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Terry Pike

Chaos Shooting units - Updated 12/10/16

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Updated 12-10-2016!

I have also added in "Terry's Meta Picks for Chaos Shooting!"

So here are my thoughts and views on chaos shooting, what I think is currently "hot or not" on the tournament scene.

The current hotness in shooting Chaos in general is anything with the Clan Skryre keyword. A pair of Warp Lightning Cannons is a very popular choice to fill the shooting gap in some close combat armies and allows them to reach out and kill buffing characters. Stormfiends are all the rage at the moment nearly always equipped with Warpfire Projectors and more often than not fielded in the Clan Skryre Coven that allows them to appear anywhere on the board. My list of shooting units is in a rough order of what's being fielded at events right now and potential strength.

Green: Hot right now / Orange: Some presence at events / Red: Rarely seen

  • Stormfiends - Warpfire Projectors - Very popular right now, very reliable high burst mortal wound output
  • Warp Lightning Cannons - As above, reliable mortal wound output, great value
  • Skaven Weapons Teams - Make up part of the Skryre tunnelling formation, lots of these knocking around
  • Warplock Jezzails - Being seen a bit more now with the "Lord of War" command trait
  • Flamers of Tzeentch - Being seen less and less, still have a space in mono lists
  • Soul Grinders - Seen a bit less now they got hiked up in price in the Generals Handbook
  • Plagueclaw Catapult - Were used quite a lot during SCGT and pre Generals Handbook, may make a comeback in the horde meta
  • Skull Cannons - Still useful in mono-Khorne, sadly doesn't even compete with Warp Lightning Cannons for points cost
  • Hellcannons - Great long range, but the crew are easily removed making it a very expensive investment
  • Burning Chariot of Tzeentch
  • Pink Horrors of Tzeentch
  • Infernal Guard Fireglaives
  • Iron Daemon War Engine
  • Deathshrieker Rocket Launcher
  • Magma Cannon - I'm going to give a pair of these a run out in upcoming events, has great unexplored potential
  • Dreadquake Mortar

In-depth comparisons and descriptions of Chaos shooting units

The units below are described in this order for ease of finding them!

  • Flamers of Tzeentch
  • Burning Chariot of Tzeentch
  • Pink Horrors of Tzeentch
  • Soul Grinders
  • Skull Cannons
  • Hellcannons
  • Warplock Jezzails
  • Warp Lightning Cannons
  • Plagueclaw Catapult
  • Stormfiends - Various options
  • Skaven Weapons Teams
  • Infernal Guard Fireglaives
  • Iron Daemon War Engine
  • Deathshrieker Rocket Launcher
  • Magma Cannon
  • Dreadquake Mortar

Flamers of Tzeentch : 200pts / unit size: 3-12 / points per model: 66 / wounds per model: 2

A fast moving and flying unit with the standard 18" shooting range. Against large units of low armoured 1 wound models these can do a significant amount of damage when concentrating fire with 3-6 Flamers. The D3 damage per shot and possible extra D3 mortal wounds at the end of the shooting phase can lead to a somewhat large Battleshock test which could wipe out an entire unit in one go. I've also had good use in summoning them 18" away from a Lord of Change giving them an effective 36" (can get to 40+" using a spaced out summoning line) shooting range for sniping out a very important buffing wizard on turn 1. These targets usually have a weaker save and 5-7 wounds which is ideal for Flamers as they do struggle when it come to killing models with a 2+/3+ save.

I think the best strength the Flamers have to offer is the increased shooting range via summoning, which as I said above allows for those far in opponent deployment zone killing very early in the game. This can then be furthered utilised by flying the Lord of Change 10" up behind the Flamers keeping them in range of 9" of the Flamers to make use of the Locus of Transmogrification, so when they do start being removed you at least have a chance to roll those 6's and keep the unit healthier a bit longer. The 18" summon range is also complemented nicely by Mystic Shielding them on arrival to bring them up to a 4+ save which makes a huge difference. If you can summon them in cover for the 3+ save and keep the Locus of Transmogrification buff running you end up with a seriously threatening unit that will have to be dealt with pretty quickly.

I used 6 Flamers in pretty much every list I ran at AoS tournaments for the first 8 months or so then dropped down to 3 and now have completely replaced them with that I believe are more optimal shooting units. I summoned them for the increased shooting range in most games and they were my go to unit for shooting until the Chaos Grand Alliance became usable and more shooting options opened up. If you are running mono Tzeentch or want to stick to mono Daemons they are your only real option for reliable shooting and a long ranged threat due to no Tzeentch artillery/warmachines (Soul Grinder sort of fills this role but at a shorter range). They effectively become your long range warmachine when used in the summoning method described above for that sweet 40"+ range.

At 120-160 points I would consider these an optimal shooting choice. However at 200pts a unit for 6 wounds, they come in very expensive at 66pts a model. I've also listed the D3 damage part under cons as for the premium points you pay the damage is just to random and inconsistent to be as high costed as it is. I realise that Tzeentch is meant to be fickle and potentially healing your target for D3 wounds is still a risk you have to consider. In general I'm not a fan of D3 damage as I would rather know roughly how much damage I should be doing and as it always seem to happen if my opponent hits me 5 lots of D3 im taking 12-15 wounds, whereas if I shoot them with the same I'm doing 5-6 wounds!

  • Pros: Fast, flying, small footprint, small model for hiding, has good damage potential, can achieve very long range with summoning, easily fits in terrain
  • Cons: low basic save of 5+, only 2 wounds, expensive cost per model, out classed by other available shooting options, inconsistent damage with D3 rolls

Burning Chariot of Tzeentch : 160pts / unit size: 1-3 / wounds per model: 6

Makes sense to do these right after the Flamers as they are essentially the same shooting attack with a different number of shots. The thing that makes the shooting attack different is the wording of the Warpflame effect that happens at the end of the shooting phase. The Flamers special rule only works once per target unit regardless of how many different Flamer units shoot at them. The Warpflame effect from the chariot works slightly differently because you make a warpflame test for each chariot that causes wounds, so a unit of 3 chariots or 3 separate chariots could do 3xD3 mortal wounds to the same target at the end of the phase (assuming each chariot scores a successful wound), which could be a nice chunk of damage and finish off the target.

Similar to the Flamers the chariot has the fly ability and a slightly longer move of 14" giving it a 32" range without summoning (about 40" if summoned).  The extra rules it has aren't related to shooting but its worth giving the Wake of Fire a mention as it can be used to pop a few more mortal wounds onto 1 unit it moves over, this can also be triggered by moving over a unit during a retreat move.

If we consider the cost of a Flamer at 66pts then the chariots fire power costs 132pts with an additional 2 wounds and a bit of extra movement for 28pts. You also get some decent combat stats included with the Lamprey Bites from the Screamers pulling the chariot. One advantage the chariot has over the Flamers is taking damage, even at 5/6 wounds taken you are still putting out the full damage potential, where as the 6 wound unit of Flamers would be down to only 3 shots (4 if the champ is left). This obviously comes at a trade off that you are on a much larger footprint so won't be able to position as easily, can be attacked by more models in combat and would be harder to fully fit in terrain.

So points wise these are actually a decent choice overall in a Tzeentch based army, especially if you are taking advantage of Tzeentch allegiance and are using them as your Battleline requirement. But in doing so you are limiting yourself to number of bodies on the table if you are also taking units such as Flamers, Lords of Change etc. Its worth noting as well that as these can be fielded in units of up to 3, you can focus your buffs / abilities on multiple models at the same time. Mystic Shield has pretty good value when all 3 chariots are increased to a 4+ save. The Lord of War trait giving the whole unit +1 to hit would make for some pretty nasty shooting, this of course can be used on any of the units in this discussion and would work even better on a unit of 9 Flamers for example.

  • Pros: Fast, flying, retains full damage output until killed, can be fielded in units for buffing potential, has some okay combat stats, can be made Battleline
  • Cons: basic save of 5+ means those 6 wounds won't last to long, large footprint

Pink Horrors of Tzeentch: 140pts / unit size: 10-30 / points per model: 14 / wounds per model: 1

The staple Battleline unit in a Tzeentch army... or is it? With the recent introduction of the Three Rules of One Horrors have lost a bit of there appeal. Horror units were great for multiple Mystic shields and Arcane Bolts which made them much more of a firing platform and utility piece. They have the most basic of shooting with 4's to hit and wound, no rend, 1 shot and 1 damage each. The 18" inch range is okay for a standard missile weapon, but its about as basic as it gets with no way to buff the damage output without the use of a formation I believe is in the Everchosen Battletome (I'll check this after work). The unit does benefit from the awesome Chaos Icon rule for taking Battleshock tests and replenishing D6 models on the roll of a 1.

If you are taking casting based heroes such as Kairos / Lord of Change / Heralds / Scribes then you probably won't ever be casting with the horrors, making them a poor choice when it comes to points invested in the unit. However if you are taking combat heroes such as Bloodthirsters that don't actually have access to magic you may want to put Horrors in your core as an alternative. The cap on Leaders has actually given Horrors a place in a competitive list if you are going down this route and allows you to spend the precious Leader slots on the stuff you may really want to take without having to completely lose out on some use of Arcane Bolt / Mystic Shield.

So far Horrors haven't made it into the mountain of new lists I've been making the last few months as the Wizard heroes available to Chaos are to powerful to ignore. With the other powerful shooting outlined in this thread it also makes the shooting Horrors have a pointless investment and so every time are being shunned for Plaguebearers which are one of the strongest point for point Battleline units Chaos have access to.

  • Pros: Access to spells outside of Leader slots, Chaos Icon for survivability, Battleline Wizard
  • Cons: Rule of 1 takes away a lot of their appeal, much better Battleline options available to Chaos making them a non-optimal choice

Soul Grinder: 280pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 16

I would class this as more of a combat monster that has some additional shooting, however the shooting is pretty good, the model is quite survivable and it can run and shoot giving it a quite a long reach. So starting out with a move of 12" and the ability to run and shoot you could potentially be getting an effective range of 34" on the Harvester Cannon and 38" on the Phlegm Bombardment. At best the Harvester Cannon can offer D6 shots with rend 1 damage 1, not amazing and a bit to random to rely on. The Phlegm Bombardment is a decent single shot rend 2 damage 3, which can be useful for killing off a couple of models with a good armour save or a few wounds on a monster to drop its stats down a bit before you engage it in combat.

If you are looking for units to include in your army for shooting, this is not a good option. If you are looking for a sturdy combat monster with a couple of pokey shots to chip a few wounds here and there its a solid choice. Nurgle/Khorne Soulgrinders are especially good when used in combination with Epidemius(Nurgle) or Run/Charge Bloodthirster Buffs(Khorne). Maybe I'll revisit these in a combat focused discussion as they fit nicely into that style of list.

  • Pros: Can run and shoot, good save and high wounds, fast, also great in combat when they get stuck in, pretty solid value for points invested
  • Cons: Limited shooting, not really a good choice in a shooting based army with access to proper Artillery, loses damage output as it gets wounded

Skull Cannons: 180pts / unit size: 1-3 / wounds per model: 7

For any listeners of the FaceHammer podcast you'll know I have a love/hate relationship with Skull Cannons swearing I'll never use them again and they are rubbish, followed by me using them at an event a few weeks later giving them a high five on how awesome they are. Unfortunately they have now been relegated to the "absolute rubbish" section of list building and I could only see them being used in a Mono Khorne allegiance. More on this shortly.

So its a standard cannon in regards to rend 2 and damage D6, it hits and wounds on 3's but gets +1 to hit if you are targeting 10 or more models, unfortunately its only a single shot, however it is quite mobile with move 8", has 7 wounds and some decent close combat attacks and more importantly an attack that lets you fire the cannon again at the end of the combat phase if it successfully wounds during the combat phase. In the 80 odd games of using Skull Cannons I can only ever recall firing the cannon from combat using this special bite attack maybe 5 times and only 2 of those times did I actually roll a hit with it. Looks amazing on paper, but it just never does what you imagine its going to. I'm sure other people have some great stories with it, I just haven't had the luck!

The release of the Generals handbook unfortunately made Skull Cannons a bit worse by tagging them as Artillery (they don't have the Warmachine keyword). Which now means they take up a slot of the 4 Artillery pieces allowed and with them costing the same as Warp Lightning Cannons and Plagueclaw Catapults I don't think they will have a space in a competitive army as you would always take the other 2 as they are just much better at being Artillery than the Skull Cannon could ever be. The only saving factor the Skull Cannon has is the ability to be fielded in units of 3 similar to the Burning Chariot meaning you can efficiently buff all 3 with +1 to hit rolls or re-rolls of 1 to hit from Chaos Sorcerers.

If you want to kill units the Plagueclaw is much better suited and if you want to kill single targets / high armour save units you would take the Warp Lightning Cannon.

  • Pros: Can be taken in units for efficient buffing, 4+ save and decent number of wounds, long threat range with move 7"
  • Cons: Same cost as other better Artillery choices making it a bit of a pointless unit entry now :(

Hellcannon: 300pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 7 (10 total with crew)

So this thing was removed from the tournament scene about 5 months into AoS with the introduction of "Legacy" in the South Coast Grand Tournament pool system and pack. It caused people a lot of grief and most people were glad to see it gone. Its now pointed and able to be used under matched play (assuming the event you are attending allows Compendium unit choices) so I'm sure we'll see a few of knocking around again soon! So why do people hate seeing them on the table?

The reason for the hate the Hellcannon receives is pretty straight forward. It has a 48" range which when positioned central in your deployment zone on a 6x4' table it can reach any point on the board and what makes it even better is it requires no line of sight to actually target something. Further more hitting something you can't see doesn't make the shot any more likely to miss :/ The Doomfire shot hits on a 4+ and does D6 mortal wounds when it hits, this is incredibly strong as you are removing the wound roll step giving you one less dice roll to fail on. If the Hellcannon doesn't move in the previous movement phase it gets +1 to hit, bringing it to a 3+, and now with the Lord of War Chaos command trait you can give it a further +1 to hit, this combo's really well with a Chaos Sorcerer and Demonic Power allowing it to re-roll ones. The could quite happily make the Sorcerer your general and hide him behind the hell cannon buffing it all game long. Which may seem an expensive points investment, but when you are doing 2D6 mortal wounds on target anywhere on the board its points well spent. 2D6 you say? Yes it fires twice a turn if it has 2-3 crew available.

The machine itself also has a 4+ save and crew have a 4+ save while within 1" of the Hellcannon. The crew are the Hellcannons weakness as they are required to fire the machine. They can be hidden behind the Hellcannon to help reduce being shot. The Hellcannon also has to pass a Caged Fury test at the start of the your movement phase, failing on a 1 at full crew and getting 1 worse each time a crew member dies. Failing this test makes you move towards the nearest enemy unit, which will lose you your +1 to hit for not moving. The Hellcannon is not actually bad in combat so can defend itself against quicker units that can reach it very early on in the game (Seekers/Prosecutors etc).

The easiest way to deal with a Hellcannon is having something that can kill the crew as early as possible in the game, you can target the crew separately meaning you only have to do 3 wounds against a 4+ save to make it unable to fire, killing 2 of the crew halves its damage output to 1 shot a turn. The Hellcannon also has a minimum range of 12" so once you are in range its only the crew (and the rest of the their army!) and the Hellcannon melee attacks you have to worry about.

  • Pros: No line of sight required, massive 48" range, huge damage potential, causes mortal wounds, doesn't require a roll to wound, very survivable machine
  • Cons: While the machine is survivable the crew not so much, minimum range of 12", quite expensive at 300pts

Warplock Jezzails: 140pts / unit size: 3-12 / points per model: 46 / wounds per model: 2

Right time for some Skaven shooty goodness. At a lowish points cost a unit or two of Jezzails can offer any Chaos list a nice boost for its shooting. Their long range of 30" means they can often impact the game from turn 1, however they do need to be deployed  correctly to avoid having to move them which will remove the re-roll 1's for shooting and the 4+ save from shooting attacks. Set up in a piece of terrain these guys will gave a solid 3+ save making them hard to shift without high rend, more wounds or close combat. Rolling a 6 or more to hit replace the normal wound roll with 2 mortal wounds, removing the need for a wound roll is a pretty big deal as I mentioned above in the Hellcannon summary, the less time you have to roll, the less chance of failing! So even if you don't roll the 6 or more, the shot is wounding on 3's and is rend -2 and damage 2, amazing for sniping off those 5+ save wizards or even thinning out units of Saurus that ignore rend -1.

The new boost these units can a huge benefit from is the Lord of War command trait which gives them +1 to hit. This increases their hit roll to 3+ and the special damage shot to 5+, this can further be boosted by Damned Terrain (although a bit risky as you will most likely kill a Jezzail and cause a Battleshock test, which you certainly don't want. To get full value out of the Jezzails you may want to put them in a unit of 6 or more to efficiently buff them, however this can lead to some pretty shaky Battleshock tests if you lose a few to shooting/spells, bravery 4 is dangerously low!

The unit is fairly costed in risk vs reward, the damage output has good potential and they can be quite survivable when deployed correctly. The biggest drawback to this unit however is the introduction of the "Artillery" tag/keyword in the Generals Handbook. A unit of 3 of these takes up one of Artillery slot, which is quite an investment seeing as this would limit the number of real artillery pieces you could take in your list. You could still take 2 units of these guys and 2 Warp Lightning Cannons for example, so its not all bad and is probably for the best as they are quite cheap, they could easily be spammed and make for super gun-line style lists.

  • Pros: decent points cost, long range of 30", very high damage potential, great save in terrain, rend of -2, smallish foot print in units of 3-6
  • Cons: very low bravery meaning you could lose the entire unit with only a few casualties, artillery tagged meaning less real warmachines in a list

Warp Lightning Cannon: 180pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 6

Now we're starting to get into the cream of the Chaos shooting. This tasty cannon has a shortest range of the warmachines available to chaos (excluding the Magma Cannon 16/24" with the nearby Daemonsmith) coming in at 24" with a 3" move giving it a decent range, but something you can play around and stay away from if you are worried about being shot by one. No separate crew for this and a good amount of wounds meaning its unlikely to killed off by a single shot. It also gains +1 to its save roll in the shooting phase giving it a 4+, great sat in terrain for a 3+. Its fairly weak in combat, so this is something you should avoid doing! It can also never make a charge move. It has a very unique shooting attack as it neither rolls to hit or to wound so cannot be buffed with any modifiers (however dice re-rolls or adjusters like Kairos can be used on it). The shot requires line of site as it follows the normal rules for picking a target.

You start by rolling a D6 and this determines the 'Strength' of the shot, next you roll 6 more dice and any dice roll that equals or beats the first dice roll scores a mortal wound. Rolling a 1 automatically does 6 mortal wounds without the need to roll the 6 dice, as you can't fail to roll a 1 or more! As this is a unique attack it is not affected by the Three Rules of One. When combined with Kairos (Kairos changes the dice roll to a 1 using his ability) this shooting attack can be very powerful and used to guarantee killing a 6 or less wound hero that may be holding an objective or providing some Locus/Aura buff and needs to gotten rid of as soon as possible.

The key selling factor of this unit for me is the absence of the hit and wound roll. This means even if you roll poorly on the first roll of the shot and get 6, you should still do at least 1 wound, making it reliable for cleaning up units/heroes with few wounds left. This is why I would always take a Warp Lightning Cannon over a Skull Cannon if I had the option, as over the course of a game you are more likely to score successful damage every turn and some turns do pretty hefty damage.

  • Pros: Reliable mortal wounds, decent range, high damage potential, not over-costed, no to hit or wound roll
  • Cons: Aside from a slightly shorter range than other warmachines there really isn't anything negative about it I can think of right now

Plagueclaw Catapult: 180pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 6

The Plagueclaw has been one of my favourite choices in Chaos after all the factions were opened up in tournament play allowing me to use 1-2 of these with my Nurgle Daemons. It shares some similar rules with the Warp Lightning Cannon in that it can never make a charge move and gains +1 save against shooting attacks. It has an extra rule called Arcing Shot which allows it to hit units that it has no line of sight to. It has a bit of a strange range of 31", the only reason I can see for this is its 13 (number of Skaven) backwards, otherwise its just an odd amount.

The Plaueclaw fires a single shot hitting and wounding on 3's with the standard cannon damage of rend -2 and D6 damage. The shot gains +1 to hit of you are targeting more than 10 models, which is slightly different to most other warmachines which gain benefits from targeting 10 or more models. If you successfully score a wound the damage is increased to 2D6 instead of 1D6 if the unit contains more than 10 models.

The strength and true value of this model is unlocked by utilising the Nurgle keyword it has. Plagueclaws combo nicely with Epidemius by filling up his tally very quickly and early on in the game by bombing large units of single wound infantry. This then further buffs the Plagueclaws by giving them re-roll 1's to hit and wound and +1 save.

  • Pros: very strong Nurgle synergy, no line of sight required, long range, high damage potential, not over-costed, great at wiping out horde armies
  • Cons: outclassed by the Warp Lightning Cannon for single targets but otherwise a solid artillery slot choice

Stormfiends - Warpfire Projectors: 300pts / unit size: 3-9 / points per model: 100 / wounds per model: 6

So at 300 points for a unit of 3 you may be thinking these are really expensive, however with a 4+ save and 6 wounds a model you really are just paying for a small unit of heroes. The Warpfire Projectors have a limited range of 8" but the lack of range is more than compensated by the raw damage output of 2D3 mortal wounds per Stormfiend. There is no hit or wound roll, so you will always be outputting damage (unless they are getting those dirty mortal wound saves!). A unit of 3 is going to do between 6 and 18 moral wounds, this backed up by a couple of Warp Lightning Cannons is going to delete units with minimal effort. They have a decent move of 6" and a not so awful bravery of 6, which can be an issue if you are taking Stormfiends in units of 6 and take a few casualties in one round.

The limited range and combined move gives the Warpfire Projectors a threat range of 14" which is still strong but can be overcome in a number ways. Putting a Stormfiend with a Grinderfist in the unit allows them to tunnel in and appear anywhere on the battlefield as long as they are more than 9" away from an enemy unit. But as they cannot move they won't be in range to fire the turn they arrive. The Warp Grinder Weapons Team can also be used to place a Stormfiend unit closer up the battlefield, again though this is limited to 9" away from enemy units. There is another option using a Skryre formation which allows the units top pop up 3" away from enemy models (can be within 3" but you take damage on your own units) and start firing right away. This is quite a costly formation to build, but the damage it can output is amazing and if you get a double turn off as well and get 2 rounds of shooting the formation is a worthy investment.

Another option is to use spells/abilities that can alter your move characteristic, such as Sayl the Faithless who can give the Stormfiends move 18" and fly from his spell. This gives them a 26" threat range and believe me, the threat is very real! As the models have no buffable stats when it comes to shooting (number of shots, hit and wound roll), they are a very strong choice and to my knowledge there is currently nothing in the game than can de-buff their shooting. Stormfiends are also Battleline if you have Skryre allegiance meaning you can take an entire army of them, while this wouldn't be a very efficient army or probably do all that well in a competitive environment it could still be a lot of fun and really give your opponent something to worry about. 18 Stormfiends in a 2000 point list is no laughing matter! That's 108 wounds assuming none of them have the wound upgrade from close combat weapons!

  • Pros: no hit or wound rolls, huge damage potential, tanky unit with a 4+ save, decent move of 6", options for ambushing, still decent in combat with damage 2 melee attacks
  • Cons: expensive investment if you can't minimise the short range drawback, shaky bravery tests

Stormfiends - Ratling Cannons: 300pts / unit size: 3-9 / points per model: 100 / wounds per model: 6

Lots of people have these built from back in the days of 8th edition where the Ratling Cannon was the premium choice of wrecking face. Now however they have been toned down a fair amount and provide a high volume of reasonably low strength damage output. 3D6 shots is just so random giving you anything from 3-18 shots per Stormfiend. The rend -1 and damage of 1 is okay but nothing to be really be worried about if you are on the receiving end. The have a relatively short range of 12" which is only a small increase over the 8" of the Warpfire Projectors. With 4's to hit and wound on the average number of shots you're likely to score around 5 wounds which then get a save at -1. Overall probably only a couple of wounds per model caused.

As Warpfire Projectors are costed the same, have a much higher chance of damage and are not effected by any shooting debuffs such as negative modifiers to hit, I just don't see a reason to ever take Ratling Cannons in the current state of the game. The one advantage they do have over Warpfire Projectors is the ability to shoot the turn the ambush 9" away from an enemy unit. Even stacking to hit and wound buffs on the unit won't really bring them up to the same level as Warpfire Projectors so for me these will probably never be a viable option.

  • Pros: Potential high volume of fire, can shoot the turn the ambush 9" away, good at killing large low save units
  • Cons: Warpfire Projectors exist and do much a better job

Stormfiends - Windlaunchers: 300pts / unit size: 3-9 / points per model: 100 / wounds per model: 6

I keep looking at these thinking they could have some awesome uses, but always end up back with more Warpfire Projectors! The range of 16" is pretty good so you'll probably be hitting stuff a turn sooner than you would with Warpfire Projectors or Ratling Cannons. They also require no line of sight to hit their target and gain +1 to hit units of 10 or more models. With the Generals Handbook requiring larger units and more bodies on the table for objective control these could end up being a viable option for just sitting back and clearing off objectives all game long.

I then look back at the potential damage output of a Windlauncher and at its best you roll 2 successful hits, 2 successful wounds and your opponent fails both saves at rend -2 you are left with between 2 and 6 damage. This could have been achieved by the Warpfire Projectors without rolling to hit or wound and ignoring the opponents save roll. Like the Ratling Cannon the Windlauncher is quite situational when it comes to achieving a solid roll in an army list, when you don't know what your opponent will be running you're safest option is to probably ignore both and just opt for more Warpfire Projectors!

  • Pros: High potential damage output of 6 damage per model, longest range of the Stormfiend options giving a threat range of 22", no line of sight required
  • Cons: As with the Ratling Cannon, the existence of the Warpfire Projector just makes everything else a non optimal choice :(

Poisoned Wind Mortar Weapon Team: 60pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 3

A lesser scene unit in Chaos lists, but has the potential for some really nice gap filling when rounding out a list. A single shot each with a 4+ 4+ to hit and wound, rend of -2 and damage D6 sounds pretty good and is essentially a 22" range cannon equivalent. +1 to hit when shooting at 10 or more models and even better still the damage changes to 6 instead of D6 when you are shooting at 20 or more models. In the current state of the game and body spamming on the table, these could actually offer some pretty good chaff clearing and make a dent in those 40 man Savage Orruk units. You can pump the range to 30" by passing a risk test of 2+ or take D3 wounds, but with 22" range and a 6" move they do have a very nice 28" range reach. They also require no line of sight so can happily sit in an invisible spot to your opponent and lob fire power over at them all game long. Stick a few near your general with the +1 to hit order buff and rain poison down on those dirty Stormcast! These don't count as artillery and you can also get 3 of these for the same price as a single Skull Cannon... just saying.

  • Pros: No line of sight required, rend -2 and damage D6, cheap, smallish footprint, does not count towards artillery allowance, 28" threat range
  • Cons: 6+ save and 3 wounds each (although this can be negated by hiding them!)

Warpfire Thrower Team: 60pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 3

These are currently making a big appearance on the UK tournament scene in the infamous "Skryre net list". The are super cheap at 60pts a piece for the damage output they can cause and make up one of the most powerful formations currently usable at events. Similar to the Stormfiends Warpfire Projector they have an 8" range, do not roll to hit or wound and cause mortal wounds. While only D3 on the basic shot they can be boosted to D6 damage by passing a risk test of 2+, failing this causes D3 wounds to the firing unit. The limited range is negated by either the horrific "Skryre Coven" or using Warpgrinder teams to get them up the table at a quicker rate. I don't think you'll see many of these outside of the Coven lists as they do require further points investment to make them optimal.

  • Pros: High mortal wound potential, cheap filler unit, smallish footprint for sneaking around
  • Cons: 6+ save and 3 wounds, very short range without investing in a carrier unit or formation

Ratling Gun Weapon Team: 80pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 3

Not a bad little unit at 80pts for 18" range of 2D6 shots, capable of boosting to 4D6 shots on the same 2+ risk roll the other Skaven weapons teams have. These could be nice little filler units if you find yourself with 160pts left over and are lacking high output low damage shooting. They also get +1 to hit when they are 9" of their target, which works out nicely if they are sitting behind a tankier unit and just shooting into combat. With a sideboard event these could be quite a nice option in case you end up fighting hordes of low save infantry. As with all the weapons teams they are low on wounds and only have a 6+ save and would be easily picked off by a unit of Judicators.

  • Pros: Decent threat range of 24", very high damage potential against lightly armoured models
  • Cons: 6+ save and 3 wounds each, potential for no damage output when rolling to generate number of shots

Infernal Guard Fireglaives: 100pts / unit size: 10-40 / wounds per model: 1

I really like the value of 10 of these with a 4+ save for 100pts, then I remember that Savage Orruks are also 100pts for twice as many wounds and it makes me a bit sad :( Yes I know these guys have a 4+ save are are always rend -1 but still it leaves a bitterness behind! They can be Battleline which is great, but only in a mono Chaos Dwarf army, which is cool if you are going that route, but with how big the Chaos Alliance is its really nice to mix and match. They also get to re-roll saves of 1 against shooting attacks which is a pretty decent basic ability to have. The unit can be further buffed by an Infernal Guard Battle Standard being planted which allows them to re-roll wound rolls against Order & Destruction (who are both very popular right now!). The Castellan can also be used to buff the unit and give them +1 to wound against a targeted unit using his command ability. If the unit contains 10 or models they also get to fire twice against units with the Monster keyword. Its also worth noting that rolling a 6 on the wound roll inflicts double damage (2), this cannot be modified however with +1 to wound as it just a 6 that triggers this and not a 6 or more.

As a stand alone unit they are reasonably priced at 100pts, however to get full value out of them they would need to be part of a Chaos Dwarf army, as adding in the characters to buff them would end up quite expensive and you would probably be better off with just adding a Chaos Sorcerer Lord instead for the re-roll 1's Daemonic Power spell. They have an okay threat range of 20" and are reasonably tanky and could quite easily hold an objective in or near terrain while shooting at advancing units.

  • Pros: reasonably pointed, good save of 4+ re-rolling 1's against shooting, basic rend of -1, optional Battleline, decent threat range of 20"
  • Cons: true value not unlocked without relevant Heroes buffing them, low bravery, slow movement 4", other better options available

Iron Deamon War Engine: 200pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 11

I added this one in here for completeness or the Chaos Dwarf shooting available, unfortunately I just can't see anything good about it. The only thing is really has going for it is a 4+ save and 11 wounds. That's really all it has to offer though. It has 3 lots of random rolls to contend with, random move, random number of shots and random number of attacks in combat. At 200pts this thing is honestly rubbish. It can be used to move the other artillery pieces I'll be talking about next, which is situational at best, most of them have a very long shooting range anyway so it's not really that useful unless you are trying to drag a Magma Cannon into range of something further up the table. Even if this thing gets maximum move, maximum shots and maximum attacks in close combat its still to expensive to justify putting it in a list. A Soul Grinder is 280pts and soooo much better value than this at 200!

  • Pros: Honestly I just can't see anything good about this Warscroll
  • Cons: Random, Random, Random - to much randomness to pay good points for.

Deathshrieker Rocket Launcher: 120pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 6

On my first glance of this some time ago I dismissed it as not being all that good, now it has points and appears to be quite cheap it looks like a good shooting option to slot in to most lists lacking in some shooting. 36" range with a 3" move gives it a great threat range, it sports a 4+ save which is 3+ against shooting, also great! More importantly it has no crew and 6 wounds, meaning you can't snipe the crew off, putting it in the good artillery category with the Warp Lightning Cannon! It also does not require line of sight, so all very good so far. You get to re-roll wound rolls of 1 against units with 10 or more models and any unit that has a model slain by a rocket attack is at -1 Bravery until the start of your next hero phase meaning that if its going into their turn they will still be at -1. The Deathshrieker also gains +1 to hit with shooting if any Daemonsmith model is within 3" at the start of the shooting phase.

Everything so far is amazing value for a 120pt artillery piece, the lacking part where the unit falls down though is the actual damage output. It can fire 3 rockets a turn, 4+ to hit 3+ to wound and then -1 rend with D3 damage, while each shot is not as powerful as a cannon/Plagueclaw, it does have the potential for 9 damage and can separate out its shooting to cause -1 Bravery on multiple units. Its much cheaper and survivable than the more powerful artillery options but is lacking in overall kill potential. A Daemonsmith is also a 100pt tax on the model if you want to fully utilise the buffs it has available, but as a single Daemonsmith can man multiple machines this cost is somewhat nullified when fielded with multiple Chaos Dwarf artillery options, the Daemonsmith is also a wizard with a great spell, so you get something else out of him other than a buffing piece.

  • Pros: cheap at 120pts, survivable, doesn't have separate crew, long range, no line of sight required, useful in a Bravery bomb list
  • Cons: lacking in damage compared to other artillery options, requires a Daemonsmith for full value

Magma Cannon: 140pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 6

The Magma Cannon is also rocking a 4+ save and 3+ against shooting with 6 wounds (no crew) putting it in the good artillery category! Its reasonably priced at 140 as well and can be buffed by a Daemonsmith similar to the Deathshrieker above. The Daemonsmith increases the shooting attack range to 24" from 18" which is a very good range for mortal wound shooting. The Magma Cannons shooting attack is not effected by hitting modifiers so you can't buff it, but more importantly it cannot be de-buffed. On a 1-2 it does nothing, on a 3-6 thats how many mortal wounds it does. Against units with 10 or more models you roll 2 dice and pick the highest.

Its slightly cheaper than the Warp Lightning Cannon and offers a 1 better saving throw, on its own its shorter ranged but works out a really good alternative to a pair of Warp Lightning Cannons if you are trying to keep the long range mortal wound threat and gives you an additional wizard! 2 Warp Lightning Cannons will Set you back 360pts, where as 2 Magma Cannons and a Daemonsmith will be 380pts. So for an extra 20 points you get a wizard and a great spell! Obviously the Daemonsmith can be sniped off leaving the Magma Cannons with an 18" range.

  • Pros: High damage potential damage, mortal wounds, high threat range when buffed, well pointed, no crew, survivable
  • Cons: Requires a Daemonsmith for full potential, has a 1in3 chance of doing nothing with its shooting attack

Dreadquake Mortar: 200pts / unit size: 1 / wounds per model: 8

The Dreadquake Mortar is very similar to the Plagueclaw Catapult for its damage output but can be boosted to have the highest damage potential of any artillery currently in Age of Sigmar allowing it do a maximum of 24 damage in a single shooting phase. While this is quite unlikely to do the full whack it can still yield some big damage. It doesn't require line of sight, packs a 40" range, hits and wounds on 3+ and has rend -2 damage D6. It does 2D6 damage to units that have 10 or more models and stops the target unit from making a run move if any of its models were slain by the Dreadquake Bomb. The part where it gets its even higher damage output is when accompanied by a Daemonsmith who can slap the crew about causing them to on a roll of a 1 attack the Dreadquake for D3 mortal wounds and cannot fire this turn, on a 2-3 it fires normally (1 shot) and on a 4-6 it can fire twice in that shooting phase. So you can either bombard separate targets to stop them running, or put both shots into a large unit of say 40 guys and cause that sweet 24 damage rolling 4 6's!

Its only 20pts more than a Plagueclaw which is its closest competitor for long range unit destruction, but really does need a Daemonsmith to get its full potential. A pair of these and a Daemonsmith comes in at 500pts, which may seem expensive but the ranged threat they offer is quite stupid in terms of damage output! Using something like Kairos to also change the result to guarantee 2 shots from a single Dreadquake in a turn is still a nice option as well. For 300pts with a Daemonsmith its probably a better purchase than a Hellcannon at the same cost due to the fact you cant pick the crew off!

  • Pros: Incredible damage potential, survivable 8 wounds and 4+/3+ against shooting, very long range, reasonably priced compared to Plagueclaws
  • Cons: Requires some points investment to get the full damage output, comes with some risky ogre slapping rolls

Up next: Thanquol, Great Unclean One, other notable characters with shooting attacks

Edited by Terry Pike
added more units and Terry's top picks
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did you want us to comment on this or wait until you've filled it out ? 

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Just now, Arkiham said:

did you want us to comment on this or wait until you've filled it out ? 

Its going to be a lot of text, so just updated throughout the day as I get time. If I miss any units/rules etc then please comment in and i'll get hem added.

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Don't forget to mention the Skaven weapon teams when you go into more detail about the Stormfiends and Jezzails.

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If you're aiming for all shooting units, you might want to add units which have shooting options as a subcategory; if so you'll need to include units such as Glottkin and the Maggoth lords/ the GUO, plaguedrones, soul grinder etc.

 

This would allow people not to overlook units such as maggoth lords who have good shooting abilities along with their melee line up.

It might pay off to arrange the layout into groups and add what they are and what they can do, what their range is.

something like this maybe?

Leaders (heroes)

  • Glottkin ( behemoth )

text text text text text blah blah blah etc etc

  • Maggoth lords ( behemoth )
  • GUO ( behemoth )

Units (battleline)

  • Pink horrors

text text text text text blah blah blah etc etc

Battleline (Allegiance)

  • Burning chariots:

160pts : 1-3 unit size: 6 wound per model range 18"

  • Ungor raiders
  • Chaos marauder horsemen
  • Stormfiends

Artillery 

  • Plagueclaw catapult
  • Warplock jezzails
  • Warp lightnings

Behemoth

  • Cygor
  • Sould grinder

Filler?

  • Plaguedrones
  • Flamers of Tzeentch

200pts : 3-12 unit size : 66pts per model : 2 wounds per model. Range 18"

 

Doing it this way should allow people to quickly see their battlefield role without having to read too deeply into it

Edited by Arkiham
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There are so many units/heroes that can shoot I'm going to focus on the dedicated shooting units first and then do heroes and things like Plagedrones. Will be doing the rest of the Tzeentch stuff after lunch

Edited by Terry Pike

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I've updated the first post with Daemons and Warriors shooting options. I'll be working on the Skaven today.

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The hellcannon caged fury test can be completely ignored by placing the crew in front of it so it's impossible for it to move if it fails, as they're 2 separate entities placed on a single drop and unit selection. ( this is why you can target crews separately to the cannons) 

If it can't move it can't loose it's to hit bonus. ;) tricksy 

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On 28/07/2016 at 0:18 PM, Arkiham said:

The hellcannon caged fury test can be completely ignored by placing the crew in front of it so it's impossible for it to move if it fails, as they're 2 separate entities placed on a single drop and unit selection. ( this is why you can target crews separately to the cannons) 

If it can't move it can't loose it's to hit bonus. ;) tricksy 

The Hellcannon must move though, so if the crew are in front of it it would go around the crew and take whatever route possible. Even if the model was completely pinned in place it could be argued that its failed its test and tried to move, so counts as having moved. Its a bit of a grey area but I would expect it to be ruled against you on the basis that you are trying to manipulate its rules a bit by wedging it in an unmovable situation.

Edited by Terry Pike
spelling

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Great idea for a thread. I look forwards to seeing where this goes. 

Legion of Azgorh has a fair few options. 

Drazhoath - 6 shots 4+/4+

Shartor - 1 use aura of mortal wounds

Deamon smiths. Pistols and 1 use Naptha Bomb/Blood of Hashut 6" D3 mortal wounds. 

Castellant - Pistol 

fireglaves. 16" double damage on 6 to wound. Shoot twice vs monsters if over 10 in unit. Champion has 1 use only bomb  

Magama  Deathshrieker and Dreadquake

Iron Daemon  

you can easily do full shooty army  

 

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I need to re-read all of the Chaos Dwarf stuff so I'll probably do them all together in one go one evening or this weekend.

Doing Skaven at the moment and have to go back and add in the lighter shooting units like plague drones / GUO.

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Loving this thread, and excited to see it completed.

Would also enjoy a dedicated assault section as well, thanks!

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The Hellcannon was a favorite of mine in 8th for shoring up their lack of ranged attacks. It doesn't seem as important now that you can jam Daemon or Skaven ranged in your Warrior list?

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the hellcannon is still incredibly powerful. its probably the most powerful artillery piece in the game.

but its down as legacy and alot of people don't see it as a valid option, along with heroes who have died. 

( dont quote me on this ) but i think most tournaments only allow "current" models i.e ones in the grand alliance books or battletomes into tournaments, which is why its popularity has fallen off  

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As a "Legacy" / Compendium choice it has been unusable at a fair amount of the UK tournament scene for most of the year. With the release of the Generals Handbook I'm sure we'll see them popping back up as they do have the potential to one shot some of the bigger characters seen regularly in the meta such as Neferata, Kairos & Lords of Change etc.

I have added some Skaven units to the original post!

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23 hours ago, Terry Pike said:

As a "Legacy" / Compendium choice it has been unusable at a fair amount of the UK tournament scene for most of the year. With the release of the Generals Handbook I'm sure we'll see them popping back up as they do have the potential to one shot some of the bigger characters seen regularly in the meta such as Neferata, Kairos & Lords of Change etc.

I have added some Skaven units to the original post!

Are kairos and LOC still appearing with generals handbook/summoning nerfs?

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Sure, why not?  I'd keep 120 points free with them for a couple shots with a spell that totally removes your opponents ability to move their turn.

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Quote

Sure, why not?  I'd keep 120 points free with them for a couple shots with a spell that totally removes your opponents ability to move their turn.

What are you referring to?

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I would imagine referring to Bolt of Change which puts a Chaos Spawn in combat with your target effectively rooting them in place unless they want to retreat away.

1 hour ago, Bronouns said:

Are kairos and LOC still appearing with generals handbook/summoning nerfs?

They will still see play under Generals Handbook as both are still premium level casters with great spells. Being able to only attempt to cast a spell once makes successfully casting it even more important now.

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I see. That said, you'll have to pay for the Chaos Spawn out of reinforcement points (which sucks) and it might even get killed in your own combat phase with, I recall, 5 wounds and a 5+ save. You're not going to hold up hammer units that way. Would be worthwhile against archers who get a buff for not having enemy units within 3 inches though (as they will not be able to kill the spawn in melee)! 

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Thanks for this, is a great resource . If you get time please can you compare the points costs of Chaos things against other alliances' staple artillery units ie a dwarf cannon?

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26 minutes ago, Nico said:

I see. That said, you'll have to pay for the Chaos Spawn out of reinforcement points (which sucks) and it might even get killed in your own combat phase with, I recall, 5 wounds and a 5+ save. You're not going to hold up hammer units that way. Would be worthwhile against archers who get a buff for not having enemy units within 3 inches though (as they will not be able to kill the spawn in melee)! 

Yea, though I often find myself short about 80 points so re-arranging to fit two spawn shouldn't be too hard.  It is just essentially a speed bump that can remove their ability to charge or force them to charge it if it's a big enough unit.

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16 minutes ago, James McPherson said:

Thanks for this, is a great resource . If you get time please can you compare the points costs of Chaos things against other alliances' staple artillery units ie a dwarf cannon?

Here are the points for those to make it a little easier.

Destruction Artillery
Doom Diver - 120
Rock Lobber - 100
Spear Chukka - 120
Scraplauncher - 140
Ironblaster - 160

Order Artillery
Celestial Hurricanum - 320
Luminark - 240
Cannon - 180
Hellblaster Volley Gun - 120
Helstorm - 180
Steam Tank - 300

 

Edited by daedalus81

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Has anyone used the Foulrain Congregation yet from the Pestilens book in many games? That probably deserves a mention in the Plagueclaw section. I am painting up 3 plagueclaws at the moment, plan on testing it out some time, feel like if placed in the center of your deployment zone it might be a good counter to a Star Drake sitting on an objective

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I'll finish the Chaos shooting units and then go back adding in more synergies like formations.

I'm also thinking of ranking the shooting units in a tier system that I will update as the meta changes and new books are released.

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