With September just around the corner now and with all of the goodness that it is supposed to promise, I've decided to get the Daemons analysis finished in one final post on the subject so that we can have a break from me trying to analyse units and failing for a couple of weeks. I'm on holiday again next week, I'm going to Scarborough, but my plan is to write a whole new host of posts on my shiny new Ipad whilst I'm away, so that the content wheel will once again start churning properly when I get back.
So, off we go. This post, again, might be a little brief, as there's not really much to say on these, as the Hellflayers are similar to the Chariots and the Screamers and Flamers have just been through some modifications. So it might look like I'm trying to squeeze blood from a stone at some point.
Starting with the Hellflayers. Oddly enough this is, out of the 3, the unit that I have the least to say about. Simply put, a Hellflayer is a Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh with 4 key differences. The first of which is that it takes up a Fast Attack slot as oppose to a Heavy Support one, so you don't take slots away from Flying Daemon Princes, which is nice. Secondly, it comes with the Soulscent special rule, which means that it gets an additional attack at normal initiative for every unsaved wound caused by its Hammer of wrath attacks. Which means that, against marines, it will on average get 2 additional attack, which is by no means spectacular.
Now onto the negative differences. The first of which is that you can only take Hellflayers individually. So, again, you are not going to be able to form a particularly nasty close combat unit with them. Secondly, a Seeker Chariot costs 20pts more than an individual Chariot, but is half the cost of a full 3 Chariot squad. So, the question is, does a Hellflayer do a better job of taking out backfield shooty units than a pack of Chariots considering that you are paying half the points and not taking up that vital Heavy Support slot?
Well, lets look at the maths for a Hellflayer charging a 5 man squad of Devastators whilst at full Hull Points. So, 2D6 Hammer of Wrath hits, averaging 7. at Strength 4. So 3.5 wounds, 1 rending, 2.5 standard wounds, 1 failed save. 2 dead marines. So, 7 attacks, 4.6 hits, 2.3 wounds, rounding to 2. 1 rends, and the other is a standard wound, which is saved. So, 3 dead marines after all of the Hellflayer hits, leaving 2 left standing. We'll assume that the Sergeant was killed just for simplicity. 2 attacks, 1 hit, 1 wound, saved. So, the Hellflayer wins combat by 3, leaving some of the squad alive, so either they'll rally next turn or they'll be locked in combat, probably for a slap fest lasting for quite a duration of the game.
So, I'd say that you can rely on this to shut down 1 unit, but any more and you're looking at a cavalcade of Seeker Chariots to do the job. So, do you want to spend 60pts on being able to take out a single static shooting unit at best, or 120pts and a Heavy Support slot on being able to possibly take out a few. Anyone who's seen my Ork list will know that I like overkill, so I'd personally go for the Chariots. But as I say, it's a preference thing.
So, we know that Seeker Chariots are colliding with Daemon Princes and Soul Grinders in the Heavy Support choices, but what would Hellflayers have to compete with in Fast Attack? Other than Flesh Hounds, Seekers and the like they would also be clashing with Screamers (segwaying like a pro).
Screamers have gone through some changes with this new update, and it's difficult to pinpoint whether they have improved or not. Firstly, let's look at the changes to their statline. They now come with +1 wound, +1 initiative, and +2 attacks. They do however, lose their 4+ save, having to rely on the 5+ for being a Daemon. I'll come to the maths on whether they're more survivable later when I get on to flamers.
Additionally, they lose Warp Jaws, and they get something called Lamprey's Bite. Now, instead of getting 1 attack with a Melta Bomb, Screamers get 3 attacks (assuming that they didn't charge) at S5 AP2 with 2D6 armour penetration. I'd call that an upgrade. They also get a new special rule called slashing attack, which is like a sweep attack but is done when you turbo boost and you can't use Lamprey's Bite through it.
I'd just say use this unit to take on vehicles and small elite units like Terminators. Simply because that's where they will do the most damage, and you can't afford to through them somewhere were they're going to be hit by too many attacks. Their weapon skill of 3 will really hurt them there, as at the end of the day they're T4 Sv5+ models with 2 wounds, they might be able to take a bit of damage, but ideally you want to be breaking through a unit before it has a chance to swing back, so avoid big units or units with high initiative. On average you will cause 7 wounds at AP2 to T4 models with 5 Screamers on the charge, the remaining 23 boyz aren't going to care.
The last 2 changes to Screamers are to do with how you take them. The first of which is that you can no longer take them in a squad of 12, the maximum size of a squad is 9. The second change is that the Screamers have increased in points cost. They are now 9pts more expensive per model than what they were. So, do you think they have increased in usefulness enough to warrant this increase in points? I would say yes, but as with most things in the Daemon Codex, they're only worth their points if they are used properly.
A unit whose points cost did not change proportionately to the changes in their rules are the Flamers of Tzeentch, or at least, that's what I think. As well as having got a lot better in 6th edition with nothing wanting to charge them due to getting (D3 x number in unit) / 2 armour and cover save ignoring wounds on you, not even walkers with the ability to strip Hull Points on a 4+ with every hit, they have now got a boost here too.
The first thing to get out of the way due to it being the least interesting is the boost to the initiative (+1). It's not really as though you're going to want to charge with your Flamers and it's not like anything is going to get past your overwatch very often unless they're a pretty large unit, which will probably have been flamed by you the previous turn anyway thinning out their numbers.
Right, onto more interesting things, like the changes in their durability. The Flamers have lost their 4++, now being replaced with a 5++ for being a Daemon, but, like the Screamers, they get 2 wounds. So, before the update it would take 3 Boltguns rapid firing to kill a Flamer (6 shots, 4 hits, 2 wounds, 1 saved), now it would take 9 Boltgun shots (4.5 rapid firing if you will) (6 hits, 3 wounds, 1 saved, loses both wounds). So, from here we can see a 50% increase in the durability of a Flamer. No getting around the 2 wounds with S8+ either, as now they actually benefit from having Eternal Warrior.
In the army list section there can be found a couple more changes. Again, the maximum squad size has been decreased to 9, which is dissapointed as I would have liked to take 12 Flamers and hurl them around reliably destroying 1 unit every turn (unless they suffered the full shooting capacity of the opposing army first). They can't be given Bolt of Tzeentch anymore, which I was never going to do anyway as, although they are BS4, it cost 30pts just to give a model bolt. You can however give the unit a Pyrocaster for 5pts, which in essence is a Flamer with +1 attack. I personally wouldn't bother with this, as it's not like you're going to be using that attack very often and when you do it's not going to make much difference.
I think that from the changes to the Flamers I can conclude that unit has increased in usefulness. Both through this update and through 6th edition itself. So, you'd expect this unit to go the way of the Screamers and become more expensive. Actually, they are now a whole 12pts cheaper than they were previously, almost a third off what they used to be.
I smell a bargain.