At Goonhammer we’ve devoted a lot of words to talking about how to compete and take your game to the next level. In “Getting Started,” we look at how to get started with an army – the basics you need to know, how to start collecting models that will leave you with a serviceable army, and what the best deals are.
Do you want a mastery over magic? Do you have a thing for avians or lovecraftian horrors? Do you want to see a plan come together on a cosmic scale? Then come join the Changer of Ways, Tzeentch.
Who are the Disciples of Tzeentch?
Tzeentch a chaos god, one of four chaos gods in Age of Sigmar. As the god of sorcery and trickery, Tzeentch works (albeit in an off-and-on fashion) with its fellow gods Khorne, Nurgle and Slaanesh to try and overthrow the forces of Sigmar and Order. Each god has their own portfolio and often fight against one another as often as they work together. Tzeentch’s portfolio covers a broad range of change, plotting and ambition. He is the chaos god most associated with magic (as all magic involves change) and so his followers represent that by being a very magic heavy cult who will lie in wait for months, even years to spring their trap on unsuspecting opponents.
It’s basically two armies rolled into one, on one side you have the human followers of Tzeentch who have become mutated while worshipping him, and the daemons from the Realms of Chaos that can break through into the material world when summoned. You can mix and match these as you please.
- Best Casting in the game – Tzeentch armies compete for the title of best casters. Almost every Hero is a caster and they have 3 spell lists to choose from.
- Diversity of models – Tzeentch has survived his transition from the Old World and so you have a ton Hero models to try out, both new and old.
- Solid shooting – One of the better “shooty” armies. Shooting is less common in Age of Sigmar than 40k so this is a real advantage.
- Delicate – Your armor saves are on the whole pretty terrible so while your shooting is superb if the enemy closes the gap you’ll probably fold pretty fast
- Tough to fill Battalions – Tzeentch has some powerful battalions but the books very married to the Number 9 being Tzeentch’s sacred number so many battalions require 9 units to fill.
- Your friends might not like you – Tzeentch is considered top tier, so you might get a reputation as “That guy”.
What do I need to play?
- Core Rulebook – Naturally, you need it to know the rules. While you don’t “need” this book as the core rules are free, there are game modes and realms of battle. I reccomend picking up the Gaming Book which combines the core rules along with rules updates from the General’s Handbook.
- Disciples of Tzeentch Battletome – This has all your warscrolls and army rules in it. If you want to know more in-depth of the contents then check out my Start Competing here. But if you’re a brand new player, that might be jumping in the deep end so you can just trust me that you need this book. Make sure you get the current one, which has a Kairic Acolyte on the cover instead of a Lord of Change.
- Azyr App or Warscroll Builder – Not explicitly needed, you can do it on pen and paper but the Azyr App really streamlines list building on Android/iPhone, though it does cost $3 a month. The Warscroll Builder on GW’s community site is free and has much of the same features.
You can also optionally look at:
- Wrath of the Everchosen – Has 2 new subfactions for Tzeentch. You don’t need them so I wouldn’t pick it up immediately but if you find yourself not keen on any of the subfactions in the book, feel free to expand here.
- Malign Sorcery and Forbidden Power – Not a Tzeentch specific expansion but they include faction neutral endless spells. As Tzeentch is one of the most caster heavy armies, it can make the most use of them. Malign Sorcery has a ton of utility and is used as far up as the competitive level. Forbidden power isn’t as popular but still has some potentially useful spells within.
Starting Your Army
When starting a Tzeentch army you pretty much have to ask yourself if you want to go mortals or daemons. There is nothing, at any point, explicitly forbidding you from mixing and matching them to your heart’s content. However, the units are designed to synergize with one another and the book’s subfactions and battalions encourage you to try and keep daemons and mortals seperated. So which to pick? Well that’s up to you. In general daemons are more of a glass cannon, and you can field fewer bodies than mortal lists but they’re still quite fragile than the “elite” armies of other armies but have access to better offensive options. Mortals get numbers but are no slouches in dishing out damage either.
Daemons are probably the easier one to get into. The generally cost more points, which means you don’t need to buy as many units because your list will fill up faster. They also have Start Collecting: Daemons of Tzeentch which gives you a good deal on most of the daemon units. This is such a good deal my advice is buy at least 2, even 3 won’t go to waste. That’s actually all you need to really start and get a feel for the army. You probably need to buy Blue Horrors sepetately in order to make full use of the Pink Horrors splitting mechanic but otherwise 2 Start Collecting boxes give you the essentials you need to get going.
The Start Collecting box contains 10 pink horrors, 3 screamers and 3 flamers which is enough to make minimum squads of each. The remainder gives you some versatility as you have a Herald of Tzeentch, an Exalted Flamer and a Chariot of Tzeentch. You can put the Herald on the Burning Chariot to give it a mount or put the Exalted Flamer on (Which makes it a Burning Chariot unit), leave the other one on foot. If you got 2 boxes, make one of each so you have some versatility. That’s all you have to do and you’ll have more than enough for 1k point games.
Mortals of Tzeentch are a bit harder to begin from scratch. A couple of years ago for Christmas, Games Workshop released Battleforce: Disciples of Tzeentch Changecult which gave you an incredible deal of 20 Kairic Acolytes, 20 Tzaangors, 6 Tzaangor Enlightened/Skyfire (in whichever combination you wanted) and a Tzaangor Shaman. If you can track down this box, I highly reccomend it despite the price it’s got all the essentials to get yourself going with a mortals list and you will use every part of it..
Realistically finding it is a bit more difficult. A more viable option is the Aether War box, if you can find a friend to split with it, it shares the box with Kharadron Overlords so if you can find a friend to split the cost it will give you some solid units to get started. In the box you’ll find 6 Tzaangor Skyfire/Enlightened (I recommend building them all as enlightened with spears), 3 screamers of Tzeentch and a Magister of Tzeentch on a disc. This box is a little more unfocused and doesn’t give you what you need to play a matched play game. So if you buy this I would still buy yourself some Tzaangors and/or Kairic acolytes to fulfill your battleline combination. A Tzaangor Shaman or Fatemaster would round out the list with another Hero to be the Magister’s friend in crime.
Expanding your Army
For daemons you have to make a few unpleasant purchases, namely Blue Horrors. If you have a Daemon focused list you probably have Pink Horrors as your battleline, it’s just how it works. Flamers can be your battleline with the Eternal Conflagration sub-faction but it’s not going to be enough to carry you in the long term. Blue Horrors come 10 in a box, and you need 20 to completely fill out a unit of split pink horrors. Am I suggesting you buy and paint 2 boxes of blue horrors per 10 pink horrors? Absolutely not, you’ll drive yourself to bankruptcy and insanity, but you do need enough to support your army so I’d try and get 2 boxes as soon as you can. At the very least, Blue Horrors come with enough brimstone horrors to split, and brimstone horrors are a great point filler when you’re out of options to fill those last few points.
A Lord of Change is also borderline essential, which can be scary given how much he costs in real world money. It’s utilized in most Daemon Battalions and is a powerful spellcaster in its own right, one of your best in the whole book. You can also build him as Kairos Fateweaver, a named version, but don’t do that. He’s not as good. A Fatemaster is one of the only mortals truly worth your time, he’s not a caster but his command ability allows all Tzeentch units to reroll hit rolls within 9″, so snatch him up as well.
Otherwise? Your 2-3 start collecting purchases cover what you need. You might want to buy more flamers seperately to help fill out the roster but the Start Collecting box fills almost all the daemons for you immediately, which is why Daemons are easier to start with.
Keep expanding your battleline. You need more Tzaangors on your front line, and Kairic Acolytes in your backline as ranged attacks. As for new things to buy, mortals have more valid Hero options to pick from that can give you some more tools to play around. In addition to the Tzaangor Shaman and Magister you have here are some more Heroes to pick up to your taste:
- Fatemaster – Friend to both Daemons and Mortals, the Fatemaster’s command ability is incredibly valuable. Reroll all hits in a 9″ aura? Don’t lave home without him.
- Gaunt Summoner – Can summon in a pack of 10 daemons for free. If you have a mortal list but wanna throw some daemons out, pink horrors make an excellent Tarpit which keep your opponent stuck, and away from your weaker ranged units.
- The Curseling – I’m a fan of this guy, decent in combat and can steal spells from your opponent.
- Ogroid Thaumaturge – Not as popular as he once was but he’s a heavy hitter who will mutilate many other heroes in close combat, and is hard to take down as he can constantly heal himself.
So I want to try and keep the scope of this small. If you want to know what’s the uber-competitive 2k point lists, you can look online or over at my Start Competing article. This is for our first few games so I’m going to give you an idea of 1k lists you can build using some of the purchase recommendations I placed above.
A Lord of Change is a bit too expensive to be throwing up there in a 1k list so let’s stick to the contents of 2 start collecting boxes. A nice little varied list to get started:
- Fateskimmer (General) (140)
- Command Trait: Aether-tether
- Artefact: Wellspring of Arcane Might
- Spell: Fold Reality
- Changecaster (110)
- Spell: Bolt of Tzeentch
- 10 Pink Horrors (200)
- 10 Pink Horrors (200)
- Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch (100)
- Flamers of Tzeentch (120)
- Flamers of Tzeentch (120)
Total points: 990/100
This gives you a nice rounded list of things using stuff you already got. Your pink horrors are your tarpit (And if you got the blue horrors already they’ll last a really long time) while the flamers allow you to reign fire upon your enemeny. The Fateskimmer and Changecaster give you some spells to play around with as well, you can get an idea of how Tzeentch begins to play because it can form the basis of a 2k list, mostly just by adding a Lord of Change and doubling up some of the stuff you have.
Mortals are harder to know where to begin because you may be starting from different places. I’m going to assume you have the contents of an Aether War box, if you have the Battleforce box mentioned above, even better, you can still make use of this.
- Tzaangor Shaman (General) (150)
- Command Trait: Boundless Mutation
- Spell: Bolt of Tzeentch
- Fatemaster (120)
- Ogroid Thaumaturge (160)
- Artefact: Wicked Shard (on Great Horns)
- Spell: Infusion Arcanum
- Tzaangors (180)
- Pair of Savage Blades
- Kairic Acolytes (100)
- Blade and Shield
- Kairic Acolytes (100)
- Blade and Shield
- Tzaangor Enlightened on Disc (180)
You either got the battleforce box or you went out and bought Acolytes and Tzaangors to cover your battleline, either way you’re all set here to use them. You basically are putting your Tzaangors (on foot and discs) and Ogroid Thaumaturge in the front while the acolytes hide in the back to lob magic fury. This is another list that can get you on the path to a solid mortal list. You got your battleline and tzaangors on discs so expanding from here involves getting more of them to pad out the list. You can experiment with different Heroes to find something that fits your taste, as they can drastically change the type of list you’re running.
Where to go from here?
Once you have a foundation of where you want your Tzeentch list to go, start experimenting. Whether you choose to focus on daemons or chaos your units likely won’t change as you only have a handful of choices for battlelines. They all serve specific roles and you need them to succeed with Tzeentch. Your “other” category you have more room to flex out on but the Tzaangor Enlightened for Mortals and Flamers for Daemons will remain very useful to you.
I do reccomend you check out the subfactions and battalions in the Disciples of Tzeentch Battletome as they can give you some idea of how to focus your lists. Also, experiment with Heroes who look interesting. There are a lot of Heroes and they can change up your list in some major ways and allow you to try new and varied spells and command abilities.
Also, depending on whether you started with Daemons or Mortals, try mixing it up by adding a bit of the other, or swapping lists entirely. It allows a different playstyle which keeps the army interesting. After all, Tzeentch approves of those who don’t settle and are constantly aspiring for new ways to change up their life, shouldn’t you follow suit?
That’s all for today. If there’s some questions you think I haven’t sufficiently answered for a beginner, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Social Media. Have a wonderful day!