Updated per Flesheater Courts Battletome Feb 2019
The eternal question.
Horrors vs flayers.
I think this is one of the commonest questions when people are making their FEC lists.
So instead of doing individual rundowns of horrors and flayers, I decided it would be more informative to do a comparison of horrors vs flayers.
I’ll say up front. I’m a horrors guy. Hopefully by the end of this, you will be as well. I have played both extensively, and horrors always seem better. And this still seems to be the case post-battle tome, although I have to admit flayers definitely have a role now.
Move 12” and fly
So you can see that they are almost identical. They even have same size bases and are basically made from the same kit. The only difference in stats is that flayers can fly and move 12”, so that’s a point for them, but possibly the only point. And now with Spectral Host spell, you could make your horrors fly! Now, you can also give your flayers run and charge now since they fly already, so still a point for the flayers.
Please note, horrors are fast, for non-flying things. 7” is a respectable distance to move. Opponents are commonly caught off guard by how fast they move since they expect death things to move slowly (hey, we aren’t nurgle!) . Blisterskin makes both units scarily fast, with horrors moving 9″ and flayers moving 14″. Flayers with auto-run 6″ move 20″ and with spectral can still charge. You add cogs to that, or Crusading Army delusion and now those things have almost board-wide reach.
Flayer’s scream was previously pretty useless. Even low bravery chaff have buffs now (for example a large unit of skaven rats will get +2 bravery for every 10 models above 10….making them very brave!). Now flayers roll 2d6 PER MODEL and compare to bravery to do mortals. However, if you’re outside of 3″, then its -2, and 2d6 is very random. Someone mathed it to an average of 1 MW inside 3″, less outside, so still not very good. They also got mortal wound on their wound rolls now in melee IN ADDITION to damage, which is nice. If you mathed it out probably, with horrors doing 2-3 damage, even without red, having reroll hits, you are probvably doing more damage overall. Horrors will cream through chaff, and with a bit of luck or weight of attacks, kill most biggies as well.
Unfortunately, 3 flayers is no 170 points (horrors still 160). This makes both units expensive (especially compared to things like idoneth eels!), and spamming them is an army-restricting decision whereby you build your army around a large unit of either. As summoned knights, you get small units of 3 each, where probably neither is very efficient, but hey, its free! (mostly). Overall, unless you are gonna build your army around a 9-12 man unit of either, I would just use them as summoned backfield hitters and not buy them with points.
Units That Synergise With It
Synergies wise, both horrors and flayers have their respective courtiers that can add back models into their units, and the courtiers are almost exactly the same in terms of how they do that. And vargulf can add both horrors and flayers back in any combination and is generally better than a courtier.
I think the biggest synergy here is from ghoul kings of all kinds, they give horrors reroll hits, which is HUGE thing that flayers do NOT have. The new Zombie Dragon reroll wounds spell aura is sweet for both units, especially since 6s do extra damage for horrors, or a MW for flayers.
Units it Synergises With
feeding frenzy is a great new addition to the book. This is probably best used on large units of horrors or flayers, or save it for your big monsters. But a unit of 9-12 horrors or flayers would both do a lot of damage with feeding frenzy.
Blisterskin command ability to teleport a fly unit is a plus for flayers. A large unit of flayers could be teleported anywhere to cause mayhem. This is a plus for flayers.
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Ferocious Hunger from Archregent clearly makes either of these units scary, with d3 extra attacks. once again, rerolling hits on the horrors near a king puts them over the top over flayers. Reroll wounds from ZD is almost mandatory if you are spamming either of these guys.
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The horrors battallion is bad. The tax is high and the extra thing is not good. Deadwatch may seem good, but man its a lot of points and a ton of points in mandatory flayers. If you run ewither of these you have to run an army of it and go full hog.
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How to Use the Unit in Game
As noted above, unless you run an entire army of either of these, I think both are relegated to being summoned in and hitting your opponent from side and back. They lose a lot of efficiency, but are basically free (especially if your kings are next to the throne), so whatever they accomplish is good. If you suypplement them in the back with a vargulf or other courtier, they can survive a bit longer. The regent can summon 20 ghouls now, which really gives a unit of 3 of these guys a run for the money though, something to consider.
If you are running an army of these guys, then making sure they get into combat is so key, so cogs might be a good idea, along with probably blisterskin to give them more mobility. Spectral host will be good for either, but gives flayers an extra thing with running and charging. Otherwise would run grand court-less and use crusading army to give them +1 move and charge. If running flayers, would run it with artefact like grim gardland, decreasing bravery, and maybe the endless spell gravetide to decrease bravery as well, if you’re gonna run the gimmick, go full hog.
Pros & Cons
Both models come from the same box. Both are easy to build. Painting can be as easy as spray prime, wash, and dry brush, but there’s lots of nice little details to pick out like bones and claws and gravestones.
please note, if you want a courtier, you make it from the same box, so if you want 6 flayers and a infernal courtier you wiull need actually 3 boxes of flayers (or convert a courtier from some other model). That’s a bit painful tbh.