Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Exalted Flamers

I have patiently been waiting for an all Tzeentch list. I don't know exactly how I would field everything I have, but the concept of mixing Chaos Marines with daemons isn't new. I have been really trying to pull my stuff together in various lists. When I first picked up tons of Tzeentch daemons it was before the 6th edition Nerf Codex. I didn't complain to much about how badly they were hammered in the shooting phase because my idea was eventually I would run Thousand Sons and Horrors in conjunction with each other.

The daemons themselves have such a pitiful shooting phase now. Folks can talk about the fickleness of the Chaos Gods all they want, but I don't see why this one army this one build is so penalized. Let's start from the beginning. The table in the book that starts the game- Storm of Magic. Rarely have I suffered dramatic effects from it. Even rarer still is the fact that it caused my opponents any issues. So basically you have this chart to roll on every turn that slows the game down. Any other army need things like this? I cracked up when I read a post about Imperial Munitions chart which causes the Guard units to test to have enough ammo, machines breaking down, etc. In the fluff or in the literature apparently these things happen. I dig the concept or stuff can be weird with Chaos, but this entire effect seems like bloat.

The alternative and this is what cracks me up is people say well, just run Chaos Marines and deal with that chart instead. Why the heck would I want to do that? I want to play my Tzeentch daemons. I don't want to be forced into a single slot of each so by that design I have to put up with the silly table or field all of my daemons in one up units- one unit of screamers, one unit of flamers, two horrors, and ... wait, I can't run heralds and my Lord of Change. It is an either or thing if I want my CSM troop choice to be Thousand Sons.

Bah, all that aside let's move on to Tzeentch shooting in general. What kind of daemons do we have? Screamers are fun, but refuse to shoot at all. They can swipe things by turbo-boosting, but it does nothing to break armor or hurt vehicles. That makes them a little lack luster in that department. The beautiful flamers of the past editions still work really well. Personally an AP3 template attack was a bit too good. I really enjoyed the idea, but don't mind the new rules- I love the idea of running three units. Could split them into two because I only own about ten of them, but no real problem with them as a creature. Unfortunately once again no help versus vehicles. You can drop the points on a pyrocaster and hope you roll a ranged attack, but the entire fact that unique to this army is the goofy inability to purchase wargear.

Other armies don't have to deal with this. Spend 5pts to upgrade a model to a champion? Not so bad, right? He gains a bonus to his,... Ballistic Skill! Wait, he has a template weapon so that 5pt upgrade is basically useless. But if he spends the maximum 20pts on a daemonic reward he has a 1-in-6 chance of getting a range 18" S8 AP1, Assault 1, Lance attack. That sounds fair doesn't it. I mean yeah, the pyrocaster still only has a 5++ save, 2W and a 4T like a regular flamer, but for 25pts wouldn't you shoot for a 1-in-6 chance to have a shooting attack that is decent. I mean compared to the 25pts it costs to pick a Fire Dragon Exarch with a Firepike for the Eldar a little randomness is a good thing isn't it. Because the daemons are supposed to be frustrating to play because the gods may not favor them.

Meh, I don't get it. At least the Pink Horrors are still a solid unit. They have that awesome 5++ save (yeah, I am kidding) which if you take six wounds shoot definitely save two models that round. Guess they should just hide in cover. That works the same for everyone, so why is the daemonic save even necessary. Get to cover daemons because you have absolutely no chance of surviving against shooting. How about firing back because Horrors have always been innately magical. C'mon 4d6 S5, AP 4 shots from a unit within 24" is awesome right. That is like 14 shots on average. And you only spent 144pts. Sure it could only be four shots or as many as twenty four but Warhammer does really come down to averages. What is comparable in the Eldar list? Seven Dire Avengers only have an 18". They do have the ability to run and shoot or shoot and run, so the range isn't that big of a deal. They hit on 3+ with those shots unlike the Horrors who hit on 4+. And the Bladestorm ability more than makes up for the difference in weapon strength. But the Dire Avengers cost a whopping 91pts to do precisely the same thing in the shooting phase. The only problem is the Horrors might not even get their shots off.

They have a stellar leadership of 7, so after generating the warp charge they pass the psychic test on a 2d6 roll of a ten or less. If you have the misfortune of rolling double ones or double sixes, you only lose a model. You can pick any model in the unit to take the wound if your Incandescent Horror is already dead. Once again think the daemons are one of the only armies who have the potential to instantly kill their unit champions of the Troop models every single round. Randomness is a good thing when dealing with the Gods of Chaos. Did I mention that if you survived your own movement phase by not causing any casualties thanks to Storm of Chaos table, have successfully manifested a power with killing any of your models, and are now prepared to get the 14 shots you spent a 144pts to fire that your opponent can now Deny the Witch.

See here is where it gets interesting. Everyone has a 1-in-6 chance of ending your shooting phase with that unit right then and there. I want a Deny the False Emperor rule in effect where every Imperial Unit has a 1-in-6 chance of not shooting because the Emperor of Humanity is a crazy person. We all know the background. He really isn't a nice person. My god thankfully he is not fickle like the Chaos Gods. People would be up in arms over this concept. But it is okay for the daemons who have suffered long enough. It is like the random factors in this army just stack over and over and over. I didn't mention Jaws of the Wolf or Psychic Hoods or anything ridiculous because honestly a 1-in-6 chance to not even shoot is bad enough.

Assuming that you actually cause a single wound you can drop a Warpflame token next to the unit and move on to your next unit that has some ability to cause some ranged damage. At the end of the shooting phase we can move on to assaults and really pour out some damage with our other daemons (who invariably are from separate powers because Tzeentch daemons should never assault anything). The only test you have to make before moving on is a Toughness test for each unit with a Warpflame token. The average model on the board these days has kissed the days of T3 model behind so let's shoot for some 5-6's on the dice against MEQ troops. Warpflame tests go off and cause an additional couple of wounds (d3) with no saves for armor or cover. Wow, the chance to instantly kill three models is a good thing. Except that if they are successful there is a downside to this entire process. Now instead of hurting your opponent it gains Feel No Pain (6+) for the remainder of the game.

That in itself is horrible. There has to be a downside to the daemons actually being successful at everything right. I mean the Gods are fickle. You have successfully overcome every obstacle to be here and now that you were unsuccessful at the final act in the shooting phase we are going to further punish you. The fact that gaining Feel No Pain isn't bad enough, the ability states any unit that already possesses Feel No Pain increases by +1. So RAW per the Codex it stacks. Round after round, no FAQ saying it only happens once per game, no update that apologizes for being crazy. Nothing. Just a constant chance to increase your opponents resistance to your attacks whenever you shoot them with Tzeentch daemons. Again, something no other Troop choice, Elite choice, HQ choice, or Heavy Support choice has to deal with. Not stacking round after round the entire game. My god, Bolter Drill from the Imperial Fists looks so good for painting your models yellow. Rerolling 50% of your misses on your Troop choice is heavenly compared to the Gods of Chaos.

I did mention Heavy Support because the Daemons got a brand new kit this edition. It is this awesome looking Exalted Flamer with actual shooting attacks mounted on a Chariot pulled by Screamers. It looks amazing. It has shooting attacks which are great until you realize it can't move and shoot. Or you notice that it is an open-topped chariot with AV 10 and a very lackluster 5++ save versus damage. If you deepstrike it behind cover it might last an extra turn. Maybe you can tarpit a unit with daemons and hope they die in time to drop the template on something before you get shot at. Face it the chariot is pretty bad. I am pretty impressed that a little after a year they released the Exalted Flamer.

He is now dataslated as a 50pt HQ choice that counts as a Herald. He isn't perfect by any means. He still can't move and fire. He takes up one of the precious Herald slots which if you remember my complaining a few months ago about these single Force Competition tournament is pretty important. I can either field my Lord of Change and four Heralds or eight Heralds in my primary detachment. Daemon Princes are right out unless you field the Lord of Change. He lets you pick them as Heavy Support choices or they gobble up the slots. If you are trying to run daemons as allies then you only get one HQ choice. So you could do a CSM Daemon Prince, Sorcerer (to field Thousand Sons), and then ... well, what. You don't have a lot of other choices- either the Lord of Change or four Heralds.

I still like the model and have ordered several. Not sure how I want to use them currently, but I really wanted some any way to build a Firestorm Redoubt or as Vengeance Weapon Batteries. Want to convert some models into turret based weapons on these buildings similar to the ones I found here. All this said- I do like the models I have. I am down with the concept of running Daemons of Tzeentch. Maybe I will be lucky enough to enjoy the shooting phase. It is when you overcome the odds and see them really shine is when you are like 'Damn, the Gods have favored me today.' The only thing left is an actual book of Tzeentch. Maybe they will move the Exalted Flamers to a 1-3 Heavy Support choice. I would love having a Sorcerer coven as an HQ choice with the Lord of Change and Heralds. Daemon Princes of Tzeentch, the Chariots and Exalted Flamers as Heavy Support. We could run Thousand Sons and Pink Horros for Troops. We can have Terminators, Flamers as Elites along with Flamers and Warp Talons for Fast attack. Maybe something new will make the list as well. I don't know. It is all points in the end right.

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