Flesh Hounds of Khorne
This is the first unit in the Fast Attack section of the Codex and as with all of Khorne's other units they're designed for one thing: smash and kill. The thing that makes these different is their speed which means that in an army designed to hit the enemy head on these will probably hit first. What is a little odd with these units is that they have a couple of little quirks that make them not so straight forward in a tactical sense as the other Khorne units that I've reviewed before.
The profile on the Flesh Hounds is good but nothing to shout about. They have a Weapon Skill of 5, Strength, Toughness and Initiative of 4, 2 Wounds and Attacks, Leadership 7, Ballistic Skill of 0 (not really a surprise when they don't even have thumbs. Clearly Khorne's realm in the Warp doesn't have Cravendale to force them to grow them). They also have a 6+ Armour save but there's very little chance that that will be used when they have a 5+ Invulnerable save. For me there's nothing here that really jumps out and says "hey, I'm totally different and can do things better than anyone else" until you get to their speed (but more on that later).
A basic unit of these puppies is made up of 5 hounds will set you back 80 points which is actually pretty cheap for what you're getting which is a fast and fast killing unit that has some survivability.They then cost 16 points per extra hound and the unit can take an additional 15 so a maxed out unit will cost 320 and will carry with it 40 attacks and 40 wounds. The attacks are resolved at Strength 5 on the charge (again, more on that next) and against a standard squad of 20 Marines you're looking at 8 Wounds. Not great but not bad either because 8 dead is 8 less to make a counter-attack and of course we're dealing with dice rolls so no matter how many statistics you apply there's always an element of luck involved so a lucky roll of the dice could result in the entire squad dead but on the flip side an unlucky roll might end up not landing a single hit but everyone loves a set of statistics so there they are.
Now onto the juicy section and we'll start with the obvious one and that's the Daemon of Khorne special rule. As the Hounds aren't a chariot they don't benefit from the strength boost to Hammer of Wrath attacks because they don't get Hammer of Wrath attacks (which is a shame really, it'd be handy to say the least) so the benefit that the hounds get is that they get Furious Charge which gives +1 Strength on the charge so charging hounds have a Strength value of 5 for the rest of that Assault Phase. Very nice but not the best part.
Their unit type is Beast which means that they move 12", aren't slowed down by Difficult Terrain, they Fall Back 3D6" and gain the Fleet, Moves Through Cover and the Very Bulky special rules. All of these extra rules are either nice additions or pointless (re: Very Bulky) but there are two other things that makes them a worthwhile investment and that is their Collar of Khorne and the Scout special rule.
The Collar of Khorne grants a +2 bonus to Deny the Witch rolls which does have very specific tactical uses in that this is only effective if there is at least one Psyker in the enemy army. Now how this is handy is that the hounds are most likely to be one of the first (if not THE first) unit to hit the enemy so they are likely to draw a lot of fire power. If some of that fire power is psychic in nature then the hounds definitely have an advantage as they Deny the Witch on a 4+ and if for some reason there's a Herald (or other HQ) in the unit that can use Psychic powers then that improves depending on the Mastery Level. Of course it's highly unlikely that there would be any HQ other than a Khorne one attached to the unit but it's something to consider. After all, there's nothing to say that you can't mix and match the Gods in your units and it would certainly throw an opponent off balance if your Herald of Tzeentch is running with a bunch of hounds.
Now the Scout rule is where these guys really earn their place on the roster because it allows them to redeploy after every other unit has deployed anywhere within 12" of their original position. This is really good because it means that a) the enemy's carefully thought out deployment can be upset by a redeployment and b) there's the chance to get the hounds that much closer to the enemy and be ready for the charge. Now there is a trade off here (all in the name of balance) and that is that if the unit does redeploy then they cannot charge on the first turn which I have to say I don't like. The nature of the hounds according to their fluff is that they see something alive and they attack so why they are subject to this no charge restriction is a bit strange... Anyway they can be sent in to get close enough to the enemy to get them worried, keep them in cover and then in the next turn you're pretty much guaranteed a charge. Hopefully by this time you're dropping in units left right and centre, the rest of the army isn't far behind and the enemy is getting worried.
As I said before these are just like other Khorne units in that they're designed for a full on head long assault straight into the enemy. They have an additional advantage from the Collar in that some of the attacks coming their way are more likely to fail but honestly I don't think that's going to come into play too often. I would even go so far to say that, while the Collar is nifty it's just a way to translate some of the fluff to the table top and it probably won't come into play too often. There are two ways to use this unit and their price makes both of them equally viable. The first is the attack and assault version and the second is purely as a scare tactic. Khorne units are hugely feared and quite rightly so because they are the kings of close combat so if they get close enough to charge you're probably going to end up shredded so the enemy will target them purely because of their affiliation. This is good for your other units because the hounds will draw a lot of fire but it's bad for your hounds because they're actually a decent little unit for their price. Of course there's the possibility that the initial salvo won't wipe out the unit or reduce it to barely a threat and there's also the possibility that they will be ignored in favour of trying to take down something bigger and scarier and either way it means that the hounds get the chance to cause some serious damage. Either way it's a win; protect more fragile units or rip a hole in the enemy line. These things are designed to cause havoc so take a pack, set them loose and have some fun. Go on, you know you want to...