Changes that would have lessened the sting from the nerf bat

I’m going to focus on Tzeentch and things that would have lessened the sting of the change IMHO.

  • Give all units that start on the board scout.  Seriously, we’re daemons that errupt from the warp.  Placement should be scary for the opponent.  This compromises between normal deployment and complete deepstrike.  Most units would get a 6″ move.
  • Allow Ld tests for pshycic powers to be taken on the modified Ld even if it takes it higher than 10.  Fateweaver is the boss.  He lost his reroll bubble, don’t make him fail psychic tests 3/36 times.  He should auto pass, but still take perils.
  • -1 to opponents DTW.  Seriously, the average marine unit should not get a 1/6 chance to shut down psychic shooting from a daemon (made of the warp).
  • Daemons should be able to manifest witchfire for overwatch.

I can pretty much live with everything else.  Yeah, there is stuff I don’t like, but these few changes would make the stuff that isn’t supposed to be wonky and unreliable a little more paletable.

What do you think?

Pink Horrors Point Efficiency (part 2)

In the early day of 6th edition screamers and flamers were the damage dealers in an all Tzeentch army, but you were forced to take Pink Horrors to round out the army and score objectives.  Most daemon players would take other troops choices, but I remained true to my devotion to the changing tides of the aether.  I liked taking them in squads of 10-20 to keep them alive and deal some damage. I routinely ran a large blob squad of 19 horrors and the Changeling plus a Herald.  This was a mixed bag.

Survivable 4++ save (rerolled near Fateweaver)
Massed fire (60+ shots at 18″)
Great overwatch potential (often poor actual results)

Large deepstrike footprint
360-455 points that can mishap
Low BS shooting

Now that I have a copy of the rulebook I can confirm the rules that have been leaked before.  Namely that they are now 9 points, minimum squads of 10 and gain ward charges as the squad size increases.

One big drawback is the loss of overwatch, but this is countered with the increased 6″ range on the shooting attack.

I’ll compare their efficiency against terminators, marines and guard.  Given that flamers and screamers were majorly hurt by the new codex the horrors will have to stand up to various threats if a Tzeentch mono-build is to remain viable.

Some complained that my comparison before factored in disproportionate squad sizes, and while this was true the point per kill levelled the playing field.  This time I will compare squads of the same point cost to please the nay-sayers.  It just so happens that you can get 17 new horrors for the same cost as 9 old horrors.  Since 9 is the number of Tzeentch there must be something to this…

So, on the numbers, the unit is less efficient than it was before, but arguably has “maybe” some more flexibility depending on which phychic power you roll for.  The problem here is that before you could take a single bolt in a 5 horrors squad and camp an objective and provide some minimal anti-tank/air.  Now you take a large footprint unit that has a single power.
As you’ll see below adding a Herald becomes a must have if you want similar results as before (which wasn’t awesome to begin with).
Now, if you add a Herald into a squad you can slightly outperform the old horrors on MEQ killing, but TEQ and GEQ remain poor by comparison.  The way this comparison works if with the Presence of Conjuration (+1 strength) and using Presience to re-roll your hits.  On avergae you will kill just about 3.5 MEQ in your first turn of shooting.  Then you had better charge your screamers in to finish up the squad, because as soon as 3 of your horrors die your shooting falls of the cliff (- 25% effectiveness).
Now, all of that being said all it takes is a D6 deny the witch to shut you down entirely.
I asked for random, but never in my wildest imagination did I see the much needless random.

Breaking the compact with the gamer

Games Workshop has gone and done it again.  No, not raising their prices, but I’m sure we’re in for that again soon (insert sarcasm here).  This time I propose that they have done the unforgiveable.  GW has broken the sacred compact with the gamer, they have changed rules explicitely to make sales.

What’s that you say?  Everyone does this?  Well, I will agree that this is not uncommon when versions of a game are released, but there is an unspoken agreement between the gamer and GW that a new codex or new edition with shake thing sup and then you (the gamer) can expect a slow decline in the ability of your highly priced models over the course of a few years before they become good again.

A few months back GW released new Flamer and Screamer models in plastic and a White Dwarf rules update.  What is truly amazing is that from reading the updates and the new codex at the same time you can tell that GW already had the codex done.  The WD update made flamers and screamers too good to pass up (thus selling losts of models) and then turned around a few months later once the models were sold and reduced their ability by an order of magnitude (100% worse or more).

I’m not upset that the new rules are underpowered.  I think they’re a little more realistic now, but I am upset that we see such a blatant change of rules once they made their sales (and in such a short order).

Flamers no longer OP

Flamer’s of Tzeentch – painted by me

Late last year I said Flamers were not OP here.  The world, and Phil Kelly disagreed.

Points to consider (revised):
  • I have not yet found a compelling reason to spend waste 5 points on a Pyrocaster upgrade.  While it is unlikely that you get charged, I’ve taken to deepstriking them with a disk of Tzeentch (Blue Scribes or Herald) as I can get a much larger frontage and generally hit a target with 5 -6 templates off the deepstrike this way vs 3-4 in a normal small cluster.  The pyrocaster protects your HQ from instant gib.
  • I won’t go into the warpfire/breath garbage that is now going around to allow you to hit people outside your range. Note: GW please read your FAQs before you post them and stop letting the interns write them.
  • I don’t think they are over powered costed now.

The change:

  • Wounds MEQ 1/3 of their previous (S4 AP4 – wounds on 4, MEQ save on 3+)
  • Invuln save is 8.5% better (re-roll 1s)
  • Loss of Eternal Warrior will cost them dearly

I can only surmise that the WD Codex update was a ploy to sell models (of course it was) but broke an important compact with customers.  You can’t sell a shiney object and then smash it 6 months later.  It’s one thing to nerf a model or two after a 5 year codex cycle and entirely something else when done in 6 months.

Pink Horrors Point Efficiency (part 1)

While screamers and flamers are the damage dealer in an all Tzeentch army, you have to take Pink Horrors to round out the army.  I like taking them in squads of 10-20 to keep them alive and deal some damage.  I routinely run squads of 20 horrors, which is a mixed bag.

Massed fire (60 shots at 18″)

Large deepstrike footprint
360 points that can mishap

The most recent rumors suggest:

Pink Horrors – 9pts each (minimum 10)
ws 3 bs 3 s 3 t 3 w 1 i 3 a 1 ld 7
Psychic tests on a 10
Brootherhood of sorcerers
Blue horrors: if a pink horror is slain place a blue horror marker.. at initiative 1 the blue horror attacks causing the enemy unit to suffer one s2 hit with ap –

horrors can only cast change dicipline, not divination.
horrors get 1 warppoint, 2 at unit strength 11-15 and 3 at 16-20. they generate psychic powers at the start of the game like normal psykers but can only roll on tzeentch lore.

primaris: 24″ s 5 ap 4 assault 2d6, warpflames, soulfire. 1 warpcharge.
for each additional warpcharge you gain a additional d6
So I wanted to see how the “new” units stacks up to the old as an MEQ killer.

Aside from the range difference (now 24″) and the fact that the new horrors will have more random results (pschic test, deny the witch, and random number of shots) what I found is that point for point the new (when taken in a squad of 20) has about a 20% worse first turn killing efficiency vs MEQ than the old Pink Horrors.  This does not factor in taking a Herald with divination.

The unit is almost 40% worse at killing Guard Equivalent in a 5+ cover.


So, on the numbers the unit is cheaper, giving you more flexibility, but not quite as good at these tasks.  You can buff with a Herald if you want (see above right).  As soon as you take a wound you shooting drops of by 75% immediately, rather than in a linear fashion (model by model) but you have access to other powers as well beyond the normal Bolt of Tzeentch and you range is extended by 6″ giving you some more holding power and reducing the risk of deepstrike mishaps.


Warp Storm Table Odds

I figured I’d take a look at the potential for each result on the Warpstorm table to occur.  The percentage chance of a result occuring at least once doesn’t change with more rounds.  I started down that path initially but had to remind myself of come basic college math.  Now, the odds of a result occuring a specific number of times (greater than once) during a game of varying length does change.  I’ll leave that for another day.

2.78% – All units take a Daemonic Instability test
5.56% – One daemon Character tests on Leadership with 3D6 and takes wounds like Daemonic Instability
8.33% – All daemons -1 invulnerable save
11.11% – Roll D6 for all enemies and nurgle units, on a 6 hit by a 5″ template S4, AP5 barrage
13.89% – Roll D6 for all enemies and tzeentch units, on 6 D6 hits with S4 Ap3, poison, ignore cover
16.67% – Nothing
13.89% – Roll d6 for all enemies and khorne units, on 6 D6 hits with S6, Ap-, ignore cover, rending
11.11% – Roll d6 for all enemies and slaanesh units on 6 hit by a 3″ template S8, ap3
8.33% – +1 invulnerable save for daemons
5.56% – one enemy psyker test on Leadership with 3D6, if failed he explodes and you get a new herald in his place (Perils of Warp, we are here!!!)
2.78% – a new troop unit of your choice (bloodletter, plaguebearer, horror, daemonette) is summoned, 2D6+3 models

So in any game, the odds of getting a 2 or 12 at least once is less than 3% each.  While this will happen, it will be rare.

Now, assuming that your enemy has at least 6 units on the board (on average throughout a game – for giggles) you’ll have an 8.33% chance that an enemy unit will take a hit at least once during a game.  Granted it will be a random unit and a random hit type from the 4 types above, but that’s still something.

Final thoughts on the current Chaos Daemons Codex

The tail end of 5th Edition and all of 6th Edition has been good for my Tzeentchy Chaos Daemons.  I’ve enjoyed the book for what it is – not like anything else.  My only real hope for the new book is that it continues to be very different from everything else.  Aside from that I’d love to see some real synergy between Daemons and Chaos Marines.  I’m still bummed that we didn’t get DA Fallen and we don’t currently get Traitor Guard in 6E; hopefully in the next edition of the book in a few years.

In my opinion the upcoming CD codex will be a success if (in no particular order):

  • You can take viable mono-God builds for all 4 Gods and get rewarded for playing a fluffy army.
  • If there is still a major random component to the army, but one that doesn’t auto win or auto-lose.
  • I’d like to see Tzeentch stay super shooty.
  • It would be nice to see Nurgle and Slaanesh get a little shooty in their characters, etc.
  • I’d like to see Khorne shut down psykers.  Something like Eldrad’s powers wouldn’t be OP IMHO or DTW on a 2+ (as an upgrade would be fine).
  • Here’s wishing, but let me mark EVERYTHING in the book that isn’t marked (Soul Grinders, etc.)
  • Daemonic Assault – or something like it that makes me play the game in a totally different way than everyone else.  Come on, we’re fans of Chaos, don’t make us play by the same rules!!!

Winning a local Team Challenge with the Daemons

Hell just froze over…  I’m thinking it might be time to hang up the Daemons for a while, or not.  I guess even a broken clock is accurate twice a day.  What am I talking about?  My local gaming group (that plays at Olde World Gaming in Elk Grove, CA) just went down to Stockton, CA to visit the crew from Heroes on Paper.  We played a three round Team Championship match, similar to ATC or ETC formats, but updated for 6th Edition.  You can read my blog post on the draft rules here.

The short of it was that our team of seven had a narrow victory over our opponents.  Out of 21 total games (3 rounds of 7 matches each) we went 11-9-1.  My Daemons came out as the only undefeated army of the day with a lot of guys coming in 2-0.

I’ll post up some battle reports when I have a moment, but I have to both congratulate my team and give a huge thank you to my opponents.  I had 3 stellar games, two of which may very well have come down to a final die roll.  So, when I started writing this article I was thinking I would hang up the Daemons for a bit and give my Wolves some more attention, but upon reflection, winning two close games isn’t a route.  I’m solid, but not an awesome player, and Chaos Daemons still rely on luck to pull off major wins.

Flamers of Tzeentch – OP?

Flamer’s of Tzeentch – painted by me
The reaction I’ve been getting of late is absolute fear or loathing of my flamers.  Among the myriad screams of “Daemons are OP” the two data points people use to express their frustration with my army is Fateweaver and my Flamers.  I’ll discuss the king chicken in another thread, but I’m starting to agree that the Flamer is a really good value.
Points to consider:
  • I have not yet found a compelling reason to waste 5 points on Pyrocaster upgrades (no one will charge them, so I can’t use it as a character bait/challenge and look out sir provides no real value with this unit).
  • When taken in squads of 3-4 (even 5) they are suicide units.  If a single model makes it to turn 2 then I’m thrilled.  At 1750 points I’ve been taking three squads of 3 (69 points).  The value proposition changes when we’re talking about squads of 6-9 models.
  • In order to maximize points  return you have to deepstrike them for a direct hit.  Which means you will scatter 7 inches in a random direction 2/3 of the time.  Which means you will deepstrike mishap somewhere between 17.5-33% of the time (based upon your enemy’s positioning).  Let’s go with a moderate 25% mishap.  This means you will loose 69 points about 8% of the time.  69 points is now 75 points (thanks to the mishap tax).  So, aside from the 33% of the time when you direct hit, the rest of the time you’re likely going to scatter far enough that you’re shooting warp fire instead of a flamer.  Warpfire is what your 17 point Pink Horrors have, but you get at 23 points.  Factor in the increased BS and you have a 20 point Pink Horror.
I don’t know.  I don’t think they are over powered.  They are one-dimensional and then they stick their landing they are deadly.  The rest of the time they get to jump across the board while getting shot up, or you loose them off the table edge.  I could see 25 points, even 28 points a piece if you really wanted to push it, but not OP.  At least not crazy OP.

Team Championship rules for 6E

Paying homage to ATC/ETC my local “club” in Elk Grove, CA and another group about 45 minutes south in Stockton, CA decided to get together for an ATC lite.  However, upon looking for rules, it seems that everything published still references 5E rules, so Tim Trammel and I set about revising what we’d seen for 6E.

Our event will be held on December 1, 2012 at Heroes on Paper in Stockton, CA.  Tentative rules per my initial discussion with Tim are as follows and subject to revision by both teams in the next week.


Key concept: practical tactical acumen but have a good time (no WAAC)
1500 point lists
No match ups will be repeated (each person will get 3 opponents)
3 rounds, 2 hours each, 15 minute breaks

6-7 players, including captain (who plays)
Same number of players from each team

1500 points, same list for all games
Lists submitted to opposing team 1 week in advance
Standard rulebook (allies are in, double FOC out at 1500 points)
Forgeworld 40K approved is okay
Fortifications are included; however FOD and SSLP are discouraged due to size
Models do not have to be painted, but painted models are encouraged
Modesl do not have to be WYSIWYG, but consistent “counts as” will be required (i.e. a unit of lasguns in one unit can be all lasguns or all plasma guns but you cannot use the same model for 2 or 3 things in a unit)

Psychic Powers

Warlord Traits
Select and roll on two lists (can use codex list in lieu of BRB list) before game and choose one of the two results.

No special rules for unique battlefield debris in play
Mysterious terrain is in play; however the first roll for each type of terrain applies to all of that type for th duration of the game (i.e. first roll for a forest applies to all forests)
Fortifications should be placed per terrain spacing rules if possible, otherwise 1 piece of terrain can be moved to place a fortification.
Terrain will be placed by the TO for the day in advance of the matches.

Mysterious objectives are in play; however the first roll applies to all objectives for the duration of the game.

All 6 missions will be in play, 2 per round (this way all 6 missions will see equal time, although each player will onyl play 3 of them), evenly divided between the tables and randomly assigned after terrain is placed.  Each round will have 1 deployment.

Missions – Round 1

Missions – Round 2

Missions – Round 3

All terrain, missions and deployment will be discussed by both teams and then…

1. Before each round the two captains will roll a die.
2. The captain with the LOW die roll will select an army from his team that has not yet been matched up and present it for a pairing.
3. The captain with the HIGH die roll will select an army from his team that has not yet been matched up and present it for a pairing (provided those two players have not yet played each other).
4. LOW die roll will select the table (with already determined mission) for that match to occur on.
5. The HIGH die roll will select an army from his team that has not yet been matched up and present it for a pairing.
5. The LOW die roll will select an army from his team that has not yet been matched up and present it for a pairing (provided those two players have not yet played each other).
6. HIGH die roll will select the table (with already determined mission) for that match to occur on.
7. Repeast steps 2-6 until all matches are determined.  In the event that a pairing cannot be made due to duplicate matches, an existing pairing will be selected at random and mixed with the remaining pairs to make a legitimate pair.

Each game will be scored as a Win (1 point), draw (.5 points) or loss (0 points) based upon accumulated victory points (per BRB both primary and secondary).  VP totals for each game will be tracked.  VP totals will only be used in case both teams score equal numbers of points at the end of the day or to determine a “best overall player” in the event of a multi-way tie.

Entry fee and prizes
$10-20 each (up for discussion).  Winning team will get a trophy.  If there are enough funds then best overall and best team may get some store credit prize from Heroes on Paper.