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Slaanesh Warband – Guide, Tactics & Overview

Slaanesh is the Chaos god of obsession and excess, and the Hedonites of Slaanesh are his/her faithful devotees. They thrive in any form of excessive sensation brought to the extreme, will you embark the same journey towards eternal and pleasant torment?

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Background and Lore of the Hedonites of Slaanesh Warband

Slaanesh has been imprisoned since the Age of Myth by the new Aelves gods (Tyrion, Teclis, Malerion and Morathi) in the Hidden Gloaming, a sub-realm between Hysh, the realm of Light, and Ulgu, the Realm of Shadow.

Since then, the arrogant aelves extract souls that once Slaanesh devoured during the destruction of the Old World, to repopulate the Mortal Realms with new civilizations (the Daughters of Khaine, the Idoneth Deepkin and the Lumineth Realm-lords).

Slaanesh disciples are divided between those searching for him, those pretending to have replaced him by ascending to godhood and those that do not care and thrive only in war and unending conquests.

Independently from their inner motives, all depraved legions have a similar core with Keepers of Secrets guiding their horde of worshippers.

The most numerous of Slaanesh daemonic servants are the Daemonettes, sadistic maids at the court of Slaanesh readily deployed as valiant warriors in the chaos armies. While most of them would enter the battle on foot, the swiftest and most cunning ride Steeds of Slaanesh and are known as Seekers.

To tame a Steed of Slaanesh is not a simple task as those beasts are incredibly fast and possess infinite endurance. Sometimes, Slaanesh bargains these beasts with mortals in exchange of a pact: a steed for some souls.

But once the mortals ride a Steed, they will be unable to dismount and they will be forced to do Slaanesh’s bidding for eternity. These cavaliers are known as Hellstriders and are armed either with blades mutated from their own skin or whips.

Fiends of Slaanesh are beasts born from mortal nightmares and shaped by Slaanesh himself. While their shape would repulse anyone, they emit a powerful musk that immobilizes their victim until they close down to quarter or poison them with their sting.

But how do the Slaanesh warband play on the tabletop? There is nothing excessive in looking at their deepest detail.

Overview and Points for the Fighters in the Hedonites of Slaanesh Warband

The Hedonites of Slaanesh warband is made from 4 kits with 9 options of which 4 are leaders.

Note: if you haven’t read the basic rules for Warcry before reading this article, it might be helpful to know that the game’s abilities are activated by using 6 dice that you roll at the start of your turn.

If two of the dice show the same value, they can be used to activate a Double ability. If three show the same value, they can be used for a Triple ability, and so on.

So, when this article refers to an ability being a Double, a Triple or a Quad, it refers to this system. It might sound a bit confusing, but takes no time to get used to when you start playing

The Slaanesh warband ability card and fighters in warcry

Hellstriders

  • Hellreaver: 235 points
  • Hellstrider with Claw-Spear: 145 points
  • Hellstrider with Hellscourge: 145 points

The Hellstriders are the “heavy” cavalry of the Hedonites. With Toughness 4 they are the most resistant in the warband, combined with the 20 wounds (30 for the Hellreaver) and the 2” weapon range they should resist longer than the rest.

10” movement makes them pretty quick, but as mounted units, they cannot go through doors or archways.

They have 3 weapon profiles: the Hellreaver, the leader of the unit, has 4 attacks at Strength 4 for 2-4 damage.

The Hellstrider with Claw-Spear 3 attacks at Strength 3 for 1-4 damage, while the one equipped with Hellscourge increases her range to 3” for 4 attacks at Strength 3 and damage 1-3.

The leader and the Claw-Spear have access to Impaling Strike, an ability that for a Triple allows to do damage on charge (if you finish a movement within 1” of an enemy do as much damage as the value of the ability).

The Hellscourge does not have access to this ability, increases its range to 3”, although there’s not much difference between 2” and 3”, adds 1 attack but loses 1 damage on critical hit for the same cost as the Claw-Spear.

The leader of the unit, as all Hedonites leaders, has access to Locus of Excruciation that for a Triple adds 1 to the Strength of all visible fighters within 6” of the leader. It does not apply to weapons with range greater than 3”, but this means only allies as Hedonites don’t have ranged options.

Fiends of Slaanesh

  • Blissbringer: 220 points
  • Fiend: 150 points

The Fiends represent the elite of this warband. They have only 8” movement but they can go past archways and doors. The low Toughness (3) is compensated by the high wounds (30 or 35 for the Blissbringer). Their weapon profile is in line with the rest of the warband: 4 attacks at Strength 3 for 1-4 damage.

The Blissbringer (the leader of this unit) adds 1 to Attack (5) and damage (2-4).

The Fiends specialize in blocking their adversaries: Crushing Grip, on a 2+ prevents any move or disengage action of an enemy within 1” (for a Double). It can be highly strategical, especially if you prevent an enemy from grabbing an objective and you disengage yourself abandoning him in the middle of the battlefield.

Deadly Venom, for a Quad, adds half the ability’s value to the damage on critical hits and on a 5+ prevents disengage and movement actions of the victim. This ability is much more expensive for a really unreliable result: the Quad has to be high enough to be worth and the critical damage is activated only on a natural 6, while the immobilization part is triggered only on average once every three times.

The Blissbringer also has access to the Locus of Excruciations.

Seekers of Slaanesh

  • Heartseeker: 205 points
  • Seeker: 130 points

The Seekers represent the light cavalry of Slaanesh. They have a similar profile to the Hellstriders only dropping Toughness to 3. Their weapon profile is a bit more efficient although, with 4 attacks at Strength 3 for 1-4 damage. The Heartseeker, the leader, adds 1 to Attack (5) and 1 to the normal damage (2-4).

Instead of impaling their victims after a movement, the Seekers can add 1 to their damage (both on hits and critical hits) until the end of the turn (Sadistic Killers for a Double).

Combined with the Locus of Excruciation for 5 dice a single Seeker can become 8 attacks at Strength 4 for 2-5 damage that is not bad for their point cost.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh

  • Allurer: 145 points
  • Daemonette: 75 points

The Daemonettes are the cheapest unit of this warband, allowing to field several and point on numbers to take down your enemies. They are relatively fast to be infantry troops (5”), with low Toughness (3) and average wounds (10 or 20 for the leader).

They share the same weapon profile as the Seekers, and the same ability Sadistic Killers that allow them to do more damage for one battle round.

The Allurer can also use the Locus of Excruciation bringing the Strength from a mere 3 to a 4, that often can make the difference between a 33% and a 50% chance to hit.

Abilities for the Hedonites of Slaanesh

  1. Lithe and Swift (Double, Everyone): Add half the value of this ability rounded up to the next move action.
  2. Sadistic Killers (Double, all Seekers and Daemonettes): Add 1 to the damage of hits and critical hits for attack actions with range 3” or less in this activation.
  3. Crushing Grip (Double, all Fiends): Roll a die for an enemy fighter within 1”, on a 2+ that enemy cannot move or disengage until the end of the battle round.
  4. Impaling Strike (Triple, Hellreader and Hellstrider with Claw-Spear): At the end of the next move action terminating within 1” of an enemy model, allocate as much damage as the value of this ability to an enemy within 1”.
  5. Locus of Excruciation (Triple, all Leaders): Until the end of the battle round add 1 to the Strength characteristic of weapons with range 3” or less for all friendly fighters within 6” of the leader.
  6. Deadly Venom (Quad, all Fiends): Add half the value of this ability rounded up to the damage on critical hits. In addition, after each attack action roll a die and on a 5+ the target fighter cannot move or disengage until the end of the battle round.

Strategy and Tactics for the Hedonites of Slaanesh

The Hedonites of Slaanesh play like a Slaanesh army should: attack first, fast and hope to do as much damage as possible before the unavoidable retaliation.

The fast part is clearly stated in their movement profiles: from the 10” of the mounted units to the 5” of the Daemonettes, they will be faster than your average opponent. If that was not enough, for a Double they can use their trademark ability and add up to 3” movement to their next action using Lithe and Swift. If you don’t have a high Double, you can still use Rush that provides a similar bonus (+1 but valid for both movement actions). The downside of being mounted is the inability to pass archways and doors but depending on the terrain you may never notice this.

The amount of attacks, that should guarantee maximum damage before the opponents, is covered by a base number on average higher than most other warbands (4 for units and 5 for leaders). However, there is no ability to add more attacks (outside of the universal Onslaught adding +1 for each action) and only the Locus of Excruciation adds +1 to the Strength characteristic as long as the unit is within 6” of the leader. The average Strength 3 however will often end up scratching the adversaries and the Locus would be required to increase efficacy.

And then there is efficacy. The damage output is usually quite small (minimum damage 1 for all units and 2 for the leaders), increasing on the critical hits but never exceeding 4. The only ways to exceed these limits are the Deadly Venom Quad ability of the Friends (up to 3 more and only for critical hits) and Sadistic Killers ability of Daemonettes and Seekers (1 more but for every damage). While Sadistic Killers empowers half of your warband in some desired damage output, the low Strength may see it wasted anyway. More reliable is the Impaling Strike of the Hellstriders, but that costs a Triple and works only on the first move that activation. Sadistic Killers in combination with the Locus can make your Daemonettes or even the Seekers, more reliable killing machines.

Finally, it is your opponent turn. If they survive your first wave, they will retaliate and on average encounter a Toughness 3 allowing them to hit often. The relative high number of wounds of Fiends (30) can last few rounds but few well placed critical hits will bring them down anyway. And they are the toughest you have. There is nothing that allows you to last longer or increase your Toughness as you would expect from Slaanesh. There is also no range available to delay the engagement in melee, the greatest range being the 2” or 3” of the Hellstriders (useful to hit without engaging but then you can’t impale your opponents for free damage).

The Hedonites have few abilities that would normally help their playstyle. We already discussed Lithe and Swift, Sadistic Killers and Locus of Excruciation. The Hellstriders have Impaling Strike for a bonus damage at the end of one of their movements and that leaves us with the Fiends. They have 2 special abilities, the first of which is situational and prevents quite accurately (2+ on a die) disengage or movement action to a miniature for the rest of the battle round.

While it can be useful to prevent an enemy from running away, at the same time you don’t want the Fiend himself to go away as they are the toughest of your units and also the one hitting the heaviest so you want them always at the centre of attention. The Quad ability on the other hand is extremely unreliable: the extra damage happens only on critical hits, so no 6, no extra damage, while the poison that should prevent the disengage movements works only on a 5+. If you have a Quad, you better use it on other abilities, for example the universal Rampage provides a bonus move and a bonus attack.

Regarding the choice of models, every leader has his own appeal, with similar weapon profiles. The Hellreaver is the only one that stands out with Toughness and Strength 4, but also his 10” movement that allows him to carry the 6” Locus of Excruciation bubble as far as possible within the enemy lines. One or two Fiends can help to increase resistance and damage of the front line, while few Daemonettes should be kept for the numeric advantage on objectives or strategic positions. Seekers and Hellstriders can complete the roster depending on personal preference.

The strategy is clear: always try to maximise your number of attacks by moving fast and engaging only when sure to provide the death blow. Use the Locus to increase your chances to hit and the numeric advantage against elite warband to bog down the most resilient enemies. In the scenarios where models killed count be even more careful and use your mobility to outrun your chasers.

Pros and cons of the Hedonites of Slaanesh

+ Many attacks
+ High mobility

– Low Toughness
– No ranged options
– No game changer abilities

How to buy the Warband

The Hedonites of Slaanesh warband can be purchased from 4 boxes but if you are starting (or own) also an Age of Sigmar army, then the Start Collecting! Daemons of Slaanesh already brings you halfway through with 10 Daemonettes and 5 Seekers, each unit with the leader option.

Alternatively, those 2 units can be bought separately (Daemonettes and Seekers).

The next box would be 5 Hellstriders that gives you a leader and enough for 2 models with each weapon option. Be careful that those weapon profiles represent different units in Age of Sigmar in case you want to expand to that game.

The last box is the brand-new Fiends of Slaanesh, 3 models, complete with leader option.

Tips on painting the Hedonites of Slaanesh

Slaanesh models, as most Chaos Daemons in general, have the advantage of being used in both Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40k, providing plenty of online painting guides.

Warhammer Community presents a battle-ready video for the Deamonettes, alternative pale skin, or darker purple.

Vince Venturella also has few videos dedicated to Slaanesh so check out his library.

The contrast range presents also different purple colours that really suit Slaanesh like Magos Purple and Volupus Pink (and the contrast paints do really work well on skin).

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