“Salutations, dear mortals, it is I, fair Slaanesh! Not to be outdone by my siblings, I too have graced your presence this day, to elaborate on my glorious gifts. Unlike that brutish oaf Khorne or the disgusting Nurgle, my gifts are much more homely and subtle in their arts, and mastery can give you success on any battlefield. Let us revel in the pleasurepain, sweet meats…”
Spirit Swallower (Keeper of Secrets only)
The most expensive option for the Keeper, Spirit Swallower can be quite helpful compared to equally priced wargear. It’s likely the Keeper will be targeted by spells & missile fire from the start of the game, and will have taken one or two wounds by the time it reaches combat. Combined with the Keeper’s high WS and Strength, it’s quite likely it will regain its lost wounds, and can sustain itself during combat. Depending on what it’s attacking, the Keeper could have the staying power to rival a Great Unclean One. Don’t just ram it into a big unit and hope it just vacuums up wounds, because it will likely explode due to combat resolution, despite being the fastest giant monster in the game. Go for a supportive flank charge with a block of lesser daemons attacking the front to make the most of this gift. However, it is a very expensive Gift and leaves no room for others. Don’t make the Keeper too points-heavy by giving it this gift and making it a wizard, one or the other will do, as most Slaanesh spells can’t be used in close combat. This Gift works in any situation, but the Keeper has some nasty combos with its other Gifts, making this one a straightforward power.
Etherblade (Keeper of Secrets & Herald of Slaanesh)
The Etherblade is much more effective on the Herald of Slaanesh compared to the Herald of Khorne, as it has much more attacks and is faster than most things in combat. Ignoring armour also goes someway to counteract its low strength. The only downside is that Etherblade takes up the Herald’s entire Gifts allowance, making a very straightforward character for Slaanesh. It will, however, become an excellent character killer.
A Keeper with this gift has points left over for others, and has a huge advantage with its speed & number of attacks. However, the Keeper’s high Strength means you’ll be ignoring most saves anyway, so it’s best to save it for when you’re against Dwarfs, Warriors of Chaos and other high-armour armies.
Many Armed Monstrosity (Herald of Slaanesh)
Heralds benefit greatly from this gift, as it ramps up their killing power quite a lot (2 extra attacks is not to be sniffed at) however they have no space for additional gifts. What I like to do is to have a Herald of Tzeentch nearby with the Lore of Beasts (granted by the Master of Sorcery gift). Cast Bear’s Anger on a Herald of Slaanesh with this gift, and then introduce an enemy character to nine Armour Piercing, Always Strikes First, Strength 6 attacks (!!!). This is a great example of how the four different Gods (essentially four different army playing styles) can be combined to hurt stuff better.
This gift works well with a Herald on Steed, in a flanking unit of Seekers, but in a big unit of Daemonettes works too. Against low armour stuff like the average Core choice she can quite easily shave a rank off by herself with this gift, the problem lies it that it doesn’t increase her hitting power, it’s just gives her more chances to hit, and doesn’t give her any special tricks beyond those she comes with.
Temptator (Keeper of Secrets)
This is a pretty nasty anti-character gift. As the Keeper of Secrets goes first in close combat, period, it’s likely this gift will come into effect (it works best during a challenge). It relies on Leadership tests however, so the more powerful the target character, the less likely it will work. To boost your chances, give the Keeper Enrapturing Gaze, and have a Great Standard of Despair nearby, increasing the chances of the opponent failing the test & attacking his own unit. It’s a points-heavy strategy however, and requires an army built around it. Temptator on its own does fine, especially against Goblins and Skaven.
Allure of Slaanesh (Keeper of Secrets & Herald of Slaanesh)
This is a very handy gift which is good for protecting your Daemon from the rank & file of the enemy. As it works with Leadership it could be scuppered by a nearby character, but this is what Enrapturing Gaze is for. Very useful for fighting Skaven, Goblins and basic Undead. Mostly better on Heralds as Keepers probably don’t care if the rank & file are poking at them. A large unit of Daemonettes lead by a Herald with this gift could do well, as the Herald will cancel out most of the enemy attacks, or just massacre the enemy unit champion. A lone Herald on a Steed could do well against armies with little ranged ability, as she could hold up an entire enemy unit by herself, as long she gets a flank or rear charge and the models in base contact keep failing their Leadership to attack her. Another important thing to note with Heralds and this gift: the Herald can also carry the Great Icon of Despair (and also have Enrapturing Gaze) for further hilarity.
Stuff that isn’t in base contact isn’t affected, so watch out for spears!
Daemonic Robes (Keeper of Secrets & Herald of Slaanesh)
While it might be fun to play pretty dress up, I’ll say here what I said for the Herald of Khorne: Daemons are much better at taking out the things that can hurt them before they can strike, instead of trying to defend against them.
Alternatively, the Keeper of Secrets can survive a cannonball to the face almost all of the time by getting out the way with its speed, and the Herald is going to be pulverised if it gets caught by one, Robes or no Robes.
Enrapturing Gaze (Keeper of Secrets & Herald of Slaanesh)
There are a few powerful gifts, spells & abilities of Slaaneshi Daemons that rely on the enemy failing Leadership tests for them to work properly, and enemy characters are the bane of these tactics with their fancy-pants higher than average Leadership. If you’re Daemon has Temptator or Allure of Slaanesh it’s a good idea to take this with them to increase the odds of those abilities taking effect. It’s handy even if you don’t take them, as Enrapturing Gaze helps you break character-less enemy units during combat. Again, the Great Icon of Despair is on hand to make these Leadership tests fail even harder.
Soporific Musk (Keeper of Secrets & Herald of Slaanesh)
Oh sure, let’s give the enemy an extra dice so they may have a greater chance of rolling high numbers and running away from us. Genius.
Soul Hunger (Keeper of Secrets)
The Keeper has lots of attacks, and this will guarantee they wound. You don’t even have to charge for it to take effect, but seeing as it’s a Keeper you’ll probably be the one doing the charging. A no-nonsense, handy gift.
Siren Song (Keeper of Secrets, Herald of Slaanesh)
Pesky fast cavalry & flyers trying to bait you into a charge where they’ll run away? Unable to charge skirmishers because they’re mucking about in your flank? Yokels standing on a hill where they throw rocks and sticks at you? Don’t want to charge that line of guns because the stand & shoot will mince your Daemonettes?
Then you need SIREN SONG, the weird gift that is much more useful than it seems at first glance!
There’s loads of uses for this thing; getting annoying skirmishing units to charge you so you can take care of them up close and personal, getting into a fight with a ranged unit without getting shot during the charge (doesn’t matter about them charging, because your Herald gives your unit Always Strikes First) pulling war machine crew away from their guns, and generally messing up your opponent’s battle line & plans.
Another use is to stop nasty units like Chaos Knights and the like charging things you don’t want them to. Have your Herald in a massive unit of Daemonettes (at least 20) and Siren Song the Knights. The initial charge will probably take a rank off your unit but take into account the Daemonettes’ Ward saves, some might live. They might even take down a Knight or two because of the Herald’s Always Strikes First and the Daemonettes’ Armour Piercing. If you’re thinking of taking such a unit for this purpose, consider giving them the Banner of Ecstasy, so if they do lose the combat they force, the unit won’t lose too many Daemonettes to Instability because of the banner’s Stubborn ability.
Torment Blade (Keeper of Secrets, Herald of Slaanesh)
Odd they specify it as a hand weapon, unlike the other “weapon” gifts…
Anyway, a very cheap and handy gift when you factor in the speed of Slaaneshi Daemons, and also other gifts like Enrapturing Gaze and the Great Icon of Despair. But it’ll probably be passed over in favour of more powerful gifts, the ones which happen automatically rather than needing to hit something. This only really works against multi-wound models too. Handy for stopping Ogres & Trolls stomping your ladies however. And it’s five points. Throw it on if you have the space, it’s a good effect for its tiny cost.
Unlike the magic banners of other conventional races, only certain units get to carry certain banners, and only a select few get to be battle standards. This means that your battle standard bearer is going to be very expensive, but will always have a big effect on your games. I’ve grouped the Icons together by what can take them. I’ve also put a list below each of the battle standards going into further detail about certain Heralds.
Heralds of Slaanesh have little to go for when it comes to survivability beyond killings things before they attack. The easiest Herald to take care of due to her low Toughness & Ward save, most of the time it’s best to give the banner duties to another Herald, but the Herald of Slaanesh has a few unique uses with certain Icons.
Standard of Chaos Glory
Daemonettes, and Slaanesh daemons in general, are the most fragile units in the Daemons of Chaos army. Their low Toughness means that, in combat, it will be easy for foes to cut them down. This banner helps Daemons survive their Instability tests, but it’s better to give it to a more survivable Herald.
Banner of Hellfire
Again, the Herald of Slaanesh is the easiest to kill out of the four Heralds, so it’s a risky proposition giving one such an expensive banner. However, this banner in a unit of Seekers, which flank the enemy and get near their core units without charging, could easily wreck them in a few turns with this banner’s effects.
Great Icon of Despair
Seeing as so many Slaanesh abilities rely on Leadership tests to happen (including the Lore of Slaanesh) this Icon can be combined into any strategy you wish. There are the combos with certain Slaanesh gifts such as Temptator, Allure of Slaanesh and Enrapturing Gaze, and the Slaanesh spells Acquiescence, Slicing Shards of Slaanesh, Pavane of Slaanesh and Phantasmagoria. Probably the most useful Icon for a Herald of Slaanesh, but your army needs to be built around it to take full effect.
Banner of Unholy Victory
The cheapest and simplest Battle Standard, Unholy Victory is very effective in large units of Daemons. It will help greatly when it comes to combat resolution, but since Daemonettes can rack up quite a large tally of kills with a bit of luck, it’s not essential.
Great Standard of Sundering
If you’ve read the preceding articles in this series, you’ll know just what I think of this banner. Avoid!
DAEMONETTE AND SEEKER STANDARDS
Banner of Ecstasy
Works well with the Siren Song, as noted in that gift’s entry. Daemonettes are fragile, and it’s easy for their attackers to beat them in combat through brute strength, so this Icon will help them avoid the dreaded Instability casualties. Even if you’re not taking Siren Song in the unit, it’s good for shoring up your flanks. This way, you can use units of Daemonettes to take charges from cavalry and the like, protecting the flanks of your army. On Seekers, it gives their charge more punch as they won’t all detonate if the dice mess up.
The more offensive of the two Daemonette Icons, this is very handy on Seekers, allowing them to charge units of ranged troopers and not get shot up, and also catch up to skirmishers, fliers and other units likely to flee voluntarily. Good on Daemonette units for the same reasons, as stand & shoot is one of the main weaknesses to Slaanesh units.
Both Slaanesh Icons are good for their own reasons, either one can be taken to help with whatever strategy you many need from your lovely handmaidens. Maybe take a mix of them instead of giving all your units just one, for variety and to keep your opponent guessing.
Kaptain Scuzgob mains Orkz in Warhammer 40,000 and Daemons of Chaos in Warhammer Fantasy. He enjoys both casual and competitive games, and the other things like modelling and painting.
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