Daemons: Daemonic Incursion: Warpflame Host
Hey everybody, Deejay is here again to talk about the some of the mono-Tzeentch builds that you can run using the new daemonic incursion rules. Check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
In this article, I’ll be discussing the Warpflame Host formation from the Curse of the Wulfen supplement.
Currently in the game of 40k, Tzeentch is one of the best daemon builds you can run today. Players like Nick Nanavati have been doing extremely well with them for years, and the new daemonic incursion rules have only made them better. In this article, I’ll share with you my experiences on using the Warpflame Host to give you some ideas on how to make your own Tzeentch Incursion!
The best way today to run a Tzeench build is to go with the formations from Curse of the Wulfen, meaning you will need to run a daemonic incursion. This means you need to take one core choice and one auxiliary. You will need to take one Warpflame Host for your core formation.
- WarpFlame Host : This formation consists of 9 units of the following: Flamers, Exalted Flamers or Horrors. You must also either take The Changing or one Herald of Tzeentch.
Harbinger of Tzeentch:
If the Herald of Tzeentch from this Formation is a Lesser Locus of Transmogrification, Greater Locus of Change or an Exalted Locus of Conjuration, the special rules associated with that locus affect all units from this Formation that are within 12″ of him. If such a unit is also affected by another locus, they will receive both benefits.
This is the first special rule from the formation. This gives three loci you can bring with your host.
- Lesser Locus of Transmogrification: When a Pink Horror is slain, the unit gains d3 Blue Horror tokens instead of one. I would not buy this loci, and do not suggest it. It’s not that blue horrors are horrible. They have delivered wounds for me in the past lowering the number of models lost due to instability, it’s just that there are better options.
- Greater Locus of Change: The whole unit’s Strength is randomized at the start of each turn. You could make a case to bring this given that it would be the same or better STR 2/3 of the time. Your horrors will be assaulted, and getting that STR 4, 5, or 6 hits can help. However, I think there are better options.
- Exalted Locus of Conjuration: +1 Strength to all Psychic Powers. If you are taking many horrors, this is the ‘go to’ choice. This brings flickering fire to STR 7, which becomes a significant threat to most light armor and flyers.
Storm of Daemonic Fire:
Add 1 to the Strength value of any Tzeentchian Flame Weapons or psychic powers from the Discipline of Change unleashed by units from a Warpflame Host
This not only increases the STR of Flickering Fire to 7 with the formation, but it also increases the damage for all the powers under Discipline of Change. This can make quite a difference. Take the “Bolt of Change” power, for example. This is a 24” beam, STR D6 +4, AP2. Normally this is STR 5-10 beam, a pretty good power. Half of the time it is STR 8 or greater, doubling T4 targets. With the benefits of the Exalted Locus of Conjuration and the Storm of Daemonic Fire, this beam goes to STR 7-10, with a 10 STR 50% of the time — this dramatically increases the damage output, doubling out centurions and being a real threat to AV13.
This will turn flamers from a Strength 4 AP4 flame template, to a Strength 5 AP4 flame template, and shifts Exalted Flamers to a STR 6 AP3, Torrent template, or D3 STR 10 AP2 shots. This is a solid damage increase, with the overall effect dependent on the target,
Horrors can fill a few roles in the Tzeentch Incursion, and I’ve found them to be quite useful.
One big role for horrors is to act as psychic batteries for armies. 10 horrors gets you 1 psychic dice for 90 points. Spending another 9 points gets you another psychic dice, and is always a good investment. To get a third psychic dice, you would need to jump to 16 horrors, or spend another 45 points. Given that a herald psyker level increase is only 25 points, you are better off not going above 11 horrors in a squad for purposes of psychic batteries.
Another role that horrors can complete in a Tzeentch Incursion is psychic shooting, a role they can fill surprisingly well. As mentioned, all of the Discipline of Change increase significantly when powered up with a +2 STR. Even flickering fire jumps to a STR 7, which will cause hull points on light armor.
Remember that the horrors are still BS3, so anything that does not need to roll to hit, like a beam or nova can have better effect than a shooting attack. It also means that the average flicking fire shot is not that impressive, and why I only throw 2 dice at casting them. 2d6 flickering fire shots will produce an average of 7 shots, with 3.5 of them hitting. This is extremely lackluster when targeting anything with a 3+ save.
When I need to really hurt something with a squad of horrors, I’ll cast prescience on the squad from a herald, then I’ll slam out 4d6 flickering fire shots. It takes a lot of dice to make this happen, but this will result in an average of 10-11 STR 7 hits on a target. The best perk of this is that you can shoot all of these from one horror, which means if you managed to wrap one horror to the rear armor of a target, you can hit it hard — like hitting a brass scorpion.
Psychic Summoning is another role for horrors, and one that I use often. Using horrors to sacrifice into a Bloodthirster of Insensate Rage is extremely strong, and has turned the tide for me in more than one game. Having your horrors cast sacrifice to keep creating out new heralds to generate more psychic dice is another good tactic. Cursed earth is a force multiplier to the entire army. The only drawback with this is that you lose STR bonus for shooting, but it’s still a strong option for your list. It is not uncommon to summon 3 units a turn when you are using horrors. Finally, summoning from horrors is safer than summoning from a herald, as losing one horror a perils is much easier than losing a wound off your herald.
Horrors are also good at filling board space, allowing them to sit on objectives and make it hard to deep strike. I’ve used my horrors to cover my entire board edge before, or to force my opponent to deep strike where I wanted him to. If one of my squads, for example, has Possession as a power, I will want them to get shot up first on the deep strike. I’ll hide one model out of LOS, and then have the other 10 visible. This lets my opponent land and alpha strike the horror squad, which then gets popped to make a D-thirster. To do this, I’ll leave a spot open behind the squad, allowing my opponent to make the ‘perfect deep strike’. It does not work all the time, but works often enough to be a nice trick.
It’s not intuitive, but horrors can also be used to tie units up in assault if you are pulling armor save shenanigans in your army. All daemons have an invulnerable save of 5++ base, which can be increased through various methods, such as Cursed Earth or Warp Tether. If you increase this save to a 3++, and your opponent’s unit has few, quality attacks — such as Assault Centurions, the horrors can tie up the unit for a number of turns. This is because the horrors don’t care about how powerful an attack is, or what the AP is. In one game, my opponent had two Assault Centurions assault my horrors. They were hitting on 3’s, wounding on 2s, and I had a 3+ save, rerolling ones (a 7/9 chance of saving). This means his attacks had (⅔ * ⅚ * 2/9) or 10/81 chance of killing a horror. By using Cursed Earth and Warp Tether I locked up the assault centurions for the entire game, while still providing psychic dice and casting ‘summon’. Again, this only works on units with a few, high quality attacks. Units like orks will still wreck you due to the volume of attacks.
The question you need to ask is how much better are flamers with a +1 STR? This is the table showing damage increase
|Initial STR||Modified STR||Toughness||Initial To Wound||Mod To Wound||Percent Increase|
The chart below may be easier to read. This shows the raw percent of damage output increased through increasing the STR from 4 to 5. The damage increase is significant vs toughness five targets and peaks at toughness 6, where the STR 5 weapon is wounding twice as often.
So to answer the question “How much better are +1 STR flamers” it depends on the target. Against Windrider Jetbikes they are 33.3% more effective. Against marine bikes they are 50% more effective.
To understand the increase in damage, we also need to understand the baseline. A 50% increase is great, but 50% more pennies in your pocket still will not buy you a soda. The chance of a single flamer hit killing a Windrider Jetbike is the following (½ * ⅓) or ⅙. Assuming you hit bikes with each flame attack, 3 normal flamers will hit nine times and kill ~1.5 bikes. If you are using flamers from Warpflame Host formation, the chances increase to (⅔ * ⅓) or 2/9. Those same 9 hits will kill 2 bikes. In comparison, 3 scat bikes will kill 2.2 Windrider Jetbikes. Therefore, the Warpflame Host flamers have a 9.91% damage decrease in scat bikes for 14.81% less cost — resulting in a higher damage output per point (DPP) than scatbikes. This damage increase goes up with more units being hit. There are many other elements to consider in this comparison, but on a raw damage per point, flamers in the incursion formation are extremely good.
How does this play out? In my experience flamers can deliver a lot of damage to the right target. In my games thus far with them, most of my targets have been either scat bikes or marine bikes, giving me 3 hits. When I’ve gotten them to hit infantry, I’ve gotten much better results. I’ve used them to roast necron warriors, gaunts, scouts, and guard — which they excel at.
It’s also important to note that flamers can move quickly being jump pack infantry. This means that on the first turn they will be advancing between 13” and 17”. Since they move 12”, their effective range with the flamer is 20”, meaning that they will be able to hit nearly any target on turn two. In every game I’ve played them in, I’ve had them get into range by turn one or two.
Another point to note is that flamers are T4, STR4, 2 wound models. While not as durable as screamers (who have the built-in jink) they are still pretty durable. If you are getting some save shenanigans going on through cursed earth or breaking the warpstorm table, they can get extremely durable quickly.
Since each flamer has effectively a heavy flamer in this formation, you also have a nasty ‘wall of death’ in overwatch. I’ve had people multi-assault 3 squads of my flamers at once to be more than a little surprised when I rolled out 20 STR 5 hits on his bikes. Each squad will average six STR 5 , AP4 hits and throw a warpflame token on the assaulting unit if any wounds are not saved.
The biggest problem with going with all flamers is that you need somewhere for your herald to stay. A squad of 3 flamers (or screamers) can be killed easily, allowing for the herald to be plucked out. You will need to ensure you have a squad of horrors either from the incursion or from a CAD for him to hang out in.
I have used Exalted Flamers many times in my games, in a strategy I call “Get Off My Lawn!”. Exalted Flamers are very slow, lacking the jump infantry of their normal cousins. Their weapons are also ‘heavy’, resulting in a static unit unless you wish to snap fire.
When they can let loose, they hit with a devastating punch. A STR 6 AP3 Torrent flamer is brutal, and I’ve used it to roast more than one deep striking or scouting bike squad. They have an area of effect of 20” with this tool.
The other weapon they have is STR 10, 18” range, D3 shots with an AP 2. This weapon is dangerous to any target that gets near it, and because it doubles out T5 targets, it’s a threat to things like deep striking Centurions. If you are using it to snap shoot at flyers, you might as well move the Exalted Flamer anyway to get in range. Those STR 10, AP2 shots will cause any flyer in the game to be wary of flying into the threat range of those shots.
So what does a unit that has strong damage out, a low cost, and poor movement result in? It’s a unit that has a focus on board control. Put them around objectives or areas of the board where you want to prevent enemy units from going into. It will work.
Since they are all independent characters, you can also use them to tank wounds for horror squads. Let them get a few hits, then start throwing the extra wounds off into the horrors. I’ve used this a number of times to keep my horrors at full strength for the first round of shooting.
Others have grouped 6-9 of these together to form a ‘super unit’. Since each model has 3 wounds, you can move them around in your movement phase to spread the wounds around. I’ve been told that Nick Nanavati is using this strategy.
Heralds can be used to increase your damage output of horrors. This was described in detail earlier in the article. If you are taking horrors in your warpflame host, this is the primary purpose for them.
Heralds also should be your default casters of Flickering Fire. Since they get a bonus to their BS, if you’re going to cast Flickering Fire, you should cast it from the herald. When it comes to summoning, I would usually rather cast from the horror squads to avoid losing a herald from perils.
I’ll often give this herald Paradox to allow him to cast a level 3 power with 5 dice. That guaranteed cast is really good when you are trying to summon more models to enter the fray.
Psyker levels are really cheap when added via heralds. With only a 20 point “tax”, they let you add up psyker levels easily. While I think the farseer is still a better ‘deal’, the heralds are still quite solid.
Instead of a psyker, you could choose to bring The Changeling. Normally I would not bring him, but he can be hilarious when hitting a WK with STR 10 attacks. The changing does not inherit any of the special rules, like stomp or smash. Nor does he nherit any gear, like power fists or storm shields. As such usually the effects are a bit lackluster, but for 75 points it’s not horrible and when it works it’s quite entertaining.
What Do I Use With It?
When bringing Horrors, I’ll usually take 5 squads of 11 horrors each, and 4 exalted flamers. I’ve found this combination to be effective, as it allows me to spread out across the board and still have solid board control. The exalted flamers add a lot of threat around your horrors. I call this my Horror Warpflame Host.
I’ve also used the Horror Warpflame Host with 3 Tzeentch soul grinders in the forgehost formation to great effect. Using Fatey and Cursed Earth, I was able to keep my grinders having a 3++ save in half of the turns, making them extremely hard to shift.
I’ve used the Horror Warpflame Host with a Burning Skyhost to good effect. The screamers were harassing my opponent, while my horrors just kept summoning more daemons. Summoning can be extremely effective in games so long as it’s not your primary means of offense. Summoning should be a tool in your toolkit, not your only tool available.
Right now I’m using a warpflame host consisting of 27 flamers, combined with 27 screamers from the Burning Skyhost. I’ve found this to be very effective — though it does have some hard counters. I call this list “We all Scream for Eye Scream”.
Unlike many formations, you can go a lot of different ways with this formation, allowing for 2 hosts to look completely different. In any configuration, the warpflame host is a great bang for your buck. Likewise, buying from Frontline Gaming, where you can save up to 25% every day is a great bang for your buck.