Tuesday 29 October 2013

Cauldron of lols... I mean Blood

Our schedule here at 40k Warzone has been pretty flat out in the last few weeks. However between breaking LOTR and planning the zombie apocalypse, I've managed to get some testing done with the new Dark Elves, and here's the results!

I'm thoroughly impressed by most of what's on offer as part of the new army book, but there are definite highlights. Always Strikes First and Murderous Prowess have made a serious difference to the combat ability of even the most humble Dark Elf Dreadspear. These things alone have made Cold One Knights, and Executioners a seriously intimidating prospect, and a valuable points investment, however when a Cauldron of Blood is added things get hilarious.

This post is dedicated to the Cauldron of Blood and a couple of the new combinations you can use to maximise the Cauldron's destructive potential. There are two Cauldron Deathstars around that I've seen to be both hilarious and effective. The first of these, and one I've only seen in play, is the Executioner variant:

This one is hardcore, however it must remembered that it's not totally feasable in its current form at anything less than 2400 point games. You have 30-odd Executioners, full command and magic banner of choice, Tullaris Dreadbringer and a stock Death Hag on Cauldron, with option for BSB, all in a horde formation (7 models per rank + cauldron). You're looking at a solid 850 points worth of unit here, with a LOT sunk into the two heroes, but the combat output is horrendous. With Tullaris making the unit frenzied, then the Fury of Khaine bound spell pushing their attacks per model to 3 you end up with (sans characters and cauldron) 33 WS5 S6 I5 attacks, rerolling wounds, with Killing Blow on 6s. That's killing roughly 15 3+ 6++ Chaos Warriors a round. Add Tullaris' 5 attacks, then the Cauldron and Death Hags attacks and you've likely killed more than 20 3+ 6++ Chaos Warriors in a single phase. For that many points you'd hope for as much. The unit itself then has a 5+ 6++, with 5++ against magic thanks to the Cauldron's magic resistance, which is OK, but a significant weakness. The survivability of this unit comes down to magic however, and your success in pulling off Melkoth's on anything that can threaten the Executioners by striking before, or simultaneously with them. If you get that off though, this unit will do so many mean things to your enemies.

The second Deathstar is my personal favourite and my baby, and while not as stupid against heavy armour as the above, it puts out enough wounds to put a serious dent in anything it comes across. The fluff-friendly and very traditional Caldron with Witches comes with the following:

In the same format as the above, 30ish Witch Elves, with full command and magic banner of choice (Banner of Eternal Flame can be hilarious), run-of-the-mill Death Hag on Cauldron, with option for BSB. This is quite a bit cheaper than the Executioners, sitting on a cool 680 points with BSB and BOEF, and is arguably more effective. Pulling off the bound spell leaves you making 43 WS4 S3 Poisoned Attacks (51 including the Cauldron attendants, then a further 6 WS6 S4 from the Death Hag), rerolling ALL hits and wounds. If that's not enough to get you salivating I don't know what is. You'll be causing anywhere between 25 and 35 wounds against Chaos Warriors. Sure, save them all. On average you're doing the same amount of wounds as the Executioners, once again treating this BEFORE magic. Rolling on Shadow again and getting both Melkoths and Withering can mean you'll be hitting with almost everything and wounding with EVERTHING you hit with. Don't even get me started on how hilarious this can be with Okhams. Defensively this unit isn't that awful, with no armour, but a 5++, which drops to a 4++ against magic and striking first makes a big difference.

As a bonus, these girls are CORE.

I had the opportunity to go to an 1800 point tournament over the weekend and faced down and tabled 3 Chaos Warrior armies. All of them were Nurgle centred, so there was plenty of offensive magic being thrown around, including two games with hopping Demon Princes trying to pull off Plaguewind against the Witch unit. Despite this the Witches managed to take down 4 Warrior blocks, none less than 20 Nurgle Warriors, pretty much all with shields, 2 full units of 3 Skullcrushers, 3 Dragon Ogres, a Shoggoth, two Demon Princes, a unit of Slaanesh Knights and a number of assorted minor heroes. Well worth the points I paid for it.

Two things to remember with the above attacks values and stats I've listed by the way, this is an ideal situation against a unit of at least 8 model ranks or above. Less than this and your combat effectiveness is reduced. Not hugely, but it is still reduced. Also DON'T FORGET THE CAULDRON'S IMPACT HITS! D6 S5 impact hits can make a big difference.

Well that's it from me for tonight, I hope you've enjoyed this little venture into 'loldrons' as I like to call them (harr harr harr).

Make good choices!


  1. Did you face any armies with decent shooting and/or war machines?

    I would imagine stone throwers and cannons would both absolutely love that big unit of Wiches.

    1. They really do. Fortunately I didn't over the weekend, but I have played against the high elf phoenix guard and sisters + 100000 archers and bolt throwers combo. While not fun, it is survivable.

      Unfortunately like most horde blocks it suffers from the same weaknesses, including being vulnerable to templates, but I've found the strength of the unit in combat helps counter that, especially combined with magic. A 5+ ward helps to counter the damage too.

      Cannons aren't too bad, you get max 4 models shooting at the front the way they're ranked, and that's if you don't end up making that ward save.


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