You may not be aware or you may not care, but Daemons have been good to me. They were my primary tournament army for almost three years, and on the national stage earned me a spot in the Championship Rounds of Adepticon a few years back.
Even then, they were suffering. Space Wolves were tough, and the Mech Guard a challenge, but Grey Knights followed by Dark Eldar really put the nail in the coffin. I was done. Some hearty souls stuck around using a Fate Weaver build, but it’s not the game I care to play. I thought then and think now that build was too predicated on chance.
I like a balanced approach, thank you!
So, book in hand, I’m going to jot down some first impressions before ceding the floor. It’s very different – and that’s to the good – and complicated enough that not all the goodies will float to the top immediately, but there are some initial impressions I feel comfortable making. Still, this is a new Codex and it’s going to take time for people to get a grasp of how it plays and, as importantly, how it handles the current 6th edition style of beat down. It’s way too early to write some sort of mass review, but it’s never to early to break it down a bit and see how it’s built.
We’ve got to start somewhere. To that end, I think it’s useful to discuss the Powers individually, commonly called a mono-build. Can the four powers hold up all by themselves?
Not only possible but likely! From a design standpoint, it’s probably easier to develop a successful strategy around mono-builds, concentrating the list around what one of the Big Four does best, then crank it up! Also, the army will look more cohesive on the tabletop, and there’s something to be said for that. As they are, Daemons are a riot of color on the field. That’s okay, but it can be a tricky sell if you’re trying for painting points in a tournament or something.
A riot of colors and type versus a cleanly done Imperial Fist force; even experts who should know better will lean toward the latter all things being equal. A mono-Khorne is striking. A mono-Nurgle is gross – you get the idea.
But appearance aside, never before has a mono-build had quite so many options. And they are…
Khorne: Greater Daemon, Daemon Princes, Heralds, Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, Bloodthrone (for the Herald), Flesh Hounds, Soul Grinder, Skull Cannon.
Tzeentch: Greater Daemon, Daemon Princes, Heralds, Pink Horrors, Flamers, Screamers, Soul Grinder, Burning Chariot.
Slaanesh: Greater Daemon, Daemon Princes, Heralds, Daemonettes, Fiends, Seekers, Hellflayers, Soul Grinder, Seeker Cavalcade.
Nurgle: Greater Daemon, Daemon Princes, Heralds, Plaguebearers, Nurglings, Beast of Nurgle, Plague Drones, Soul Grinder.
Of course, this doesn’t tell the whole story. Heralds are the great support pieces, with four per HQ slot allowed, there are any number of ways these can be kitted up. Still, if you break the book down this way, it’s easier to see what jumps out. My early choice for best mono would be Slaanesh, closely followed by Tzeentch.
With Slaanesh, the word is ‘Seeker.’ So while Heralds supported by Telepathy and Excess mounted on Steeds can support the line anywhere, and Daemonettes are faster than ever and still Rend, Seekers and Seeker Chariots, supported by Fiends, can hit like a freight train. Soul Grinders with the Mark of Slaanesh make great use of Fleet to get into combat, but Harvesters support the army with Flakk.
Yeah, anti-air is a must. Daemons take the approach of Soul Grinders and Flying Monstrous Creatures. Not sure that’s enough, in some cases, meaning the defensive minded might have to sink too many points into these two critter types. Me? I prefer to pay the flyer tax and take my lumps. I’d just as soon play it my way than come late to my opponent’s game.
Anyway, the real hitter in the army is the Seeker Cavalcade. Purchase a squadron of 3 at 120 points, then run it into something juicy. The sheer output of hits is stunning.
While Slaanesh has the edge in speed, Tzeentch edges them out in mobility. This sort of shooting army has been around awhile, but given new options like the Burning Chariot and the addition of real psychic powers, this army has the potential for a whole new brand of ugly. Since units are cheap, let’s snag up four Heralds and stick them in Burning Chariots, leaving room for Soul Grinders and a Daemon Prince to fill out the Heavy Support slot. Fateweaver is nice in the way all FMC’s are, plus his Lord of Unreality will keep the Winds of Chaos from getting out of control. Not to mention, he opens up the aforementioned Heavy slot for a DP. Some Flamers, some Screamers, and a whole lot of Horrors…
…all this, and we don’t have to find room on the board for deep striking. You know, unless you want to.
There’s no need to break down the other two powers, except to say Khorne will always be fun and Nurgle can do the denial list its always dreamed of now.
And all this just gets better with Chaos Space Marine Allies.
As I’m bringing this article to bed, I’ll simply add that I like the way the designers have brought back a bit of daemon-on-daemon hate again, ’cause who doesn’t love that? Instability is a great rule and fits perfectly with this army, which can effectively be played as a horde now while keeping it fun for both parties. Currently, my least favorite rule is the Warp Storm table, which seems to add randomness simply for its own sake.
I’m not opposed, but it seems a bit heavy-handed.
Maybe it’s just me.
So that it, folks! The book is just out and there isn’t room enough to talk it all to death immediately… but you’re welcome to try! Agree with my take? Think you have one better? Good!
Let’s here ’em; thoughts? Comments? Hugs and gropings?
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