Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tactical Analysis: Flamers of Tzeentch

Flamers of Tzeentch
Originally the Flamers were considered the ultimate in anti-infantry power; even the might of the Terminators fell before a single unit of Flamers and many competitive lists relied on this purely for their massive amount of power. With the update however the Flamers lost a fair amount of their power and the community was in uproar about the fact that they now cannot win a battle with one unit and personally I think this is a good thing. What is the point of having such a wide and diverse range of miniatures that are the most detailed that GW has ever produced (to date anyway) if we only ever use one or two of them? So that's my rant over and back to tactics. Contrary to widespread belief  the Flamers haven't become useless but have simply become balanced. They can still dish out a world of hurt in the right situation but they now can't own the field by themselves.

Let's start with their special rules shall we? Firstly they have the Daemonic Instability and Deep Strike rules that all Daemons have. They also have the Daemon of Tzeentch and Warpflame special rules. Daemon of Tzeentch gives them the ability to re-roll failed save results of 1 and gives them a +3 strength boost for psychic attacks. That would be excellent if they used psychic attacks but they don't use psychic attacks so that's a little pointless. What would be really cool would be if the strength boost could be used with their attack because that would be a s7 template weapon but I get ahead of myself. Warpflame by the way is the one where a model taking an unsaved wound must then take a toughness test and if he fails he (or she I guess... Howling Banshees, Sisters of Battle, Shadowsun etc.) takes an additional D3 wounds but if the model/unit passes then they gain FnP(6+) or a +1 bonus to their existing FnP roll (insert generic fickle Tzeentch remark here).

Unit Type
Their unit type is Jump Infantry which gives them the Skyborne, Bulky and Deep Strike special rules as well as a host of other awesome benefits. Now the Deep Strike and Bulky special rules are a bit pointless, firstly because they already have the Deep Strike rule and secondly because the Daemons don't have a troop transport option so being Bulky doesn't really affect them at all. Now what Skyborne does as the only rule that affects the Flamers is that it allows the units to move freely across the field when they use their "jump packs" (more on that later) but if they land in difficult terrain then they treat it as dangerous terrain. I guess you can't just have all goodness can you? Now their movement depends on when the "jump pack" is used; if the Flamers jump in the movement phase then they can move up to 12" and if they jump in the assault phase then they can re-roll their charge distance and gain the Hammer of Wrath special rule (extra attack at unit strength value resolved at initiative step 10) but this is an either/or situation; can't use the jump move in both in the same turn. Another nice movement rule that the Flamers get is that they can fall back 3D6" instead of 2 so if they get caught in combat then there's less chance of them getting slaughtered in a Sweeping Advance.

Profiles and Upgrades and Costs (oh my!)
Their profile is ok but just at a glance you can see where a unit of Flamers will shine and where they'll be ripped apart. They have a BS, S, T and I value of 4 each (Pyrocaster has a BS of 5), a Ld value of 7 which is pretty standard in this Codex and a WS, W and A value of 2 each. As it happens they're not too shabby in a lot of areas and could probably hold their own in combat for a while against regular troops but where they will really shine is point blank ranged combat. They have a Daemonic Gift which is the Flames of Tzeentch which is a Template weapon that has s4, AP4, is Assault 1 and has the Warpflame rule. I guess the replication of the rule on the Gift and the unit itself is so that ALL Flamer attacks are subject to the rule and there's no ambiguity (though maybe they should have been a little more specific on the Burning Chariot, but I digress). So what you have here is an anti-infantry/anti-horde weapon. As I mentioned above, gone are the days when Flamers could take down a Hive Tyrant or a fully maxed out unit of Terminators again this doesn't make them any less useful. Granted it restricts them to a specific role in an army but I'm noticing a pattern across all the new Codex's/Codices (I'm not sure whether I should be using the plural or not because of the context so I'm using both) but as I've said I don't see this as a bad thing.

Now to the portion that makes the world go round... The price. A unit of 3, which is your basic unit, comes to a strange total of 69 points. Why GW can't just keep everything at a nice and rounded number I don't know; I don't even care about odd or even numbers I just like my numbers rounded for the ease of calculations. A Flamer unit can be a maximum of 9 models large and for the extra 6 they come in at 23 points a pop. Or I guess a bang would be more appropriate. As with almost every other unit in the Codex (note I said ALMOST every other unit) there is a unit champion; in this case the Pyrocaster. Just like all the others he comes in at 5 points but interestingly he doesn't gain an extra attack he gets an extra point of BS. I don't quite understand why because as I understand it template weapons hit automatically and BS is used when calculating what roll is needed to hit. It isn't even used for Overwatch purposes so I'm not really sure of the purpose of this whole exercise... Maybe it's so they can operate a turret type weapon really well or something? If it is then you lose a pretty potent weapon and then have a gap to fill in the front lines. Strange. Again, just like the other unit champions the Pyrocaster can take up to 20 points of Daemonic Rewards but I'm not even going to go into what can and can't be taken because you really shouldn't be giving the Pyrocaster anything extra (if you even take the Pyrocaster at all). Because of the reputation of the Flamers from the last edition and from the crossover period between the 6th Edition rules and the new Codex, they will get shot at and they will get shot at a lot. Elite killing units will be directed at them and it's all because of the fact that they USED TO dominate every battlefield they were summoned to. Do you really want to spend the points on a unit that is going to be a massive target? I'd say no but I guess it's personal choice. Some of the Greater rewards MIGHT improve survivability but because the Rewards are random you can't really count on that.

I apologise for the lack of another picture above this sub-heading I couldn't find another one that I liked so I just decided to not have one. Anyway that's not why you read this far; you wanted to see what I suggest for the Flamers. Flamers should primarily be used to take out infantry blobs such as a big unit of Ork Boyz or Tyranids of the Gaunt genus because that's what they're geared towards. Land them in front of them (I'd actually advocate the use of Deep Strike here) and set them on fire. What you're aiming for is the infamous Wall of Death whereby a single Shooting Phase will decimate an entire unit or at least enough of it so that it isn't a threat any more. Now I wasn't 100% sure so I double checked but a Deep Striking unit can shoot on the turn of it's arrival so drop them in a line and break out the burgers because you're getting BBQ'd. Flamers will really excel against horde troops because they tend to have crappy armour saves (negated by the AP4) and have low toughness values. Usually anyway. In this situation you'll only have to roll to see how many get wounded because Template weapons hit automatically and an AP of 4 will negate armour saves. The fact that it's a Template weapon means that attacks have the Ignores Cover rule so the only saves that can be taken are Invulnerable and FnP but there won't be many horde troops with those saves. It gets better because Template weapons can fire Overwatch and automatically cause D3 hits per weapon so if you don't kill all the models in the enemy unit and they declare a charge then unless you have some seriously bad dice rolls that charge is failing. Although it isn't desirable, they can hold their own in close combat with a strength and toughness value of 4 each and 2 attacks, 3 if they use their jump move in the assault. Not too shabby but they have no special close combat rules (aside from Warpflame) and they have no AP value so ideally this is to be avoided unless you want to play suicidal tar pit (but that's what Nurglings are for).

Flamers work really well with the Deep Strike rule. So far I've found that Deep Striking has been a matter of personal preference but with Flamers I'd seriously think about them constantly making use of the rule and deploying them as close to the enemy as you can so that scatter isn't so much of an issue. Drop them down in front of an enemy and watch as they wreak bloody havoc. Could even bring them in off of the back of an Icon/Instrument combo to be able to accurately place them up to 12" away from the unit with the Icon. My approach to Flamers is to drop them in, incinerate as much as possible and jump them away as fast as possible. These are perfect harassment troops once their primary targets are out of the way and can then be used to distract. Units like these really help to convey the way the Chaos Gods think of their minions: use them and lose them. Throw the Flamers in, burn up their targets and if they get wiped out after that then it doesn't really matter because they've done their job. Just remember to use them against the biggest infantry unit within their range and then get them the hell out of there and they will serve Tzeentch most admirably.

1 comment:

  1. You posted:

    Daemon of Tzeentch gives them the ability to re-roll failed save results of 1 and gives them a +3 strength boost for psychic attacks.

    It's +3 LD for psychic attacks.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...