So I will begin reviewing the chaos rewards. Note that there are more, so it will probably take a few posts and likely more then one or two sittings.
1. Daemonblade - 4/10
So this is not great. Here is what it does - replaces your attacks with the random attacks (d6+3) rule. First off, it is bad on lords because for 10 more points you could get a straight up 8 attacks, instead of d6+3. The previous is much much better. You will need to spend you magic items allowance on protective gear, however, as for every roll of one to hit with a daemon weapon, you hit yourself and no you can't reroll a roll of 1 to hit. Of course, if it could go on a hero it would be good, but alas it cannot. It doesn't come out of your magic items points allowance, which is good, but it does count as a magic weapon.
2. Collar of Khorne - 5/10
Costs enough points to make it lord only, and since it is khorne only it doesn't work on sorcerers. If it did, it would have gotten a higher rating. The character with this gets MR (3). This is nice, and gives khorne some magic protection. Unfortunately, it cannot combine with the blasted standard (different marks) to make a unit nearly invulnerable at range.
3. Unholy Strike - 1/10
So you exchange all of your attacks to make one at double your strength that does d3 wounds. This thing just sucks. First off, it is expensive enough to only be a lord. Secondoff, if you want to go monster hunting give the lord a hellfire sword or use chimeras. Thirdly, if you want to kill a character, your tooled up chaos lord should have no problem with it. I mean he is seriously awesome, with 150 points of gear he is extremely so.
4. Flaming Breath - 5/10
Another one that is decent. Getting an s4 flaming breath weapon is nothing to be scoffed at. If it was 5 points cheaper and a hero could take it, then it would be great. This leaves enough points for some other good gifts and will either bump up a cc phase significantly or will put the hurt on the enemy even if you fail your charge.
5. Chaos Familiar - 6/10 for heroes, 4/10 for lords
The character gets +1 to all his channeling attempts. He also gets an extra spell. In addition, it is cheap enough for a hero to take. Unfortunately, it is classified as an arcane item, otherwise it would be awesome coupled with the skull of katam. Great to get a hero sorc with 3 spells, and, who knows, maybe your tzeentch sorcerer will get an extra dice every phase.
6. Scaled Skin - 8/10
This is probably the best chaos gift that we can take. One of the things that makes it so great is that 1. it is cheap enough to go on anyone 2. doesn't need specific item combos to make it good/better or worthwhile (like the third eye or soul feeder) and 3. can be taken on sorcerers to get them a cheap 2+ save without using up magic armour slots. Coupled with shields and dawnstones you can get a 1+ on heros (even sorcerers) and stil have the points to go really killy or casty on lords. This is one that just jumed out at me and stayed jumped.
7. Allure of Slaanesh - 4/10
Enemy models need to take a LD test to hit at you in close combat. In an army like the Vampire counts, who are great at leadership bombing, this would be one of those hallelujah items that you never left home without. Here, not so much. However, one slaanesh spell, phantasmagoria, would make this better - it makes an enemy unit lest leadership on 3d6. Couple this with the glittering scales and fencer's blades to get an unhittable lord. Doom and darkness from death will help out nicely as well, but then you have 3 characters for one combo.
8. Poisonous Slime - 3/10
Gives you the poisoned attackes rules and a nice ward saves against poisoned attacks. Good against skinks and nurgle daemon armies. But, the poisoned attacks would synergise nicely with Festus's special rules and a few lore of nurgle spells. Having said that, chaos lords and heros - the fighters who would get the benefit of this, have base s5, so no problem wounding, and if you kit them out to have a bunch of attacks to benefit from the poison then, once again, they won't need the poison and should spend the points on protection.
9. Acid Ichor - 1/10
Piece of crap. This is available to 6 wound tyranid MCs and sucks - and is available to 2 and 3 wounds models that are 2 or 3 times the cost. All of a sudden, you get the feeling that it is terrible. Pretty terrible. When you take a wound, doing a wound to the one who wounded you is nice, but it isn't guaranteed (only an s4 ignoring armour hit) and while it can be said that it synergises with the nurgle lore attribute, you only have a 1/6chance of regaining a wound with that.
10. Burning Body - 3/10
Same thing as the poisonous slime - except flaming, not poison. So, it is essentially a poor man's dragonhelm. Because it is a lesser version of the dragonhelm. Giving a character flaming attacks isn't as good as giving a unit flaming attacks - in fact it can be regarded as a drawback because of items like dragon armour, the dragonhelm, and the blackened plate which are taken on characters just to protect against flaming attacks. So I would say pass.
11. Soul Feeder - 7/10
For every unsaved wound the character does in combat, on the roll of a 6 he regains a single wound. It is just like the vampire special power the hunger. A chaos lord with the mark of khorne, sword of bloodshed, helm of many eyes, flaming breath and soul feeder will get one wound back per combat on average, depending on what he fights (hitting first on 3s rerolling, wounding on 2s) and if he uses his breath he will get another one. Nice, reliable way to get back wounds.
12. Third Eye of Tzeentch - 7/10
This can only be taken on model with the MoT, but in all reality that is all it ever would have been taken on. For a paltry half a score points, you can reroll ward saves of 1. Only any good on models with a 3+ ward. If taken on someone with a 4+ ward, you will go from having a 50% chance to make your ward save to a 58.3% chance to make a ward save - and if you have to make 12 ward saves a game (the time that 8.3% will show up) you are probably dead anyway. But if it is taken on a 3+ save model, you go from having a roughly 66.6% chance to save to having a 77.8% chance to make a ward save - which is really good. Almost ridiculously good. Take it if you are getting a 3+ ward save - otherwise don't bother.
13. Nurgle's Rot - 1/10
This one is only for guys with the mark of nurgle. At the beginning of every magic phase, every enemy model in base contact takes an s1 hit with no armour saves allowed. It is ok if you are dropping their toughness with leper or withering, but otherwise is terrible. Also, will only be on contact with one to three models if he isn't in a large base. So it is bad. It is really bad. I won't even list possible tactical applications of it past dropping the tougness of models with nurgle, shadow and death spells because there really aren't any.
14. Hideous Visage - 6/10
For the cheapest that a magic item can be, you can give a character fear. This has a downside - other models will not be able to use his leadership. Not a big downside if put on anything but a chaos lord since most of our characters share leadership with our most common core units - warriors. Fear isn't a huge upside, but it is cheap enough that it can be taken with a lot of other gifts and a fear test thrown in here or there isn't terrible.
So I finally got those finished up. I will overview the lores in a day or to or maybe later tonight.
Actually, I'm under the impression the Chaos Familiar is the best Gift in the book besides Third Eye (which is Tzeentch only and therefore not comparable).
A level 4 sorcerer lord with 5 spells and +1 channeling, yes please.
A level 1 sorcerer hero with 2 spells in a really small game, yes please.
This is one of the items that can be put to good use at everey points range and is quite awesome for its cost.
And to be honest, the only thing I select from the Arcane items in the BRB is the occasional Dispel Scroll.
The latest powerbuild would be the lvl 4 sorcerer lord with MoT, on Disc, causing Fear, Flying, with 5 spells, +1 to channeling and a ward save that is only ever failed on the roll of a natural '2'. All for +/- 400 pts. depending on what else you decide to equip him with.
Well +1 to channelling is really negligable. Average one extra pd per game - and that isn't really impressive. If it could be taken with the skull.....
But last book we had the spell familiar and that was never taken or lord casters. With 4 spells you have enough chance to get what you wan't and you probably can't cast 5 per turn. Plus, the lore of tzeentch isn't doing it for me. It looks bad.
It isn't great for its cost. We could +1 spell for 15 points. It would probably get a 5 or 6 on hero sorcerers. But not for lords.
And who else is calling it the latest powerbuild?
Local meta over here obviously.
In any case, I really liked using the spell familiar on lord level sorceres, giving the lack of Loremaster in the list (except for Vilitch, but he doesnt count).
Oh. Ok. That makes sense.
I can see how it would make a lord level sorcerer more reliable, but I don't really ever want a 5th spell from a lore, except shadow.
So, I know I let this die off for a while, but it takes (me at least, I am sure there are people who are much smarter or who can at least make up their minds quicker) a lot of time to evaluate and playtest units in different situations. Ideally, I'd wait longer, I am that much of a perfectionist, but I know a crapton of people are jumping on the Warriors train following the new book, so I had better finish this up, and by finish this up I mean start the unit overviews.
Beginning with core units. I can't review them all in one post, or all in one day, because of how customizable each unit is and how many roles it can fill. But, of course, I will start of with the iconic chaos warrior.
I don't remember if I said what each mark does yet, so here they are:
Mark of Khorne - Gives frenzy to the unit.
Mark of Tzeentch - Gives +1 to ward saves, stackable with parry, to a maximum of a 3+ ward.
Mark of Nurgle - Wins most improved mark by changing of its own volition. Now enemies are at a straight up -1 to hit, not -1 WS. It has no effect at range, though.
Mark of Slaanesh - Gives immunity to fear, terror, and panic. Is the most improved mark through the fact that will of chaos no longer exists. Is also cheaper then the other marks.
Just a heads-up as well - characters with marks can only be put into units with the same marks or unmarked units. However, 2 characters with 2 different marks cannot join the same unmarked unit. So marks and characters joining units now work like the new CSM book.
Chaos Warriors - 10/10
These guys are every Warriors player's dream come true. They are the anvil and the hammer, they score, they can have 4 marks for more flexibility, and well, for their statline, they are pretty cheap. They dropped a point from the old book but lost the will of chaos, which is a nice trade (and which also made the MoS better).
Every option is now on a per model basis, whereas in the old book marks were bought at one flat price for the unit. Weapons prices did go up, the good ones got (really) expensive, but they are still worth it.
First key to using warriors is knowing what you are doing with them. Pick their role, and them suit them to it. If you want your warriors doing 2 things, then buy a second squad. They are the go-to core unit now, marauders got priced out of overeffectiveness and warriors are much the same as ever. The point is - buy a few units of warriors for your core unless you are doing some sort of themed list.
Second is unit size. While warriors are strong on offense and defense, and have stats that beat literally every other core unit in the game in some areas (either S/T or WS/I or A or LD, and for the majority of core units all of these) they pay for it. Warriors shouldn't be horded and you can't afford huge squads of these expensive littles buggers, and you can never afford to have over two ranks be out of the action (not be in combat). Ever. Ever. 15 is where I would start. At 10 or 12 your unit becomes a nonissue after a little dedicated magic or shooting. At 25 you just paid 500 points for a unit, and a lot of that unit will be doing jack. 18 works, but like I said, keep it to 3 ranks. The only time this rule becomes less clear cut is for an anvil, but I still usually keep mine smaller.
Now, unit setups. For the hammer, I usually build something like this -
18 Warriors, Mark of Khorne, Full Command, Halberds, Banner of Eternal Flame - 397
That is giving you 25 S5 flaming attacks at WS and I 5. Very scary for any unit to face - and they have T4 and a 4+ AS to survive. Now, in a khorne unit, you do not need the champion like you might in units with other marks. Some people would take shields for the +1 to armour save in the way in, but that is personal preferance.
Units marked with khorne are always going to be a hammer - don't use a khorne anvil. The best weapons are halberds - additional hand weapons and great weapons aren't even close. Khorne makes the most efficient hammer, but other hammers can be made, and franzy always carries the risk of baited charges, so be aware (and maybe use a hound screen to make the charges illegal).
As for a typical anvil -
18 Warriors, Mark of Tzeentch, Shields, Full Command, Blasted Standard - 361
Nowhere near the hitting power of the previous unit, but staying power is tremendous - a 3+/5++ in combat, and 3+/6++ outside, with the caveat that most shooting directed at them will be half strength. Nothing will be able to cut through that quickly - it is cavalry like toughness. Shadow is currently the lore I use most (nurgle and slaanesh quite a bit too though) and they will be deadly with mindrazor (like anything), but never count on a spell making a unit good. Even without buffs, these guys are more survivable then most infantry anvils - with a trade-off of lower numbers, and still throw out a respectable 19 S4 WS5 I5 attacks.
Now as I previously stated the Mark of Nurgle got better - got a lot better. Now worth taking and it can make an anvil to rival Tzeentch, and a really powerful unit that can both take and give punishment when paired with Festus.
18 Warriors, Halberds, Command, Mark of Nurgle, Shields - 400
It is 400 points on the button. Shields and hand weapons is an option for some people to make a better anvil, but with nurgle I am looking for a hybrid unit and halberds give it to me. If I use shields, I would still prefer to go tzeentch, but here, you are at a -1 to hit, which means 5s for everything but swordmasters, chosen, and wardancers ands 6s for the undead and some crappy units. Which gives a lot of survivablilty off the bat. Followed up by 19 s5 attacks to the face - this unit will give and take punishment. Then we could add my favorite special hero - Festus. I won't do his whole review here, but suffice it to say that he is very good, and gives whatever unit he is in a 5+ regen save and poisoned attacks - letting this unit rival the tzeentch anvil, and the khorne hammer. I will get into more detail when I go over Festus - but his biggest drawback is gone. He is still semi-easy to kill, but not for a mage.
And for a slaanesh unit, what build do you go for? You won't be as hitty, or as survivable or have the hybrid potential of the other three marks, but you do have reliability - not testing for fear, terror, and panic. (Khorne gives some of these benefits too which largely obsoletes this mark, but it is cheaper, doesn't have frenzy baiting, and has cool magic items and magic that might be worthwhile. I think they point the cannot join units clause in because of this fact, but that is just me pontificating.)
The first is a super anvil - relying on a character with the pendant of slaanesh to turn this unit into one that will never run. You can use it as a home for Sigvald or a mage, but other then that, you just get reliablity, which doesn't necessitate its own build. So do whatever you want with the slaanesh unit (I would personally go with hammer unless you are using the pendant - then go anvil) giving them a loudout you'd give another unit, knowing it will be slightly less effective but more reliable.
That is it for the warriors for today. Quite a long post - my finger need a rest. But other core will follow shortly/eventually/whenever.
Now for marauders and marauder horsemen.
Marauder Horsemen - 7/10
Now unlike warriors, the mandatory core unit that a lot of lists will fill up with, marauder horsemen can't do everything by themselves. However, they are a great warmachine or mage hunter unit, and with the loadout, can hit like a truck- becoming powerful flanking units.
In my opinion, the best way to run them is mark of khorne, flails, and a musician. Fast cavalry always needs a musician, so that is no surprise. But a unit of 5 with khorne and flails will throw out 10 s5 attacks from the guys and 5 s3 attacks from the horses - that is a lot of power for fast cavalry. Obviously, they won't be too survivable with only a 6+ armour, but they hit like chaos knights. You could give them throwing axes if you want ranged power, but rarely will you get to use them more them once, if you do at all due to the short range.
I would advise against giving them light armour, because it takes away fast cav status, which is a big part of them, obviously. However, if you want to make an anvil, you can get a 4+/6++ (Mark of Tzeentch, Light Amour, Shields). Now I personally wouldn't do this, but it is a chump blocker warmachine hunter that can stay in the fight for a round - enough to get the big hitters into position.
Mark of Slaanesh could see some use here too, as fast cav immune to fear/terror/panic are nice and reliable. And you will not have frenzybaiting issues like you will with khorne.
Marauders - 5/10
So marauders were much maligned when the new codex came out, and for good reason. They got a lot lot more expensive - especially if you want to horde them up. But they stayed the same performance wise - and by that I mean their stats are the same and they have the same equipment. But, and I'm reiterating here - the cost to performance ratio has changed - a lot.
Now I'm going to be realistic. They were way way way undercosted in the last book, and the flat prices for marks made that even more obvious in hordes. Huge hordes with flails or great weapons and the mark of khorne were really good, and as is the way with GW, the good units got hosed to sell new stuff. But - nothing competes with marauders for fodder, and I would literally never think about hording up something else in our book.
Compare them to other units - the cheap fodder units - in other books. They probably are either cheaper (elves) or have better stats (other stuff) and aren't much more expensive then those units. And while the options are expensive, it is true, a lot of people would kill for core units with a 5+/5++ or s5 attacks. They pay for versatility, and they really only pay in comparison to their old iterations. But it isn't fair to compare them to the 7th edition book because:
1. We can't get the 7th ed marauders
2. 7th ed had no horde rule, no step up, no steadfast, so the issue of a big unit getting out of hand came up
3. It might be cheaper over there (in nolongerexistland) but they aren't too bad here
4. Most veterans, or anyone who played with the old book for at least a week has the models. Might as well use them.
I only gave them a 5. So they aren't great. It is true. But they are still good and the builds are more expensive. The builds are the same though, but I will go over them in a second.
And another caveat - Wulfrik. He now uses the ambushers rule - making him much better. If you deploy him in a squad of marauders, he will ambush them - on a 3+ on turn 2, they show up on a board edge. You pick it. This is effective - and could be pretty lethal. You can also aim Wulfrik right at a mage and kill it - so consider buying the model.
So, now onto build I like using:
40 Marauders, Khorne, Flails - 400
So the same hitty unit. I might even consider dropping them down to 30. You will start losing attacks right away (and with T3 no save, you will lose attacks) but still be potent in combat, and in a warriors army everything is a combat threat and we have a lot of fast units. I wouldn't lose the MoK though - you will lose the extra attacks and the ITP - which is important.
40 Marauders, Tzeentch, Shields, Light Armour - 400
Here is the anvil. Now I will say that in testing, I dropped the light armour some, but in my opinion it is worth the points to get the 5+/5++, because the vast majority of the time they will face something with S3 or S4. Also, I would rather have a point of save over 5 more marauders. By the way, these guys are 5*8, not 4*10 - just a disclaimer.
Units with nurgle are less clear cut, but just switch the marks with the above and you have an anvil. Give them flails and you have a unit that is hammerish, and you can always stick festus somewhere.
As for slaanesh, I went over this before, but make whatever unit you want, then give them the MoS. Makes a hammer that always hits and an anvil that always holds.
So there we go.
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