Saturday, December 24, 2016

Warpflame Math and You

With the new chaos books arriving I have decided to start a Tzeentch army; because three chaos armies aren't enough.  Unfortunately, my first two games went terribly.  My first game, I didn't have any board control and got bottled into a corner.  The second game, I summoned as many squads of pink horrors as I could and had great board control.  Unfortunately this left me with almost no warp charges to cast witchfires and I only ended up killing one unit the whole game.

To try and strike a balance, I decided to try and optimize my warp charges.  I have discussed this topic previously, but this time things are less general and more specific to my army.

Question One:
How should warp charges be distributed for Flickering Fire of Tzeentch?  Should I invest in divination powers?  When should I upgrade to warp charge 2 vs warp charge 1.

Short answer:
Don't spend the charges on prescience, dedicate those to flickering fire.  If you are spending four or more warp charges on flickering fire, then upgrade it to level 2.

Longer answer:
In a purely theoretical situation, given an infinite squads of horrors and infinite warp charge dice it would be best to allocate one warp charge per squad.  Since I have neither the finances, nor the board space to accommodate an infinite number of models, I am limited by real numbers.  Each additional warp charge provides diminishing returns, but boosting the chance to cast is easier than increasing the chance to hit.

Spread your warp charges as evenly as possible between all casters.  Don't worry about trying to cast prescience.  It costs more warp charges and limits your chances to cast flickering fire.

Question Two:
How many turns should I summon more horrors before focusing on using my warp charges for flickering fire?

Short answer:
Probably no more than two.

Longer answer:
My setup here had a lot of assumptions that were specific to my particular army.  I assumed I had two unit that could summon and one unit of horrors to start.  I also assumed that summoning and flickering fire were the only two powers that I cared about.

With this in mind I ran two different scenarios:

For the first scenario, I assumed that each squad of horrors on the board uses one die on flickering fire and the remaining dice are used for summoning.   I checked the potential damage output for the different combinations of summoning and compared it to the average damage output if I had just spend all my warp charges on flickering fire.

Secondly, I assumed that each summoner would use 5 dice (ideal for warp charge 3 abilities), and the rest of the dice would be evenly distributed amongst anyone that could cast warpfire.  This different setup had a higher damage potential than the first, but resulted in the same answer to my original question.

With both of these setups (specific to my particular army), diminishing results kicked in after turn two.

Basically, if you summon squads on turn 3 or later they aren't going to have enough turns of shooting to make up for the loss of damage output that it cost to summon them.  However, this is all moot if you are summoning to do anything other than shoot.  Grabbing objectives or tying up units can't be factored into the calculations.

I still have a lot to learn about this army.  At this point I am 0 and 2 for my record, and I am not sure how much I need to change about my list.  More than that, I need to practice playing my psychic phase (something I haven't had to do extensively).


  1. I have been wondering what you have been up to. Can you post what list you used and lost your games with? Is this pure Tzeentch Daemons? What codex did you fight?

    I have a 1500 point thousand son list using a renegade knight that I like, but I wish I could make thousand sons work at 1k points. That is my preferred game length (I can only get up to 3 hours of babysit time). I also wish TS was better at kill team. I have been ranting about Rubricae for years, and now that we finally get their update it slaps me in the face that it is for 2000+ point games.

  2. Life just got very busy for the last several months.

    My first game I ran a CAD with one Exalted Sorc, two squads of Tzaangors, Scarab terminators, and Obliterators. I allied in a squad of blue horrors, screamers, and daemon prince. I fought against three knights, and wasn't able to do much damage to them, but I was seriously impressed by how much damage I could sustain with a 3++

    My second game I ran a warcoven with a daemon prince with a tzaangor warherd. The allied demons had a herald, blue horrors, and screamers. This time I fought dark eldar. I summoned more horrors each turn, and had amazing board control, but didn't have enough warp charges to do any real damage.

    I am expecting 1k sons to be a challenging army. Vehicles are clearly a challenge, but so are high toughness models. I am thinking of trying out forgfiends, but i'm not sure what I should drop.

    1. Hmmm sounds like what I was THINKING of buying. Knights are rough for chaos to fight though, that's why I immediately invested in renegade knights. I think they would be much better than forgefiends. Just put that prescience and invis on one and call it a game. So hard to figure out how to have points for a knight, Magnus, Belakor, and Fateweaver though.

    2. BTW against DE screamer MSU with that herald formation summoning in burning chariots is pretty darn good.

  3. There are some decent powers in the Change tree which are good for cracking vehicles/tough armor but there's not much. Tzeentch CSM detachments are really going to struggle to pop through tough targets unless you bring Magnus to the board or supplement them with Oblits or Renegade Knights.

    Tzeentch daemons fare a little bit better. There are some decent change powers, screamers of tzeentch have a pretty good attack with the S5 AP2 armourbane, and a LoC with S8 should never be underestimated. Especially if he gets the re-roll everything ability from Divination.

    1. After another couple of games, I am really not impressed by the formations. Your army ends up too limited in its tools. I think that I am going to push a CAD that contains Terminators, Obliterators, and Forgefiends.

    2. I think that's probably the way to go. Tzeentch CSM formations are just so expensive for how inflexible they are. Expensive is fine if you can cover your bases - but everything Tzeentch is basically the same: more durable than your average Space Marine and good against MEQs.

      But they leave you in a pretty terrible spot against hordes, vehicles, or GMCs. And if your opponent has good AP... good luck. I think a CAD could work as it allows you greater flexibility to bring in some anti-tank (Oblits or Forgefiends) as well as a few cheap squads of tzaangors to up your body count.

  4. Big Tzeentch release Andrew, will you be picking up any models?

  5. Blue and Brimstone horrors for sure. More than likely I will pick up the new Fateweaver model, but that won't be until this summer at the earliest.

    I will have a post in the next couple of days with my recent projects and what I have coming up next.