3 Aug 2014

Warriors of Chaos Unit Overview - Rare

Hey there everyone, my name is Learn2Eel and today I wanted to discuss perhaps the most dangerous and proficient warriors in the world of Warhammer Fantasy; the Warriors of Chaos. These savage northmen model their culture entirely around the worship and veneration of the Chaos Gods, earning their status and rank through blood and sacrifice. This warrior-driven society translates incredibly well to the table-top, providing the most elite fighting force in Warhammer Fantasy and some of the most destructive unit options available to any army with some incredibly versatile army building potential due to the Marks system. To dedicate ones-self to a Chaos God is to damn their soul for eternity, but the gifts and punishments all vary on the Path of Ascension!


Hellcannon - If you want a unit that can actually do something of note in the shooting phase for a Warriors of Chaos force, the Hellcannon is your sole and best bet. Even despite being the only source of artillery for the twisted Northmen, this particular unit doubles as one of the nastier melee options available in the Rare slot - a combination of roles that makes its low price point all the more enticing. Still, most players will understandably use Hellcannons as the much needed "war machine" they otherwise completely lack, giving them a counter to enemy monsters and war machines while also being capable of mulching through infantry formations.

This unique unit fires as a stone-thrower with a twist, being Strength 5 normally and Strength 10 under the hole as opposed to the usual Strength 3 and Strength 6 respectively. Before I even begin on how good this is against monstrous forces, let me point out how destructive this can be against medium to light infantry; a small blast might not seem like much, but if it hits the centre of a tightly packed infantry unit then it will likely hit anywhere from ten to twenty models depending on their base sizes. Recent personal experience shows that if you get a direct hit on something like an Elf Spearmen block - or even a unit of heavy infantry like White Lions or Swordmasters lacking the Banner of the World Dragon - at least eighteen of those models will just evaporate in a flash! Chuck in Multiple Wounds D6 and the Strength 10 under the hole for character sniping, killing monsters and war machines with ease, or just generally putting the fear of the Chaos Gods into an opponent. That the attack is Magical also ensures Ethereal units such as Hexwraiths or a Dread Saurian featuring a particular upgrade will not be safe from the gaping maw of a Hellcannon.

That the Hellcannon shot functions as a stone thrower means it can be used regardless of intervening terrain - unlike a cannonball - and its 12" minimum range is small enough provided that you use your chaff units adequately to keep the opponent away from your valuable artillery. If there is any real downside to this, it is when the Hellcannon misfires - as many players will no doubt have tasted of before! Whereas a regular stone thrower might just explode or be unable to fire for a few turns, a Hellcannon can have truly disastrous results that can affect models up to 24" away - one of the more hilarious and random aspects of the daemon war engine. These can range from something as minor as eating - I kid you not - the very important Chaos Dwarf crew, to exploding and killing any nearby model through fire and debris, to forcing every wizard within a 24" radius to take a Leadership test or suffer an immediate miscast.

While my personal experience has unfortunately been limited in regards to that last effect, it is always hilarious to watch a Hellcannon munch its crew and then rumble forward in a frenzied bloodlust searching for more flesh to feast upon. Generally speaking though the misfire table for the Hellcannon isn't as bad as something like the Skaven Warp Lightning Cannon and I've not suffered too much "friendly fire" when such results have occurred, though without the support of an allied Daemonsmith (see the Legion of Azgorh list) it is definitely unreliable. Being Magical also sees that the Hellcannon will struggle against High Elf lists built around a death-star featuring the Banner of the World Dragon as it has no actual means of inflicting any real damage upon that unit and can only be used to destroy whatever other points aren't invested there.

Unfortunately for your opponents, the Hellcannon is no ordinary war machine - though to be fair, anyone that thinks a model that big is as easy to destroy as a mere Dwarven cannon probably deserves to lose. Much like the Beastmen Cygor, the Hellcannon fires as a stone thrower but is a monster first and foremost, using the monster and handler rules - the Dwarven crew aren't there only to load it and fire, they are trying desperately to stop the Hellcannon from going berserk! This thing is as tough as they come with five Toughness 6 wounds, a 4+ armour save, 5+ ward save and 5+ "monster and handler save" for defence making it one of the most survivable monsters you can find, especially at that points cost.

Your usual war machine hunters like Fast Cavalry armed with spears will find themselves merely bouncing off of the daemon's toughened metallurgy while even dedicated combat units lacking in multitudes of either Poisoned or Strength 5+ attacks will struggle to put the beast down quickly. If that wasn't enough, a Hellcannon can hold up units better than any Undead anvil with Unbreakable and those high defensive stats - it has neither Daemonic Instability or the Unstable rule and thus can lose combats with no fear of damage! While a handful of Strength 3 attacks from the Dwarven crew aren't really worth mentioning, the five Strength 5 Weapon Skill 4 attacks the Hellcannon itself dish out certainly are; chuck in a Strength 5 Thunderstomp and the fact that all these strikes are Magical and you have yourself a winner (save against High Elves).

There's just one issue here if you want to use the Hellcannon as a surprisingly well balanced melee monster, and that is a rather pitiful Movement 3 that pretty much ensures it must be used in a shooting role. While its stone thrower is unreliable it is as devastating as they come and provides you with the tools to handle deadly enemies at long range rather than be forced to fight them on their terms in close combat. You can consider the enhanced melee capabilities of a Hellcannon and its insane survivability to be "extras" that increase its value and make it immune to the usual means most players use to destroy or otherwise disable artillery units, though there is one rather important downside to keep in mind.

In keeping with the "random" nature of Chaos forces as inspired by the classic Rogue Trader and 2nd Edition codices and army books, a Hellcannon is forced to take a Leadership test at the start of each Movement Phase that, if failed, forces it to pivot towards the nearest enemy unit and move 3D6" in a straight line towards that unit. While some opponents will be wily enough to exploit this with your own units to effectively cause a Hellcannon to run into your own units or a lesser enemy unit of their choice, the main issue here is that it prevents a Hellcannon from firing. That it will likely move into an exposed position isn't so bad considering how good it is in melee and its incredible survivability, but being unable to shoot on a turn where you may require it more than most - such as when an enemy Dragon has closed in on your General's entourage - is painful and really forces you to keep a Battle Standard Bearer nearby at least in the early turns of the game. This is why keeping the Dwarven crew alive is important and also can make the "lesser" misfire results particularly painful; they provide the Hellcannon with Leadership 9 that means it should only fail this test once or twice out of the standard six game turns assuming average rolls, though this plan quickly falls on its face once they die due to the Hellcannon's low Leadership 4.

Still, failing this test can sometimes work to your advantage if your priority target closes to within 12" as it gives you the best chance to charge them - Movement 3 is just terrible for when you need to get a charge off, but Random Movement (3D6) does at least give you a higher range even if the average total charge distance is nearly identical. Overall the Hellcannon is a fantastic unit for its points that can annihilate nearly any enemy unit it fires upon at range, destroy them up close with its impressive melee statistics or outlast even some of the stronger units in the game through its insane toughness and saves. It is easily one of the best units in the Rare slot and arguably the best monster in the army book competing alongside the Chimera and Daemon Prince - though certainly it is the best of the five Rare monsters!

Alongside Skullcrushers, Hellcannons should be making up the majority of your Rare selections and points even if just to provide Warriors of Chaos with the heaviest kind of ranged firepower that they otherwise lack completely. By the by, for those wondering how to counter Hellcannons, bring either the Lore of Shadow or the Lore of Death and cast either the Pit of Shades or Purple Sun of Xereus, respectively. The Hellcannon is Initiative 1 without the crew and Initiative 2 with the crew, making it almost shockingly vulnerable to test-or-die spells that are based on a models' Initiative value. While this is a pretty significant weakness, can one really complain given the overall package a Hellcannon provides otherwise?
Competitive? Yes.

Dragon Ogre Shaggoth - If you don't feel like spending all of your Lord points on a single monster that can just as easily be slain by multiple cannonballs as it can be by a single relatively easily cast Pit of Shades, then a pair of Dragon Ogre Shaggoths at a lower price may just be for you. Where the Hellcannon can fulfill many roles effectively but is primarily a ranged unit, the Shaggoth is a dedicated melee unit and a pretty nasty one at that all things considered. Weapon Skill 6 and Initiative 4 are above average for non-character monsters, while five attacks at Strength 6 are devastating and especially so with a Strength 6 Thunderstomp. Movement 7 serves to make the Shaggoth a very mobile unit while Leadership 9 and Immune to Psychology means it won't be going anywhere anytime soon, whether it be from Panic or from losing combat.

The Large Target and Terror special rules are fairly standard of a monster while a 4+ armour save with six Toughness 5 wounds makes it fairly survivable to boot. Its combat and defensive stats do warrant a comparison to the Hellcannon though and unfortunately the Shaggoth surprisingly comes up short here, its only real advantage being the often less important but certainly useful Weapon Skill and Initiative values - though obviously the speed of the Shaggoth is crucial for a dedicated melee unit. The Shaggoth is less durable than a Hellcannon with the same armour save but no ward save or "monster and handlers save", while the higher Toughness cancels out the greater number of Wounds. The melee prowess of the two is also surprisingly similar with the Shaggoth only having a not insignificant Weapon Skill and Initiative advantage but otherwise being identical in terms of Strength and number of attacks. Considering the Hellcannon also functions as a stone thrower and is Unbreakable it isn't difficult to see which of the two units I would prefer for a competitive list.

Still, the Shaggoth has a few unique traits that allows it to more reliably fulfill one of the many roles a Hellcannon fits, and that is monster hunting. While a Strength 10 (under the hole) stone thrower with Multiple Wounds (D6) will often be enough to handle an opponents Hydras or Griffons, the chances of scattering or of misfiring aren't what I would deem small and so the Hellcannon can be considered unreliable here. On the other hand, a Shaggoth upgraded with a great weapon dishes out five Strength 8 attacks and is both mobile and tough enough to get into combat with those monsters provided adequate deployment and chaff usage is present. Sadly, it is also expensive and any intelligent opponent will make sure to avoid the fearsome Shaggoth due to the likelihood of it featuring the great weapon or an additional hand weapon - six Strength 6 attacks is nothing to be sneezed at either - while it also pales in comparison to the Chimera housed in the Special slot.

If the comparison to a Hellcannon was unfavourable, the Shaggoth just flat out loses its place where a Chimera is concerned. Throw Regeneration (4+) and the Flaming Breath Weapon on a Chimera and it will arguably be tougher than a Shaggoth while being able to mulch through highly populated units with ease, something a Shaggoth isn't exactly great at. It might not have as high a Weapon Skill or Initiative but it has several more attacks and the same Strength to compensate, while its Flying movement gives it a significant edge as a melee oriented unit. About the only distinct advantage a Shaggoth has here is that it can provide Strength 8 attacks and is completely safe from Panic, but I don't feel these traits are enough to compensate against the sheer devastation and truly complete package that both the Hellcannon and Chimera provide. The Shaggoth is a fairly well priced monster in its own right but it suffers from competing against two of the stronger monsters available to any army book in Warhammer Fantasy, and I certainly wouldn't say it compares well to something like a Frostheart Phoenix or even a Kharibdyss.
Competitive? No.

Giant - Ah the Giant, hallmark of several army books hailing from both the Forces of Destruction and even Neutral Armies (Ogre Kingdoms) and one of the more under-appreciated monsters around. While I definitely wouldn't say it is as useful generally as a Hellcannon or a Chimera, the Giant is one of those units that just consistently surprises people despite an undeserved reputation as a poor unit because of how innately random it is. First up are the stats and don't let them fool you, this is an impressive profile to have for the points. Toughness 5 with six wounds is identical to a Shaggoth but the Giant lacks saves of any kind, however the counter point to this is that Strength 6 or higher attacks - what are usually used to kill monsters - will ignore a 4+ armour save anyway, though against the more common Strength 5 and Strength 4 the Shaggoth will at least get a (weak) save. Movement 6, Terror and Large Target are all typical, but Leadership 10 with Stubborn means a Giant won't be running away from combats or Panic any time soon which is simply amazing for any monster to have with their lack of static combat resolution. Weapon Skill 3 and Initiative 3 are poor but Strength 6 with a random attacks chart are actually surprisingly good, especially against a unit featuring an oppoennts' General or an otherwise highly valuable character.

The Fall Over rule is so unlikely to ever feature that it is almost a non-issue, while almost all of the random attack rolls are pretty darned useful - throw in a Strength 6 Thunderstomp for good measure! Yell and Bawl will stop low Initiative units from even striking a Giant and ensure it wins a combat, and seeing as Great Weapons with Always Strikes Last tend to be many armies' most common tool against monsters this is a pretty hilarious result to roll up. Jump Up and Down is devastating against anything regardless of its saving throws due to the sheer amount of Strength 6 hits it inflicts plus the Thunderstomp, while Swing with Club is rather mediocre though at least doesn't have the risk of the Giant falling over. The Pick up and... result is terrifying for characters as the further D6 roll (provided the model doesn't cause an unsaved wound back on the Giant) is guaranteed to instantly remove that model as a casualty. Did I mention that the Giant gets to pick which model it picks up and the model will die regardless of whether it is a lowly Bright Wizard or a mighty Vampire Lord and no saves are allowed whatsoever? Thump with Club and 'Eadbutt are decent enough against monsters, but especially the former seeing as most monstrous units tend to have poor Initiative values.

The Marks also give the Giant some awesome buffs at a low price with each being very useful in their own way. Khorne's favour makes all the Giant's attacks be resolved at a whopping Strength 7, while the Mark of Nurgle makes it a far less easily beaten Toughness 6 Monster. While a 6+ ward save from Tzeentch isn't that great it will effectively act as an extra wound for the Giant by saving one unsaved wound out of every six inflicted, while a dedication to Slaanesh gives the Giant some breathing room with its random attacks table by resolving it at Initiative 4 rather than Initiative 3. Overall, a Giant is fairly priced for what it does and is a surprisingly good character hunter and unit stomper with reasonable staying power and an excellent ability to hold up valuable enemy units with Stubborn on Leadership 10. Still, I wouldn't call it a great unit even in the other army books it features in, and certainly most of those don't feature the same competition a Giant faces from units like the Hellcannon. For this reason I feel that it falls into the same category as the Shaggoth where it is a somewhat useful unit but it isn't as good as it really should be to reasonably compete against those other top tier units.
Competitive? No.

Chaos Spawn - While the Chaos Space Marine version of this unit was massively improved in their latest codex, I'm sad to say that this unit wasn't really fixed for Warriors of Chaos. Toughness 5 with three wounds gives it half the durability of a Giant or Dragon Ogre Shaggoth at one fourth of the cost, while Unbreakable and Leadership 10 means it won't ever run away. D6+1 Strength 4 attacks is worse than the equivalent points in basic Chaos Warriors while Weapon Skill 3 and Initiative 2 make it pretty mediocre as a fighter. While the average roll of 2D6 might very well be seven, that a units' Movement is randomly determined and just as likely to cause it stutter forward two inches as it is to leap forward a massive twelve inches is honestly terrible in a game where so much emphasis is placed on winning the Movement Phase. A seven inch average move for a melee unit is also poor once you consider that Chaos Warriors with Movement 4 and an additional 2D6 roll for charges will average roughly eleven inches of movement, or eight inches when marching.

It is it bad enough that a Spawn compares poorly to the over-priced Dragon Ogres that are both tougher, faster and far more damaging while being able to take more than one model per unit despite being priced similarly? No, they also take up valuable Rare points that are so hard to come by when you throw in how heavily (and costly) both the Hellcannon and Skullcrushers compete for them. The dedications are at the very least decent upgrades but they don't at all fix a unit that would at least be partially useful if it could be taken in "squads" as a sort of anvil but instead can only be taken twice and in separate units for a regular army below 3000 points. If you want Monstrous Beasts that desperately then Dragon Ogres are sitting there with their shiny new models and decent rules. Take these at your own peril and try to use them as pathetic mirrors to Great Eagles.
Competitive? No.

Skullcrushers - While this unit was technically introduced in the previous army books' lifespan via a White Dwarf and attached model release, they are nonetheless one of the newest and undoubtedly best units available to Warriors of Chaos players. Following a growing trend of monstrous cavalry options being added to many different armies, Skullcrushers take the best aspects of their predecessors and combine them to form one of the most brutal combat units in the game. They are as unreasonably tough as Empire Demigryph Knights with each model having three Toughness 4 wounds and a total 1+ armour save, but they are just as brutal as Ogre Kingdoms Mournfang Cavalry with three Strength 5 (assuming a certain weapon upgrade) and three Strength 6 attacks per model on the charge all at Weapon Skill 5. While the quantity of attacks and lack of Impact Hits do favour Mournfang Cavalry, they don't mix offence and defence nearly as well as Skullcrushers do overall - besides, Weapon Skill 5 on both rider and mount plus good Initiative values do give the Skullcrushers their own little edge!

If it wasn't obvious enough, this unit can survive ridiculous amounts of punishment and dish it out in equal measure, surviving even bolt throwers or massed great weapon attacks while simultaneously carving a swathe through units of all kinds. Assuming the near mandatory Ensorcelled Weapon upgrade is taken unit-wide, each individual model puts out a staggering six minimum Strength 5 attacks at Weapon Skill 5, averaging four kills against your typical Weapon Skill 4 or lower Toughness 3 opponent with a 5+ or worse armour (or ward) save. The high Strength, Weapon Skill and Initiative (the last of these being exclusive to the rider) of Skullcrushers gives them an edge over elite units of other armies and also allows them to fairly easily engage enemy heavy cavalry, monstrous cavalry and even monsters. If Khorne measures his followers' success on how much blood they spill in his name, then certainly Skullcrushers would rank amongst his most accomplished servants. That they can take so much punishment in the process and still go on strong - three wounds a piece means that they don't lose combat effectiveness very quickly, unlike Chaos Knights - ensures that they will be a constant and easily identified threat for any sane opponent that doesn't want to see their army devoured by a flood of bloodshed.

Of course, no unit would exist without some kind of weakness and Skullcrushers are not devoid of these - let their enemies rejoice momentarily! Movement 7 is standard of the more heavily armoured monstrous cavalry but does at the very least bear mentioning, though the real issue is Leadership 8 with Frenzy owing to the Mark of Khorne. This is a unit that will fall prey to Frenzy baiting and being drawn out of position through forced pursuit very easily without character support, but the fact that they almost never lose combat does work in their favour. They are also thankfully Immune to Psychology so long as they don't lose their Frenzy, but once that disappears the unit does become frighteningly vulnerable to Panic given how expensive they are. That every attack and Stomp provided by the Juggernaughts themselves are Magical could potentially be an issue against High Elves but otherwise ensures Skullcrushers cannot be held up by an Ethereal unit, especially if the riders take Ensorcelled Weapons. Honestly, these "issues" are so minor that I am pretty much forced to bring up the Khorne exclusivity of this unit and point players favouring other Chaos Gods to convert their own versions of this unit.

Some might say Chaos Knights make for a good alternative and that is partially true but there is ultimately no way that they could ever match the points efficiency of Skullcrushers. For less than double the points of a stock Chaos Knight, a Skullcrusher with an Ensorcelled Weapon has three wounds as opposed to one, six Strength 5 attacks as opposed to two, a Strength 5 Stomp attack, immunity to the increasingly prevalent Killing Blow, Immune to Psychology and Magical Attacks from both mount and rider. I can't think of any situation in which the equivalent points of Chaos Knights will ever be superior to the amount spent on Skullcrushers and it only serves to highlight just how fantastic monstrous cavalry tend to be compared to regular heavy cavalry. For these champions of Khorne in particular, few units could ever match their efficiency in both death-dealing and death-avoidance all the while being very mobile and having some of the most attractive models available. This is a unit that is rightfully adapted even to Nurgle, Tzeentch or Slaanesh themed army lists that are used at a competitive level through conversion and various forms of fluff justification because it is just too good to pass up. While I do think the Hellcannon is an awesome unit and fills a much needed role for a typical Warriors of Chaos list, there really is no matching the sheer devastation a unit of Skullcrushers - even one as small as three models - can unleash on the battlefield. Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!
Competitive? Yes.

Slaughterbrute - While I can certainly understand what the rules designers were going for here - a monster built for tearing down heavily armoured units - the Slaughterbrute is just another failure, an unfortunate example of what could have been so much better. The idea of a brutish beast bound to a Chaos Lord almost like a pet is certainly cool and both background and model serve to make for an attractive addition to an army. Sadly, this particular monster is just far too expensive for what it does and becomes almost entirely useless once its master is slain. I guess the best thing to say here is that you are forced to take a Hero or Lord choice as your General and thus will fulfill the requirements for the Runes of Binding special rule no matter which army list you use, honestly.

Characters of all kinds for Warriors of Chaos tend to be among the toughest of their type in the game, particularly something like a Daemon Prince or model with the 3+ ward save re-rolling 1s, so the chances of losing a Slaughterbrute's master aren't all that large typically. It's a shame then that the Lore of Death is so prevalent and Warriors of Chaos characters often used so riskily due to being almost exclusively combat characters as once they perish the Slaughterbrute will quickly become a liability to your army. If a Slaughterbrute has no master or their master dies, they gain the Random Movement (2D6) rule but crucially cannot pick which direction they move in, while any friendly unit they move into will suffer 2D6 Strength 7 hits immediately. To boil it all down, it becomes a giant Chaos Spawn that is even more random and can actually hurt your own forces - blood for the blood god? This is also why you should probably never take more than one of these seeing as you will need two separate characters for them to be "bound" to and there are only so many points you can spend to protect two different Lords or Heroes.

So let us look at what a Slaughterbrute actually does if it can get into combat and what benefits it gets from having a living master. Its' Weapon Skill 3 and Leadership 5 are poor to say the very least, but a Slaughterbrute can use its masters' values on those stats instead of their own - usually this will be Weapon Skill 7 and Leadership 8 or higher (using an Exalted Hero as an example). A Weapon Skill 7 monster is rare and especially so once you factor in its impressive Strength 7, but having only four attacks means that this beast can't dish out too much damage in a single phase save against infantry sub-types where its Thunderstomp is available. Any self-respecting combat monster should have five attacks - a Hellcannon of all things has five attacks for goodness sake! - and even with the Weapon Skill buff and high Strength a Slaughterbrute just isn't anywhere near as intimidating as its background demands it should be. These core issues could be overcome if the Slaughterbrute was both mobile and hardy but it lacks both of these with a mediocre (for a monster) Movement 6 and a mere five Toughness 5 wounds with only a 4+ armour save for defence.

It is almost insulting to think that the Slaughterbrute was introduced as a new alternative to the Dragon Ogre Shaggoth as a foot-slogging melee monster aimed at well armoured or high Toughness opponents given how poorly it compares to the scion of the mountains. A Shaggoth is a mere ten points more than a Slaughterbrute and gets all of the following and more; slightly higher mobility, more attacks, a higher Initiative value, an extra wound, a guaranteed high Weapon Skill and Leadership, immunity to Panic and a situational but powerful lightning based special rule. The Slaughterbrute also can't get up to Strength 8 that completely ignores 2+ armour saves and turns 1+ armour saves into a 6+ saving throw, though it does have an expensive little upgrade called "Extra Claws". More attacks are always good and should fix the Slaughterbrute's lack of strikes, right? Well that's just too bad; they are resolved at Strength 5. Why does this upgrade cost more than a Shaggoth's great weapon option when it amounts to a total of four Strength 7 and two Strength 5 attacks as opposed to five Strength 8 attacks? Oh and don't forget that if the Slaughterbrute's master dies it becomes effectively useless despite being a 200+ point monster, hooray! As painful as it is for me say it, this is a pathetic unit and easily the worst of the units added in the most recent Warriors of Chaos update. In the words of The Simpsons' Apu, "what were you thinking!?".
Competitive? No.

Mutalith Vortex Beast - If you were looking for a valid reason to buy the Slaughterbrute kit for the purposes of gaming while also looking cool on the side, the Mutalith Vortex Beast is probably your best bet and I say that with very little confidence. Like the Slaughterbrute, this thing has an amazing looking new model that - Tyranid Haruspex aside - really has no thematic equivalents when it comes to Games Workshop produced miniatures. Unlike the Slaughterbrute, this particular monster actually has rules that somewhat reflect its background and I'm thankful that this is the case even if it still isn't what I would rate as a useful inclusion.

The Vortex Beast has no illusions about being a monster made for some magical support as its randomly determined D6+2 attacks at Strength 5 with Weapon Skill 3 and Initiative 3 would indicate, though it is hilarious to note that as long as you roll a 3 or higher when working out how many attacks it has it will have more than its supposedly melee focused kit-sibling. It helps that the Vortex Beast is also quite a bit more survivable than a Slaughterbrute with the inclusion of Regeneration (5+) on top of the standard Toughness 5, five wounds and 4+ armour save. Where the Slaughterbrute is useless without a master, the Vortex Beast is actually just fine even without much support with a decent Leadership 8 even if Movement 6 means it can't be expected to out-match fast cavalry or most chaff units, though it does have a higher points cost to compensate for this.

So why exactly is the Vortex Beast more useful than a Slaughterbrute despite being more costly and having reduced (if that is even possible) combat abilities? Enter the Aura of Mutation, a random but completely amusing Innate Bound Spell (the kind that ignores miscasts) that is surprisingly a decent use of two power dice every time it is in range of something. Not only does it force a number of Toughness tests that cause automatic armour-ignoring wounds if failed, but it also enforces a random effect based entirely on a single D6 roll. The first result is disappointingly weak seeing as it also gives the target unit the Fear special rule, but the rest of the results are funny albeit not all that useful. One gives the unit Stupidity for the duration of the game, another messes around with their stats and yet another causes a "wave" of Toughness tests much like the Skaven spell Plague.

While the effects usually aren't that great and you will generally find most Innate Bound Spells with power level five to be far more useful in other army books, you can at least say that the Vortex Beast has some hilarious applications against Elven armies. Heck, some luck could see a unit reduced to a lower Leadership and then given Stupidity in the space of two turns, though the low 18" range of the spell ensures this won't really make a difference when said unit should already be in combat by that point. As cool and awkward as its rules are, this is - much like the Slaughterbrute - a waste of points and should never be considered over any of the other monsters for a list that is even remotely trying to compete. I rate it slightly better than the Slaughterbrute because it doesn't have to reach combat to be a nuisance, is generally better against infantry blocks with more (randomly generated) attacks and higher survivability but the difference is disappointingly slight.
Competitive? No.

The two new monster choices are both really rather weak, sadly, while the Shaggoth and Giant are at the very least reasonable picks. Spawn are as lacking as always but Hellcannons and the updated Skullcrushers are both fantastic choices and easily the best of the Rare slot.

Thank you for reading this article! I have a wealth of experience against and with Warriors of Chaos both in pick-up-games and at a competitive level so I feel I have suitable experience to conduct a serious mini-review of their units. They are such a powerful army book that will beat out any army in a straight fight, but their inability to really offer much in the shooting phase does limit them somewhat. I am eager to hear your thoughts on the Warriors of Chaos and how they have performed both for and against you. Cheers, and have a nice day!

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