In the Chaos Daemons codex there are two units which really give me a boner; Flesh Hounds and Seekers. Ok I lie about the Seekers, I do not think they are that interesting. I think they are ok so don't get me wrong, just I see the internet saying how awesome they are and not a lot of people seem to give the Flesh Hounds a second thought. I think it is time for a deep look, return of the X vs Y!
The humble Flesh Hound costs the same points as a normal Tactical Marine, you get a profile almost the same except WS5, W2, A2, LD7 and a might 6+ save. The Flesh Hound is also unit type beasts and beasts are pretty damn awesome in 6th ed.
Naturally the Flesh Hounds have the daemon special rule so they get a 5+ invulnerable save and also have the fear special rule - also has the daemonic instability rule which means auto pass pinning, morale and fear tests, and if the Daemons lose combat the unit suffers one wound (no saves allowed) for every point failed leadership by. Do not forget roll a double 1 and all models return but roll a double 6 and the shit will really hit the fan.
Flesh Hound is a Daemon of Khorne and has the furious charge rule and has hatred (Daemons of Slaanesh).
Flesh Hounds also have the scout special rule :)
Only wargear Flesh Hounds get is the Collar of Khorne which gives +2 to deny the witch rolls.
Now we know what Flesh Hounds can do lets put them against a unit of 10 x Tactical Marines, both units are about the same cost:
10 x Tactical Marines overwatch - 20 shots - hit 3.2 - wound 1.6 - 0.58 saved - one unsaved wound on a Flesh Hound
Flesh Hounds get 30 attacks - hit 19.8 - wound 13.06 - 4.44 dead Space Marines
Marines attack at the same time with 12 attacks - hit 6 - wound 3 - 1 dead Flesh Hound
In this case the Flesh Hounds are clear winners in close combat.
So the Flesh Hounds are pretty handy in combat, which you would expect from a Khorne unit. The other big question is how survivable are they to shooting?
10 x Tactical Marines rapid fire 20 shots - hit 13.2 - wound 6.6 - 4.42 wounds, which is about 2.5 Flesh Hounds in total.
Of course that's presuming Flesh Hounds are in the open and not in terrain or getting any other kind of bonuses i.e stealth, shrouding etc.
Daemonic Bonus Goodness
To give the Flesh Hounds more bite you could add in a Herald of Khorne on a Juggernaut and take the locus which gives rage or even the one which gives hatred - +2 attacks for charging is cool and re-roll to hit on the first round of combat is nice. In either case both loci only work on first round of combat and also consider the Flesh Hounds already need 3+ to hit, well mostly anyway. Food for thought anyway!
The Seekers are basically Daemonettes in cavalry form and cost 12 points a model - that's an extra 3 points over the normal Daemonette and when you think you're getting cavalry, outflank and also acute senses that's not a too bad deal.
Seekers also have the daemon, so what I mentioned for the Flesh Hounds applies to them too.
Seekers have the Daemon of Slaanesh which gives rending and also 3" extra to run, though cavalry and chariots can move an extra 6". They also have the hatred (Daemons of Khorne) rule.
Unlike the Flesh Hounds, Seekers get upgrade options in the form of a Heartseeker (squad leader), who can take daemonic rewards and the Seekers also get the ability to take an instrument and an icon. The funky icon is the rapturous standard which does -D3 to enemy models locked in close combat, though this is only a one use banner and doesn't effect anything with daemon/mark of slaanesh.
To see how effective Seekers are in close combat I am going to use 13 of them, which is about same cost as 10 Flesh Hounds. I'll be using the same number of Tactical Marines too:
10 x Tactical Marines overwatch - 20 shots - hit 2.11 - wound 1.6 - 0.73 dead Seeker
Cavalry get hammer of wrath, so 12 x S3 hits - 3.96 wounds - 1.34 dead Marines
Seekers get an nice 48 attacks - 31.68 hit - 10.45 wound which 5.23 will rend - 5.22 wounds - 1.77 dead Marines
In total the Seekers have caused 8.34 wounds, lets round it down and say two Marines are left standing and one of them is the Sgt.
The Marines get 4 attacks - hit 2 - wound 1.32 - 0.88 Seekers dead.
Quite a surprising result in combat from the Seekers. What about taking a few bullets?
10 x Tactical Marines rapid fire 20 shots - hit 13.2 - wound 8.71 - 5.83 wounds dead Seekers.
Daemonic Bonus Goodness
You can make the Seekers more beastly by throwing in a Herald of Slaanesh into the unit and popping the Herald on a Seeker. To crank it up a tad give the Herald the locus of beguilement - the unit can re-roll to hit in combat and also challenges issued by the Herald cannot be refused.
You could also make the Seekers more survivable by making the Herald mastery level 2 psyker and rolling on the telepathy table and hope you roll invisibility power - that will be a 2+ save for Seekers most the time and enemy units are reduced to WS1 :) .
Flesh Hounds are a more durable unit thanks to their higher toughness and multiple wounds, though they do not pack as massive punch in combat. While not hitting hard in combat may not seem good, it maybe a bonus as there isn't enough of the enemy unit to return to attack and hopefully the Flesh Hounds finish the enemy unit off in the opponent's turn - this will save them getting shot at.
Seekers are more deadly than Flesh Hounds and kill double Space Marines in close combat. Seekers weakness is the low toughness, a bolter salvo from a single Tactical Squad would kill about 6 Seekers before they reach the S.M lines - that's almost half the squad gone. Of course that's not factoring in cover saves.
Both units have an impressive 12" movement range and both of them ignore terrain when charging (though counts as dangerous for the Seekers), however Seekers get hammer of wrath, it's not a major factor but every little counts. More importantly Seekers get a D6" extra run move, on average this is going to be 4". If you add that all up you're looking about a total move of roughly 19" - 20" in a single turn - that's right on the door step ready for turn 2 charge especially if you factor in you're 12" away from the table edge.
Heralds in both units add nice bonuses. The Khorne Herald just makes Hounds more killy and costs less points than the Slaanesh Herald, however the Slaanesh Herald can make the Seekers more survivable if the right powers are roll for.
I do not think there's a clear winner out of these two units. Both of them bring something slightly different to the table though both units fill the same role and that's infantry and vehicle destruction, though the Hounds are better at destroying vehicles I think. Ultimately it comes down to horses for courses and of course if you can get invisibility ;)
What do you think is best, Flesh Hounds or Seekers?