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D.R.A.I.C.H. - Bathing the Druchii way: Cauldron Of Blood 
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Noble
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:05 pm
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On the field of battle, Death Hags can be accompanied by two lesser hags and a Cauldron of Blood, a sacred artifact to Khaine. This unique war machine is a force multiplier which boosts other units, but cannot do any fighting itself unless the enemy chooses to engage it. Also, coming in at a minimum points cost of 200 points isn’t exactly cheap for a character that cannot do any damage to the enemy. That’s why some dismiss the cauldron as unworthy of a proper Druchii general, who would like to get his hands dirty in blood himself (unless the blood is his own). But Death Hags don’t care who sheds the blood, as long as Khaine is pleased with fresh sacrifices. So how and when to use this trickery cauldron?

Size matters… does it?

Most people only include the Cauldron of Blood in an army of 2000 points or more. The points cost of 200 points which doesn’t leave many other options open is usually the deciding factor. I myself start using it from 1500 points, which is the earliest when I can squeeze it in without hurting the numbers too much. I do not take any magic in those games, although a scroll caddy would be good. My reason for including the cauldron is that at 1500 points, I start to see “mini-death stars”. Having a unit of Black Guard with all the goodies, a unit of Cold One Knights, some shades and the ever reliable hydra provides me with more than enough candidates to take the offensive (or defensive) blessing.

I myself don’t use any Khainites (or at least not in such small points), I rarely find them effective for their cost (or should I say: not so reliable as ASF Black Guard). But the main factor to include a cauldron is not “the points size”, it’s the army build. In my case, I have a few units that can perform a solid hammer role, and with a little touch of Khaine, the hammer hits so much harder. This is one of the ways to use a cauldron, but not the only one. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The price to pay

Some find 200 points and a hero slot too high a price to pay for the cauldron, especially since it cannot pick its own fights. Let’s look at it from another point of view: the cauldron is very flexible, and has multiple options available:
a) Make it the general: with leadership 9, it isn’t half bad, and putting it in the middle of your main line, which you should do anyway, will provide the benefit of her leadership on your units.
b) Make it the BSB: if you are close enough for the passive benefits, you should be in range for the 12” re-roll.

The additional blessings it provides to units within 24” are on top of this. You need a general anyway, and if you’re investing in a BSB for the re-roll, you might as well take this option. The only drawback is that it cannot join units, and thus not provide the +1 to CR for being the BSB to other units that actually can pick their own fights.

To say that the points cost of the COB would net you an extra unit is true, but can that unit do what the cauldron can? Especially considering that all available blessings aren’t available to units (safe the Hydra Banner) in any other way. The versatility it provides is enormous, as now every unit is more capable to perform the job they are supposed to do. More importantly, the benefit can be applied where needed.

The best reasons to prefer the COB to an extra unit:
- Reliable force multiplier: It enhances so much any unit that it nature changes (SSS corsairs or hydra with KB? - Stubborn Execs or GW Shades with 2 attacks?) - and this is 100% reliable!
- Adaptability: you select the most advantageous unit to be blessed considering the battlefield, rather than deciding beforehand when writing your army list.

It is this adaptability & reliability which make the COB worth considering in competitive lists. But remember to make the whole army list with the COB in mind. Some even compare it to a mage who knows three spells of which one is always successfully cast, does not cause a miscast, cannot be dispelled in any way, and is less vulnerable to mage hunters than our sorceresses. However, the comparison pales a bit when taking into account a magic heavy army, where the power dice generated by the extra mage do help towards making the other mages more successful, but if you’re going for more combat prowess and light magic support, the cauldron is often better than a magic missile. And she only costs a little more than a fully equipped level 2 sorceress.

A scroll caddy and a cauldron cost about as much as 2 level 2’s, and often the blessings provide more benefit than the amount of spells dual level 2 sorceresses can get through the defences of an opposing army (depending on enemy magic defence and your playing environment). There is a slight protection hit due to the amount of available dispel dice, but you can use the Ring Of Hotek without any problems.

Another option is taking two Cauldrons. After all, if the cauldron is so great, why not? Make one COB general, one COB BSB in a heavy infantry list! Hmm, this actually isn't so great. Firstly, for two COB, you pay twice the price and take 2 hero slots, while you don't get twice as much benefits:
- fewer Khainite units to become stubborn,
- while it is always obvious to find 1 unit to bless with tremendous benefits, more often 2 units won't yield that much reward. And you're not allowed to double bless a single unit, the one in the centre of the battle heat, with 2 COB. The cost/benefit decreases when you take a 2nd COB in small armies. Wait for 3k battles!

Equipment yay or nay?

Beefing it up is a way to ensure your cauldron can weather anything your opponent dares to throw against it, but also costs a lot of points.

Shooting it isn’t so easy: fully two-thirds of all hits are randomized against the cauldron and will be ignored. Those hits will then be randomized between all characters in the group, so another two-thirds will hit the hags. All can then use their 4+ ward save. And if the attack was magical, it might have been dispelled by the magic resistance!

Most notable the combination of Banner Of Hag Graef, Rune Of Khaine and Manbane makes a nasty surprise for your opponent. It allows the Death Hag to dish out between six and eight attacks, wounding on 3’s, before the attackers have had a chance to strike. Add in another eight hatred poisoned attacks from the attendants, and you’ll see where this is going. This kit however comes with a prize that can well be spend on other things, including a small bodyguard for your cauldron. If you decide to spend less points to increase the survivability of the cauldron, the Hand Of Khaine should work well, to reduce the effectiveness of incoming characters. Some also prefer the Hand Of Khaine over Manbane in the first setup, because the units that would be capable of engaging the cauldron are light support units, and Manbane is next to useless against them. It also allows the Death Hag to challenge and minimize the number of incoming attacks.

The Banner Of Hag Graef should be sufficient protection against light troops as they will usually be munched, and heavy shock troops will still break through, no matter the gifts. The benefit of equipping your cauldron as such is that it can be used more offensively, right in the middle of the battlefield, making it hard for your opponent to ignore. Chariots and heavy cavalry can still take care of it though. The only other serious contestants for the Banner Of Hag Graef are Black Guard, but they only need it when charged, and that’s where the 5+ ward blessing of the cauldron comes into play. On the other hand, that blessing can’t be used to give a more offensive blessing… Also note equipping your cauldron with extra gifts and a magic banner won’t make it any harder to shoot down, and while not easy to do so, concentrated fire can take a heavy toll.

Another noteworthy opinion is to look at the rest of the army. If you army mainly consists of cavalry, scouts and monsters, the cauldron will be left behind quickly. She doesn’t have a unit to babysit her, so she must protect herself. The Banner Of Hag Graef is a good option in doing so, especially if there’s no infantry to benefit from the ASF banner. In short, if you have no better candidates for the Banner Of Hag Graef, and some points left over, you might as well give it to your cauldron as an extra protection, if it suits your playstyle. After all, 35 points for the ASF banner is cheaper than buying a babysit unit just to protect it, and suddenly it can operate alone much better. In a fast army without infantry, you don't need the ASF banner on another unit and the extra protection is very much worth it.

Some feel any magic banner is a waste of points, and in part I agree: since the cauldron itself cannot engage into combat, you’re spending points that aren’t efficiently used unless your opponent decides to charge you. The Banner of Nagarythe is an exception to this, as it confers benefits not only to the cauldron, but also to the units around it. This is one hefty priced banner however, and only works with an army build around maximizing it’s advantages.

But for 350 pts, the thing is unbreakable and has +2CR to start so it takes well care of itself! Sure, the banner does nothing to help the Hag stay alive, she relies on her own talents. But it's not often killed in one turn and rescuing her will be easy. I myself find paying 350 points for +2 CR and being unbreakable a bit over the top if you can be rerollable stubborn with +1 CR for 125 points less. So I wouldn't include this banner unless you've got a MSU/MSE army to also provide the secondary benefits.

The general opinion if your opponent charges your cauldron is: don’t worry. Most opponents will send light support units, something the cauldron can withstand even without any additional equipment (causing terror also helps out a lot). And heavy troops will munch through anyway, though it’s not the best use of resources from your opponent. And if the cauldron withstands a charge from a light support unit and can manage a few wounds, it might even outnumber the enemy which will almost automatically be broken. The hags can all issue challenges to try to stay alive longer, and benefit from a 4+ ward save. And by clever positioning of your units, you can manage inbound charges.

One useful trick is to place your cauldron out of line of sight. Behind a unit or even better, in a forest, it becomes a real pain to take out. Since the cauldron’s blessings don’t require any line of sight, it can safely park somewhere out of sight, safe from enemy rebuttal. Flyers will remain a problem though. That’s where a wood comes in handy.
Another trick is to line up your units as such that a charge always results in a combined charge. Suddenly the enemy is faced with two units instead of only the intended cauldron. A big block of warriors with static combat resolution, or ASF Black Guard work very well for this purpose.

Finally, our most versatile harpies can be employed to redirect, screen, and act as a speed bump for our cauldron. Other good bodyguards include a small squad of executioners, who will stubbornly defend the cauldron till their last breath, and hit back very hard, or a unit of Repeater Crossbowelves, who can shoot any support send their way.

I however, prefer a little more aggressive play, and use the cauldron in my rear lines. Light support will be cleared out by harpies, dark riders and crossbows first as to gain movement control, and the bigger blocks and heavy cavalry will have bigger worries than trying to trap a cauldron. Even if the battle goes badly for me, and one flank collapses, I find my cauldron usually survives until turn 5 or 6, after which battle will be decided already. If I’m on the winning hand, my cauldron will remain untouched.

Web of Shadows

There’s one little item in our army book, not often used, called the Web Of Shadows. Even though the item remains far too expensive and situational, Killing Blow does transfer to those attacks, making it a nice sniper item. I still don’t feel it’s worth it though (2d6 attacks will on average get one killing blow), and I’m not alone in that opinion.

12” bubbles

While the cauldron’s blessing may extend 24”, there are a few other effects (not just from the cauldron) with a range of 12” that may influence its placement. Consider this:
- Ring Of Hotek has a protective bubble of 12”
- The cauldron makes every Khainite unit within 12” stubborn
- Units within 12” of the general can use his leadership
- Units within 12” of the battle standard bearer can re-roll failed break tests

These options can be combined, to form a protective bubble. Your Death Hag with cauldron may or may not be your battle standard bearer or your general, but being able to reroll break tests on your general’s leadership is mighty fine indeed. This might make a Khainite line very hard to punch through, and with clever use of the blessings granted by the COB, a daring prospect for the enemy!

Since the cauldron is a war machine and also Khainite, it can only be joined by Khainite characters, so you’ll have to find someone else to carry the ring. Also, since only Khainite units benefit from being stubborn, you could spread some Death Hags around to make mundane units stubborn. Suddenly even blocks of spears become extremely hard to get rid of. Beware, for Death Hags are frenzied, and may charge out of the unit if you’re not careful. Death Hags also have a tendency not to wear too much clothes, meaning they don’t have much protection against enemy assassination attempts. A smart opponent will just direct his attacks versus the Hags, and your stubbornness vanishes like melting snow.

Assassins on the other hand are a bit better protected then Death Hags, by having Always Strike First. They cannot give their Leadership to units though, but when operating alone, they become stubborn, as such static combat resolution doesn’t hurt them as much as it should. With the Rune Of Khaine and Always Strikes First, they should be able to clear enough enemy troops to not get hit back, and stay alive and slowly grind through units (this is where flanking also comes in handily, as even when you fluff your rolls, you’ll get less attacks back from elite units and cavalry). This tactic also has a certain synergy with the Banner Of Naggarythe, which would in that case confer +1 combat resolution to every assassin operating alone within 12” of the banner. Beware though, assassins do not like ranged attacks! As such, having an assassin join the cauldron crew and charge out or use his rending stars is a very acceptable protection tactic.

Goining Khainite or bolstering the battle line

Nothing screams out “battle line” more than three units of elite stubborn infantry (witches, execs, and already stubborn by nature Black Guard). Good luck trying to punch through that!

Both Executioners and Witch Elves have great synergy with the cauldron because of their Khainite rules. However, Executioners are somewhat reliant upon the +1 attack blessing of the cauldron to be truly efficient. And while Witch Elves have great potential, they are somewhat lacking against heavily armored troops, even with the Banner Of Murder. Killing Blow helps here, but conflicts a bit with poison. Both of these troops are thus likely to find their place in a cauldron list, whereas they wouldn’t be of much use without the cauldron (depending on your play style of course).

As a support unit, the COB can also be used solely to bolster your existing combat units. I’ve used a cauldron with great success without any Khainite units at all, and must say that when used right, the blessings can make the difference between winning or losing a combat, and thus, the battle.

Our hydra is great in combination with the cauldron. With a 5+ ward save, it becomes nigh indestructible, and with a more offensive blessing like Killing Blow, it can dish out 13 killing blow attacks at the enemy. Also, Black Guard are an ideal candidate for an offensive blessing, as they are already one of our best units, they can be made more lethal, thus making them even more efficient. Likewise, my Cold One Knights have decimated a unit of Chaos Knights on the charge thanks to the +1 attack blessing of the COB.

Black Arc Corsairs are one of those units that have tremendous synergy with a cauldron. When equipped with the Sea Serpent Standard, they have three attacks a piece, meaning that with a seven wide frontage they are likely to score three killing blows on the enemy.

Let’s not forget dark riders! They are our fastest non flying unit, and with spears on the charge their combat prowess is only so-so. But with an extra attack, they are excellent against light or medium armored units and characters, and I even used the killing blow blessing on them to mage hunt those annoying warrior mages. For the surprise effect, you might join them up with a master. A master can be given a lance, be it magical or mundane, and add in this way some serious punch to dark riders. Even better, your opponent won’t know what hit them. Caledor’s Bane is particularly nasty in this respect, as a dark rider unit with master armed with this magical lance and blessed with +1 attack can usually engage in the second turn, and punch out four strength seven attacks and ten strength four attacks, excellent for taking out key targets that aren’t too heavily armoured. Even if they have a fearsome armor save, the four strength 7 attacks should take a heavy toll. This is not counting the attack of the mounts, and we all know they do the most damage on a cavalry charge! Even if this sounds like a suicide charge, there’s a good chance your master will escape pursuit against slow moving enemies and survive to bolster another unit in subsequent rounds.

Another unit that just begs for a cauldron's blessing are shades. That’s right, our nimble scouts can become quite fearsome. Give them +1 attack when used with Great Weapons, or Killing Blow when equipped with two hand weapons. Due to their skirmishing nature, they are able to make some charges other troops would have trouble with, by ignoring difficult terrain and having 360° line of sight. And with repeater crossbows and an excellent ballistic skill, they are very versatile troops indeed, threatening up close and from afar.

Unless you're going with an evasive army, the cauldron is almost always of some benefit.

Disadvantages: cover yourself up!

Since the cauldron costs a fair bit of points and a hero slot, it will leave little options open of including magic (since magic quickly becomes very expensive pointwise, and takes more characters slots to become more efficient). Therefore, it is often used with a single scroll caddy and the Ring of Hotek for magic defence (or no magic at all for the few brave or foolish). Also, it moves as a warmachine and is therefore very slow. Your infantry units will be sitting ducks to ranged attacks. The answer to this is obviously screening and support, but even more than normal. Take note screeners can use the leadership of the general if within range.

At movement 5 with no marching or charging allowed, the COB is slow. And I mean, sloooooooooooooow. Even slower than a chariot. Only RBT are slower - but their range is amazing.

With that, it is difficult to reverse the point of pressure from one side to the opposite. Your intentions are clear. For best balance, heavy shooting or magic will “cover” your units on their way in: two reaper bolt throwers provide an excellent base for suppression, and units of ten repeater crossbow elves with shields are excellent screeners that can also engage enemy shooters and support units. Against light support units, they can even be expected to hold the line. Corsairs with Repeater Handbows are also a good screening units for few points, and one that is missile resistant to boot. Heavy magic will costs lots of points and you’re missing out on combat characters, but it might pay off if you feel comfortable spending lots of points on your heroes.

Should you play an evasive/avoidance army, you will not get much use out of the cauldron, and it will be hard to defend and feel totally out of place. It’s main use is to augment the combat phase, something these armies try to avoid as much as possible. In this case, I would deem a cauldron as “not worth the hassle”.

Count your blessings

At the start of each turn, the COB can bestow a blessing upon a single unit within 24”, making that unit potentially more dangerous. The blessing is chosen at the start of the turn, after psychology and stupidity checks (no need for +1 attack on stupid knights). This also means your opponents gets to react to the blessing, and choose to flee from a charge of which he otherwise would have held. That’s right, the effect of the cauldron is also psychological. Your opponents will hate it.

Choosing the right blessing at the right time is part of the game. But what blessings to give and where? Here are a few pointers, though it’s very situational and requires some practice.

5+ ward: this is the blessing to give to a unit that needs to be protected from ranged attacks, or that is expected to take a charge next turn (unless they also have the Banner Of Hag Graef, in which case an offensive blessing is also defensive). Giving this blessing to your most expensive infantry unit makes sense: you don’t want your Black Guard shot up before they reach combat do you? It’s also possible to give this to a hydra to intercept the nastiest enemy hammer before it reaches you, so your support can charge in. Do not give this to a unit that cannot be spotted by the enemy! Also, giving this blessing to a unit usually means another unit will take the brunt of fire, so don’t think your blessing was wasted: it’s the psychological aspect that counts.

+1 attack: This blessing enhances units with already strong attacks. Great weapon armed shades, Executioners and Cold One Knights are usually a no-brainer for this. Take note, even a lowly S3 attack can be a strong attack if your opponent has little to no armor, so sometimes less truly is more.

Killing Blow: On the other hand, sometimes even two attacks from halberd wielding Black Guard aren’t enough to punch through armor. It’s at those times, the Killing Blow blessing really shines. The more attacks a unit has, the more chances it has to roll that 6. This blessing works excellent with (frenzied) corsairs and Witch Elves.

Black Guard are one of those units that fall somewhere in the middle. Depending on the toughness and the armor of the enemy, they might benefit more from the +1 attack or the Killing Blow. Anyone care to number crunch?

Words of wisdom: blessing the cauldron in itself is usually a bad idea, as it’s unable to charge, and thus the effectiveness of the blessing is decided by the opponent. You always want to keep the pressure up and retain the initiative, therefore the blessings are best used first to beef units in combat or about to charge first. If there are no such targets available, it’s safer to bestow the ward save on a unit that you really want to keep at full strength, or expect to take some form of punishment next turn. The exceptions here are again units that are about to be charged and expected to be able to strike back, be it through having the Banner Of Hag Graef or by being able to withstand the charge. In that case an offensive blessing may be better to prevent that charge from occurring in the first place. This requires some thinking ahead.

Advice when playing: don't forget to bless.

One thing that's hard to remember is to use the Cauldron's Ability at the Start of Turn. In order to avoid telling later to your opponent "by the way, sorry, I forgot to tell you, but the blessing is...", you can tell you opponent before battle starts: "if ever I forget to tell, the blessing is the same as before" or "If ever I forget, then it's my BG who gets 5+ ward save." Also immensely useful is a customized reference sheet. Start of the turn: terror, stupidity, cauldron blessing.

Note: I once blessed my COK with +1 attack, only to realize I hadn't tested for stupidity yet. Luckily they passed the test, cause that would look really stupid.

Cauldron of Blood vs Hydra Banner

Now this is an interesting comparison. The Hydra Banner can be used to give a unit of Cold One Knights (or any other unit for that matter, though the knights are the most obvious candidate for the role) extra attacks.
The cauldron can do the same for about the same points cost (give or take). The Hydra Banner BSB usually adds another six attacks to the melee, as well as extra attacks to the mounts. However, the Hydra Banner is only used a few times during the game (when the unit is in combat), whereas the blessings of the COB are used every single turn. The Hag does not add herself to combat resolution though.

In this case, the key is versatility. While the Hydra Banner is clearly a superior choice for an extremely hard Cold One Knight unit (or death star), the cauldron’s blessings are a far more beneficial army wide. This is where the army build comes into play. If you build a Cold One Knight unit just for this purpose, the Hydra Banner is a given. But like the Hydra Banner, the cauldron requires an army built for it.

A clever opponent will try to abuse the hatred rule to render your ultimate unit useless, feeding it little guys while the big guys focus on the rest of the army. In this aspect the cauldron is clearly a better choice, because once you bestow the blessing, you can immediately act on it.

A small note: the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Six Cold One Knights (including Death Knight) led by a Hydra Banner BSB blessed with the +1 attack of the cauldron punches out twenty-four strength six attacks, and another fourteen strength four attacks from the Cold Ones. Add in Malus to negate stupidity (would be a shame if you failed that test, no?) and the Banner of Murder on the Cold One Knight standard bearer and you should have a ridiculous amount of active combat resolution. This is true death star that comes with a hefty price tag, and will usually fail to make it’s points back, but wouldn’t it be fun just to see the face on your opponent?

On the field of battle

A few examples of cauldron armies are always interesting to look at. Here’s a sample army from Mr. Anderson, which uses a big executioner unit in conjunction with the Banner of Hag Graef Death Hag BSB to create a truly devastating unit. His list goes something like this:

Characters
Hag BSB - Rune of Khaine, Manbane (200)
Hag - Cauldron (200)
Noble - Ring of Hotek, Heavy Armor, SDC, Shield (144)

Core
20 Warriors - FC (155)
10 Repeater Crossbowmen (100)
10 Repeater Crossbowmen (100)
5 Dark Riders - Muso (92)
5 Dark Riders - Muso (92)
5 Harpies (55)
5 Harpies (55)

Special
10 Witch Elves 100
20 Executioners (for a 7*3 formation with the BSB), Banner of Murder (295)
5 Shades, GW (90)
5 Shades, GW (90)
Assassin with Manbane, Rune of Khaine, Thouch of Death, second hand weapon (171)

This list is 60 points short of the 2000 points mark. His main tactics is to use the dark riders, harpies and shades to hunt down enemy mages, and in combat there isn’t much that can muscle with that unit of executioners, especially not when stubborn and boosted with an extra attack. He has a few other options too, but the execs unit will be the biggest threat on the field.

Silverheimdall on the other hand spreaded his options a bit more among three special choices, and came up with this :

Characters
Death Hag - Cauldron of Blood (200)
Death Hag - BSB: Standard of Hag Graef, Rune of Khaine, Manbane Poison (200)
Death Hag - Witchbrew, Rune of Khaine (140)

Core
24 Warriors - FC, War Banner, Shields (208)
Assassin - 2 Hand Weapons, Rune of Khaine, Manbane Poison (146)
5 Dark Riders - Mus (92)
5 Dark Riders - Mus (92)
5 Harpies (55)
5 Harpies (55)

Special
13 Executioners - FC (186)
14 Witch Elves - FC, Banner of Murder, Hag: Manbane Poison (180)
6 Cold one Knights - FC, Ring of Hotek, Standard of Slaughter (262)

Rare
War Hydra (175)

1991 Points, 86 Models

Two solid combat units, both of them stubborn, and some heavy knights and a hydra as hammers, also the perfect units for receiving a blessing from the COB. Are we beginning to detect a trend here?

Finally, after some digging, I also found this list by Daicon. It was one of the few lists I found that uses our three special infantry blocks to form a stubborn battleline.

Characters
Dreadlord - Crimson Death, Armour of Darkness, Pendant of Khaeleth (225)
Cauldron of Blood (200)
Assassin - Rune of Khaine, Touch of Death, Add. Hand Weapon (151)
Assassin - Rune of Khaine, Touch of Death, Add. Hand Weapon (151)

Core
10 Crossbow Warriors - Shields (110)
10 Crossbow Warriors - Shields (110)
10 Corsairs (100)

Special
6 Shades – GW (108)
18 Executioners – Full Command, War Banner (271)
18 Witch Elves - Hag with Manbane, Banner Of Murder (254)
17 Black Guard - Full Command, Ring of Hotek, ASF Banner (316)

1996 points, 95 models

A very good model count, and a very hard battle line… but he is missing some fast stuff and some reapers to force the enemy to come to him. The shielded crossbows are a good choice for this army, performing double duty as shooters and screeners, while the corsairs are there as flankers or screeners. Magic and shooting will be a problem indeed, so maybe exchanging an assassin for a scroll caddy and downgrading the dreadlord into a cheaper master so he could buy some harpies/dark riders/a reaper would make this list more survivable in those phases?

Anyway, this battle line is one of the nastiest we can field, and if he’s going against a pure close combat army, he’s going to have a field day…

EDIT: FleshCollector (promising name!) has a variant on this concept which has a bit more of those elements this list lacks, although it's a higher points value. Take a look at the comments!.



Finally, I’ve got an army from Dyvim Tvar which I found very interesting myself:

Characters
Master - Manticore, Deathpiercer, Armor of Darkness (330)
Master - Lance, Heavy armor, SDC, Shield, Dark Pegasus, 2 x RHB, Ring of Hotek (185)
Death Hag - Cauldron of Blood (200) (Death Hag will be the General in this army since she will be centrally located)

Core
20 Dark Elf Warriors - shield, standard (146)
10 Dark Elf Repeater Crossbowmen – shield (110)
5 Dark Riders - repeater crossbow, musician (117)
5 Dark Riders - repeater crossbow, musician (117)
5 Harpies (55)
5 Harpies (55)

Special
14 Har Ganeth Executioners - Draich-master, Standard (192)
14 Har Ganeth Executioners - Draich-master, Standard (192)
5 Cold One Knights - standard, musician, War Banner (184)
5 Shades - Great Weapon (90)

Rare
War Hydra (175)
Reaper Bolt Thrower (100)

Total 2248 points

This army has a bit of everything, and a very good model count. Notice that with a cauldron in the army, all the above lists contain units of 20 warriors, as well as great weapon shades. These units are dramatically improved when there’s a COB available, because of the possibility of giving them a blessing will make even the most experienced general think twice about turning their flank towards them while focusing on the more imminent combat threat of the executioners.

Cauldron conversions

Some people complain about the Cauldron of Blood model, in particular the statue of Khaine. It’s a bit static. I fully agree. However, I’ve spotted some ace conversions on this board. Here’s some of them:

This one belongs to Shooter, and uses the Nightbringer model:

Image

Here’s a nice idea from Karth with the Eldar Avatar:

Image

Lord Veshnakar goes for the corsair look:

Image

Simple yet effective from Silverheimdall:

Image

There are others, but these are just a few examples. If I missed yours, or you know of another excellent one, don’t hesitate to post a reply with a pic or a link!


Last edited by Thanatoz on Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:40 pm, edited 20 times in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:23 pm
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Generalissimo
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Awesome awesome article with a swathe of really good and helpful points and tips. I love my cauldron to bits and will definitely use a lot of the ideas in here to help claim new victories for the blood god :) Thanks so much for doing it :) :)

Quote:
As such, hiding an assassin in the cauldron crew and charging it out is a very acceptable protection tactic.


Can Assassins hide in warmachines? I know that shadowblade can hide in enemy warmachines, but thought assassins could only hide in our infantry units? I don't have the book on me, so might be completely off on that one though...


Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:48 pm
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Noble
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2008 12:05 pm
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What are you talking about? ;) That line clearly reads:

Quote:
As such, having an assassin join the cauldron crew and charge out or use his rending stars is a very acceptable protection tactic.


Ignore the edit message on the bottom of my post, that's clearly a typo that won't go away.*



*On a more serious note, I was under the impression you could, but after checking the book it appears I was wrong. You can still join the assassin with the Cauldron to protect it, you just can't hide it in there. :P


Last edited by Thanatoz on Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:07 pm
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It is good to see the Cauldron in the D.R.A.I.C.H. The item has become the centerpiece of my army.

I did not realize that adding a stubborn character to a non-stubborn unit allowed the unit to be stubborn, which is a significant addition to our options.

I would like to offer another list for view, as it is undefeated vs adept and veteran players and worthy for go. In the end I found the list needed the RBTs and so removed the Shades which I love so much but ended up with 6 fast elements to cover and deflect incoming nasties until the three stubborn blocks make bloody contact with the unfortunate advasary.

The master goes with the Blackguard to help protect the fragile ringbearer from those vicious sniper spells and securing that precious bubble of magic repelent. For the most part, the list is self explanatory, but requires finess to engage the targets you want without getting out-maneuvered while maintaining cohesion.

Its just plain ugly when the combat ensues with an infantry list that works exceedingly well. Model count aint that bad neither.


2250pts

Death Hag
*CoB

Death Hag BSB
*RoK
*Manbane
*BoHG

Master
*Dark Steed
*Heavy Armor
*SDC
*Sh
*Lance
*3 Null Stones

10 Crossbows w/ musician, shield
5 Dark Riders w/ rxb, musician
5 Dark Riders w/ rxb, musician
3x5 Harpies

18 Witches w/ cmd, Manbane
17 Executioners w/ cmd, BoCB
19 Blackguard w/ champ, RoH, BoM

2 RBT
1 War Hydra

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Last edited by Fleshcollector on Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:11 pm
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Compliments, Thanatoz, for your great article. :D
With a notewothy effort on researches about many different aspects, tactics, army lists, P&M, it fully encompasses and summariezs all aspects desired. All of this with enjoyable style and humour, clear presentation and impeccable typing.
That's a top quality article. Even better then the previous 3, which were already outstanding.

Thanks mate!


I deleted all the previous hyperlinks from the D.R.A.I.C.H.
Thanks for including a few leftover ideas as I suggested.

EDIT: interesting use of a COB:Cauldron of Blood moves 5?
CoB BSB with MB, RoK and the ASF banner, and nothing will get though it.
Its the cost of a unit of DR, to take the CoB from difficult to the ultimate killing machine. Versus WoC without shooting its hilarious watching them try to deal with it.

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Last edited by Calisson on Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:42 pm, edited 13 times in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 8:02 pm
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Indeed thank you very much fellow Druchii! I really enjoy in the DRAICH project :)

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Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:05 pm
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FleshCollector wrote:
It is good to see the Cauldron in the D.R.A.I.C.H. The item has become the centerpiece of my army.

I did not realize that adding a stubborn character to a non-stubborn unit allowed the unit to be stubborn, which is a significant addition to our options.

I would like to offer another list for view, as it is undefeated vs adept and veteran players and worthy for go. In the end I found the list needed the RBTs and so removed the Shades which I love so much but ended up with 6 fast elements to cover and deflect incoming nasties until the three stubborn blocks make bloody contact with the unfortunate advasary.

The master goes with the Blackguard to help protect the fragile ringbearer from those vicious sniper spells and securing that precious bubble of magic repelent. For the most part, the list is self explanatory, but requires finess to engage the targets you want without getting out-maneuvered while maintaining cohesion.

Its just plain ugly when the combat ensues with an infantry list that works exceedingly well. Model count aint that bad neither.

Death Hag
*CoB

Death Hag BSB
*RoK
*Manbane
*BoHG

Master
*Dark Steed
*Heavy Armor
*SDC
*Sh
*3 Null Stones

10 Crossbows w/ musician
5 Dark Riders w/ rxb, musician
5 Dark Riders w/ rxb, musician
3x5 Harpies

18 Witches w/ cmd, Manbane
17 Executioners w/ cmd, BoCB
19 Blackguard w/ champ, RoH, BoM

2 RBT
1 War Hydra


I really like this list. I feel it's better than the one I posted, though it's hard to compare when the other one is at 2k points while this seems 2250 points. I feel the list with the three large special blocks has great potential, but sadly my collection doesn't have the execs or the witches yet, and I'm obliged (by myself) to first paint my remaining stuff. Thanks for sharing, I'll link you in the article, this list deserves a mention.

Calisson wrote:
Compliments, Thanatoz, for your great article.
With a notewothy effort on researches about many different aspects, tactics, army lists, P&M, it fully encompasses and summariezs all aspects desired. All of this with enjoyable style and humour, clear presentation and impeccable typing.
That's a top quality article. Even better then the previous 3, which were already outstanding.

Thanks mate!


Now you're making me blush. :oops: Excuse me, I think I have some blood in my eye. From all the manly fighting, of course. Merci beaucoup!

PS: good luck trying to read through all the previous threads.:P When I compiled them in a word document, it was over 40 pages. This article was 10 pages after all the shrinking and summarizing. It has been in progress for a few weeks, but decide to make some extra effort after seeing a few COB threads popping up in the tactics forums.

EDIT: holy :twisted:, you've already done that? It took me at least a week before I had digested all that info:?


Arhain Cynath wrote:
Indeed thank you very much fellow Druchii! I really enjoy in the DRAICH project :)


Glad you like it. And fellow Druchii is correct (assuming Druchii is plural). My articles for the D.R.A.I.C.H. are mere summaries of extensive discussions held by members of this very community. Remember, you can be a participant too. ;)


Last edited by Thanatoz on Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:32 pm
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Quote:
Glad you like it. And fellow Druchii is correct (assuming Druchii is plural). My articles for the D.R.A.I.C.H. are mere summaries of extensive discussions held by members of this very community. Remember, you can be a participant too.


Sure, but I spend too much timeon 40K to be wise with the Druchii. I lack of experience but count on me when I get some info to share! :)

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Wed Nov 18, 2009 9:36 pm
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Quote:
EDIT: holy , you've already done that? It took me at least a week before I had digested all that info:?
Did it as you wrote!
That's quicker when you can compare to the written article.


Quote:
My articles for the D.R.A.I.C.H. are mere summaries of extensive discussions held by members of this very community.
I can testify that your article is much, much better than the sum of all that has been written before!
Sure it is very helpful to start with all these opinions, but you've done much more than rearranging and synthetizing. Some ideas there are truly original.

That's the good point in wrtiting: the writer's knowledge improves as much as his readers!


And thanks for advertizing goodwill people into the D.R.A.I.C.H. project! ;) Arhain Cynath, c'est quand tu veux!

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Last edited by Calisson on Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:12 pm
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Great read! I didn't glean much from it myself, but I have been using the COB since the 7th ed book first came out and before. It will defiantly be informative for anyone wanting to use the COB though and it is a very complete article, I was struggling to think of something to contribute, but I think you have all the basses covered. I even thought about posting my list, but it isn't a great deal different from silverheimadals list. I am puzzled why so many would take warriors in a COB army though, I feel they lack any synergy with the COB. I can only see them using the blessing with any success reactively against a charge, but then you essentially loose the blessing on your turn.

Great COB conversion pics, I am a big fan of the forge world one and the big squid is awesome. I am also planning a COB.

Quote:
There’s one little item in our army book, not often used, called the Web Of Shadows. Even though the item remains far too expensive and situational, Killing Blow does transfer to those attacks, making it a nice sniper item. I still don’t feel it’s worth it though (2d6 attacks will on average get one killing blow), and I’m not alone in that opinion.


Is this true? I know this was discussed briefly after the book came out, but the general consensus was that the blessing did not transfer to the web of shadows. If it is true, the web becomes slightly less crappy.


Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:10 pm
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dread_knight666 wrote:
Great read! I didn't glean much from it myself, but I have been using the COB since the 7th ed book first came out and before. It will defiantly be informative for anyone wanting to use the COB though and it is a very complete article, I was struggling to think of something to contribute, but I think you have all the basses covered. I even thought about posting my list, but it isn't a great deal different from silverheimadals list. I am puzzled why so many would take warriors in a COB army though, I feel they lack any synergy with the COB. I can only see them using the blessing with any success reactively against a charge, but then you essentially loose the blessing on your turn.


Warriors may need to charge too. That turn they can use the blessing if no one else is there. But I think they are mostly there for the static combat resolution as a complement to the active combat resolution of the more killy units. After all, you might win on the charge with Black Guard or execs, but an additional 5 or 6 combat resolution can't hurt now can it?

dread_knight666 wrote:
Great COB conversion pics, I am a big fan of the forge world one and the big squid is awesome. I am also planning a COB.


Forge world one? I didn't know FW had a cauldron? Couldn't find it either. I think the above ones are all conversions, but I don't recognize all the parts.

dread_knight666 wrote:
Quote:
There’s one little item in our army book, not often used, called the Web Of Shadows. Even though the item remains far too expensive and situational, Killing Blow does transfer to those attacks, making it a nice sniper item. I still don’t feel it’s worth it though (2d6 attacks will on average get one killing blow), and I’m not alone in that opinion.


Is this true? I know this was discussed briefly after the book came out, but the general consensus was that the blessing did not transfer to the web of shadows. If it is true, the web becomes slightly less crappy.


It is true, the attacks become killing blow. Still not great though. That's why the cost is 50 points though. Your "slightly less crappy" says it all. I still would never consider using it.


Thu Nov 19, 2009 6:25 pm
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Thanatoz wrote:

Forge world one? I didn't know FW had a cauldron? Couldn't find it either. I think the above ones are all conversions, but I don't recognize all the parts.

Forge world Avatar of Khaine. In 40K Eldar may field an avatar of Khaine (for any of you out there who don't know 40K), and forge world have a gorgeous resin alternate sculpt of him. He is the guy the Mantra studio model is converted from.

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Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:00 pm
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Great Article! An excellent job of taking a bunch of spread out knowledge and consolidating it.

The reference to Forge World is probably about the Avatar, not the cauldron.

The only thing missing here is a reference to the D.R.A.I.C.H. thread on Witch Elves and the various uses of the COB with them. You got most of it, but there is an interesting army build that uses the COB, Crone Helebron and small units of WEs to great effect.

Overall, this is really good (did I say that already!) and thanks!

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Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:05 pm
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Quote:
Warriors may need to charge too. That turn they can use the blessing if no one else is there. But I think they are mostly there for the static combat resolution as a complement to the active combat resolution of the more killy units. After all, you might win on the charge with Black Guard or execs, but an additional 5 or 6 combat resolution can't hurt now can it?


Granted if you have nothing else to bless than your all out of options, but warriors are just about the last thing I would bestow a cauldron blessing on. Buffing a unit with +1A or KB is great, but the results are minimal with warriors. Which is why I exclude them from my army, as their synergy with the COB is limited IMO. I prefer to maximize on units that can take full effect.

If I don't have any heavy hitters able to take the blessing and no need for a ward, I will pick DR. DR can usually charge something, hopefully in the flank/rear and +1 attack on the charge for them is good. I started running champions in both my dark rider and shade units, because they started seeing more combat and I felt the +1A and BS made it worth taking, but I am on the fence again and have dropped them for now.

Quote:
Forge world one? I didn't know FW had a cauldron? Couldn't find it either. I think the above ones are all conversions, but I don't recognize all the parts.


Sorry, the large eldar statue carrying the cauldron is actually a forge world eldar avatar model, converted to carry the cauldron. Really cool though.


Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:09 pm
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sulla wrote:
Forge world Avatar of Khaine. In 40K Eldar may field an avatar of Khaine (for any of you out there who don't know 40K), and forge world have a gorgeous resin alternate sculpt of him. He is the guy the Mantra studio model is converted from.


I thought that guy looked huge, but I've never seen one IRL. :lol:

quinn wrote:
Great Article! An excellent job of taking a bunch of spread out knowledge and consolidating it.

The reference to Forge World is probably about the Avatar, not the cauldron.

The only thing missing here is a reference to the D.R.A.I.C.H. thread on Witch Elves and the various uses of the COB with them. You got most of it, but there is an interesting army build that uses the COB, Crone Helebron and small units of WEs to great effect.

Overall, this is really good (did I say that already!) and thanks!


Great addition, will post a link when I can find some time. And thanks for the compliment!

dread_knight666 wrote:
Quote:
Warriors may need to charge too. That turn they can use the blessing if no one else is there. But I think they are mostly there for the static combat resolution as a complement to the active combat resolution of the more killy units. After all, you might win on the charge with Black Guard or execs, but an additional 5 or 6 combat resolution can't hurt now can it?


Granted if you have nothing else to bless than your all out of options, but warriors are just about the last thing I would bestow a cauldron blessing on. Buffing a unit with +1A or KB is great, but the results are minimal with warriors. Which is why I exclude them from my army, as their synergy with the COB is limited IMO. I prefer to maximize on units that can take full effect.

If I don't have any heavy hitters able to take the blessing and no need for a ward, I will pick DR. DR can usually charge something, hopefully in the flank/rear and +1 attack on the charge for them is good. I started running champions in both my dark rider and shade units, because they started seeing more combat and I felt the +1A and BS made it worth taking, but I am on the fence again and have dropped them for now.


I totally agree with you, and that's also how I like to play. I never find the points anymore for my warrior unit, cheap though they are, there's always something better to include it seems.

But, if you're relying heavily on the Cauldron to form the stubborn line within 12" with the general's bubble, the protective Ring of Hotek bubble and the BSB re-roll, I can certainly see the value of using warriors for their static combat resolution. Blessing them is indeed a bit desperate, they are the worst candidate in our army to receive a blessing, as only crossbowmen have fewer S3 attacks.


Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:34 am
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hey i just read it and it's great but there's only one thing i'd like to know:

Quote:
Our hydra is great in combination with the cauldron. With a 5+ ward save, it becomes nigh indestructible, and with a more offensive blessing like Killing Blow, it can dish out 13 killing blow attacks at the enemy


how can a hydra possible do 13 attacks?
is there some item that boost it's attacks or is it just a typo?

i'd really like to know that one :P

thank you very much for this great article

gramash

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Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:28 am
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Seven from the hydra and six from the handlers. The handler attacks are S3 armour piercing, but when blessed with killing Blow they too become lethal to heavily armored units.

Thanks for reading!


Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:52 am
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Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! It was a great read and extremely informative. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. I will use what I have learned in my upcoming experimentation with the COB.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:11 pm
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Congratulations Thanatoz! This is a really good artikel - thank you.


While I can follow you the most of the way, I would like to discuss weather the cauldron would suit a magic heavy or evasive army just as well as a regular block army.

Take a look at my MSU army here: http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?t=64453


My point is, dark elf infantry blocks like the black guard are usually good enough to beat their advesaries in close combat - blessing or not. Executioners can be really good with hag graef banner and blessing - its an expensive combination though. Without hag graef banner executioners are proberbly still worthless in large numbers, even with the cauldron.

The cauldron can be used for protection but the +1 attack is proberbly the best. Since you can only bless a single unit per turn, why would it not worksuperbly for an evasive army? Small low point units like 7 shades or 5 coks can move from flankers to devastators with a blessing. And since shades can also shoot, you can pick which units fight and which evades and shoot. The enemy is chasing shadows while he realises that every tiny unit in my army is a potential threath to his meanest fully ranked regiments.

I mean 7 shades deal 14 ws5 s5 attacks with hatred. 5 CoKs deal 10 ws5 s6 attacks and 5 ws3 s4 attacks. Both can crush ranked regiments and none cost more than 135 points.

The cauldron is most effective when you only have 1-2 battles going per turn - not when you crash an entire line of troops into the enemy.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:57 pm
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I like your list. Too be honest, I'm not that comfortable with that style of play, but I can see it working.

My biggest problem is that the Cauldron itself is real slow and that's the weakest link. Also the RBT and the crossbows are somewhat low on the mobility side, and with stupidity things can go awry. I like a good tarpit, though I agree this list can be hard to catch. Why not mount the sorc on a pegasus for really evasive play?

I do like the idea of multiple GW shades units, as they are indeed awesome.

Thanks for posting your list and your thoughts, I appreciate it. I might soon try a build like this.


Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:27 pm
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Very good article!

Also it's very cool to notice that one of my army lists is given as an example. One thing to note is that in that list, I use the Death Hag as the general. The two other characters are on flyers, and so the Hag is almost always more centrally located and in a better position to share her leadership with the troops.

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Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:08 pm
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Thanks a lot!

I liked your list a lot and included because I found it highly original (non-conventional) but still seemed competitive.

If you've got some additional feedback about list changes in the meanwhile, feel free to post them.

EDIT: I took a look at your army pics, and your Cauldron conversion is very nice! Too bad I missed it for the article, but I strongly encourage everyone who wasn't done so already to click the link in Dyvim Tvar's signature!


Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:54 am
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