Given that all the attention is (rightfully) focused on the upcoming release of a new Chaos Daemons codex, I’m going to examine the seeker cavalcade not in terms of how to use it, but rather as a means for showing how I’ll be looking at the new codex. With the new codex being released before March 15th, I’m going to have to rapidly assimilate the new rules and come up with a competitive army list, one that will hopefully not require too much in the way of additional models to collect and paint, so that I can be ready for AdeptiCon in April. Yay me.
As you might, guess, I disagree with Slaede on the basic usefulness of the Seeker Cavalcade. In short, my opinion was based on looking at the cavalcade in context with the rest of my army. On its own, I’d agree that the Cavalcade is somewhat “meh.” It’s not a terrible unit, but it’s not an outstanding one either. However, when it first came out last August, it immediately stood out as a unit that would be a significant benefit to my army. Since then, I’ve regularly included it to great effect, against the conventional wisdom.
To understand why, we first have to look at the unit itself. Several strengths were immediately apparent from its statline. First, the basic chariot had an extremely low point cost. Second, it had the daemon rule, which meant it had a 5++ save. Third, a squadron of chariots had the potential for a significant number of rending hits. And fourth, it was wicked fast. Fifth, it had the ability to reposition significantly after dropping. Sixth, it was a vehicle. Taken all together, I knew that the unit would likely fit in well with the rest of my army.
The low points cost meant two things. One, they were disposable. As daemon players we pretty much have to accept the risk of a bad scatter that can negate a unit. As things go, losing 120 points...is essentially meaningless, as long as it doesn’t happen too often. The second is that taking a lot of them could be done without having to significantly restructure the rest of my army.
Having the 5++ save might not seem like that much of an advantage...but since I’ve been regularly running Fateweaver, that 5++ save means that they will make a little over half their saves.
6 chariots who all make base average s4 rending hits. (Admittedly, getting all 3 to make base on a charge can be tricky, but if you plan ahead, its doable). The riders, on top of that, will toss another 15 attacks, averaging 10 more S3 rending hits against most opponents. Rending is good, as long as you can get enough hits. The cavalcade generally doesn’t have to worry about that.
A 12” flat out move both minimizes the danger of deep striking in close, and allows for serious repositioning after the drop. This makes it really easy to either bring the chariots within Fateweaver’s bubble, or maneuver in such a way as to block enemy movement, especially since the bases they’re mounted on are so large (and, as a vehicle squadron, can spread out to 4” apart). On top of that, with grenades and fleet, they can minimize the effect of difficult terrain.
Finally, the chariots are a vehicle. If charged...they don’t stay in combat. That means that opponents which might charge them would helpfully bunch themselves up...and then be stuck there. (Admittedly, that goes both ways, so they couldn’t lock up enemy units either). In addition, as vehicles, they’re immune to S4 and less that shoot at them from the front or sides. (As an aside, that’s one of the reasons why I’m not afraid of the Banner of Doucheness...er...Devastation). They also make great units for soaking overwatch fire. (Burna boyz...go right ahead and overwatch with your 30 S4 hits).
So despite their flaws (of which Slaede has correctly pointed out), I felt that the benefits could outweigh the negatives, given the right circumstances. And those circumstances started with taking a lot of them. I’ve never considered taking less than 6 in an army, and have sometimes ran with as many as 9. I've also never used them in anything less than a 3-chariot squadron. I've also not found much use from the exalted chariots...90 points is simply too expensive. But the basic seeker chariots? Glorious!
Would it have been right for every army? Probably not. But it’s worked out fine for me and the armies I’ve been fielding.