I’ve been curious about the Slaanesh faction in the Warhammer 40K CCG ever since I saw the fleet card in the Malogrim Hive expansion. Perhaps tempting whispers of the Lord of Excess have been calling to me all this time:
My first impression of the fleet ability is that it’s pretty darn strong! The game mechanic of “bouncing” units feels much stronger in the 40K CCG than it is in card games like Magic, mainly because there’s no easy way to get that unit back onto the battlefield. Although cards in the command hand can be valuable, I think most players would rather have an extra card on the battlefield instead of in the command hand.
Fleet Card Strategy
Because the Slaanesh fleet ability only triggers at battles you choose, it helps mitigate the disadvantage of taking the second BA. Your opponent has to plan his or her deployments with the consideration that their strongest unit will likely be removed before the battle even begins. This can potentially lead to them over-committing units at pivotal sectors, which can swing the race for flags in your favour.
As well, oftentimes when outnumbered at a sector during deployment, a player will deploy a single card at a sector to bait the opponent into over-committing an extra unit, to deter the opposing player from easily claiming a sector. With the Slaanesh fleet card, however, this strategy is rendered much less effective.
A fringe benefit of the fleet ability is to bounce units with negative E command lines back to their opponent’s hand:
Finally, as we will see later, this ability plays into Slaanesh’s Malogrim Hive theme of abilities that trigger when your opponent has more cards in hand than you.
In order to capitalize on this fleet ability though, we have to reliably trigger the ability by having as many Slaanesh units in the deck as possible. That’s why my deck list for today will contain 100% Slaanesh only cards. All decadence, all the time!
While there is likely a way to “power-game” this list by adding in non-Slaanesh Chaos staples such as Khorne Bloodletters, Traitor Space Marines et al, that would not please the Dark Prince in the slightest.
Hence, today we’ll be looking at a Chaos deck driven by 100% pure hedonism:
Deck List: The Legion of Excess
Click for individual card images:
There are a couple overarching themes driving this deck’s strategy:
Command hand size
The Slaanesh cards in Malogrim Hive thrive on abilities that activate when your opponent has more cards in hand than you:
There are certain opposing factions that will be easier to play against due to their larger command hands (e.g., Space Marines and Ghazghkull’s Waaagh!), but there are a few ways we can build the deck to make it easier to fulfill these requirements:
- Use command lines that make your opponent draw
- Use command lines that are easier to play (e.g. flexible M, T and R abilities)
- Use discard outlets (e.g., Loreleis – Daemonettes)
By managing the difference in command cards between you and your opponent, not only do you activate Slaanesh abilities more frequently, but you can also use specific command lines to draw to your opponent’s hand size, pulling even for a sizable momentum shift:
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Chaos deck without some dice manipulation to terrorize your opponent:
While these options are on average, weaker than those offered by Chaos Undivided die-modding abilities, you still have a variety to choose from, and their ceiling of effectiveness can be quite high.
Assembling the Decadent Masses
The force composition of our units is fairly straightforward: a mix of decent shooters backed up by equally decent yet fragile assault units. There are a few units, however, that deserve special mention:
Chosen of Balzaropht: I wouldn’t have written this article without being drawn in by the badass-ness of Chosen of Balzaropht. Armor boosting is incredibly rare (and awesome) in Chaos, especially in multiples, and so Chosen will quickly become a priority target for your opponents.
Amadeo – Dreadnought: Amadeo is a very interesting unit. It has a conditional but potentially devastating mass assault ability, which means it’s deserving of consideration. It’s “while charging” ability, however, can be equally devastating. Slaanesh has very few high-speed shooters, so charging Amadeo on your first BA – especially with a Chosen of Balzaropht at the sector to protect it – can let you directly shoot your opponent’s most valuable units.
Doomrider: Doomrider is the one of the few Slaanesh units from Pandora Prime that makes the cut for this deck. I’ve always thought that Doomrider was an underappreciated unit, with very strong stats and abilities offset primarily by its die roll. However, we are more than happy to play this unsung Daemon Prince. Zoomers these days better put some respect on Doomrider’s name!
Fiends of Slaanesh: I believe the power level of Fiends of Slaanesh has held up quite well through the game’s expansions. While it is by no means indestructible, it offers a wealth of value in a single card. A punishing reaction ability, high speed, potential for multi-unit removal, plus a flexible removal command line makes the Fiends a prime Chaos unit in my eyes.
Keeper of Secrets – While I’d love to include the fabulous goat-headed greater daemon, I don’t think there are enough daemons in the deck to justify its inclusion.
Subjugator Titan (errata-ed as Slaanesh) – One thing I noticed about Slaanesh is that is there is a glut of great units at the 2-die level. While Subjugator is a strong unit, I don’t think there are enough move/infiltrate abilities in the deck to warrant its inclusion over Xanthus or Amadeo.
Noise Marines – If it had a 4-die instead of a 1-die, I would absolutely use it (perhaps even alongside the Subjugator mentioned above). As it is, Noise Marines represents the “famine” end of Pandora Prime’s “feast or famine” power level.
Serving the Dark Prince
With this list, we are all set to begin our journey into depravity and excess. Good times! Have you played with the Slaanesh fleet card? What are your thoughts on this faction?