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Im sure in future a similar topic will come up in the "Topic of the Week" posts, but this is just a unit i cant get my head around. Its been a rollercoaster reading the rules for the unit with both massive ups and downs and i cant help but feel they could have been better with simpler rules. I love the the ideas of the new rules but think they are poorly executed. Its almost as if they were play tested, decided they needed somthing different, so added a new rule, found them to be too powerful, so gave them a drawback, then found them not powerful enough and so on.
First you look at the basic profiles and rules.
1) Good WS and excelent S5 attacks (a bonus as Bull Centuars are only S4), but then you realise you only have 2 Attacks.
2) This is compensated by the fact that you get Stomp from being Monsterous Infantry. Its not amazing but it will do for now. It does however also mean they are likely to be on 40mm x 40mm bases.
Which leads to point 3;
3) 40mm x 40mm bases, and 2 Wounds. At this point your saying to yourself, "at least you must have a high T", but then you find your only at T4 (which isnt terrible, but with only 2 wounds you want T5 or to be on cavalry bases to minimise hits back from units.
4) But then comes "Bound Fire Daemon". This rule simply puts almost all your worries aside when it comes to your deffence. Then you get a 4+ ward save (other daemon playes in shock at this point), which increased further to 2+(!!!) against attacks which cound as flaming. So those units which take flaming magical attacks for ethereal and regen units get to hit you at T4, but you get a 2+ ward because its flaming. All in all a nice bit of work on this rule.
*5) I left this point until now because it works hand in hand if offence and deffence. "Blazing Body".
Offensively - This makes up for only having 2 attacks and Stomp, and also makes having a 40 x 40 base the best thing which could happen. All models in base contact take a S4 automatic hit, which counts as flaming. Its simply a great move as you effectively now have 4 attacks per model (although Stomp is restricted to the front rank and only useful on cavalry size models downwards).
Deffensively - Now, this is rule in combination with "Bound Fire Daemon", makes the lack of wounds and T4 seem insignificant. "Balzing Body", also means that any none magical attack (the wording is unclear as to if it counts to just combat or all attacks but it reads as ANY,) is at -1 to wound. This effectively makes the K'daai T5 against anything none magical.
At this point i'm saying to myself, "that for the points your paying, these guys are amazing, and i can see units making there way into my army", but then a hammer blow. The last rule, although they explained with a bit of fluff why its there, in my eyes at least, has ruined the entire unit.
6) "Burning Bright", Quite possibly the most pointless "power balancing rule" i have seen in a long time. Starting from the start of the second turn you must take a T test (on T4 i remind you), for every K'daai unit you have, and if you fail, that unit suffers D3 wounds (as shooting) with no saves at all alowed...
Now at T4 you are going to fail 1/3 of the time. (Sure you are going to get lucky some games, but other games i can see some units not even making it into combat unless your looking at 6+ models.) Combine this with only 2 wounds per model, if you fail a T test there is a 2/3 chance of loosing a model outright. It wouldnt be so bad if the models had 3 wounds or you could take a ward against them, but a flat out loss of a model is a bit harsh. For the cost your paying aswell its a high price to pay. The same kind of losses for other armies you would only ever see if you had a hex spell cast on you by an enemy.
This final rule has basicaly written out the unit from my competative army lists. They need to be in combat ASAP, but could do with being a little bit faster so they can be used as a flanking force. M6 is still pretty good considering the speed your dwarfs will be moving. For fun, a large unit of 6+ will be reall good, but you can see what i mean by a rollercoaster set of rules for this unit. There are some extreme highs, and some extreme lows.
Please share your opinions on the unit.
Over the course of a game, you're going to lose (on average) 4W from the unit, that's 2 models. I'm not sure yet as to what the points costs are, but this unit doesn't seem all that hideous. I'm playing the Tamurkhan book and planning on using a mixture of Daemons, Warriors, and some CD stuff in my army to see what I get. These guys don't sound awful, they sound pretty broken with their original rules (basically, 2W, T5 for most combats, 2A + 2auto hits, 4++ with a 2++ against flaming) the only way I see a unit of these getting taken off the table is through bad rolling from the Blazing Body or enemy magic.
Since they're monstrous, I'd run them in units of 10 if you can afford it, units of 8 at a minimum. Turns 1-3 expect to lose a model to 'Blazing Body', but with 4 in the back rank, you're keeping your bonus. Turns 4-6, you're going to lose another one, so that's either reducing you from 5 to 3 in the back rank (still a rank) or dropping you from 7 to 6, which is a reform into two ranks of 3. It's not that bad. It's a crap way to die, and on a bad day it could wreck the unit all on it's own, but it doesn't make them horrid. If you want to field them, I say go for it. If you're extremely worried, grab a Daemon and give him Lore of Life and just regen their wounds.