It’s Like Tactics: Daemon Update Part 2 Impressions
My Tactical article pledge: I am not the greatest player, nor am I seal pup, I will endeavor to speak from my experience and always be honest about what is theory and what is play tested. Never will I assume I to know better than anyone else, unless ego or pretension gets in their way.
Check out part 1 of the Daemon Update Impressions.
Unexpectedly, GW has released new models under everyone’s rumor nose and given us new models and rules for Slaanesh Chariots.
These new Chariots provide a much-needed addition to the thin Heavy Support slot and add one to the over populated Fast Attack slot.
So are these new models a hit or miss?
If we went by looks alone, then Games Workshop has a hit on their hands, but in theory practice not so much. The problem with the Slaanesh Chariots is the amount of “Ifs” you have to apply to make them worthwhile. Now as, everyone knows, I love random, but these units seriously need a lot of luck to be successful. The main problem is not only the potential damage output, but the fact they are chariots and all those problems that poses.
In order to understand these new models, you need to understand the Chariot rules. Here, is a quick side bar breakdown for the uninitiated.
Chariot Rules Overview
Chariots are vehicles for purposes of being shot at. They have armor values and hull points. Chariots can assault like Walkers provided they did not move Flat Out. In Assault the rider is treated as being in base contact with enemy models that in base contact with the Chariot. Enemy models can strike either the rider or Chariot. In the case of the Slaanesh Chariots if either is destroy both are removed. Characters cannot issue challenges, nor can Chariots be locked in combat. Chariot riders are fearless and gain the Hammer of Wrath special rule.
These chariots have all the hallmarks of a dangerously fragile unit: low armor value, open-topped, few hull points and then in assault, one wound, T3, Save +5. For these chariots to work they have to kill whatever they engage– if they can make it even. With squadron rules, you are one stunned result away from being neutered for multiple turns; then if you opponent survives the charge your one basic attack from going poof. Finding the right balanced with these units is extraordinarily difficult. Single model units get blown up easily, and in combat they don’t deliver. Squadrons can become pricey or inefficient. Then you have to answer fundamental questions like, “Can I roll enough 6s?” “Can I even get my unit to close combat in time?” “What if I get assaulted?”
Granted, your opponent should only have one round to shoot your chariots down, but then again he shouldn’t worry in most cases. Example, if he is playing Orks, he should beg you to charge your 200+ chariots into a 30 boyz squad, because even if you roll better than average the return attacks from just six Ork boyz will finish off your squadron.
If, you survive the Ork Boyz squad, guess what, according to the Chariot rules you are not engaged, so you can be shot at the following turn.
Now they are some cheap 6th edition tricks you can use to MAYBE make these units a marginally effective addition to your army. Let us explore each unit further and see what we can do to get the most out of them.
–Hellflayers of Slaanesh—
Let us start with the most useless of the bunch. The Hellflayer is the same as normal Slaanesh chariot, but instead you get one extra special rule (Soulscent) that allows you to get additional attacks from each unsaved Hammer of Wrath save. The extra rule will cost you 20 points more (from 40 to 60 pts) than your average chariot and put you in the Fast Attack slot.
As well you don’t get the bonus of being able to create a squadron. So this is a two hull point unit with the toughness of Rhino. The chances of success are mighty low. Even against a mighty Space Marine Tactical squad you face the odds of killing at most four marines if you can roll two 6s on you Hammer of Wrath attack numbers. This will generate 9 attacks at I6 that odds say you will kill 2 more Marines at best. That leaves 4 Marines left an almost 100% chance of killing the Hellflayer, if they don’t kill you next turn they can step back and Meltagun you.
Under this rosier than expected scenario, your Hellflayer just got back its points, or you could have taken almost four more Seekers for the same cost. So in other words this is a terrible unit, and I don’t say that about many units. God knows I try to make every unit work, on the surface this is looks like one giant stinker.
–Exalted & Normal Seeker Chariots—
The other chariots don’t fare much better than the Hellflayer, but there might be some hope. The saving grace for these Chariots is the fact you can get them in squadrons. This allows you not only reliably bring your unit to bare– also increases their effectiveness vastly. The footprint they create though can create problems when deep striking. If you take these Chariots, I can only see running them one of two ways.
- Three basic Chariots at 120pts
- Three Chariots two Basic and one Exalted at 170pts
A unit of two Chariots is too fragile and as illustrated with Hellflayers one man units are ineffectual. A squad of three has a legitimate chance to delivery enough damage to hurt most units. Still, you will have to rely on rolling 6s to rend to prove worth. If you are an experienced general you can pull off some intriguing tricks with Chariots; between HoWHammer of Wrath, I6 attacks, and four inch coherency rules, you can pull off assaults that leave opponents unable to strike back. This development is only possible in 6th edition.
So say, I string out your Chariots with one leading and the others four inches behind, then I assault a unit of Tactical Marines on their flank where they are space out or lined up in a row. I should be able to kill enough before I4 that those left to move three inches cannot reach base-to-base. This takes lining up assaults and some good model placement. This does nothing for you when your opponent shoots or assaults you next turn, but it does provide a way to reduce some of the vulnerabilities these Chariots possess.
The 120pt investment in the basic Chariots is a low risk, but potentially a high reward unit. The great thing about Daemons is you can actually corral your opponent into unfortunate situations. Daemons are one of the few armies where you can charge with multiple units at once easily. That might end up being the niche for these new units– don’t lead an assault, but simply augment one.
With Heavy Support so limited for Daemon armies Slaanesh Chariots are a cheap, but with Winged Daemon Princes now particularly valuable for anti-air defense it is hard to find a spot for these Chariots. If you have the free slots or run a theme army, then these are a lovely looking choice.
Results will sadly vary, you will have games where you think these guys are the best unit in the world and others where they die before reaching assault or do nothing once engaged.
It is always funny when GW makes a new models that aren’t particularly good. Luckily the new Flamers and Screamer models look fabulous and are better than before. Slaanessh fanatics will get a kick out of the new models, but for competitive play, they are undoubtedly only for experienced players. As always this is just theory hammer, we will see what the future holds as actual games are played.
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It’s Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.
For tactical articles feel free to email me to continue the discussion or if you discovery inaccurate interpretations of the rules– edits will be made accordingly.