Monday, 17 March 2014

Reviewing the Chaos Daemons Codex, Part 3: The Heralds of Chaos

Preface

Heralds represent the most customisable unit in the entirety of the Chaos Daemons Codex. Generally ranging from about 100 points to 200 but not much more, All Heralds are extremely capable challenge caddies and fantastic combat units. However, there are clearly heralds that are far more effective at their charges. In this section, I will review every unique and generic herald and suggest the best roles for them. 

Notes

Heralds are the most synergistic unit in the codex. While everyone of them is essentially a Troop Choice on steroids (Warp dust?), each can lend their fantastic skills to any range of their like-aligned Troop, Fast attack or elites slot. 

In this section, I will also specifically review the Locusi available to each herald, and which is the clear best. Unsurprisingly, usually the more expensive locus tends to be better, though this is not the case in every situation. 

I will review the Blue Scribes and the Masque of slaanesh in this section (separately) despite neither specifically being heralds. 

The heralds 

Tzeentch 

Lesser Locus
Transmorgification: 
Place D3 Blue Horrors instead of 1. 
So useful. I mean, I guess if you wanna run suicide pink horror squads. Which you shouldn't.

Greater Locus
Change
SD6 each turn
This could be very useful (cough) on a Pink horror. Shame 50% of the time, it won't do anything/make his strength even worse.

Exalted Locus
Conjuration
+1 S for psychic powers
If I understand tis correctly, this gives you S6 AP4 FFOT, SD6+2 TF, SD6+5 BOC, SD6+5 IG etc... Could be quite useful in the right situation, I won't lie. I would consider it, because it actually means FFOT can hurt flyers and armour. 

Herald of Tzeentch
Strengths
Access to Div, 4+ invulns, Prescience.
Most reliable Psyker herald. 
Can keep up with his charge
Can give you a cheap Multi-shot heavy bolters.
Re-rolls 1's to save.
can get 2+ re-rollable invulnerable saves. 
Weaknesses
2 Wounds, 2 attacks
Basically needs a jetbike to be good. 
Basically needs ML3 to be good. 
BS4, just to piss you off
Things to Watch
Put 4 of them in a screamer star, get 4++, give Prescience, get 4 FFOT, Cast 14D6 (14~84) S6AP4 attacks
Standard Loadout
Herald of tzeentch with Exalted Reward OR Greater/Lesser Reward, Disk of Tzeentch, ML3. One could take the Exalted Locus because it's just so damn nice. 

Price 8/10 Very reasonably priced, being no more than 175 points with an exalted reward and Exalted Locus. Still, it's one of the more expensive Heralds. 
Survivability 7/10 Touch and go. If it gets its 2++, it's untouchable. If it doesn't it'll die to a stiff breeze.
Damage Output 7/10 Best Shooting potential outside of the Soul Grinder and Daemons. Decent in combat considering. 
Rules 9/10 Access to Divination is fucking huge. FFOT is also respectable.
Army Bonuses 9/10 The second best herald for squad bonuses.
Overall: 8/10 

The Changeling
Strengths
Can gain the WS/S/T/I/A of a fighter in base contact.
Weaknesses
Forced ML1 
Force to be on foot
Forced to take Lesser Locus 
A combat unit forced into units not build for combat.
A combat unit with no AP2, or rending, or something.
Things to Watch
Watch your opponent remove him to the first S6 weapon shot at it. 
Standard Loadout
On the Shelf - a waste of a herald slot.

Price 6/10 A waste of time, not even worth the 15 point combat bonuses.
Survivability 4/10 Has to get into combat to become survivable, has to take a pink horror squad as his caddy. 
Damage Output 5/10 As good as any ML1 Herald of Tzeentch
Rules 6/10 That rule could help if you get stuck in combat, but generally... no.
Army Bonuses 3/10 He adds nothing to your army. Comp, maybe?
Overall: 4.8/10 Not the absolute worst unit in the codex, but nowhere near acceptably good. 

Khorne 

Lesser Locus
Abjuration
Adamantium Will USR
Wouldn't pay for it. 

Greater Locus
Fury
Rage USR.
Could be very useful on dogs, basically doubling their damage output if they charge one unit. Usually you want to charge more than one unit with dogs though, so unreliably effective. Doesn't compare to the Exalted Locus

Exalted Locus
Wrath
Hatred USR.
Reliably useful in multi-assaults, when you get counter-charged etc. Worth the 5 extra points over the Greater Locus. 

Herald Of Khorne
Strengths
Best user of the Lesser Rewards
S6 OTC, 4 - 6 attacks
Access to hatred
T5 if on juggernaught
Hit like a Truck
Weaknesses
No Psychic Powers
Absolutely needs combat to be effective.
Unlike Slaanesh Heralds, they don't tend to outspeed the more dangerous enemies - DE beasts.
Things to Watch
Watch one of these guys with an AOK and greater reward tear through your enemies HQ or his MC units. A herald of Khorne can cut a riptide down to size quicksmart. 
These units can also one man army most enemy units of troops. 
Standard Loadout
Herald of Khorne with Exalted OR Greater/lesser reward, Exalted Locus and Juggernaught (Exalted locus not necessary on subsequent heralds of khorne.)

Price 8/10 One of the Cheaper heralds
Survivability 7/10 T5 with 3 wounds and access to greater rewards is very nice. 
Damage Output 8/10 Slaanesh beats him, but khorne's heralds kick ass.
Rules 7/10 Furious charge doesn't compare to the bonuses Slaanesh gets. 
Army Bonuses 8/10 Can make one unit excellent.
Overall: 7.6/10 I'm probably a little biased, but these guys are clearly powerfighters in this codex.

Karanak
Strengths
Can one-man army any lightly armoured enemy target.
Rage Caddy if you don't wanna buy hatred (waste of points if you do)
Bonuses against one character in the enemy army. 
Gives your squad anti-psychic defence, makes Perils of the Warp a real threat.
Gives a squad scouts.
Personal hatred means he can one-man a squad much easier than another herald could.
T5, 3 wounds
Weaknesses 
No AP2, a Character hunter with no way of removing armour.
Things to Watch
Karanak can push a unit of Bloodcrushers up field with dogs on the flanks. 40 dogs + a crusher star makes for a very scary rush list, although Crushers may not be as effective as seekers, he ensures they keep up with the pace of the army.
Standard Loadout
As is.

Price 8/10 IF he didn't have the Greater Locus, and either had a 20 point price reduction, or cost 5 points more for the exalted locus, he'd be a ten.
Survivability 6/10 T5 with 3 wounds
Damage Output 6/10 AP values are what makes Heralds so Definitive. Karanak Lacks this, but still hits hard.
Rules 9/10 You're taking him for scouts.
Army Bonuses 9/10 Makes Bloodcrushers almost viable.
Overall: 7.6/10 About the same value as a herald of Khorne.

Skulltaker
Strengths
Instant Death
WS, BS and I9, A3
Eternal warrior
3+ save
Weaknesses
Forced Challenge caddy, AP3. 
Things to Watch
He can one-man almost any squad without a 2+ save. He can one-man any monster without a 2+ save. He beats out a skin-bones DP.
Standard Loadout
Skulltaker on juggernaught He needs the jugger to be any good.

Price 6/10 145 is frustrating because he's almost hte price of a normal herald, without adding much to your squad.
Survivability 9/10 Eternal warrior makes him a hard kill for any monster.
Damage Output 6/10 If it has a 2+ save, go home.
Rules 4/10 If it has a 2+ save, he can't go home because he has to challenge it.
Army Bonuses 4/10 Adds nothing to your army - in fact, he takes from it because he takes up a herald slot
Overall: 5.8/10 Decent, but not exceptional. 

Nurgle 

Lesser Locus
Virulence:
To hit rolls of 6 are Poisoned 2+. 
Meh. 

Greater Locus
Fecundity
FNP USR.
Huge, But not good because the Nurgle Herald lacks speed.

Exalted Locus
Contagion
To hit rolls of 6 garner extra S4AP- Poisoned 4+ hit
This one's pretty good, but it's completely overshadowed by fecundity.

Nurgle Herald
Strengths
T5 with 4 wounds (Palanquin)
4 attacks Off the charge at S5 (poisoned, too!).
Gives his squad FNP.
Weaknesses
Can't keep up with plague drones or beasts. 
Can't get poisoned and AP2. 
Things to Watch
Eh. 20 Plague Marines and one of these guys will never die.
Standard Loadout
Herald of Nurgle, with ML2, Exalted Reward (or Greater/lesser), Locus of Fecundity, Palanquin. 

Price 7/10 I'd pay 100 points to get FNP on BONbons or on Plague Drones
Survivability 9/10 Unrivalled in the heralds slot.
Damage Output 5/10 Mediocre. I guess a few S5 attacks could be very nice. 
Rules 4/10 Not being able to be cavalry ruins this herald so badly.
Army Bonuses 5/10 Read: rules.
Overall: 6/10 It's okay, but it's nowhere near good enough. 

Epidemus
Strengths
Tough as any herald of nurgle
Tally of Pestilence can make your scoring squad impervious. 
Weaknesses
No access to Fecundity or ML2 Biomancy.
He needs to be near the action to be useful.
Things to Watch
In the right situation, he can make a squad of 20 Plaguebearers with T5 and FNP4+.  
Standard Loadout
As is. Put him in a squad of 20 nurgle daemons with an extra herald. Try to kill lots of stuff while holding objectives.

Price 7/10 Reasonable, but not justifiable.
Survivability 9/10 Same as any herald of Nurgle.
Damage Output 5/10 The same as any herald of nurgle. Can make your squad very hard hitters as he gains momentum.
Rules 6/10 Tally of Pestilence doesn't make up for the lack of psychic powers
Army Bonuses 6/10 Tally of Pestilence could be awesome, but it's so contextual it isn't even funny.
Overall: 6.6/10 He's better than a normal herald, I guess, but that's not hard.

Slaanesh

Lesser Locus
Grace
MTC USR
Could be nice if you don't need a squad with a dedicated character killer.

Greater Locus
Swiftness
+5 Init
Makes sure your unit that already goes first... goes first? Meh. Contextual. 

Exalted Locus
Beguilement
Fuck Challenge rules
Kill that important character, your opponents Hit and Run Caddy, or remove their hardest hitter from play and hopefully kill him before he can strike. 

Herald of Slaanesh
Strengths
Hits like a laiden truck going down a hill: Fast, and hard. 
Even if it doesn't get an ether blade, it has rending and enough attacks to make it work. 
Goes first.
Enough attacks to hit anything for pain.
Extremely fast
Weaknesses
Can't definitively kill a character with more than two wounds in a challenge reliably (unless they don't have an invuln, of course) 
Low Toughness, No wounds. 
Things to Watch
Your horrified opponent remove his support suit/tigurius because you could choose who stepped up to the plate.
Standard Loadout
Herald Greater/lesser with Exalted Locus, Steed.
Herald with Exalted, Steed.

Price 8/10 Can get very expensive very quickly. Usually worth every point.
Survivability 3/10 It relies on hitting first, which doesn't work at range. Still, it's usually got 20 seekers surrounding, amping its toughness.
Damage Output 10/10 Unrivalled in low strength, high quality attacks. 
Rules 9/10 Beguilement is unreasonably good.
Army Bonuses 8/10 I don't think they add that much outside of a good amount of attacks and challenge soakers.
Overall: 7.8/10 Unrivalled for this slot. 

Non-herald class Minor Daemon HQs

Masque of Slaanesh
Strengths
The Eternal Dance could be really cool. If it could be done within a squad. And from horseback. 
Re-rolls invulnerable saves
Weaknesses
No IC, T3 with 2 wounds
Things to Watch
You remove this 2 wound lady turn 1, giving up first blood.
Standard Loadout
On the shelf.

Price 3/10 Unreasonable, given how fragile she is.
Survivability 0/10 Absolutely unredeemably fragile
Damage Output 1/10 She'll never get there. Could be good if she got there, I guess.
Rules 3/10 Would be a great unit leader, but she isn't an IC. 
Army Bonuses 0/10 Move along. 
Overall: 1.4/10 Awful. Literally the worst unit in a pretty amazing codex. Possibly a contender for the worst unit in the entire game.

The Blue idi- I mean, scribes.
Strengths 
Uh...
Spell syphon's pretty cool, I guess. 
Weaknesses
Very fragile
Unreliable psychic powers
Spell Syphon is cool, but useless.
Annoying pricing number, too.
Things to Watch 
Your 81 point investment go down the drain. 
Standard Loadout
In the store. The model isn't even worth the time.

Price 1/10 9 points would be more reasonable. 
Survivability 2/10 2 Wounds, T4 re-rolling 1's. It'll die, but not as quick as the masque.
Damage Output 0/10 Lol.
Rules 4/10 Spell Syphon could be useful in some situations, I guess.
Army Bonuses 1/10 Spell Syphon again.
Overall: 1.6/10 Awful, once again. Neither of these characters are hard enough to make them worthwhile, given their lack of the independent character special rule. Add to that, they take up a full HQ slot. You'd be better taking a plain herald than one of these jokes.