Warriors of Chaos - Tactics, Unit Overview, Codex Review
So, as of yesterday, the new codex dropped. As the warriors are one of my main fantasy armies, I figured I would write a guide for them that would expand slightly past going over every unit and its tactical uses - as this is a new book and I want to also somewhat turn this into a guide to help new players pick up the army or help old players adapt.
Having said that, before we get started, I am not huge on fluff,so I will not be hugely dwelling on that or GWs prices or whether a model looks nice or not.
So, this concludes my intro post, and I will start by going over the focus of chaos. If you are a chaos veteran, you can probably skip it, but it might be nice for a refrsher and will only take a minute or two to read.
Focus of the Army and the New Book
In the new book, the focus of the army changed somewhat, yet was solidified in other areas. Warriors of chaos have always been a predominately close combat army. They don't really have any shooting and while previously their magic was strong, it wasn't the focus of the army. In 8th edition, with the powerful book lores and emergence of new casters as a result (slaan, book archmages, teclis) warriors moved even further down the magic scale. Now, they still had powerful options (vilitch, infernal puppet) but they didn't match those of other armies.
But enough about what chaos used to be about. What is it about now? The first thing is randomness. Just like the recent chaos space marine codex, which featured a lot of randomess (tables, psychic powers, daemon weapons, possessed, etc) this book features a lot. As it is chaos, it should. Forsaken, which are now a troops choice, roll a d6 every turn and get an either beneficial or detrimental result that will affect them in combat. Every time a character kills a character or meets another criterion, or a warshrine spell is cast, you roll on the eye of the gods table and get a random benefit. Things like mutalith vortes beasts have bound spells with random affects. Some monsters have random attacks. Spawn have random attacks and movement. Giants and hellcannons are random. The lore of tzeentch is amazingly indefinite - the lore attribute, the spells, the spell's rules - none of these are even close to set in stone.
I am usually not a proponent of randomness in a game that is already almost totally determined by the die. But the randomess here is usually good random, not eat yourself random. Plus, you are playing chaos, so clearly randomness is a draw.
Monsters are now a theme. With 2 monstrous infantry units, 2 monstrous beasts, 6 monsters, and a monstrous cavalry unit (not counting lords/heroes) we can create monster mash that the tomb kings can only salivate at. There are mostly combat oriented monsters, but some have other roles.
Combat is still the warriors of chaos main phase. We have what is definitely a stronger magic presence, but you can't rely on magic. Warriors of Chaos, our mainstay core unit, are capable of beating most non elven elites and any core unit out there. Elite units like the slaughterbrute, chimera, skullchrushers and trolls are even killier and more survivable.
Magic. With the book lore prices adjusted for 8th edition, be prepared to not cast everything on 2 or 3 dice now. That said, most everything (save gateway) got much more devastating. I won't get into spell reviews here, but let's say that as of now I am thinking nurgle might be the spellcaster god.
So there is the focus of the warriors of chaos book, and it's strengths. Next I will put up some of the units which made a good impression and those that didn't, but the detailed unit overview will come later.
Before I go over the good/bad/ugly, I would like to point out a few major changes.
1. Marks are bought on a per model basis. This makes your squds of 5 knights less expensive and your squads of 40 marauders more expensive.
2. The will of chaos is gone. It is totally gone, and there is nothing to replace it - so if anything a BSB is even more on a necessity now.
3. Weapons and other options are generally more expensive - which can make up for the cost of what looks like a cheap unit.
So, units that will star in the upcoming book:
1. Chaos Warriors
These guys got a point cheaper. But like I said above in point number 3, they probably didn't get cheaper. Their weapon got more expensive and so did the marks if you take more then 10-15. But, because the other core got more expensive or is just not combat capable - and because these guys are just so tough - expect to be seeing warriors. Probably some unmarked.
2. Chaos Trolls
I have a soft spot for trolls. In the old book I liked them. In the new book they lost mutant regeneration (throgg still has it though) but they are a whopping 10 points cheaper, with the option to get 4 attacks with a cheap extra hand weapon or become core if throgg is taken. Vomit is no longer magical, but is still good against heavy cavalry and the like.
With the splash the new monster models are making, we might be ignoring the chimera, and boy is that a mistake. He is essentially a slightly more expensive hydra that flies. He gets more attacks then him at a higher strength as well. This guy will be great for taking out warmahcines and the like, but will be eating some units too. He does have a low LD though, so keep him near your general.
4. Vortex Beast
So while the model might not be worth $85, it is worth something. This guy is gold. The bound spell goes from good to gooder to goodest and he is no slouch in combat either with 2d6+2 attacks. Pretty durable as well. He is a threat that has to be dealt with - because if he gets off a transforming tide or a spawnchange you can destroy a battleline.
Still liking these guys. So while they changed significantly (losing 1 point of toughness, gaining 1 wound, getting more expensive) they ultimately got better. Murderous charge and cheaper lances gave them 6 s6 attacks each on the charge. If you go with ensorcelled weapons you will have your power balanced over more rounds, for a marginally higher price.
The models are expensive, I think somewhat ugly, and the rules are bad. They are a core choice, but warriors are cheaper, more reliable and stronger. So I don't think these guys will be taken.
They probably win most downgraded unit in the book. Their base cost was increased by 150%, their weapon options were made more expensive and their marks are on a per model basis run you a lotta points for a horde. A unit of 40 with flails and the MoK used to be 230 points. Now it costs 400. Still just as effective, just much more expensive.
Still random, still bad. I see no reason to ever take the generic spawn. I don't even think I need to go into more detail then that.
There are some other units which I currently think may be subpar, but I won't write them off until I play with them and review them in more depth.
Basic, Bookwide Stuff
So I am going to go over some bookwide changes to rules, marks, and things that will effect everyone. Starting with the marks or chaos.
Mark of Khorne - Gives Frenzy, the same as before. Good for making hitty units hittier. Hammers or shock units should probably take this mark or another one later down the list.
Mark of Tzeentch - Gives +1 to ward saves, and since ward saves are stackable with parry saves, all troops with shields get a nice 5+ ward in combat. Doesn't give bonuses to casting anymore though. However, they can reroll channeling rolls of one - giving them an additional whopping 2.8ish% chance of channeling.
Mark of Nurgle - Now is better. Does nothing at range, but enemy models are at a straight up -1 to hit in combat, not -1 WS. Combined with Miasma, some other spells and a warrior's base WS of 5 and you can have most things hitting them on a 6.
Mark of Slaanesh - Makes a unit immune to fear, terror, and panic. Got much better by virtue of will of chaos dissapearing and thins mark being half the price of the others. If you have a shock unit with enough power, consider giving them this mark so they make those important chargesat their real WS, and never run away when, say, a unit of hounds get destroyed.
One more thing about marks. They are now like they are in 40k - a character with a mark can only join a unit with that mark, or an unmarked unit or vice versa. Also, 2 characters with different marks can not join the same unmarked unit.
excellent to see this sort of detail. Monster army is looking good then... keen to see what you have to say about chariots too. Im wanting either troll or chariot core for a themed army.
Thanks charandris. Thanks to step up and steadfast, along with the horde rule and a few other things, full on monster mash will never be top tier. But looking at this I am thinking you can throw a monster or 3 into a good list and have it still be good. If you chose good monsters that support the list then better. As for chariots, I don't really like them as I see them as one hit wonders (but it is preference). It is totally plausible to do a chariot army. The charioteers+steeds/gorebeasts hit hard, and the chariots are very durable and cheap. Actually, taking a good look at the core chariot, I am beginning to think it might be a jewel in the rough. As for throgg armies, still good I'd say.
Now onto magic items overview - I'm starting to get into the actual tactica. Next will be an overview of the lores, individual spells, and how the generic lores work with us.
1. Hellfire Sword - 3/10
Looks like they still haven't learned their lesson. d3 wounds is nice, but since most everyone and their mother packs the dragonhelm into a list, the flaming attacks is as much an advantage as it is a drawback. Ideally, he will need a decent ward save so he doesn't die from the sword's feedback. The sword hitting the unit is nice, but ideally he should be hunting ogres or trolls, and even with d3 wounds won't be able to kill too too many. I say give it a pass in this book once again. The hefty 11 marauder price tag doesn't help it either.
2. Sword of Change - 1/10
God no. I shouldn't even need to explain myself on this one. It has no benefit unit you kill a character, then there is a 50% chance of getting a nice spawn. Sorry, I meant a crappy spawn.
3. Filth Mace - 2/10
Once again not good, not terrible either, but outshone by other weapons and magic items, like the next one I am about to review. Poisoned is nice, and terror won't be hard to get at all, but it only triggers after a combat. You have a 1/6 chance of getting off d3 wounds, unless you have festus and a nurgle spell, in which case it is 1/2. But that is magic and a character (a lot of points) to make a sub par item simply decent. By the way - only nurgle models can take this item.
4. Helm of Many Eyes - 8/10
Yes. Here we go. This thing rocks. +1 to your armour save is nice. ASF is awesome. The cheap cost is awesone. Stupidity isn't great, but my fighter is usually a BSB, and I trust rerollable LD 8. Stacks with scaled skin, hands down the best item gift in the book, and the dawnstone to give a unit a 1+ rerollable armour save without a shield or mount at prices a hero can take. Halberd for hittiness too.
5. Skull of Katam - 5/10
So for just 15 points you get to channel on 6 die? There has to be a catch right? Well of course there is a catch - if you roll a one to channel you get -1 to your LD permanently (and no - the tzeentch channeling reroll doesn't work with this). In addition if you ever make it to LD 0 you are removed as a casualty. This isn't great great, but is good - it will on average channel you one die and get you -1 LD. Of couse, in phases when you are out of range you can just choose not to consult it. But helps with the magic phase, even if it isn't as good as say the power familiar of old.
6. Chalice of Chaos - 1/10
This thing sucks. Like all things chaos, it is random. It is one use only and has a 2/3 chance of getting your imbiber a decent benefit until the end of turn - and there is a chance he will already have one of those. It has a 1/6 chance of giving you a wound with no saves allowed, which will knock you off pretty quick. You also have a chance 1/6 chance in getting a permanent leadership raise or being transformed into a daemon prince. If there was an item that gave an enemy character a 1/6 chance of just taking a wound, it would be decent. What does that tell you?
7. Pendant of Slaanesh - 5/10
Here is something that isn't great but makes me want to play slaanesh. It isn't great but I can see you easily putting this on a hero or a lord mage. You take your (unit's if you are in one) break test on one less die. That, right there, is amazing, but the book points out you can't get insane courage with this, which hurts a little. You get +1 attack for each wound you take, which isn't too helpful for 2 wound hero models without the lore of nurgle helping them out. But if you are doing slaannesh, this would make a good anvil unit - but don't throw it up against a horde of white lions because of its clause.
8. Blasted Standard - 7/10
Then right away I want to go back to playing tzeentch. This banner got much better then its old form - now it halves the strength of any incoming shooting weapon. It doesn't say whether it is rounded up or rounded down, but that won't make too much of a difference. On tzeentch warriors, bows and the like: s3-s1 or s2, and crossbows and the like: s4 - s2 will both need 6s to wound and only the armour piercing on the gun will make any difference. Of course, there is a catch - on a roll of a one (you roll a d6 befor every attack) the strength is doubled instead. Still worth it I say. You will even get a save against cannonballs.
9. Banner of Rage - 2/10
And this old banner dissapoints me. It only goes on khrone models/units and makes it so that they never lose their frenzy. Because that unit of khorne halbred warriors loses combat sooo much. Oh wait, it doesn't. There is a chance you will lose combats against super killy/super expensive units (once again, say lots of swordmasters/white lions or any midrazored dark/high elf). You might lose aginst some huge ranked up unit, but in that case you will be stuck in combat for a while and won't need 6 or so extra attacks. Pass.
That wraps up equipment. I will do all of those magic gifts later.
I like this list so far. I am looking forward to seeing if you are going to do an indepth on the validity of mono God armies at any point. Especially since I am planning my first Warroprs of Caos army and fancy a mono tzeentch theme (my favourite of the pantheon) however there are a couple of points I would like to make about it.
1. I think some units you like are not what I would pick. For example I do not like the Slughterbrute at all. Mainly because I think the statline is less than impressive from what the fluff tells us and because a lucky cannonball shot into its masters face and it becomes next to useless.
2. I don't think Spawn are useless. Spawn are useful as great, cheap roadblocks. True they do not hit that hard but being unbreakable, having T5 and 3 wounds as well as hcing a rather narrow frontage that if positioned right you can only face it off against 3 enemy models which increases its survival all for a meagre 50 point fee. It sounds great as a roadblock whilst you manouvre more powerful units ready to take out the unit as it kills the Spawn off. Then again this looks good on paper so I don't kow how it looks on the battlefield.
3. The Pendant of Slaanesh I reckon can be combined with another useful trinket in the mutations to make it more powerful. Since you gain the extra attacks when you take wounds then if you combine it with the soul feeder mutation on a Chaos Lord you could quite easily regain the lost wounds in the first place.
4. The Chalice is a great one-trick pony. I might get it simply because the thing is 10 points. If I had a character with a few points to spare I would consider this item just because you never know if there is the chance for a possible Daemon Prince. I might take this on a Sorceror since if I get the right results this will hurt my opponent a lot. If not then I will have to be careful with said Sorceror for the rest of the match.
The Slaughterbrute is not good, but as Divine said way back the Vortex beast is. The regeneration save helps a lot and it has access to a ranged potentially deadly magic attack
The problem with spawn is supporting attacks and step-up.. The Firewyrm of Tzeentch (spawn with MoT) may be worth it but they die very easily to any unit, and they don't deny stead fast if they hit in flank. I would never pay points for them, but they are good if you can make them from magic
Agree the chalice may be worth it, simply because it is cheap, but its a definite meh overall, As far as magic items generally the daemonic gifts are far more useful
-Damn stephen beat me to it
A nice combo for the pendant is to give a lord level character the soul feeder (Is that what its called?) mutation. Sure its only a 6+, but considering the 2-3+ armor and T5 and 5+A you should be able to safely increase your attack profile by 1-3 by the end of the game.
@Luke - True. We are having a blood in the badlands tournament right now in my store, and my (newly revised due to new book) chaos lord had a few different item combinations.
1st was Sword of Bloodshed, Helm of Many Eyes, Soul Feeder, Scaled Skin, Mark of Slaanesh, Pendant of Slaanesh. Thanks to 50 magic item points from my mines, of course.
But legally, I could see +2 attacks sword and the pendant, or EHW/Halberd and pendant + helm of many eyes + Scaled skin + Dawnstone + Soul feeder being good on a slaanesh lord.
@Stephen - Most armies have no trouble dealing with a spawn. If you are fighting 20mm base enemies then 4 will be in base contact. Assume one is a hero or a champion.... You'll be fine if they are s3, but they only need 3 lucky 6s. Anything with strength boosting gear or base s4 won't have too much trouble, plus you never know if your spawn will make it in the first place.
I think the only place I mentioned the slaughterbrute was in my monster mash army blurb. He isn't great, not great at all but cannons are a hard counter to every monster in the game - but plenty are decent if not overpowered. Put him behind a troll screen if you are having problems.
The daemon prince is great, but you have a 1/6 chance of getting it before you take your LD test. Plus a daemon prince and chaos lord with the exact same stuff aren't much different. I won't pay for randomness when some of it is bad, most of it is subpar, and most isn't good for a sorcerer anyway.
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