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The Soul Grinder otherwise known as "what the Defiler should be" is one of the best choices in the Chaos Daemon codex. That reasons are fairly obvious, but even without the inherent bonuses, you have a decent unit, priced correctly, and has a bevy of upgrades.
Soul Grinders were never the worst of choices, but to get idea of from whence they came here is a comparison between the old and new codex.
(Click to Enlarge)
Compare & Contrast
- Harvester Cannon Changes
- Loss of Fleet
- Loss of stock Mawcannon
- Gained Daemonic Resilience
- Gained Deamon Marks
--Harvester of Planes--
The changes to the Harvester Cannon48 inch range S7 AP4 Heavy 3 Skyfire are the most welcome sight for any Daemon player. Without access to a special flyer, Daemon players must rely on either Flying Monstrous Creatures or Soul Grinders to down those pesky flyers. The only problem with the Harvester Cannon is the BS3 and lack of Interceptor. Interceptor isn't that big of deal as most flyers can't deal with Soul Grinders effectively anyway, but the BS3 is a pain in the ass.
--Hold your Horses--
The removal of Fleet is a bummer especially with such a capable assault unit. The loss is not compensated by any points reduction, but at least you have the option to become a Daemon of Slaanesh DoS have the Daemon. Fleet, and Rending special Rules. In addition, DoS Run an additional 3 inches and DoS Cavalry Run an additional 6 inches necessary. With such a large model anyway, assaults shouldn't be hard to come by and Fleet it only made it that much easier.
--You have to pay for that Puke--
In addition to no more Fleet, the Mawcannon is no longer around, but replaced by the option to buy a single load out to specialize your Soul Grinder. The worst part isn't so much you don't get a free template weapon, but now you can only get one of the options, where Mawcannon you could get all weapon load outs. Having the option to make a super Soul Grinder was pretty cool. Taking a long view, you can see that investing that many points in one Walker is hardly cost efficient.
--Not Shaken and Not Stirred--
For all the things lost, Soul Grinder easily make up for it by getting Daemon ResilienceA vehicle with this special rule ignores Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned results on a 2 plus. Acting much like Necron Living Metal, but only better. Taken along with four hull points you have a very, very tough unit to crack. You cannot say enough about ignoring half the vehicle damage table with a 2+ roll.
Daemon of Khorne - free
A Soul Grinder of Khorne is for the player that just doesn't want to spend the points for upgrades. Since being a Soul Grinder of Khorne doesn't give any tangible benefit, this is an easy choice if you just want to run at the enemy. It should be noted that Soul Grinder of Khorne does have one big advantage; they can take advantage the Blood Throne aura making for a very reliable killing machine.
Daemon of Tzeentch - 5 pts
Soul Grinders of Tzeentch aren't a bad choice because of the cost. Five points is well worth the one time you fail a save and get to re-roll those 1s. If you have the points to spent though better investment is the other options.
Daemon of Nurgle -- 15 pts
Soul Grinders of Nurgle are the Grinder of choice for most players. The benefits are really good, from sitting behind an Aegis Line for 2+ cover saves to defensive grenades, you cannot go wrong with this approach. The real only drawback is not being able to run as you might be called on to get your Soul Grinder in position to contest or assault units. That leaves Soul Grinder of Nurgle as pretty static unit best suited for bombarding in a defensible position.
Daemon of Slaanesh - 15 pts
Soul Grinder of Slaanesh is another good choice if you take a more aggressive stance with your Grinders. Rending won't mean much but being able to run +3 inches and having Fleet means one fast killing machine. Running a Slaanesh Soul Grinder with Baleful Torrent is your best bet.
The Soul Grinder otherwise known as "what the Defiler should be" is one of the best choices in the Chaos Daemon.
Putting it all Together...
Soul Grinders are a fantastic support unit that can easily deal with many threats. Dealing with Flyers alone makes Soul Grinders worth considering, with the additional options available an even better reason. Soul Grinders can cost a chunk of change, but with the increased reliability of AV13 it is all worth it.
There are many tactical advantages to using a Soul Grinder. The Soul Grinder can actually shoot, which cannot be said for most Deamonic units. Even with the BS3 the Soul Grinder has a host of reliably weapons. It starts with the Harvester Cannon48 inch range S7 AP4 Heavy 3 Skyfire with its 3 shots so you should hit at least once. The other weapons available are better though, like the Battle Cannon, sorry I mean Phlegm Bombardment Range 36 inches S8 AP3 Ordnance, 1 Large Blast.
Just like on a Leman Russ or Defiler a Battle Cannon is one target magnet. In 6th edition this type of weapon is so much better; no longer do you have to rely on the little circle to be over a vehicle, now any part of the blast template works just fine. Having the Ordnance rule is a blessing and curse though. If you use the Phlegm Bombardment you will be snap-firing the Harvester Cannon 48 inch range S7 AP4 Heavy 3 Skyfire, so having clear target priority is very important.
Going with Phlegm Bombardment Range 36 inches S8 AP3 Ordnance, 1 Large Blast more than likely has the Soul Grinder siting back taking pot shots at your opponent. Now if you go the Baleful Torrent Template S6 AP4 Assault 1, Torrent route you will have to get slightly closer to your opponent. Luckily, the Baleful Torrent Template S6 AP4 Assault 1, Torrent like the name implies has the Torrent rule making this one obnoxious weapon. As the Xeno popularity rises, having an AP4 flamer isn't a bad call, as your Soul Grinder can ferret out Tau Warriors or Dire Avengers with ease.
This comes to another very important consideration Soul Grinders can still Deep Strike. Now, Soul Grinders really do benefit from being able to start on the table, but don't underestimate a Deep Striking AV13 daemonic engine. The Soul Grinder large footprint does pose a problem, this is where Icons and Instruments come in handy. Not only can you place Soul Grinders where you want them, you can also have them come in (typically) the turn of your choosing. As long as you have Icon carriers in the middle of board a Baleful Torrent Template S6 AP4 Assault 1, Torrent Soul Grinder can threaten anything.
As for the option of Warp GazeRange 24 inches, S10 AP1 Heavy 1 you are better off saving your points. Warp GazeRange 24 inches, S10 AP1 Heavy 1 is pretty damn useless on a BS3 unit, especially one that can Iron ClawS x2 AP2 Melee, Specialist Weapon, Unwieldy its way through any vehicle. Then you have the even more useless WarpswordS User, AP3 Melee, Master-crafted, Specialist Weapon it makes me wonder if the design team didn't get the memo about Walkers being unaffected by Unwieldy. In clearer terms, I am going to forgo my Strength 10 AP2 Iron ClawS x2 AP2 Melee, Specialist Weapon, Unwieldy for an Strength six AP3 weapon? Did I mention I have to pay for an extra 25 points for the privilege, oh wait, it is master-crafted and I get an extra attack totally worth it...
It shouldn't be forgotten Soul Grinder are still Deamons, so Fear and 5+ invulnerable save are always in order. These little benefits compensate for the hidden costs Soul Grinders have. but there is no shame in not spending any points, and just go bare bones as rampager for the Blood God. Soul Grinders size also acts like a guard as you can wall off scoring troops from claiming objectives and assault to make sure they stay back.
Soul Grinders do have the same vulnerabilities like any other vehicle, one Meltagun can ruin your day. Often opponents will try to get behind your Soul Grinder for a more manageable AV value. That means positioning your Soul Grinder is critical. As, well Soul Grinders shouldn't be afraid to mix it up in assault, the AV13 really stops everything, but Meltabombs.
Even a Powerfist will be hard pressed to get through an invulnerable save and four Hull Points. That leaves us with what Soul Grinders do best: grinding or maybe we should now call it twerking it.
--Ways to play Seekers of Slaanesh-
Khorne Configuration: 135 pts Soul Grinder with Mark of Khorne
Tzeentch Configuration: 165 pts Soul Grinder with Daemon of Tzeentch, Warp Gaze
Nurgle Configuration: 180 pts Soul Grinder with Deamon of Nurgle, Phlegm Bombardment
Slaanesh Configuration: 170 pts Soul Grinder with Daemon of Slaanesh, Baleful Torrent
A Word about Allies
Soul Grinders are great allies especially if you have a case of the Defiler blues. It gives your ally force another anti-flyer unit and something heavily armored. Soul Grinders weapon options means you can pick the weapons to fill any gaps your army might possess.
Remember unlike other Battle Brothers Daemons ICs cannot join with Chaos Space Marine units under any circumstance.
Overall, Soul Grinders were kept relevant which was a good thing unlike the poor Defiler. Soul Grinders still can struggle like any vehicle, but with rise of mass medium strength shooting has Soul Grinders having less to fear. Soul Grinders also don't have to deal with a clogged up FoC slot, making them an easy choice if you need some shooting. One final thing, don't forget Soul Grinders are great for Big Guns Never Tire giving you a strong scoring unit.
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 discover an inaccurate interpretations of the rules-- edits will be made accordingly.
Also check out other articles in this series...
- Chaos Space Marine Tactica Link Page
- Chaos Daemons Impressions
- Breaking Down Chaos Daemons
- Bloodletters of Khorne Review
- Pink Horrors of Tzeentch Review
- Plaguebearers of Nurgle Review
- Deamonettes of Slaanesh Review
- Bloodcrushers of Khorne Review
- Flamers of Tzeentch Review
- Beasts of Nurgle Review
- Fiends of Slaanesh Review
- Flesh Hounds of Khorne Review
- Screamers of Tzeentch Review
- Plague Drones of Nurgle Review
- Chaos Furies Review
- Seekers of Slannesh Review
- Soul Grinder Review
- Skull Cannon of Khorne Review
- Nurglings Review
- Skarbrand Review
- Kairos Fateweaver Review
- Ku'Gath the Plaguefather Review
- Bloodthirster Review
- Lord of Change Review
- Great Unclean One Review
- Keeper of Secrets Review
- Daemon Prince Review
- Skulltaker Review
- The Changling Review
- The Blue Scribes Review
- Epidemius Review
- The Masque Review
- Herald of Khorne Review
- Herald of Tzeentch Review
- Herald of Nurgle Review
- Herald of Slaanesh Review
- Exalted, Seeker, Hellflayer Chariots of Slaanesh Review
- Burning Chariot of Tzeentch Review
- A Look Back and Final Chaos Codex Daemons Breakdown