2 Mar 2013
Chaos Daemons - Initial Impressions
After having torn through the codex (not literally, mind you - it is indeed a lovely book) I have come to the conclusion that this is the most drastically altered army from their previous incarnation in at least two years. The removal of mandatory Deep Striking from the army is a massive change - and boon - whilst the introduction of the Warp Storm chart can make or break a Daemons army list with a single dice roll. In turn, it can reave enemy units alike and provide titanic boosts to the efforts of a Chaos Daemons army, though this in-built random nature can be daunting for new and seasoned players alike. Subsequently, almost all of the Daemons units have either dropped considerably in points cost, or gotten even stronger than before - or even a mixture of both, as several Slaanesh Daemons would attest. The lowering of many invulnerable saves - and removal of several armour saves as well - may seem like a detriment, but the lower cost and access to different options of travel, such as chariots and now having winged monsters treated as flying monstrous creatures, more than makes up for this. Gone are the days of Fateweaver being taken as a crux for the rest of a relatively weak army list, and on comes the importance of winning combats - or at least not losing them badly, as the daemonic instability rules intend.
Chance and Army Design
This is a codex that, more than any other, emphasises the luck-based nature of a table-top war-game; this is an environment based on luck as much as skill, and both can be required to master this army. Though the idea that the game can be taken away from you by one lucky dice roll is painful, remember first that such things happen in almost any game of 6th Edition Warhammer 40000; it is a game that rewards daring moves as much as safe, structured play. To prove a successful commander of the Daemonic Legions, you will need to embrace the terror of fighting an unknown enemy in ways that you must adapt to, not plan for. Though the Warp Storm chart and its many damaging effects are quite chaotic, many may forget that the innately random nature of Daemons was arguably more pronounced in the previous book; though they could select their wargear, all Daemons were forced to deep strike - a crippling disadvantage that meant only half of your army would be present on the board at any given time, and often neither where you wanted or when you wanted. That we can start on the board now with all of your units, suffering no penalties compared to other armies, is a great boon - it allows Daemon players to more acutely determine where and what their units should go for, as opposed to praying for the best and attacking what was most advantageous. This means that Daemons are significantly less difficult to play, and though there are a range of new challenges, the codex rewards deep and synergised army lists that will test your mettle as a commander. As such, army list composition is now far more important than simply taking the best alpha-strike units available to maximise the damage on the initial landing; you need fast tarpit units that can also act as homers for deep-striking reserves that would otherwise be shot to pieces if they foot-slogged, whilst Greater Daemons and Soul Grinders provide support and target saturation in an army that can reliably mix both a horde of lesser and monstrous units.
This ethos, this focus on cheaper units is one aspect that truly sets the new codex apart; the costs of each of the Lesser Daemons of the Four Chaos Gods, such as Bloodletters, Daemonettes and the like, have been reduced dramatically, as well as suffered some noticeable changes. Notably, all barring the Daemonettes have had their durability reduced by varying degrees, though this is offset by their still powerful melee or ranged capabilities; Bloodletters are still devastating against Space Marines, whilst Horrors can provide a versatile range of powerful psychic attacks. Daemonettes appear to be the only unit that has not suffered a reduction to their effectiveness, even if they are significantly cheaper as well - though they have less attacks than before, a higher Weapon Skill balances this and, combined with increased bonuses to Run moves, means they are much faster and more threatening than they ever were. Truly, with minimum sized units numbering ten, and maximum squad sizes of twenty that cost under two hundred points or dead on equal, the codex has introduced the notion of a true 'horde army'; one that doesn't compromise on quality, as each Daemon is still extremely capable in their role despite their minimal cost. Given that Daemonic Instability can be a large detriment to your cause if you roll badly and thus fail to win a given combat, the importance of larger units becomes even more pronounced; what with a meagre Toughness and only a 5+ invulnerable save, our lesser daemons work very well in units of fifteen or more my recommended total. The only exception to this rule are Plaguebearers, whom have reduced Toughness and lost Feel No Pain, yet have Shrouded which, combined with the ability to Go to Ground, allows them to comfortably sit in cover as small, ten-strong units and sit on an objective for an entire game without any real damage being suffered. As it becomes more and more obvious, each of the daemons is intended for a specific role, rather than be a general purpose utilitarian unit; Daemonettes favour combat against light infantry and units such as Terminators and monstrous creatures (provided the Daemonettes have strong numbers); Bloodletters prefer to murder Space Marines in droves; Plaguebearers are objective-bunker units, and; Pink Horrors are support units that provide decent firepower for the cost, effective mostly against light and medium infantry.
The Greater Daemons are quite different now - the reduction in invulnerable saves across the board, notably with the Lord of Change, to a 5+ means that they are less durable, in addition to the loss of Eternal Warrior, though their high Toughness means they should only really be worried about force weapons. As it stands, each Greater Daemon has a minimum of Toughness six and five wounds - which is still very good, especially considering how cheap each Greater Daemon is in regards to their abilities. The Lord of Change is an amazing psyker, what with access to a wide range of powerful gifts, weapons and psychic powers from Divination, it can be an expensive, but incredibly dangerous and useful, tool in your army. The Keeper of Secrets is very fast, despite being a regular monstrous creature, and with the addition of Weapon Skill nine and an extra wound, is arguably harder to kill for most enemies in combat than before - the speed and numeracy of Slaanesh Daemons also works in its favour against shooting, as target saturation becomes more and more important for Chaos Daemons. Similarly, a Great Unclean One is incredibly durable - what with an amazing Toughness of seven and six wounds, and their Poisoned (4+) attacks combined with rolls on Biomancy and Greater Gifts can make it an all-but impossible enemy to kill. Its only real weakness is its plodding pace and relatively low Initiative for a Greater Daemon - if it lucks out and doesn't get Iron Arm, and faces off against a tough high Initiative opponent such as the Swarmlord or Mephiston, it can face an untimely end before getting to strike. Be very mindful of that. And lastly, the Bloodthirster - being a flying monstrous creature, like the Lord of Change - is so much more mobile than it was when the previous codex was released, meaning it can get into combat more reliably and quicker than ever before. With a now ridiculously high Initiative of nine, and more attacks, the Bloodthirster is even more brutal in close combat - just be mindful that it has had its effectiveness against other monstrous creatures reduced. Still, with the right upgrades, it can be a nightmare for opponents to face.
Of the named Greater Daemons, Skarbrand is the one that has perhaps seen the most surprising - but necessary - changes, all for the better. Skarbrand shares a similar stat-line to the new and improved Bloodthirster, albeit with a jaw-dropping Initiative of ten, and is now a much cheaper investment both compared to a Bloodthirster and his previous incarnation. He now grants both Rage and Hatred to every friendly and enemy unit within 12", as opposed to just re-rolls to hit, meaning that the importance of taking Khorne Heralds with Loci is less pronounced when Skarbrand is around. Still, despite making your assault troops even more brutal, Skarbrand's own combat abilities have been significantly improved, so much so that he may now hold the title of most powerful character killer in the game - wielding twin axes that grant him a bonus attack, one is Fleshbane, and the other is Armourbane, meaning anything and everything is his prey. What completes this circle, however, is his Warlord Trait - all of his melee attacks inflict Instant Death. Obviously, between Weapon Skill and Initiative ten, a massive nine attacks on the charge that re-roll to hit, and wounding everything on a 2+ due to Fleshbane, as well as inflicting Instant Death, Skarbrand is guaranteed either to kill or nearly kill any enemy character in the game, and single-handedly wipe out entire enemy death stars by himself. Paladins got you down? Provided their unit isn't too big and he charges, he can and should wipe them out without a fight. Mephiston, Abaddon, the Swarmlord (without Iron Arm) and the like will simply cease to exist the moment Skarbrand pops up - pound for pound, the only characters that can challenge him are Draigo and the Swarmlord with Iron Arm. Any other character will simply die so hard, their faces will be thrown screaming to the Skull Throne of Khorne, there to further be beaten to a bloody pulp and eaten by Karanak. His only weakness, as with the previous edition, was his lack of wings - but at his cost, and with the amount of highly threatening and cheap targets a Chaos Daemons player can throw into an army list of almost any size, this issue is far less pronounced than previously - and owing to fast, mobile 'homer' units such as Bloodcrushers, deep-striking Skarbrand works wonders.
Fateweaver has also under-went a serious revision - he no longer has a cheesy re-rollable 3+ invulnerable save, but instead is the only in-codex Daemon with a 4+ invulnerable save, of which he can still re-roll his 1s. In addition, he no longer runs off the board after suffering a wound and failing a Leadership test - this rule has, thankfully, been removed entirely. His Weapon Skill, Initiative and Attacks have been reduced to either ones or twos to reflect his puny physical presence, whilst he now has a massive five wounds much like other Greater Daemons. However, being Toughness five, Fateweaver now suffers the very unfortunate possibly of instant death without the need for a force weapon - as a flying monstrous creature, this isn't as bad as you would think, thankfully, but still a very big detriment regardless. Still, those aren't even the biggest changes. Fateweaver now counts as two mastery level four psykers, though only one head is active at a time - each knows all the powers from the mediocre Tzeentch discipline, and each knows one power from two other disciplines unique to each head. This makes Fateweaver a very powerful and versatile psyker, and one that can roll gold on one or multiple fronts - Biomancy, Divination, Pyromancy, and Telepathy. Each of those disciplines can give Fateweaver some seriously powerful buffs, including the very useful Iron Arm or Endurance from Biomancy. Fateweaver also has the distinct benefit of having a Warlord trait that allows his controlling player to re-roll results on the Warp Storm chart - this can make a massive difference to the game, as it can potentially prevent your units from suffering a crippling minus one to their invulnerable saves, to instead gaining an additional plus one to their invulnerable saves. Handy! However, that isn't the best part - Fateweaver's defining attribute, potentially, is the ability to re-roll any single D6 in each player turn; this can be one D6 from a 2D6 or 3D6 based test. It can be the roll to see if Night Fighting comes into effect on the first player turn (which you typically want as a Daemons player), and subsequently roll to make sure the Leadership test taken on 3D6 by an enemy psyker such as Tigurius fails and they explode, turning into a Daemon Herald. You could re-roll his only failed grounding test in your opponents shooting phase, preventing them from charging you and thus messing with their plans - in the subsequent turn, you can re-roll one dice from the charge distance of a unit of Bloodletters into some Tactical Marines to guarantee their successful assault. You could re-roll a potentially fatal instant death wound. You could potentially make your opponent fail a Leadership test, fall back and be swept. You could re-roll a double six on a daemonic instability test and turn it into snake eyes - turning the combat, and potentially the game, in the blink of an eye. The possibilities are endless with Fateweaver - and he is quite a bit cheaper to boot!
Ku'gath, perhaps unsurpsingly, hasn't changed too much - aside from a hefty price drop and the addition of both a point of Toughness and an extra wound. His Necrotic Missiles have been made AP three now, probably so as to not so easily remove Terminators, but are still very useful nonetheless. He regenerates a lost wound for Nurgling bases that are close to him, and he has access to the devastating Plague psychic discipline - though he is sadly only mastery level one. Notably, he allows friendly Daemon units within 12" to re-roll Daemonic Instability tests - a very useful advantage to an army that can be crippled majorly by a bad roll on such a test. Equipped with defensive grenades and an incredible seven wounds, Ku'gath is pretty hardcore - one of the toughnest nuts to crack in the game, and his useful combat abilities and strong shooting attacks make him a very versatile commander that is quite cheap for what he does.
All in all, I think Daemons have changed so much that it can be hard to wrap ones head around the new codex; they are so different now that it is hard to determine whether they are truly stronger or weaker. However, I am of the firm belief that despite the criticisms of 'randomness', they are no more random than they were before, probably less so, and their potentially game-changing effects are more likely to harm their opponents than themselves. Their strong combat abilities mean that lost combats aren't as common as one would think, especially if the Daemons are taken in the high numbers the codex encourages, ergo making Daemonic Instability not as much of an issue as it might indicate. In fact, the ability to automatically pass morale, pinning and fear checks without the addition of Fearless means that Daemon units can now go to ground - for Plaguebearers and other lesser daemons alike, this can be a massive boon in an objective-based game. The introduction of horde-style armies backed by many monsters and large units is backed by the design philosophy of the book; it encourages multiple avenues of play, and many builds look to be quite competitive. The codex seems to encourage a mix of fast-moving units, ranging from Seekers to Plague Drones, for tarpit and 'homing beacon' purposes, allowing the more fragile troops - like Bloodletters and Daemonettes - to deep strike down and face less firepower as opposed to foot-slogging the length of the board, whilst heavy units such as Soul Grinders and Skull Cannons provide valuable long range firepower. In addition to these, heavy hitters like the Lord of Change or a Bloodthirster pummel enemy units into submission after a few turns of drawing fire in the skies - moving up along the flanks with other fast moving units and providing too many viable targets for opponents. Plaguebearers, Horrors and the like bunker down alongside the Soul Grinders and camp the home objectives, providing support as needed. Seeker Cavalcade, Beasts of Nurgle and Fiends of Slaanesh provide important counter-charge and debuff capabilities, with their immense speed allowing them to pop up anywhere they are needed. Giving Nurgle armies access to fast-moving units like the Plague Drones allows all of the gods to reliably pull of this approach by themselves, if to varying degrees of effectiveness; I am currently of the opinion that the most competitive builds are not mono-god, but taking the most effective unit in each role regardless of god. Though this may be the best way forward with Chaos Daemons, mono-god builds are definitely more viable than before - an all Khorne army won't be too hard done by as they were before due to the deployment changes and cheaper units, whilst a mono Slaanesh army can rely on its sheer speed and efficient combat abilities to get the job done.
Overall, I think that Chaos Daemons are a much stronger, more balanced army than their previous incarnation. Their emphasis on mixed armies with a lot of speedy, fragile units that hit hard and are quite cheap leads me to believe they can adapt some very unique thematic play-styles that suit multiple individuals. They are quite a balanced army from what I can see, and there are few - if any - truly "bad" units, as each has a role that it can fulfill quite effectively, or has a low cost to make up for their short-comings. Though some may not like the greater emphasis on the notion of a 'daemonic horde', I feel that the increased numbers and stronger Greater Daemons, as well as the access to multiple different psychic disciplines and beneficial upgrades, make Daemons a nicely varied, if somewhat random, army to both play with and against - I feel that games involving them will be entertaining and balanced. Whilst they will still struggle against certain armies, like Grey Knights, they should do quite well for themselves, even in engagements that previously were impossible for them unless they relied on cheese builds to win the day. I think that bringing most of the units in line with each other, and all of them being quite cheap, means that any Daemon player can go into an army list and take whatever they want, and still have a lot of room to move - in short, it is a collectors dream army, with nice models and a distinctive visual style. With arguably now one of the more unique rule-sets of any army in the game, they are a distinct and very flavourful army that I feel should grow into a much more popular force than they are now. Though they may not be for everyone, I definitely think they are nicely balanced against both other 6th Edition codices - in fact, and it may be a bold claim, but we may see a wider range of competitive builds coming from this codex than, for example, Chaos Space Marines. Unlike their mortal counter-parts, their competitive armies will not be built around any one over-the-top unit that I can see - thankfully, there doesn't appear to be any obvious 'crutch' unit, and the removal of the previous codex' equivalent (Fateweaver) in terms of changing its capabilities drastically has made for a better balanced book. I do hope my predictions are true, as reading the codex makes me more excited than I was for either Chaos Space Marines or Dark Angels - whilst I thoroughly enjoyed both books, there was a sense that perhaps some of the flavour had been taken out of them. Maybe it is just me though. In any case, I hope you enjoy the new codex as much as I have!
There have been a host of new units added since the previous codex, including those updated in a recent White Dwarf in the closing stages of last year. I have decided to cover them in more detail here to give everyone an idea of what they are capable of and how effective they are in their role. To keep the theme of the codex intact, I have presented this in a format familiar to those who are interested in specific Chaos deities.
Khorne - Khorne has received two new units, both of which are found in the same plastic kit. Technically though, as Karanak used to be a unit upgrade, you could say Khorne have received a third new unit - one that I will cover as Karanak is vastly different to its previous incarnation.
Blood Throne of Khorne - An armoured chariot that resolves its hammer of wrath attacks at Strength seven, the Blood Throne is an interesting option in a Khorne-centric army; as a dedicated transport for a Herald of Khorne, it may seem like a large investment to protect a single two-wound model. However, in an army that relies on giving significant offensive (or defensive) benefits to its standard units, the Blood Throne's value becomes increasingly evident - if the mounted Herald has a Locus, it is broadcast to every friendly Khorne unit within 6", as opposed to the unit the Herald is attached to. Though this means your army may be bunched, it does dramatically increase the combat effectiveness of multiple units and saves you from having to buy two separate Heralds. In addition, the Blood Throne itself can regrow hull points if it kills an enemy model with its Hammer of Wrath attacks - a handy tool to have when one considers it is at home in combat, and is a decently durable AV 12/12/10 vehicle. All in all, I think this is a very decent option for a Herald of Khorne - however, be aware that for the same cost, a second Herald could be purchased and kitted out; as such, you should add a Blood Throne only if you have more than two units you need to help. As it is a vehicle, and an open-topped one at that, it can be destroyed relatively easily, killing your investment quickly.
Skull Cannon of Khorne - With the same armour and open-topped chariot nature as a Blood Throne, the Skull Cannon has the distinct advantage of not needing to get into the thick of things to cause carnage. With a 36" S8 AP5 Ignores Cover Large Blast weapon, it is very good at softening up both heavy infantry formations, and annihilating light infantry alike, all from a very decent range - ergo, it is easier to protect it from harmful anti-tank weapons. However, the main reason the Skull Cannon should be used is due to the immense benefit its ranged weapon provides for your army; any enemy unit so much as hit by the Skull Cannon grants the benefit of pseudo-assault grenades to any friendly Daemon unit that assaults them - effectively ignoring the usual penalties for charging through cover the Daemons suffer from. Given that the Skull Cannon has a Ballistic Skill of five, it will usually hit the target you need so that your charging Daemons get that very important benefit. At its price, it isn't bad at all, and almost a necessary component for a Khorne-heavy army - for mono-build armies, it may not be the best, not so much because of its own rules, but due to the improvements Soul Grinders have received. You can't go wrong here though.
Karanak - Now treated as a Herald of Khorne, Karanak is quite a powerful commander intended to join up either with units of Flesh Hounds or Bloodcrushers - whichever takes your fancy. The reason for this is that, as a Beast with the Scout rule, he is exceedingly quick and also comes with a Locus providing Rage to itself and its unit - meaning your already nasty melee units are even deadlier on the charge. With a mighty Strength and Toughness of five, three wounds, a Weapon Skill of seven and a very high Initiative, Karanak is quite a powerful character that can reliably mince other decently upgraded commanders of a higher cost. In addition, Karanak, like regular Flesh Hounds, receives +2 to its Deny the Witch saves - meaning that a 4+ Deny the Witch save will be your most common psychic defence. On top of this, Karanak's special collar ensures that any psyker within 12" of Karanak suffers Perils of the Warp on any double - just be mindful that this affects friendly psykers as well! Karanak also has a cool special rule that allows it to 'mark' a single enemy character; Karanak re-rolls all failed to-hit and to-wound rolls against both that character and its unit. Combined with Hatred, Karanak is a seriously powerful - and mobile - character that makes your Flesh Hounds quite nasty against any unit that isn't dedicated to melee combat; its main struggles come against a torrent of firepower and well armoured opponents, though these can be mitigated both by its mobility and choosing your engagements carefully. Karanak seems a very decent option!
Tzeentch - Tzeentch has received one entirely new unit in this edition, with a second being more a unique profile for what was previously a character upgrade - much like with Khorne.
Burning Chariot of Tzeentch - In truth, there are two ways to describe the Burning Chariot, based upon what unit is mounted upon it. Generally speaking, as a fast open-topped skimmer with AV 10/10/10 and three hull points, the Burning Chariot trades durability for outright speed and maneuverability. These are traits which best serve the ranged offensive or support powers of the Exalted Flamer and Herald of Tzeentch, respectively. The first, and perhaps most alluring, is the Exalted Flamer - when mounted on a Burning Chariot, this is treated as a Heavy Support unit. Firing either D3 Strength nine AP two shots that hit on on a three and up at eighteen inches range, or a torrent Strength five AP three template weapon, the Exalted Flamer packs a lot of punch in a very mobile package. Its multiple weapons make it very versatile in both dealing with enemy vehicles or heavy infantry; the speed of the Burning Chariot also means that the killing can start on the first turn! In this way, it is very much a glass cannon that is quite efficient - though it isn't amazing, and can be easily destroyed before it can do any significant damage, the sheer damage this can deal at a low price make it a very viable option for any Daemon army. As a chariot for a Herald of Tzeentch, it doesn't have the advantageous Locus-broadcasting ability of a Blood Throne of Khorne, but it makes up for this by being an exceedingly cheap option to make a mobile Herald packed with strong offensive or defensive abilities get where it needs to be. Few should perceive it as a real threat, and as such it shouldn't be as much a target for your opponent as the Burning Chariot would be. Overall, it is a fine option either way you go.
The Changeling - Previously a character upgrade for a Pink Horrors unit, the Changeling now serves the role of a named Herald of Tzeentch; in this capacity, it isn't bad at all. It comes with a Lesser Locus in its base cost, providing any Horror unit it joins increased damage potential through their deaths - or 'Blue Horror' attacks, if you prefer - and has the unfortunate restriction of being limited to the Change psychic discipline, unlike a regular Herald of Tzeentch. Given that it doesn't have access to some of the tastier options for Heralds, such as higher Mastery Levels or wargear, the Changeling seems to pay a bit too much for its ability to 'steal' a chosen enemy models' statistics - taking either a mix or all of their Weapon Skill, Strength, Toughness, Initiative and Attacks. This can be a nasty trick to pull against quite a few enemies, but just be mindful that the Changeling doesn't receive the benefits of their weapons, saving throws and the like. As such, though it is cool and can be very useful, it won't help against many enemies and seems to be a bit taxing for what it does. As such, though the Changeling is ok, you are probably better off with a standard Herald of Tzeentch.
Nurgle - Nurgle has received one new unit in this codex.
Plague Drones of Nurgle - These are costly, albeit very worthwhile models that whilst hard to hide, are still quite capable of soaking up a lot of damage - with three Toughness five wounds each and a handy invulnerable save due to being a Daemon, it takes a lot of firepower to bring them down. With Shrouded and a cover save, they can become unreasonably hard to shift - just be careful that as Jetpack Cavalry, this can lead to some lost wounds due to dangerous terrain. As you can tell, despite their size, they are very quick - their only real hindrance being Slow and Purposeful which prevents them from Running, firing Overwatch or doing a Sweeping Advance; though only the first of those should bother you anyway. It is important to note that as Jetpack Cavalry, they can jump over terrain and thus land in higher levels of buildings, unlike other cavalry - they can also make a special 2D6" "assault move" in the assault phase, making up for their inability to run. Between a mediocre Weapon Skill and Initiative, their combat abilities aren't fantastic, but they are quite good at taking out certain enemies - what with a large number of Poisoned (4+) melee attacks, they can dish out a lot of hurt, particularly against Toughness four or lower enemies. Typical Tactical Marines and the like will struggle to deal with Plague Drones, which means they can be valuable tie-up units that allow other more fragile and slower units, such as Plaguebearers, to advance with less hindrances. Plague Drones also work very well as mobile 'homer' units; they have access to an icon which can prevent deep strike scatter for friendly Nurgle units arriving from reserves. As such, they fill a very important role for a slow moving assault-based army, and are invaluable because of that reason alone. They are quite decent otherwise, and armed with either single instant death attacks or Poisoned (3+) attacks, they can dish out a lot of pain. A good unit!
Slaanesh - Slaanesh has received a whopping three entirely new units, all of which were actually added in the recent White Dwarf update.
Hellflayer of Slaanesh - A lightly armoured fast chariot that deals D6 Hammer of Wrath attacks per remaining hull point, treated unusually as Strength four with Rending, a Hellflayer is quite a cheap and dangerously fast vehicle to use. Its Hammer of Wrath hits for charging into an enemy have the unique distinction among the Slaanesh chariots of granting bonus attacks to the Exalted Alluress for every unsaved wound it causes; ergo, against your typical Space Marine unit, it will do on average at least one or two wounds, followed by seven attacks from the Exalted Alluress, typically leading to one more dead Space Marine. Given the chariot rules, if they manage to survive, the Hellflayer then disengages from combat, allowing you to do it again - or get shot at repeatedly. This is where the Hellflayer's value wanes somewhat; it doesn't do enough damage against common opponents to immediately justify its cost, it can't tie up units and as such isn't the best distraction unit, it is still relatively fragile despite rocking an invulnerable save on an AV 11/11/10 vehicle, and the Exalted Alluress is easily killed in combat. So, how do you mitigate this? Well, owing to being a Daemon of Slaanesh and a Fast vehicle, the Hellflayer can move an incredible 12", followed by a 2D6" re-rollable charge due to Fleet, or move 15" when going Flat Out. Its incredible speed and inexpensive cost mean that you can take more than one quite easily, and they can keep up - and even out-distance - Seekers and the like, meaning they can be used to soften up enemy units, block them from seeing your other more valuable targets, and so on. Its best use is likely as a combo-charge unit; by itself, it won't win combat all that often, but paired up with Seekers or Daemonettes, and it can do a lot of damage by softening them up via the Hammer of Wrath. Whilst I think the Seeker Cavalcade may be a better option, Hellflayers are certainly a fun and useful unit to use in a mobile Slaanesh army.
Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh - The cheapest of the chariots, it shares the same profile as the Hellflayer, with one exception - it doesn't grant bonus attacks to the Exalted Alluress via kills from its Hammer of Wrath like the Hellflyayer does. As such, it is quite a bit cheaper; though it may not seem like much initially, you need to think of the units in context, and how cheap all of the Slaanesh chariots are regardless. The other important note is that Seeker Chariots are part of a 'Cavalcade' - meaning you can take them in vehicle squadrons of up to three maximum. Though the loss of the Soulscent rule is disappointing, the reality is that it usually wouldn't provide too much extra oomph in terms of combat resolution anyway - as such, I feel the cheaper and more common Seeker Chariots are more valuable in comparison to the Hellflayers. As well, their ability to squadron up and be taken as one selection means you don't limit yourself by taking more than one; unlike the Hellflayer, you can feasibly take other units from the same slot and not be restricted by choice. I feel Seeker Chariots are very useful in the same way that Hellflayers are, though I feel they perform the role better as their greater numbers and cost make them more easily able to perform combo-assaults and block enemy units.
Exalted Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh - The most expensive of the chariots by a fair margin, at least when one considers how cheap each of the Slaaneshi chariots are, the Exalted Seeker Chariot is also easily the most damaging. Per the Fleshredder special rule, each of the chariots does D6 S4 AP- Rending Hammer of Wrath hits per remaining hull point - whilst the others have two hull points each, the Exalted Seeker Chariot has four. This means that, compared to the average seven hits the other chariots put out, an Exalted Chariot at full strength puts out a staggering fourteen Hammer of Wrath hits when it charges. Against standard Tactical Marines, this means that you will average four kills against Space Marines from the Hammer of Wrath alone - two Rending, two failed armour saves - with a 50% chance of being followed by another Rending kill. This can be particularly devastating against heavy infantry such as Terminators that rely on their high armour save; this chariot can reliably kill three Terminators before they can even strike back. Of course, being the most costly, this does mean that you need to weigh up whether the increased combat effectiveness is worth the investment; typically, as Exalted Seeker Chariots are also a part of a Seeker Cavalcade alongside regular Seeker Chariots, a mix of both types is probably your best bet. One Exalted Seeker Chariot and two Seeker Chariots as part of a single cavalcade can be quite nasty, and work very well in conjunction with Seekers and Fiends of Slaanesh - they are very mobile harassment units that work to force your opponent to target them instead of more valuable targets. Like the other chariots, I think they are a good choice all up.
A note on each of the chariots; if the chariot is destroyed, the Exalted Alluress dies. However, it does not work both ways - if the Exalted Alluress is removed, the chariots can continue performing their role of softening enemy units up for other assaulting friendly Daemons, and generally being a nuisance.
I would like to give a big 'thank you' to all of our readers and viewers, your support - however indirect it may be - has inspired me to continue my work in studying the awesome new works that the table-top war-gaming hobby throws at us. Thank you again for taking the time to read this quite silly, long and gushing article, and I hope you both enjoyed it and could find some use from it! Thanks again! Learn2Eel, over and out. Remember to stay tuned for the upcoming Chaos Daemons Tactica, where I will analyse each unit based not on their changes from the previous codex, but on how they function within the codex itself - and, after careful study, determine what allies will work best with Daemons and how they should fare in the competitive meta. Cheers!
at 8:21 pm