This review was made using a free copy of Battletome: Disciples of Tzeentch given to us for free by Games Workshop.
The next wave of 3rd Edition Battletomes continues with Tzeentch, the Chaos God of Magic, Change and Manipulation. Tzeentch has had a bit of a rough go of it in the last year, while the tome initially launched to great success it has had a hard time really “Getting there” as other tomes surpassed it. The army requires a lot of technical knowledge to pull off and the results generally did not make up for the cognitive overhead required to play the army well. So overall, the book badly needed an update and its finally here so let’s dive in.
Why play Tzeentch?
Tzeentch is (arguably) the apex magic user in the Mortal Realms. While Teclis may give him a run for his money, Lumineth magic tends to be more defensive and controlled. Tzeentch lets the winds of magic run rampant and whatever chaotic things may happen, all the better.
On the table, Tzeentch has a strong ranged game. Between some solid missile weapons and powerful spells, it can be very difficult for certain armies to clear the gap. In combat, most units won’t last long, but if you play your cards right they won’t be able to get there in the first place. The army can be highly technical, with a lot of unique rules that allow you to outsmart your opponent at every attempt. Fittingly, Tzeentch is for people who love to architect a complex plan and watch it come together.
What’s in the Book?
- Lore for the Disciples of Tzeentch and their titular god.
- Rules for playing the faction in all three modes of play.
- Artefacts, Command Traits and Spells, unique for both Daemons and Mortals.
- Complete warscroll collection for the Disciples of Tzeentch.
- Full Path to Glory rules, allowing you to reshape the world in Arcane Anarchy.
The Five Best Things About This Book
- A Streamlined player experience – The previous Tzeentch Battletomes have not been very, let’s say accessible to first timers. Lots of complex stacking abilities was a lot for beginners to learn. This cuts a lot of the fat and leaves a much cleaner experience.
- Heralds feel Distinct- Rather than Mortal Wound generating bots on a budget, each warscroll has a unique spell to make them feel special.
- Lords of Change are more impressive – Befitting their iconic stature they no longer need to burn a CP to make other casters better, and can steal spells right from under the enemy’s noses.
- Tzaangors are great – The Tzaangor Skyfires and Enlightened catch up to their brethren and make a bird army more enticing.
- Arcane Armies is incredible – A brand new from the bottom up ability for the faction, you can plant one of your army specific endless spells on turn 1 and it’s going to be worth the cost.
Where is Path to Glory?
As always, Path to Glory will be in a separate article on Tuesday, as there’s too much to cover in Matched Play alone to fit it all in one.
The “Agendas of Anarchy” from the last book are gone. For those unfamiliar, Arcane Agendas was a mechanic where players would select an objective to accomplish that turn and if they did, the unit which accomplished it would get a certain buff for the rest of the game. Sort of a prototype battle tactic, the mechanic was kind of fiddly and just added more book keeping as you would need to remember which units got which buffs. The mechanic generally didn’t make enough of a difference to be worth the frustration.
A brand new ability for this book and it is a whopper. At the start of the first turn (even if its your opponent’s) you get to auto cast one of the Tzeentch Endless Spells that is in your list. You don’t make a roll, and your opponent can’t unbind it turn 1. It does have to be one of the Tzeentch ones (no throwing out a pocket Purple Sun) but with the new Burning Sigil of Tzeentch that might be just fine.
Masters of Destiny
Tzeentch’s iconic Age of Sigmar ability returns, effectively unchanged (other than rolling in some errata). At the start of the game you roll 9 dice and put them off to the side, then whenever you would roll a dice for an action (casting, unbinding, saves, etc.) you may pull a die from the pile instead of rolling. If an action requires 2 dice (i.e. Casting, Unbinding or Charging) you must pull 2 dice. These rolls count as unmodified, even though they can’t be rerolled or otherwise changed, which means they will proc abilities that require a specific dice roll.
There are ways to replenish dice in the pool, but you cap out at 9, so don’t be afraid to spend them if you know you’re going to be able to get some more soon. Also, you can only use these on a Disciples of Tzeentch unit, so don’t try and get cheeky by using them with Archaon like was the style for a time.
Locus of Change
A straight forward but vital ability. Subtract 1 from hit rolls targeting your Daemon units in melee if they are wholly within 12″ of a friendly Daemon Hero. Most lists will have at least a few Daemons and Tzeentch is notoriously “Herohammer” friendly, meaning you’ll have a few places around to gain this buff.
Summon Daemons of Tzeentch
Summoning returns, mostly unchanged. If you (or your opponent) casts a spell and it isn’t unbound, you get a summoning point. At the end of one of your moment phases you can cash out the points you have to summon a Daemon unit from a list, they must be within 9″ of a Hero but more than 9″ from the enemy.
These are vital to your success because Tzeentch units are generally quite fragile, if your opponent can connect with them they will probably be mulched. Some times this is unavoidable and some times its necessary to secure objectives, so have spares ready to go.
Important rules note: You can cast a spell a even if you have no valid targets, it won’t do anything but you’ll still get a summoning point for successfully doing it. So if you have an offensive spell and no target in range, cast it anyway (unless a miscast could kill you).
Legions of Chaos
A rule we’re seeing in all the Chaos mono-god books so you may know this by now. 2 in 4 of your units can be Slaves to Darkness units added in as coalition units and 1 in 4 can be Beasts of Chaos. They all gain the Tzeentch keyword unless they already have an alignment keyword, and Khorne and Nurgle can never join a Tzeentch army (naturally).
For beasts of chaos the Bray Shaman is a cheap caster, he can’t take any spells from your book but his warscroll spell is pretty good and that’s another summoning point. Slaves to Darkness do offer better shield walls than you have through chaos warriors, and warcry cultists have some neat tricks.
Transformed to Spawn
More of a rules clarification than an ability. Many abilities and spells in Disciples of Tzeentch can turn an enemy (or your own!) model into a chaos spawn. This rule simply states that when this happens you can plant the chaos spawn within 1″ of the model to be removed, and then pull that original model.
Two sets of traits, for Mortals (Arcanites) and Daemons. Both have access to the Arch-Sorcerer and Nexus of Fate traits. Arch-Sorcerer lets a General pick 2 extra spells from the approriate spell discipline, which is impressively versatile now that Enhancements can grant an extra spell already but we can do better. Nexus of Fate is a strong contender for both mortals and Daemons, as it lets you roll a die and you may use that to replace one of your fate dice. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, and might be worth having if your dice Mojo fails you and gives you a bunch of 2s and 3s.
There are 4 more options in addition to the shared 2 and of the two, Mortals definitely got the better end of the deal.
I think the best trait in the Battletome is Cult Demagogue, if you roll doubles, you automatically succeed, it cannot be unbound and you get 2 fate points instead of 1. Obviously on its face, a one in six chance to automatically succeed and not be unbound is already big. The summoning points is a nice bonus to help speed up summoning, but it also prevents miscasts as it says regardless of the result it succeeds. Absolutely invaluable, slap this on your Magister you’re bringing anyway.
There is another solid contender for “best trait”, Arcane Sacrifice. For a single mortal wound on another friendly unit within 3″, you can add 9″ to the range of the spell the General casts. Since Tzeentch lives or dies by being able to lay down spells from a distance and keep the enemy away, this is an excellent way to deal some damage or drop some debuffs before the opponent can get close enough to become an issue.
The final two are less flashy, but solid and practical. Soul Burn gives unmodified 6s to hit do an extra mortal, which isn’t so great because most of your heroes you don’t want in combat, but if you bring the Ogroid Thaumaturge or Curseling it can help them alot and if you have some 6s in reserve on your fate dice, those would still proc this (As they count as unmodified). Finally Illusionist gives -1 to hit against your General which is nice since your mortals don’t get Locus of Change and are generally quite fragile.
Other than the shared 2, Daemons have 2 more to pick from and neither are…all that great. Daemonspark is a bit better once per game 3 summoning points, which can come in clutch to get that last few points to summon an important screen for an incoming charge or for Guild of Summoners to get over that hill for another Lord of Change. Incorporeal Form is a 5+ to shrug off spells, which might be useful if it had an aura, but only affecting the general limits the usefulness of this.
Artefacts have been tightened down to just 6 for mortals and 6 for arcanites (Rather than 9 for each). Many of them have recognizable names, and a lot of more dull ones were axed, though I pour one out for the Paradoxical Shield, my personal favorite artefact in the game, which is now gone.
The selection of Arcanite gear is pretty iffy because many are melee focused which, again, you really don’t want your guys in melee most of the time. So these will largely appeal to the Curseling, Ogroid Thaumaturge or possibly the Fatemaster in a pinch.
On offense you get the Changeblade which causes an enemy Hero to turn into a spawn when killed by it. Meh, Spawns are nice but more in a distracting way, you likely won’t have much opportunity to use this if you’re already closing the gap with enemy heroes in melee. Secret-Eater lets you add another die to the destiny dice pool if you roll a 6 to hit, this isn’t bad but likely would be a last priority for trying to farm fate dice. Finally the Timeslip Pendant is one I’m actually rather fond on, it let’s the bearer fight twice in one round of combat once per game, but the second activation gives them strikes-last. The key point of activation is you can turn it on after fighting, so if you wipe out a unit, it won’t be wasted.
On defense you have the Spiteful Shield which now kicks back 2 mortal wounds if the enemy gets a 6 to hit. A nice little warning shot, though if you’re getting hit most of your mortal heroes aren’t going to last long.
Finally utility options, two once per game abilities which I quite like. Daemonheart and Ambition’s End let you pick a target within 1″ of the bearer, and immediately deal a number of mortal wounds equal to the battle round, the difference is Daemonheart works on anyone and Ambitions End only works on Wizards but it makes them unable to unbind spells until the end of your next Hero phase. Since Tzeentch really wants his spells to go off Ambition’s End can make or break you, while Daemonheart gives more versatility. The problem in both cases is the delivery mechanism.
Daemons fare a bit better in the melee weapon relic department because Lords of Change can actually be pretty solid in combat, especially if they have a sword. Warpfire Blade causes 6s to deal 2 mortals in addition to normal damage, 1 extra mortal is good but 2 is an excellent deal. Blade of Fate is worded strangely but once per battle when you roll a 6 to hit you can add a 6 to your fate dice pool, and you’ll want all the 6s you can nab. Pyrofyre Stave may be the most useful of the weapons however, any Wizard hit with it cannot unbind for the rest of the battle, even if they’re negated.
While the weapons are fine, your utility artefacts are all far more interesting. Beacon of Mutability might be the most popular in the book, as it adds +1 to wound rolls to all units melee attacks within 9″. Wound bonuses are rare enough that you scoop those up when you can. A close competitor is the Nine-Eyed Tome, which lets you reroll all spell checks. The last one, The Eternal Shroud lets you add a Destiny Dice back to your pool on a 5+ whenever you use one.
While Mortals may have gotten the better Command Traits, Daemons win out a bit on artefacts. They’re a solid mix of offense and utility that multiple options may see play.
As the previous tome worked, both spell lores have the Bolt of Tzeentch spell, which is a solid work horsespell on a Casting Value of 7 dealing D6 Mortal Wounds to a unit within 18″. Only one unit per turn can cast it, even if one is a Mortal and one is a Daemon. Still worth taking, as while the damage is swingy, doing up to 6 mortals at range is nothing to sneeze at.
Otherwise, Arcanites get 5 other spells, Daemons get 4.
Arcane Suggestion returns largely intact, but with one notable change that is going to make it very popular. On a CV8 You can still cause -1 to hit or to save but the third option, instead of dealing D3 mortal wounds, now causes them to be unable to issue or receive commands. This turns that option from the least popular to the most popular choice. Tzeentch is rife with mortal wound spells, the ability to shut off command abilities is unique and usually restricted (i.e. it only stops them during one phase). Making it last the whole turn is insanely good and you will likely do that to them as much as possible.
The Shield of Fate returns and I didn’t like it before and honestly still don’t. Still a CV6 spell, instead of rerolling saves a unit now gets a Ward, which is better as you have more Destiny Dice. The reason I don’t like it is it incentivizes not using your core mechanic, and while a Ward is definitely better, it still punishes you for wanting to use your dice.
Glimpse the Future is a CV6 lets you add a destiny die to your pool, it’s fine but you can do better as a first option. Similarly, Infusion Arcanum returns unchanged, this CV5 spell lets you add +1 to hit and to wound rolls for the caster. Unfortunately the biggest beneficiary of it, the Ogroid Thaumaturge, basically lost the ability to make much use of it.
The final spell Treacherous Bond also hasn’t changed, a CV5 spell gets you a 3+ Bodyguard for any mortal unit and with how delicate your stuff is, you will want to bring this along.
Sadly Arcane Transformation didn’t make the cut, not sure why since most of the spells come from the original tome intact.
Treason of Tzeentch returns but a tougher CV at 7 instead of 5. It also includes a note that a unit has to have at least 2 models, no having a hero betray himself. Otherwise it is the same, roll a die for each model in a unit and on each 6+ deal a mortal wound and inflict -1 to hit if any damage was taken. Very powerful spell, was an auto include, still an auto include even with the higher CV.
Unchecked Mutation is yet another Mortal Wound spell but its a solid one, with a CV6 you do D3 Mortal wounds and if you kill anything, deal another D3 on a 3+. Just a solid horde clearer.
Fold Reality is a utility spell that lets you return D6 Models to a Daemon unit on a CV7. Mostly useful for Pink Horrors, as most Daemon Units are not going to be in very large sizes, but it is useful for that. The only drawback is rolling a 1 wipes the unit but that unit was probably toast by the time youre trying this anyway.
Finally Tzeentch’s Firestorm is CV7 and a just fine mortal wound spell, having you roll 9 dice and roll D3 Mortals for each 6. On average it’ll deal 3 Mortals but has significant room for variation in that.
The covens all return, largely recognizable. Like ever other 3rd edition tome so far, the benefit is that you are no longer saddled with a specific Command Trait and Artefact, and are just receiving a bonus. The downside is that factions that used to have a command ability were lost, which might hurt the appeal a faction previously had.
Eternal Conflagration returns exactly as it was. Missile weapons from Heralds, Flamers, Exalted Flamers and Horrors gain -1 additional rend. A solid utilitarian choice if you bring enough Daemons, and not locked behind a artefact.
The Host Duplicitious was a popular take for its ability to make opponent’s unable to retreat when locked into combat with Daemons. It still does that but is now limited to units with 9 or more which is a rather notable step down. They still bring in a new unit of horrors once per game, but its only 5 now, which means they don’t even benefit from this ability. Still, more horror are more horrors.
Host Arcanum are odd, able to shut down one spell automatically on the odd numbered battle rounds. This can be more significant than you’d think, especially on the first round when setting up buffs is vital, the problem is it doesn’t do anything else for you. Losing the artefact to summon 6 screamers is a huge blow to the faction and will likely see a steep decline in popularity as a result.
The Cult of the Transient Form is identical to before, when a Kairic Acolyte dies in the combat phase they can fight on death on a 2-5 or become a Tzaangor on a 6, adding a model to a nearby unit. The problem is both Kairic Acolytes and Tzaangors aren’t great and building an entire subfaction around both is a very weird choice that just won’t pay our very well
Next is the Pyrofane Cult which adds 1 to hit roll with Kairic Acolytes, with a chance to deal D3 mortals on a 5+. It’s a fine ability but the fact that it’s focus is so narrow makes it a very hard recommend over something like Eternal Conflagration which at least hits a few different units.
Finally Cult of Summoners was gaining a lot of popularity for people who could bring multiple Lords of Change and it actually has gotten better. Lords of Change summoned start at only 9 summoning points, and then 18 on the second. Now it caps off at 18, rather than continuing to increase! This is huge for being able to get multiple Greater Daemons out. 18 may sound like a lot but with cult Demagogue and with Lords of Change’s 3 spells per turn allows the amount of summoning points to quickly spiral out if you can get it going in the first place.
The Grand Strategies are named the “Agendas of Anarchy” a cute nod to the defunct mechanic. You got 4 and like a lot of endless spells lately they become a lot more appealing now that the core ones aren’t as straight forward. They’re all certainly doable but risky if you don’t plan for them, which is pretty fitting for Tzeentch to be fair.
First Dominate Arcane Nexus requires you have a Wizard, Horror or Kairic Acolyte wholly within a battlefield quarter. This is decently achievable, since “has the Wizard Keyword” is going to be a huge chunk of your army, and wholly within each quarter is flexible enough to be accessible on games you’re about to win anyway, though if you’re beat down to only a few models left you may be in trouble.
Master of Destiny requires you end the fight with 9 or more Destiny Dice. Although the rules say you can’t have more than 9, they likely wanted to plan for any edge cases. This is a decent one if you pack enough ways to replenish the dice pool. You really don’t want to go the whole game not using the mechanic as it is your bread and butter, so hedge this one based on how many ways you have to refill it.
Preponderance of Fate requires you to end the battle with 27 fate points. Garbage, you don’t want to be stocking up these, use the damn things. Finally there’s Realm of Magic which requires you end with 2 endless spells under your control. Doable but risky, as your opponent will go through hell and high water to stop you from putting a second on the field, or try and pull one off the field at the bottom of Round 5.
There are 5 Battle Tactics, called Gifts of Worship (Another nod to Agendas of Anarchy) and its a decent suite. Most of them are a nod to the old Agendas of Anarchy mechanic as they share names and very similar (if not identical) requirements.
First Call for Change needs you to summon a Lord of Change that turn. Almost always a slam dunk choice if you know its coming up. If you’re playing Guild of Summoners this is even easier and you probably know when its coming up.
Next Mass Conjuration requires you to cast 3 spells on the same wizard that turn. At risk of failure but with Kairos (The only one liable to be able to pull this off) your chances of casting are so very high this has some strong opportunity, especially if the enemy can’t unbind for whatever reason.
Ninefold Dismantlement requires you pick a unit with 9 models or more or a Hero or Monster with 9 or more wounds and destroy it. Excellent tactic, you probably know if you’re going to be able to pull this off early, its pretty much in the same ilk as stuff like Gaining Momentum, save it for when you know its doable.
Reckless Abandon has you pick a Mortal unit 18″ from all enemy units and end a charge move within combat. This ones hairy and might not be possible on many maps. If it is, do it on turn 1 and move up but after that the gap between enemies and your army gets very tight. The Magister on a Disc and the Fatemaster are a solid contender due to their high movement.
Finally, Tides of Anarchy has you take control of an objective your opponent controlled with a unit of 9 or more models. You will probably do this just over the course of the game so it’s another slam dunk, just make sure you can clear enough off while keeping 9 in your unit.
One Core Battalion, Omniscient Oracles, Kairos and 3 Lords of Change grants a bonus command point once per game. This is absolutely a meme and not going to see serious play. You can make an argument for Kairos and 1 Lord of Change but not 3, especially when Guild of Summoners can summon more in without eating into your points.
A note about point values is that nothing changed, technically. I had a suspicion that the Tzeentch Tome was likely expected to come out before GHB 2022, and shipping delays prevented this. Arcane Cataclysm did publish some new points for those units, but these have been rolled back to their GHB values.
Buckle up because Tzeentch has a lot of Leaders. It’s the backbone of your army and it’s not going to be uncommon to run 5 or 6 in every list, many are just plain useful and some are more spells to cast to keep accumulating summoning points. We’ll divide them into Daemons and Arcanites just due to the sheer number of Leaders.
First let’s look at the headline units, the iconic Lord of Change and its named variant Kairos Fateweaver. In the past the Lord of Change and Fateweaver were more like sidegrades, Kairos was very good but did very different things. The differences here have been streamlined a lot and now Kairos is more of an upgrade. Let’s look at what both do first, then why you’d bother to take one over the other. The biggest glow up for both is Beacon of Sorcery which grants +1 to spell rolls within 18″ is now just a passive aura, you no longer need to burn a Command Point for it. Hallelujah! Both got Spell-Thief now, but it works a bit different. Spell-Eater from the old warscroll was sort of combined with it to create a hybrid power. Rather now than stealing spells when cast (A mechanic that was a bit iffy and only increased bookkeeping for the player), when a Lord of Change dispels an Endless Spell they now take ownership of it which is an absolutely massive improvement on the ability and makes it insanely more practical. Both keep Mastery of Magic, which lets you turn the lowest dice on a spell roll to match the highest, making it much easier to pull off any spell casting. Kairos lost his Gift of Change spell and both now have Infernal Gateway, which means you’ll need to rely harder on a Magister to start dropping spawns. The probably most disappointing feature in the entire book for me is that Kairos’s Oracle of Eternity has been scrapped, instead you now can roll a die and add it to the fate pool each turn. This is heartbreaking as the ability to change one dice per game to what you wanted was an iconic ability that was fine once they ironed out the kinks with Archaon. A real shame. Otherwise theyre not that different. Kairos is probably going to be the default as for 35 more points you get an extra spell and Oracle of Eternity, and even in its lesser form that’s still good. The stock Lord of Change did get better weapons with an extra attack on its sword, and you could always bring both but with both warscrolls being streamlined I dont think there’s as much of an argument to do that as there once was.
Next the Heralds: Fluxmaster, Fateskimmer and Changecaster can be similarly grouped together. All three have the Arcane Tome ability which adds a +3 to casting once per game. Strictly speaking probably a better bonus than before, and certainly less random, especially when stacked with a nearby Lord of Change. Each one also had their warscroll spells changed to be more varied than “Does Mortal Wounds” which is a nice improvement (Even though they do do that). The Disc herald generates a Fate point for each mortal wound it does, an average of 1-2 per casting (on top of the 1 you got for casting it of course) and the on foot one causes -1 to save rolls, ouch! The on foot changecaster was frequently taken for economic reasons, being the cheapest but it’s going to be an actual force to be reckoned with now.
The Gaunt Summoner saw a big upgrade. Both are the same, other than the one on the disc being faster, getting an extra wound and another weapon. First, strangely, the warscroll says this guy knows all the spells from the Lore of Fate, which is the mortal spell lore, despite being a Daemon. This may or may not be intended but as written it means you can pick a spell off the Daemon spell list and get all the mortal ones a bonus. Neat. He also can put up to 2 units in reserve and bringing them in within 9″ of himself, which really sells bringing the disc version just to be a delivery system for your more delicate units you want to get closer. Finally his most fun trick is the Lord of the Silver Tower which lets him attempt to instagib a hero he hits with a spell by rolling 2D6 and beating the wound characteristic. This is even better than similar abilities because the warscroll specifically states that they do not count as slain and cannot be brought back, which is a solid middle finger to any “revive on death” abilities. A solid ability and definitely more interesting and practical the previous daemon summoning. Overall I think the Gaunt Summoner is going to see a huge increase in play as he’s just a really good utility character now.
Finally the Changeling and Blue Scribes, our last Daemon heroes. The Changeling has not changed (ironically), which does make me miss the fun old one which stole a weapon’s profile and hid amongst the enemy. He’s still a solid 2 spell caster who can drop in on your opponent’s side to mess around with their units. Blue Scribes lost their warscroll spell, probably the reason you took them in the first place but it’s not all bad. Frantic Scribbling, rather than copying a spell, now gives you a Fate point on a 3 up. They also know all the spells from both disciplines and can still cast them on a 2+, which actually makes them an insanely versatile caster. Losing the reroll casting spell hurts but being possibly the most versatile caster in the book is a decent improvement.
I want to draw attention to the Curseling because its warscroll is very bizzare. It got a major rewrite in Arcane Cataclysm but here it’s…closer to its original form. It’s warscroll spell Glean Magic lets it steal a spell, but now on a 2+. If it unbinds a spell, it can attempt to cast Glean Magic for free, which is another way of explaining how that ability used to work. This is strange since the book otherwise seems hellbent on pulling out any “Steal a spell from the enemy” abilities. It’s very odd, how the warscroll is closer to the original and yet worded differently enough to be a noticeable rewrite. I’m not clear why this is at all and feels like either the writers published the wrong draft or decided the Arcane Cataclysm version wasn’t what they wanted to go forward with.
The Magister, again on Disc or on foot doesn’t matter since the actual warscroll abilities are identical has remained the same and I don’t think anyone would want any different. The ability to kill a model and replace it with a spawn is vital for Tzeentch’s strategy of keeping the enemy further away and busy, if you can get a unit to remain tied up even for a round by placing them in combat with a spawn, that’s another turn they aren’t getting up the field to you. Since Kairos can’t do this anymore, the Magister has to pick up the slack even more.
Next, Fatemaster had a small targeted change that will likely turn him from never seeing play to a staple in lists. Previously he granted +1 to hit within 9″ of him, but since All Out Attack makes such a bonus almost pointless, it’s been changed to +1 to wound, a much better bonus.
The Ogroid Thaumaturge lost his mortal wounds on charge which is a real shame and combined with losing rerolls to hit and to wound when he takes damage (replaced, naturally, with +1s to both) he’s a lot harder to recommend now. Replacing the bonus with +1 means he cant benefit from Infusion Arcanum anymore, and he was always the best receiver of it. About the only nice thing I can say is he did get a better save.
Last up is the Tzaangor Shaman who may be out of a job. His previous role was mostly to hand out buffs to Tzaangor Enlightened and Skyfires, and now their buffs are given to them freely. His Sorcerous Elixir now gives a once per game +3 to casting instead of a bonus spell, which is fine but certainly not as exciting. He unfortunately just doesn’t have a lot going on without being a mobile buff bot anymore.
OK so technically yes Vortemis the All-Seeing and The Eyes of the Nine is still here but as always with Underworlds Warbands he just costs too much with his warband. About the one positive thing I can say is they all have 2 wounds base now (with the leader having 3) so theyre twice as tough as before but even that can’t save this disjointed mess.
In the Kairic Acolytes we run into the same issue as the Curseling. We discussed some major changes to the unit in our review of Arcane Cataclysm and one odd change was that the unit was no longer a Wizard, and its scroll gave it a built in Rend -1 on ranged weapons, rather than needing to cast a spell. Strangely, the unit has been reverted back to its original form, except for one minor change: Dual weapons add an extra attack instead of rerolling 1s, which is in line with 3rd edition trying to whittle down on rerolls. I’m not clear at all why this is, it could be a misprint or it could be that they had decided that changing the unit didn’t work out (having one fewer caster in the army was definitely an issue for summoning). So if you saw the changed warscroll and were mad about it well, rejoice.
Next, Pink Horrors. It’s become a bit of a meme that the warscroll changes every time you turn around but this time…not so much! They seem satisfied with how they finally worked it out and for the most part I agree. With the changes to Host Duplicitious these guys become more of a necessity of that subfaction than ever before. For the uninitiated, Pink Horrors are the apex tarpit of Age of Sigmar, they have a mediocre ranged attack and mediocre in combat but when Pink Horrors die they turn into 2 blues, which when killed turn into brimstones. You can choose (at list building) that they deal a mortal wound on death instead of splitting, but this is generally a concession for people who don’t have enough blue horrors, splitting is almost always better. Each gets progressively fewer ranged attacks but more melee attacks, but you mostly want them there because they can lock down a point really well, and for each pink killed only doubles the models on the objective. The downside is these guys are expensive at 250 for 10 which is an eighth of your list, so they probably will not be your only battleline.
Finally, Tzaangors which…alright there’s a lot going on here. So in Arcane Cataclysm they renamed them to Tzaangor Host which was quite honestly a good design decision to avoid confusion with the other tzaangor units in the book. They got some flack for not including Brayherd for Beasts of Chaos players but a recent errata fixes this. Well if you want to get technical, this book’s warscroll will supercede it yet again and it is called Tzaangors (but has the Tzaangor Host keyword, leading me to believe this is a misprint) and does not have a Brayherd keyword. What a mess! This is on top of the fact that one of the abilities changed, giving +1 to attacks for beaks on the charge rather than +1 to wound which frankly would have been better to keep.
The Chaos Spawn is actually a decent improvement and may actually prove to be a thorn in their opponent’s side. Their Writhing Tentacles now do a Mortal Wound on a 6 instead of needing to rely on those same 1 in 6 chance to get +1 to hit and to wound, and more important they heal to full if a wizard casts a spell successfully within 9″ of them, and that’s both sides so your opponent may just prolong their own suffering.
Screamers unfortunately took a bit of a hit here. They don’t gain D3 damage on the charge and I’m not sure why they took it out, honestly. The extra rend and +1 to hit from before will likely make the damage a bit more consistent, and they did keep the mortal wound on a 4+ when flying over enemy units.
Next, Flamers both of the mundane and Exalted variety. On both units, Capricious Warpflame drops the bar for gaining +1 to hit on attacks to 5 models in an enemy unit unit rather than 10, which makes them a bit more appetizing than before. Their melee weapons actually got boosted to 4+ to hit so at 3+/3+ we’re getting into some decent melee combatants now, definitely far more than before. The Exalted one also got an additional rend on their melee attack, sweetening the pot. Which is good because they lost 2 attacks on their ranged weapon and the ability to deal damage back when taking wounds.
Our last Daemon is the Burning Chariot of Tzeentch has always been a bit of a lame duck in the book and I’m sad to report it hasn’t really improved. They’re always been a bit of a chimera between Exalted Flamers and Screamers and unfortunately every hit those units took this did too. This means fewer ranged attacks, no D3 damage on the charge for the Lamprey Bites and no kicking back damage when wounded. What did it get? Well it did get the extra rend that Exalted Flamers and Screamers did in melee, but im not sure thats enough. At 6 wounds it remains just too fragile to throw into combat, even if Games workshop seems intent on making Tzeentch Daemons more combat focused.
We’ll look at Tzaangor Enlightened as a pair since other than the benefits the mount gives (+1 wound, another weapon and 16″ movement) the two units are exactly the same. We reviewed them in Arcane Cataclysm and they’ve remained the same and I think that’s a good thing, it leaves them in a good place with the +1 to wound for going at the bottom of the round and more importantly shut off command abilities in the command phase for anything they’re engaged with.
While we got to see the Tzaangor Enlightened in Arcane Cataclysm we didn’t get to see Skyfires and it may be one of the best units in the book. Skyfires were already good, their Rend 1 Dd3 arrows, which did mortals on a 6 to hit, were an excellent tool for sniping out particular threats. They not only kept all that, but now they ignore all negative modifiers to shooting and their target must ignore all positive modifiers to saves. That means All out Defence, Mystic Shield et all won’t do a thing against them. Plus, you still get all the positives to hit and negatives to saves that benefit you! They’ll reliably take out a lot of low to moderate wound targets and at least one unit of 6 is probably going to become a staple.
We got 3 and oh man, do we open with a banger. Burning Sigil of Tzeentch used to have a lot of random, confusing effects but has been streamlined to do one thing. For CV5 you drop this down within 18″ and then every unit within 9″ takes D3 mortals on a 4+. This would be fine on its own but if you kill a model in a unit, it’s replaced with a spawn! This is going to be pretty much an auto take, because with Arcane Armies you can drop this down right on your enemy’s doorstep in many deployment maps and potentially cause multiple spawns to appear and mess them up before the game even starts. Just incredible.
It’s a shame to have to go down from there but Daemonic Simulacrum returns identical to before. For CV7 you roll 9 dice and for each 5+ deal a Mortal, 4+ to wizards. A potentially useful spell against wizards but you already have so many mortal wound spells, don’t waste actual points on this.
Finally the Tome of Eyes deals some mortal wounds on a CV5 but really you want it because it lets the caster reroll casting rolls. Since Blue scribes lost their own spell that did that, this might be worth revisiting now if you have the 40 points.
I have mixed feelings on this book. When I initially flipped through it I was very dismayed at the reduction in the number of “fun” abilities like the ability to steal spells and change an opponent’s die roll. As I got into the weeds of it a bit more I feel a bit more sold on it, many units were changed in more subtle ways, like getting an extra attack or rend here and there or the herald’s spells being given more ways to distinguish them. I’m not sure if this book is good or not, I don’t think it’ll come close to the top tier but I think it’s getting somewhere. The streamlined process will come a long way in allowing players to maximize its strengths where as before numerous hoops would need to be jumped through.
What I really want to know is what is up with some of the freak warscrolls from Arcane Cataclysm, which read like a draft that got in by mistake. I think people will need some clarity, because as written written now we need to accept what is in the book as it is the most published Warscroll.