

They can also have up to 30 points of lesser, greater or exalted rewards, taken in any combination.  The Axe of Khorne (AP2, decapitating blow) seems like an ideal and cheap option (for a lesser reward) and provides a good way to grant a little bit of anti-terminator strategy for the Khorne player.

The transport options are also strong. The juggernaut is a classic way of upgrading a herald and is still a great option.  The blood throne is a new option for a dedicated transport, and I'll review that separately.  Suffice to say, that I think the bloodthrone is also a good choice for the herald as it can transmit and loci to Khorne daemon units within 6".  This can make for several horrendous units in close connection to each other.  Consider playing this in concert with chaos space marines and other daemons for a fun multi-unit death star.

Let's have a look at a few potential builds:

Herald of Khorne, Greater Locus of Fury, Juggernaut of Khorne, Axe of Khorne (130 points)
Run with a unit of flesh hounds or bloodcrushers to devastate enemy forward lines.  Even a big unit of bloodletters might be an option as a "delivery" method.

Herald of Khorne, Exalted Locus of Wrath, Bloodthrone of Khorne, Axe of Khorne (165 points)
This is a mini-force-booster.  Surround him with friendly daemon units and use chaos space marines as a forward screen.  Charge in and enjoy!

Herald of Khorne, Exalted Locus of Wrath, Blade of Blood (100 points)
Cheap and unsubtle.  Run with a large mob of bloodletters in a low points army, or as a set of 4 heralds in a larger daemons (primary FOC) army.

Chaos Daemons Review: Karanak

For a 3 wounds character with S5 and T5, Karanak is a reasonably entertaining and well priced choice for the blood god's devotees. From the outset, let me say that the major (and I mean MAJOR) drawback for the hound is that he doesn't have any special weapons or upgrade options to make him better. Without a power weapon (or rule that give him the equivalent) his is much less useful than he might at first appear.

With that caveat in place, his other built-in abilities are good.  Firstly, he forces nearby psykers to fail perils of the warp on any roll of a double.  This could be deadly in the right location.

He also gets to re-roll die against a nominated enemy character from the outset of the game.  The "quarry" need not be an HQ choice, but could be instead a squad leader.  No doubt an HQ choice might be better, but its worth considering a key squad based character instead in the case the the squad of Khorne's dogs that Karanak runs around with can't do serious damage in a short amount of time to.

And that brings me to the last point.  Like all flesh hounds, Karanak is pretty quick.  Being a scout, this beast character can cover vast distances pretty niftily.  And therein is the real strength.  Even if he is not with a unit of fleshhounds, he could certainly be with a "delivery" unit of bloodcrushers (or similar) and break off when near the quarry to take them on rapidly.  In game, he's going to be used with a squad of Khorne daemons, but they'd better also be quick!  I think he's got a place in the game in the context of being one of up to four herald type HQ's selected, and in low points value games.  But we're probably looking for a stronger HQ (like a bloodthirster) for a Khorne army.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Skulltaker

Skulltaker remains a bloodletter's bloodletter - to use the phrase that I evaluated him with last time. He's still the great guy in the Khorne Army that all the lesser daemons look up to. They still just want to be like him.
Skulltaker is now unique in the whole of the daemons codex for possessing Eternal Warrior.  Seriously: he's the only guy with it.  Why? Because of all those skulls on his cape.  Why every other skull adorned daemon doesn't gets this (let alone greater daemons) remains one of those eternal mysteries.

He has lost rending, but still has instant death.  He has AP3 on his sword, and a 3+ armour save.  All round, he looks like a solid choice to me.  But he does suffer a couple of issues.  Firstly, he is only toughness 4 and dies like a marine captain to be honest.  And he's movement is "standard" fare to say the least.  These two points can be improved in one fell swoop by paying an extra 45 points for a juggernaut of Khorne for him to ride on in to battle with.  This gives an additional +1W,T,A to Skulltaker and is well worth it in my opinion.  Hide him in a squad of skullcrushers and go forth.  He's ideal in a small (under 1500 ... even under 1000 points) battle.  In larger points battles, I'd be first considering bloodthirsters.  But in low points games, he still has the potential to be amazing if played right.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Daemon Prince

I like the daemon prince model (in plastic) very much, but am sad at the new points cost structure for it, both here and in the Chaos Space Marine codex.  Whilst I agree that it needed reining in, I think its a little bit too far. But enough of that.  The Chaos Daemons version of the Daemon Prince is actually remarkably similar to its Chaos Space Marine counterpart.  At least the comparability is good to see.

One of the things to realize with daemon princes is that they can take up a heavy support slot instead of an HQ slot.  This is done if a greater daemon of the appropriate power is taken.  Hence a bloodthirster can make a daemon prince of Khorne a heavy support option -- just like it was in the previous daemons codex.

So whilst there's better options for HQ options in the codex (for instance, the daemon prince can be instant death'ed by a vindicator shot), let's have a look at a few potential builds incase you're going down the heavy support route:

Daemon Prince of Khorne, daemonic flight (200 points)
I don't think the less, greater, or exalted upgrades are particularly worth it here.  Take him for what he is and go hunting most things in the game.  This could be part of a daemon-zilla tactic with bloodthirsters in the HQ slot(s).  Could make an interesting army option.

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh, daemonic flight, Witstealer Sword (205 points)
For a lesser reward, the witstealer sword allows a second wound to be inflicted and makes this daemon prince in to an HQ killer - particularly space marine equivalents.

Daemon Prince of Nurgle, daemonic flight, Psyker level 1 (225 points)
Take the primaris power (stream of corruption) which is an AP3, poisoned, template attack.  Then go hunting space marines or equivalent.

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch, daemonic flight, Psyker level 3 (285 points)
The psychic monster strikes!  But don't bother with this realistically: take a Lord of Change instead and have done with it.  Either that, or just use it as a basic flying prince. The Tzeentch prince is really expensive to be honest.  And this is one of the reasons why (in comparison to greater daemons) that I feel daemon princes are over-costed.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Keeper of Secrets

The Keeper of Secrets is the Slaaneshi Greater Daemon. In common with the Great Unclean One, it lacks wings and must make its way on foot to where it needs to be.  As such, it is a prime candidate to deep strike on to the gaming board to where it needs to be.  This is doubly true given the "average" stat line for most things except WS and I.  The Keeper is also the cheapest of the Greater Daemons.

Flavour-wise, I'm gratified to see that the Keeper of Secrets obtains preferred enemy against eldar and dark eldar.  And rightly so in my opinion as well. Those spirit stones are very tasty, the way I hear it.

Like the Great Unclean One, he (she? it?) is a level 1 psyker that is upgradable to higher levels with some additional points invested.  Given the access to telepathy, and Slaanesh's own "excess" discipline, this could be good in the long run.

And as with other greater daemons, they can choose up to 50 points worth of lesser, greater and exalted rewards.  I've slowly been warming up to the Grimoire of True Names and the Portalglyph recently, and I think both The Keeper of Secrets is a good choice for either (Great Unclean Ones for the Grimoire only, and Lords of Change and Bloodthirsters for both as well probably due to their movement).  With that in mind, here's a couple of builds.

Keeper of Secrets, Level 3 psyker, Portalglyph (250 points)
Deep strike in to the heart of the battle with support from your other troops.  Use the portalglyph immediately and start using those telepathy powers. Charge and using rending as soon as possible.

Keeper of Secrets, Grimoire of True Names (200 points)
Use the Grimoire as a buff for nearby allies (probably a fully decked out squad of seekers, or a squad of daemonettes with an attached herald) and have a bit of fun as a road bump before getting downed.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Great Unclean One

Toughness 7.

6 Wounds.


This guy is sticking around like Ku'Gath. That fact alone is almost enough of a reason to take him. See how the enemy shudders as they try to take him down.  Add in to this that the Great Unclean One has access to biomancy, and you can see certain builds that are going to make him even better.  The plague discipline of Nurgle is also attractive for its AP3 flamer primaris power.

The only (and rather serious) disadvantage is the lack of movement: slow and purposeful coupled with no wings means that like Ku'Gath, we're probably going to be choosing him for a deep strike in to the heart of the enemy.  And once there, he's hopefully going to both cause some damage and keep alive.

The lesser reward option zero is the plague flail.  Giving +1S, it can also cause additional wounds on a failed T test.  This clearly marks it out as an enemy character killer.  Should the great unclean one get in to combat, this piece of kit could be very useful indeed.

Here's a couple of build to consider:

Great Unclean One (190 points).
A naked, filth-ridden Great Unclean One build in Nurgle's own image.  Use as a distraction, or a fire magnet and deep strike in to the heart of the enemy.

Great Unclean One with plague flail (200 points)
A nice option for character killing ... assuming this guy can make it into close combat.

Great Unclean One, Plague Flail, Level 3 Psyker (250 points)
Possibly the best build, but a steep price tag attached.  Use in apocalypse.  Use with caution at lower points levels.

Chaos Daemons Review: Lord of Change

Interestingly, Lords of Change have a higher toughness than Fateweaver (presumably because the latter got terribly aged in a daemonic way through having been shoved down the Well of Eternity?).  This means that unlike Fateweaver, they're not going to be killed in a single vindicator shot. Overall, their statline is pretty solid: sixes in most places and 5 wounds.

In the psychic department, they come as level 2 psykers as standard, with the option to build them up to level 3.  And given that they have access to Tzeentch's own change discipline AND divination, I can't see much reason that one wouldn't be considering doing exactly that.

Moreover, Lords of Change have wings.  This is good because like the bloodthirster it means that they can chase down valuable targets and perform skyfire when needed.  Of course, they're going to be a fire magnet along the way ... but that is also part and parcel of the deal and can be useful.  The only drawback is really their saving throw. I'd much sooner have an HQ selection with a good saving throw.  But at least the mark of Tzeentch helps somewhat with this.

In terms of rewards, I kind of like the mutating warp blade of Tzeentch.  By killing an enemy character, the daemons player gets a free chaos spawn.  I've always rather liked getting free chaos spawn though. Its very mutate-y and Tzeentch-y.  The greater rewards in general seem like quite a good option for the Lord of Change: many buffs are in there, and if you don't want one, take the warp blade instead.

Here's a couple of builds to tinker with:

Lord of Change with Mastery Level 3 (255 points)
The psychic terror wing wings.  Good hunting.

Lord of Change with Mastery Level 3 and 2 Greater Rewards (295 points)
An expensive way to get a buffed greater daemon in to your team.

Lord of Change with mutating Warpblade (250 points)
Go forth and make some chaos spawn!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Bloodthirster

The bloodthirster has one of the best stat lines in the game.  And rightly so: Khorne's main greater daemon and fieldmarshal of war, rage, death, murder, carnage, blood and skulls for the skull throne needs to be strong in the game to back up the fluff in the background.  Does he live up to the background? For the most part, yes.

As a flying monstrous creature, he has the ability to hunt down almost anything in the game and win.  But concentrated arms fire will bring him down.  Consider this: if a lucky shot brings him out of his flying mode, he probably only has 4 wounds left.  Even with a toughness of 6 and warp-forged armour, rapid firing bolters stand a chance of finishing the job.  So he needs to get to where he needs to be quickly.  And preferably hide behind some scenery along the way for added protection.

He has a built in 12" lash (assault 1) ranged attack, and an axe of Khorne as standard, and may take all three levels of daemonic rewards.  Here are a few potential builds to consider.

Bloodthirster (250 points)
Even "naked", the bloodthirster is going to be a sound choice when wielded correctly.

Bloodthirster with the Eternal Blade (280 points)
He doesn't really really really need it.  But he likes it.  He likes it a whole lot.  Because it adds to his attacks (and some other characteristics that are already rather high and therefore don't need to be boosted any higher).  Anyone choosing this build has really got to be either a fluffy player, or really desperate to build an uber beast.

Bloodthirster with 2 Greater Rewards (290 points)
The Greater Reward table contains several buffs that a greater daemon such as a bloodthirster can make good use of.  We're really banking on rolling one or two of them with this build, since the default option (greater etherblade) isn't so useful to an already armed bloodthirster.

Chaos Daemons Review: Ku'Gath Plaguefather

He's big and ugly, and has got the stat line to prove it.  With a toughness of 7 and 7 wounds, Ku'Gath is going to be sticking around like a ... sticky Nurgle stick.  Being a Nurgle daemon, he also has shrouded --- less risk from incoming ballistics.

On the negative side, is slow and purposeful, combined with a lack of wings.  To play him, I think we're going to be deep-striking him most of the time so as not to waste his enduring stinkiness.  He's going to be hanging around worse than a bad smell most of the time.  But I think that he's not going to be so sound against Grey Knight terminators (and the like) to be honest.

His other rules give him some psychic ability (level 1 Nurgle sorcery) and a slime trail (disordered charge against him). He also grants his pet Nurglings the ability to regain a wound every turn.  Clearly he wants to be deployed with a unit of said pretties for them to benefit from him.

Finally, he has his necrotic missiles.  I think these are actually rather good: AP3 large blast is great in an infantry dominated meta game.  And his warlord trait (immortal commander) gives instability re-rolls within 12".  This is a good force buff overall and can be (situationally) very useful.  Particularly if there are squishier lesser daemons around to benefit from it (think: daemonettes).  Even plaguebearers can benefit from it.

But at a points cost more than a Land Raider, he needs some serious thought.  Would a regular Great Unclean One be superior?  Or a bloodthirster for that matter?  Yep.  But that's not going to stop the fluffiful commander taking Ku'Gath.  He is a slow monster, but will hit hard and be a fire magnet closer up.  Overall, I contend he got better than the previous daemons codex, but he's going to have a tough fight against some codexes dedicated assault squads.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Chaos Daemons Review: Kairos Fateweaver

To be clear: the days of fate-crusher and other build that relied on Fateweaver are GONE.  Forget them.  He isn't what he once was.  Bye bye.

Instead, he now allows us to re-roll one 1d6 every turn.  Of course, its unclear (because its not spelt out) if that is every player turn or every game turn.  I suspect the latter.

Hence he is still a factor to be reckoned with.  But he re-rolling shenanigan days are totally obliterated.

What he does give is a "Lord of Unreality" warlord trait.  This gives re-rolls on the Warp Storm chart.  Now that's an interesting result!  Consider this facet alone: you combine this warlord trait with his re-rolling 1d6 every turn in order to get some of the best results (+1 invulnerable save; creating a herald out of an enemy psyker; creating a new unit of lesser daemons) and I think we're on to a winner.  You should certainly think about doing this every turn you roll a 5 or 6 for ONE of the 2d6 on the Warp Storm Table (before or after the warlord trait re-roll).  You can't really go too wrong.  (except by rolling Nurgle's Glorious Rot result of course -- but you got chaos instruments in your army?  Right?).

On top of this, Fateweaver is a psychic monster.  He is level 4 mastery and has all the Tzeentch powers plus (one telepathy + one biomancy) or (one pyromancy + one divination) per turn.  (because only one head is dominant at a time).  And a 4+ invulnerable save.

But he has drawbacks.  With T=5, a vindicator shot can take him down.  And he's not an independent character.  Look out, because he's going to be taking a lot of incoming shots.  And he's a shooty kind of character.  So I'd be looking to play him in flying mode as much as possible.  I'm a little torn on whether he's actually worth it or not.  Of course a well placed bolt of change (skyfired) is nothing to be sneezed at.  So in the meta of infantry heavy with flyers, he's probably looking good for Tzeench armies.

Chaos Daemons Review: Warp Storm Table

Much has already been made of the Warpstorm table in the new daemons codex.  Incase you've not already heard, the daemons player rolls on it every shooting phase and applies the result.  The roll is 2d6.  Some results are bad, some result can be good.

Rolls of a 1, 2 or 3 (take instability tests army wide; take a character instability test on a random daemon character on 3d6; -1 invulnerable save) are all bad outcomes.  That represents 2.8%, 5.6%, and 8.3% chance every turn of a bad result.  Or, 16.7% chance each turn.  In a game of 6 turns, 1 turn is (on average) going to be bad for you.

One turn (roll of a 7, which means nothing happens) will result in nothing happening.

One of those 6 turns will result in something good for your team happening (rolls of 10, 11, and 12, which are +1 invulnerable save, potential daemonic possession and a new herald appearing, and a new unit of 2d6+3 lesser daemons materializing).

On the other 3 turns, (rolls of 5, 6, 8, and 9), will result in potential damage to one power of your own army (if such units exist) and to all enemy unengaged units.  Assuming there are about 12 unengaged units of enemies, 2 of them are going to take a hit.  That's 6 enemies taking a hit over the course of a 6 turn game.  Roughly.  Assuming they're actually not going to engage (etc.) - the real number will probably be lower.  And yes - these hits can glance vehicles (potentially penetrate as well).

Built correctly, the daemon player can avoid hitting their own daemons (and enhance the chances of hitting enemies!) with the most common rolls (5, 6, 7, 8) using instruments of chaos -- they can re roll one die to generate a new result for a hit or miss.  Instruments of chaos have clearly changed (used to be +1 melee result outcome), and if we have a few of every type of daemon on the table, suddenly these warp surges are actually looking good.  This alone might make players think about a 4 power army.  But if not, I think we're going to see lots of mono- and duo-god armies out there.

Overall, I actually don't mind this table.  Its fluffy (harking back to the old daemon legion rules in Realms of Chaos).  But equally, the extra record keeping and rolling every turn slows the game down significantly, and the randomness is not great in a tactical game.  But the army does have "chaos" in the title.  Can't be too picky I guess.

Chaos Daemons Review: Skarbrand

At 25 points LESS than a regular bloodthirster, Skarbrand has to be an attractive HQ option for the Khorne legions.  Especially since at first glance, his stat line is strictly better as well (I=10, instead of I=9 for a bloodthirster).

With Skarbrand, we get the 3+ regular armour save, deamonic instability and the daemon of Khorne rule (hating Slaanesh, and furious charge). But he has different armaments.  His twin axes are AP2 power weapons: one with fleshbane, the other with armourbane.  To replace the loss of the whip, he has his own shout that is a S5 template attack.

Further, he grants rage and hatred to all units within 12" of himself (including himself of course!).

So why is he cheaper than a bloodthirster then?  Simple: he lost his wings!!

This give an interesting tactical choice.  Should he be with his friends in a traditional starting position? Or should he be deep striking? I think the answer is to deep strike if he's going to be followed by (or more accurately: preceded by) reasonably sized units that are following-on through the use of instruments of chaos that can benefit from his rage and hatred special rule.  Suddenly, those bloodcrushers are looking even more potent!

Regardless of how you play him -- he's still a bloodthirster, 5 wound, toughness 6 beast!  There's nothing in the game he can't handle toe to toe.  Avatar of Khaine?  He eats them for brekkie.  Giant tyranids? More skulls for the skull throne (not that Khorne cares any longer about Skarbrand)! You won't be disappointed.  The only conundrum is whether you can catch them without wings.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

New Daemons Codex: First Impressions

Its already March 2nd in Australia.  And I've already picked up my new codex!

Here are my first impressions of things that have stood out for me, in no particular order.

* Nurglings have infiltrate!  ROTFL!
* The Changeling has changed: he can replace his WS, S, T, I, A with that of anyone he's in base to base contact with.  Bye bye glamour.  And he's also an HQ now.
* Flamers are worse: AP4, S4, warp flame (take a T test: fail and take d3 more wounds with no save; pass and gain FNP).  Interesting.
* Screamers are still good, but make only 1 Lamprey Bite attack (replacing all other attacks).
* Daemon Princes are in line with CSM.
* Fiends, bloodcrushers and beasts of nurgle all have more wounds (a whopping 4 wounds on beasts!)
* Fateweaver got nerfed: re-roll one d6 per turn in your army.
* Epidemius' effects got a range of 6" (the tally is also different ... but comparable in some ways)
* Primaris Nurgle power is AP3 template!
* Heralds can form a unit of 4 amongst themselves (if they're all of the same power) and they take only 1 FOC slot for 4.  (but may only be taken once -- i.e. we can't have 8 heralds per army).

And then there are instability tests (I'm fine with them), a multitude of gifts and icons (I'm going to have to take some time to sift through them), and the Warp Storm Table (as seen elsewhere).

I think the latter table will mean that we're going to see many more duo- (and perhaps mono-) power lists.  I think gone are the days of 4 power lists.  I think I'm personally looking at a Nurgle / Khorne list to optimize.

And finally: furies of chaos got cheap -- and markable!  Hordes of flying meat shields are coming your way soon.  And, I think we're going to be seeing many daemon horde style armies as well soon.  9 pr 10 pt lesser daemons are going to be excellent!

I'll be reviewing the new Daemons Codex under the "6thdaemonsreview" over the coming weeks -- look out for my reviews as I'm going to be as thorough as I was with chaos space marines and dark angels.

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