Welcome to our Closer Look series. We are digging into the changes for each faction in the new edition of Age of Sigmar. Join us moving forward as we bring on different authors to give insights into their favorite factions!!
Today we will be looking into everyone’s love to hate it, or love to love it army, Slaanesh!!
For those that have been around AOS long enough to experience the original 2.0 release of the Slaanesh battletome you know what I am talking about. If you are just getting started in AOS today’s Slaanesh is an entirely different animal from the menace it was on its original release. We are going to jump right into how it works in 3.0 and what to expect if you want to pick up the army of excess and depravity.
If you read part 2 of this series I wrote about my beloved dinosaur’s, Seraphon. If you’re anything like me when you got into AOS you might have thought to yourself “I’m only going to play one army, I don’t need more than one.” and you might have been as serious about that statement as I was. Fast forward to the future and I now have multiple armies one of which is my new favorite to play in 3.0, Slaanesh. The lore is fascinating if you’re into daemons, depravity, and large wizards who were once skinny wizards that ate other wizards to become large…spoiler alert, this is a real thing in the lore of the battletome. This is an army with beautiful models, a confounding amount of very highly pointed units, and a very tough playstyle. It’s a rewarding puzzle to play, if you love puzzles and pulling wins out of your hat welcome to Slaanesh. The excess part only applies to the lore, not the number of points you’re going to win a game with.
I’ve noticed on the interwebs a large amount of conversation about how bad Slaanesh is in regards to competitive play. I disagree with that consensus, the army is not bad but there are a large number of very highly pointed units which immediately limits what units are actually viable for a competitive list and how those games will play out.
As a general rule, the points increases in 3.0 resulted in most of the daemons becoming very difficult to include in list building. Some of the new mortal units are also over-costed, I believe GW was very timid in their point values due to the summoning mechanic and how over the top the original book was. What this meant is that I had to go on a mission to discover what units are worth playing and how they interact with each other in-game and my opponent’s units. I have a much different playstyle than some of the other lists I have seen out there like the one that recently went undefeated in the New Orleans Warhammer US Open. I love the list that Bill Souza played to 2nd place. It looks like a blast to play but I don’t have three Cockatrice in my collection and I don’t plan to buy them anytime soon.
Below is a list that I have been playing to some minor success in our regular playgroup. I find I am able to win most games I play, even against top armies such as Lumineth, however, these games are all on the edge of your seat and it feels like you’re losing until the very end where you pull out a win by 1-2 victory points. This is my type of game because it rewards very careful gameplay and punishes even the smallest mistakes. It’s an emotional rollercoaster ride and very hard to recommend if you are a new player to the game as the way to win is by eking out every little bit of strategic movement and value from your units and abilities. The mental battle it takes to hold it all together makes victory all the sweeter!! I love this army but if you are new to the game and interested in winning some games, without your brain exploding, I recommend an army like my beloved Seraphon or something else of a similar power level to build confidence in your gameplay before you pick up an army like Slaanesh.
If you’re up to the challenge here’s the list:
One of the most underrated units is the Symbaresh Twinsouls. 185 points for a unit of 5 two wound infantry models looks on its surface like a bad deal. However the 2” reach on their weapons with a built-in reroll to their hits on every other turn, or the lord of pain makes it every turn with his command ability, and each model has 3 attacks each, exploding 6’s to hit, at 2 damage. Even with the lack of rend you are averaging 12 damage to a 3+ save and 18 damage to a 4+ save, the weight of dice is a real thing! Add in the ability to give them +1 to hit with all-out attack or attacking twice with the command ability from the Keeper of Secrets and now you’ve got a hard-hitting unit that Slaanesh has been lacking. I’ve charged a unit of 10 into a Gatebreaker Mega Gargant and watched it evaporate on turn 1. In another game a unit of 10 generated multiple turns of depravity for me and blew up half of a Lumineth army on its own, most opponents are caught by surprise with how much damage the Twinsouls are capable of. I’ve even been playing with the idea of running a unit of 15 but haven’t figured out how to balance that list yet.
This list is running as the Lurid-Haze sub-faction, I find this creates a situation in army deployment where my opponent has to respect the ability to remove and redeploy up to D3 of my units at the beginning of the game. If they choose to deploy very cagey with screening then I can choose to not use the ability and if they choose to not respect it I can pull either Sigvald and/or the Twinsouls for redeployment.
Sigvald is an absolute beast he has the ability to one-shot almost anything in the game with the fight twice ability from the Keeper and a good charge roll. His downfall is a slow movement characteristic but the redeploy solves this and the triumph or a command point reroll almost ensures a good charge roll for him. Don’t be afraid to reroll his charge looking for a higher number of attacks if you need it. One thing to be very careful of is overcommitting too many units to the charge at once. Slaanesh is an attrition army now. The idea is the surgically remove the opponent’s most threatening units with either Sigvald or the Twinsouls and chip away at the rest of the army without engaging as much as possible. This style of play allows you to accrue summoning points to slam the door shut in rounds 3-5 with either hordes of daemonettes or multiple Keepers of Secrets. Slaanesh’s biggest weakness is the lack of bodies on the board and we need to maximize the amount of time our units spend in play.
The second idea I have also had some success with is the list below. It functions very similarly to the other list in that Sigvald and the Twinsouls are the hammers but instead of running a Keeper we switch it out for the big man, Glutos, and add in the mesmerising mirror for additional mortal wounds to generate depravity.
This one goes for the 1 drop Battle Regiment to help us dictate the first turn of the game and we are able to add in a few more bodies with the hellstriders to screen Glutos or grab an objective. I love Glutos as another big threat, his casting is reliable and the -1 to hit aura covers a large amount of the table with the large base size. This puts a huge damper on the amount of damage most opponents are able to do in melee. The big man is also no slouch himself in combat and I’ve had his command ability heal him back to a full 18 wounds numerous times.
I enjoy playing around with list construction but I find myself putting a unit of 10 Twinsouls, Sigvald, the Lord of Pain to make them battleline, and a unit or two of Painbringers in every list I play.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on this army. Please reach out with comments or questions. I am open to all ideas and I love seeing this army on the table. The amount of gold armor on the table is delightful!!
Until next time…may the dice be with you.