Fantasy Fisticuffs #21: Over and Under (Disciples of Tzeentch)

Proving that even one of the strongest armies in competitive war-gaming, is a tale of winners and losers, we check out the best and worst of the Disciples of Tzeentch.

Competitive Sigmar gamers everywhere cringe at the mere mention of Disciples of Tzeentch. Currently standing as an army even more deeply disruptive to the meta than the absolute madness that is/was peak Slaanesh, this book is rife with winners and strong options, as I already discussed. That said, the old chestnut of problematic internal balance is deeply apparent within this Battletome’s pages.

As a side project, I recently built myself lists of the DoT, out of its least popular units. My intent was to work on a way to use the army at large, without falling back on its obvious best picks. The result was several games of realizing that this book’s “Have Nots” are just as bad, as their best items are excellent.

Over-Performer: Horrors of Tzeentch

To the surprise of few, this unit is every bit the insanity that its reputation implies (which I suppose is very fluffy, upon thinking about it). Single-handedly being THE tool which completely changed competitive AoS, this unit is one (or rather two) kits you should expect to buy in abundance.

There is a contingent of player that argues that summoning models is broken-by-degrees in the Age of Sigmar game balance. That is a wider debate for another time, but I think we can broadly agree that ending up with more stuff than you started with and paid points for, is a major asset. In AoS 1st Edition, summoning wasn’t “free” and essentially stayed a niche technique. With 2nd Edition this all changed. In short, because of “splitting” mechanics, every Pink Horror, in practice has five wounds, and during the course of its life, a unit of them will have roughly double the physical presence on the table, versus where they start. All stats and details aside, the impact Horrors have on a game is already apparent.

Even disregarding the truly broken combos, teleportation, and the like, this is a unit with surprisingly strong shooting when taken in admittedly costly 20-strong units. Firing off 60-shots on 4+/4+ thanks to a self-buff is deceptively good on a unit whose actual purpose is completely clogging up the table, and annoying your opponent. That self-buff has added value when you realize that thanks to splitting, this units offense takes disproportionately long to really drop off. Considering further the easy access to buffs that make them even better, and you really paint the picture of a unit that can simple do far too much, even for its seemingly higher cost.

Flamers have gotten attention for being an above average, and largely foolproof “strong” army, but these guys are the real meat and potatoes.

Under-Performer: Kairic Acolytes

I really wanted to like this unit, and I want to preface this by saying that Tzeentch is a tough army to find the “worst” of. As with much of Chaos, the wealth of units that can be taken through some battalion or other is downright massive. Whether the humble Marauder, an assortment of Tzeentch-flavored Brayherd, or beyond… there are numerous quirky, lateral-thinking builds I can imagine existing. Sadly, in none of these do the Acolytes carry their weight.

Options exist in the form of support spells from Mortal Wizards, that can make Kairic units better performers, but in all cases, Tzeentch-marked mortals from elsewhere simply do what they do better, or more cheaply. Not prominently benefiting from the Daemon-half of this incredibly strong book would have been issue enough, but in a competitive world where top players will use every tool you give them, access to other Chaos mortals just makes these redundant and underpowered.

I did have some fun with them, and my current love-affair with a Sorceror Lord on Manticore, meant they occasionally contribute when buffed, but the entire time I felt very much aware that I was taking a poorer option.

As with many of these articles… I condemn these super-cool-looking models to casual/friendly games, where we don’t need to be quite as cutthroat. I just wish that had occurred to me before I painted sixty of these. 😉

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Mark Gottlieb

Writer, Game Designer, and owner of Fortunate Sun Studios, I have always tried to lead a life in some way built around paying back to gaming, and the gaming community. This hobby, and everyone in it, saved my life on more than a few occasions, and now I get to put my heart into helping it thrive for everyone!

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