Tzeentch got dealt a difficult hand at the birth of AoS2. While they did gain various bonuses from the summoning mechanics, they suffered greatly with point hikes to units like Lords of Change, Pink Horrors, and Gaunt Summoners. Subsequent Beasts of Chaos warscroll changes to Tzaangor also made them significantly less scary as a block, and coupled with a small points increase for 30 made them a much harder choice.
The above changes to daemons, specifically horrors rendered the Changehost, a classic Warscroll Battalion, almost obsolete, and coupled with alterations to the Splitting mechanic, left Daemon players with a sour taste in their mouth. Coupled with changes to how the Fatesworn Warband must be taken, it left Tzeentch in a tricky situation.
I have come up with a list that I believe minimises the inconvenience Tzeentch has suffered at the hands of AoS2, and take advantage of all the new aspects that have been introduced to create a list that succeeds through substantial Mortal Wound use, and summoning to score objectives.
Spells, spells, spells. Tzeentch allegiance have access to some fantastic spells. It’s not so much that you’ll be using them in a cunning way, but more that they’re all different sources of mortal wounds – and that’s exactly what you need. Pewpew.
Destiny Dice is another ability that will be of great use here; arguably abuse. With the correct combination of the battalion in this list (the Arcanite Cabal), a chosen artefact, (Aspect of Tzeentch), and the Magister‘s ‘Magic-touched’ rule, we have the potential to throw out spells for eternity*.
*not literally, but your opponent might feel like it.
Artefacts, Command Traits & Abilities
Again, there’s little in the way of subtlety in terms of command traits and abilities.
The Lord of Change gets his 42″ unbind, which is comfortably the best unbinder in the game, when coupled with Destiny Dice, should be able to shut down very strong magic users when they need to be shut down. Equally, his command ability gives +1 to cast for all friendly Tzeentch Daemon wizards within 18″; the only guy that won’t benefit is the Magister. But we’ll get to him shortly…
The artefacts play an important role here. The Lord of Change has the Mark of the Conjurer. The most recent FAQ has changed this artefact to now give you an additional Fate point if you cast a spell on a double. Combining this with the Lord of Change‘s Mastery of Magic rule, he always casts on a double. Neat!
The second artefact will be Aspect of Tzeentch. This is just for the off-chance of recycling some Destiny Dice. But fingers cross, you should be doing a lot of this anyway…
Blue Scribes: Purely here for Boon of Tzeentch. Re-rolling any casting attempts for Tzeentch Wizards within 18″ massively increases the likelihood of casting spells, and that’s what this list is all about. Casting this spell gives you your first Fate point.
Lord of Change: Pretty much covered at this point. He has high damage spells, gets a lot of summoning points, and is excellent at unbinding. The first spell in a game this guy will cast will be Chronomantic Cogs, and he will manipulate it to slow down time, granting him an additional spell to cast. With these 2 spells, plus Cogs, plus Mark of the Conjurer, you can reliably get 6 more Fate points, taking your total to 7.
Tzaangor Shaman x2: These guys go hand-in-hand with the Magister because they are in the Arcanite Cabal warscroll battalion. In short, they can cast an additional spell in every hero phase if they are within 12″ of the other 2 models from the Battalion. If you want to get ahead, use your Sorcerous Elixir too, this allows each Shaman to cast 3 spells this turn; they get +1 to cast and re-rolls too, for an additional 6 Fate points, taking your total to 13.
Magister: This guy is gonna make people rage quit. You won’t get many sports scores if you get lucky with him, and he is almost entirely limited by the number of spells he has access to. Being part of the Arcanite Cabal, he also gets an additional spell, but he will also be the Master of the Cult. Whenever he uses a Destiny Dice, you may roll a dice. On a 4+, he gets to roll another one.
So let’s add this up. He casts a spell using 2 (of the same dice) from your Destiny Dice pool (let’s say two 4’s) – he casts a spell on a double and therefore may immediately attempt to cast another spell. Then you roll 2 dice, for each 4+, that’s another Destiny Dice for your pool. Then roll 2 more dice for Aspect of Tzeentch; for each 6+ that’s another Destiny Dice for your pool. It’s possible you may get more dice back into your pool than you had before you cast a spell. Not likely, but hey… Tzeentch is fickle.
You can then keep repeating this until you run out of spells or destiny dice. So you could cast Summon Balewind Vortex, Arcane Bolt, Mystic Shield, Boon of Tzeentch, Glimpse the Future, and (let’s say) a single realm spell fairly comfortably. Unfortunately Mark of the Conjurer is Daemon only – otherwise this would be outstanding here. But either way, that’s still an additional 6 Fate points right here, taking the total to 19. Nice.
Obviously I’ve been counting up the Fate Points in this section – not even the potential number of Mortal Wounds you could be throwing out. Rest assured, it’s a lot.
There aren’t really many more units. Pink Horrors are wizards, which is great. Between them, they’ll get +1 to cast innately, then +1 to cast from the Lord of Change. With a re-roll. So they’re reliable casters, giving you 2 more Fate points, taking the total to 21.
Tzaangor are here for a teensy bit of counter punch. They’re not great in units of 10, but they have 2 things going for them:
- The banner. Select an enemy unit within 18″ and roll a dice for every wizard within 9″ of the unit; on a 4+ it’s a mortal wound. If you’ve turtled the army nicely, that’s 7 wizards. Not a huge number of mortal wounds, but when stacked on everything else, it shouldn’t be scoffed at!
- The Tzaangor Shamans can add models to the unit. D3 mortal wounds from the spell can result in up to 3 more Tzaangor being put into the unit.
Arcanite Cabal: I’ve covered its use in the above paragraphs. It’s importance is to increase the number of spells being cast, and to start recycling Destiny Dice to use them for spells. Furthermore, it lowers the number of drops to 6. Not a small number, but it’s not a bad bet for choice of turn.
Magic, Endless & Realm Spells
Endless Spells are a requirement in this list. They jack up the number of spells available to the Wizards, and increases the mortal wound output of the list while creating debuffs and board control for an army that doesn’t do it amazingly well.
Balewind Vortex: Main purpose is that it gives you an extra spell to cast. The extra save and casting range is great too.
Chronomantic Cogs: Again, extra spell. The re-roll saves on the Lord of Change is great too, just be careful your opponent can’t take control of them!
Gemenids: Mortal wounds! And combat debuffs. Can also be deployed far away, so there’s less chance of them hitting you back.
Ravenak’s Gnashing Jaws: Mortal wounds! Also fast.
Aethervoid Pendulum: Mortal wounds! Also can’t come back at you.
These 5 Endless Spells fill 2 requirements: Safe and reliable. They will always do something, and, as opposed to when they’re used by a combat army, will seldom hit you back in the face.
I won’t list the rest of the spells in the army. If you’d like to go through and calculate the total number of mortal wounds they could do, feel free. On average, you’re looking at around 30; though this is entirely dependent on what spells are available to the Magister to endlessly cast, and whether you wish to cast offensive or defensive/buff spells. With the right combinations and some excellent rolling, you could be looking at double that.
Lucky me, I’ve largely explained how things work at this point. We do need to talk about those 21 Fate points though.
Summoning for Tzeentch should probably be used mostly for objective scoring. It’d be a solid idea to try and summon either 2 units of 10 blue Horrors, or 1 unit of 10 Pinks. The former gives you more board control, while the latter offers another wizard, plus Blue/Brimstone points later on. If you really wanted to put some more spells out there, and you had a few extra Fate points from your opponent casting, summon in a couple of Heralds. This guys can potentially cast 2 spells themselves, and can also give you another conduit from which to summon. But if you’re feeling in a delayed-gratification mood, hold on for a turn and summon nothing. If you’re lucky, you could bring in a brand new Lord of Change in turn 2.
And let’s not forget one thing – you’re bringing in these units while pummelling your opponent with mortal wounds and endless spells.
Scenarios: Surprisingly, this army isn’t horrible at scenario play. Due to the fast characters on discs being wizards, they can score in some of the scenarios which require it, as can the Pink Horrors.
Furthermore, the army is great at character assassination; no Look Out Sir! against mortal wounds; this is a huge bonus in scenarios that score with Heroes; especially when there are 5 of your own in this list.
In scenarios that require numbers of models, it’s reasonable to start summoning in 20 Blue Horrors every turn; this over the course of 5 turns it will really mount up to a lot of models.
This army, however, will struggle in scenarios that require to ‘Burn’ objectives. The innate feel of the army requires using Horrors and Tzaangor as road blocks; while this will work to an extent, if you’re not careful, armies that Alpha Strike or clear the board of most objectives may clear you off the board before you can do much about it. This army needs to be playing for the majority of them game for it to make sense.
Double turn: This army hates being double turned; You’ve probably lost when this happens unless you’re either very far ahead, or very lucky. If you can give your opponent turn 1, please do, but make sure he cannot reach your characters.
Shooting: This army also hates shooting. Original Clown Car (Barak-zilfin Kharadron Overlords, for the uninitiated) lists would take this army apart without much difficulty, so be wary.
As I mentioned at the start, Tzeentch has been struggling in the new edition. In the current meta of no/little shooting, this list could perform admirably. The theory is sound, and the bullshit is solid.