Monday, July 8, 2013

Daemon Codex - Heavy Support - Chariots

Although it has taken several months to work through the Daemons codex, this post marks the last look at the non-named options from the codex.  Coincidentally, all of these options are also chariots of one type or another - which makes them a bit of a showcase for 6th editions new chariot rules.

A quick comment on the chariot rules - in general they are not favorable to chariots.  Hull Points attrition, WS 1 and being unable to stay locked in combat makes it very difficult to use them effectively.   Also, they are generally open topped which makes them inherently vulnerable to being taken out by penetrating hits.

Seeker Chariot Cavalcade

At 5 points more than a rhino the Seeker Chariot is a bargain - but requires some finesse to use effectively.  Each Seeker chariot has 2 hull points and 11/11/10 armor.  With the Flesh Shredder special rule it inflicts 1d6 impact hits per hull point remaining at S4 with the Rending rule.  The riders themselves also put out 4 rending attacks and can be upgraded with a Lesser Gift for an Etherblade to make those attacks AP2.  Given the Chariots are fast vehicles, they can move quickly across the battlefield through Turbo Boosts - augmented by their Daemon of Slaanesh rule (which gives them a 5++ save and Fear) a Seeker Chariot can move up to 27" a turn.

For roughly twice the cost the Cavalcade can also include an Exalted Seeker Chariot - identical other than having 4 Hull Points and the associated damage output that comes with more hull points.  It is tempting to drop 3 Exalted Chariots into a single unit but I think the real way to run them is with 2 standard Seeker Chariots and a single Exalted Chariot.  The smaller chariots can act as bullet catchers for the Exalted Chariot and they need to be deal with Turn 1 or they will inflict significant damage.

As a metagame choice - many armies are simply unable to deal with 6-9 chariots up close on Turn 2 (clocking in at only 300-450 points).  When accompanied by other fast assault elements, the game can be decided one way or another by the end of Turn 2.

Burning Chariot of Tzeentch

The Burning Chariot is an interesting addition to the Daemon codex that simply does not work due to the poor configuration of its rules.  At face value a Burning Chariot is a fast skimmer with the Warpflame rule and the profile 10/10/10 - 3 Hull Points.  Some resiliency is provided by being a Daemon of Tzeentch to gain a 5++ reroll 1's for saves - but armor 10 tends to get glanced out quickly.  Even worse, the shooting attacks from the Chariot originate from an Exalted Flamer - which can either shoot a heavy d3 S9 AP 2 weapon or a heavy 1 S5 AP3 torrent weapon.  Both these items have the Warpflame special rule and as heavy weapons if the Chariot moves at all, must be fires as Snap Shots.  If the range on the heavy d3 weapon was significant, it might be worth taking but at 18" it is not going to be in range in most cases without moving - something that makes the weapon Snap Shots.  That is better than the torrent weapon which cannot be fired at all if the chariot moves.

The weapon profiles make the chariot useless as a shooting option - and the upgrade to a Blue Horror Crew for -1 ld is not worth the cost.  In assault the Exalted Flamer does not provide a significant threat - and it is likely the target will either survive or even worse glance out the chariot.  Until an FAQ updates the shooting profile of the chariot - maybe allowing it to deep strike in and shoot its weapons - the chariot will remain unplayable in anything but the most casual games.

Skullcannon of Khorne

The Skullcannon is the most durable of the chariots (12/12/10 - 3 HP) and is very reasonably priced for access to a S8 AP5 blast that ignores cover at BS 5.  It is also the only way to gain access to grenades in the codex - with a shot providing offensive grenades to the unit assaulting one hit by the Skull Cannon.  Against vehicles the Skullcannon is also surprisingly good - since it ignores cover and can occasionally hit multiples.  At tension with the shooting aspects of the skullcannon is its status as a chariots that strikes at S7 on its impact hits and the gorefeast rule - regains a hullpoint on a 2+ when it causes an unsaved wound.

In practice, the skullcannon really advances with the rest of the assault elements in a Daemon army - when it loses its gun it can assault or provide some line of sight/movement blocking.  Furthermore, most of the shorter range shooting that it needs to be cautious of will be locked down by other assault elements.  I think most Daemon lists could benefit from a single skullcannon - provided there is some additional armor around to provide additional saturation.  In some cases it might be worth reserving the chariot to come in Turn 2 or 3 when the assault elements in the Daemon army reach their destination.


  1. Are Skull Cannons a viable option for taking on Wave Serpents? I find I'm getting annihilated by the new Eldar and 7 S6 4.5 S7 twin-linked shots per Serpent take their toll while I struggle to catch them. The only real shooting I have at this point are Tzeentch Heralds, Horrors and a Soul Grinder.

    1. Although the Cannons let you ignore their cover save - the Serpent Shield is really brutal on all shooting. The way to handle serpents I think is to bring some fast units and assault them to death. Seekers, Flesh Hounds and Screamers are all units that can really handle Serpents and whatever is riding along as cargo. Naturally you need to weather the shooting, but to do so to full effect they need to exit the serpent and there are just not many places to hide from those fast threats.