chaos in the old world strategy guide - Slaanesh

Winning Strategy: VP or Dial.
Followers: Defensive.
Chaos Cards: Domination, Control.

Key Points

Least Amount of Followers

Slaanesh has the lowest number of figures in the old world - he only has six cultists (Seductresses), three warriors (Daemonettes) and one greater daemon (Keeper of Secrets). This means that there is a pretty hard cap on the number of possible dial advancement counters that can be gained each round; that number is three, but if you count in your chaos cards and the Keeper of Secrets upgrade, you can possibly get another one or two. This also means that you won’t participate a lot in battles; not only your warriors and greater daemon are just four figures, but they also have the least amount of attack dice per power point cost; at the same time however, they are quite sturdy - both Daemonettes and Keeper of Secrets have the best defence values for their power point cost.

Shortest Dial

Directly assosiated with his low amount of possible dial adcancement counters that can be gained each round, his dial is the shortest in length - only seven ticks are required to get to the finish. Assuming you can manage a dial tick each round, you get a rough feeling about how long an average game of Chaos in the Old World should be, which is about 7 rounds more or less (as already indicated by the Old World deck length!). It’s very important to estimate the dial advancement counters each of the other gods will be able to get and try to manipulate the board with your chaos cards in order to secure a double dial advancement condition if that’s possible - that will bring you very close to a dial win.

Difficult Dial Advancement Condition

From all the Chaos Gods, Slaanesh arguably has the most difficult dial advancement condition; even Tzeentch gets one more Warpstone token, but he may even not care about it if he creates a dial advancement condition opportunity himself, using his chaos cards with magic symbols. During the first couple of turns, in which your cultists are generally weak, you’re better off trying to lay low and secure your dial tick in order to get tougher. Try to save your Noble tokens from early ruinations using your chaos cards, because otherwise you’re in a difficult position if you’re trying to win by the dial. As more tokens get added, you can use Hero tokens, too, because of the game’s twisted sadistic sense: since Slaanesh is the God with the highest threat scores (at least as you gain more ticks), you’ll get caught in a loop of placing units to secure dial advancement conditions from hero tokens and then losing your figures to the tokens; on the other hand, if you’re behind on your threat dial by other gods, the Hero tokens will kinda protect your region from intruder figures.

Difficult Starting Place

Slaanesh wants Noble tokens and those are only two at the start of the game. Not only that, but they may be far off one another, or in regions of low value.

Threat Dial

Slaanesh's dial
As written previously, your threat dial is the shortest one; unfortunately, the trend which is to offer some victory points at the first tick and an upgrade card at the second is also repeated for Slaanesh’s threat dial.
The ability that’s unique to his dial is his third tick, which adds two noble tokens to the board. Getting to three ticks earlier than the third round can be tricky, but the ability to place some additional nobles can be powerful, both as a victory-point gain mechanism and a defensive one - place them in different areas so that you can get dial adcancement conditions; remember though that your maximum number of possible number of dial advancement conditions are three and four or five under very exceptional circumstances; the only way for you to lose your Noble tokens early is to a quick ruination. Remember that initially there are only two Noble tokens on the board and that your situation depends a lot on whether those noble tokens are close to each other or not. The fact that there is a wide array of Old World cards that place Noble or Hero tokens, however, helps a lot.
The other unique feature of Slaanesh’s dial is just next to the victory tick - you get to remove two Old World tokens. The problem with removing Old World tokens with your threat dial bonus is that during the end phase of the game, the sequence of resolving effects that’s printed on each god’s power sheet states that first you resolve end phase Old World cards and then you get your threat dial ticks; this means that the bonus is not that useful against event tokens (unless you’re feeling lucky or you want to defend against an ongoing effect), but it’ll do a very good job at removing the other ones (Noble, Hero, Warpstone, Skaven and Peasant); the top candidates for removal are probably Hero tokens that are a nuisance if you don’t care for the dial advancement condition, Noble tokens that are out of your reach in order to stop your enemies (probably Nurgle) to get free victory points and Warpstone tokens to keep Tzeentch in check or, more rarely to prevent a region from being ruined (that’s because, again, according to the sequence of events at the end of turn, ruined regions are scored before threat dial ticks).


Cultist Upgrade

Your seductresses are, to put simply, the figures that will win the game for you, barring exceptional circumastances. Your four warriors and your greater daemon are just not enough - they only have an auxiliary purpose; besides, they are mostly defensive in nature and will mostly help you to control a region rather to act aggresively. This upgrade is of top priority, because it enhances your main units; a defensive upgrade will keep your cultists from dying with only one lucky hit and secure your precious dial advancement conditions.

Power of Pain/Power of Pleasure

It annoys me a little that you need to get both in order to really have a larger power point reserve than the other gods. It’s a simple: get two and one for free (like pizza!) and although it generally seems to me as being an average deal I usually end up getting them for my second and third upgrade, as the one is next to the other and I don’t have to wait long to utilize my additional power points. Slaanesh has the special benefit to act last in the player order, which may be invaluable as the game progresses: you can delay until all players have depleted their power point reserve and then start using your leftover power points in order to control enemy figures with your chaos cards to secure a win. In a situation like this, having the additional power points from these upgrades is a very good thing, but also situational - it largely depends on the chaos cards that you have drawn and whether you needed to use them or not. Another way to use these upgrades is to put some of your fighting figures on the board in order to score some quick-n-dirty victory points. Important note: another reason why this upgrade might be more worth it than the others for you last upgrades is the Hero tokens; you get dial advancement condition by investing your cultists in regions that contain your Hero tokens and if you’re going for a dial win (or even when you’re not), you’ll quite possibly have the highest threat score of all the players. The fact that a Hero token removes a unit of the player that has the highest threat score in that area means that if you’re investing in remote regions that no one cares about, means that you’ll definitely have to sacrifice some of your units, regardless of your threat score. So, since you’ll probably want to re-use your units, having these ugrades might prove handy when meddling with those pesky Hero tokens.

Greater Daemon Upgrade

I’m always fascinated by this upgrade and I usually find myself wondering whether I should get this upgrade or the power point upgrades, but almost always the power point upgrades win the mental battle. My first problem is that this upgrade only lets you control an enemy cultist or warrior - not a greater daemon; I know deep inside that an upgrade card like that would be extremelly potent, but now that I’ve got a reason to summon my greater daemon, I’d like my three power points spend in a good way, not (another pizza deal!) summon your greater daemon: get a cultist for free. If I could get a fourth upgrade card, this would ultimately be my choice, but I prefer going with my large power point reserve and my sturdy seductresses. I’m planning to playtest a Cultist, Greater Daemon & Power Point upgrade strategy soon and post the results - if you’ve already done such a test or have developed an alternative strategy revolving around this upgrade card, please share the results.

Warrior Upgrade

This upgrade seems to be very good to inexperienced players and I see it getting picked often and they are right - it’s actually a very good upgrade! The downside is that it only affects your three Daemonettes that will, as your greater daemon, rarely see any play, unless you don’t have anything better to spend your power points on. The greater daemon upgrade might be quite goon in the sense that it has the benefit that a strategy can evolve around it, but this is another boring defensive upgrade to your already sturdy warriors. Not to mention that if someone scores two hits in a region where you have warriors and cultists, he is going to completely ignore your Daemonettes that are not able to die (especially with this upgrade!) and are not really an offensive threat and immediately target your cultists. The only way that this upgrade is going to be useful, is if you follow a weird anti-Khorne strategy, to try and dominate regions with your heavily defensive units, backed by some of your chaos cards in order to get the victory points, but not giving him dial advancement conditions.

Chaos Cards

Slaanesh has a good deck of chaos cards that generally follow two main themes; they will mostly help you win the game by controlling enemy units or making it easier for you to dominate regions. Your chaos cards is another signature part of this Chaos God and if I had to describe them with one word, that would be ‘control’.
The worst thing about Slaanesh is that he doesn’t have a method of drawing additional Chaos Cards and that will prove to be a problem in many of your games; a control player’s main requirement for an easy victory is a large hand of cards, a lot like Tzeentch’s method of card drawing. For that reason, it’s important that you think through before playing or start spamming your cards. Also, remember that the game will last something around seven turns and you’re beginning with three, so that’s a total of approximately 17 cards, out of your deck of 24. This means that you will not draw all the cards, so, if you need multiples of a specific card, on an average game you’ll probably won’t get it. You’ll have to get into Slaanesh’s playstyle - he does have cards important to his game, but at the same time you’ll have to learn and adapt to the situation and when the time’s right to actually spend the card.

Domination (Victory Point Themed) Cards

Abyssal Pact - 0 pp

This card is somewhat of a double-edged sword, as it can serve multiple purposes beneficial to you, but it also carries a magic symbol, which can benefit Tzeentch. Fortunately, you’re last in the player order after Tzeentch and you can play it in a position that will not benefit him. Quite simply, what this card does, is to deny opponents to add their figures’ total to their domination scores for that region. The card has zero power point cost, which is perfect when you just want to stall, so that the board is already fixed and you just want to place your cultists in an advantageous position. You can also use it as an oppening move to discourage the other players to place their units in a region where you want to settle yourself, so don’t be afraid to use it early if that means that Abyssal Pact will increase your chances of getting that double tick early on. Normally, the card will target Nurgle most of the times, or anyone that meddles with your Noble tokens; alternatively you can use it as your finishing move against regions with lots of units, in order to deny both victory points to the other player and make him essentially lose many resources from placing units that in the end did not contribute anything (such as Nurgle using just his cheap warriors to dominate a region); of course, that might be a tricky move, because you might find that the chaos card slots for regions such as those get filled quickly. Abyssal Pact is also a direct counter to lots of Nurgle cards, like Influenza, Plague Aura, Stentch of Death and to Khorne’s The Skull Throne.

Insidious Lies - 1 pp

While Abyssal Pact clears the way, but doesn’t really gives you any power points, Insidious Lies does a very good job at dominating regions - sometimes it doesn’t even require the presence of your units! With this card you can easily dominate the weak regions if they just have a Noble or Hero token; I usually try to keep my Insidious Lies (and generally cards that help to dominate) for regions that provide a heavy victory point return - Kislev, the Empire, Bretonnia, Tilea, Estalia and especially if they carry Noble tokens you’ll score additional points. Another benefit of this card is that these regions are usually Populous, which means that you’re treading on Nurgle grounds, who loves ruining regions. For this reason, you can use cards that will help you dominate them, like this one, without adding extra corruption tokens; the benefits are twofold: first, you’re delaying the ruination of a region that carries precious Noble tokens until you get a Dark Influence card to move them to another region, while still scoring big victory points without investing much of your power points; of course this strategy might prove to be problematic, because you’re giving the most corruption tokens and thus the first ruination place, quite possibly to another god, but the net result might worth it; second, you’re free to move your cultists to other regions in order to dominate and/or ruin them. You can also employ mind game tactics when playing this chaos card, it can be used to screw someone’s resources to dominate a certain region almost too efficiently, at least if they dare to mess with your tokens.

Degenerate Royalty - 3 pp

This is another card that is similar to Insidius Lies and gives a flat bonus of three points to your domination score. However it assumes that you have to play it on regions that have already seen some action, since you’ll never want to pay its cost - rather, you’ll want to play it for free to ensure that you’ll dominate a region. That makes the card almost worthless if you get it for your oppening hand, since you can do nothing with it - it’s better if you summon your cultists and actually get a dial advancement condition and some corruption tokens in addition to dominating a region. A bonus of this card is that it states ‘three corruption tokens’, but it doesn’t care to whom those tokens belong! So you can have the others do the work for you and then start claiming regions. Again you’ll want to target the high-resistant regions with these chaos cards and just skip the low costed border regions - you can dominate them easily with a head start of three points, especially since it will be free. Another note is that this card doesn’t care about Noble or Hero tokens, which Slaanesh is all about, so you can use this to your advantage and surprise the other players by focusing on a region like Tilea or Kislev (add some of your Daemonettes for a guaranteed domination on the region) if they don’t have any tokens that are useful to you.

Perverse Infiltration - 0 pp

Play this for free: get a free corruption token in that region. The card is straightforward - since you can’t use it to get a dial advancement condition, you’ll use it solely for the chance to take part in ruinations, especially those that are not particularly close to your regions of interest (which means, regions that do not contain a Noble or a Hero token, at least in the vast majority of times). However note, that this card will not give you the ‘taking part’ in a ruination bonus, because, to qualify, you have to put corruption tokens in that region during the corruption phase. Of course, the downside is that you either have to time it well. It’s not so difficult to get the ruination of a region right, since ruinations occur at the end step; the most difficult part is mainly to get an open chaos card slot on your turn (remember you’re playing last in the player order, so if there’s a lot of hype over a region that’s close to being ruined, cards might get played) and for your token to actually to make it to the end step, as there are multiple effects (it’s kinda Nurgle’s theme) to remove corruption tokens. Thankfully, Nurgle won’t be able to remove your tokens with his threat dial bonuses if you play your chaos card in the same round the region is going to be ruined, as ruined regions are scored before advancing threat dials. Unfortunately, Perverse Infiltration won’t be able to do much more than getting you the second ruiner place and score you some additional victory points, but usually, unless the region that’s being ruined is far away, almost everyone will invest a single cultist in order to get some additional points, so remember to be careful. Another way of using it, due to your low number of figures, is probably to just ruin the regions you have invested in more rapidly.

Utility & Control Cards

Dark Influence - 1 pp

This card is quite versatile and helps you to offset some of the randomness of the game setup out of your game, in order to better plan your strategy. What’s most unfortunate is that this chaos card only allow you to move only a single Hero, Noble or Peasant token. So far, I’ve mostly used it to save my Noble tokens from ruinations in order to continue get additional victory points and dial advancement conditions. If, at the start of the game your regions of interest are far off one another, you can use Dark Influence in order to move your token to a more advantageous position, possibly in a middle region with high conquest value, in order to get more victory points. You can also move Hero tokens if need be, in order to kill units of other gods; this seems to be a valid strategy, but I usually won’t bother, since the domination step is before the Hero token resolution, so it won’t make much difference; of course, the other players will need to re-invest power points to summon their figures.

Soporific Musk - 2 pp

This chaos card is one of those that at first seem to be overcosted and underwhelming. However, I came to like this card very much and it’s one of the few that can be used as both an offensive and a defensive tool. The truth is that three out of four players in this game love their cultists and that their cultists are limited - it’s not one of those examples where you’re getting control of a unit that doesn’t make any difference and your opponent can just summon more - it’s like taking one out of eight, six or four of their cultists, which is a quite large percentage if you think about it closely. Now, this card hurts, but when you think about what its uses are, you’ll be positively surprised - you can take part in distant ruinations, you can transform parasitic cultists (like those Khorne usually uses) into your own, denying them victory points and making them yours. But most importantly, this card can win get you those precious additional dial advancement conditions and take you one step closer to winning the game. A related note is that if another player has upgraded his cultists, you’re receiving the upgrage’s benefit, too, at least for that cultist; it’s probably not that important, besides dominating Khorne’s cultists that is able to attack, as the others trigger their bonuses when moving. I’m not sure whether or not you still control the unit after that it’s left the region that you applied Soporific Musk to it in the first place. If anyone has any information on this subject, please comment.

Field of Ecstasy - 2 pp

I think this is a wonderfully solid control card: it has a reasonable price and the effect is simple, effective and powerful. It’s another one of those cards that screw someone’s power points, when he makes the mistake of over-commiting non-cultists to a particular region. You can also use it to secure a dial advancement condition or, again in the great scheme of getting double ticks, deny a dial advancement condition to Khorne.

General Strategy

Early Game (Turn #1 - #2)

Your early game depends a lot on the game setup situation. Remember that you’re playing last, so you’ll have some serious pointers about where each player wants to deploy his figures. You can use those zero-power point cards or just spam cultists on a Noble token in order to delay and watch as the board reaches a fixed point. If you’ve got a Dark Influence card, save it for later - it’s important to get dial advancement conditions, but it will be almost impossible for you to get the double tick that early in the game; you can just spam cultists in a region to quickly ruin it and use the Dark Influence to move the token to a more valuable region before the ruination occurs. Spreading your units to multiple regions might not be such a great idea, because you don’t want to give Khorne more dial advancement conditions. An exception to this rule is using your domination cards to score points in conjunction with your Daemonettes, which are quite tough. Remember that you want to be far from the action, but not too far. Tilea is probably a very good starting region if it has a Noble token, because it’s not Populous, so you’re safe from Nurgle and at the same time is next to a very high scoring region; another good choice is Kislev and Bretonnia. On the second turn you can also try and dominate a high scoring region using Degenerate Royalty.

Mid Game (Turn #3 - #4)

If you want to win by your dial, this is where you’ll have to get lucky, otherwise you’ll just have to switch to a victory point win by necessity; if Old World cards that do not add additional Hero or Noble tokens are drawn, you can try and use your third dial bonus in order to get the additional ticks needed. Otherwise, start laying some dominations on those middle regions and in addition put the Noble tokens on them, so that you get a higher return. Try to participate in ruinations and always try to get at least the second place with your Perverse Infiltrations - add cultists as needed.