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Welcome to Part 5 of my painstakingly detailed and hopefully accurate strategy assessment for Chaos in the Old World. In earlier volumes, I’ve showed you how to murderize people with Khorne and infect the masses with Nurgle. Today we’ll learn how to shake things up and keep everyone confused and unsure until you suddenly win.
Tzeentch represents an interesting dichotomy for me personally. He’s the Ruinous Power I enjoy playing the most, and he’s the one I’ve enjoyed the least success with. I consulted my friend and gaming wunderkind Curt on this one. Curt’s a great guy and a pretty amazing gamer. I knew that if he agreed with my points I’d be doing right by you, my audience of two, and if not, he would steer me back toward the light. Let’s get into it with the Architect of Fate. EDIT: Curt’s a busy guy and the show must go on, which means that if I’m wrong about things, he can publicly humiliate me in the comments!
I’ve talked a lot about Tzeentch. In Khorne’s article, I painted him as a guy you would want desperately to punch in the face and who just won’t let you. In Nurgle’s part, I described him as a potential monkey wrench to your works. He’s all of these things and more. And less. I like him for the same reasons that my favorite color in Magic the Gathering is Blue. He’s tricky, he’s subtle, he’s slippery. His power is not obvious. Which is a fine segue into the analysis segment of the article.
Hooray: Tzeentch and Slaanesh are both quite capable of winning by either Victory Points or by Threat Dial, making them double threats. Your dial triggers are not as geographically fixed as Nurgle’s or Slaanesh’s, and sometimes, those two help you establish new (if temporary) ones by playing Chaos cards with Magic Symbols. Tzeentch is more flexible than a Chinese acrobat turned stripper and a jack of most trades.
Booray: You have to be. A lot of your strategy depends on your ability to recognize opportunities, play risky odds and change on the fly. This is all very flavorful for Tzeentch whose whole schtick is about change and being fluid, but Tzeentch requires a higher play level of skill to really make him work. Mario doesn’t jump as high as Luigi or lift as well as Toad, but he’s stronger than Luigi, a much better jumper than Toad and passably good at everything. Same goes for Tzeentch. Play a tight game and with a little luck, you can out Dial Khorne or outscore Nurgle.
I’d like to clarify that the finesse required to succeed with Tzeentch doesn’t make him any less enjoyable, I’ve lost plenty of games as Tzeentch and had a great time.
Hooray: You are a corrupting madman with EIGHT cultists, more than any other god. This is one of the reasons you’re so flexible. With 8 figures capable of dropping corruption, it’s possible (albeit highly unlikely) that you can score up to 4 Dial Advancement Counters in a single turn! Please understand I am not advocating that as a strategy. It would be a cool accomplishment to achieve, like the Nurgle Dial Victory, but the odds of you pulling it off are pretty bad, and even if you could, it wouldn’t earn you a third Dial spin. That said, you should have relatively little difficulty scoring 2 or 3 counters a turn, which should put you consistently in a spot to take 2 spins or at the very least prevent someone else (like Khorne) from doing so. Also, 8 Cultists means up to 8 Corruption tokens dropped in a round. This means you can definitely take a lot of Top Ruiner and 2nd place scores as well, and you should have a hand in most ruinations.
Booray: Your other figures might as well not even exist. Your Warriors are terribad and neither help your victory conditions nor effectively keep antagonists off your back. Your Lord of Change is the laughing stock of Sgt. Pepper’s Greater Daemon Club Band. The upshot of this is that with that many Cultists, you don’t need these jokers.
Hooray: Cards, cards, cards. Tzeentch’s ability to cycle through his Chaos deck is completely unmatched. Khorne can do it with some luck, but it comes to you naturally. Where the other gods are drawing 2 cards per turn, you have the option to discard a card (which should be exploited as often as it makes sense to do so ) and then fill your hand to five. Boosh. With this kind of crazy draw power, you should be playing a LOT of cards. Like 3+ per turn, every turn, if for no other reason than to cycle to your key cards quickly.
This is one of Tzeentch’s key strengths and is unique to him.
Booray: Haters gonna hate. Not only will other gods be jealous of your high octane draw power, but in order to really abuse this power (which is necessary to win), you have to play a lot of cards. Aaaaand it just so happens that a lot of Tzeentch’s cards are total dick moves to the other players. And you need to play them. Which means that everyone hates you, and not even in the same way they hate Khorne. They hate him but they won’t antagonize him, because they know that he can (and will – with great joy and fervor) pound them into burger. On the other hand, Tzeentch is a 90 lb wimp with a smart mouth just begging for sand to be kicked in his face. In fact, without ever having intent to do so, you’re annoying a lot of people. When they see a chance to hurt you somehow, they’re likely to take it. It was never (or rarely, or frequently) personal on your end, but good luck convincing them of that.
The Changer of Ways is unquestionably the most difficult of the four to play. I’ve seen Tzeentch win on a number of occasions, and not one of them was as clearly defined as the wins of Khorne, Nurgle or Slaanesh. It’s always a come-from-behind or a tightly contested race. It’s easy to play any of the four “wrong” (speaking as someone who has before bungled the very straightforward Khorne) especially if you’re new to the game. With any luck, my series will help you to get a faster grip on the nuances of the game; but even then, playing Tzeentch is kinda the “Hard Mode” of Chaos in the Old World if the relative play skill of the four is roughly equal. It’s not to say that he’s at a distinct disadvantage. He’s just got a little steeper of a learning curve, and has to play a lot more politics than the other players. That all said, winning with Tzeentch, which is totally doable, is a total rush. That is awesome in and of itself.
Next time: Tzeentch’s tricksy Chaos cards, Upgrades and other reasons why the other players will desperately want to throttle you.