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AoS 2 - Hedonites of Slaanesh Discussion


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20 minutes ago, azdimy said:

10 knights with daemonic power is what I have but do I need to also bring a chaos lord as well to be able to double plle in?

Yep unfortunately, and making sure he's where he needs to be for the Knights will oft be a royal pain. 

10 Knights with lances in the Hunters battalion, a friendly monster for Roar - a Cockatrice will suffice - a Sorcerer Lord for Daemonic Power (and Oracular Visions) and a Chaos Lord to let the Knights double pile-in. That should comfortably gut a Mega in one go. Mystic Shield is also ideal. That's a 670 point combo (more if you want a bigger monster) for those counting. The friendly monster isn't entirely necessary but it will make your life a lot easier if that Mega is saving on a 4+ instead of a 3+. 

The big problem there is after killing the one Mega, another Mega can charge the Knights and render them useless. Drat. Twinsouls might be preferable in that case as they aren't reliant on charging, but they have a harder time surviving the return swings. 

Edited by Jaskier
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4 hours ago, Jaskier said:

10 Knights with lances in the Hunters battalion, a friendly monster for Roar - a Cockatrice will suffice - a Sorcerer Lord for Daemonic Power (and Oracular Visions) and a Chaos Lord to let the Knights double pile-in. That should comfortably gut a Mega in one go. Mystic Shield is also ideal. That's a 670 point combo (more if you want a bigger monster) for those counting. The friendly monster isn't entirely necessary but it will make your life a lot easier if that Mega is saving on a 4+ instead of a 3+. 

I'm not so sure on Chaos Knights, I think they require too many conditionals which are all easy to shut down. Ten do 16 damage on average against a 3+ save (so 32 with a double pile in), but that requires the following conditions to be met:

- Daemonic power must go off, and the Chaos Sorcerer can be sniped by rocks or just fail to cast the spell (probably need the reroll enhancement on them). Without daemonic power, they only do 8 damage on a charge vs a 3+ save (so 16 from the double)

- They must get the charge. Giants are super fast and you'll need to screen the knights to make sure they're not charged first. In addition, knights aren't too speedy so you can't reliably get to them first turn. And if the giant doesn't die in one go, the damage drops significantly. Without a charge but with other buffs, Knights do 6.5 damage (so 13 on a double pile in) 

- They need the double pile in. If the Chaos Lord dies (from rock sniping or even a charge) or just can't catch up with the knights, then the double pile in can't happen. In addition, a Mega-gargant is likely to kill 2 or so knights between pile ins so they'll likely have some dropped damage on the second go around. Even with the other buffs, they only do 16 damage without. 

- There's not really a contingency if things go wrong - if your sorcerer fails to cast, your lord is sniped or left behind, and your knights are charged first then you do a rather poor 3 damage on average (even with 10 knights)

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I think, from experience vs Mega-gargants, your best bet would be Archaon but he's a massive investment in a list. His benefits include being super tanky and super damaging with little to no support - and any support he does get is just icing. Archaon's big problem comes from swingy dice - if he fails a save against a high damage attack, he has no ward and so no bad luck protection and can be downed quickly with a small amount of poor luck, which is pretty much a loss if it happens too early. 

Be'Lakor can work - he'll keep a quarter of their army in place for a turn, but he doesn't really deal with a mega afterwards. 

I've used Glutos before and he works really well to tank a mega, though he's more there to hold it in place than he is to kill it (or even damage it that much). I'd definitely recommend him for that purpose as they can't move over him either. With his ward, he's a better tank than Archaon for 3/5s the price. 

Twinsouls are a funny one. Normally they're great and they will chew through little gargants so long as they attack first, but the stuff em in the bag rule really hurts them as they cost so much. They're not bad, but must be used very carefully. 

Sigvald has been pretty good due to his tankiness and good ward save. He tanked a unit of 3 small ones and a big one for two combats, and now he can stack saves more easily he should be even better. 

Painbringers vs gargants are unfortunately a non-starter as they can't tank the bag rule which will probably kill 2 of them a turn on its own. 

KoS isn't too bad more more of a summon - same for fiends. Both are swingy but they can output big damage. 

I've not tried anything else, but we do struggle against them. That said, I think everyone does. I don't think Chaos Knights are the answer as it's 670 points that rely on three things going right to make their value back. More importantly, if these things can't go right, chaos knights are really abysmal at damage without buffs and end up feeling like a dead weight - a feeling quite common when seeing how much damage a Slaves to Darkness unit does in combat. 

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That's exactly the point you raised though - what does it better, especially for the points? Twinsouls die too easily and have a harder time cracking a 3+ (again why I suggest pairing a monster; you want to deny All Out Defence with a Roar - obviously there's not much you can do about a Finest Hour, but denying the extra +1 helps) and Slickblades do more consistent damage than Knights (i.e. less reliant on charge and buffs) but cost more and shed models quicker. Megas thankfully don't really contest us in spells (they might have 1 unbind but that's about it) and their hero sniping isn't what I'd call amazing (it's decent but Look Out Sir helps a lot against it, as do cover and LOS blocking) so the Knights should have a mostly safe bet of gutting at least one. Failing Daemonic Power (especially when your opponent has no unbinds) happens and it does suck, but in practical terms you're getting it off more often than not - if it's not when you need it though, it is a big problem no question (sidenote, I lost a game at my most recent tournament for this exact reason, so trust me when I say I know how it feels to rely on any particular spell and get burned in the process!) 

This is of course speaking strictly about killing them in one go; it's not the only way to handle Megas, but it is the ideal one. Speaking from experience, it's not as difficult to 'execute' this particular combo as you're implying; with the way objective placement is, the only cog I'd be worried about not spinning is Daemonic Power, and as mentioned above, the odds generally are in your favour. Again though, this is about killing them quickly - it's not really a surprise that it takes quite the combination of things and a bit of luck to bring one down in a single go. Is it realistic? Kinda. Is it something to bet on? Yeah, probably not. Megas are tough. 

Archaon is a whole other beast; he can reliably kill one in two pile-ins, and has the chance to do it in one go, but he has no protection from being Roared (and thus being ineligible for a double pile-in.) He's arguably the strongest unit we have access to overall of course, and that probably includes killing Megas, but obviously it's a very different approach to list design if you're including him. I wouldn't be too worried about a Mega killing him outside of maybe a Gatebreaker, as he can get +3 to his save (Mystic Shield, Oracular Visions, All Out Defence/Lurid Haze CA) and two of them aren't commands. 

The other thing to note is the value of buffs like Acquiescence or the Shardspeakers' +1 to-wound scale up a lot against an army of fewer, tougher units. Unfortunately our usual death by a thousand cuts strategy doesn't work on Sons as they will easily beat us at the objective game. Sons are honestly the army I've most been thinking about in terms of how to prepare for it, as they're pretty much tailor made to spoil your two-dayer quest - and they're going to be very, very popular. Gotrek's the other one I'm dreading. A Maw-Krusha is one thing, but a teensy Dwarf with a mohawk? Ick. 

Edited by Jaskier
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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Jaskier said:

Speaking from experience, it's not as difficult to 'execute' this particular combo as you're implying; with the way objective placement is, the only cog I'd be worried about not spinning is Daemonic Power, and as mentioned above, the odds are in your favour. 

I guess we've had very different experiences - every time I've used knights they've been abysmal, but it could well be I don't use them well :) My main issue is actually the charge - depending on scenery and enemy placements (because you will need to screen vs megas you can more easily get locked in), it can be hard to get into what you want, or you get charged by something faster. I think it's a lot of points to invest into something that becomes very poor if it gets charged first (13 (6.5x2) damage out of 640 points is... yeah). 

I agree killing a giant in one go is ideal, but to do that on average you'll need to have everything go off and a monster to roar into the giant. I personally, from my own playstyle, prefer to forsake a potential single turn kill (even if it would be ideal) and go for a two or three combat phase kill that's harder to shut down. 

That said, I'd be very interested to see people try the knights and I'd be happy to be wrong :) Like I said, it's mostly because I've never had a positive experience using knights (even when they had EK). On the other hand I've found chosen pretty great and no one seems to like them last I checked :P

As an aside, I've used Archaon once and he was killed turn 1 by Sylvaneth shooting in a fantastic display of bad luck (every save a fail and every damage roll a 5 or 6).

Edit: to be a bit clearer, what usually happens when I use knights is they charge, hurt the thing they charge into, and then sit about and get slowly picked off for the rest of the battle. Retreating them only works on the double turn because they can be chased pretty easily (especially as I don't think you can retreat and run now). 

Edited by Enoby
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55 minutes ago, Enoby said:

I agree killing a giant in one go is ideal, but to do that on average you'll need to have everything go off and a monster to roar into the giant. I personally, from my own playstyle, prefer to forsake a potential single turn kill (even if it would be ideal) and go for a two or three combat phase kill that's harder to shut down. 

This is how I usually prefer to handle things with our book, especially as a lot of our units tend to operate fairly well independently - and obviously we want to farm our summoning points. Megas unfortunately just force us to approach it differently, as it's something that will take and keep an objective unless we kill it, and as I've seen Sons players attest to, it's more than feasible to get an insurmountable victory point lead by round three. I've not had as much time for AoS lately as I would have liked but it's the biggest issue I'm facing with how to approach list-building right now. The big problem with the usual two/three-phase strategy is that we need stuff to pin a Mega down to a point where it either has to stay in combat and die, or it has to retreat out of range of the objective - it's just a pain for us because our units are expensive (so we tend not to have as much 'meat' as other armies) and we don't have too much that can survive that long against a Mega. Chaos Knights in theory tick all the boxes, but obviously are much more contingent on various buffs working in concert. You're spot on about the not running and retreating anymore, and yeah, stuck Knights are worthless Knights. Slickblades fare a lot better in that regard, but then they struggle a lot more to just survive. Ah well, it wouldn't be Slaanesh if the choices were easy!

Honestly, I think it really just stresses the value of our shooting and shut-down options even more than usual. With few exceptions, we're not a faction that's going to win a slug fest with Megas. Some food for thought, 33 Blissbarbs (so 61 shots) buffed with All Out Attack and Acquiescence averages about 15/16 unsaved damage against a 3+ save Mega (and 24 against a 4+ save Mega.)

That is...pretty horrendous luck with Archaon, no question! My 'new' (i.e. painted) one has only died once so far, and that was to about 1500 points of Idoneth smacking him down in a single combat phase. 

Edited by Jaskier
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Planning on running this at the next major tournament I'm going to. The plan is fairly straightforward, the bladebringer is my mortal wound meatgrinder, hellstriders as blockers and chaff, seeker chariot (only in as another unit of hellstriders had me 5 points over) as support for the bladebringer, twinsouls as a hammer, Synessa and the blissbarb seekers as ranged support, and Sigvald as a combination distraction carnifex, scalpel, and counter to heavy wardsave anvils like phoenix guard. If I summon a keeper I may use him to counter Gotrek, but I'd much rather use my speed to zone him out if I can.

Allegiance: Slaanesh
- Host: Godseekers Host
- Grand Strategy: Predator's Domain
- Triumphs: Bloodthirsty


LEADERS
Bladebringer, Herald on Exalted Chariot (265) in Battle Regiment
- General
- Command Trait: Speed-chaser
- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Synessa, The Voice of Slaanesh (260) in Battle Regiment
Sigvald, Prince of Slaanesh (265) in Battle Regiment
 

UNITS
5 x Hellstriders with Hellscourges (135) in Battle Regiment
5 x Hellstriders with Hellscourges (135) in Battle Regiment
1 x Seeker Chariots (130) in Hunters of the Heartlands
10 x Symbaresh Twinsouls (370) in Hunters of the Heartlands
5 x Blissbarb Seekers (220) in Battle Regiment
5 x Blissbarb Seekers (220) in Battle Regiment
 

CORE BATTALIONS
Hunters of the Heartlands
Battle Regiment
 

TOTAL: 2000/2000 WOUNDS: 111

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12 minutes ago, TimeToWaste85 said:

Vindicators arrive today. I’m probably only getting one test model built, but I’ll share how well it works combined with Myrmadesh parts. Still haven’t had any luck on extra helms, asked on here, Facebook and Bartertown. 

Looking forward to seeing them :)

I would offer my extra helms but where I am the delivery would cost a tonne 

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2 hours ago, TimeToWaste85 said:

Vindicators arrive today. I’m probably only getting one test model built, but I’ll share how well it works combined with Myrmadesh parts. Still haven’t had any luck on extra helms, asked on here, Facebook and Bartertown. 

Vindictors. They are not tanks.

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On 8/2/2021 at 8:09 AM, Jaskier said:

That's exactly the point you raised though - what does it better, especially for the points? Twinsouls die too easily and have a harder time cracking a 3+ (again why I suggest pairing a monster; you want to deny All Out Defence with a Roar - obviously there's not much you can do about a Finest Hour, but denying the extra +1 helps) and Slickblades do more consistent damage than Knights (i.e. less reliant on charge and buffs) but cost more and shed models quicker. Megas thankfully don't really contest us in spells (they might have 1 unbind but that's about it) and their hero sniping isn't what I'd call amazing (it's decent but Look Out Sir helps a lot against it, as do cover and LOS blocking) so the Knights should have a mostly safe bet of gutting at least one. Failing Daemonic Power (especially when your opponent has no unbinds) happens and it does suck, but in practical terms you're getting it off more often than not - if it's not when you need it though, it is a big problem no question (sidenote, I lost a game at my most recent tournament for this exact reason, so trust me when I say I know how it feels to rely on any particular spell and get burned in the process!) 

This is of course speaking strictly about killing them in one go; it's not the only way to handle Megas, but it is the ideal one. Speaking from experience, it's not as difficult to 'execute' this particular combo as you're implying; with the way objective placement is, the only cog I'd be worried about not spinning is Daemonic Power, and as mentioned above, the odds generally are in your favour. Again though, this is about killing them quickly - it's not really a surprise that it takes quite the combination of things and a bit of luck to bring one down in a single go. Is it realistic? Kinda. Is it something to bet on? Yeah, probably not. Megas are tough. 

Archaon is a whole other beast; he can reliably kill one in two pile-ins, and has the chance to do it in one go, but he has no protection from being Roared (and thus being ineligible for a double pile-in.) He's arguably the strongest unit we have access to overall of course, and that probably includes killing Megas, but obviously it's a very different approach to list design if you're including him. I wouldn't be too worried about a Mega killing him outside of maybe a Gatebreaker, as he can get +3 to his save (Mystic Shield, Oracular Visions, All Out Defence/Lurid Haze CA) and two of them aren't commands. 

The other thing to note is the value of buffs like Acquiescence or the Shardspeakers' +1 to-wound scale up a lot against an army of fewer, tougher units. Unfortunately our usual death by a thousand cuts strategy doesn't work on Sons as they will easily beat us at the objective game. Sons are honestly the army I've most been thinking about in terms of how to prepare for it, as they're pretty much tailor made to spoil your two-dayer quest - and they're going to be very, very popular. Gotrek's the other one I'm dreading. A Maw-Krusha is one thing, but a teensy Dwarf with a mohawk? Ick. 

Best counter to monsters/Sons I can think of is a summoned three-man unit of Fiends, or if you can afford it, a unit of 6; Fiends are designed to to be our multi-wound damage dealers that can blend through elite infantry or cavalry, and act as a road block for monsteroues entities. Though the six-man unit may be overkill despite the 2 inch tail attack and -1 wound bonus because of the changes to coherency.

Also consider bringing the Mindstealer, which has a watered down version of our old Locus of Diversion from the 2019 book, and also has the Monster keyword. It can prevent a unit/Gargant from attacking until last in the combat phase, and when combined with a unit of Twinsouls, fiendbloods, or both, it has some great utility and can indirectly increase Slaanesh’s relatively frail survivability. 
 

As for Gortrek, best I can see is either Belakor (to prevent the opponent from using him), a Mindstealer (see above), Sigvald (to ignore ward saves), or a combination of the three. Gortrek is also relatively slow, and will most likely be sent into the central battle. Slaanesh is one of the faster armies in the game, and against shooting or skirmishing you may be able to run circles around him, although it may become an over glorified game of Cat and Mouse. 

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4 hours ago, AngryPanda said:

As for Gortrek

I was surprised when some tournaments banned Gotrek and a lot of people seem to be having issues with him since all three of my armies in BoC, FEC and slaanesh Control the board really well or have great answers to Gotrek I.e. Sigvald or Crypt flayers

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Posted (edited)
21 minutes ago, docofallplagues said:

I was surprised when some tournaments banned Gotrek and a lot of people seem to be having issues with him since all three of my armies in BoC, FEC and slaanesh Control the board really well or have great answers to Gotrek I.e. Sigvald or Crypt flayers

Glutos is also a decent counter - halving his move to 2" and his charge to 6" gives him an absolute maximum threat range of 8" (and an average of 5.5."), which can just shut him down for a turn. 

I think Gotrek is very strong, but he mostly shines in an environment where people aren't prepared for him. For example, someone brings him in a random friendly game vs a player with no experience against him. But I think he's relatively easy to deal with in a competitive environment.

Edited by Enoby
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I see absolutely no reason you couldn’t. I used the Myrmadesh/Twinsouls box for Twinsouls, so I have nothing left. But I’d say you could. However, you either need to use a LOT of green stuff at the neck area or modify Stormcast heads.  I chose to modify the heads

43C96AAE-2DF7-418C-9E39-C8657E379BB6.jpeg

Edited by TimeToWaste85
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10 hours ago, AngryPanda said:

Best counter to monsters/Sons I can think of is a summoned three-man unit of Fiends, or if you can afford it, a unit of 6; Fiends are designed to to be our multi-wound damage dealers that can blend through elite infantry or cavalry, and act as a road block for monsteroues entities. Though the six-man unit may be overkill despite the 2 inch tail attack and -1 wound bonus because of the changes to coherency.

Also consider bringing the Mindstealer, which has a watered down version of our old Locus of Diversion from the 2019 book, and also has the Monster keyword. It can prevent a unit/Gargant from attacking until last in the combat phase, and when combined with a unit of Twinsouls, fiendbloods, or both, it has some great utility and can indirectly increase Slaanesh’s relatively frail survivability. 
 

As for Gortrek, best I can see is either Belakor (to prevent the opponent from using him), a Mindstealer (see above), Sigvald (to ignore ward saves), or a combination of the three. Gortrek is also relatively slow, and will most likely be sent into the central battle. Slaanesh is one of the faster armies in the game, and against shooting or skirmishing you may be able to run circles around him, although it may become an over glorified game of Cat and Mouse. 

Funnily enough I've already ran the numbers on Fiends earlier in the thread and was entertaining other options precisely because I don't think Fiends quite get the job done in this scenario - and I'm not convinced it's a problem with Fiends but moreso just we might have a hard time dealing with Mega-Gargants. Killing a Mancrusher? Easy. In theory Fiends are our big monster hunters, but in practice they fall well short when it comes to Megas, or any monster with a 3+ or better save that can stack save bonuses - and again, I don't think that's a problem with Fiends specifically. A 3-strong block (i.e. a summoned unit) of Fiends charging a Mega with Acquiescence and +1 to-hit (because they're definitely not going to survive for a double pile-in) averages 8 wounds at -1 Damage 1, 2 wounds at -1 Damage D3, and 2 wounds at -1 Damage D6. If the Mega has a 3+ save (which it can get through All Out Defence, Finest Hour or Mystic Shield) you're looking at roughly ~10 unsaved damage (very swingy though with that D6) and it increases a fair bit if you can deny the 3+ (to about ~16 unsaved damage.) The problem here with a summoned unit of Fiends is that it has zero protection from being Roared and thus not benefiting from any command abilities in the subsequent fight phase, so there's a good chance they won't have access to +1 to-hit or a potential second pile-in. If you take into account the most likely scenarios for this unit, their average damage drops down more to something like 5-8. 

So what about a starting block of 6 Fiends in Hunters of the Heartlands then? Well, you have to account for the unit coherency rules, which unfortunately aren't super favourable to Fiends. Their long bases mean you can get away with a four frontage turned sideways (and two turned sideways at the back) but I think the Mega's frontage isn't quite big enough for all four at the front to attack, so I think (I might be wrong to the tune of four extra claw attacks) at best you're looking at either four get all their attacks and two get zilch, or three get to make their claw attacks and all six get to make their stinger attacks. We'll go with the latter scenario. So, applying re-roll 1s only (to factor in for a double pile-in) the Fiends average 6 wounds at -1 Damage 1, 2 wounds at -1 Damage D3, and 4 wounds at -1 Damage D6. Against a 3+ save Mega, that's about ~13 unsaved damage, increasing to about ~19 against a 4+ save Mega - and the numbers go up if you apply +1 to-hit (though getting +1 to-hit usually means you're giving up a double pile-in to do so.) Now, the key factor for this unit is whether it can survive the return swings, and their innate -1s to-hit and to-wound help a fair bit - but their 5+ save lets them down, as even if you boost them to a 4+ with Mystic Shield (or a command, but mind the receive-one-command-per-phase limitation) they're saving on a 6+ at best against a Megas attacks. If we use an unbuffed Warstomper as an example (we assume it used a command to get +1 save, so it can't get +1 attack or count as being at its top bracket - and it did not use Finest Hour; this is the worst case scenario for it to have a 3+) meaning it has 9 attacks with its Boulderclub (+3 damage chart, +6 for 6 models within 3") on a rough average you're looking at about 1 wound at -3 Damage D6, 2 wounds at -2 Damage D3, and 3 wounds at -2 Damage 2. Depending on that D6 roll, you're most likely looking at 3 dead Fiends (i.e. 12+ unsaved damage.) Those remaining 3 Fiends getting to double pile-in with re-roll 1s then average about ~8 damage. Now, if we do a scenario that's more optimal for the Mega - i.e. it uses a Finest Hour to get +1 save and +1 to-wound, meaning it is free to get +1 to-hit via a command - then its averages against the Fiends look more like 1 wound at -3 Damage D6, 3 wounds at -2 Damage D3, 4 wounds at -2 Damage 2; it translates to an extra dead Fiend, dropping the value of the second pile-in. 

Basically, against non-hero monsters - and especially ones that can't get to a 3+ or 2+ save (especially the ones that can stack modifiers to negate Rend) - Fiends will do great, but Megas unfortunately tick all the boxes of the super scary and tough monsters that Fiends aren't going to do so well against. The thing to note is that they do better than most of our other options, but the question is whether it's necessarily good enough for what we need. I wasn't looking at things like Chaos Knights because they were my first choice, trust me 😅 If debuff stacking was still around Fiends would absolutely be the best option by far, and honestly maybe they still are. Megas are just tricky because they're strong and tough monsters that outscore you, which in 3.0 with the way most battleplans are is a game-winning combination. The other thing to note is that this is a very fatalistic way of approaching the issue; 400 points of Fiends generally won't be fighting a 480+ point Mega-Gargant alone or unsupported - it's all about applying your army where it needs to be, and focusing down a Mega quickly so it doesn't continue to farm victory points. If I'm not looking down the lens of "this Mega must die this turn, how can I do it as cheaply as possible" (which in itself is optimistic) I would say Fiends probably are still our best (non-hero) answer to them if you want to slug it out. Megas are a bit of a special case in that they counter our usual strategy of playing smartly through avoidance and careful target priority because we don't really have the numbers to contest them on objectives, forcing us to be aggressive. 

The Mindstealer is absolutely a great shout against Sons of Behemat though, as it offsets the one weakness our myriad combat options have - not surviving the return swings to capitalize on a double pile-in/surviving to the next turn to kill the Mega and deny them points. It is a fair bit harder to hide than a small hero though and doesn't have any protection against shooting, so you just need to be mindful with how you position it so it can safely zap a Mega (as it needs to be within 12" of the target within your hero phase.) Regardless, another point in its favour is if you're going to pair a monster with a unit to Roar the Mega, you can pretty safely use the Mindstealer because you will know whether the Mega is fighting last or not. 

5 hours ago, Enoby said:

Glutos is also a decent counter - halving his move to 2" and his charge to 6" gives him an absolute maximum threat range of 8" (and an average of 5.5."), which can just shut him down for a turn. 

I think Gotrek is very strong, but he mostly shines in an environment where people aren't prepared for him. For example, someone brings him in a random friendly game vs a player with no experience against him. But I think he's relatively easy to deal with in a competitive environment.

Anything that can zap Gotreks' movement is ideal, as it just further compounds the one weakness he already has. The only issue I'm finding is that Gotrek is often running around with a super caster nowadays that's got a high or guaranteed chance to stop that spell. Ultimately, Glutos being a strong counter to him only increases his already considerable value. 

I'll condense my reply to both quoted comments re Gotrek here. First up, I strongly disagree with the claim that Gotrek is "relatively easy to deal with in a competitive environment" - I might have agreed with that claim in 2.0, but it's a very different story in 3.0. It's been discussed to death elsewhere, but basically the reason the big scary hero monsters are so strong right now isn't just because of how scary and tough they are, it's also because the way scoring works fundamentally favours that kind of approach - scoring largely isn't based on how many individual objectives you control, but on just controlling one or more/two or more/more than your opponent, etc and the objectives are typically more central and there's oft less of them. To use a very general example in an old-style six objective game, the more elite and compact list would struggle to contest as many objectives as a less elite and 'spread' list; i.e. the elite list could easily take two objectives, but the latter list could potentially capture four or more objectives. Now, because you generally don't score based on how many individual objectives there are, and there's usually less objectives, the elite list has a much easier time racking up victory points at the same pace as the 'spread' list - which then stresses the importance of Battle Tactics. Now, even though he's not a monster (which is important, mind) it's easy to see how this favours Gotrek. A smaller board? Check. Fewer objectives for him to wipe enemies off? Check. An easier time for elite armies to score? Check. Another big one is that with the way CP generation works now, you're much happier spending 1 each turn to guarantee the 6" run so he slides up the board even faster. The closer nature of battles is pretty much a dream come true for Gotrek. 

Then there's the other factors we haven't gotten into, like the fact that he's a hero but not a Leader. There's a few notable interactions here; to give you an example, one of them is that he can legally fit into Hunters of the Heartlands and thus be immune to Monstrous Rampages. If it wasn't enough that the way missions are laid out favours him, he's also just scarier than ever. He's a hard counter to the big scary monster heroes running around which increased his value a lot, but he also benefits from Heroic Actions. Basically, he's going to be healing D3 wounds every hero phase (i.e. twice a round) or 1 if he's unlucky. Gotrek was already seen as extremely difficult to kill, but there were limited options in terms of sustaining him through a battle; now he has that built in for free. In practice, he's just even more of a nightmare to kill now, especially as you can stack save bonuses on him so he hits the sweet spot of a 3+ save negating one or more points of Rend. Speaking of save bonuses, he also has access to more generic commands, which largely exist to buff his save and counter any to-hit debuffs. The other note is that with debuff stacking gone, you can't slag him with -3 to-hit/etc to neuter him anymore. If that wasn't enough, he got an enormous points decrease. Overall, he's much, much stronger in 3.0 than he was in 2.0, and the key part of that is that he's much harder to ignore - which, for many armies, was the only real way to handle him effectively. I don't think it's brash to say that he's one of the strongest units in the game right now - and a lot of this is due in large part to how missions work. I personally know some very prominent tournament players that think he's straight up busted in 3.0, and the consensus I've seen is that he either shouldn't benefit from Heroic Actions (and the benefits of being a Hero but none of the downsides of being a Leader) or his huge points reduction should be reversed at minimum. 

With that out of the way, how do we counter him? Sigvald charging him with a Keeper in support is the obvious answer if you want to kill him; Sigvald gets to fight twice before Gotrek can reply, and if we assume the average 7 attacks for Sigvald, you're looking at 5 wounds at -2 Rend Damage D1 ignoring after saves per pile-in - it's just over 4 unsaved damage per pile-in. Even with +1 save on Gotrek, you're looking at about 6 unsaved damage total from two pile-ins - which should be enough in conjunction with shooting and magic to finish him off. The only issue is delivery; Lurid Haze is a good shout, but a smart player will simply either deploy Gotrek more centrally or just screen him from Sigvald; still, if you force a Gotrek to play conservatively then that's a win for you. Most lists I've seen Gotrek paired with have the means to shoot Sigvald/the supporting Keeper up so be mindful of going the old-fashioned way. A Mindstealer is handy if you have the damage to capitalize on it, but it's a gamble as outside of Sigvald a lot of our units struggle big time to put a dent in him, and it might be a nuisance to set up with the 12" range given that its activated in your hero phase. Be'lakor (and Synessa to a lesser extent) is a top meta choice right now because he counters the big scary hero monsters, and Gotrek is no exception - in fact, Gotrek has a worse time of it because he can't afford to waste any movement phases doing nothing due to his low mobility. Feeding him tarpits is the classic answer, and with access to Beasts of Chaos via the Coalition rules that's theoretically easier than before - though of course our heightened points costs conversely don't really help us in this regard. My only concern again is just the kind of lists I'm seeing paired with him, especially the Daughters list that has access to hero-phase shooting and thus can completely nullify movement-blocking attempts. Glutos remains a good choice as 18" against a 4" moving hero means there's a good chance you get to use it on the bottom of turn one. 

This isn't to say he's unbeatable. He's just very obviously much, much better than he used to be, even before accounting for his massive points decrease, and the things that countered him before are all generally less effective due to the meta changes with mission scoring, smaller board sizes and so on - and killing him is significantly more difficult thanks to Heroic Actions. I stress this only because I'm seeing a lot of people here and abroad writing him off or underscoring just how good he is, when in practice I'm finding more and more people are sharing the opinion that Gotrek's shot up from "cool but matchup-dependent" to "borderline busted." Like Sons of Behemat, he's just something you're going to have to account for in tournament play that requires us to move out of our comfort zone to do so.

I want to stress that I don't mean to sound overly negative, as I think especially with access to Slaves and Beasts we have an incredible diversity of ways to handle a broad range of tough competitive matchups. I'm interested in finding solutions to what I'm seeing as some of the big problems we'll be facing, so it's good to be realistic about what we can do to try and combat them. The discussion has certainly been helping shape my views on what I'm thinking our best lists will revolve around; mainly, Archaon and Be'lakor fit two different lists and both favour two different styles of play, and my gut feeling is if you want to maximize your chances of doing well at a tournament you should very strongly consider building around either of them, as both answer a lot of the problems you could have in different ways. 

Apologies for the super long post, but the latest lockdown has got me analyzing competitive play even more than usual 😅 Rambling aside, hopefully at least some of it is useful; I know I'm over-analyzing everything, but if it helps foster some good discussion about the real meat and bones of what we can bring in our lists and how we can deal with some of the top meta picks, hopefully it'll be worth the eyesore! I legitimately don't have anything else to do and it sucks :( 

Edited by Jaskier
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Jaskier said:

I stress this only because I'm seeing a lot of people here and abroad writing him off or underscoring just how good he is, when in practice I'm finding more and more people are sharing the opinion that Gotrek's shot up from "cool but matchup-dependent" to "borderline busted."

Thanks for the entire write up, it was really interesting :) I'll admit I've not had to deal with Gotrek in any magic heavy list so I overlooked that - I imagine it's a massive pain. I do find it curious that GW lowered his points - it seems like he was only going to benefit from 3e, so it's an odd choice. Same with SoB, only benefiting from 3e and getting no true increases, who I'm (and I think many others) predicting will be top dog for a while - it was an odd choice to design them in a way close to impossible to balance (as in, points increases will either not be enough to change anything, or will stop them from being able to play an entire super expensive unit and be left with 150 points (assuming they can squeeze in a little giant in place of the super expensive unit). I'm guessing that this was the purpose of making mega gargants battleline so if they did do a big increase, people's armies wouldn't be rendered unplayable in matched play due to lack of battleline.

 ---

Similar to what you've been saying, I think it's a good idea to plan for high competitive threats. It's tricky to put theory into practise here and, as I find myself doing, all too tempting to treat stats as gospel. 

That said, I do think we can discuss our allegiance ability more. It seems that only Depravity Points get much discussion on how strong they are, how they may impact points, what we should summon, and how much we should dedicate into DP generation.

These are all very worthwhile discussions, but I think our other abilities are pretty strong too.

One thing I do think was a really positive change in the new book was how they looked at our problematic allegiance abilities and made them impactful but much less oppressive. 

I saw a lot of people in FB and Whatsapp groups bemoaning the change to locus but I think in many ways its strong and massively helps our finesse playstyle against hordes, but isn't totally useless against single model units. The use vs hordes is pretty obvious, but it can't be understated how good it is to have a high chance for a KoS to ignore 80% of a unit's attacks. Against heroes, it can be used to prevent 3" free move around the daemon, which can put them in line for an objective or easier charge next turn. Sometimes it is useless, but imo that's fine - no defence should ever be perfect, and always strike last created a very toxic game. 

Euphoric Killers I think is a bit of an unsung hero - it's about equivilant to a +1 to hit, but better due to stacking rules and more interaction with rerolling hits. To show it's strength, 10 twinsouls rerolling hit with EK does 25 avarage damage vs a 4+ save, whereas without EK they do about 21, so a loss of 4 damage (well 4.5 ish more specifically but regardless). 4 damage may not sound like a lot but it's about the same as 15 chaos warriors full damage :P Basically, it could be the difference between a injured and dead unit quite easily. 5 Painbringers without EK do about 4.5 damage and with EK do 5.6 - that could be the difference between a dead support hero. 

The reason I mention this is because a decent chunk of people just say it's take it or leave it and it makes such a small difference you can just ignore it. On some units whose main purpose is to tank, I'd agree. On damaging units I'm not so sure - if they have very few attacks it may not be too important, but I think it's easy to overlook when comparing units.

The best way to think of Euphoric Killers is as an army wide +1 to hit; if you're hitting on 4s, a +1 to hit will make 4/6 dice hit, and EK will make 3/6 dice hit but one of those hits will be 2 for the same average. Painbringers (vs 4+ save) with EK do 5.6 damage, with just +1 to hit they also do 5.6 damage. Twinsouls with EK do 25 damage and with +1 to hit 24.5 (and much higher with both). It's better as it doesn't cap with another +1 to hit and still provides benefits for those who hit on 2s. That's pretty good as an allegiance ability. 

I'd definitely like to discuss more of our place in the developing meta. Some things are really brutal and counter us pretty badly (e.g. SoB), whereas we're a bit better at scoring objectives now as there are fewer of them and so less wastage of expensive units, we can summon cheap monsters, and both Dex and Syn have a place in most lists. Glutos is also an absolute beast - his 75 increase does stop him being an autotake as he's very pricey (a bit like Archaon) but he's never let me down.

I actually want to focus on more shooting. I had a game vs Kruelboyz and they were blasting loads of MWs (and getting double turned really didn't help with being shot in the face). I think our best counter to shooting is our shooting - they have -1 rend and a lot of decent quality attacks if you stick a +1 to hit on them. Synessa is also pretty nice at chipping away at key targets. 

As an aside, I do wonder the value of Be'lekor vs Gotrek. On one hand, the First Prince should be in his element with stopping a hero as expensive as Gotrek for one to two turns. On the other hand, with Gotrek being so slow and only good in combat you can almost do that with chaff for half the points. Be'lekor is definitely very good, but I think Gotrek is one of his more difficult counters.

Edited by Enoby
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What units should I get to have a decent flexible summoning pool for 1000pts games?

I haven't settled on a main list yet but I plan to focus on mortals with some combination of hellstriders, blissbarbs, twinsouls, and maybe Sigvald because I love the model.

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Got in a game with my tournament list against mostly daemon nurgle. I have to say the witherstave is pretty oppressive, resulted in a ton of lost hits when combined with the malus to hit that most of the daemons have. We did play the munificent wanderer's mortal wound trigger wrong, as I should have been able to override it with my exploding hits, which definitely would've helped me significanly. Despite that I was able to do a fair amount of damage, and when the twinsouls had their rerolls up they were absolutely amazing, defintitely planning on using them more moving forward. The blissbarb seekers didn't impress me much this game, but they really suffer from hit penalties so I think they'll be fine against a different matchup. My bladebringer died pretty early, but in retrospect that was due to mistakes on my part rather than the model itself, I charged too centrally, forgot my locus and all out defense in the turn they needed it most. Much better to run them up a flank and grind into a unit on its short end to minimize return swings. Synessa was actually pretty great, being able to pavane from outside of unbind range is pretty huge, and the ability to issue a command to a unit without a champion, like the seeker chariot was a major help. She also managed some decent mortal wound output, without which I would've lost an important objective near the end of the game.

While it was a major slog I did manage to get a fairly narrow victory. We were doing a practice game for the tourney where grand strategies are used as tie-breakers rather than adding to baseline points, so I would've lost by about the same margin in a standard game, though playing by the correct trigger rules I likely would've kept a couple of important units in play for long enough to make a difference.

Overall I think we definitely have some play in this edition. It was easy to generate a decent amount of depravity (I think I got more than 30 without trying to farm it at all) and the flexibility that the summoning provided allowed me to throw massive gobs of daemonettes onto objectives where I really needed to dominate. In retrospect I should've chosen a different grand strategy, but I think summoned seekers will be useful to capture enough terrain by the end. With more practice I think this list can excel, and I'll be sure to report back on how things go at the event itself.

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41 minutes ago, Panacea said:

What units should I get to have a decent flexible summoning pool for 1000pts games?

I haven't settled on a main list yet but I plan to focus on mortals with some combination of hellstriders, blissbarbs, twinsouls, and maybe Sigvald because I love the model.

I would probably focus on getting 30-60 daemonettes, 10 seekers, and a keeper of secrets as a starting summoning pool. The effectiveness of throwing massive amounts of bodies on objectives can't be understated (most games I win come down to summoning 30-strong units of daemonettes), and a pocket keeper when you need a monster or a double pile-in to support sigvald or a unit of twinsouls is incredibly useful. The seekers are there to grab further objectives, when you need to get to something outside of the range of your summoning and are in a position where you can wait a turn to do so.

Beyond that an epitome isn't a bad choice, as you can summon one in if you're up against an opponent that doesn't have oppressive magic control like seraphon or lumineth, so you can utilize overwhelming acquiescence to throw reroll-1's where you need them most. Also an exalted chariot is not a terrible choice either, but is similar to a keeper in what it brings to the table, so I'd say it's more of an effective optional choice rather than a must-take.

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Looking at starting a Path to Glory campaign with the following list, looking for any feedback or commentary - 

Allegiance: Slaanesh
- Host: Godseekers Host
- Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery
- Triumphs:

Leaders
Bladebringer, Herald on Exalted Chariot (265)*
- General
- Command Trait: Speed-chaser
- Artefact: Amulet of Destiny (Universal Artefact)
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Bladebringer, Herald on Seeker Chariot (190)*
- Universal Spell Lore: Flaming Weapon
Infernal Enrapturess, Herald of Slaanesh (140)*
- Artefact: Arcane Tome (Universal Artefact)
- Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist

Battleline
11 x Blissbarb Archers (180)
11 x Blissbarb Archers (180)

Endless Spells & Invocations
Chronomantic Cogs (45)

Core Battalions
*Command Entourage - Magnificent

Additional Enhancements
Artefact

Total: 1000 / 1000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 2
Allies: 0 / 200
Wounds: 45
Drops: 5
 

I'm pretty sure that taking an Arcane Tome works like I think it does, and doesn't count as a third Wizard for list reasons (and could be moved to the baby-bladebringer if needed).

The idea here is to go all in on Summoning while the points total is low enough that it should be a big swing.  Lots of shooting to plink out Depravity, with a general that should be able to generate d3 per turn with decent stay ability relative to the points limit early on.

Cogs + Godseekers for +2 to charge to hopefully get summoned units reliably stuck in after being summoned. 

My concerns are that I'm really thin, but I'm not sure how much can be done about that...

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Switch out the lesser herald, cogs, and one archer unit for 5 Hellstriders and 10 Seekers? I’d also consider replacing the Enrapturess with the Masque, you have very little that will soak fire for the Enrapturess to do her work, and the Masque is great utility/disruption.

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