Wednesday, October 24, 2012

12 Days of Chaos Part 5: HQ Sorcerer and Psychic Powers

On the fifth day of Chaos my true God's granted me
Five Strange Things, 
Four Chaos Lords, Three Tyrants, Two Chaos Marks, and Daemonic Immortality

HOTpanda: If you are a Khorne cultist then just sit back and continue eating your Khorne-Flaks as this entire section hates your god for its' inability to manifest its' daemonic existence by psychic means through the warp.  If your main lord is incapable, like the Blood God, of expressing itself psychically but you feel that having a spell caster would benefit your army then by all means put down your cereal bowl and list to what the other have to say.  I would just prefer to eat my Lucky Charms as they are magically delicious.

Lantz: A lot of people have a lot of things to say about the Sorcerer in 6th Edition. I can sum it all up in one word: CHEAP. If you want 1k Sons as Troops instead of Elites (that Elites post is oh-so-close, people), then this will be your HQ. Sorcerers can suffer from the same issues as Lords, but on a smaller scale, though. You can make this guy expensive as all hell, but with only two wounds (why does every damned psyker in 40k only have two wounds!?) you'll want to keep him cheap. So what if you're not Tzeentch? Is this guy worth it? I'm leaning towards, "no". It's important to note that he does not come with Fearless like his Lord counterpart. So the Sorcerer's role is to be protected, not to protect. In the end, though, if you want a cheap psyker; there is no other way to go. It's also worth nothing that, like the Daemon Prince, you can make this guy a Psyker Mastery Level 3; meaning you can have one of every power (3 of 4 anyway) in a respective god's tree (re-roll on powers you've already gotten).

Drkmorals: This is your cheaper options for MSU or a HQ tax, and I would argue that at lower points its more useful than a bare Chaos Lord. It isn't fearless but it is leadership 10, a fantastic option for cheap allies HQ, or for lower points Thousand sons armies. Beyond that though at mastery level 1 it isn't reliably going to get you a useful power beyond the primary power for what you choose. Although you could buff it out as a support unit with gear and mastery levels to fit your needs or your theme depending on the style list you bring. Possibly the only solid support HQ choice.

Psychic Powers
Discipline of Tzeentch
Lantz: As with all psychic trees, it's best to look to the Primaris Power first as this is always the fall-back. The Primaris for Tzeentch, like the others is lackluster, but not useless. Tzeentch in all forms seems to have these little bonus' added to everything that don't amount to much on their own, but en masse might create hell for your opponent. AP- and a random Strength (1-7) on the Primaris means this power isn't reliable and unless you don't want a power with a Warp Charge of 2, you'll take what you've rolled on. Boon of Mutation is situational at best and is probably the worst out of the four for obvious reasons. Doombolt is where it's at in my opinion. Medium range, but reliable, deadly and again with a little bonus you'll see here and there. Breath of Chaos is all right, not bad, not great. Essentially a vehicle killer with a bit of a chance to kill infantry that's T4 or less. The fact that it's 2 Warp Charges seems bit expensive to me.

Overall I'm underwhelmed by the Tzeentch powers. Most players will try for Doombolt and fall back to the Primaris, sinking all other abilities into the BYB's Biomancy or Telepathy trees. Disappointing to see the followers of psychic infatuation get powers that don't shock and awe.

HOTpanda: Not sure what Lantz' Alphabets are spelling out to him but they are clearly anticipate a future where Boon of Mutation would land high on my hit list.  With 99% of the infantry based units coming with a Champion stock I feel that the Boon of Mutation is worth spilling your milk over.  In an army that is chalk full of Champions this power easily begins to tip the scales of time in its favour.  Buffing all those worth of sharing your morning OJ with adds up to a breakfast of champions in my book.

Drkmorals: I really like this tree, the primaris power is decent since for every death you do D3 more wounds to the squad, meaning this power isn't horrible for horde style units. The Boon power is amazing in my opinion because you risk a wound but you can reliably put a permanent buff on a character every turn. So you take a hit, you still have to roll to wound, and you get a save on top of that since it's AP -. So on higher toughness character or anything 3+ you are pretty much always going to get a free roll on the table. Which again is a permanent effect. Remember spawning yourself is like a low 6 percent chance. Doombolt is fun in itself against armor and Breath of Chaos is always a great power. Any demon player will tell you that people do not want to get hit with Breath of Chaos.

Psychic Powers
Discipline of Nurgle
HOTpanda: When it came to my cereal of choice last codex I was a big fan of Nurgle's Rot as it was cheap, an area of effect spell and allowed me to judge charging distances for nearby units when I was in doubt. This time around I think the only effect it has created is that of my milk curdling in my bowl. The drop is strength festers at my brains diodes while the reduced from all models within 6" to only D6+1 models.  The only thing that has my stomaching begging me to eat what's in front of me is that the power now is poisonous (wounds on 4+).  Warp Virus and Gift of Contagion are both clearly providing a defensive support ability but leaving my boils festering away.  The juicy marshmallow bits lie within the final power Plague Wind.  With a 12" beat stick that causes AP2 wounds on a 4+ I am clearly going to choke myself to death with my spoon if I don't get this power. 

Drkmorals:  For the most part this is a defensive tree, and just adds the theme of Feel No Pain. Like a fart in a elevator Nurgle units are hard to get rid of this just adds a decent support roll for this style of play. Nurgle's Rot becoming poisoned is a nice touch and bump as a primary power. Also NOTE that while Contagion is a little random it has a Range of 48 inches!

Lantz: The Primaris for Nurgle isn't bad at all, but pretty much requires you to be in close combat. The AP is meh, but it'll wound on a 4+ and will have 2-7 automatic hits on each model it reaches. Note that this can hurt your own units unless they have the Mark of Nurgle. Next up is Weapon Virus. With VoS (volume of shots) being the name of the game in 6th Edition, this might have a place, but to me it's not that good. Relying on 1's to be rolled isn't exactly reliable and more often than not won't deter your opponent from shooting for a turn. Gift of Contagion is next, and this one is where it's at! Yes, it's a randomized table, but the range is riduculous and can be used to help out another unit about to assault/about to get assaulted. This one is the best power for Nurgle in my opinion. Lastly, we have Plague Wind. It's a Large Blast shooting attack with a 12" range...I shouldn't need to point out why this power is bad. Insult to injury; it'll cost 2 Warp Charges. If it's a friendly game, this one could be fun, but tournament players will pass on it for the Primaris.

Color me 'not impressed' with the Nurgle powers. The saving grace of this table is the Primaris which is pretty solid, especially for Daemon Princes. Gift of Contagion is a great option as well if you're lucky enough to roll for it, but the other two are underwhelming.

Psychic Powers
Discipline of Slaanesh
HOTpanda: I am at a lose for words as I am neither impressed or displeased with these powers.  Overall I feel its balanced tree in terms of some defensive abilities and some offensive ones.  It just seems to lack an over reaching theme.

Lantz:I wrote up a review of the Slaanesh powers that would have blown your mind. Literally, a pillow hat wouldn't have saved you on this one; you'd be brain dead from shock and awe from what I had written. Unfortunately, Blogger decided it was just too much for the internet as a whole to bare, and deleted it all without my consent. And so, being the lazy son of a bitch I am, I'm not going to rewrite that novel. Instead I'll give my brief thoughts on these powers. Slaanesh fan or not, it's hard to deny that this is arguably the best table of psychic powers in the book. The Primaris won't kill much, but that's not what it's used for. It's used as a way to shut down enemy infantry and doing the math on this, more often than not it will. Four shots with Pinning, Blind and Concussive. Need I say more? Rhetorical, moving on. Hysterical Frenzy is next and while it is a random table roll, all of the results are melee based and in a large unit like a CSM blob can be incredible. Symphony of Pain is the second random power and while the -WS and -BS to your enemies may not seem like much, keep in mind this stacks and any Sonic weaponry that shoots at the affected unit are given a +1S bonus. Yeah...this power is the boobies for Slaanesh armies. Lastly, Ecstatic Seizures is a power in debate. Basically you force a non-vehicle unit to punch itself in the face at their unmodified Strength. The question is, do they or don't they use their weapon's AP value? If they do, this power can be incredibly deadly to most any melee-focused enemy unit. If they don't, this is a lackluster power that isn't worth a Warp Charge of 2.

With the exception of Ecstatic Seizures, which may or may not be incredible, the Discipline of Slaanesh Psyker table is solid and then some. The other three powers are, without question, extremely useful in the right circumstances and the Primaris wins out over the other god-specific tables in my opinion. Score one for Slaanesh!

Drkmorals:  Your primary power is a 4 shot bolter with annoying perks. Symphony of Pain is the money shot in this line up IMO though. It seems to be custom made to stop advances on your shooting units, by not only debuffing a unit in hth, but also allowing all your Noise marines to more easily wound. Not sure why Slaanesh doesn't get Breath of Chaos like the other two Disciplines do though? Before we end this section talking about the different marks,  I would like to note that when you take a mark on a psyker you have to take one of your powers from the corresponding gods table of random psyker fun. You however are allowed to take your additional powers from the standard one's in the rule book. This is a great design otherwise taking marks could be really limiting/annoying if you had to take all your powers from the same God's table when all you wanted to do was to rock a fancy tattoo.

HOTpanda: As Khorne sulks in the corner looking for another God to play with, the other three are revealing in delight at their Sorcerers.  With the likes of Harry Potter, Gandolf, The Wicked Witch of the West and Charlie Sheen there is little doubt these gods have embowed their Champions with a supernatural edge that even Khorne himself is afraid of.


  1. HOTpanda: So as I read it, a nova power hits everyone within the range, and Nurgles Rot does D6+1 hits. So wouldn't this mean, for example. If 3 models are within 6" and I roll a 2, those three models get a total of 9 poisoned hits? Cause that seems pretty awesome to me!

  2. The way I read nova powers are that they only hit every unit in range if there is no shooting profile. With Nurgle's Rot the power clearly has a profile thus it is treated as normal when it comes to shooting. It gets D6+1 dice when rolling to hit any unit within 6". FSo if you roll a 2 then you only score 3 hits on the unit not on each model within range.

  3. I agree with Senior Panda on this one; it's like the Arc Lightning on the Necrons Tesla Destructor in a way. You count out how many units it touches and then use the shooting profile specified. The difference being it looks like you roll once for all units it touches rather than with Necrons where you roll how many wounds for each individual unit.

  4. nice Skinner art there. I've put some serious thought into how I'd go about sculpting a csm/demons list with an aesthetic directly inspired by him.

    Thanks for the write-up overall.

  5. Skinner is a daemonic inspiration and a legend in the making. Needless to say I am a huge fan of the man. I too have been racking my brains out on how to go about creating a Chaos/Daemon army that sucks the essence of his corrupt mind. If you ever get some work on your Skinner themed army be sure to let me know as I would love to see it.