Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Daemon rules in WD

Now Partybuses come in Cavalcades.
By now most of the interwebs will be aware of the newly-released units for Codex: Chaos Daemons that will be coming out in the update in this month's White Dwarf as shown here, here, here and here. To sum it up, there are new rules for Screamers, Flamers and a couple of Slaanesh Chariots. There are rules for Fantasy too but since no-one really cares about that we'll move swiftly along.

The big questions are how much are they and how good are they? €46, which is a bit steep for them, but I'll probably end up getting one for all of the parts that I can use for my Emperor's Children army. Now for the latter part: how useful they are in a list?

Whether we'll be seeing these things joyriding all over 40k battlefields in the near-future is something I'd not bet a mortgage on. The Games Dev lads have decided that what the Daemons really needed is some more anti-infantry firepower and fast-moving combat units because of all things, Daemons do not already have those. In abundance.

Ok, so it's not all bad. 6th ed has moved more toward fielding Infantry and the Screamers have been given a slight buff as they now have 3 S5 I4 AP 2 attacks in combat (4 A on the charge) and with the new rules changes to hitting vehicles (WS 1/0 if moving/stationary) they should be more than capable of shredding most tanks due to Armourbane and the fact that they are jetbikes which will give them much greater maneuverability. Granted, they're slightly worse at getting pens against Land Raiders than they were before (they were 2d6 + 8 vs AV14 compared to 2d6 + 5 now) but by having so many more attacks now they should be able to bring it down through the sheer number of Hull Points they'll be able to strip off.  

At least it gives you an alternative to relying on your Flying MC's (or should I say Jump MC's?) to tackle Raiders in combat with Smash attacks: with Screamers floating about at 150 points for 6 you can have the bigger Daemons float about and get stuck into Infantry and mangle Characters with their oh-so-rare Initiative 4+ AP 2 melee attacks. Bear in mind that Screamers are Jetbikes so they can drop in from Reserve then get the hell out of dodge and set themselves up for their following turn by boosting away from danger i.e. combat units or anything carrying Bolters or better as they are still fragile and will need a turn to hide before exposing themselves as they're more squishy (only a 5+ save now).

Bear in mind that they also have Vector Strikes so they can get involved in a bit of sniping to help take out special weapons and such. All told its not bad for 75 points for 3 but I'm not sure that a unit of Guard (or even CSM) allies with Meltaguns wouldn't do a better job at tank-hunting.

Thanks to a 12-point price drop they've become slightly more attractive with 2 Wounds and I 4 but even with Breath of Chaos but they still arguably aren't as good as Fiends at taking out vehicles (despite Breath glancing on 4's with no cover save) nor are the as durable as Bloodcrushers, who despite the nerf to their Bloodblades, are still a very resilient unit especially with LO,S and Fatebubble shenanigans.

One thing I can think of that they have over the other units is their ability to dump out D3 4+ to wound, no armour save Overwatch shots each when they get assaulted. There's also the option for a Pyrocaster which can take advantage of LO,S (I'll have to double-check that he can use Precision Strike with his Breath attack). That is the optimist in me talking - what I would expect to happen in most games is the unit gets hammered by Bolters until they all fall down because even with the points reduction, they're still relatively expensive and squishy at 23 points each with only a 5+ Daemon save to keep themselves safe.

Slaanesh Chariots
What in the name of Christ have I found?
First up are the Fast Attack option: Hellflayers. Because Slaanesh loves open-topped vehicles so the enemy can see what they're missing. 
Hint: it's bewbs.
Skip it. Really. It's that bad.

60 pts for an AV 11, Open-Topped vehicle with 2 Hull Points and no ranged attack? Now, compare it with the Seeker Chariot and Exalted Chariot in the Heavy Support slot which come in units of 1-3 and you'll see there's no competition.

The Seeker Chariot has a similar profile to the Hellflayer but is 20 points cheaper and loses Soulscent which is a buff that allows the lady riding it (hurr durr) extra attacks after Hammer of Wrath attacks have occurred. It doesn't sound like much until you realise that they get Fleshshredder: 1D6 HoW Attacks for each Hull Point the vehicle has remaining, and these get Rending. So with 2 whole Hull Points, you can see how Soulscent, and the Hellflayer choice, is quite sucky.

That's not the case with its Heavy Support cousins the Seeker and Exalted Chariots though. Now while they're on HUGE bases and need some elbow room so they can drop in and are going to be very hard to hide, they do have a decent damage potential in combat thanks to the Fleshshredder rule and can share out the pain a bit being a vehicle squadron, despite being open-topped. A unit of 2 Exalted and 1 Seeker Chariot will set you back 220 pts but you get 10 HP and a potential 10 D6 HoW attacks with 15 more Attacks to follow. All with Rending.

As a result they'll attract a lot of attention because nobody will want that hitting one of their units intact so they have to have to deal with it. Thankfully, the Chariots are immune to Poison and anything < S5 so if the enemy does want to get rid of them it'll take some of the anti-vehicle fire to deal with them, which would otherwise be aiming for any Monsters floating around. They won't stand up to much if they are focused upon but it does force your opponent to split his fire which is usually a good thing.

Whether it is 220 pts good, I'm not sure yet as I'd have to play a few games with them. They might be expensive for 1500 point games where a Daemon Prince will do more good for his points but when it climbs to 1850 and Fateweaver gets involved they can be a balls to get rid of with 5++ re-rolled saves (4+ if you're shot at through a ruin).

I do like the idea of taking a Herald of Slaanesh on an Exalted Chariot and having her join a unit to give it even more silly Rending numbers though, assuming that's allowed.

Final Thoughts (for now...)
I would like to have seen a more shooty unit being introduced into the list as they are few and far between in the Daemon book but thanks to the 6th edition rules changes (to vehicles especially) they've now got a unit that'll reliably drag down a Land Raider if allowed to hit in Screamers.

That's the problem though: these units are nowhere near as resilient as a unit of Marines or a Rhino so they have to be played very carefully or they'll get torn to bits quickly. Granted, Fateweaver makes them more durable. He can't be everywhere at once though and is quite expensive which restricts the other things you can buy. Like the new units included in this update.

As an Allied force, I reckon that having a quintet of Chariots (3 HS and 2 HQ) in a Guard army gives them a nice counter-attacking force that will help to torrent things down and even tarpit MEQ squads to buy time to enable the Guard to keep pummelling other targets and they can be kept relatively cheap by buying 2 or 3 of the Seeker Chariots and have them shielded by the 'tougher' Exalted ones. It's a pity they weren't given anything to deal with Flyers but then again, that's probably what the Monsters are for. Ah, no Skyfire. Nice one. Allies it is then.

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