Regardless of your opinion of the new Daemon Psychic Powers, one thing is true, they are now almost twice as random as before. The one benefit of having only 3 powers and a primaries was that it was much more likely to get a power that you wanted with a relatively small investment in mastery levels. Let’s explore the revised Slaanesh discipline.
Discipline of Excess
Lash of Slaanesh appears to be unchanged. It is a 24″ S6 rending beam. Beams are great for getting around jink or invisibility (as you don’t target a unit, but rather a point on the table). That said, S6 rending will generally fail to ignore most armor saves and will need lucky rolls to glance/penetrate vehicles. Lash feels like a poor compromise between great powers like Psychic Shriek and Bolt of Change. Luckily Slaanesh psykers can roll on Telepathy.
Acquiescence also looks to be a direct carry-over. This is great power for Slaanesh by basically providing targeted assault grenades and a dirge caster when attacking the targeted unit. In my opinion this should be the primaris power. If it was, Slaanesh psykers would be auto take options. Unfortunately, it is now about twice as hard to get, making it a nice surprise, but nothing you can count on.
Pavane of Slaanesh is another copy and paste. As a focused witchfire you can use it to snipe characters, who will make their look out sir rolls most of time, making focused witchfire unreliable and not worth throwing extra dice at in *most* circumstances. This power is only really good if used against units with low leadership values of 7-8. Unlike Shriek, you have to get really lucky on multiple rolls for it to have enough impact to cause a morale test on anything except Eldar Windriders. Pavane has a longer range than Shriek, and will be more reliable in killing 1-2 models, but less likely to wipe an entire unit. If you can stack this with other methods of reducing leadership it might be a great power. However, that’s a lot of effort for little return.
Maniacal Fervor is a new power, with a cool name. You trade 2 (1.75 rounded up) wounds, before saves) for +1 strength, 2 bonus attacks per model and you get to re-roll all to-hit rolls in the first round of combat. This might be a worthwhile power, let’s look at two scenarios:
Min Squad of Daemonettes (10) + ML1 Herald = 160 points
- 42 attacks on the charge (assuming 1 model is killed by MF)
- 37 hits against WS4, resulting in
- 18.5 wounds against T4 (of which 6 are rending)
Min Squad of Daemonettes (10) + Herald w/ Exalted Locus = 165 points
- 35 Attacks on the charge
- 31 hits against WS4, resulting in
- 10 wounds against MEQ (of which 5 are rending)
So, if you can roll this power, and successfully cast it, it almost doubles your damage output before saving throws, but does little to bypass armour saves directly. It does it cheaper than the single use Loci, but of course, is far from gauranteed.
Phantasmagoria is a new take on Dominate. It is arguably better, because it requires tests to do more things, like Make Attacks, Sweeping Advance and Consolidate. However, if a unit fails their leadership test, they can try to make another leadership test to perform an alternative action in that same phase (failing shooting still allows a test to run, for example). This is a solid power.
Slicing Shards is also new, and has a WC2 cost. 24″ range large blast S4 AP4. Failed leadership tests cause another D6 S4 AP4 hits. At WC1 this is a good power, at WC2, no thanks. At least it doesn’t give out free FNP (6+).
Cacophonic Choir is a poor man’s Shriek (2D6 minus leadership) that costs twice as many warp charges. It is a 12″ nova, which means that if you can deep strike a psyker (or fly a Slaanesh DP) into a great location you could potentially nab quite a number of enemy units. However, on average you will do 0 wounds. The wording suggests that affected units also take pinning tests, which could be great against some armies, but it reads “after resolving any wounds” which may mean that you have to wound to pin. Since you will rarely wound, you will almost never pin. Cool concept, failed execution, way over-costed.
In summary, there are 2-3 good powers here, Acquiescence, Maniacal Fervor and Phantasmagoria. However, I’m still not impressed by the Primaris, which breaks the deal for me. If I had a really solid fall back power then I might actively consider rolling on this chart. Instead, if you want to run Slaanesh psyker Heralds, stick to Telepathy, look for Invisibility, Dominate and Terrify and swap for arguably the best primaris power in the game, Psychic Shriek.
I’m going to keep working on a psyker-free mono-Slaanesh list. If I could guarantee Maniacal Fervor I would reconsider.