Goatboy’s 40K: Chaos Daemon Thoughts

Goatboy here again – and today I want to try to figure out how the new Chaos Daemon codex might actually work.

From old rumors, chatter, and other things the overall design has always been a weird thing for the creatures of the warp.  We know that in reality the true enemy is Chaos for the 40k universe but the Daemon army has always been kind of formless.  Sure you had the Chaos Gods to worship – but the army always felt out of place during most editions.

The current set up really feels kinda of half-finished.  You have all the gods separated – but there is no reason to not just mix and match – or just take the best choice for all Daemon armies.  But in a lot of way this is how all the Daemon armies have been for a long time.  All the way back from the ancient random deep strike nature of the army till the current pain in the buttness that is Flying Circus.  Every story and book seems to really showcase that the different gods do work together – but mostly they are separate and even enemies to some of the other Chaotic Jerks of the Warp.


Mono Gods?

This leads me to think we’ll see a major push to create a Mono God style theme, build, etc for the upcoming book.  This book seems well suited to really shake up and change how we think Daemons should work.  The last Daemon update in the days of 7th edition really started to push the Mono God builds with forced formations and while we know Formations won’t be coming back I do expect each God to have its own “chapter” with powers, rules, and abilities all based on the Creep they side with.

With that – let’s chat a bit about what I could expect if I was designing the book.


Will start with Nurgle as I expect them to get a lot of love with this release and the upcoming AOS campaign.  I really think the idea of the Tally could be very interesting with an army designed to slowly grind down your opponent.  I don’t think we’ll see something exactly like the Death Guard mortal wound auras but instead a slow build as thing are killed and their souls are brought to the Garden.  I think Epidemus’s Tally could easily be reimagined as an all army sort of thing and maybe utilize some specific stratagems to cause all kinds of things. The army’s Auras might do something like slow things down, weaken the enemy, and eventually cause some damage as they get closer.  I do expect a lot of Cloud of Flies sort of things with this god having a lot of negatives to hit them all based on the Nurgles sacred number.  We’ll see, as I feel Nurgle is probably one of the easier ones to build as we have an army of Chaos Space Marines devoted to this god – as well as a very distinct voice for how their army should work.


I think Khorne needs a lot of work. While we have a good grasp on how they should act – getting it to be valid on the table top is a hard thing to do.  I think there will be lots of movement tricks that either happen before the game begins or interacts with moments of bloodshed.  Sadly things like Soul Burst could be very interesting for Khorne as they are already limited by not casting spells and having much shooting.  I do like the old Blood Tithe and I bet that comes back in some form for the army.  We know summoning isn’t that good so hopefully not too much of the table is set up to summon in extra units that don’t work so well in Matched Play.  That is my big worry with a lot of these gods as within the fluff there is a ton of discussion of bringing in more Daemons as the battle rages on – which doesn’t work to well for Matched Play.  I just really want Khorne to be the army that scares the doodoo out of you when you see a wave of Brass, Iron, and Red across the table from you.  We’ll see if they have a ton of stratagems that have Blood in the name mixed with a bit of murder and some skulls.


Slaanesh is always the odd one out.  We know they need to go fast, look creepy, and probably mess with Leadership/Weapon Skill/etc.  They will probably always attack first, can advance and charge, and maybe turn off overwatch or do some kind of other thing to keep their low toughness safe.  This is the one Chaos God that needs a lot of rework as while unit game interaction wise it is fine – it’s just overall theme and connection to the universe itself is lacking.  We all know they should be the weird Chaos God that drives some odd desires but as a game company should GW push it in that direction?  Its a hard thing as while a lot of the game is populated by older gamers they still need to look at connecting to a younger audience at some point.  I think rules wise we could look at a fast, aggressive army like the Dark Eldar should be with many ways to mess with the enemy units.  Either leadership debuffs, minus’s to hit, and some mind control thrown in for good measure.  It just gets hard as a lot of the game doesn’t really care too much about Leadership so while what could be a powerful mechanic if the rest of the game actually started to care about the stat.  Of course I have something like 90+ Daemonettes just waiting to hit the table top at some point.  Maybe they will get to kill some Yellow and Black Nids once again.


Finally we get to Tzeentch who I feel has a pretty good handle on how they should work.  I wonder if we’ll see a nerf on the Changling in this book.  He hasn’t been nearly as brutal as of late with the dreaded Reapers not carrying for his tricksy ways.  They should be the spell casting army – but a massed army full of Smites was obviously too good and had to get nerfed a bit. I wonder if they will get a similar roll changing mechanic like the Disciples of Tzeentch from AOS.  I think that could be a very interesting, powerful, and different enough to warrant a dance in the Crystal Caverns.  I really do like the ideas of Tally aspect so something that would gain power as they successfully cast more spells could be cool too.  It all really depends if we do see a true smite change at some point because in a lot of ways the army is built to smite and if they can’t as well – well then the army will suffer.

Odds and Ends

Speaking of Stratagems – how much do you want to bet the old “Warpstorm” table is replaced with a stratagem of sorts.  Maybe it is still random or only once a turn sort of thing.  Or it could just be based on the God your army is pledged towards.  It gets hard as I feel while the army will have some semblance to the currenty 8th designs, with Daemons they can completely go in a weird direction and build something truly unique.

I have high hopes the Greater Daemons are tweaked because right now the only true big daemon models we see are just the 2 Bash Bros – Morty and Magnus.  It would be great to have these awesome models feel like a true centerpiece model we want them to be.  Especially if we see a few new ones with the Daemon Codex, the Malign Portents from AOS, and all the rumors/chatter/dreams of the blogosphere.  I don’t know how many new “kits” will show up beyond a character or two (the snail dude will get a datasheet I bet) and reworked Greater Daemons.  I would love a fully new book but until I get a chance to see it beyond being in glass prison I am just a guy with a fistful of wishes and dreams.

Next week will be Xmas and I hope everyone has a great one.  I know I will getting 3 of the Nurgle Dread Dog thingies and at least one of the Terminator boxes.  I also will have a cool conversion coming for my next Painting Video stream week depending on how it goes as I throw it all together.  I got most of the parts and just need to sit down, play some weird remix stuff, and make pew pew sounds.

~How much do you think GW will change up Codex Chaos Daemons?

  • ILikeToColourRed

    i disagree with the game not caring about leadership

    leadership modifiers remove models regardless of toughness, save, or wounds

    if you get them stacked up (i think its possible with night lords and warp talons?) then you’re essentially dealing extra mortal wounds at the end of the turn

    • cm023

      It’s like you haven’t played a game of 8th. 90% of the armies straight up ignore morale. The only factions that don’t are CSM, Demons and Eldar. You will hardly ever do anything to other armies in morale phase.

      • J Mad

        Well the other thing about that is, the 5-6 armies that are effected by them are played with 5mans.

        Moral is a joke in 40k. It needs to be changed IMO.

        • Heinz Fiction

          Well if these armies are playing with 5 man squads instead of 10 man, morale already halves their stratagem and psychic buff effectivness, so it has a consideable impact at least in the planing phase.

          However, I generally agree with you that it’s to easy to ignore morale altogether.

      • ILikeToColourRed

        or maybe i play csm, daemons,dark eldar, renegades, deathwatch which dont ignore morale. And maybe i play against guard (no longer ignore morale), blood angels, space wolves, grey knights, eldar (dont ignore morale). Maybe instead of worrying about whats strongest in the meta, and what people say “everyone plays” I have a group which still plays for fun

    • Koen Diepen Van

      Most of the time units are immune to moral. Or dead.

      • Kabal1te

        This is petty much my experience

    • Karru

      The amount of games I have played of 8th edition has given me quite the solid picture of what Morale is in 8th and how much it matters. The conclusion is, it doesn’t matter.

      It is not just because some armies/units can ignore it outright, it is pretty easy to either avoid or just make it irrelevant in the first place. Small unit sizes, stratagems and characters can be used to greatly reduce the effectiveness of Morale, meanwhile if a unit is reduced to 1-2 models, it won’t be doing much either so it really doesn’t matter if the Morale Test is failed or not.

      In comparison, in 5th edition, Morale was a huge factor. Even if you were Fearless, you suffered extra damage. Charging a unit had amazing effects back in those days as it was usually a guaranteed linebreaker, these days though, Melee units get nothing in CC and just die the next turn when the enemy disengages.

      • Mike Holmberg

        Not sure what 5th Edition you were playing? Even in 5th morale really meant dick all since half the armies had ATSKNF and the other half were fearless or ld 10. Yes fearless armies got dick punched if they lost CC but 5th was a shooting edition with the odd assault to finish a unit off.

        • Karru

          Actually, Melee was fully viable in 5th edition. Only army that was able to go fully ranged without having to fear too much from getting shot off the board was Imperial Guard once their codex dropped, but melee armies were very viable in those days.

          ATSKNF was actually relatively balanced in 5th since units caught by Sweeping Advance would be affected by the No Retreat! rule, which could wipe the unit or reduce its effectiveness even more than it already did. They weren’t fully immune to all effects of Morale like they were in later editions.

          My fully mechanised Ork Army is doing absolutely wonderful in 5th edition and the only ranged units I have are 2 units of 7 Lootas in the backfield, everything else rushes forward and once the enemy frontline is charged, they are pretty much dead at this point.

          • stinkoman

            5th was a good time.

          • Karru

            Yeah, I honestly never understood people that marked the entire edition as absolutely broken game just like 6th and 7th because of books that got released in the final year of it. Leafblower was powerful, but not utterly broken. You could counter it if you got the first turn, JotWW and Lash could be countered easily as well and weren’t absolutely game breaking and finally both Necron and Grey Knights were released during the last year before 6th edition was released.

  • Fergie0044

    As much fun as it would be to have the different gods fully realised with special rules for mono armies, it gets complicated fast. Best keep it simple;

    Nurgle; enemy units killed fuels the tally. tally deals de-buffs to enemy units within 7″ of your guys. reduce speed, charge and advance rolls, toughness, strength and reduce armor save. (Not in that order, just ideas)

    Khorne; same as demonkin basically. all units killed, friend and foe, fuel the blood count. blood count gives your guys buffs with increases to strength, attacks etc.

    Slannesh; similar to Ad-Mech canticles except its de-buffs. Choose one a turn. Reduce leadership, reduce to hit rolls (melee and shooting separate), reduce movement, reduce pysker tests or no advancing.

    Tzeencth; storm of magic. each successful spell cast (friend or foe) adds to the storm tally. at the start of your pysker phase you can ‘unleash’ the storm for an effect but this resets the tally back to 0. A direct damage sort of thing (not mortal wounds), with a higher tally being a bigger attack.

    • Nicholas Ranégie

      This sounds awesome! Let’s do this one! 🙂

    • stinkoman

      Slaanesh should do more with the musk. keep units from falling back! come to slaanesh!

  • Heinz Fiction

    From a fluff point of view I always wondered how Nurgle fits into the pantheon. While the other 3 embody weaknesses of human character he stands for… illness. Something you’re usually not responsible for having.

    • Mark Croft

      Except he doesnt in his pure emotion, its dispair he actually represents, this is represented by decay and disease that will eventually kill all mortals.

      Nurgle is the embodiment of that knowledge of mortality and the unconscious response of all sentient beings to the knowledge of their own ending. He is the hidden fear of disease and decay, the gnawing truth of mortality and the power of defiance that it generates.

    • Nurgle is about despair.

  • Karru

    Few things that are guaranteed with the new Daemon Codex will be the following:

    A Stratagem or Rule that allows a Daemon unit to move, advance and then charge after coming onto the table from Reserve.

    A Stratagem or Rule that gives them buffs to attacks in CC, this can be additional attacks or modifiers to hit.

    A Stratagem that allows Daemons to recycle their units.

    • Kabal1te

      I don’t know about that first one, seems a touch to powerful. The other two are likely however. I wager warp storms will be a stratagem, and we might see demonic instability return in some form or another, maybe to return models to a unit.

      • Karru

        Considering that all armies that have lots of melee oriented units, there will be a rule for them that will allow them to do just that.

        • SYSTem050

          Whats the name of the blood angels, chaos space marine and tyranid stratagems that can let you do that?

          • stinkoman

            Well, not exactly move, advance and charge, but BA have decent of angels (3d6 charge after deep strike), Chaos has warptime they can cast to make units move and tyranids can use swarmlord shenanigans to get Genestealers in combat turn they arrive.

          • Karru

            Stinkoman kinda said most of them, but let me point out some more as well.

            Blood Angels have the Decent of Angels as well as Forlorn Fury for their Death Company. Using it they will be able to move 13″ to 18″ on Turn 0 and then move 12″, giving them a 25″ to 30″ threat range from movement alone.

            Chaos Space Marines have multiple, with the easiest one being Alpha Legion “Forward Operatives” Stratagem which allows you to place 20 Khorne Berzerkers 9″ away from your opponent’s frontline and then move normally on the first turn. They also have the Warp Time power which allows them to Move, Advance and Charge.

            Tyranids have the Swarmlord with his Hive Commander ability that allows a Tyranid unit to Move and Advance. This can be used on a unit that just arrived from Reserve.

            Remember, GW wants this game to be brutal and fast with large collections, that’s why they have these rules in there, because if they didn’t have them, their sales for that army would suffer as it would struggle against another army that already has this rule.

  • eMtoN

    I’d like to see Nurgle get an extra unit of Poxwalkers for every unit they kill. Bring on the walking dead.

  • I think gw will definatly push mono god lists over mixed daemons, They are already doing it with every other book,

    I also think gw need to rethink how heralds work! a bubble of +1 strength may be fluffy on a khorne herald but not the other gods
    It’s over simplification of an army that already lost so many rules!

    • Karru

      Welcome to 8th edition, where simplification is the name of the game!

  • Majere613

    Something I’d like to see is for the Greater Daemons to be able to palm off shooting wounds onto units of Lesser Daemons of the same Power. At the moment since they’re so big (assuming we finally got a KoS and GuO to match the other new plastics) they get focused down far too quickly which is part of why we only see Magnus and Morty. Something like the way most Bodyguard units work, with a 2+ chance to prevent a wound and inflict a Mortal Wound on a Lesser Daemon within 6″ or so.

    I’d also like to see the end of the bonus to Lesser Daemon units for having 20 or more members- either just fold the bonus into the statline of the Daemons, or reduce the threshold to 10. At the moment you end up having to run Lessers in 30-strong packs, which is just unwieldy and makes it feel like you’re just playing Orks with no guns.

  • kobalt60

    That’s an awful lot of thought put into how the book will play and how the gods interact, when in reality we all know GB will find the 2 strongest units in the book, spam the hell out of them, and throw in a unit of the cheapest points cost for flavour. Fluff? What fluff?

  • Kabal1te

    So here is a curious question. Could you do sub-factions with demons? AOS has 3 different sub faction options for slaanesh alone. (Those looking for him/her, those pretending to be him/her, and those carrying on as if he/she was still there if my memory is correct). Could you have legion traits for the different mono god legions of demons perhaps?

  • loveone789

    They need some new daemon models, not just a revamp of established dudes (like say a re release/ re design of the blood letters) but like new units. Dont just rename model or turn the bloodhunter into an independent character when he was the unit champion. Come out with a new character model or a new daemon prince. Not gonna lie, while I dont like nurgle, it was cool to see that new herald in the blight war box.

  • Kabal1te

    I think the biggest issue here reading this and the comments is well the same reason I personally dislike chaos in general. They are a lazy villain in general. Evil for the sake of evil with no real plan other than to be evil. That’s kind of why to quote goatboy they have always felt half finished the way they are presented. Outside of the gods themselves there is almost no flavor or character to the army as a whole. They are just demons, who are clearly the bad guys, by virtue of them being demons. I mean does Joe the bloodletter even have emotions and thoughts of his own or is he just an extension of Khorne’s will? Some of the AOS fluff suggests at least the greater demons and heralds have personalities to call their own.but I have not seen such fluff in 40k outside of scarbrand really.

  • Dioscuri

    I think they should do the OPPOSITE of mono-God armies for Chaos Demons. The most obviously strong, playable armies should involve careful use of a bunch of highly specialised and incredibly powerful units that hate each other; sort of like Eldar with animosity rules. Demons should have scary statlines, but require specialized handling to make work.

    (Not saying that mono armies should be impossible; for fluff and player reasons, they have to be viable. But maybe the most obvious tournament mono-god armies could involve CSM as well as demons?)

  • Wolfsark

    My biggest problem with khorne is that they are not fast and have no alternate ways of deploying or getting to the enemy other than walking up the table at them. Melee focused armies like Tyranids and Blood Angels all have ways of deep striking, moving before the game starts, infiltrating, advance+charge etc. Khorne has none of that. They are also very subject to morale tests since you get bonuses for bringing large units and they die to basically anything shooting them. The only thing you can do is take an expensive upgrade that only works 1/6 times. I’m not asking for great shooting but can we make the skullcannon a little scarier? It does basically nothing at this point. I have never played a game with my bloodthrister where he actually made it to the enemy’s lines. Sure my other guys got in because he was targeted but he’s too expensive to fit the distraction carnifex role. Plus, I’d like to have fun and actually kill things other than flyers with him at some point.