Saturday, 11 May 2013

Tactical Analysis: Daemonettes

Daemonettes of Slaanesh
Daemonettes are the the Blitzkrieg troops; fast and deadly. They are designed to move fast and (in true Slaanesh style) take the enemy by surprise from behind as much as possible. The Daemon of Slaanesh rule achieves this by granting the Rending rule, the Fleet rule and also amends how a Run move is calculated which makes them incredibly fast. Rending makes all the Daemonettes attacks (of which there are many) wound automatically on a roll of 6 and AP rolls of 6 add a further D3 roll to be added to the result which can come in very handy when trying to wipe out a tough vehicle before it destroys anything of value. You might be wondering how a simple troop choice can stand any chance against a vehicle with high armour values and it's a valid thought but I'll address it later when we talk profiles. The next special rule is Fleet which allows for the unit to re-roll one or more of the dice used when calculating Run moves or Charge ranges. This is especially useful when combined with the fact that the Daemon of Slaanesh special rule grants +3" to a Run movement so that the minimum distance a unit of Daemonettes will Run is 4" and the maximum they can run is 9" which, when added to their usual movement of 6", means that the unit can move 10" if it chooses to run. It should be noted however that a unit that Runs in the shooting phase can't then Charge in the assault phase. I guess it's to stop units from running across the board and slaughtering an entire unit in the first turn which the Daemonettes would be quite capable of doing.

The profile of the Daemonettes is actually quite impressive; they have WS of 5, a BS of 4 (not as high as the Bloodletters but respectable), a S and T of 3, 1 Wound, 5 Initiative, 2 Attacks and 7 Ld. Now there are two things there that should immediately stand out and that is their Attacks and their Initiative and you should also take note of their Strength value. The Daemonettes have an Initiative of 5 which means that they will strike first against a lot of units and even some HQ units and will strike at the same time as some of the other units with only a few high powered units being able to strike first against them. This would be useful enough but they are also given 2 Attacks which means that a basic unit of Daemonettes gets 20 attacks. Yes you read that right, 20 attacks. I rolled 20 dice 10 times and the amount of 6's in the mix did vary but there was an average of 3. While it isn't a fair test because I didn't do any rolls to hit before checking the wounds I was just curious how the dice would fall and it's an interesting result. In the 10 rolls there wasn't a single time where at least one 6 was not in the mix and the most that came up was 6 6's. But while the fact that a 6 can kill outright it should be noted that with a Strength of 3 the Daemonettes will find it difficult to wound anything with a Toughness value of 4-6 and anything above that the only way they can do damage is with 6's and that is only because of their Rending attacks.

Unit Options
For the fourth time in as many posts we get to read about the Instrument (10 points), Icon (10 points) and unit champion (5 points) of the unit. I won't bore you again with details of how the Instrument and Icon work in an army (though if you're really that interested they're detailed in my Bloodletters post) but I will talk about the Slaaneshi Icon upgrade, the Rapturous Standard. As with the others the upgrade costs another 10 points and is a once per game activation, just like the others. The effect of this is that all models in combat with the Daemonettes in the Fight sub-phase has -D3 WS which will not only make hitting a LOT easier but will also reduce the number of hits taken by the lovely ladies which of course is nothing but a good thing. Now there is a slight restriction on this Standard which makes sense from a fluff perspective and it is this; Daemons of Slaanesh and models with a Mark of Slaanesh will not be affected by the Rapturous Standard. Normally with the Icon upgrades I'm of the opinion that they can be taken or left on personal choice but this one should be considered as the Daemonettes can be quite fragile, especially against the armoured foes they are surprisingly adept at killing. As I mentioned before, at Initiative 5 there are quite a few units that will attack first so if you're going to take on those types of unit with the Daemonettes then this may give them an edge in terms of survivability if they get hit first.

The final unit upgrade is the Alluress who, like the other unit champions, has the same profile as the rest of her unit but with an extra Attack and the ability to purchase up to 20 points of Daemonic Rewards. The Alluress can, like the others, be guaranteed to get at least 1 of 4 weapons if she switches the random gift she gets for one of them. As well as the Etherblade and Greater Etherblade an Alluress may take the Wistealer Sword or the infamous Lash of Despair. The Witstealer Sword is a lesser gift for 10 points that has a Strength value equal to the user, an AP of 5, the Rending, Specialist Weapon and the Witsteal special rules. Witsteal causes any model that suffers an unsaved wound from the weapon to take an Initiative test which, if failed, causes another wound with no armour or cover saves allowed. This is similar to the Nurgle weapon, the Balesword which has its uses against multiple wound characters. The more interesting and more famous of the Slaaneshi weapons is the Lash of Despair which is a Greater Reward and costs 20 points but is very much worth the cost. It grants a strictly melee unit a powerful ranged attack which has some pretty heavy damage potential which, I assume, is why it has become so popular. The Lash has a 12" range and is an Assault weapon with 2D6 attacks so will be making between 2 and 12 attacks and each hit will need at most a 4+ to hit because of the BS of the Alluress. It could be very useful but to use it would take away the units ability to Run because it will shoot so it needs to be debated whether the weapon is worth losing the ability to run a further 4" minimum.

The Daemonettes of Slaanesh can actually fulfil a number of roles quite well; they are strong enough to perform an out and out assault, fast enough to outflank the strongest units, and have enough attacks to overwhelm many hoard units. They can also be used to pick off lone scout units or react quickly enough to infiltrating units or to Deep Strikes. Their main advantage that should be exploited is their speed and this is what Slaanesh units are built for. They are the units that will most likely be reaching the front lines first and as such they should hit hard and hit fast so have them duck and weave through the enemy units to pick the best ones to bring to their knees. They cost 90 points for a basic unit of 10, 180 for 20, an extra 25 for the Instrument, Icon and Alluress and 30 points for any extras which gives a maximum cost of 235 points to get 41 rending attacks which I have also rolled out and comes up with 72 6's in 10 rolls averaging out at 7 6's per roll. Doesn't seem like a lot but that's just the ones that fall under the Rending rule and not counting the ones that have to be saved. I'd be prepared to bet that an average roll from these creatures will wipe out a unit per turn until they're killed. 41 attacks for less than 250 points isn't too bad really, though I'll accept it's putting a lot of strength into one fragile unit so maybe large formations such as this should be kept for larger points matches. When fielding a unit of these, observe the Slanneshi doctrine; go hard, go fast and give as much to as many as you can before you're too worn out to continue. And for those of you that embrace the Slaaneshi ideals a little too much, I'd politely like to remind you that I was talking about damage in battle there and not... Whatever was in your head. Probably.

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