Friday, October 25, 2013

Preferred Enemies - Warriors of Chaos: Lords and Heroes pt. 1

Preferred Enemies – Warriors of Chaos

Fighting for the glory and favour of the Dark Gods, these battle-hardened killers slaughter in the name of the Ruinous Powers.  Their dark deeds and nefarious schemes do nothing but cause agony and despair to whomever is in their path.  The tide of chaos must be stopped…

 Scrolls enumerating these dark deeds have been recorded within the hallowed halls of Coeth Mara and committed to song so that future generations of Asrai would learn from the battles of the past.  Never again would the Wood Elves suffer the ravages of those like Ghular Festerlung who assaulted the forest of Loren.  The Asrai would never allow chariots to rampage unchecked amongst their ranks like Ragnar Painbringer’s killers did.  The Wood Elves learn from these horrific deeds and vow to never repeat the past.  There have been portents of a new Everchosen being selected by the Ruinous Powers, the Prophetess cautions his power is beyond comprehension and that he has begun his march against the Old World.

 Let us consult the scrolls of Coeth Mara to deal with our new foe…

 This installment of the Preferred Enemies will deal with the Warriors of Chaos army book that was released earlier this year.  This will be dedicated to the entire book and we will be taking it section by section with the first installment being the Army General Rules and then the leadership of the army; the Lords and Heroes.

 Army General Rules:

Daemonic Attacks – these attacks are obviously magical and affect or rather negate the Forest Spirit Ward Save.

Eye of the Gods – models with this special rule benefit from rolling on the Eye of the Gods table whenever the defeat a character or champion in a challenge.  The Chaos champion/character must also always issue a challenge when possible.  The benefits of the Eye of the Gods are permanent  and range from gaining +1 toughness, ballistic skill, armor save, weapon skill, initiative, attack, or strength.  They model could be allowed to reroll one hit or wound roll, gain a 6+ ward save or be turned into a Chaos Spawn or Daemon Prince.

Marks of Chaos:  The Warriors of Chaos are able to “mark” their units/characters signifying that this unit is dedicated to a specific dark power.  Each mark yields a specific benefit to the unit:

1.       Mark of Khorne: Models with this Mark have the Frenzy special rule.  – This is both handy and annoying to Wood Elf Players.  While the unit is immune to psychology and therefore can not be panicked by inflicting heavy casualties, they unit can be lead around by a fast cavalry, an eagle or another fast moving unit and hopefully kept out of close combat.  The standard configuration for a unit marked with Khorne is to give them two hand weapons which will yield 4 attacks in the front row which can be devastating.  You want to really try to avoid combat with Khorne marked units until they have been reduced to a manageable size.

2.       Mark of Tzeentch: Models with this mark have a 6+ ward save, or if they already have an existing ward save it betters it by 1 up to the maximum of a +3 Ward Save.  It also allows casters to re-roll channeling dice rolls of 1.  – This mark aids the Warriors of Chaos units the most out of the army as it now grants them a 5+ parry save if they are equipped with a sword and shield.  This mark however does not confer immunity to psychology so it is easily combated by ranged attacks and spells that may cause panic tests.

3.       Mark of Nurgle:  This mark confers a -1 penalty to hit models “blessed” with this mark in close combat.  This mark is arguably the best mark of the four gods.  It pretty much ensures that the entire unit will be hit on 4’s at the very best and more often than not they will be hit on 5’s.  Models marked with Nurgle should generally be handled with ranged attacks as to not diminish the close combat capabilities of your forces. 

4.       Mark of Slaanesh:  Models with this mark will automatically pass any Fear, Terror or Panic tests that it is forced to make.  This however does not mean the unit is immune to psychology nor does it mean they pass all Break or Rally tests. 

 Lords and Heroes:

 The Chaos Lord/Exalted Hero – The Chaos Lord is your mortal juggernaut of destruction.  The human incarnation of the Chaos hosts rage, fury and vileness.  Very few things can stand toe to toe with a Chaos Lord in close combat and hope to walk away.  They are the undisputed lords of the host and the merciless conqueror of the world of man.

                              M            WS         BS           S              T              W            I               A             LD                                          

Chaos Lord         4              8              3              5              5              3              7              5              9

Exalted Hero      4              7              3              5              4              2              6              4              8

 Special Rules: Eye of the Gods
                A canny Wood Elf general will not seek to battle a Chaos Lord in close combat unless they absolutely have to.  It is generally thought of as “ill-advised” to enter into a duel with a Lord of Chaos and expect to come out with a positive combat resolution.  If you are going to engage the Chaos Lord you have few real options - synergy and duels. 

A.      Synergy – You will want to augment any unit engaged with a Chaos Lord in close combat.  This means you are hitting them with Lore of Life’s – Flesh to Stone spell granting them +2 T or +4 T.  The ideal would be +4 T making your standard Eternal Guard – T7 or your Treekin T9.  If you are able, hitting your unit with Regeneration or having a Ward Save in the unit (Rhymer’s Harp comes to mind) will prolong its longevity in close combat with the Chaos Lord.

B.      Duel – You may also seek to isolate the heavy hitter in the unit by issuing a duel to the Chaos Lord or by accepting the duel with a unit champion.  You will always want to try to engage the Chaos Lord in one of two ways:

1.       Highborn/Noble with Annoyance of Netlings and Glittering Scales.  This option provides you with a -1 to be hit in close combat (much like the Mark of Nurgle) by models attempting to strike you.  The Annoyance of Netlings states that you may only be hit on a roll of a 6 when engaged in a duel.  Augment the character’s unit with Flesh to Stone for +4 tough and you will have a model that requires 6’s to hit and is T7 in close combat.

2.       Treeman Ancient with Annoyance of Netlings.  This is your best “duel” character if you have augmented him with spells.  He has a Strength of 6, Toughness of 6 and has enough wounds to whether the storm of attacks a Chaos Lord would unleash.  If you properly augment him he could be T10 and keep in mind if the Chaos Lord/Hero is on foot, he gets his S6 Thunderstomps as well.   You will only run into issues with this choice if you have a Chaos Lord with the Burning Body gift or the Hellfire sword – Flammable Treeman bad!

The other side of the coin is if the Lord/Hero is mounted. 

                A Chaos Lord may be mounted upon the following mounts:

A.       Chaos Dragon – One of the most destructive choices that a Chaos Lord may choose and most expensive.  This creature shares a stat line similar to an Ancient Treeman and two breath weapons (one Str 4 and one Str 2 that allows no armor save).  The Chaos Lord benefits from the Large Target rule and if he is the army general his Leadership bubble is 18”.  Wood Elves are no longer able to Killing Blow the Lord off the Dragon with Waywatchers so they face a new challenge in that they must now find different options to deal with this power combo.

a.       Highborn w/ Bow of Athel Lorn and Arcane Bodkins – you can shoot the Lord and hopefully kill him with shots that permit no armor save.

b.      Hail of Fire – devote one or two units worth of Glade Guard fire at the unit and hope that you score enough wounds to cause failed armor saves on the Lord.

c.       Engage in close combat with a mounted hero (Stag/Elven Horse/Eagle) that is equipped with the Annoyance of Netlings and Glittering Scales (properly augmented).  The mounted hero/lord will prevent your character from eating Thunderstomps from the chaos dragon.  The most ideal option in this instance is to use the Highborn with the Annoyance of Netlings, Stone of Crystal Mere, Glittering Scales and a Great Weapon.  Augmented with Flesh to Stone and you have a T8, S6, -1 to hit (6’s in a duel), +3 ward save character that has a chance to stand toe to toe with the Chaos Lord.

B.      Manticore – the other Monstrous option choice for a Lord is the Manticore.  The manticore is half the cost of the dragon and yields almost as many benefits.  You may handle the manticore riding Lord the same as you would a Chaos Dragon only no worries about the Breath weapon.

C.      Gorebeast Chariot/Chaos Chariot – both of these options are brutal as they provide the Lord with an opportunity to inflict Impact Hits upon a unit and also his mounts are incredibly tough.  The best way to deal with a Gorebeast/Chaos Chariot is to either shoot the Lord/Hero off his ride or shoot the ride out from under him.  More often than not since the Gorebeast chariot is T6, you will have a difficult time trying to kill that in close combat without using augmented Treekin or a Treeman.  Also keep in mind that the Impact hits on the Gorebeast chariot have Killing Blow.

D.      Chaos Warshrine – not an option that you often see as the Chaos Lord is better suited for other roles in the army, the Warshrine can still be a difficult adversary to deal with.  The warshrine will provide the Chaos Lord a ward save and will ensure that he is in the very center of the army.  The best way to deal with it is to hit the unit with Treekin on one side while the Annoyance of Netlings Hawk Rider hits the other flank.

E.       Daemonic Mount – the Daemonic Mount comes in five flavors.  Your standard Daemonic Mount is a Monstrous Beast that turns your Hero into a 3 wound, T5 model.  On the lord it becomes a fairly cost effective mount for fitting into cavalry units or charging down the field.

a.       Base Daemonic Mount – Daemonic Attacks, Fear

b.      Mark of Khorne – Juggernaut - +2 Armor save, Daemonic Attacks, Fear, +1 Str on Charge, Fear.

c.       Mark of Nurgle – Daemonic Attacks, Fear

d.      Mark of Slaanesh – Daemonic Attacks, Fear, Fast Cavalry, Armor Piercing and Poisoned Attacks.

e.      Mark of Tzeench – Daemonic Attacks, Fear, Fly.

Daemonic Mounts are best handled or are easiest to deal with when they are in a cavalry unit or infantry unit.  You can Waywatcher strike a unit of Chaos Knights and isolate the Lord or you may Dweller’s below the infantry unit and pick off the remaining models with archers.

F.       Chaos Steed – your most comment and cheapest mount option.  Provides+2 armor save (with barding) and has a S4 attack.  This option is by far the best of the cheap mounts.

The main thing to avoid when dealing with a Chaos Lord or Exalted Hero is allowing them to do the damage that they are capable of in combat.  They are both literally wrecking balls the moment they get into base to base contact with an enemy unit.  Allowing them to run unchecked will only cause ruination amongst your ranks.