Disciples of Tzeentch are the OG Casting army for Age of Sigmar and have managed to more or less hold that title since then. Although Lumineth and Seraphon can give them a run for their money, they’re still one of the best Wizard heavy armies in the game. Best kept at range from their opponent, they are rather delicate but pack tons of tricks to mess with your opponent’s head to help you win games. If you like lots of magic and misdirection then Tzeentch is the army for you.
Tzeentch has been a top army pretty much since it’s formation with a 1st edition Battletome. Since then it’s oscilated among the top slots but never really left. It’s a very high performing army and almost every major tournament will have a Tzeentch army (or a few!) in the top 8. They’re not always very accessible however, so if you have the patience to learn how the army works, then we can help you learn the foundations of a good Tzeentch player.
Two major changes came with the launch of 3rd edition: Coalitions and Pink Horrors. Coalitions were a new game-wide rule that most affected Cities of Sigmar and the 4 “mono-god” Chaos armies. They work as “soft allies”, as they’re not as restricted as normal Allies and can receive enhancements but don’t count toward your required Battleline. Previously, any unit with the Tzeentch keyword (whether it came with it or you gave it to them through a Mark of Chaos) was considered part of the army. This was rather confusing to newcomers as it meant a whole slew of units that were not in the book were valid for play. For the most part this isn’t a negative, as coalitions mostly work the same in every way aside from some unit limitations (2 in 4 from Slaves to Darkness, 1 in 4 from Beasts of Chaos) and Beasts of Chaos can now gain the Tzeentch keyword, which actually makes certain picks more viable.
The other major change, source of a lot of salt is that Pink Horrors changed yet again. Since their inception Games Workshop has struggled to handle how exactly the unit’s splitting should “work”. In short, you now must remove Pink Horrors first if possible, and if that’s not possible, remove blue Horrors. They no longer restore Pinks on a Battleshock of 1 either, but dead Pinks and Blues do not count as slain, so you don’t have to worry about Battleshock (but you also can’t bring them back with Rally). For the most part Horrors are still nasty buggers who cause a ton of ablative wounds. We’ll go more into that below.
At the core rules level, like everyone else the generic command abilities and Heroic Actions are a saving grace, as are generating more CP in general both through normal generation each turn and Heroic Leadership. You probably won’t use Finest Hour much offensively but it can save your bacon if a Wizard gets backed into a corner. For Command Abilities, Tzeentch has a lot of shooting with relatively poor To Hit, and All Out Attack is good to have on a unit of Pink Horrors hurling fireballs at a weakened unit. Most of your units have pretty mediocre saves so All Out Defense means you might actually get a save, even if it’s a 6+. The real star of the show is Redeploy. Tzeentch rarely wants to get into combat unless it is on their terms. If an opponent gets close, pull out of there. You’ll be thankful for it.
Tzeentch is a serious “Herohammer” army, meaning it can bring a ton of Heroes and support itself fine with minimal infantry. It’s not uncommon for top Tourney lists to put in the bare minimum of battleline and fill up with nothing but Heroes. This can be a liability, but Tzeentch gains summoning points for every successful spell cast, we’ll go more into that in the “How to Play” section.
One of the early decisions you’ll want to include is whether or not to include Archaon the Everchosen. He’s almost half your list at 830 points, and he’s a coalition from Slaves to Darkness but he synergizes with Tzeentch in a way that is practically unfair. On his own, Archaon is tough. At 20 wounds, a 3+ save and a 4+ ward against Mortals and a 4+ change to ignore spells entirely he’s a tough nut to crack. Even worse if you brought Emerald Lifeswarm or use Heroic Recovery to undue your opponent’s work. He’s extremely good in combat too, and all of this would be impressive on it’s own but his sword, the Slayer of Kings, insta-gibs an enemy Hero if you roll two 6s to wound. Tzeentch has numerous ways to manipulate the dice roll (Fate Dice, Kairos Fateweaver) to all but guarantee those 6s and immediately remove any high Wound Heroes your opponent might have. Don’t do this if you want to have friends, but at a major Tournament anything goes.
Whether or not you include him, there are several excellent Heroes you can bring to back up your army. Both Kairos Fateweaver and the generic Lord of Change are your staple centerpiece unit. Kairos is a bit of a sidegrade to the Lord of Change, so it is perfectly viable, if not encouraged, to bring both. Kairos knows wizard’s spells on the field (including their warscroll spells) so he can do the heavy lifting by casting high Casting Value spells for them. He also brings two major abilities to the table: Oracle of Eternity and his Warscroll spell Gift of Change. Oracle of Eternity lets you change one die roll per game with whatever you want. This only affects certain things, so check his warscroll but it’s most standard rolls (Hit, Wound, Save, Casting, etc.) It doesn’t even have to be your die! We already discussed how he synergizes with Archaon for an easy 6 to wound (meaning you only need to come up with one other) but it also can be used to fuss with your opponent at just the right time. If they’re trying to charge you from far away, make one of those dice a 1. If they’re casting a spell that might kill an important Hero, make one a 1 (you might even get a miscast if the others a 1!). It’s important to look at how you can utilize this to save you in a tight spot as it can win you games if used right. His Warscroll spell, gift of change does mortal wounds to a unit 18″ away (Number of wounds declines with damage but maxes out at a flat 6) and if it kills any models, a Chaos Spawn is placed in combat with them. This works best on units with weak melee profiles, particularly ranged attackers as it forces them to direct their shooting at it next round and not at your delicate Wizards but if that’s not an option you might at least take a few units down or keep them busy for a round if the Spawn rolls well.
The Generic Lord of change comes with a command ability to add +1 to casting, which is very handy and a warscroll spell that does an average of 6 mortal wounds per turn. Nasty stuff when you include all the other mortal wounds you’ll be doing. It can also steal spells that it unbinds on a 9+, which can be real nasty if your opponent brought a powerful damage spell. Both Kairos and the generic LoC can also eat Endless Spells and can change the lowest die on a casting roll to the higher one (e.g. a 1 and a 5 becomes a 5 and a 5) so they’re both amongst the most reliable casters in the game.
Speaking of reliable casting, The Blue Scribes are almost an auto-include in any list. He can steal spells even more reliably than the Lord of Change but you don’t care about that, you’ll always want his Warscroll spell the Boon of Tzeentch which gives reroll to all casting for Tzeentch wizards within 18″. They can auto cast a spell on a 2+ on a d6 with no chance to unbind as well so this is almost a given. A solid buff piece at a discount price.
After that you’ll probably still want a few more Heroes to shore up your number of castings, and which you bring will start to come down to taste and there are a lot of good options. The Magister of Tzeentch comes in Disc and on-foot form, though I’d recommend the disc form for increased maneuverability. It’s warscroll spell is very similar to Kairos’s, but only does D3 mortals. For all the same reasons, it’s worth taking to bog down units with pointless combats. The Gaunt Summoner has an excellent anti-horde spell and can summon a unit of daemons in once per game. More chaff to pad your front line is always welcome. The Changecaster is popular for being one of the relatively cheaper options, his warscroll spell is difficult to cast, with a casting value of 9 so have Kairos use it as it can hit like a truck. The mounted versions of him come with different spells, none of which are particularly worth going out of your way for the cost.
Some more niche picks that still hold value are the Fatemaster, one of your more martial options which adds rerolling hits for everyone within 18″. Its rare you want a unit to fight directly but they can do well supporting a Horror or Disciple volley of fire. The Ogroid Thaumaturge is a classic beatstick and a great candidate for Infusion Arcanum or Flaming Weapon to do some damage up close. Finally the Changeling is an interesting gimmick character, not as good as he was in the past but he can go into reserve and be placed in your opponent’s territory. Unlike similar abilities he is not limited by being placed more than 9″ (merely 3″) and can slap a -1 to hit and halved movement on an enemy unit within 9″. He can be a disruptive presence but will go down quickly if engaged so don’t get too brave. If you’re clever you can use him to summon friendly units much closer to your opponent than you might get otherwise.
Even after that you still have Coalition units! The Chaos Sorcerer Lord (mounted and unmounted) and Great Bray-Shaman bring new warscroll spells for your army, or for Kairos to borrow. Just note that the Great Bray Shaman lacks the mortal keyword so he can’t use Disciples of Tzeentch spells. He is, however, only 100 points so a great way to get one final Hero in when running short.
We spent a lot of time talking about Heroes, and it’s mostly because the rest of the army can be…lacking. A lot of your stuff is quite soft, and you don’t have very many hard hitters. They’re not bad mind you, just require some finess.
For battleline you’re mostly looking at Pink Horrors or Kairic Acolytes. Pink Horrors have a ranged attack but at a 5+ to hit its pretty abysmal. You’re mostly using them to screen stuff, as every time they are killed they split into 2 blues (and those blues split into brimstone). A 10 model unit of Pink Horrors will require 50 wounds before theyre dead, and 30 before they even need to take battleshock. They go down fast, with a 6+ save (5+ with the instrument but since you have to remove Pinks first those will go away quickly) so use them to keep stuff busy and away from your Wizards.
The reason you don’t just load up with 3 units of these guys is that they are expensive. At 215 for 10 you will use up almost a third of your list for these guys so most only run one or two. That’s where the Kairic Acolytes come in. These guys are almost purely a ranged unit, they will melt in combat. Give them shields so they can potentially weather mortal wounds a bit longer with a 6+ ward against mortals.
Tzaangors also exist as an option but are rarely worth the cost. They are much more expensive, are about as vulnerable in combat as Kairic Acolytes and don’t do that much damage. You’re bringing your battleline as a screen, rarely to kill.
It gets a bit dire from here but there are 2 things worth discussing: Screamers and Flamers. Alongside blue Horrors, Screamers are great summoning fodder. They have excellent move, do mortals when they fly over enemy units and are cheap at 100 points. In a host Arcanum army they become battleline – your cheapest option by far and that alone is why some choose to run that sub-faction.
Flamers (and their Exalted brethren) are a pretty nasty ranged unit and your best shot at doing damage outside the casting phase. Exalted Flamers especially can hit quite well and don’t cost too many points. Generally you’ll include these if you have the points kicking around and can screen them.
Given you have so many wizards it’s easy to run out of spells to cast from the battletome. For that reason, Tzeentch players tend to bring more endless spells than most. Top picks include Emerald Lifeswarm to keep your delicate guys alive against the stray damage that comes your way, but do note that you can’t bring back dead Pink or Blue Horrors as you can only bring back slain models. Chronomatic Cogs for yet more casting and Umbral Spellportal which is particularly useful for Kairos, as it expands his warscroll spells range to an effective 36″!
None of your own Endless Spells are particularly great but Tome of Eyes grants reroll to spell casting if the Blue Scribes arent close by, and a decent Mortal wound spell that saps bravery.
How to Play
Tzeentch is an overwhelming army to play for a beginner mostly because it requires you learn a lot about advanced movement tactics in Age of Sigmar and effective use in screens. I said up above that this was a Hero heavy army and that’s because the more Heroes you have the more chaff you can spawn. Each spell successfully cast by your or your opponent gets you a Fate point for summoning. So the more Wizards you have (and almost every Hero you have is a Wizard) the more units can summon in. 10 Fate Points are enough to bring in a unit of 10 Blue Horrors or 3 Screamers of Tzeentch and getting 10 points in a turn is very viable with a lot of casting.
As for what to do with those, you want to stall an opponent out as long as possible. Charge units in to be killed, line your battleline up in front of your Wizards so the enemy cannot charge into your characters. You have a ton of ways to control the battlefield between your Fate dice and spells so use them judiciously. Then absolutely pelt them with mortal wounds in the Hero phase. Your spellcasting is top notch, there are few armies that can unbind your stuff and even then they probably won’t be able to unbind it all.
At first throwing units to die may seem fruitless, but even just one combat phase where an enemy unit cant move forward is another turn wasted for them and there’s only 5 rounds. If you can get on an objective without engaging and you outnumber the opponent then don’t fight them! If you put a disposable unit in the path of an enemy unit that is hoofing it across the field then don’t charge. With proper placement they won’t be able to get around you and will need to waste a turn charging and fighting you.
Tzeentch has a diversity of Subfactions that are valid for matched play. Host Arcanum is popular for the battleline Screamers (plus a free unit of 6 Screamers, best deploy early to make a screen). Host Duplicitious makes it impossible to retreat, making horror spam an even bigger frustrating when holding an objective. Guild of Summoners even sees play with its cheaper Lords of Change and excellent command trait, artefact and command ability. The “mortal” subfactions aren’t generally seen as often due to pure mortal lists suffering pretty hard.
However you choose to approach it, it will take practice. Advanced movement and screening aren’t easily taught and best experienced. Play with experienced opponents, even if they beat you handedly you’ll see exactly what they did to make it impossible for you to reach your intended target and you can go forth armed with that knowledge.
We’re gonna look at two ways to go about it, with and without Archaon as Archaon’s shadow looms too heavily over the scene to ignore entirely.
Allegiance: Tzeentch - Change Coven: Hosts Arcanum - Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery - Triumphs: Leaders Kairos Fateweaver (435) - General - Lore of Change: Treason of Tzeentch - Lore of Change: Unchecked Mutation The Blue Scribes (135)* - Lore of Change: Fold Reality - Lore of Change: Tzeentch's Firestorm Archaon the Everchosen (830)* - Lore of Fate: Bolt of Tzeentch - Lore of Fate: Infusion Arcanum Chaos Sorcerer Lord (115)* - Artefact: The Fanged Circlet - Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch - Lore of Fate: Shield of Fate - Lore of Fate: Arcane Suggestion Battleline 10 x Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (215)* 3 x Screamers of Tzeentch (100) 3 x Screamers of Tzeentch (100) Endless Spells & Invocations Umbral Spellportal (70) Core Battalions *Warlord Additional Enhancements Spell Total: 2000 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 72 Drops: 7
With Archaon and Kairos it’s a tight squeeze to get everything in there. We want the Umbral Spellportal because it makes Kairos’s warscroll spell almost board wide, so it can shut down some annoying ranged attacks, and we want the Blue Scribes to make sure casting goes off without a hitch.
We’re allying in a Chaos Sorcerer Lord so there’s at least one unnamed Hero to take the artefact, as it summons 6 Screamers we can get out turn 1 to give us a screen turn 1. He’s the cheapest option that still gets to cast spells from the Lore of Mortals, as he does have the Mortal keyword. We then pad the battleline with the one Pink horror unit we can afford and some Screamers on the cheap.
At this point Archaon is basically your beat stick, and he will remove most threats from the field rather quickly. Have him cast Infusion Arcanum on himself and the Sorcerer Lord cast Shield of Fate and your opponent will have no choice but to try and slow him down with chaff and that will only last so long. If you get into combat with a big Hero like a Gargant or Greater Daemon, manipulate the dice to auto kill it and your opponent’s army will cripple pretty fast.
As stated before this is practically anti-fun if you get good with it so don’t do this to friends, please!
OK so you’re down with Tzeentch but don’t want to dump that much money and points on one model. Fair. Well what can we do?
Allegiance: Tzeentch - Change Coven: Hosts Duplicitous - Mortal Realm: Chamon - Grand Strategy: Prized Sorcery - Triumphs: Leaders Kairos Fateweaver (435)* - Lore of Change: Tzeentch's Firestorm - Lore of Change: Bolt of Tzeentch Lord of Change (420)** - General - Command Trait: Will of the Phantom Lord - Artefact: Brand of the Spirit Daemon - Lore of Change: Unchecked Mutation - Lore of Change: Fold Reality The Blue Scribes (135) - Lore of Change: Bolt of Tzeentch - Lore of Change: Treason of Tzeentch Changecaster, Herald of Tzeentch (135)** - Artefact: Aura of Mutability - Lore of Change: Treason of Tzeentch - Lore of Change: Arcane Transformation Magister on Disc of Tzeentch (150)** - Lore of Fate: Shield of Fate - Lore of Fate: Glimpse the Future Great-Bray Shaman (100)* - Universal Spell Lore: Ghost-mist - Universal Spell Lore: Levitate Battleline 10 x Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (215)* 10 x Pink Horrors of Tzeentch (215)** 10 x Kairic Acolytes (125) Endless Spells & Invocations Umbral Spellportal (70) Core Battalions *Warlord **Warlord Additional Enhancements Spell Artefact Total: 2000 / 2000 Reinforced Units: 0 / 4 Allies: 0 / 400 Wounds: 79 Drops: 9
The list I run. I brought a Great-Bray Shaman for the same reason the list above. It’s cheap and it gets crowded in here. Plus his warscroll is potentially very good. I was aiming for 6 heroes because of the dual warlord but he can be easily cut to make room for Pink Horrors.
Having 6 Wizards is useful without Archaon, however as you can fall back on more screens. Getting 10 summoning points in a turn is quite viable with this list, especially if a opponent doesn’t stop you from casting. That means more blue horrors and screamers each round. I took Host Duplicitious as the increased number of Pinks means there’s more saturation on objectives and your opponent has no choice but to slowly carve through the unit. Meanwhile your summons pop in and continue to wreck havok.
Despite their high performance at tournaments, Tzeentch can have a high learning curve as the units are very fragile. Mastering them requires a lot of experience with movement tactics and screening. Still, if you love magic and doing a lot of things that feel like they shouldn’t be allowed, Tzeentch is top tier. Become a master trickster and make your opponent’s pull their hair out.
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