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Magic Men...

Heralds of Tzeentch continually have a soft spot in the hearts of competitive and casual gamers alike. Leading an army of Change aloft a disc or chariot has always been an intrinsic part of the cinematic Warhammer 40k memory.

The Herald of Tzeentch though has a darker side, a unit bemoaned for the part it plays in a cheesy combo or its ability to have all the toys. The 6th edition version is synonymous with the dreaded Screamer Star, but with the game ever-changing, where will this unit land is anyone's guess. Let us start by comparing the past and present codex entries for this polarizing unit.

(Click to Enlarge)

Herald of Tzeentch Rules 2013


Herald of Tzeentch Rules 2008


Compare &  Contrast

  • Point Decrease from 50 to 45 points
  • Increased Disc & Chariot Costs
  • Gifts replaced by Daemonic Rewards
  • Daemonic Loci
  • Now a Psyker

--Every bit counts--

The drop in cost for the Herald of Tzeentch is a minor boon, especially if you plan on just running these Heralds without any upgrades. They might have one less Initiative, but becoming a Psyker makes these unit quite the bargin.

--More expensive rides--

Customary Games Workshop behavior, is to secretly raise the cost of unit through its upgrades, the Disc of Tzeentch and Burning Chariot is a good case in point. The point increase for the Disc of Tzeentch is pretty pointless as the disc itself is pretty useless, unless you're attached to fast units. The Burning Chariot option is a big step down from the old Chariot, where you would see four five wound heralds running a muck.

--Different types of diversions--

The old set of gifts made the Herald Tzeentch a dangerous weapons platform, but those powers became Psychic powers. This is some what a problem for Heralds, as they just don't get enough points in Daemonic Rewards to really change the unit into resembling a combat or resilient unit.

--Banner signifying very little--

The Loci for Tzeentch are the worse for any of the Chaos Gods. They best outcomes come when used with large Pink Horror units and even then they're pretty pathetic. Your points are better spent taking higher Mastery Levels.

--A Change for the Better--

The most important change to Heralds of Tzeentch is finally becoming a Pskyer. Better yet, Heralds get access to Divination, making them great support units. In true Tzeentch fashion, they are also the only Heralds who can get Mastery Level three. Since you can get three Divination powers it really leaves the Change discipline by the wayside most of the time.

Leading an army of Change aloft a disc or chariot has always been a part of the cinematic Warhammer 40k memory.

Putting it all Together...

Heralds of Tzeentch are great on many levels and none require being part of a Screamer Star. For those who don't know what the Screamer Star is here is quick run down...

Take a large unit of Screamers of Tzeentch, then take three to four Heralds of Tzeentch, and Fateweaver. The Screamers are the damage dealers, while the Heralds go for Forewarning (+4 invulnerable save) and Grimoire of True Names for 2+ re-rolling saves. Fateweaver is back up for any missed rolls and controlling the Warp Storm Table.

This is one of the Death Stars of choice for competitive players, but something I recommend every player look beyond. The meta is changing fast and adapting beyond these tricks will be necessary. Heralds of Tzeentch do not need this combination as a crutch to be effective. Heralds of Tzeentch are just fine as either support, leaders, psykers.

The easiest and most cost effective way to run a Herald of Tzeentch is going bare bones. To borrow a term from Warhammer Fantasy, Heralds of Tzeentch are fine as a Prescience caddy. 45 points is a pittance to pay for re-rolls on any unit. The only downside is Prescience short-range, which means your army list must be shoot heavy or your Herald has to stay in range of assaulting elements.

Then there is going with Mastery Level three Heralds-- at only 90 points! This is easily the cheapest level three Psyker in the game. You can go all in with Divination, but taking two powers in Divination and one in Tzeentch for Flickering Fire of Tzeentch gives you more flexibility. You will no doubt place this Herald in a large squad of Horrors thus intensifying the potency of Flickering Fire of Tzeentch. With any luck you will have a combination of Perfect Timing or Misfortune to go along with Prescience. If you take a few of these Heralds you can really hit your opponent with mass Flickering Fire of Tzeentch, along with some Divination buffs for good measure. Then there is Denying the Witch more easily when this Herald of Tzeentch is in your units

If you go with a Flickering Fire of Tzeentch blob, it is the only time you could consider taking the Exalted Locus of Conjuration. Having S6 Flickering Fire of Tzeentch isn't something to disregard, if you have the spare points, but remember the other Loci are useless pretty useless otherwise.

Besides being a Prescience caddy, a Herald of Tzeentch is a great Portalglyph delivery system. It isn't really important for Herald of Tzeentch to spend points on Daemonic Rewards, unless you are going Hellforged. You shouldn't be wasting points on Greater Daemonic Rewards because the best defense a Herald of Tzeentch has doesn't require spending extra points; like Look Out Sir, hiding in large squads, and avoiding all assaults. This makes a Herald of Tzeentch an easy choice if you don't want to use Exalted Reward points on your Greater Daemons or Deamon Princes.

Casting all these spells though does pose one major problem for the Herald of Tzeentch: Perils of the Warp. At only two wounds you are bound to run into flubbing a few spells. It is important that you don't just manifest powers because you can, but make sure your units will really take advantage of the buffs in the turn you are manifesting.

If you are not running the Screamer Star, there isn't much use in taking Disc of Tzeentch for your Heralds. You don't want your Herald flying around to just get picked off, nor do you want him slowed by units he can join. I never understood why GW gives upgrades with bonuses to assault when the unit has no business getting in assault in the first place. The Disc of Tzeentch maybe could find a home if it gave a Toughness bonus.

Then we have the issue of the Burning Chariot; unlike the Chariot of Khorne, the Burning Chariot is made of cardboard. An AV10 anything is going to die, especially with minimal defenses. Once it blows up, your Herald of Tzeentch is out in the open for any player to kill it easily. Even if you go the spam route of taking all your Heralds on a Burning Chariot what is the point? Run up to cast Bolt of Change once before getting removed? Your Heralds only have two wounds and there is no way you are getting more, so better to keep them hidden, or at least not in an exploding vehicle.

-- Herald of Tzeentch Sample Lists--

Tzeentch of Herald Sample List 1

Tzeentch of Herald Sample List 2

Tzeentch of Herald Sample List 3

Tzeentch of Herald Sample List 4

A Word about Allies

The Herald of Tzeentch is often the best Herald choice for any ally force. The Herald provides an easy way to exploit Battle Brothers. With Daemons lacking long range shooting, having ally units as easy Divination targets is probably a good idea. The Herald of Tzeentch is really cheap, meaning he can fit into any size game, especially if you need a quick Psychic boost for your army.

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

Final Thoughts...

Overall, Heralds of Tzeentch are overlooked once you get past Screamer Star fetishists. They are extremely inexpensive for what they can do for your army. Now that it seems like Apocalypses units are here to stay, people are going to need to adapt away from Deathstars and the Herald of Tzeentch can still provide a very important role in many Daemon armies.


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