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 daemonic journey towards eternal and pleasant torment?
What changed in the new edition for the Slaanesh Daemons Warband?
Slaanesh Daemons saw an overall change in points, mostly going down, as the leader wounds did. The Enrapturess range increased to 15″ and the Hellreaver with Claw-spear weakened his attack profile.
Few abilities changed, like Deadly Venom that is now a Triple and Mirror of Absorption that is now a Quad.
Background and Lore of the Daemons 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 Daemons 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 Contorted Epitome: 220 points
The Contorted Epitome is a gorgeous model and an essential piece in your warband. For a Quad you can use Mirror of Absorption: pick an enemy fighter within 9″ that has not activated yet and make him skip this round, including any reaction. As simple as that…
Apart this ability the Epitome, as all leaders, can increase the Strength of nearby fighters by 1 (Locus of Excruciation) greatly improving the efficacy of this warband in melee as they have lots of Attacks but low Strength.
But the Epitome is not only a support fighter, she also has a good ranged attack: 7″ range, 2 Attacks, Strength 3 and 3/6 damage.
And in melee her 6 attacks at Strength 3 (that can be buffed to 4 by the Locus) do 2/4 damage.
Despite carrying a mirror they are quite quick with 10″ Movement. But if you can’t kill your opponent be prepared as 25 Wounds with Toughness 3 are going down pretty fast…
Infernal Enrapturess: 165 points
Another extremely Slaaneshi model and another excellent ability: Discordant Disruption. For a Double you can reduce by 1 (to a minimum of 1) the number of attacks of all enemies within 6″ helping to compensate the overall fragility of the Soulfeasters.
She has also a ranged attack, something this warband doesn’t have plenty. Hers reaches 15″ range with 4 Attacks for 1/4 damage.
In melee she has only 3 Attacks but for 2/4 damage, like most other leaders. Strength of both attacks is 3, in line with almost all attacks of the Soulfeasters.
As for the Epitome, be careful of protracted engagements as 22 Wounds on Toughness 3 are not going to last long, and 4″ Movement don’t allow fast retreat either.
Although the generic Double Lithe and Swift allows her a single move action to 7″.
Viceleader: 145 points
The Viceleader has the same ranged attacks of the Epitome and only 1 attack less in melee (5) becoming herself a prime choice for the Locus of Excruciation that brings her Strength to 4.
As the Enrapturess she has Toughness 3 and 20 Wounds, but she is quicker with 5″ Movement.
Her special ability is the same one used by the Daemonettes, Sadistic Killers, that increases the damage by 1. She can’t use the Locus on herself AND Sadistic Killers, but if she is a support hero with another leader, that combo would allow her at the cost of a Triple and a Double to perform 5 Attacks at Strength 4 for 3/5 damage per activation…
- Hellreaver with Claw-Spear: 180 points
- Hellstrider with Claw-Spear: 135 points
- Hellstrider with Hellscourge: 135 points
The Hellstriders are the “heavy” cavalry of the Soulfeasters. With Toughness 4 they are between the most resistant in the warband, combined with the 20 wounds (25 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, or climb.
They have 3 type of units: the Hellreaver, the leader of the unit, has 4 attacks at Strength 3 for 1/4 damage.
The Hellstrider with Claw-Spear has 1 attack less than the leader, while the one equipped with Hellscourge increases his 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 as 6 damage).
The Hellscourge does not have access to this ability, but the 3″ range can be useful to outsmart those fighters with 2″ range, meaning he can be even further protected from retaliation.
The leader of the unit, as all Soulfeaster leaders, has access to Locus of Excruciation, for a bonus bubble of +1 Strength.
Fiends of Slaanesh
- Blissbringer: 205 points
- Fiend: 160 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 (25 or 30 for the Blissbringer). Their weapon profile is in line with the rest of the warband: 4 attacks at Strength 3 for 2/4 damage, that is better than the Daemonettes.
The Blissbringer (the leader of this unit) has 1 more attack (5).
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 Triple, adds up to 3 to the damage to both hits and critical hits for the next melee attack action. This is an improvement compared to the previous version of this ability, as it really shines a new light on Fiends. It still requires a high Triple, but if you have 2 Triples available and activate the Locus of Excruciation before, the Fiend can then perform 4 attacks at Strength 4 for a potential 5/7 damage, that is way above their point cost.
The problem arises when you have only one Triple, as the Locus always take priority and the Fiend unbuffed is slightly scarier than a Daemonette, but costs the Double.
Seekers of Slaanesh
- Heartseeker: 195 points
- Seeker of Slaanesh: 145 points
The Seekers represent the light cavalry of the Soulfeasters. They have a similar profile to the Hellstriders only dropping Toughness to 3, but increasing their attacks to 5 at the cost of a more limited range (1″). The Heartseeker, the leader, performs more 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 with 5 dice a single Seeker can become 5 attacks at Strength 4 for 2/5 damage per activation that is not bad for their point cost and more efficient than a Fiend with a low Triple.
Daemonettes of Slaanesh
- Allurer: 125 points
- Daemonette: 75 points
The Daemonettes are the cheapest unit of this warband, allowing to field several and play on numbers or simply fill the gaps. They are relatively fast to be infantry troops (5”), with low Toughness (3) and average wounds (10 or 15 for the leader).
They share the same weapon profile as the Seekers with 1 attack less (4), 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 Daemons of Slaanesh
- Lithe and Swift (Double, Everyone): Add 3″ to the next Move action.
- Sadistic Killers (Double, all Seekers and Daemonettes plus the Viceleader): Add 1 to the damage of hits and critical hits for melee attack actions.
- 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.
- Discordant Disruption (Double, Infernal Enrapturess): Subtract 1 (to a minimum of 1) to attacks made within 6″ of this model.
- Impaling Strike (Triple, Hellreader and Hellstrider with Claw-Spear): At the end of the next move action allocate up to 6 damage to an engaged enemy.
- Locus of Excruciation (Triple, all Leaders): Add 1 to the Strength characteristic of melee weapons for all friendly fighters within 6”.
- Deadly Venom (Triple, all Fiends): Add up to 3 to the damage for the next melee attack action.
- Mirror of Absorption (Quad, The Contorted Epitome): Prevent activation and reactions of one enemy model for the battle round.
Reaction for the Daemons of Slaanesh Warband
Introduced in the new season of Warcry, Reactions are things that can be done in certain circumstances, but always during the enemy turn. They cost one action, so they can be used only by fighters that have not activated yet or are waiting. There are 3 universal reactions and one specific to each warband:
Shared Pain (Everyone)
- When: During an enemy melee attack action but before hit rolls.
- What: 1 damage to the attacking fighter for each hit and 2 for each critical hit.
Strategy and Tactics for the Daemons of Slaanesh
The Daemons 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 straight 3” movement to their next action using Lithe and Swift. The downside of being mounted is the inability to pass archways and doors but depending on the terrain you may never notice this.
The warband is characterized by a high amount of attacks (4 for the troops and up to 6 for the leaders) but with their low Strength (3) they may end up relying only on critical hits to do some damage.
That’s where the Locus of Excruciation becomes important, even more now that you can bring up to two leaders (one would be a hero) in a matched play game. Adding +1 Strength can make a huge difference especially against average Toughness (4) changing from 33% chance to hit to 50%.
And then there is efficacy. The damage output is usually quite small (minimum damage 1 for most units and 2 for the leaders), increasing on the critical hits but exceeding 4 only for two leaders. The only ways to exceed these limits are the Deadly Venom Triple ability of the Friends (up to 3 more) and the Sadistic Killers ability of Viceleader, Daemonettes and Seekers (1 more). 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. As long as they are still alive, they can retaliate and do some real damage as the average Toughness for this warband is only 3. The relative high number of wounds of Fiends (25) can last few rounds but a couple of 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 are also only few ranged options, restricted to some leaders, to delay the engagement in melee, the greatest range being the 15” of the Enrapturess but in general the 2-3″ of the Hellstriders are useful to hit without engaging sacrificing however the impaling ability.
The Hedonites have few abilities that would normally help their playstyle. We already discussed Lithe and Swift, Sadistic Killers and Locus of Excruciation. Depending on which leader you choose, the Infernal Enrapturess allows to reduce by 1 the attacks of all enemy fighters within 6″ increasing the overall warband durability as a consequence.
The Epitome instead can completely block for one round a unit. Imagine that Ogor Breacher finally ready to smash your leader in a couple of hits, allured by the mirror and skipping an entire turn…
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 single dice roll) 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 Triple ability competes with the Locus. If you lost your leader or you have enough Triples, then it can really improve the Fiends damage output.
The last mention has to go to the warband reaction: Shared Pain. This allows to damage an attacking fighter based on their performance: 1 damage per hit, 2 per critical hit. Especially good with units that have not activated yet and are going down that round (like an injured Daemonette), it is something that your opponent would need to consider when attacking wounded fighters that can still react.
Regarding the choice of models, every leader has his own appeal, with similar weapon profiles. The Epitome is the most expensive but also the one that hits the hardest and with the 10″ movement can be where more is needed to use the Locus. The Hellreaver costs a little bit less but has no ranged attack, a less useful ability and while having the same movement, he is mounted preventing certain actions.
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 Daemons of Slaanesh
+ Many attacks
+ High mobility
+ Some powerful abilities
– Low Toughness
– Limited ranged options
Some thematic warband for the Soulfeasters
Just for fun here we present few thematic warbands, meant more for fun or narrative context than for competitive play. Note that in narrative play you need to complete a quest that allows you to recruit a Hero before being able to add him to your roster.
To be or not to be a girl: Viceleader, Infernal Enrapturess, 2 Seekers and 5 Daemonettes. They should all be… girls… at least partially…
Riding with the wind: The Contorted Epitome, 2 Hellstrider with Claw-Spear, 2 Seekers of Slaanesh and 1 Fiend. You can replace the Fiend with another Hellstrider or Seeker if you want all of them to have Movement 10″.
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.
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.
Then comes the brand-new Fiends of Slaanesh, 3 models, including the leader option.
The Viceleader was available for £15 but at the moment of writing seems available only through third parties and not GW store.
Tips on painting the Daemons 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.
Vince Venturella also has few videos dedicated to Slaanesh so check out his library.