Having to pay for these little beauties is a fact of life now, but doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.
Newhammer has changed the fundamentals of both summoning and cost for Chaos Daemons. At least in Matched Play, we have to pay for every model that has the potential to appear on the table. So in the case of Horrors, this means a full unit of Pinks (10 Pinks, 20 Blues, 20 Brims), taking into account complete splits, will cost 240 points. What do I get for my money? Is it worth the cost?
First, let’s address the inevitable “Brimstones are too cheap.” No argument there. They are 1 wound models that can cast Smite (although they also self-destruct when doing so) and have a 4++. For 2 points, I’m on board all day long. So I have to pay 240 pts for 6 units of 20? Sign me up. Too cheap? And your point is what? Just as with the last edition, there will be units that folks, especially those on the competitive side, feel are undercosted. But I am going to tell these players that they are not looking at how Brims break out across the entire spectrum of the game. In terms of summoning, they require a 2D6 roll of 5 in both narrative and matched play. In narrative play, they cost just as much as their Pink and Blue counterparts. In that case, I would argue that they are overcosted! I think people should stop fussing about the match play cost of Brimstones, and remember that they actually have to be paid for in the first place. Thanks to GDub for correcting this huge disparity in Newhammer. This coming from a Thousand Sons/Tzeentch Daemon player. Now let’s carry on…
I believe the value of Horrors will be three fold. First, each unit of Horrors are psykers and can cast Smite. Although only able to manifest this power on a 5 or 6 (they only roll a single D6 when casting or denying), half a dozen of these units on the table have the potential to be annoying, if not particularly harmful. Even the dice gods don’t always favor, and when your opponent rolls a 2-5 on those 2D6, it’s time to feel lucky. Having the potential to cast Smite 5-6 times is no small matter either. Even a unit of 10 (fill in the blank) will feel the burn if subjected to several shots of Smite. So from a psyker potential, Horrors have the means attract their opponents attention, especially when they would rather be paying attention to something else perceived to be more threatening.
Second, Horrors will be able to act as “anti-reinforcement emitters.” Most reinforcements, no matter their methods of arrival, need to be at least 9″ from the nearest enemy unit. This even applies to (most) Genestealer Cult shenanigans. On a table 72″ inches wide, I can use 3 units of 10 Horrors (each model in the unit spaced 2″ apart, 5 models wide, 2 deep) to provide coverage for the entire table length! Each unit would basically cover a total of 26″; 10″ for the models and 8″ on either side. That is only 3 units of 10. If the opponent tries to shoot them off the table to clear a landing zone, that happens during their shooting phase; after reinforcements arrive. If those Horrors happen to be Blues, they have devoted a fair amount of shooting (don’t forget my little friends have a 4++ save) and simply replaced Blues with Brims. I can also summon more models to replace the ones lost. Morale certainly is an issue here. Shoot half of them off the table and the other half are likely to skitter back to the Warp. Wait! I have Command Points. Maybe those annoying little Horrors won’t run away after all. Anyone want to play some more?
The third use I can see is as speed bumps to slow charges. Moreover, they can be used to set my own units up to charge instead. Say my opponent is charging with a unit of 10 (fill in the blank). I know this unit will hit hard. I would prefer my unit of (fill in the blank) not take a charge, and in fact, would be able to charge my opponent instead. At the end of my movement phase, I can position the unit I want to charge a bit more than 12″ away from their potential target. But wait, Stormy…won’t they be able to charge you next turn? Will they? At the end of my movement phase, I summon a unit of Horrors right in front of the enemy unit. They will have to shoot them off the board in order to get to me with their charge. Wait. My unit has Fly you say, so they can just move right over your annoying Daemon trash and charge you. Fair to say. In that case, I could just summon the Daemons close to my own unit, providing a buffer zone. If you shoot and then charge them, eliminating the entire bunch, you will be within easy charge distance of my own charging unit.
All this fun for a reasonable price of admission. If I want to go with an entire unit of Pinks (10 Pinks, 20 Blues, 20 Brims), I am only setting aside 240 points for 50 wounds worth of models that have 4++ saves. If I go with Blues, that’s just 70 points for 10 Blues and 10 Brims. 20 wounds with 4++ saves. Obviously, several combinations are possible. The bottom line here is that Horrors can, if properly used, provide a Chaos player with a very utilitarian unit for a very reasonable cost.
I know I got into the weeds a bit here…apologies. I am also sure that many folks will briefly cogitate and discover counters to all of this. My intention here was to show that even though Horrors now cost points, they are a very point efficient way to provide an army with multiple tactical options. As a Sons/Daemon player, the new rules have kept Horrors relevant for me despite the point “burden” they now impose. If you can think of other shenanigans, please provide feedback in the comment section. Now all I have to do is paint how many boxes of these little buggers??!!
Oh the Horrors…