Thursday 3 March 2016

Curse of the Wulfen....Gift of the Daemon?

Greetings sinners!
No doubt everybody has seen the latest campaign book from Games Workshop titled Curse of the Wulfen. As soon as news broke about this campaign book, I waited impatiently to place my pre-order for it. I mean, it's a campaign book.....I love playing campaigns. It has Space Wolves in it....I have a very modest Space Wolves army. It has Daemons in it.....I love my Daemons and this could be the incentive I need to get more work done on my Slaanesh daemon allies. Really, this was a no-brainer for me, it has to be full of win....Surely?

Curse of the Wulfen is comprised of two books.

The first book (re)introduces the Wulfen and sets the scene for Warzone Fenris. The story is entertaining and had me powering through this tale of intrigue and woe to discover what would happen. I'm a Fluffhead at heart, so it was right up my street.
The book is chock full of artwork and while most of it adds to the tale, some of the artwork is a step backwards in my opinion.
I don't know about you but this reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons
Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, Thundercats....Err wait, not that.

Personally, I prefer the dark and brooding style for which GW is famous for or the loose and evocative style of John Blanche rather than this bright cartoon style that seems to be becoming more frequent. Art is very subjective, but some of it had my mind screaming "By the power of Greyskull!!"
I mean, really? This is just bad!
The second book determines whether this will be a success or not....the rules.

The book is comprised of three chapters. Missions, Space Wolves & Chaos Daemons.
I'm not going to talk about the Wolves, if that's your thing, then I recommend reading Adam's excellent Space Wolves blog .

The Missions
The Missions section introduces some Hostile Environments that players can incorporate into their games. Rules for fighting on an Ice World, an Abandoned Defence Network, a Haunted Planet & a Ministorum Shrine World allow players to inject some unusual and novel conditions into their games. Having used similar style rules in the past, I know that these will add some fun to our campaign games in the future.
There are six scenarios to play through. All of them are different enough to give some fun and challenging games. A Campaign Chart allows players to link the scenarios to create a nice little mini-campaign.
Personally, I think GW misses the mark slightly with their campaign rules. All of their scenarios require large, well-established armies to play. I'm of the firm opinion that bigger doesn't always mean better (just ask the ex-wife!). I'd prefer to see some smaller pointed scenarios with a steady escalation in point size. This focus on large scale battles can be very restrictive, especially to new-comers.
With a bit of work, I'm sure I can use these scenarios and the Campaign Chart to create a mini-campaign......and working out a campaign can be a lot of fun! If nothing else it gives me some ideas about creating my own mini-campaigns.

Chaos Daemons

So now we come to the part that interests me the most about Curse of the Wulfen, Daemons....34 pages worth.
All of the daemon additional rules have been added in this section. I'm unfortunate enough to live in an area where White Dwarf isn't easily accessible (I refuse to subscribe as I have no interest in AoS), so the Bloodthirsters and Exalted Flamer rules passed me by. Fortunately these have been included along with Be'lakor and Skarbrand.....Yeah I know, the poster boys get 4 Bloodthirsters...but hey. they're still not as sexy as Slaanesh.

Psychic Powers

All of the gods' psychic powers have an additional 3 powers, apart from Khorne obviously. The Nurgle powers are reasonable but unfortunately for me, the Slaanesh powers are pretty dire. Tzeentch however, is really good (as it should be). They now have access to an 18", strength D Witchfire power. If you hadn't seen much of Fateweaver before, you'll be seeing a lot more of him now because he knows all of these powers!

Hellforged Artefacts

All four of the gods receive some pretty tasty artefacts. They range from armour, weapons to a funky Nurgling dude. Unfortunately, once again Slaanesh is the weaker of the four. There are still one or two that may see some use such as the Slothful Claw that grants +2 strength, AP2 attack for one of the Herald's attacks, but nothing that breaks the game. I'm sure Daemon players will come up with some tasty little combos with these artefacts, so expect to see them in use.

I admit I'm new to these 'Special Detachment' rules (or Decurion as everyone seems to call them)  as Chaos has never had them before. From my inexperienced eye, the Daemonic Incursion detachment seems pretty restrictive.
A Daemonic Incursion must include 1 Core choice (Muderhorde, Tallyband, Warpflame Host or Flayertroupe) and 1 Auxiliary. It may include up to 3 Command choices and any number of additional Core or Auxiliary choices.
Each god's core choice must include their sacred number of units and a Herald, so Slaanesh must have 6 units, Nurgle 7, Khorne 8 & Tzeentch 9.
I'm sure you can see how quickly the points rack up to meet the minimum requirement.

The minimum requirement for the Slaanesh Flayertroupe would be 585pts. That would give me 6 x 10 Daemonettes and a bare bones Herald. Now every Daemon player worth his salt knows that it's the upgrades that make Daemons function properly. The Herald would want Beguilement, a Steed, gifts and probably some Psychic levels to multiply its influence. Similarly, at least one unit of Daemonettes would need to be increased in size to actually cause some damage and probably a decent sized unit of Fiends to replace a unit of 'Nettes. All this would rack up the points to around 800 to 900pts. By the time Auxiliaries have been added and one or two command units, that would pretty much use up all available points.
Khorne fairs much better, 445pts would get you 8 x 5 Flesh Hound and a bare-bones Herald. Flesh Hounds are one of the stand out units in the Daemon Codex, so units of 5 would be great objective takers. If I ever fall from my sublime grace and succumb to Khorne, I would probably upgrade a unit to full size and add the herald riding a Jugger with some funky artefact.
Nurgle works well, 360pts would give you, 7 x 3 Nurglings and a bare-bones Herald. 7 Units of Nurglings might feel a bit meh, but their Infiltrate ability could see them racking up mission objectives really quickly. I have a feeling Rob might be trying these out in the not too distant future.
Tzeentch is reasonable too. One of their options allows an Exalted Flamer to be taken for 50pts. So 9 Exalted Flamers and a bare-bones Herald is a respectable 495pts, that's a lot of AP2 shots! Of course where Tzeentch really excels is in the Psychic phase. I dread to think how many power dice a Tzeentch Incursion list will generate.
The benefits of using a Daemonic Incursion Detachment (DID?) are definitely worth taking.

  1. Daemonic Corruption - Objective Markers controlled by units from this detachment count as controlled for the rest of the game, even if the controlling player has no units within 3". This effect lasts until an enemy scoring unit cleanses the objective by controlling it.
  2. Unearthly Power - When rolling on the Warp Storm table, you can choose to add or subtract one from the roll.
  3. The Warp Unleashed - You can choose to re-roll any instability tests for this detachment.
To add to this goodness, your Warlord may roll on his patron's Warlord Traits table. All of these are pretty good. A roll of 1 on the Slaanesh Warlord Trait allows the Warlord and his unit to run and charge in the same turn for example.

So the number of units needed to meet the Incursion's requirements pretty much rules out using Chaos Marines as allies from a Slaanesh point of view. It isn't impossible, but in a competitive environment it will be an uphill struggle. I have four criteria that need to be met when I design my lists, these are:

  1. Can it withstand Scatterbikes?
  2. Can it deal with a Knight?
  3. Can it deal with Thunder Wolves?
  4. Can it deal with flyers?
The issue I have with the Slaanesh Incursion is that it struggles against all four areas.
5 Scatterbikes will wipe out 10 Daemonettes or 3 Fiends in one round of shooting.
There is very little in a Slaanesh army that can deal with a Knight. Maybe a Keeper of Secrets that has Invisibility, but that isn't something one can rely on getting. The rank and file Slaanesh Daemons can't even touch them.
A fully tricked out Thundercav unit is virtually impossible for Slaanesh to deal with. My usual tactic of dealing with these is to avoid them.
Slaanesh has nothing that can deal with flyers.
Unfortunately, Chaos Marines can also struggle in this area as well.
My Castigators can get around these issues by adding Flyers such as the Fire Raptor, Dreadclaw & Heldrake. This helps me deal with enemy flyers, avoid the Thundercav and severely limits the Scatterbikes effectiveness. For dealing with Knights, I add a Knight of my own. Unfortunately that little lot weighs in at 1050pts. So in a 1500pt game that rules out a Flayertroupe.

Fortunately, all is not lost. While Chaos Marines don't make great allies for a Slaanesh Incursion. The Slaanesh Incursion does make a great ally to Chaos Marines thanks to the formations contained within the Incursion detachment.

There are 10 formations available in the book. Two for each god and two others. I've briefly covered one set of the gods' formations, The other gods' formations are:
Gorethunder Battery (3 Skull Cannons and a Herald on a Blood Throne). It must be fielded as a vehicle squadron, so I can't see much use for this formation.
Burning Skyhost (9 units of Burning Chariots or Screamers and a Herald on a Disc or Burning Chariot). Ouch, that's a lot of points. I like screamers, but 9 units of them? I think not.
Rotswarm (7 units of Plague Drones or Beasts of Nurgle and a Herald). I had to look up what Beasts of Nurgle do, which tells a story really. 7 Beasts is 364pts and while they aren't fantastic, I can imagine these making a nuisance of themselves.
Grande Cavalcade (6 units of Seekers or Hellflayer or Seeker Cavalcade and a Herald on Steed or Chariot or Exalted Chariot). Now we're talking. 18 Seeker Cavalcades for 720pts each with 3d6 hammer of wrath rending attacks! Okay maybe not 18 then, but at 40pts for a Seeker Cavalcade, it's certainly worth taking a few of them. I think I'd put the Herald on a Steed and add her to a unit of Seekers just to keep her safe. This could very well be the best of the four additional formations.

Notice the bases that the Seekers are mounted on? Apparently these are from AoS.
The Infernal Tetrad comprises of four Daemon Princes, 1 of each god. This doesn't suit my background so I can't see me ever using this formation, but four Daemon Princes would be fun and I'm sure some people will be all over it.
The Forge Host is what really tickles my fancy. 3 Soul Grinders of Slaanesh can really add a bit of bite to my Castigators. The fact that I can use them without having to take a Herald and a unit of Daemonettes is very tempting if a tournament doesn't allow or restricts Forge World....and many do unfortunately.

So overall, do I think it's worth it?
As someone who likes the background, likes campaigns, likes Wolves and loves Daemons....yes I do. But if Daemons and campaigns aren't your thing, I'd give it a miss, because there is nothing that is a must take.
I know I'll get plenty of entertainment out of this, so it's a good buy for me.

Until next time....may Our Lady Grant you her number ;-)


  1. Good review.

    Most of what's in there is unusable to me. I have a very small Daemons contingent (I use them as allies only), and with such meaty requirements on the formations, it's beyond me right now.

    However, the artefacts are great. I do agree that Slaanesh got the short end with them though. Seems to be at trend in my experience, Slaanesh being the overlooked God in the pantheon. Still, good artefacts, god specific warlord traits, new tactical cards, and formations. Daemons are once again in the running. Now we wait on CSM...

    1. Cheers Thor

      CotW will probably only appeal to Daemon and Pups players really. Like you, I prefer my Daemons as allies, so it is somewhat limited with its options. I'll definitely try out the Soul Grinder and Grand Cavalcade Formations at some point.
      There is an upside to Slaanesh receiving the least amount of love though, their rarity makes them all the more cooler and a gamer's unfamiliarity playing against them can be a distinct advantage ;-)

    2. That's a positive way to look at it ;)

    3. We're both veterans of the Long War, so we look for any positives where ever we can find them. Our time will come again brother :D

  2. "If I ever fall from my sublime grace and succumb to Khorne, I would probably upgrade a unit to full size and add the herald riding a Jugger with some funky artefact". Careful what you wish for Brother otherwise we will be back on the same side again :)

    1. I thought that might grab your attention.
      I really like the idea of the Murderhorde, then again I really like the Khorne Daemonkin Codex......but one of us must keep the :P

  3. great read gaz! i like the sound of the 3 grinder formation and a reason to build another 2 slaanesh themed

    1. Cheers Dyl.
      Another project to add to my long list. At the moment I'm working on my Dreadclaw now that it has become a regular in my army.

  4. looking forward to see it when finished mate. im doing a serpent slaanesh grinder and a seeker stly grinder too. probley take me ages to finish but will look cool lined up with my fiend grinder. off topic iv managed to get 4 new big skull heads same as your shrine if interested mate

    1. Cheers Dyl. I'm working on a half buried Octed (Chaos star shaped gate) at the moment for our Path to Glory many projects on the all at once ;-)

  5. Do I really want to set about acquiring twenty one nurgling bases? I think a test run would be in order.

    1. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before my house is over-run with Nurglings....Noisome little gits!

  6. Thanks Castigator, for your love of the Hobby.
    You are an inspiration to many chaos space marines players with your fluff and ability to model maker.I wish you luck at dice and ... may Your Lady Grant you her number :-)
    Lord Adiatun Varunn, Master of the Hatebringers.

    P.S. I apologize for my English but it is not my first language

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. It's always nice to know that someone likes what I'm doing and can take something from the blog. Your appreciation has made my day :D
      And your English is exemplary my friend. May Our Lady grant you her number!

  7. Good review, im looking forward to when/if the Dark Angels get involved.

    1. Cheers rhettuk.
      I'm guessing that there'll be something for the Dark Angels and Grey Knights in the second part. Hopefully there'll be something for the Alpha Legion as well.

  8. Thanks for the good review Castigator. It was nice of you to go into the other gods as well. Sadly nothing there suits to add to my Thousand Sons, so I think I will pass on this one.

    1. Perhaps the second part might prove more fruitful for you. I can't imagine the Thousand Sons not being involved against the Space Wolves and rumour has it that something Tzeentchian will follow the Wulfen out of the Warp.

    2. I look forward to reading your review chief.