Slaanesh Release Specualtion
Okay, so I’m a massive Slaanesh fan and I’m salivating at the prospect of a new release. The following is a mixture of speculation and pure wishlisting for a release, with the focus being on lore and models with some mention of mechanics (this is how GW itself does it, after all).
Obviously, I want 1000 new kits for Slaanesh. What would be a realistic guess? Well, I think it’s realistic to go by recent factions (either brand-new or significant additions to a few older kits, NOT INCLUDING terrain or endless spells): Idoneth Deepkin (11 total: 5 unit kits, 6 hero kits), Kharadron Overlords (11 total: 6 Unit kits, 5 Hero kits), or the upcoming Gitz (11 total? 4-5 Hero kits, 6 Units kits) set the precedent that we can expect at least 10 new boxes of stuff, not counting terrain and spells.
Okay, let’s work with 10.
My assumption and hope is that, given that Slaaneshi Daemons currently have 10 units (5 units, 5 heroes), most of the new models will be Slaaneshi mortals.
That said, I can see 2 ‘slots’ going to round out the Daemons. First is the inevitable centrepiece Keeper of Secrets, which will almost certainly be a dual kit for a special character. As for who the alternate build will be, well, it could very well be a Rotigus style wholesale invention. But if they were to take someone more established (like Kairos) N’Kaari may be a perfect oldie to make a comeback, given his history with Tyrion and Teclis.
The only other addition that the Daemons need is one more generic hero. My idea would be a ‘Vice-Sribe, a Scriviner-style scribe Daemon whose responsibility is to be a database of mortal vices, which would translate to buffs to Daemonette units.
The Mortal Hosts
One thing I want to get right up front. I really REALLY REALLY don’t want the army to focus on chaos-tainted Aelves. It seems like the lazy choice that doesn’t really make much sense (as Morathis demonstrated, even Aelves who work for Slaanesh just end up as food anyway, so there’s no incentive to give into the Dark Prince). And when you think about it, the reason many mortals would turn to Slaanesh is that they desire grace, perfection and beauty, all inherently Aelven traits. Wouldn’t it be more interesting and make more sense if Slaanesh’s followers were mortals who wished they could be LIKE Aelves?
Now, saying 'no' to Aelves doesn't mean I don't think the mortal hosts should have a distinguishing theme. Indeed, my hope is that GW decides to explore how Slaanesh straddles the contradiction of Ulgu and Hysh (there's one rumour engine picture which appears to depict this light/dark duality on a yet-unreleased model). This is one fascinating aspect of Slaanesh, and I hope the new units manifest the different aspects of light and dark. It's more than simply a realm of origin, but the direction of worship the followers take. And it goes without saying: this entire army is mixed gender.
Light and Darkness
If you read my previous lore post about the aspects of Slaanesh, Hysh represents Dominion, Vanity and Indulgence, while Ulgu represents Submission, Creativity and Neophilia. Hellstriders are the only currently available basic Slaaneshi troops, and I think their aesthetic would serve as a 'baseline' for the factions style as a whole: ornate soft-angled armour with a light Greek theme.
The Hysh theme would run with the ornate, resplendent plate gilded with pristine cloaks and buckets of gemstones, to represent a vain perfectionism (the current Sigvald model would fit in this niche). In contrast, the Ulgu theme would take cues from some of the older Slaanesh champions models with a bit of Dark Eldar thrown in: pallid, sadomasochist mortals with claw-like mutations and armour painfully fused to their bodies. These two aspects represent the contrary desires within the faction, and we might consider those which manifest both in equal measure as ‘unaligned’. And it doesn’t need to be codified to the extent of keywords, merely the lore enriching gameplay in an unobtrusive way.
Pleasuremage – As the faction lacks a mortal wizard, this would be the Slaaneshi sorcerer lord choice, with a potent augmenting spell capability. As the current Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic mount is somewhat dated (not to mention underwhelming rules-wise), I can see them releasing a multi-part kit with which you can build a Slaaneshi Lord, Pleasuremage or named character on Daemonic Mount. The non-mounted version of the Pleasuremage would come from a different kit, which I’ll get to.
Hedonaughts (Battleline) - Though we already have one example of basic infantry in Daemonettes, it is absolutely essential for there to be a mortal ‘grunt’ unit. There needs to be a clear ‘entry level’ rung on the totem pole, a version of the everyday Slaaneshi acolyte (this is the most glaring absence in Maggotkin, detracting from the ‘papa Nurgle welcomes all’ lore). It makes sense to harken back to the hellstrider aesthetic for these foot troops, with a little less armour. This marauder equivalent would be more elite than your bloodreaver or Kairic acolyte, with combat stats closer to Idoneth thralls or Witch Aelves. They could have a close combat or ‘spell conduit’ variant, and be customizable enough to fit either a Hysh or Ulgu theme.
Hellstriders (Slaanesh Battleline) - we all know and love these chaps. Their current rules are strange but work, so changing the warscroll is unnecessary. However, if you were to lean into the Hysh/Ulgu divide, you could turn the box into a dual-kit: the crested helmet and whip assembly could be a Hysh warscroll retaining the Soul-hunter rule while the mutated, bare head claw-spear version could be an Ulgu-style warscroll with different rules.
Lord Paragon - the old Sigvald model still looks great and would represent a vain, elegant leader perfectly. He could do with a rules boost, though, to put him in line with the Mighty Lord of Khorne or a Lord Celestant.
Soulwring Sommelier - a rotund lady clad in finery. She isn't quite a wizard per se, but has studied the arcane in order to master the ways of soul extraction and infuses fine wines with the captured souls of Aelves, Daemons and Mortals. This would be a versatile but short ranged support hero, with her various vintages functioning like prayers.
Quicksilver Paragons (Hysh General Battleline) - Clad in gleaming plate, these are the faction’s elite warriors (equivalents of Paladins or Skullreapers with better damage output but more brittle, having 2 rather than 3 wounds). One or two in this unit are rotund gluttons. These are no yucky blightkings, though, rather Bon vivants who enjoy feasting almost as much as they enjoy fighting.
Paragon Lancers - These are essentially mounted versions of the paragons, riding Slaaneshi Daemonic mounts similar to the lord (the old ‘boobsnake’ could get a complete overhaul or just a minor redesign, but should be a beefier beast than the Hellstrider steed). These warriors are so arrogant and snooty that they enter battle with blindfolds so that they need not gaze on the crude beasts they slay as well as to intensify the taste of battle on the air.
Blissflayer - This would be a lightning fast assassin, a loner who takes enormous pleasure in the murder of great heroes. Both in the lore and on the table, this would be your depravity point engine, and would likely have some nifty deployment shenanigans that enables him to get to protected enemy heroes.
Agonic Impressionist – Where the Pleasuremage derives power from positive sensation, the Agonic Impressionist paints pure torment onto the world’s canvas. A jovial saadist clade in studs and blades, this character would come as part of the same behemoth kit as the foot Pleasuremage (as in unmounted, not a... you know).
The Unsated (Ulgu General Battleline) – the unsated are perennially unsatisfied, their search for extremes having left them numb and hungry for sensation. They nit would visually harken to the sadomasochist aspects of Slaanesh, pallid bodies covered in mutations and self-inflicted mutilations. Though they lack the Paragon’s brutal combat power, they have AoE debuffs and hit-and-run tricks. They could use javelin throwing weapons, representing one of the few ranged options in the army.
Many recent armies have more than one centerpeice model, and the mortals deserve something distinct from the Keeper of Secrets. My concept rejects the obvious ‘big beastie’ in favour of a large, mobile shrine (similar in scope to the Cauldron of Blood or Arkanaut Ironclad) which manifests the Ulg-Hysh duality in two builds. Either build is a large, ornate mobile shrine. It would be cool if it was a wagon pulled by a crowd of Slaangor, so that even if they aren’t represented in the core army there exist models to use for conversions. As for what is on top of the wagon, the platform would be modular enough to allow for the following variants:
The War Banquet (Hysh) – This would be what it sounds like: a mobile feast of decadent food and drink. Honoured champions of the Slaaneshi army would be rewarded with this privilege, and the sight of them eating and drinking on the war banquet would fuel fellow warriors to the height of jealous zeal.
Agonist Orchestra (Ulgu) – Replacing the banquet table would be an orchestra platform. Taking cues from the Enrapturess, the band’s instruments would be gory perversions of the mortal form: a cacophony of painful music. This would be a damage dealer, rather than the Hyshian buff engine. The orchestra’s conductor is the Agonist Impressionist, and so her infantry model is a spare from this kit. It’s also where we could get the infantry version of the Pleasuremage (considering that’s how the Cauldron of Blood and Magmadroth do it, I think it isn’t inconceivable).
Terrain – Repository of Vice, an ornate structure of shelves filled with tomes and locked chests, each holding within them guilty secrets and hidden addictions. This could have some kind of fun temptation mechanic, wherein units the opponent sets up after deployment have a chance to be drawn to this terrain piece rather than where the opponent wants them, and perhaps dazing nearby units. Or, alternatively, it could force the opponent to reveal secrets (e.g. hidden units or being forced to commit to a specific use of command abilities a turn early).
Mortals (8 New Kits)
- Slaaneshi Lord on Daemonic Mount (Unalinged)
- Pleasuremage on Daemonic Mount (Unaligned)
- Pleasuremage (Unaligned).
- Lord Paragon (Hysh)
- Soulwring Sommelier (Hysh)
- Blissflayer (Ulgu)
- Agonartist Mage (Ulgu)
- Pleasuremage on Agonist Orchestra (Ulgu)
- Hedonaughts (10 models, unaligned)
- Hellstriders (unaligned, though could divide into the Ulgu and Hysh Variant)
- Quicksilver Paragons (5 models, Hysh)
- Paragon Lancers (3 models, Hysh)
- War Banquet (Behemoth, Hysh)
- The Unsated (5 models Ulgu)
- Agonist Orchestra (Behemoth, Ulgu)
So, that’s 8 new mortal kits and 2 new Daemon kits. I think that’s realistic quantity to hope for, and not impossible that the Ulg-Hysh angle is what GW will focus on. Well, those are my prediction/dream-picks. Anyone have anything they want to add/disagree with?