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Scream and Shout...

Steve Irwin's worst nightmare made manifest have always been an odd Chaos curiosity, and for a brief time they were cheesing up the Warhammer 40k.

Now Screamers of Tzeentch are just a middle of the road unit with some interesting rules and abilities.

So, as the vast majority of bandwagon Daemon players retire to the greener pastures of Tau and Eldar you have to wonder are Screamers worth it?

The journey to understanding if Screamers are worth it, you must start by looking at a true night and day comparison between 2008 and 2013.

(Click to Enlarge)

Screamers of Tzeentch Rules 2013

Screamers of Tzeentch Rules 2013

 

Screamers of Tzeentch Rules 2008

Screamers of Tzeentch Rules 2008

 

 Compare & Contrast

  • Lamprey's Bite
  • Slashing Attack
  • Increased Wounds from 1 to 2
  • Increased Initiative and Attacks
  • Increased points cost 16 to 25

--Suction Cup of Death--

Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane is the replacement for Melta Bombs that Screamers previously had. Like grenades they only one attack per Screamer. Thankfully, this gives Screamers some flexibility, especially against vehicles. The only problem is without a high Weapons Skill you risk a lot when you substitute bulk attacks for low AP against.

--Irwin Killer--

Slashing Attack is a cute power that only adds to the arsenal of Screamers. The problem with this power is you cannot follow-up Slashing AttackIf a unit of Screamers moves over one or more units with its Turbo-Boost move, choose one of those unit to suffer D3 S4 AP- hits per Screamer. Vehicles are always hit on their side armour. with an Assault, leaving this power very situational. The best use is really as an afterthought, by using it on units passed over on your way to better to prey.

--Leather Face--

Like all the other units with wound boosts, bonus wounds really make all the difference. Screamers suffer though from only max unit size is nine, (unlike Flesh Hounds of Khorne) so dedicated shooting or high strength can easily eviscerate them.

--Faster, Bite, Bite, Bite--

Screamers got some boosts to their stats. The higher Initiative gives Screamers the ability to strike at the same time of most opponents even if they have to take attacks back. Having more attacks is also good, but knowing the odds between Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane or multiple attacks is paramount.

--Bad Formula--

Unlike Flesh Hounds which got a pittance of a cost increase, Screamers instead are hit with mighty price hike. At an almost 40% cost increase you don't get much. The old Screamers were way over priced and useless, just because you give them some added tricks doesn't compute. Two wounds are nice, but with so many fantastic other Fast Attack options you just have to wonder.

Steve Irwin's worst nightmare made manifest have always been an odd Chaos curiosity, and for a brief time they were cheesing up the Warhammer 40k.

Putting it all Together...

Screamers of Tzeentch still have problems. They aren't as inept as they were in 5th, but no where as near broken as they were in the White Dwarf update.

The biggest problem is the congestion of good units in Fast Attack, and it isn't like they had any other slots to go.

So, what role does that leave for the Screamer?

How to Paint Screamers

The niche for Screamers is very specific. If you look through out the codex you will be hard pressed to find units that can deal out AP2 (reliably). If you take away HQs and Deamon Princes you're left with Screamers. There are no guarantees in 40k, and even with so many Rending units around you cannot be sure the amount of AP2 attacks possible, meaning Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane has a place.

Daemon Princes and Greater Deamons usually have other jobs more important than just offering AP2; having Screamers use Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane all over the place alleviates some of the work the bigger guys have to do. Putting it in another way Screamers are still around half the cost of Terminators and against standard Terminators have a better invulnerable save thanks to Daemons of TzeentchWhen manifesting psychic powers DoT have a +3 modifier to their Leadership. In addition, Daemons of Tzeentch re-roll all saving throw results of 1. Screamers will also strike before most AP2 units in Assault. This makes Screamers of Tzeentch excellent Terminator hunters; only problem is their bonus wounds are negated by most Terminators.

In reality, that leaves Screamers as more of MEQ hunter especially scoring units with few attacks back. This really plays to all the Screamers strengths including the multiple wounds. Screamers aren't bad at handling larger units; Screamers bring 36 attacks on the charge at max size. All the good things that come with playing Screamers are easy when you don't look at the points cost.

In the extreme that is 18 wounds at 225 points. I get the same (wounds) for 216 with Seekers of Slaanesh and have 72 attacks (at WS 5) on the Charge! When you look at it in that perspective you have to wonder exactly how best to spend your points? Even when you include Screamers Slashing AttackIf a unit of Screamers moves over one or more units with its Turbo-Boost move, choose one of those unit to suffer D3 S4 AP- hits per Screamer. Vehicles are always hit on their side armour., the numbers still won't add up. Screamers still can get into the backfield faster than anyone and can avoid many bubble wrap attempts.

It all comes back to Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane. The secondary effect of Armourbane is then your only hope; even with such few attacks you are still hitting on 3s and penetrating most vehicles on a roll of 6+ on two dice, pretty darn good odds. The role then is clear for Screamers: tank hunting. More specifically backfield tanks like Skyrays and Manticores. Screamers can flank one side Turbo Boost up and engage such units easily. Screamers need distractions and bigger threats for your opponents to deal with, thus having Monstrous Creatures and Beasts/Cavalry units in your opponent's face is most appropriate.

Getting in and getting out fast is the Screamers's MO and with the one Attack of Lamprey's BiteA Screamer can substitute all of its normal attacks for a single special attack with the following profile: Range - S5 AP2 Melee, Armourbane taking a little risk and Assaulting two vehicles at once isn't out of the question.

One final consideration, when deciding if Screamers are right for you: Herald Escort. It is tantalizing temptation, but one that should only be considered very thoughtfully.

Screamers as Herald of Tzeentch escorts really only work as ablative wounds for Disc of TzeentchThe model recieves +1 attack and his unit type becomes Jetbike. raging Heralds. The idea is simple: Heralds fly around with smallish unit of Screamers for the express purpose of spell throwing around the table.Disc of TzeentchThe model recieves +1 attack and his unit type becomes Jetbike. Heralds have the ability to keep up with all the fast elements of a Daemon army, but now they can pass wounds on to the Screamers.

Sadly, the Locuses of Tzeentch primarily work only with Horrors of Tzeentch making the notion of some Assault Tzeentch death star just a mere fantasy.

 

--Ways to play Screamers of Tzeentch--

Death Star Configuration: 100 pts 4-man Screamers of Tzeentch

Balanced Configuration: 150 pts 6-man Screamers of Tzeentch

MSU Configuration: 75 pts 5-man Screamers of Tzeentch

Horde Configuration: 225 pts 9-man Screamers of Tzeentch

A Word about Allies

Screamers fit best in theme armies and ones that lack reliable AP2 weapons. A medium size unit of Screamers held in reserve or deep strike can be nice little counter to vehicle rushes for late games. Used in tandem with other units Screamers can crack the nut for other units to nibble inside. 

Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Screamers of Tzeentch are a work in progress. The White Dwarf update made them unbelievably powerful and provided a good road map to where they were heading. Now, as typical for Games Workshop, there was an overreaction and the nurf bat went into full effect. The unit is so close to being really good and all it would've cost was at most an extra attack here or few points cheaper there.

Warning

It's Like Tactics is rated theory hammer because these are general observations and assumptions based on only few tested games.