The various ups and downs of 8th are starting to come to light ahead of this weekend’s big release. I’ve played a couple of games now, and viewed many more, and while iamaddj makes the case for empire getting a big boost, I am really excited about the possibilities for the Warriors of Chaos.
Upon reading the new rules, there were two things that immediately made me worry about how my favourite army would perform, the additional rank shooting and the loss of guess-range weaponry meaning even more shots will be coming their way. However, there are a lot of changes that will really benefit them. Following on from iamaddj, here are my 5 reasons why I think WoC will be great under 8th.
Magic is amazing in 8th. The worst thing for Chaos is that the decision on whether to take a marked sorcerer is harder now, as the standard lores are a lot better now. However, I still rate Tzeentch magic as some of the best in the game. While only offering a 1/12 chance of really coming off to full effect I still love Infernal Gateway, Treason of Tzeentch is going to be lethal against big blocks of Two-Handed weaponed infantry and with the extra danger of the Miscast table, Pandemonium is a great choice. Give a Sorcerer Lord the Mark of Tzeentch, a Disc and the Golden Eye of Tzeentch for a survivable unit able to bombard the enemy with spells. A sorcerer with Infernal Puppet is a must, as the ability to modify all Miscasts by D3 might just save your bacon, or kill of your opponent’s spellcasters!
The mainstay of the army are still hard as nails. I always give mine shields, and it’s up to you whether you give them any other weapon options after this. Halberds are generally a sound option, as are two handed weapons. I don’t personally rate the extra hand weapon, as I prefer to have the better save, and if you feel 15 attacks from a 5-across unit with a rank isn’t enough, then give them the Mark of Khorne instead. With a basic WS5, S4, T4, I5, 2A and a 3+ save (normally) there are fewer (if any) better Core units in the game. The only downsides are their cost and their relatively low speed. You normally get charged, but with ‘Step Up’ in effect, you are likely to do some damage back easily, and with I5 you are likely to strike first against most non-elven units. I like the Mark of Tzeentch on these guys, for the ward save of 5+ in combat (with shields), or the Mark of Nurgle to reduce casualties from shooting.
In the midst of an otherwise elite army, marauders act as your more expendable troops. That doesn’t mean they’re rubbish, far from it, and they are very flexible. Depending on their use, you can customise this unit to your needs. I usually run a unit with the Mark of Slaanesh to help anchor a flank, and a unit with the Mark of Khorne to bolster my main infantry advance. This unit, to which I normally give great weapons, will now rank up 10 across and 4 deep, it’s very cheap and good for its points, offering 40 S5 attacks, at WS4, and with step-up can take 10 casualties before losing attacks. All this for 250pts including a command group.
The only shooting in my army comes from the Hellcannon. Whereas normal artillery is vulnerable to being assaulted by flyers, the Hellcannon can bite back, literally. 5 attacks at S5 and WS4 isn’t bad for an artillery piece!! Ok, so it might go berserk every now and then, this on average only happens 1/6 times, so maybe once a game. However, when it does fire it’s great. The new template rules mean this will flatten big blocks of infantry, and likely panic the survivors as they check at -1, as long as they are hit. If you can hit multiple units, then that’s multiple panic checks. Like a lot of Chaos units, the only downside is their cost, which is steep compared to something like a Helstrom Rocket Launcher, but then you don’t really need to worry about guarding a Hellcannon as much.
The best cavalry unit in the game, in my opinion anyway. For 40pts you get S5 magic weapons, WS5, 2 attacks (plus the steed) and a 1+ armour save. I normally give my unit the Blasted Standard and the Mark of Tzeentch to protect them before they hit their target, as it gives them a 4+ ward on top of their formidable armour. If you’re up against artillery, this is a godsend. The knights’ usual position is towards a flank where they are somewhat protected against flank chargers. I usually have a small unit of marauder horsemen alongside them to try and protect them from small fast cavalry units. The other viable alternative is usually the Mark of Khorne, giving both the riders and mounts an extra attack, which is very good for only a moderate points increase. Getting a flank charge is a big bonus with these guys, as it reduces the number of attacks back (which are greater in 8th Ed) and prevents infantry from benefiting from their parry saves.
So there’s my take on 8th Edition Chaos. There’s a million and one reasons to take each of the armies, so I am sure people will disagree with me. Having said that, I think it will take a good six to twelve months before we really know who are the best armies, and by then there will probably be a new book of two (maybe Tomb Kings and High Elves…).