Thursday, 11 April 2013

Chaos Daemons Analysis - Pink Horrors

If Bloodletters are the most recognisable of the Daemons Troops selections, then Pink Horrors are most definitely the ones that have undergone the biggest change. How fitting for the Chaos God of Change.

In 5th edition it was generally a choice between the Horrors and the Plaguebearers, pivoting on whether you were willing to sacrifice a bit of durability and a few more points to actually have your units do something. So how do they stack up now?

Well, the first thing to note is that their points cost per model as almost halved, dropped from 17pts to 9pts. Not bad. You do now have to take a minimum of 10. However, I'm a little disappointed with the Pink Horrors, and here's why.

Pink Horror
Plaguebearers are what you use to sit on backfield objectives. Daemonettes and Bloodletters provide your close combat hitting power from your Troops section also, and in 5th edition, Horrors gave you a little bit of extra shooting with 3 shots per model, admittedly at BS3 but when 5 models throw out 15 shots that's not too bad.

Now, Horrors have lost their shooting ability, so what exactly do they do? Now they're a brotherhood of psykers, so what they do is generate a number of psychic powers depending upon how many models are in the unit.

One quick point before I get into this though. Do not let them get anywhere near assault. They're only S3 with 1 attack, they can't overwatch as all of their shooting is psychic based, and they only have a 5++ save now at T3. They do get a rule called Blue Horrors though, whereby whenever a Pink Horror is slain they get an automatic hit, but it's only at S2 AP-, so never mind that.

But anyway, moving into the Tzeentchian powers. The Primaris Power is Flickering Fire of Tzeentch. Now, all of these powers come with a rule called Warpflame, if you cause one or more unsaved wounds, your opponent's unit has to take a toughness test, if they fail they suffer D3 wounds with no armour or cover saves allowed, but if they pass, they get Feel No Pain (6+) or a +1 to it if they already have it. As most of the time you're going to pass your Toughness tests anyway, I see this is a negative rule rather than a positive one, as once your opponent has FNP you don't really want to shoot at it with your Horrors again for fear of making them better.

But Flickering Fire, 24” range Heavy Bolter that is Assault 2D6 with Soul Blaze. The first power is Tzeentch's Firestorm. Same range, no AP, but Strength D6+1 and Blast. I'd swap this for Flicking Fire personally as even with BS 3 you're probably going to be getting more hits at a better AP and most of the time the same or better Strength.

Bolt of Change is the second power, it's a little different in its new incarnation though. AP2, SD6+4, same range, Assault 1. Still for tankbusting, but a little less reliable then it used to be. However it is a beam, so it hits everything under a line with AP2 which is pretty nasty.

Finally, Infernal Gateway, and I'd like to compare this directly to Tzeentch's Firestorm. They're both Assault 1 Blast, but Firestorm has a 6” longer range. However, Gateway is D6+4 strength so 3pts higher and it's AP1. That's not bad at all. However personally I'd be more worried that I'm that close to an enemy unit so I'd have a unit of Nurglings or something ready to screen.

Psychic shooting is really what the Horrors are designed to do, but I see 2 problems with this. Firstly, they don't churn out enough shots to make them viable just for a shooting role. Even at a minimal squad, would you say that Flickering Fire of Tzeentch every turn is worth 90pts? On average you're getting 7 shots, and 3.5 hits. It's not that great.

Secondly, you actually have to get your powers off. Granted being a Daemon of Tzeentch does buff their LD to 10 for psychic power casting but you can still fail powers, it happens, then every time you shoot an enemy unit not only can they cancel it out through deny the witch, but even if it does affect them you are probably going to give them Feel No Pain if you actually do anything. Throw Runes of Warding, Shadows in the Warp and Runic Weapons in the mix and not only are you struggling to actually do much damage with your psychic powers, you're struggling to get them off in the first place.

So, to try and get a little bit of positivity out of this post, how should you set them up? Personally, I wouldn't max out the squad, simply because the additional guys are really doing nothing for you. What I'd do is go for a small squad, but rather than 10 I would take 11 Horrors. This is because there are boundaries for your mastery level. If you have 10 guys, your squad is mastery level 1, 11-15, level 2, and 16-20, level 3.

That additional Horror is probably going to die though so what's the point of taking him as you'll lose your level pretty quickly. The reason is simply that at the start of the game you get 2 rolls on the change table. Now, even if you're mastery level 1 for most of the game, you are still able to choose between 2 different psychic powers, giving you a bit more utility.

Finally, upgrades. The Iridescent Horror, a sergeant so a normal Horror with +1 attack. You're losing combat anyway, don't waste your points. Instrument of Chaos. I probably wouldn't Deep Strike with them, so I'd leave this alone too. Icon. You could do, it would be pretty useful for dropping support in in front of you. So Deep Striking a squad of Plaguebearers, Daemonettes or Bloodletters in front of your Horrors so that you can't be taken in close combat. The problem is that if you fail your reserve roll you're in trouble. I would also take the Blasted Standard, once per game it gives your psychic shooting attack a little more hitting power without the restriction of only being BS3, as you automatically get 2D6 additional S4 hits.

So in short, Horrors are probably the least favourite of the Troops choices covered so far ruleswise. I think that Daemonettes are probably where it's at for hitting power and Plaguebearers for objective camping. Bloodletters are good for psychological effect and Horrors can churn out a few shots. 99 points for 11 Horrors is not terrible though.

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