Well, unless you've been living under a rock, you are well aware that the Daemons have invaded both 40k and Fantasy.
Hey everyone, it's Adam from TheDiceAbide.com, I'm back from the Bay Area Open where I went 4-1 (just to brag a little), and now I'm going to give you my first impressions of this lovely new 96 page book of lovely monsters. Normally, I don't like doing these kinds of articles, but this is such an interesting book, I couldn't resist...
Daemon Special Rules
As always, the Daemons of Chaos are resplendent with special rules that make them a very unique force in Warhammer Fantasy. The Daemon of _____ rule is exactly what we expected after seeing it appear in the Warriors of Chaos book, so there are no surprises there, similarly, they still make magic attacks, have a 5++ save, Fear, Immune to Psychology and Daemonic Instability. The big change here though is to Instability, where if you're lucky enough to roll double 1's, you gain back any wounds you suffered that phase, while if you roll double 6's, your unit is sucked into oblivion, much like how they worked before they got a new book.
Lastly, I'll mention here that now Daemons cannot use the Inspiring Presence, or Hold Your Ground! special rules unless they're of the same god as the General/BSB. That is HUGE, and really makes mono-god armies far more appealing than they were before.
Reign of Chaos
Just like 40k, there is a fancy chart in the army book that can have a wide variety of effects. Unlike 40k though, the wording is unclear on if they affect every enemy unit, or just enemy units of a certain god (Ward vs Kelly, go figure). Since there are so many similarities to the 40k book, my local group is of the opinion that it affects all enemy units until FAQ'd otherwise.
The interesting thing about this chart though, is that unlike 40k where it is a roll on it's own, in Fantasy, this chart is the result of your roll for Power Dice, making exceptional rolls of 10+ even more powerful, and those times where you have bad rolls (which seems to be every phase for me), it's going to hurt you even more.
Lords and Heroes
From just my initial read of the book, there seem to be some drastic changes, The Great Unclean One lost 3 wounds for a point of Toughness, which really stood out to me. Overall though, I think the Daemon Princes and Greater Daemons are much more viable this edition. In terms of their magic, Slaanesh now gets Shadow, Nurgle gets Death and Tzeentch gets Metal, just like their WoC counterparts. At first, this seemed like a pretty big nerf, where before Tzeentch could get any lore, but now you can actually take casters of a different god and have a chance at a solid Spell, I'm especially interested in Heralds of Slaanesh with Miasma... yum...
The Heralds are all now fairly different too, they get to pick one of 3 Loci, but now they have to pay for them. Some of them include the Lesser Locus of Grace which makes a unit auto-pass all characteristic tests (suck it Dwellers!), while the Exalted Locus of Contagion makes any 6's to hit with poisoned attacks cause an additional automatic S4 hit! It will be nice to see what all the min/max players come up with, I'm sure there will be a few gross combinations.
All around the core units are going to be doing the same job as before. That said, Daemonettes got noticeably better with WS5, combined with A2 and Armour Piercing, they're quite an effective unit. Pink horrors got changed significantly, acting as a Level 1 caster with Lore of Change, and they get a larger casting bonus the more there are in the unit.
Out of the Special Choices, I think that Flamers took the biggest hit and now have a hefty price tag, which befits what is essentially a unit of skirmishing Leadbelchers. They're still just as effective as previously, though now you pay for it dearly. Fiends of Slaanesh now are 3+ per unit, meaning gone are the days of a single Fiend for redirecting. Furies however are still going to be the defacto redirecting unit in the army, but now for a couple points per model can become a Daemon of _____, winning another one for the themed armies!
The other unit that really stands out to me in Special are Beasts of Nurgle. Sporting -1 to hit, T5, W4 5++, and Regen, these ugly monsters are quite the pain in the butt to fight in combat. To top things off, they may all issue and accept challenges as if they were a unit champion! They just wanna cuddle!
Well, it was really a matter of time before the Ironblaster Cannon got ousted as the most overpowered artillery in the game. Everyone, say hello to your new master, the Skull Cannon of Khorne. This modestly priced ordnance is sporting a 3+ save, 5++ ward, T5 W4 and equipped with a full ranged Flaming Cannon. If that's not enough for you, then how about regenerating wounds when you charge into combat? I guess they wanted to be sure to sell 2 of these per Daemon army, because I can't imagine writing a list without them.
The Burning Chariot of Tzeentch is another nice new item, a Flying Chariot with a SD6 fire thrower, or some SD6+3 grapeshot that can be fired on the move. While clearly not as over the top as the Skull Cannon, I'm still sure we'll see a fair number of these on the board.
Soulgrinders are another recent addition to the book, giving the army just what it needed, more monsters! Overall, it's about what we're used to, though now it must be upgraded to a Daemon of _____, but don't you worry, it wont break the bank... for a mere 5 points, you too can be -1 to be hit in combat.
Lastly, we have the Plague Drones of Nurgle, and I have to say, I'm in love! They are the first unit in the game with the Hover rule, meaning they're exceptionally fast on the charge, despite not marching the rest of the time. For a few points you can upgrade them to have Poisoned Attacks for the mount, or a nasty Venom Sting that automatically wounds if it hits. Just in case you were worried about enemy monsters however, the riders can be given Death's Heads, which are a 12" range attack that is both Poisoned and causes Multiple Wounds (D3), OUCH!
Overall, I think the changes to the book were overwhelmingly positive. The units that were once OP are now tamed by appropriate point costs and aside from the Skull Cannon's, nothing else really jumps out as over the top. So that's my quick two cents on the book. That said, this is entirely speculative and who knows, I could be totally off my rocker, only time will tell!