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AoS 3 - Hedonites of Slaanesh 2021 battletome survey

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Survey link: https://forms.gle/Tpnm3VS1Jwe1qoEDA Please read below 

Hi all - I though it best to create another thread for the AoS 3 HoS battletome survey :) 

I know this isn't exactly 'general discussion', but I'd like to get a wider opinion of non-Slaanesh players and also those who would have played Slaanesh but chose not to because of the rules, or have played against them before and wanted to add their two cents. I think it's important to get all view points, especially those who may have found Slaanesh a difficult army to face. 

As before, I'll collect the answers for a few weeks before sharing the results and submitting the survey to GW. I'll be asking people to take the survey on Facebook, Whatsapp, TGA, and I'm going to try contact some Twitter and YouTube personalities too and see if they can help. Hopefully we'll get over 100 responses.

As before, the survey isn't trying to test a hypothesis or 'prove' anything. It's simply there to collect opinions to send them on to the rules team and hopefully inspire a change (if opinions want a change at all). In the final email I may include more 'objective' things like win rates in tournaments, but in all honesty the main aim is to make the rules writers aware of fan/player opinions in a polite and constructive way. If 90% of answers are "we love the rules" then that's fine - I'll still send it on for the writers to be aware of!

While I would have liked the past survey to have had an effect, in all honesty with it being a new edition there's a good chance that they didn't have the time to make a change, and also that they may have been cautious about listening to opinions before the new rules were played. Many of us have had games and even tournaments in AoS 3 - and before answering this survey I would ask that you have at least some experience with the faction - either playing it or playing against it. 

Hopefully it does inspire a change, and maybe if we're really really lucky, it may open up a path for better fan communication with designers in the future. Not that I expect that, but I think it would be the most positive change this survey could bring. 

Finally, an important note is to keep all answers polite and constructive. Even if you abhor the rules, do not insult the designers - any insulting comment will not be shared with them. I would also implore that you answer honestly - if you're a Slaanesh player, don't just answer that everything is costed too highly because you want to see massive points drops even when not deserved, and if you're not, please don't answer at random or with contrarian opinions for the sake of it.

Here is the link to the survey: https://forms.gle/Tpnm3VS1Jwe1qoEDA

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Hi everyone :) I'll be collecting the results of the Slaanesh 2021 battletome survey soon - we've already have hundreds of responses (thank you!) but I just wanted to give those who have missed it the opportunity to share their thoughts
As before, please don't write anything insulting to the designers (no matter your thoughts on the book), and please only give a response if you've had at least some experience with the army
You can find the survey here: https://forms.gle/duDRSHcMEhhNVw17A
I'll publish the results once responses seem to slow down (probably a few days)
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Okay, so here is the initial post for the survey, including conclusion and results :)

You can find the full document here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1quNymPJ4G7IWBGZqfxjklNbllD2mGsQzP3cSOtA_ErI/edit?usp=sharing


Hedonites of Slaanesh battletome survey

Overall, there were 281 participants, and 91 comments (which will be included in the bottom of these stats). The comments may well be the most insightful part so I would recommend reading them - offensive or obviously ‘trollish’ comments have been omitted.

While there will be an inherent bias in these answers, considering that this can be an emotionally charged discussion, but it is important to note that not all responses are 100% “this unit is too expensive” and that this should be viewed as a guide to some initially gentle touches. Bias or not, if usually only 50% of people say a unit is too expensive, but for one particular unit it is 85% then there is a higher chance that this is a ‘problem’ unit. I have employed the use of Z values to look into this in more detail. 

Mean number of people who responded “X Unit is too highly costed”

While I will include the stats for every question, I believe it would be useful to give some sort of guidance to what the perceived ‘problem’ units are, and to do that I will calculate the Z value “X unit is too highly costed” differs significantly from the mean number of people answering “X unit is too highly costed”. The Z value looks at the number of standard deviations an individual score is above or below the mean. This does not mean that these ‘significant’ units are actually problems (or that other units are), but rather it aims to give a bit of a steer on what to look at first and also aims to control slightly for the bias that will be inherent to surveys like this. 

Note, not every question got 281 answers.

The reason this just looks at “too highly costed” rather than “too cheaply costed” is because there isn’t a single unit where the highest voted answer is “too cheaply costed”.

The average number of people who answered “X unit is too highly costed” for every unit is: 141.15625, Standard Deviation, σ: 51.506740684473

The formula for a Z value is z = (x-μ)/σ, where x is the raw score, μ is the population mean, and σ is the population standard deviation.

Ranked Z values

I have ranked the Z values calculated from the below questions in order to show the most deviating scores. The more the score deviated from the mean (141.15625), the higher the Z value (a negative value means the score deviated below the mean). 


* Significant at 0.1 level, ** Significant at 0.05 level

Unit name

Z value



Keeper of Secrets


Blissbarb Archers




Shalaxi Helbane


Myrmadesh Painbringers


Blissbarb seekers


Symbaresh Twinsouls


Slickblade Seekers


Fiends of Slaanesh


Shardspeaker of Slaanesh


Contorted Epitome


Glutos Orscollion, Lord of Gluttony


Infernal enrapturess


Lord of Pain


Bladebringer, Herald on Hellflayer




Syll’Esske, the Vengeful Allegiance


Exalted Chariot


Wheels of Excruciation


Bladebringer, Herald on Seeker Chariot


Bladebringer, Herald on Exalted Chariot


Seekers of Slaanesh


Viceleader, Herald of Slaanesh


Mesmerising Mirror


Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh


Dexcessa, the Talon of Slaanesh


Dreadful Visage


Synessa, the Voice of Slaanesh


Sigvald, Prince of Slaanesh


The Masque of Slaanesh


Hellstriders of Slaanesh



With these scores in mind, I would recommend a careful look at all positive values including those that are not significant, but to pay special attention to those which are significant at the 0.1 level (Daemonettes, Shalaxi Helbane) and have a deep look at those significant at the 0.05 level (Slaangor Fiendbloods, Keeper of Secrets, Blissbarb Archers). 


Overall, there is a neutral to negative view of the battletome, with the majority of people saying they like the rules (60.5%) but also a larger majority saying they believe the battletome is below the average quality compared to other battletomes (66.5%) and a significant majority (88.6%) believing the majority of units are overcosted. 

Of the units people are most concerned about points-wise, Slaangors, the Keeper of Secrets, and Blissbarb Archers have highly significant numbers of people believing they are overcosted (P < 0.05), and the Daemonettes and Shalaxi Helbane are thought of as significantly overcosted (P < 0.1). I believe that these units should have another look over as there is a low probability (sub 5% and sub 10% respectively) that these units were considered overcosted due to chance, meaning that these are the units that drew the most powerful reaction from survey answers. No units had the answer “No I think they are too cheaply costed” as a majority. 

While it is expected (if not confirmed) that the units are priced so highly due to the army’s powerful ability to summon, it may be worth revising this or at least giving it another think over as Slaanesh players and opponents alike believe many of the points are too high regardless. Looking at some of the comments, some would prefer summoning to get worse and points to get lower, or for Slaanesh units not to pay for it at all. 

On the topic of summoning, 8.2% of people believe that it should be the main ‘theme’ in a Slaanesh army, though 38.1% of people say they like it when not asked about it specifically, and 46.6% of people like it when asked about it specifically (compared to 45.2% of people disliking it in some capacity). Overall, summoning is a controversial part of the battletome and, looking at these stats, I think it would be beneficial for the focus to be moved from summoning to another part of the faction’s theme. 

In addition to points and summoning, there was also a call for a rewrite on some warscrolls. The most called for was Slaangors, when not asked about them specifically 73% of people liked the idea of them getting a rewrite, and when asked specifically 76.3% of people wanted them to get a rewrite over a points adjustment. Other notable calls for a rewrite, 45.2% of respondents wanted to see a rewrite of the Shalaxi Helbane warscroll. 

From a more financial/popularity perspective, 64.7% of respondents have said that the points costs have negatively affected their purchases on Slaanesh models, with 22.4% of people saying they haven’t bought anything for Slaanesh because of the points costs but would have otherwise, and 42.3% saying they have bought some but would have bought more if not for the points.  

Of the positives of the book, the most popular part of the book was the innate speed of the army, with 62.3% of people saying they liked this aspect of the book. In addition, the other liked parts was the frequency of rend in the faction (45.2%) and the new mechanics of Depravity Points though not necessarily the summoning (45.2%). 

When asked about what the preferred theme of a Slaanesh battletome should be, the responses were mixed but the highest one was “a finesse playstyle” (31%), followed by “speed” at 23.8%.

Looking to the future, a number of responses were given to what they would like to see in the future. The most popular of these requests is a rewrite to the Slaangor warscroll, with 70.8% of people asking for this. Other popular requests included “More support within the allegiance abilities for mortal only armies” (50.2%), “Synessa getting an extra spell” (54.1%), “An alternative way of using depravity points” (48%), “More synergies available” (48.4%), “More hosts/host options to theme an army around” (47%), and “An expanded mortal spell lore” (44.8%). While many of these options may be a struggle to include quickly, I think it would be fantastic if they could be included in the next battletome or in supplementary books (such as Wrath of the Everchosen) or a Tome Celestial.

Overall, I think that there is a good base for future rules in this battletome, but it faces two major issues - the first is oppressive points costs, with some players feeling as if they are restricted in list building. The second is that the tome feels a bit bare bones - it’s a good foundation, but there’s not much meat to get into with lists; e.g. there are very few synergies or combos, the hosts give very minor bonuses, the daemon spell lore is multiple ways to do mortal wounds and the mortal spell lore is weak and very sparse. That said, with a few tweaks (hopefully using some of these answers as a guide) I think that the book could be fantastic and I fully appreciate that the previous battletome was a bit too strong as so a lot of effort had to be spent on toning it down. 

Finally, to move away from the survey for a moment, Slaanesh is not performing particularly well at a tournament level. See below: 




While not the lowest win percentage, a 36% win rate is poor and hopefully leads some credence to the idea that the summoning doesn’t need as much of a points buffer to keep it under control. 


With the fan response being overwhelmingly in favour of reducing points costs and tournament data showing Slaanesh is well below the average win rate of factions in tournaments, I believe this is a good argument to having a rethink of the points, and I am certain many Slaanesh fans would appreciate positive changes being made to both points and rules updates in the future. 

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24 minutes ago, BigNStinky said:

Amazing work. Hedonites really do seem to be way over-costed for no particular reason, except as a reaction to their previous tome. The sentiment seems to be pretty widespread.

It's not even uniform. It's... confusingly random, right? Like some very basic unspecial units like blissbarb archers are just massively over-costed, there's a lot of things that are pointed like they have synergy with other units and they just don't, and then some stuff is okay.


In many ways it reminds me of Stormcast, where maybe there's a narrow build that kicks ass but a majority of the book is just head scratching and it's hard to figure out how the balance was determined.

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As a non-player, I am still following what is happening with Slaanesh with interest.

I still find the intended design of the new tome very hard to figure out, and I don't think I am alone in this. I think we can treat it as a fact that Slaanesh units, particularly demons, are points-wise very expensive for what is on their warscrolls. What I personally have not yet been able to figure out is what the designers thought would warrant this.

The go-to response seems to be that Slaanesh summoning is very good. But it's an open question whether effectively starting at 1500 points of units and working yourself up to 2500 over the course of the game is actually better than just starting at 2000 and not summoning. The demon side of the battletome also seems especially hurt by this, since in part they seem basically locked out of any use other than summoning (especially Daemonettes and the Keeper). Must be quite a blow for people with large demon collections. And then there is the added wrinkle that Slaaneshi summoning makes you play inefficiently from a general standpoint (you get points for not finishing off units) and I really wonder if the summoning component of the book was not overvalued by the designers. Certainly, if that is why Blissbarbs cost more than Sentinels, I'd feel cheated as a Slaanesh player.

At the same time, though, I think Slaanesh is the "low-tier" book with the highest potential to be a hidden gem. There are a lot of good tools in the tome, and I think their skill-intensive playstyle might mean that we have not seen anyone really playing them to their full potential yet. This kind of thing certainly happens sometimes in competitive games. At the moment, I think there is a bit of a self-affirming feedback loop that makes Slaanesh look worse than they are in tournaments: Since "everyone knows" Slaanesh are not good, the only people that take them are not there to make top tables, which results in low win% and further dissuades people from running the faction. The high skill floor is another problem: If you are trying to do well in a tournament and are willing to play an army with a high skill requirement, why not just run Lumineth instead and save yourself the trouble?

Overall, I am hoping for a points adjustment soon, now that we are definitely past the stage that points would have to be written without any real-world feedback. I also hope that a Slaangor rewrite is in the cards, maybe in the next Beasts of Chaos book. And since GW seems to be using White Dwarf to patch factions now, let's hope for some goodies for Hedonites in there as well.

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3 hours ago, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

The go-to response seems to be that Slaanesh summoning is very good. But it's an open question whether effectively starting at 1500 points of units and working yourself up to 2500 over the course of the game is actually better than just starting at 2000 and not summoning.

Sylvaneth teleportation is really good too, but that doesn't alone make a book.

I think the mistake is how the mechanic is used and the core understanding; having models in early turns is itself more valuable than late turns as they have more time to do things and act. A model that could only ever be summoned on turn 5 is obviously worth less than one that shows up earlier.

To that end, elements of the book seem pointed only for their maximum value use case when it's pretty clear you won't actually get that usage most of the time. In the end, I hate to say, I think a lot of this stuff just needs a re-write because with summoning in linear fashion as currently designed, your options are either "too cheap" or "too expensive". The hack would be something they also should have done with Sylvaneth or Stormcast: take the units that are clearly uninspiring and massively cut their cost (I don't mean by 5 points, GW, I mean cut blissbarbs by like 40%) so they avoid the most mechanically difficult problems but instead at least create some bulk. That or you need a WD with new warscrolls that actually justify the points costs.

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3 minutes ago, Reinholt said:

In the end, I hate to say, I think a lot of this stuff just needs a re-write because with summoning in linear fashion as currently designed, your options are either "too cheap" or "too expensive".

I think a White Dwarf rewrite to the summoning table that also introduces an alternative use for depravity points would be a good fix. That way, the pressure would be off of demons to some degree and Slaanesh could start with more of their army actually on the board. It would also make it so that you don't need to collect a separate summoning army to play the faction in a way that actually capitalizes on it's strengths.

I think if done well this could keep what I find interesting about the Slaanesh playstyle intact: The fact that to get your bonus ressource you need to draw out the game and not finish off units, which makes a winning and losing positions look very similar in Slaanesh. I think that kind of army is exciting to play and games against them are fun. Let's just make it worthwhile for the Slaanesh player, too, because otherwise there is always the question "Why am I putting in all this effort? Why don't I play Sons of Behemat and just charge things?".

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On 9/1/2021 at 12:51 PM, Neil Arthur Hotep said:

Must be quite a blow for people with large demon collections.

I have over 3000pts of Daemons that I have collected since the first book came out in 2019. I've followed AoS since 2.0 came out but never have been able to convince anyone in my group to play. That might have been a good thing with how OP the old Battletome was. I instantly bought the new book when it came out, love the mortal models. Worked out that due to the new book I'd realistically need to spend a minimum of around £100 to get enough mortal units to make a list that wasn't handicapped from the start and that my Daemon units were pretty much relegated to summons only and even then, odds are that you will likely have a hard time actually winning, it really did just sap my enthusiasm. 

Now 3.0 is here I actually have people interested in the game and wanting to play. I played my first game last weekend, as DoK, an army I had looked at before Hedonites had a tome at all. I'm currently painting the Kruleboyz from Dominion because their models are amazing. At some point I may get around to Slaanesh, they've always been my favourite among the Chaos gods. I'll be going against at least SCE, Seraphon and SBGL, armies that are in much better places than my poor old Hedonites, they deserve better than this, sure I may be able to play them, I may even enjoy it and have a good time, but there's so much doom and gloom around them and that's ignoring a "requirement" to sink a load more resources into them to even attempt to make a playable army. Feels like I should just go and play something else. 

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Anyway, GW has received the survey.


Good morning,

Thank you so much for taking the time to organize this survey.

We do take all feedback very seriously from our customers and we listen to your ideas in hope of improving various factions as well as the core rules itself.

This email has been passed on to the relevant heads of departments to look into.

Thanks again for your email, and should you need anything further, please let me know.
Kind regards


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