So it’s been brought to my attention that production of Zima ended 5 years ago, and the reason for its decline was an unpopularity that lead it to have more jokes made at its expense than drinkers. Which sounds strangely apropos for PSS, so I’m sticking with it.
In the last installment, we took a hard look at Tzeentch, a little twerp with a big mouth, and a veritable arsenal of dick moves to mess with the other gods, who wish they had the time to pound him into oblivion. Speaking of those dick moves, let’s look at Tzeentch’s Chaos deck. Also, let’s see how many times I can reference “dick moves” in this article.
Changer of Ways. Dick Move #1. With a bullet. This gem right here is one of the main reasons everyone is careful about how the timing of their cards. 0 Power cost, a Magic Symbol for your Dial counters, and we haven’t even touched the best part. This cancels the card in the other slot in this region. Did you just have a…um…moment? You should have. Look over the other cards in the other pieces of this series and think about how awesome it is to have the ability to just say “Nah. Not today.” No Battle Cry. No Plague Aura. No Insidious Lies. Nothing. Good day, sir! Khorne moves into Slaanesh territory only to find it’s suddenly become a Field of Ecstasy. And then just as suddenly, it’s not anymore. (Side note: I find it a little funny that there are so many cards who have a great side effect of “shift Khorne’s attention elsewhere”) You only have 3 of these, not the 4 (or you know, 10) that you desperately desire, but the *threat* of this card’s existence is enough to put all of the other gods on eggshells. Now, bear in mind, it doesn’t care about who is in the other slot. If you’re desperate for a dial click, you can use it and cancel another of your cards with a Magic Symbol to set yourself up for Dial counters, but hopefully you don’t find yourself that desperate. You can also use it to preemptively shut down plans others may have on your areas of interest. Once a Changer of Ways is down, that other slot is downright unappealing to any of the other gods. I SAID GOOD DAY!
Dazzle – “Give ’em the old razzle dazzle” Billy Flynn sang in the musical Chicago, suggesting that with the proper application of misdirection and theatrics, you can (literally) get away with murder. Well, unfortunately, we’re only looking at the dazzle and none of the razzle. It costs 2 Power and while it does have a Magic Symbol, its actual ability is only situationally handy. During the Corruption Phase, one Cultist in this region belonging to each of your opponents does not count for Corruption Token placement. At the right moment, it can swing you into a better scoring position on a turn where a region is being ruined, or force another player to overcommit lest their ruination be delayed a turn. (If you play it after they’re out of power, you remove the choice. See also: dick move) You can even use it to make it harder for Slaanesh or Nurgle to get a Dial Counter, but it’s a pretty expensive way to do that and does not come recommended unless the race for the Dial is especially tight. Oh! It does have another ability I should mention. It makes pretty decent discard fodder in the Draw Phase.
Drain Power – Dammit, I wasted the Power Glove slogan on another card earlier in the series. Also, this card is Dick Move #2. At a delicious 0 Power cost, this makes each opponent with a Cultist in the region lose a Power Point, and you gain 1. It’s important to note that it specifies Cultist, not just any figure, so be sure that you’re taking that into account with Nurgle or Khorne, who are likely to have Warriors placed as well. The best stall action in the game as it not only costs you nothing, but it simultaneously extends your options while restricting the others and shortening their turn. You only have 2 of these, unfortunately, but with Tzeentch’s insane draw power, you should see both of them. It’s not too hard to catch two people with this, and if you’re really lucky, you can hit all three, but they have long memories and short tempers. Tzeentch is not well known for being good in a rumble, which this card may be likely to inspire.
Teleport: Amazingly useful card that you get a blessed quartet of. For 1 Power, it allows you to move any Cultist or Warrior in this region to any other region when the card is played. This is one of the things that makes Tzeentch as flexible and as slippery as he is. You can use it to move your own figures anywhere on the board, instead of plodding across the board one region at a time. The ability to move around a lot is pretty important to a guy who everyone wants to strangle. You can also use it show uninvited guests the door. Specifically, other Cultists trying to horn in on ruinations that are rightfully yours, or to swing you into 1st or 2nd place. I also love to use this card to send one of Khorne’s Bloodletters into enemy territory (preferably where he already has people waiting to murder to limit his Dial run) so he can lay heavy into them. My personal favorite use of the card is predictably, a dick move. Use it on the first turn to throw someone’s first figure to a corner of the map that they didn’t want to start in. This only works if it’s their only figure on the board. Khorne has limited quick movement options, Nurgle and Slaanesh have none. This will not move Greater Daemons though, so be mindful of them. (I’m looking at you Bloodthirster)
Temporal Stasis: Shockingly, Tzeentch has another card that’s a total dick move and totally flexible in its application. For 1 Power, you not only get a Magic Symbol but you put a region on lockdown. It increases the cost of all enemy figures being summoned there and enemy Chaos cards Power cost by TWO. Ouch. Laying this down before others come into the region is a definitive declaration of “MINE” If someone *really* wants to get in on that region that turn, it’s going to be really hard for them to do so. And unless they’re bringing in a Greater Daemon (at a 5 cost no less) you can laughingly Teleport them away. This is a great card for when you want a place definitively all to yourself for a turn. It won’t boot out the people already there, but it will add a very steep cost to those who are trying to mess with you there that turn. It has two other dick move applications worth mentioning. First, if you play it early somewhere where you know Slaanesh or Nurgle would like to pile in that turn, you can stop that plan cold (and even take it over if you like). Second, you can also use it as a toll bridge to make movement between certain areas extremely difficult. Temporal Stasis in Troll Country makes Norsca very difficult to leave, for example. Early play of this card is vital to its effectiveness, as once your enemies have established presence in the place you want protected, it’s worthless.
The Meddling of Skaven: For 1 Power, and sadly, no Magic Symbol, you can force a single opponent with at least one figure in this region to discard two cards. This would be a potent dick move, except that every god has cards that they could care less about. It’s kind of difficult to gauge the power of this card because at the right time, it can be absolutely devastating…or it can be completely useless. and a waste of your Power. And there is absolutely no way to tell when is that crucial time. You roll the dice, and if you’re lucky, you put a serious crimp on another player. Or they discard two cards they weren’t ever going to play. Like The Skull Throne. Or Plague Touch. Overall, Slaanesh has the least fat in in his Chaos deck, which makes him the favored target for it, but even then, it’s still a crap shoot. Pending how you draw into them, you can really amplify the dick move aspect and keep the pain on one single opponent and force multiple discards, limiting their options. Be warned though, antagonizing someone like this can make vengeance their main priority. If that’s not something you want to risk knowing the human players, it still makes a good discard in the draw phase.
The Persistence of Change: An self-contradictory title for a self-contradictory card. Here’s the good news. It’s 1 Power for a Magic Symbol that takes up a slot. That is its primary use. It does have another technical ability that I suppose I should talk about. It reads “If you kill one or more figures in battle in this region this round, you may choose not to discard this in the end phase” allowing you to keep its huge 1 Power towards domination, 1 Magic Symbol for Dial Counters and slot limitation. All you have to do is A: summon figures that fight. B: have things to fight. C: hit them hard enough to kill them. D: do A, B, and C as Tzeentch. Oh, and don’t forget E: have an actual use for the Fabulous Prizes you have fought so hard to obtain. Fabulous Prizes I might add that just BEGS Khorne to drop a Battle Cry on, since the other slot is too busy being filled with something remarkably stupid to drop a Changer of Ways. I should have stopped reading after “if you kill” List keeping this card around as an unlockable achievement if you want, but do so with the understanding that Tzeentch is hard enough to play without trying to pretend you’re a combat hardened badass. Trying to fully exploit The Persistence of Change is a dick move you pull on yourself.
Warp Shield: A zero cost stall card good for delaying important decisions. Its actual ability doesn’t always come into play, but on occasion, it really shines. When you play this card, choose one of your figures in the region who cannot be killed in combat this round. This can ensure that you stick around to drop some corruption to help put you in a good scoring position. If you have set up camp somewhere apart from the rest of your troops via Teleport, it can guarantee you one turn of safe passage to establish a better foothold. You can throw it on your Lord of Change to see to it he survives to see two turns of kicking ass. Ahh, just fucking with you, chump. Why would you ever summon your Lord of Change? Maybe you’re trying to keep The Persistence of Change around. Which might as well be your new goal, because winning the game is clearly not. In keeping with the theme, there’s only one dick move I can think of here, and it’s dropping it where you are the only face in the region for Khorne to punch. Better still if he’s out of Power and can’t move to find easier targets.
Dick move count: 12. Onto Tzeentch’s Upgrades.
Acolytes- 3 of the 4 Ruinous Powers available Cultist upgrades are priority number one. Tzeentch’s is actually really terrific. It allows a Cultist that is being summoned from the board (and not your reserve pile) to take a Warpstone with him to his new location. This is a a crucial part of winning with Tzeentch either by Dial (Moving your tick condition s with you and exploiting your high number of Cultists) or by VP (using your high number of Cultists plus Warpstones to accelerate ruination). This is an insanely good upgrade and really enhances Tzeentch’s main strengths.
Horrors – Not surprisingly, the Horror upgrade doesn’t make a strong enough argument to warrant summoning Warriors. It allows a Horror to be summoned to an empty card slot, and while the Horror remains there, only you can play cards to that slot in that region. Uh…okay. So, theoretically, that’s not horrible, right? Locking down a slot guarantees that you get a card in a crucial region. Looking at Tzeentch’s selections, how truly important is this? It can make sure that if someone horns in on your territory, you can drop a Changer of Ways on them. Which is a completely telegraphed and easily avoidable move. It guarantees that you will have a free slot to drop a Magic Symbol if you need to stretch for the Dial Advancement Counter, but this isn’t a problem Tzeentch runs into often enough to warrant using an upgrade. It only lasts while the Horror is there. Now admittedly, Battle happens after Summoning, so you’re guaranteed one use of it, after which point Khorne sees a ripe little target that doesn’t want to move. What the hell else is a Horror doing for you? A single battle die won’t really matter much at all. Khorne’s readyfor the fight and accepts his lumps happily, Nurgle’s troops are all inexpensive cannon fodder, and by the time you have this, Slaanesh should have his Seductress upgrade. If this upgrade also made him count as a Magic Symbol, then it would be a solid argument. Still maybe not the best choice for upgrades, but not a completely bad decision. Bear in mind that picking this upgrade is effectively giving you access to a 2 Power cost Chaos card that protects the slot for a future card. And it only contributes 1 toward Domination. Would you pay TWO Power for that? Me neither. Even if that Chaos Card gets to swing with a single Battle die every now and again.
Lord of Change – Similar to the Warrior upgrade, this one simply does not warrant spending an upgrade because it doesn’t make your Greater Daemon remarkably better. Look at the bright side. Khorne lives and dies by his Warriors and Greater Daemon and his upgrades to them suck too. This upgrade makes the Lord of Change have two Magic Symbols. Ah-yup. Magic Symbols that don’t do a thing for you unless accompanied by two Acolytes. And then you’ve got 3 little pigs with a Dial counter just waiting for Khorne to come huff and puff and fuck shit up. Which he will. Khorne wins by slaughtering Cultists by the score, but let’s face facts, Khorne loves the chance to beat on a Greater Daemon, and the Lord of Change is also the Lord of Two Flimsy Defense. Even upgraded, moving him around is much more costly and much less flexible than dragging around Warpstones with your Acolytes upgrade.
Power of Magic – A very cleverly worded title as it does nothing of what it sounds like. Oh wait. It does exactly what it sounds like. 1 more Power Point is never anything to sneeze at.
Deluge of Magic – It’s a difficult call as to which is the better follow up to Acolytes, this or Power of Magic. Deluge of Magic allows you to draw up to 6 cards instead of 5, which increases your odds of seeing the lynchpin cards considerably. You probably could have seen them without the upgrade, but there’s no denying that this makes it easier. I don’t know if the deck reshuffles upon emptying off the top of my head, but if it does, that’s a solid point in favor of this upgrade. By the time you cycle all the way through, the game will be almost over, but a clutch fourth Changer of Ways sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?
Here are a few last pointers for changing ways while hopefully avoiding getting your ways changed, and by changed, I mean turned into a double helping of gore oatmeal.
Tzeentch is tough to play. It may take some practice to get his nuances down. Watch for opportunities and pay close attention to game state. Slaanesh has a shorter dial than you do, but you have better opportunities to gain Dial counters.
Tzeentch has strong delay and should be able to stall all of his most important decisions until close to the end of the round. This is a valuable strength with a steep learning curve.
Play to your strengths. You have more Cultists than anyone. They’re cheap, they’re plentiful and they are the backbone of your your flexibility.
Get your Acolytes upgrade first. Because doi.
If you can’t win two Dial spins, you should be able to make sure no one else does either.
Politicking is your friend. It’s easy to paint Tzeentch as non-threatening because he’s rarely in a clearly winning position. Use little manipulations to create *tiny* advantageous situations for other players…which can keep them off your back. Don’t get pushed around, but push back in a way that redirects the hostility rather than getting into a head on confrontation.
That about wraps it up here. In the next installment, we’ll discuss the similarities between Slaanesh and Prince.