I have to admit that I loved flying around the table in 7th Ed with my Warlord on Wyvern. He was very tactical by just just offering flank charges and such. He could also smash in on weaker support units. Sure, you don’t see that as much in 8th, but they still are there. A prophet on Great Taurus (or Bale Taurus) could smash some smaller units on their own. Or…if a unit gets stuck in with a dwarf or Steadfast Hobgoblin unit, the Taurus in the flank could be quite mean and turn the tide.
I will fully admit that cannons are the worst thing to face. They can kill the mount out from under you. Thankfully, though, they are only with two armies. You will see them at tournaments, but you might not face them. Even then, if the mount does die in combat, you still have to kill the Prophet to get the points for him. He’s not auto dead if he loses the mount. You can save him and he can still cast spells.
I’ve got a question about the Taurus rule of -1 to wound. That means on the wound to roll, right? So…a cannon fails to wound on a 1 or a 2. That’s 1/3 the time and much more likely to happen. Besides cannons, that rule does reduce the chance of him being killed by lesser shooting. Even T4 handguns will have a hard time.
What happens if you take a Prophet with the Lore of Fire on a Great Taurus? Remember that he heals d3 wounds went having a Lore of Fire spell cast on it. While you can’t rely on the ignorance of your opponents, you can cast 2 augment spells on yourself to get those heals. If a cannon hits, it will have to roll high to kill it. You have a good chance of getting those spells off and healing the guy up. Your opponent might not think of this when you cast it the first time, and that might make a big difference. First turn you get into a position to charge the war machines. You get blasted with a cannon. You cast the spells and your opponent lets it through because it’s not a big deal. You get healed. Then you charge the cannon to take it out. No more thread from that.
So, Lore of Fire can heal the Taurus when needed, but are the spells worth while? You can buff other units, too, which helps. The damage spells can be good. The Sig spell is really not bad at doing some damage to some units. If you are also planning on going into combat, you can weaken a medium unit up when you cast a 3d6 fireball on it. The, charge in, do damage, and Thuderstomp and I can see you smashing someone without being taken out in return. Oh, sure, it greatly depends on picking the right units, but really not a bad choice. The Fire Lore can really help reduce things on the flanks, which is where I see a Great Taurus doing it’s thing, anyways.
Personally, I think it’s a bad idea to use a Great Taurus because Chaos Dwarfs are not going to have a lot of units and all the support stuff is going to be a real problem. This will be on the flanks and handle a lot of stuff that we can’t handle too well. What are you going to do when you see a Orc and Goblin unit with a ton of chariots, pump wagons, and Mangler Squigs? This guy can really clean up. Terror on the flanks is still pretty darn good. It’s usually away from the enemy General and BSB, so no re-rolls. Flank units don’t always have high Ld. Enemy sometimes fail their rolls. I’ve taken a lot of stuff out with my Arachnarok on the flanks this way. You can also redirect, too. Make something small flee and redirect into something else. Making a unit take a Ld test or be WS1 can be pretty devastating, too.
Let’s look at the Lammasu. Not as tough and not as many wounds, but also causes Terror. That helps charging little stuff. I can also see the MR being quite handy. 4+ for the beasty and probably 2+ for the prophet. I could even see the Prophet doing well in challenges with enemy characters not getting to use magic items and the mount joining in. Depends on who you are fighting, but not bad.
I think the Lammasu really comes into it’s own as a mobile platform for your caster, though. The extra spells you get from him are great. He can zip around and
The Lore of Shadow would be just awesome to use. The only one that isn’t good is Steed of Shadows. Even the Pendulum could be good on the flanks of an enemy army. Reducing a unit’s Toughness is great for Doom Rockets, like Baggronor suggests. Really, who wouldn’t it be good for? I could even see using the stat hexing spells on someone that you can then charge into combat against. A support unit with Great Weapons might not be so tough when you reduce their S by a few. Or some other support unit you can now be in combat with and not fear it so much.
S9 Chaos Dwarfs is good with MindRazor, but can be situational. Imagine casting it on a horde of Hobgoblins with 2 hand weapons. Against a standard 5 x 20mm unit, that would be 28 S6 attacks! That is much more impressive when you want to grind out a unit. If you take Lore of Hashut and give the unit Hatred, that can be very, very viscous.
I’ve also just thought of a sneaky trick. Take a cheap Khan on a wolf in your army list. Keep him within 18" of your Lammasu. You can get up in the face of the enemy and cast all the close range spells you want, but when the Lammasu casts a Shadow spell, you can use the Lore Attribute and swap places with the Khan on wolf! That will get your Caster out of the way of any units and your Khan can just flee. Pretty darn tricky!
Lore of Hashut with any of the flying mounts is also really good. You really need to be in short range with your caster for those spells. This lets you get close enough and cause all sorts of issues. The same can be said for Death, too. You can get close enough to take out key characters early in the game. That’s terrible for some armies. It would also give you more power dice to feed your other casters (or other spells).
Alright…enough rambling at this point. I think there are a lot of valid strategies with flying mounts. There are a lot of pros and there are cons. Cannons are the worst thing, but only used in two armies. You could go to a tournament and not ever face an army with cannons or a lot of shooting that could hurt it.