Friday, 27 May 2016

The Tournament Conundrum - Musings of a chaotic mind

Greetings sinners!
Tournaments have been few and far between for me this year. As a dedicated Chaos Space Marine player that insists on hamstringing himself with self-imposed restrictions, the lack of events that allow Forge World has seriously hampered my options. Fortunately, GW have been busy of late and have given Chaos Space Marines something to help them out....

.....First off, let me just say that I do think Chaos Space Marines can compete at a competitive level, it's just that I don't want to use a mixed god list that relies heavily on Psychic powers. My Castigators are strictly Slaanesh/Unmarked and I find a lot of the psychic shenanigans incredibly boring.....See what I mean about self-imposed restrictions? Because of this I've always looked to Forge World to play at a competitive level. Alas, here in the UK, the vast majority of events slavishly follow the ETC rule-set, so Forge World hasn't been an option and my tournament conundrum has had me stumped.
Fortunately, Tzeentch must be in the ascendency, because change is in the air!

Changes have come thick and fast in the last few Months, first we had Curse of the Wulfen, then this little lot arrived.

Chaos Space Marines received updated supplements and Renegade Knights which offer much needed options for our long war.
The Crimson Slaughter supplement was a little disappointing from a competitive perspective. They lost Draznicht and had him replaced by a Possessed formation tax. The Slaughter Cult (Dark Apostle with Cultists that get back up) is probably the best of their formations but the Disciples of Mannon (Sorcerer with Possessed that will usually get a random Tzeentch Daemon unit once per game) looks interesting. Overall it isn't going to radically change the way they operate any time soon.
I like my Chaos Lord to have a 2+ armour save on his bike, so I'll still be using the Crimson Slaughter rules as my primary detachment.
The Black Legion supplement is definitely the winner here, but unfortunately for me it doesn't suit my background or my preferred play style. The Cyclopia Cabal (3-5 Sorcerers with a pseudo Puppet Master) will be a regular in a lot of Chaos lists, especially Khorne Daemonkin....Oh, what I wouldn't give for a Slaanesh Daemonkin Codex!
Hands down, the real biggie is the Renegade Knight data-sheet.
Not the load out I will be using, but a welcome sight nonetheless.
Ever since the release of the Imperial Knight, Chaos players have been screaming for a Chaos equivalent, well now they finally have it. Chaos Space Marines have really struggled against Deathstars and Lords of War and the welcome addition of their own Lord of War really helps us out. The Renegade weapon options are actually better than their loyalist counterpart thanks to their ability to put a ranged weapon on each arm. Without a doubt, this will become a must take for Chaos Space Marines.
This really lets me compete in the tournament scene. So what if an event doesn't allow Forge World? I can still take something to help me out against all those invisible Deathstars that regularly smash my army apart....Okay it might not stop them dead, but it will slow them down and relieve some of the pressure that my Castigators have to face.

It's probably just as well that the Renegade Knight was released because the latest offering from GW has the potential to wreck my current competitive army....

From a purely selfish point of view, I hope Tournaments ignore this supplement. The rule changes it contains have serious consequences for my competitive army. My 1850pt list includes a Fire Raptor, Heldrake, Dreadclaw & Helblade. All of the Forge World flyers are obsolete unless FW releases an Errata for them. That's 440pts that I can no longer use.....Ouch!
Even if FW release an Errata for their flyers, I'm pretty sure that my Fire Raptor will lose its Skyfire ability, which is primarily why I bought it in the first place (that and it just looks so damn cool!).
Flying Monstrous Creatures will be happy, because this supplement makes them much more survivable to enemy flyer fire power. What is it they say?....One door opens another door closes ;-)

As if this wasn't enough to contend with, GW, busy little bees that they are, haven't finished yet. They're currently working on new FAQ's. They're still in the draft stage but from what I've seen of them so far, they look pretty good.
There are a few that will change things around a bit (if they come to pass). Only one grenade in close combat, not being able to start in an ally's transport & restricting Battle Brother shenanigans being the ones that jumped out at me.
The FAQ's are okay from a Chaos Space Marine perspective. We could never pull off the Battle Brother shenanigans that our loyalist cousins get up to (until KDK came along and for me Khorne isn't an option), so whatever hurts them makes us stronger. The one grenade in combat rule actually helps out our Maulerfiends and makes them a bit more survivable, no more being krak'd to death. Drop Podding Battle Brothers have been seriously hit, so no more Culexus Assassins borrowing a Blood Angel drop pods. This could have a detrimental effect for me. I abhor psychic armies and I was hoping to see the Culexus become more prominent and reduce their number. I think the Culexus just took a huge hit.
So where does all that leave me?

It leaves me needing to pull my finger out and get some stuff painted pretty damn quickly!
I have a bad feeling my flyers are about to be hit for six so I need to get something to replace them.
The first choice will be a Renegade Knight. I have a Chaos Knight that is painted to table top standard that I can use for now, so that gives me some breathing space.
The obvious choice would be to design a list around the Cyclopia Cabal. My personal opinion on this unit is that it works great for KDK but that it's too expensive for a Chaos Space Marine army to get the best out of it.
So that leaves me with my old friend and ally......Chaos Daemons!

I love daemons and Slaanesh daemons are some of the best looking models out there in my opinion. Unfortunately, I'm don't really enjoy painting them. It's not that I don't enjoy painting the odd unit or two, but I hate painting a lot of them, and if experience has taught me one thing, it's that I need a lot of them to make them work......or do I?

Curse of the Wulfen introduced some interesting options for Daemons. Obviously, I'm only interested in Slaanesh so that reduces these options a bit.
The Forgehost immediately jumped out at me, I mean, what's not to love about 3 Soul Grinders of Slaanesh running around spreading the love? Throw in a Renegade Knight and that's a lot of armour for the enemy to deal with.
I was pretty sure I had 3 Soul Grinders lying around, so I decided to see just how many daemons infest my house, the result surprised and shocked me. Now we're all secret hoarders at heart, but I can honestly say I was a little embarrassed at just how many I had.
3 Soul Grinders
40 Daemonettes
20 Furies of Slaanesh
9 Fiends of Slaanesh
3 Daemon Princes
The Masque
2 Heralds of Slaanesh
25 Seekers of Slaanesh
6 Seeker Chariots of Slaanesh
That's not an ally, that's a full blown army!

With all that little lot, I returned to the Daemon dex and CotW to see what else I could use in my battle to spread Our Lady's divine message to all the infidels out there.
The Forgehost was definitely an option, but it seems a bit slow and each of them can be dropped by one shot. I was thinking I need to add faster units that offer a distraction but can still cause damage if they become isolated from the main bulk of my army. The answer to this was the Grande Cavalcade.

I had to brush up on my Chariot rules, as the only experience I'd had with them was when fighting against Necrons. The quick and dirty run-down on them is that they:
Move 12" - Reasonably quick.
Armour 11/11/10 - Pretty much immune to strength 4 apart from the rear.
Open Topped - Penetrating hits receive +1 on the damage chart.
Fast Vehicle - Can flat out 12" to give them 24" overall movement
Cannot be immobilised -They count all immobilised results as Crew Stunned instead.
Shooting at Chariots - The chariot owner chooses whether the shots hit the chariot or the rider.
Chariots and Assaults - The Attacker chooses the chariot or the rider for his attacks. He cannot hit the rear of the chariot because of the rider.
Hammer of Wrath - Normally Chariots gain d6 HoW HITS on the charge.
A chariot can reroll one or more dice when charging, so it essentially has Fleet.

The Seeker Cavalcade has additional rules:
Daemon - A 5 up Invulnerable is always nice.
Deepstrike - I can't think of a single reason to use this ability.
Daemonic Instability - They're likely to disappear if they don't win combat.
Fleshshredder - Instead of d6 HoW hits at strength 6 AP-, they get d6 per hull point at strength 4, Rending. so a Seeker Chariot with 2 Hull Points will have 2d6 HITS at initiative 10, that Rend.

The Grande Cavalcade has additional rules that really makes this an attractive option:
All Grande Cavalcade units can move an additional 6" when moving Flat Out or or making Run moves - That's a movement of 30 inches.
Murderous Impact - Chariots from the Grande Cavalcade inflict an additional d6 HOW hits.

And the price for all of this? 40pts per chariot! the man in the leather spanking pants!

Now I'm sure you can see the merits of the Seeker Chariot. All of these rules add up to create a very tasty option.
Their speed means they can cover ground incredibly quickly. Gun lines will have one turn, maybe two to get rid of them.
Their durability against Grav weapons is enough to give Centurions kittens. If they use Grav the hits go on the rider needing 6's to wound.
Invisible units won't like taking up to 3d6 rending hits per chariot on the charge....followed up by another 5 WS5 rending attacks.
Okay, they're pretty much guaranteed to give up first blood, but at 40pts per chariot, so what?

Of course, there is another problem. Building and painting all those chariots and Seekers fills me with dread! Fortunately, I have a few days off, so I'll see just how quickly I can build and paint these babies.
Expect to see an update on how I'm progressing in a couple of days time, until then......may Our Lady grant you her number ;-)


  1. Lord Adiatun Varunn27 May 2016 at 10:11

    I can only agree with you, although I am not a player from tournaments... The Chaos Space Marines need a brush up on rules, always hoping in a deep respect for our background, despite the latest releases, you mentioned, are going in the right direction.
    Maybe us chaotic players are too close to Your Lady in these times and we show signs of masochism :-)
    Anyway, as Lorgar would say: perseverare semper, in the name of the Gods!

    1. Our time will come again. For now we just have to make the best of what we have and keep the faith.

    2. Surely, heretic-brother, moreover we love our armies ... that's why I follow your blog, it's like breathing again the air when I started to play, thanks to You and Rob.

    3. Indeed, our armies are everything brother ;-)

    4. Lord Adiatun Varunn27 May 2016 at 13:07

      Absolutely, the torment and delight of our hobby in our, chaotic, case.
      the Gods bless You and Rob, brother

  2. Great read Gaz you seemed to cover everything and shine light on things i wasn't aware off. The knight you have painted up is it the forgeworld chaos knight or the imperial knight you get with renegade? Im using the kits from renegade they don't limit the conversion work unlike the forgeworld chaos knight dose.

    1. Cheers Dyl.
      The Knight I have painted up is the FW Chaos Knight. It needs a lot of work but it is table top ready should I need to use it. Knowing what I know now, I'd have gone for a regular Imperial Knight and converted it rather than the FW one. The FW knight does limit the conversion possibilities.

  3. Hiya! I've only got a couple of games under my belt with my fledgeling Daemons of Slaanesh and the Hellflayer Chariot, though a beautiful model, has been quite disappointing. The model is stunning and I'm warming to painting another one, but I'll probably go for the Exalted Chariot with a Herald on top. Reasonably cheap pointswise and undoubtedly effective for drawing enemy fire - there is something entrancing in the model (very apt for a creature of the Dark Prince) and everyone seems to blast away at it despite its unremarkable threat level. I'd suggest you squeeze The Masque in any Daemon list, and bring her in on the heels (hells? Haha!) of a large Daemonette unit. She can land close nearby thanks to an Icon of Chaos and the look of your opponent's face when she leaves the closest enemy unit bamboozled and unable to do anything until the next turn is priceless. The Daemonettes will make short work of almost anything in close combat, provided there is a Herald around to bolster them. This said, I've enjoyed immensely the change to Daemons from my regular foot-slogging Marine lists. Sonic weapons only go so far as to provide entertainment and the Initiative bonus regrettably does not confer a real-world ability like the Eldar have. So much for the fleshy Disciples of the Dark Prince. :-)

    1. Thanks for the input Scientist.
      I love all of the Slaanesh Daemons (I think I'm the only person that actually likes the Slaanesh Fiend model) and think they look incredibly cool. The main issue I have with them is that they need a bit of time to do justice to the model and unfortunately Slaanesh Daemons need a lot of numbers. I'm experimenting with washes to speed up the painting time and the results are pretty reasonable....they not Golden Daemon standard but they look okay (pictures in a couple of days).

      It sounds like you use only one model?
      I would think one chariot will struggle (especially against all the fire power out there). I'm hoping more chariots will stretch the abilities of even the shootiest army....this is all theoryhammer of course and I could be for some disappointment ;-).
      I'm hoping the additional Grande Cavalcade rules will increase their threat level considerably, sort of like a Rhino Rush list of yesteryear with teeth and claws.
      I hear you on the Daemonettes and the Masque, I have a little experience with them and they very rarely let me down. At the moment I'm looking to use the Grande Cavalcade as a stand alone ally for my Castigators, so points will be too limited for additional allies....of course, once I start painting all these models up I can see the Castigators role as primary detachment being put under threat ;-)

    2. Of course, the Cavalcade is an interesting option to increase the survivability of the Chariots. I painted my single item so far as a Fleshshredder because I thought the Soulscent rule would be useful, but it has been quite underwhelming in the two games I played with a 1000 pt Daemon list. As I mentioned, it works quite well as a distraction, being really fast on the tabletop (and a gorgeous model to boot). Despite my misgivings about its perceived lack of sturdiness, the use of plastic glue and a firm base has turned it into a surprisingly resilient model, whips, crowns, thorns and all. I also really like Fiends, but the price tag on the model makes it unlikely that I'll ever warm to having a six-creature unit of them. Cheers.

    3. Their physical fragility is something that does concern me. I've already snapped one of the whips just removing it from the sprue. Transporting them to an event and gaming with them (especially after a few beers) has me thinking about ways to make them more sturdy. I'm thinking of having the whips lashing the Steeds so they are less likely to break. Transporting them will be something of a challenge ;-)

  4. Glad I bought the three knights now instead of investing in flyers. Yet more clunky rules and extra phases for me to forget about.

    1. Agreed. The lack of response from tournament organisers about which ruleset they are going to use makes me think they don't know which way to jump. They're probably waiting for the ETC to make a decision, but Tim isn't even acknowledging the question. If he'd said one way or the other what he was going to do I would have gone to his tournament next week with Iain and Michael, but he hasn't, so I won't be attending any events until they decide.

  5. No true disciple of Khorne would lower themselves to the point of employing a sorcerer cabal.

    1. Alas, not everybody keeps their faith my blood crazed friend....My fallen brother is even thinking about putting Slaanesh Sorcerers in a Gore Pack! Such an insult shall not go unpunished however, even now Lucian Soulweaver is tracking his psychic spore to bring divine retribution to this blasphmy!

  6. Even the suggestion that any Khornate being would consider cavorting with Witchs is Blasphemey. However it's just another excuse to reap more Skulls for the Blood God.

    With regard to your newly discovered Toys, it sounds like you might be giving the EU food Mountain a run for its money :-) At least you have some capital to liquidate should you need to pay off a debt quickly.

    Looking forward to seeing some of your newly painted Daemons, (pls don't sacrifice Quality for quantity as I really admire the time & effort you put into the converting & painting of your mini's).

    Are you going to be picking up any of the new paints GW released this week?

    1. I haven't seen the new paints, I'll check them out Rob.
      I'm afraid the Daemons will be speed painted, if not it will be about two years before I get them on the table ;-)

  7. Grr I hate this blog system you use Gary. Every time I take the time & effort to read your articles, sign in & try to post a comment it Bloody deletes it! You watch I bet it posts this one.

    1. It doesn't delete it Rob, all comments have to be okayed by me....patience grasshopper!