Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness – Beginners 1,000 Point Army

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What’s in the box……!?

1 Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk
5 Chaos Knights
10 Chaos Warriors
16 miniatures, including a mounted hero and five cavalry

One of the best things about the Start Collecting! boxes are the savings, which are usually great. In this case, (as of 18/06/22 in GBP) the box is £65… What do you save, you may ask…. Well, that’s a bit of a complicated question, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk isn’t available in any other way and the newer knight and warrior models are also only available in this set…. Oof.

Aside from this, these sculpts are push-fit and the two units do not include options for either banners or standard bearers which you will want. This means that, in order to have units working at their full potential some conversion is needed, which isn’t brilliant for a starter set presumably aimed at beginners.

There are some minor options available – two head options for the Karkadrak Lord and head options for the warriors (male and female which is cool). There’s also the option to build a Doom Knight champion, with a Doom Flail, for the Chaos Knights to give extra Doom.

Unfortunately, the nature of the kit does mean that only one of the four potential Chaos Warrior option weapon fits is available, as these are hand weapon and shield warriors only. In addition, only the lance option is available for the Knights (other than the aforementioned Doom Knight option).

The push-fit nature of the sculpts does also present a bit of a tricky painting problem as there are some hard to reach bits and sub-assembly may be a bit fiddly.

These sculpts are excellent though, very dynamic but close enough to the originals to fit nicely in in with the rest of the range. They also don’t have markings for any specific god so can be painted to suit your taste in appalling extra-dimensional overlord or overlords. A great update to classic sculpts.

As mentioned, the Chaos Lord on Karkadrak sadly isn’t available in any other set and so there really isn’t any way to give yourself much variety if you wished to run more than one…. though I don’t know why you would.

A separate Chaos Warrior regiment set, with the older sculpts, is available direct from GW at £35 for sixteen(!) warriors. The sharp-eyed amongst you will have noticed that this isn’t a good number as the minimum unit size is ten, so you will have more hotdogs than buns. On the flip-side, whilst these are older and more static sculpts, which were designed to rank up for Warhammer Fantasy, they are multipart and do have banner and musician options.

This older kit can be built with either shields or two hand weapons but if you want halberds or great weapons you will need to spend a bit of money. GW used to make upgrade kits for these options but have discontinued them, sad to say. It is possible to make some quite convincing halberdiers though by using the spears from the separate Chaos Knight kit, if you choose to build your Knights with Ensorcelled Weapons.

For separate Chaos Knights, with the older sculpts, you will need to find £36 for ten. YMMV on this but I don’t think this is terrible value though I do really like the aesthetic of the kits. This multipart offers all of the build and command options and fits in reasonably well alongside the Start Collecting! knights, though perhaps not so well aesthetically as the warriors.

Who or What are Slaves to Darkness then?

The Chaos Gods are the ‘Big Bad’ of the setting and have had a huge trove of lore written about them over decades, so please forgive the rough edges of what follows…..

These are extra-dimensional representations of mortal drives and emotions become self-aware and turned up to eleven. These ‘Gods’ destroyed the Old World (does this mean GW is actually Chaos Undivided?) and are intent on corrupting the Mortal Realms and doing it all again. The Chaos Gods are reflections of mortal drives and emotions and seek to drive mortals further and further down the path of dedicating themselves to those drives and emotions. There are separate books for those purely aligned to a single God and their Daemonic footsoldiers. The Slaves to Darkness book is more for those who are still holding their cards close to their chest before playing a hand they can’t win. Chaos Undivided is the worship of all of the Chaos Gods, if you enjoy buffet food for some reason then this may be the option for you.

Slaves to Darkness are the (largely) mortal worshippers of Chaos Gods who are still sampling the buffet and have not yet dedicated themselves (entirely) to a single God, though they may have a Mark which bestows some Godly favours.

Unit Review

Chaos Lord on Karkadrakk

This got a slight points drop after the book was released from a slightly bonkers 250 to a slightly less bonkers 225.

Our Karkadrak can move 9″ and comes on a 90 by 52mm base which can be useful in blocking off an enemy move and generally being a bit annoying.

At 9 wounds Look Out Sir! is available, with a 3+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save this is moderately survivable but can’t stand with any serious melee threats for too long.
Your healing options in Slaves are limited so be aware that, if focused, this Lord will go down quick. This is a sad truth of Slaves, in my opinion, your generic Lords are not the melee terrors they were in The World That Was and if you try to use them like they are you will suffer.

The Karkadrak does have a plethora of attack profiles though – five with a total of 13 attacks!

These aren’t great though, most are zero rend with six at -1. Your Karkadrak does have a heal effect with their axe, if it slays an enemy with the weapon it can heal D3. On the charge the Karkadrak can deal D3 damage to each enemy unit within 1″ on a 2+

The Karkadrak may be best described as a moderate utility buff hero and not an anvil or a beat stick. What buffs though….? Well, Slaves units receive buffs from nearby heroes with the same Mark. Plus, the Karkadrakk has a Command Ability which buffs Chaos Knights and Chariots wholly within 18″ giving them reroll charges and +1 to hit. This means that, if you wish to lean into Knights and Chariots, the Karkadrak can be a fun addition.

Chaos Knights

These are currently 170 points for a five and sadly often used more like semi-survivable chaff rather than delivering the hammerstrike you may be wishing for, I am afraid you need to look to Varanguard for that.

Knights have a 10″ move which is OK for cavalry and a 75 by 42mm base. Knights also have a 4+ save and a 5+ mortal wound save with 3 wounds. Their big bases are helpful for screening but again they won’t survive prolonged attention.

Command options include a champion, standard bearer and musician. The Doom Knight champion gets an extra attack and can take a flail with a 2″ range and D6 attacks. IMHO both the Ensorcelled Weapons and Cursed Lances outclass this but YMMV.

The Standard Bearer (1 in 5) adds plus one bravery giving a potential bravery 8, it’s free so you take it but I do usually find this unit is either OK or just blows up….

The Hornblower musician (1 in 5) adds plus 1 to run and charge rolls, which is always a great buff.

Knights are apparently scary *cough*, so their Horrifying ability subtracts one Bravery from enemy units with a model within 1″…. ahem.

Are they actually scary though? Well, with Ensorcelled Weapons they’re putting out 3 3+ 3+ -1 rend 1 D attacks…. plus the 2 4+ 4+ – 1 D attacks from the horses. We have the lance variant from the Start Collecting box though which gives us buffs on the charge (2 damage and -2 rend) but is less effective in a prolonged melee grind with only 2 attacks and hitting on 4s.

Knights sadly don’t do great damage and can’t really take a punch.

Chaos Warriors

These clock in at a whopping 200 points for ten. They do have 2 wounds though and taking mark of Tzeentch can help their resilience, which really spikes in units of ten or more though (+1 to save taking them to 3+) so if you are looking for that you will need to pile in 400 points or lose it quickly.As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.

We all know dual wield should be the correct option, with a dove fly-by, but sadly only giving reroll hits and losing the mortal wound repelling ability of the shield (5+ MW ignore) simply isn’t worth it.

Great Weapons are another cool choice but again the loss of the shield is a huge blow, though the pip of rend is nice.

Halberds give us a 2″ reach, compensating for the 32mm girth, with the trade off of a 4+ rather than 3+ to wound and may be a nice option for a large block of warriors, allowing more to attack.

The only option in our start collecting box though is hand weapon and shield, giving 2 3+ 3+ 0 rend 1 D attacks, I haven’t found Warriors very killy in any variation but they can do some work against light armour and can be considered an OK anvil.

As mentioned, Warriors have a range of weapon options – Hand weapon and shield, Great Weapon, dual hand weapon, halberd and dual wield.

Points mean prizes

At the time of writing the Start Collecing! box clocks in at a fairly respectable 595 points and immediately fills our core requirements for a 1k game of a hero and two battleline.

Should you buy multiples of this set?

Well, in the current meta definitely not (and possibly not even one….). They are fantastic models though and really give the heavy metal theme of Slaves to your army. You will have a bit of a samey feel to your army though due to the lack of variety in poses and will need to do some work to create your command models.

So, a 1K army list might look like this:

Allegiance: Slaves to Darkness
Damned Legion: Ravagers
– Grand Strategy: Hold the Line
– Triumphs:
Chaos Lord on Karkadrak (225)
General
– Artefact: Mark of the High-favoured
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
– Ravagers Command Trait: Master of Deception
Chaos Sorcerer Lord (135)
Ravagers Command Trait: Bolstered by Hate
– Spell: Mask of Darkness
10 x Chaos Warriors (200)
Hand Weapon & Shield
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
5 x Chaos Knights (170)
Cursed Lance
– Mark of Chaos: Khorne
10 x Chaos Warriors (200)
– Hand Weapon & Shield
– Mark of Chaos: Tzeentch
9 x Untamed Beasts (70)
Mark of Chaos: Khorne

Total: 1000 / 1000
Reinforced Units: 0 / 2
Allies: 0 / 200
Wounds: 78
Drops: 6

Battalions to taste.

Chaos Sorcerer Lord

This makes good use of our box and adds in a wizard with a teleport and an extra couple of wounds, courtesy of Bolstered by Hate. Our Karkadrak Lord now has an 18″ range on their Aura of Chaos and so can buff your Khorne units from further away, in addition Master of Deception subtracts 1 from hit rolls of melee attacks directed their way.

An extra block of warriors gives our wizard a body guard and a nice target for their teleport spell to go objective grabbing. Untamed Beasts round out our points and are a good cheap screen with a cheeky pre-game move.

Untamed Beasts

A nice trick in Ravagers is the ability to summon in models via the General which you can rotate through your heroes. This summoning is more impactful in smaller games and the ability to bring in ten marauders is very nice. You will need to pick these up though to effectively round out your list (I would suggest twenty marauders) but these models will be useful as you expand to 2000 points.

All in all I think this is a nice fluffy list which will be fun and meets our heavy metal theme from the Start Collecting! box.

What will it cost?

SetGBP £USD $EUR €AUD $
Start Collecting: Slaves to Darkness£65$110€85$165
Battletome: Slaves to Darkness (2nd Ed)£27.50$45€35$70
Chaos Sorcerer Lord £11$16.50€13.25$22
Chaos Warriors £35$60€45$75
Untamed Beasts£42.50$70€55$110
Total£181$301.50€233.25$442

With the above you’ll end up with 10 additional Warriors for when you look to expand to 2,000 points. You’ll also have a Warcry warband, which is nice. As always, shop around. You’ll be able to find retailers who’ll offer 15-20% off the prices above. If you live in the UK sign up to SCN Hobby World and join their mailing list, with them you’ll receive 25% off GW prices!

If you want pure metal though, buy a second Start Collecting! and use everything from both, excepting the second Karkadrak….. I am not saying it’s great on the table but you can turn the volume up to eleven and headbang your way to a 0-5.

So, is it a buy?

Overall, I would say yes…. it was a buy for me. I picked one of these up and use all of the units in most of my Slaves to Darkness lists. They look cool, especially if you like the heavy metal aesthetic and are a truly great reimagining of classic Warhammer Fantasy units. They do currently lack a bit of juice on the tabletop but who knows what a new book and a shaken up meta might bring……

Speaking of which, with a new Battletome coming for them later this year, it’s likely they’ll also receive a new Vanguard boxed set much like the other factions.

But, until then prepare your claim for whiplash injuries and bellow to the uncaring skies “For The Everchosen”!

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