I've saved this topic for a while for 2 reasons. 1. It's an August release, so it seemed appropriate to leave it until August. And 2. It has taken me a long time to get my head around some of these changes for Daemons, I don't think I've fully managed to do it yet, I've been to and fro as to whether I like the new units from my inner Daemon player's perspective or not. But anyway, let's get started.
This is where the combine harvester reference comes in, as – in a typical British farming comparison – they look like they're ploughing the fields of corpses, as a combine harvester ploughs a regular field, which, to be honest, I think was the point, and the sculptors have done a fantastic job in representing this in the models (just clearing up the reason for the title). It could be the copious amounts of Slaaneshi daemons that I've been gluing together this past week but I seem to have got a Slaaneshi bug (all innuendos to the side please), and I really like these new models. But anyway, onto their place in a Daemon army.
First, lets look at the in the context of the Daemon army itself. They fill in a heavy slot, which is a little annoying. The 2 armies that Daemons seemed to struggle against the most before 6th edition were Grey Knights (naturally) and Dark Eldar. The latter was not helped by a lack of speed on the part of the Daemons. Since the rulebook dropped, they have had one large speed injection in the form of flying Daemon Princes, which also take up a heavy support slot. Damn. So, in taking these chariots, you're not taking Daemon Princes.
But, are these worth taking over a Daemon Prince? Well, lets see. They're basically a Rhino with 2 hull points, but then also cost 5pts more than a Rhino. So, not quite as durable, but more expensive, not really actually, as it also counts as a Daemon, meaning that the Chariot itself gets an invulnerable save. Pretty nice. A secondary perk of this is that it also comes with Fear. You can also take these in squadrons of 3, which has a number of plus points to it. Some of them I'll get to later.
So, lets put it this way. A squad of Long Fangs with 4 missile launchers will, on average take 2 hull points off an armour 11 vehicle per turn. So, when taking invulnerable saves into account, 3 packs of Long Fangs shouldn't quite kill a squadron of 3 Chariots on a hull points basis, still leaving one alive. That said, I'm not completely certain on the rules for squadrons and the vehicle damage table yet so they could very well do it through that, but I'll have to check up on that, the rulebook's only been out a month. Not bad for a 120pt unit.
So, we've looked out how much damage the unit can sustain, what about how much it can dish out. Like most Slaaneshi units, it doesn't have a ranged presence. They do get sweep attacks, 4 S3 rending ones to be precise, which isn't bad but it isn't great, it's the low strength which causes the problem really. That said, S3 rending can sometimes surprise you. On Saturday my Pathfinders (Eldar) somehow managed to blow up a Rhino.
But anyway, this unit really relies on hitting first and hitting hard, as it can't really sustain long assaults with anything that is S4, as it's just a Rhino with less hull points and an invulnerable save. So, how much damage can these things do on the charge. Well, lets assume with have 3 chariots with full hull points, and they are charging a squad of 10 tactical marines, as any close combat unit which can't kill marines at full strength isn't a great assault unit.
So, they charge. One nifty little rule that these guys have is called Fleshshredder, and it is essentially taking their hammer of wrath attacks and modifying them, so each chariot will hammer at S4 and with rending. Not only this, but instead of getting D6 Hammer of Wrath attacks, they get D6 for every hull point remaining. So, in this instance, 6D6 S4 rending attacks. Not too shabby. On average, there will be 21 attacks at I10. The Chariots also come with WS5, meaning that 14 should hit, 7 wounding, and 2 rending hits. So, 2 marines drop dead, and 2 more marines fail their saves and are removed too, so 4 Marines are already down. Then, you follow up with the remaining attacks. 15 in total, 10 hitting, 3 wounding, 1 rend, and another failed save. 6 marines in total are felled. 4 Attacks back, 2 hits, possibly a glance, but unlikely.
Oh. So there are still 4 marines left. Looks like they aren't a very good assault unit then. This was my first reaction. Then I thought, that now they are trapped in combat, they can't be shot at in the next turn, so they can kill the marines and jump another squad next turn. Then I ran the maths again. 12 attacks, 8 hits 3 wounding, 1 rend, 1 failed save. 2 Marines are still standing there.
Ok, so despite the multitude of high initiative attacks that this unit gets, it still can't shift a 10 man tactical squad over 2 assault phases. So, this unit must be a bad unit. I still don't think so. Yes, maths says you can't kill a full tactical marine squad over a game turn through combat, but is that really what you want to be doing with them? If you're into Raaagh! Smash! Beatface! Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne! I suggest that you go and play Khorne, and pick yourself up a nice big squad of Bloodcrushers or something.
That's not what these guys do. They're not as 'beatface' as the Khorne units, they're not as shooty or manipulative as the Tzeentch units and they're not as durable as the Nurgle units. So what do they do? (Yes, I like rhetoric today).
The one thing that they do very well is move quickly. So what I'd use them for is shutting down enemy shooting. It was demonstrated that in a first round of combat, these guys should kill 6 marines. The maximum squad size for a squad of Long Fangs is 6. Even if you charge a 10 man squad of vanilla Devastators, then, even though you're unlikely to kill them all, you'll at least tie them up. It's not just Long Fangs though, Lootas, Broadsides, etc can all be targeted by the Seeker Chariots for a charge, moving up turn 1 with that 24” movement including the shooting phase flat out move as there is nothing better for the squadron to do, before setting up a charge in the next turn. Plus, the Chariots themselves have fleet. Nice.
So, in short, use the Seeker Chariots to prey upon enemy static shooting units like Long Fangs or Lootas. The beauty of charging big squads of Devastators is also that they can't choose to run away, as I believe that they still hit you on your rear armour and so can glance on 6s, giving them a tiny chance that they could kill you, so unlikely that you can rely on them not doing it but also trapping them in the combat. The only things that you can't really hurt are Dreadnoughts, Predators are fine as that many rending attacks are likely to do something, but not Dreads, as all you'll be able to do is try and rend them and then get a 3 on a D3 to glance. So, avoid Dreadnoughts. Luckily, only 1 army tends to really use them as a firebase, and that's Grey Knights, so there wasn't really much hope anyway.
Plus, this unit is pretty cheap. I'm still on my Space Wolves kick, but when it wears off I'm considering going back to Daemons, and when I do, I'm thinking of taking 2 flying Daemon Princes and 1 squadron of 3 Seeker Chariots in my heavies. The aforementioned squad only costing as much as 8 Lootas.
I'll come on to using exalted chariots in such Seeker Cavalcades in a later post, as I think that this one has gone on long enough. So, I'll just leave it with a summary.
This is not a unit that you can just throw into combats here there and everywhere, you have to specifically target a unit and go for it, creating a charge on it. Such units that you can target are generally ones which provide an army's long range firepower, but avoid combats with Dreadnoughts. I wouldn't say it's a bad unit at all, it has its uses, try and keep it alive first turn before getting a charge off in the second. In fact, I like it.
Now, I'm going off to see what the rest of the internet thinks of the Seeker Chariots of Slaanesh.