Short Daemon Tactica: Slaanesh Characters

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My last look at Slannesshi units comes in the form of the most deadly of all the Prince of Pleasure’s daemonic servants. Able to bring ruin to armies just on their own, in perhaps typical form for the god of excess, there are just so many good options to choose from!

Keeper of Secrets, sculpted and painted by Forgeworld

Keeper of Secrets: Greater Daemon of Slaanesh

Its a real tossup if this or the Bloodthirster is the single most offensive model in the army. Each model has its merits, but at 80 points cheaper to start with, I’m inclined to say the Keeper of Secrets has a slight edge.

Less able to take a knock than his competitor, nevertheless, the starting package is pretty impressive. A Level 1  Psycher with the option to be Level 3, its certain worth cutting out on the extra run move and instead using him to provide boosts to your force with a mixture of Telepathy and Excess psychic powers. In particular, if you manage to roll the number 5  Telepathy power, you will be having a very fun game, as your Keeper of Secrets will have a 4+ cover save, increasing to a 2+ when in cover! I would probably have a mix of powers, with a Level 3 having 1 Telepathy and 2 Excess powers.

If you choose to mostly ignore his psychic ability though, you have a fast moving engine of destruction. With the extra +3 to his run move (re-rolled) and rending to help with opening vehicles (Strength 6+ 2D6*+D3- yes please!) and 6 Attacks striking at Initiative 10, you can run him bare, confident that he can do a lot of damage. Against all Eldar forces, Preferred Enemy will help you dish out the hurt even more, but understandably its pretty situational.

As with all Daemon characters, I like to run them cheap, so if you take any rewards, I would probably choose only one. Why spend lots of points on a single model that is pretty susceptible to bolter fire when you could have two instead? 😉

Daemon Prince of Slaanesh

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The GW Daemon Prince kit painted to be a Daemon Prince of Slannesh by the Rot Forge

Sticking with cheapness over everything again, I’m really tempted to keep this model without wings to cut down on his cost and just run him as a pure combat machine. The extra run move more than makes up for not taking wings and makes running the model with Warp-forged Armour not so expensive and bulking out on Psychic powers not so bad either.

Regardless of if you run him cheap, or so expensive its about a quarter of your armies cost in a 1500 point game, its always best to take the model with either another Monstrous Creature or some Daemonic Vehicles to back them up. It provides several different targets, which will increase everythings survivability overall, and means that if you get it right, you can gang up on one section of the army and try and roll up a flank.

Herald of Slannesh

Mounted Herald of Slannesh by Golden Daemon winner Georg Damm

As I did for the Nurgle Herald, I’ve explained most of the uses of a Herald of Slaanesh in my tactica’s on Daemonettes and Seekers of Slaanesh. Its worth adding though, what makes Heralds so useful in a Slaanesh force is just how versatile they are. Having the option of a cheap mount really enhances what they can do, to the point that in games under 2000 points, I would be tempted to run just Heralds attached to squads.

Of course, over 2000 points and its becomes pretty hard to resist taking a Monstrous Creature or two. But under 2000, and for definite in any games under 1500 points, its a competitive option- even if it does leave you a bit open to frustration at the hands of lists that spam fliers or vehicles.

Herald of Slaanesh Special Character: The Masque of Slaanesh

I’ve never really liked this Special Character. Though some players swore by her use is the previous codex due to the ability to pull multiple units out of cover a turn, she has one obvious drawback- Toughness 3 and that she is unable to join any other unit.

Its that second part thats the killer and will mean game after game of your opponent getting a free killpoint for not much effort. To avoid this, she will have to be sheltered from harm until close enough to the enemy, whilst crossing you fingers and hoping that she survives any firepower that comes her way, or else your opponent forgets about her.

Her three dances are nothing to write home about either…so all in all, for the cost of the model, you are better getting a few heralds or another Daemonette unit (gotta love those cheap units!).

DaemonsofSlaanesh2

So thats it everyone. I’m halfway through my exploration of the Chaos Daemons Codex.

Next week  I move onto the Khorne, the Lord of Skulls and very bad hangovers. Before that though, I’ll be giving a few examples of lists you can make for Mono Slaanesh armies.

See you soon!

Firestorm games have most of the Slaanesh range for sale on their site- all at a minimum of 10% off.

*For being a Monstrous Creature.

Short Daemon Tactica: Fiends of Slaanesh

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Whilst hardly the toughest of units, for a mono Slaanesh army, this is now your linebreaker, capable of delivering a knockout blow to your opponents forces if played right. All wrapped up in one, at least to me, ugly package.

Games Workshops ‘fiendishly’ ugly model. I’m so funny.

Swift and deadly

Coming in at 105 points basic for 3  Fiends, the unit does seem like a big initial investment. But when the unit has 9 wounds between them, its not too bad of a thing. What’s better is the Strength 4 the unit comes with, meaning that any non rending wounds will have a better effect on enemy units than the average  Strength 3 of most Slanneshi models.

The key part of this though is the delivery system. Being Beasts, Fiends can move 12″ and aren’t slowed by terrain in the slightest. Add a D6+ 3 run move and a 3D6 charge range (which can be re-rolled thanks to Fleet)  and they will be competing with Seekers of Slannesh as the fastest models in your army.

Its something I’m tempted to use as a one two punch, letting the main army advance up the board, whilst Seekers and Fiends  go up the flanks, confident they can keep up. That, or send them ahead as advance scouts, to wreak havoc on the enemy lines, confident they can keep them busy whilst the rest of your army (which won’t be far behind) catches up.

Fiends of Slannesh conversion by DrunkenBoxer on Dakka Dakka

Dazed and Confused

I haven’t even gotten to the best part of them yet either. Though a little reliant on the right circumstances, unless your opponent is Initiative 6 or better, even if charging a unit in cover you will be striking, at the very least, simultaneously, thanks to  Soporific Musk.

A unique special rule that means that any unit charged by Fiends will strike at -5 Initiative in combat. Its perfect for ganging up on one unit, as this will affect the entire combat, meaning that friendly units will also get its benefit.

I’ve even seen a somewhat sneaky interpretation of their rule too. As any unit reduced to Initiative 0 cannot attack that turn, most units will be unable to strike back in the first turn you charge them, which is a great is a great way to demolish a large number of the games best assault units. I wouldn’t use the tactic myself, but its something you can perhaps exercise when playing a very competitive person.

Slannesshi artwork from the Daemons Codex

So there you have it- a unit with a trick in its tail, Fiends of Slannesh are a great way of adding versatility to a force. Though a little squishy compared to the other gods’ elite units, they do enough to justify their inclusion in any Slannesshi force. The only problem for me is finding an alternative model!

Fiends of Slannesh are available exclusively from Games Workshop for £15.50

Short Daemon Tactica: Daemonettes

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Where else to start with Slaaneshi Daemons but their most iconic unit? Nimble and deadly, these beautiful horrors can cut a swathe through an army without even breaking a sweat. That’s if they can get there first though.

Graceful yet Deadly.

I really love Daemonettes. These fast but very effective killers are probably the armies best troops unit, due to just how good they are in the assault phase. Coming with Weapon Skill 5, Initiative 5 ,two attacks and rending for just 9 points a model really is a steal, when you consider how all of their downsides (poor save, low leadership, low toughness) tend to be shared with the other troop choices of the army.

Now by themselves they are a pretty effective troops killer – I find it hard to believe that anything that has Toughness 3 will have much of a chance of standing up to them, or running away from their either. Attack +3″ to the units run move, that can then be re-rolled thanks to Fleet is something not to be underestimated and it means units will positively fly up the table.

I’ve seen games where players have managed to pull off a two wave effect, with a few units deep striking in to cause havoc, leaving an opponent to decide if they need to deal with the units about to assault them this turn, of the units that will assault them the next one. It’s a great psychological tactic and one that’s only so effective due to how fast the unit can move.

Metal Daemonette models, painted by Redbeard of Dakka Dakka.

Excess or restraint?

Now I recommend taking them in large numbers, or else having lots of small units. First of all, their base cost is so good, it would be a waste not to – a unit of 20 with a champion and a banner is just over 200 points, which is a steal.  Secondly, with only T3 and a 5+ Invulnerable Save, you will be losing a fair few models before you get to combat, so its best you either split an opponents fire with multiple small units, or have large units able to soak up that firepower.

As with Plaguebearers, I recommend the ‘less is more’ trend for what to give your Alluress. A single Lesser Reward roll is all you will usually need to give her some extra combat kick, if you even decide to get one at all due to the unit being so great at combat to start with. I suppose it may be useful to draw any hard-hitting characters into a challenge, where they will be denied inflicting damage on the unit for a turn- more often than not there’s a good chance you may be striking at the same time due to the champions great Initiative stat!

Now whilst their base stats are nothing to be sniffed at, to reach their full potential of nightmare inducing hellions, they need the addition of a Herald.

Converted Daemonettes and Fiends, by isotope99 of Warseer.

Masters of pain.

Where to start? Shall I lead with the amazing stats, the Locuses that give them so much flexibility, a pretty great set of psychic powers, or that all of this is available for 45 points base?!

Okay, okay, I’ll calm down. Exciting as all of the options you have for your Herald of Slaanesh, it’s also the main weakness of them, as you can easily find yourself adding more and more rewards until have a 150+ points monster…that still has only Toughness 3 and a 5+ save.

So its finding the best way to compliment the unit you are adding the Herald to and deciding what role you want the model to fulfil and sticking to it rigidly. For me, that means you should probably stay clear of the Psychic powers as they will slow down the unit and focus on having the Locus.

The Games Workshop Herald of Slaanesh model.

Again, theres no clear winner here, but if you want a cheap unit upgrade that helps with them getting to combat, you can’t go wrong with the Lesser Locus of Grace. Giving the unit they join Move Through Cover, means terrain is no longer a hindrance and you can safely shelter behind it, knowing that next turn you can comfortable walk through it and assault the following turn. The Greater Locus of Swiftness isn’t as useful because of their natural Initiative 5 (Initiative 7 for the Herald), but then if you feel like being able to strike in combat before almost everything else in the game, you couldn’t go worse than this.

Now onto the last Locus, the Exalted Locus of Beguilment. This is a good one, letting you choose your challenge opponents (which cannot be refused) and giving the Herald and the unit it joins re-rolls to hit in combat. It’s probably the best of the lot, but coming in at two thirds of the base cost of the Herald, it’s only worth taking if you have a large unit, to spread the cost of the upgrade out.

In the end, if you are thinking of taking a Mono Slaanesh army, well you lucked out with one of the best troop choices in the game.

If you can avoid cover as the unit have no grenades, a full unit of Deamonettes should have very little to fear except excessive firepower. I’ve seen these lovelys kill everything from Greater Daemons to those pesky Storm Shield Terminators. No go forth and enjoy!

Daemonettes are available from Firestorm Games, for only £16.20

Short Daemon Tactica: Beasts of Nurgle

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My continuing look at Codex Daemons focuses on Beasts of Nurgle. A mass of contradictory special rules, how on earth can you use this very odd unit? Truth is, I’m not exactly sure myself.

The current Games Workshop model. Not brilliant in my opinion.

So let’s get into this. What makes Beasts of Nurgle such a hard choice to justify is how they almost seem to fulfill the same role as Plague Drones, yet do it far less elegantly. Being cavalry does give them some advantages, and compared to most of your force they will seem to dash across the board in the blink of an eye. By other armies standards though, that’s still a little on the slow side.

It also seems counter productive for them to have that speed when you consider their special rule Attention Seeker, which allows them an out of turn sequence activation to charge any enemy unit that has charged one of your own within 12″. It’s a nifty little rule that will allow for some much-needed line defence of your force, which otherwise may occupy units with more important tasks like  Plague Drones or Greater Daemons.

Combine this with the It Will Not Die special rule and 4 wounds and you have the potential be a thorn in a units side due to them being immune to instant death from anything but Strength 10 weaponry and, sadly, force weapons. But then why the speed that will move them out ahead of the rest of the force? I can only assume its to help positioning and maybe if you want to use them as a flanking unit to your main battle force, slipping around to catch opponents squads in lovely no retreat scenarios.

The original Shaggoth like model, painted by Utan on Dakka Dakka

But then you take a look at the cost and well… a single Beast of Nurgle is not worth more than a Plague Drone. Not at all. Especially as they have no upgrades, what you are left with is a big lumbering beast that can take a hit whilst dishing out a random number of poisoned attacks. At least its D6+1, but even then, spending over 450 points for a full squad and a bad dice roll giving you only 18  poisoned attacks…well its not great. So what can you use Beasts of Nurgle for then?

Distraction and delays mostly, along with some defensive play.

A Beasts of Nurgle converted from Reaper purple worms by deathsalvo. Amazing!

Using the speed of the unit, you can race ahead of the main force, or else Deep Strike in and distract an opponents firepower for a turn or two. Either way, there’s a good chance you will survive most shooting short of a Railgun or Demolisher shell (and if your opponent is using them on you, it’s win win for the rest of your force), panicking your opponent. No-one wants a unit that can’t be easily killed holding up their key combat units or assaulting a firebase. Even if they don’t do much, they should comfortably be able to hold up terminators for a few turns, neutering their effectiveness, or else taking down a low initiative Monstrous Creature or two.

If at all possible, you could even Deep Strike behind or into cover, which will increase your existing cover save provided by Shrouded, all ready for a next turn assault to add to an opponents woe even more! 

Then there’s the idea that you can use them to just support your line, acting as a deterrent against enemy units assaulting yours units. You will get defensive grenades anyway regardless due to Slime Trail, so even if an opponent then counter charges the Beasts of Nurgle, they won’t get any bonuses for charging, taking the bite out of many assault units.

Still, it’s really hard to recommend Beasts of Nurgle, especially as you can spend the points on things like Plague Drones or Daemon Princes instead. Perhaps proxy them first and see if you can find a role for them in your force.

In the end, their Attacks characteristic sums them up all too well. On a good turn, a full squad can munch through anything (64 poisoned attacks at turn!) whilst being a great road block to your opponent. On a bad day, it’s just a 450 point lump you throw at your opponent so they can’t get to the good stuff.

So that’s it for my exploration of Nurgle units! Next week I will be talking Mono Nurgle Lists and Tactics. The week after that it will be Slannesh – just in time for New Year!

Beasts of Nurgle currently aren’t available even from Games Workshop! Go ebay the lovely old models instead.

Short Daemon Tactica: Nurgle Characters

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As its the Christmas season, lets catch up with those characters in a Daemon army that are just like a cuddly Santa Claus. Except for the decay and pestilence. Nurgle’s made that his own.

A festive Greater Daemon of Nurgle in the GW Battle Bunker in Maryland, USA

Great Unclean One: Greater Daemon of Nurgle

So, what else needs to be said? One of the most powerful units of the entire game and one of the toughest too, his only downside is that he’s hampered by being Slow and Purposeful. However, a lack of wings means he does come in considerably cheaper than other greater demons, and when you consider he can Deep  Strike…well there’s very little reason not to, unless you plan on using his bulk to intimidate an opponent as he waddles up the battlefield.

His other great advantage is Psychic Powers. Whilst it is tempting to spend all your points on Daemonic Reward rolls, as all Nurgle Psycher’s have access to Biomancy, you could end up having a pretty much unstoppable model with a few luck rolls. Toughness 10, Strength 9 (all the better for those poison re-rolls against other Monstrous Creatures), 8 Attacks, Initiative 7 and Feel No Pain! All for under the base starting cost of a Bloodthirster!

Again, he’s a slow model, so depending on what Psychic Powers you roll, he may just be useful as a line-breaker for the the rest of your forces, creeping slowly on but almost impossible to put down. In the end, he’s so versatile I can’t imagine not taking him in games over 1500 points. 200-300 points is an investment, and if you want a faster but more fragile option its better to stick with a Daemon Prince, but I’m pretty sure the models is capable of earning the investment back. Even if its just to keep the rest of your force alive long enough to get close enough for combat. It’s a purchase that’s pretty much mandatory.

Greater Daemon Character: Ku’Gath Plaguefather

This guy though, I’m not too convinced on. He’s a little too pricey for what is being offered in his special rules. Overall, whilst he is cheaper and has some stat increases over a basic Great Unclean One, the general downgrading of his abilities (and him being merely a level 1 Psyker) means that for 260 points, he’s probably not worth it unless you are dead set on a theme that includes him. In almost all respects, even with his ranged weapon, the basic Great Unclean One is better. That Ku’Gath doesn’t have his own model yet just seals the deal for me.

Daemon Princes of Nurgle

Daemon Prince model by Forgeworld

Now, onto the last big scary beastie you can field in a mono Nurgle force. Along with Heralds, Daemon Princes are probably one of the most customizable units in the entire list. With the wings he can be given, it’s tempting to just zoom him up the board casting psychic powers before leaping into combat. This does leave him pretty vulnerable and a priority target, but I’m convinced that if advanced in concert with some Plague Drones or a few Deep Striking units, well, your opponent will have a much harder time deciding what he needs to take care of first.

As, if he takes wings, he becomes one of the most manoeuvrable units in your army, I would be tempted to give him an roll on the Exalted Rewards table. He’s a big enough being to not need a special close combat weapon, and the Exalted Rewards table gives him access to Hellforged Artefacts, with the very tempting PortalGlyph or Eternal Blade. It comes down to preference, but I quite like the ability to get an extra small unit of Plaguebearers a turn for free.

Otherwise, without wings (or with them for that matter) grab the armour upgrade, as a 3+ save will go a long way towards keeping him safe from small arms fire like bolters when combined with Shrouded and an Invulnerable Save. Whatever your choice, he will be pricey, which means that that unless you making an army of mostly Monstrous Creatures or having a game at 2000 points or above, you really only have room for him or a Great Unclean One, not both.

Herald of Nurgle

Games Workshops Champion of Nurgle, as painted by Mengel Miniatures

My choice of go to guys for a Nurgle list, Heralds are the workhorse characters, accomplishing things that their Monstrous Creature counterparts couldn’t dream of. Versatile, cheap and deployed in 4s as a single HQ slot. I’ve already covered most of their uses in an earlier piece I wrote. To avoid repeating myself, it’s best I just link you to it here.

It is worth noting in addition though, that unlike the other gods Heralds, the ‘mount’ (does it even count as that?) that Heralds can take doesn’t really add much in the way of movement or added value, so they are best off staying in Plaguebearer units where they can be best utilized.

Herald Character: Epidermis

A sort of ‘Super Herald’ this character was a lot of players model of choice in the last codex because of just how broken he was and how loose rule wording meant you could end up having apocalypse games where all your Nurgle models (even from other lists that weren’t Chaos Daemons) had Feel no Pain and power weapons that wounded on a 2+. The models rules have been understandably toned down since then, to a 12″ radius with very reduced bonuses. In the end though, it means that now he’s not broken, and he’s not worth taking really!

Costing about 2 and a half times the cost of a normal Herald may have been excusable when he had the abilities to match, but now he’s very much a situational character, dependent on getting the kills in and being able to get close enough to the enemy for the effects to be useful.

Perhaps worth taking him in fun lists, as your opponent still won’t like it when his Hive Tyrant gets taken down by Nurglings if he’s at full steam. But his lack of mobility means that your opponent, if he’s careful, will be able to just engage units in combat outside of Epidermis’s 12″ range, negating any advantages.

Nurgle forces are slow enough as it is- the last thing you want is to be clumping up so you can be destroyed by blast weaponry.

So that’s it for my exploration of Nurgle units! Next week I will be talking Mono Nurgle Lists and Tactics. The week after that it will be Slannesh – just in time for New Year!

Firestorm games have most of the Nurgle range for sale on their site- all at a minimum of 10% off.

Short Daemons Tactica: Plaguebearers

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As my (not so) short tactica series rolls on, I’m taking some time out to wrap my head around how best to use Daemon units in 40k. Now that it’s finally possible to field mono god lists now that every god has units for each slot of the Force Organisation chart, certain armies are viable where as before they were not.

As I’ve always been a fan of Nurgle, but have never really found Nurgle aligned daemon units to be great in anything but a defensive position, it seems the best place to start. After that I shall move onto other gods and their units, followed by the concept of having multiple god units in one list. But not Tzeentch. That guy is weird.

So where else is best to start but the humble Plaguebearer? Having slightly average stats with the only standouts being Strength and Toughness 4, the cost of the unit is slightly offset by having a Plaguesword, which lets the unit wound anything on, at worst, a 4+ and glancing vehicles on rolls of 6s’.

Plaguebearers, painted by Moon Dog Studios.

But still, with only 1 attack and as Plagueswords have no AP, everything points to them being defensive in usage really and being able to be swept away by even average combat units like Assault Marines. They certainly won’t be killing things from afar, unless you count being ugly as a ranged attack.

The Plague Waxes…

So how to buff them up, or is there even a need? The unit on its own is never going to be great at what it does due to its very limited additional options. But use that to your advantage. Bulk up on extra bodies to overwhelm your opponent and absorb incoming blows. Take a Plagueridden and spend the 10 points needed to surprise your opponent with some AP2 master crafted close combat attacks. Take that icon for +1 to your combat score. All in all, just over 200ish points will net you 20 Plaguebearers, the afore-mentioned champion with his stabby sword of death and a banner. But it can only do so much, which I when we need to start turning to outside forces.

Converted Plaguebearers by Valhallan42nd

We’ve two options in this case, a Demonic Herald of Nurgle and Epidermis. Epidermis is pricey and his sphere of influence has been reduced since the last codex, which makes me somewhat reluctant to recommend him. Regardless though, if you can get the kills in, you suddenly have a few units with lots of extra attacks that would everything on a 2+.

This leaves the Herald of Nurgle, as last time I checked, Monstrous Creatures can’t join Infantry units. Which is just as well, as a Herald can give you a great deal more flexibility that you may expect. For a start, he can start adding the attacks in with Locus of Contagion, which gives extra Strength 4 hits on rolls of 6, or else make them far more survivable against the opponent with the Locus of Fecundity (which I would always plump for regardless of use personally just for the name alone) which gives them Feel No Pain.

Plaguebearer artwork from Games Workshop

As with the unit champion, unless you are hot with your dice, its only ever work investing a few points in your daemonic table rolls for me, as it can help him get a bigger  stick of whacking, but the random nature of the rest always makes me a bit wary of spending too many points . Keep your Heralds cheap and plentiful is my motto, which is why, unless you are forgoing the use of a greater daemon, I tend to skip out on Psychic powers for them. They get pricey fast and the Biomancy powers will be replicating a lot of what you have spent points on via locus’s and deamonic table rolls anyway (or else is redundant as you will be wounding most things on a 4+ or better). The Nurgle powers are pretty good, but again, are a bit reliant on circumstance and being close enough to the enemy without them charging you first. With Slow and Purposeful, that’s always a gamble and its their biggest weakness as potent combat unit.

Still, if you can get a large unit and can get a few enemy units too engage them whilst Miasma of Pestulance is cast, well, its time to have some fun. Most Nurgle units may even go first in combat for once!

..And It Wains

Now lets move onto probably is the best use of Plaguebearers, which is that of a support unit. Like Dark Eldar Wracks, these guys are begging to be hunkered down in cover, especially as they come with Shrouded as standard. If you want to stick a Herald on them with Locus of Fecundity, then all the better! In this scenario, Plaguebearers, as well as being objective claimers, act as ways of getting your more devastating units onto the board without a scratch on them. In a mono Nurgle force, this means pretty much every single unit bar Nurglings.Take a banner and an instrument to help with getting units onto the board fast and hug that cover! With Toughness 4, Feel No Pain and a cover save on them, they should be pretty hard to kill unless significant time is spent on killing them.

At the end of the day you are Slow and Purposeful anyway, so it’s not as if you will be needing to rush up the board. Perhaps Deep Strike a few more units up the board if you feel adventurous for extra pull. The Nurgle psychic powers will start coming into their own too, as you can be counting on units coming to them rather than the other way around.

In the end, Plaguebearers can be used offensively in a pinch, but all the points spent on them would be better equipping them to play a little more conservatively, whilst your more hard-hitting units do the work of killing things. A units of 20 is still nothing to be sniffed at though, and in games in excess of 2000 points, its worth having at least one to counter attack units that get too close to anything important.

You can get Plaguebearers from Firestorm Games, priced £16.20.