Misc. Small Units and Characters
This article is devoted to all kinds of smaller creatures that are more or less unique in the game, that is to say that they do not have enough other creatures of a similar type to warrant an article of their own. Thus like the article on big units and characters, this article will have an oddball mix of things from different army lists. For the sake of completeness, I even made a list of what I believe to be all cavalry mounts available to the various characters in the game.
- Chaos Steed
- Cold One
- Daemonic Steed
- Disc of Tzeentch
- Elven Steed
- Juggernaut of Khorne
- Mechanical Steed
- Palanquin of Nurgle
- Skeletal Steed
- Steed of Slaanesh
It is rather uncommon for an infantry unit to pop out from nowhere and be the only one of its kind, making this section rather short.
With the Warriors of Chaos army book, early rumours suggested we would get Flayerkin in it. We didn't. Instead we got something like small Ogres with Frenzy. Like Ogres you get reasonably fast unit throwing out a bunch of Attacks at a reasonable Strength. Unlike Ogres, Forsaken absolutely cannot take a charge. Hit them with anything reasonably hard-hitting and they will just plow through the Forsaken. This is made simpler with the Frenzy, which makes the unit vulnerable to being baited and then counter-charged. For that matter, you don't need to charge them, shooting and magic them kills them very, very quickly as well.
The good thing about Forsaken is that a unit of 6 hits very hard for a unit that only costs a little more than 100 pts. You don't get an Ogre unit with that number of Attacks for that kind of price. However, you can get a unit of 5 Marauder Horsemen of Khorne with flails who are noticeably quicker (this admittedly has its downsides too), but who die even faster than Forsaken do.
To me, it boils down to this: Forsaken are a little throwaway unit you take because you want to convert up something unusual and not because they are especially useful.
There aren't many characters in the game that are cavalry models to begin with - in fact I believe the only two are the Bull Centaur ones from the Chaos Dwarf list. Considering that you will be wanting cavalry mounts for most characters these days anyway, it is okay to start off with better Movement, but then you pay quite a bit for it and you don't get the bonus armour save which you'd get on a cavalry mount.
It is a bit laughable that they felt it necessary to make these a 0-1 choice when it isn't normally tempting to get one a 2k and certainly not to get two at 3k. It isn't as if they are overly useful or overpowered by any means. Don't get me wrong, statwise they are quite okay in every area except Weapon Skill (why is it only 6?), but he costs 50 points more than a Chaos Dwarf Lord, who has less Strength but more Weapon Skill and Leadership. He does of course also have higher Movement, but a Chaos Dwarf Lord can get a Great Taurus, which is a very useful combo.
The Lord also suffers from the fact that the only reasonable place to put him is in a unit of Bull Centaurs, who are okay, but quite easy to kill. There isn't a lot of point in placing him with a unit of infantry, since he gets little out of his bonus Movement which you appear to be paying quite a lot for.
By taking a Bull Centaur Hero you are not losing out on a guy on a big flying nasty because none of the other Heroes can ride one. The problem witht his guy is that one of the best setups is a Lord on a flying monster and a Chaos Dwarf Hero to be the army general with his Leadership of 10. If you are adding in a Bull Centaur Hero you are then left with just one spare Hero choice for Sorcerers, which doesn't get you much in the way of offensive magic and not much in the way of defensive magic either. Thus the Bull Centaur Hero, while better than the Lord, might also find himself overlooked in favour of characters who bring more to the army list than he does. However, if you are going with a Chaos Dwarf Lord on foot - which I can't really see any great reason to do - then you can fit this guy in more easily, presumably to lead a unit of Bull Centaurs. He is still rather pricy, though, at 40 points more than a regular Chaos Dwarf Hero. If you ask me, he should have been half the cost of a Bull Centaur Lord (i.e. 85 pts), just like the Chaos Dwarf Hero is half the cost of the Chaos Dwarf Lord.
Battle Standard: You can make a Bull Centaur Hero the Battle Standard Bearer, which I suggest you do if you take him, because if you have taken him, there probably isn't any other available character who you'd want to give the Battle Standard to. As this is an older army list, the BSB can't get a shield or any weapon options, thus a good combo for him is the Armour of Gazrakh and the Sword of Might (admittedly, this is one of the few good combos for him anyway). I see no point in giving him a magic standard, because you can get exactly two different ones and it is far more useful to give them to units instead.
These are units of cavalry who don't have riders. They differ from cavalry models with riders in that they do not get a +1 bonus to their armour save. What they do have is Unit Strength 2 per model, which has both its good sides and its bad sides. On the positive side, it lets them be able to claim or contest table quarters longer, destroy enemy units that flee through them longer and negate enemy ranks with a flank or rear charge for longer. On the negative side, it keeps them able to cause Panic in friendly units for longer as well.
In the good(?) old days of 3rd edition, the Chaos Dwarfs had Boar Centaurs, but these were changed to Bull Centaurs in 4th edition with the introduction of Hashut and the whole bull-thing he has going on. Being technically cavalry is a bit of an annoyance for Bull Centaurs, since their weapon choices become less effective. Should the unit be upgraded, I would hope that they get treated like Centigors do, letting them use weapon and armour combos as if they were infantry. Of course, that would probably also mean that one of their Attacks don't benefit from weapon abilities, giving them one Strength 6 and one Strength 4 Attack with great weapons, instead of two Strength 5 Attacks which they get now. As it is, they aren't a terribly bad unit, basically paying 4 pts more than Chaos Marauder Horsemen with almost the same equipment but great weapons instead of flails, +1 Toughness and +2 Leadership. They lose out on the horse attack the Horsemen get, but that is a minor issue. Of course, Marauder Horsemen are a Core support unit in the Warriors of Chaos list and not a Rare cavalry unit, illustrating that perhaps the Bull Centaurs aren't quite as spectacular as you'd expect from a Rare unit. Maybe the designers thought centauroid units were special enough to begin with. And the other Rare unit in the list (the Earthshaker Cannon) is somewhat more special than most opponents appreciate.
For the cost, it would technically be feasible to take Bull Centaurs in units large enough to get a rank bonus, but as with pretty much all cavalry you get very little out of this. On the other hand, they are quite fragile for a cavalry unit, given that they only get 4+ armour saves, so you are probably going to want slightly more guys than you would take with proper heavy cavalry - say 7 or 8 where you'd otherwise take 5 or 6.
Additional hand weapons: With the changes to the rules, these technically do nothing as cavalry models can't use additional hand weapons. This is made less sad by the fact that it wasn't a good option to begin with.
Heavy armour: Leaving this as an option makes no kind of sense, given that you will always pick it. For the insignificant cost it is too good not to take.
Command options: As with any units from the dawn of 6th edition, Bull Centaurs suffer from having overpriced command options. On the (slightly) bright side, when or if they do get an updated list, it isn't likely that the champion or standard bearer options will be noticeably cheaper than now anyway, but you could hope for a cheaper musician at least. In fact, Bull Centaurs are one of the few units I would not give a musician since the cost is so high compared to the price for another model. I would, however, get a standard, both because it is quite useful on most combat units but also because you can get a magic standard (presumably the War Banner, since you have little else to choose from). A champion is, like the musician, not very tempting because the cost is only slightly lower than the cost of another Bull Centaur, which adds more to the unit.
One good rule of thumb is that anything with a Movement higher than their points is useful for something. At 30 pts for a minimum-sized unit, they are great as an annoyance support unit. They can give you an advantage in deployment, screen other units, bait, redirect, march block and (if you are very lucky) claim a table quarter. If they do get shot at, zapped or attacked in close combat, however, they die like the dogs they are. Don't let the fact that they are WS4 fool you into thinking that they could possibly fight as they can't. With stats much like a Marauder with no equipment at all, they can neither take punishment or deal it out. Their Leadership is horribly bad, but if they are kept within range of the army general and with The Will of Chaos, they are quite likely to stick around if the going gets a bit tough. Let them outside 12" of the general, on the other hand, and you will regret not being able to make them immune to Panic. Warhounds are also noteworthy for being the only unit in the army you can't make immune to Fear, which can be frustrating at times.
As with just about all annoyance units in the game, recommended unit size is the mimimum unit size (i.e. 5). Adding further models just makes the unit more expensive while doing nothing noticeable to improve the unit's performance.
Poisoned attacks: Once, on the Warseer forums, someone asked what people thought was the most useless upgrade in the game. I suggested this one and nobody could come up with anything better. Increasing the cost of a non-combat unit by 50% to give it an upgrade that only works in combat is idiotic. I can't for the life of me understand why this upgrade was added to the army list - as far as I know, nobody wanted such an upgrade and it adds nothing to the unit at all.
Scaly skin: Marginally less idiotic than poison, but still a stupid waste of points. Even in a world with no armour save modifiers, it would not be worth it, and certainly not in this world where most attacks have at least a -1 save modifer. Avoid!
Seen by some (but not by me) as reason good enough to take a Hunter. Sabretusks are reasonable enough, but suffer from horrible Leadership and lacks any rule similar to the Entourage rule of Gnoblar Trappers, which would let them use the Leadership of the Hunter while not in a unit with him. Because of this, they really must be kept within 12" of the army general unless they are fighting something very weak, like a war machine crew. This also makes baiting and fleeing with Sabretusks rather risky. It is suggested (again not by me) that Sabretusks are good at splatting enemy characters, presumably by people who have not realised that their opponents will be moving their own units and might not be kind enough to place a fragile wizard right where it would suit the Ogre player the most. Unless your opponent is very foolish, chances of juicy kills will be few. As hinted at, war machines and similar weedy and slow units make much better targets since they are not capable of moving away very quickly and tend to die an unpleasant death if charged by two sabretusked tigers.
I personally always take a pair of 'tusks when I take a Hunter (I would have liked to see them included in the base cost of the big guy), but to me they are an extra little add-on, and not the main reason I take him for.
Ever since the start of 6th editon, cavalry mounts have gotten a lot better than they used to be, since they can no longer be targeted individually in a unit of models of a different size. This means that while it was previously more or less suicide to place an Orc character on a boar in a unit of Boyz, this is now a great idea and heartily recommended.
By giving a character a cavalry mount, you not only give them much better mobility in case they want to get to where the action is (in the case of fighter characters) or away from where the action is (in the case of wizards), but you also give them a boost to their armour save, which can be very handy. On Orc characters, for example, the only way to give them a decent armour save is by taking a boar. And you get an additional attack (sometimes even more than one), which can also come in handy (on one memorable occasion, a Disc of Tzeentch took the last wound off a Vampire general, starting the crumbling of the undead army).
Cavalry mounts are generally not even very expensive, though this can vary a bit. In fact, if you place a character on a cavalry mount in a unit of infantry, you are effectively "saving" the cost of a model in the second rank, since the mount takes up two spaces rather than one. This means that you can drop a model and still have the same Unit Strength and rank bonus as before. Considering this, the effective cost of the cavalry mount can get very low indeed. Of course, a cavalry mount is not a complete replacement for another infantry model - you don't get a spare guy to step into the front rank if the unit gets badly chewed up, for example, but most of the time it is good enough.
Something new that started appearing a little way into 7th edition is that most of the small monster mounts are now being turned into cavalry mounts instead. Previously they used to have 3 wounds each and could be killed off separately. This gave very easy combat result points in combat for the opponent and it was damn annoying to suddenly get a pedestrian character. This is happening with basically all the small monster mounts that don't fly, and around half the ones that do fly so far. This is quite handy in that it removes most of the weak points of the mounts, they now provide their rider with a bonus to their armour save, and they still displace twice as many models as other cavalry mounts, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on the mount and which unit you place it in.
Note that the various daemonic steeds have slightly different rules in the Warriors of Chaos and Daemons of Chaos army books. Notably, they all have magical attacks in the Daemons book, but not in the Warriors book (for some reason).
To illustrate the cavalry mounts available to the various armies, I have set them up in this little table. Each entry lists the number of cavalry mounts available to characters in the army in total, along with the number of unique cavalry mounts. Note that only character mounts are counted, other cavalry mounts are not if the only ones that ride them are non-characters (e.g. Giant Spiders in the Orcs & Goblins list). Note also that Dwarf Shieldbearers - who might be able to qualify for cavalry mount status - have been disqualified for being drunk and disorderly.
|Beasts of Chaos
|Daemons of Chaos
|Dogs of War
|Orcs & Goblins
|Warriors of Chaos
Unsurprisingly, the Daemons are the least original army (which is not the worst you could say about them by any means) in having four different cavalry mounts and not a single original one!
Boars used to be rubbish back in 4th and 5th edition, when they lowered the Leadership of whoever rode them by 1 because they were so unruly. Thankfully those days are gone and boars are now quite nice cavalry mounts for your Orcs. I wouldn't put them on a Savage Orc in a unit of infantry, because he can so easily be forced to charge out of the unit, but for any other Orc character a boar should be considered a default option to be taken whenever you don't have any other specific idea in mind.
Coming in at a very reasonable 16 points for a Hero, a chaos steed is always barded, thus giving you a +2 to your armour save, which is always useful in an army where characters start off with 4+ body armour. Barding reduces the Movement of the steed to 7, which is neither especially impressive or annoyingly slow. It also has a Strength 4 attack, which is not bad at all. Compared to a boar, which is Strength 5 when charging and Strength 3 when not charging, and otherwise identical, the boar would have been better, except that they are more commonly ridden by characters who join infantry units, and thus they are less likely to be charging. Thus for the cost and considering which army they are in, barded chaos steeds are one of the best mounts you can get.
25% higher cost than a Chaos Steed gives you the same model with both Fear and Stupidity (and -1 Initiative, as if it matters). Fear is always useful, especially since the two armies that use Cold Ones have no convenient other way of making units immune to Fear like Warriors of Chaos can. However, while neither army fails Stupidity tests very often, there is always the risk of failing one at a critical moment, and once you have gotten into bad trouble once because of it, you will remember it for a long time. Another problem is that both armies can also get good mobility and good saves without using a cavalry mount.
A rather better fighter than a chaos steed, the Daemonic Steed adds +1 to all combat stats except Initiative. This is nice enough, but not nice enough to justify it costing three times as much as a chaos steed when taken by a Hero. For a Lord it "only" costs twice as much, but then you should not be taking a Lord for the Daemonic Steed. Spend the difference on rank and file fighter models, and you get much more bang for your buck. And it doesn't count as barded either, so it only gives you +1 to your armour save (it does not help that most of the Daemonic Mount models GW produce look to be barded). What you need to be wanting for a Daemonic Steed to be tempting is Fear. In 7th edition, adding a Fear-causing character to a unit has two effects. Firstly, it makes the unit immune to Fear, which can be very handy if it does not have the Mark of Khorne or Slaanesh. Of course, if the character on the Daemonic Steed dies you lose the immunity, but against a lot of armies it can be very useful to be immune to Fear.
Secondly, it means that whenever an enemy unit wants to charge you and would get into contact with the character, they need to pass a Fear test. Of course, these days a lot of units are immune to Fear (in my own Chaos army, only the Warhounds are not) or are unlikely to fail due to a combination of high Leadership or special rules, but there are still a decent number who just rely on a Leadership of 7 or 8.
It is also worth noting that like most of the god-specific daemonic mounts, the Daemonic Steed goes on a 50 x 50 mm base, which means it displaces twice as many models from a unit as a chaos steed. This might be useful if it "saves" you another infantry guy in the second rank. It may or may not be useful if it displaces another guy in the front rank, depending on how well that model fights. Displacing a Marauder is not a problem, while displacing a Chaos Warrior might be. However, while displacing a weak Marauder is a relatively good thing, it also means you "save" fewer points in needing a guy less in the second rank, so it evens out.
Note also that the Daemonic Steed has Toughness 5, which is completely useless since the Toughness of a cavalry mount is never used!
I love Discs, I really do. People have complained that with the splitting of the Chaos army books, Warriors now lack flyers. Given that we do get a flying cavalry mount for a mere 20 pts (a tenth the price of the single flying mount in the Orcs & Goblins book, which can only be taken by a Lord), I can't really agree with this. While you can't join a unit as you are riding a flying mount, the ability to move 20" regardless of just about everything, is terriffic for just about any character against just about any army. It lets Sorcerers stay out of trouble and get into the optimum spot for spellcasting and it lets fighters get into all the right combats. Of course, they are a bit vulnerable to armies with good mobile firepower, which makes getting the placement exactly right vital unless you invest in some good protective items.
Oh, and they have flaming attacks, which I must admit I rarely remember because it so seldom matters.
Available to all the elven armies, but oddly enough only the High Elves have hit on the idea of putting barding on it. With the limited number of stats you can tweak on a cavalry mount, the elven steed is virtually identical to the wolf, which I don't think very many people would have guessed from looking at the models. Speaking of models, it is a shame the models for the elven steed still have not been updated for two of the three elven armies at the time I write this, the old models look annoyingly like something from the Barbie doll line. In any case, an elven steed is highly recommended for any sort of elf wizard for the movement increase it brings (High Elf wizards should not bother with barding as they can't get any sort of decent armour save anyway). Fighters may instead consider one of the flying mounts available to them, unless they have a particular reason not to.
It's a Nightmare with wings, or, if you like, a better version of a Disc of Tzeentch for the same cost (*grumblemumble*). Unlike a lot of other small flying mounts, the Hellsteed is not crippled if something should prevent it from flying. However, it comes with the same problem as the normal unbarded Nightmare in that the most cost-effective way of getting equipment is with the Dread Knight power, which in this case means that you can't also get the Hellsteed (there is a saying about trying to ride two horses, which I guess is especially relevant if one of them can fly). If other armies could get this as a mount option, I am sure it would be immensely popular.
Significantly better than the generic Daemonic Steed for the same cost. A very, very nice +3 to your armour save (2 better than the Daemonic Steed), Magic Resistance, better Weapon Skill, an extra Attack (while the rider is Frenzied) and you only lose a point of Movement (not a problem on a Khornate character as being Frenzied means you don't want to go faster than your unit anyway) and a point of Initiative, which is insignificant. Daemon characters even get theirs with Killing Blow for no increase in cost, as if it wasn't good enough without it!
The Jugger is one of the best cavalry mounts out there, and certainly for a Chaos Lord, since the basic chaos steed is more expensive while the Jugger is not (for some reason). It fights better than any other character mount (and almost as good as a Hero-level character on its own), gives the rider a 1+ save at worst and the Movement is not bad by any means.
At almost twice the cost of a normal barded warhorse, you get a horse that causes impact hits when your non-combat character charges into combat. Who exactly approved this idiotic concept? It has different combat stats than a normal warhorse, but performance-wise it's about equal (i.e. pretty bad). Avoid!
A chaos steed with one less Initiative and sold at bargain prices (for some reason). The Vampire book is a bit strange in that it requires a Vampire power if you want a Nightmare with barding. This in itself isn't especially expensive, but it takes up half the Vampire power points quota for a Hero, which means that they can either get a combat power or a master (helps with raising units) power in addition to this, but not both. It also prevents the Hero from taking the power that makes him a level 2 wizard. Thus it might be more tempting to take an unbarded Nightmare, which doesn't require any power, and spend points on getting protection with your magic items quota, which limits what else you can get.
On a Vampire Count, on the other hand, this goes out the window thanks to their much larger magic items quota.
Though only Weapon Skill and Strength 3, the Palanquin can actually outfight the Daemonic Steed against most things thanks to a bucket load of Attacks and poison. Only when victims get up to 3+ saves do the Daemonic Steed start to come out on top. Though it must be said that it isn't usually a lot better, with most steeds causing the same number of wounds most of the time. And the Palanquin, being carried around by Nurglings, only moves at the speed of a Nurgling, which is incidentally also the same speed as the rider: Movement 4. Did I mention that it costs 50 pts, even on a Hero? Unless you are a Daemon of Nurgle character and have some special item that boosts the value of poisoned attacks (which you presumably do) and (perhaps just as important) lack any other mount option at all, I would avoid this like everyone other than a Nurgle-worshipper would avoid the plague.
This undead horse comes in two variants with the same profile - the normal one availble to Tomb Kings and the one available to Vampire Counts which can move through terrain without reducing its move. This is actually an old rule which was dropped in 6th edition which has now been reintroduced. Whether it will show up in the next Tomb Kings book as well is anyone's guess. The VC one can also get barding, which is highly recommended given that zooming around on his own is not something a Wight King does very well since he can't even march if he is not close to a vampire of some sort. The skeletal steed also has even worse combat stats than a normal horse, though a loss of Weapon Skill and Initiative does not necessarily mean anything since you still hit people with Weapon Skill 4 or less on a 4+ and canĘ't be attacked back.
Presuming you have the option to make march moves, this is as fast as a Disc of Tzeentch, with the added great bonus that you can join units. Okay, so you have to go around things rather than over them, but being able to charge 20" out of a unit is great. It's got poison, counts as fast cavalry and has Initiative 5, all of which is admittedly a bit pointless on what is essentially just something to get from A to B very quickly with, but can come in handy once or twice. It costs a little more than a Disc, which I am a bit puzzled by since I am originally an Orcs & Goblins player and a cut-price flyer always seemed more exciting to me than a slightly better Wolf, but there you go. On a Lord this is actually 1 point more expensive than a barded chaos steed, which makes no kind of sense, but on a Hero-level Sorcerer I think it is more of a toss-up which is the better for the cost.
Note that in the previous (Hordes of Chaos) army book, 'Steed of Slaanesh' was a name for what is now a just a variant model for the Daemonic Steed (the Erotic Eel). You can see this on the picture caption on page 84 of the current (Warriors of Chaos) army book. The name 'Steed of Slaanesh' is now used for the bipedal mounts mainly used by Mounted Daemonettes of Slaanesh. These were not actually given a name in 6th edition when they showed up in a White Dwarf article a couple of years after the army book. In previous editions they were known as Steeds or Mounts of Slaanesh. Typically, GW has never actually explained that the name had been temporarily borrowed by something else quite different. And the fact that there is at the time of writing no Steed of Slaanesh model in production at all isn't actually helping either. If you just played 6th edition, it is not surprising if you are confused!
An excellent steed and the only thing dragging it down is the fact that the people who can ride them are wimps. The Terradon is much better at hiding that other flying mounts, since it can enter woods while flying and characters who ride them can join units (admittedly only Terradon units, but still). It also has the ability to move in the turn it rallies after voluntarily fleeing from a charge which fast cavalry has and which can be very nice when the rider has the same survivability in combat as a toffee Temple Guard. Furthermore, it can drop rocks on things, a very good attack you don't have to get into combat to use. And to cap it all off, it fights as well as a Hellsteed, which you really would not think by looking at the model. Again this would have been more useful if you could buy Terradons for, say, Saurus Scar-Veterans. Okay, so it costs more than half the basic price of the rider, which I don't think any other cavalry mount does, but what you get is great.
Fielded in four armies (though only as a character mount in three), the warhorse is the most common steed in the game, and as with most common things, it is rather dull and unimpressive. On the bright side, it can be barded and is the cheapest of all cavalry mounts in the game, but for a mount that basically limits you to sticking around with a unit, it fights pretty badly.
Cheap and cheerful. Provided you have somewhere you want to go, this is a bargain with a Movement of 9 for 12 pts on a Hero. Okay, so it has no special rules at all, fights only marginally better than a bretonnian peasant and only gives you +1 to your armour save, but sometimes that is all you need. A Goblin Suicide Bomber can start off in a unit of Orcs and charge out 18" at a suitable moment to take out a war machine or other appropriately fragile target. If only smelly elves didn't get elven steeds, who are virtually the same but with +1 Initiative for the same cost. What an insult!
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