“Do not presume to judge me or the methods I choose to employ,
petty-minded fool. You cannot comprehend the magnitude of the
task I have undertaken, nor the consequences of failure.”
— Inquisitor Lichtenstein, declared Excommunicate Traitoris 998.M41
Deamonhosts are traditionally one of the most colorful (but sadly, least effective) units in the Daemonhunters codex. They are one of the few units a Radical Inquisitor can take to match the dark and edgy tone of the background fluff. They have a place of honor in my “fun” Relictors armies, but I have struggled for years to make them useful in a competitive list.
This tactica is a little different than my usual; I’m going to try to make a weak unit a little more useful. I’ll give you some suggstions to minimize the weakest areas and suggest some tactics and combos to make them a little more fun.
Daemonshosts are a 0-1 Elite choice available to a Daemonhunters army that includes an Inquisitor but does not include Grey Knights. You may buy up to three as a single unit and they operate using the Independent rule. The Independent rule allows you to deploy them individually, but prevents them from holding objectives, joining units and riding in transports.
They are also Fearless and may use the Deep Strike rules in any mission. In close combat, they attack at a meager WS4, but sport a S6 and D6 attacks. If you are lucky enough to combine that with Warp Strength or Timeshift, it can be pretty effective.
They are expensive, but fairly resilient (4 Wounds, a 4+ Invulnerable save and it has a chance to recover all wounds suffered. The only real weakness is their modest Toughness which makes them vulnerable to S8+ weapons.
Daemonhosts are psykers and roll a random power each turn.
- Terrify: All units within 12″ must make a Pinning test.
- Re-knit Host Form: Daemonhost recovers all wounds.
- Teleport: Daemonhost may immediately move to anywhere on the table (not within 1″ of an enemy model or within impassible terrain) and scatters with Deep Strike. It may assault that turn.
- Bloodboil: In the shooting phase, place an Ordnance template over the Daemonhost and any model touched by the blast marker (besides the Daemonhost)takes a S3 AP2 hit.
- Timeshift: Daemonhost can move 12″, assault 12″ and doubles the number of attacks it makes.
- Warp Strength: Add +D3 to both the Daemonhosts Strength and Toughness until the beginning of the following turn.
As you can see, none of the powers are terrible but it’s tough when you don’t get the power you need. I would gladly pay for a re-roll on that table. My favorites are Teleport and Timeshift, but a timely Bloodboil or Re-knit have saved my bacon more than once. Personally, I really like the random element because it adds some fun to the game.
Note: Keep in mind that the Ld9 Daemonhosts are vulnerable to having their powers disrupted by a Psychic Hood. I’m predicting that we’re going to be seeing more Psychic Hoods with the new Chaos Codex, so don’t depend on getting them off every turn.
WHEN TO USE A DAEMONHOST.
The best time to use a unit of Daemonhosts is when you don’t mind relying on the Dice Gods for luck. In my experience, they are the most fickle unit in the game. Combining Deep Strike, random powers, random attacks and a chance to blow up or pin your own army makes them a tad unreliable. But if you want to have a good time and let the dice fall where they may, Daemonhosts can lead to a lot of laughs.
They are best used against armies without S8 assault weapons (i.e., they make a great pinata impersonation against hidden power fists). Also if you roll poorly with Teleport or Timeshift, they will vanish under S8+ shooting.
Don’t use them in small games. The larger the game, the less impact that “random” is going to have. Use them in 2,000+ games. They will be great additions to your Apocalypse army, for example.
I wouldn’t recommend using them in tournaments. Especially tournaments with an entry fee.
HOW TO USE A DAEMONHOST.
The best advice I can give to a Daemonhost player is to roll really, really well when you need it. Pass the right Invulnerable saves and roll good psychic powers and you’ll do pretty well. Fail your first save against a Lascannon and you’re Daemonhost will be banished back to the army transport.
Besides good luck, I can give you a few more tips and tactics:
Tip #1: Don’t Deep Strike them. I know it’s cool and to “summon” them, but there’s no need to waste a couple of turns waiting for them to come on.
Tip #2: Don’t deploy them near your units. Deploy them out of sight at the back of your army (more than 12″ away from any non-Fearless unit). If you don’t have a way to advance out of line of sight then keep them there until you roll a Teleport or a Timeshift.
Tip #3: Don’t deploy them near each other. Nothing will ruin your day like accidentally placing them where your opponent can put an Earthshaker Cannon on them. They are Independent. Spread them around. Make your opponent forget about them (or better, make him really worry about them so he doesn’t focus on the rest of your army).
Tip #4: Don’t send them into close combat unsupported. Daemonhosts look tough, but it doesn’t take a lot to bring them down. Send them into continuing close combats. This helps you in a couple of ways. First of all, they count as 4 models in close combat which is great for combat resolution. Secondly, if you win the close combat you’ll get another chance to Sweeping Advance. And finally, your opponent can’t afford to ingore it and will waste a lot of energy trying to bring your Daemonhost down.
There are some unit combinations that make Daemonhosts more effective. They work well for me, but give them a try for yourself. If you come up with any other combinations, post them as a comment!
Combo #1: Vindicare + Daemohosts. A Vindicare is great for taking out those pesky hidden Power Fists or heavy weapons that make ‘Hosts so vulnerable. I use them together 90% of the time. He dramatcially extends the shelflife of your ‘Hosts.
Dirty Trick #1: Your Daemonhost getting his butt kicked in close combat and can’t get out? Use the Vindicare to kill the model in base contact with the Daemonhost. At the beginning of the assault phase, the Daemonhost is no longer engaged (no base contact) so he can move freely. This will allow him to re-knit, live to fight another day or engage the unit in a safer location (or chase down a different unit). This works well in large combats where all of the models are engaged before the Daemonhost assaults.
Example: One of my Daemonhosts was locked in combat with a pair of Space Marines (only in base contact with one of them) and I rolled Warp Strength giving me S9. There was a stationary enemy Landraider nearby that would be a much nicer target (D6 automatic S9 hits). So I used the Vindicare to kill the Space Marine and assaulted the Landraider in my Assault phase. Yummy.
Combo #2: Other Imperial Assassins + Daemonhosts. Daemonhosts really work well with Assassins. Both the Callidus and the Eversor (as well as Death Cult Assassins) make support units for Daemonhosts. They are fearless (so Terrify won’t affect them) and they benefit from the Daemonhosts 4 wounds (helps them outnumber their enemy). Daemonhosts count as Psykers for the Culexus’ Animus Speculum.
Note: Since the Daemonhost doesn’t roll a psychic test when using his powers, the Culexus’ Souless power doesn’t cause any problems.
Combo #3: Tough Close Combat Unit + Daemonhosts. This is my favorite combo in my personal games. I use a very nasty Infiltrating Command Squad (and some fun radical wargear) to get into close combat early in the game. Then I use my Daemonhosts to support that combat. My squad is Fearless (thanks to a Chaplain) and the ‘Hosts give me a huge numerical advantage for combat resolution.
Dirty Trick #2: Teleport Homers! This is my favorite tip in the whole article. Daemonhosts have a power called “Teleport” that allows them to Deep Strike elsewhere on the board. The description of Teleport Homers clearly tells us that this works for models that use teleport (as opposed to other methods of Deep Strike, like jump packs or drop pods). Since ‘Hosts teleport, they can take advantage of those nifty little beacons.
I love to take Combo #3 above and put a Teleport Homer on my Captain. Each turn, I have a 1 in 6 chance of my Daemonhosts rolling Teleport. With three ‘Hosts it happens a lot. I can also use thise power to pull the ‘Hosts out of the combat and place them next to it using the Teleport Homer. Then on the assault phase they charge in again (they can assault on the turn they use Teleport).
DAEMONHOSTS AS ALLIES.
Any Imperial army (except Black Templars) with a free HQ and a free Elite slot can ally a Daemonhunters Inquisitor Lord and 1-3 Daemonhosts. This turns any Imperial Guard or Space Marine army into something new and fun. Most of the time when I use Daemonhosts, I use them in my Relictors army. I find that the additional close combat options given to me by the Space Marine codex really helps me get the most out of the ‘Hosts.
Space Marines afford the greatest combinations, but a radical element can make any Imperial army more fun. There are tons of fun combos for Daemonhosts used as allies. Besides it’s a cheap and easy way to radically change your army (no pun intended).
1. Imperial Guard: Improved Comms help you get them on the board earlier, if you Summon them. Also ‘Hosts are great at holding a unit until you can get your Rough Riders into charge range. They also also a great alternative to Rough Riders for a counter charge unit.
Note: It’s also nice that the Radical Inquisitor can give the IG player a Ld10 Psychic Hood (and handy Mystics).
2. Witch Hunters: Lucky? Want a completely wild and random army? Just add Arco-Flagellants and Exorcists! The only thing missing from the WH Codex is Teleport Homers, but you can always bring those from the Deamonhunter codex by allying some Daemonhunter Inquisitorial Storm Troopers.
3. Blood Angels: Lamartes makes enemies within 6″ of him -1 Ld. This works great with Terrify. No Teleport Homers, but Daemonhosts and Death Company are a match made in Heaven! Also Dante makes enemies within 6″ -1S and -1BS; that goes a long way to keeping your ‘Hosts alive a turn or two longer.
4. Space Wolves: Although the Space Wolves’ fear of teleportation keeps them from keeping Teleport Homers around, they make up for it by providing a ton of close combats for your Daemonhosts to join. I love the image of the carnage bringing out the best (or worst) in their allied Inquisitor.
5. Dark Angels: And nothing will confound your opponent more than using the Teleport Homers on your Ravenwing Bikes to summon in your Daemonhosts!
HOW TO FIX A DAEMONHOSTS.
Just in case a GW designer ever stops by, I’d like to list a few things would fix Daemonhosts and bring them up to the utility of the other Daemonhunter Elite units. Let me start of by saying that I like Daemonhosts. I think they are cool and the concept is great, but they are either overpriced or underpowered. Here’s a couple of suggestions to toss around:
First, either give Daemonhosts the Eternal Warrior ability from the new Chaos Codex or increase their Toughness to 5 to prevent Instant Death from S8 and S9 weapons. Second, increase their Leadership to 10 or prevent a Psychic Hood from blocking their powers.
Third, a method of ignoring armor saves (e.g. Chaos Possessed) in close combat would be very nice. Finally, allow the DH player to roll a die for each Daemonhost and then assign the results to individual Daemonhosts. This would be a great reward for taking a larger unit of ‘Hosts.
I hope I’ve given you some ideas that will encourage you to pull out and dust off your Daemonhosts, or even convert (or buy) a few of your own. They instantly transform a standard Imquisitorial army into a spooky Radical army.
They are colorful and fun and when they work, it’s a hoot. If you’ve used Daemonhosts before, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then proxy them in a game and see what you think. I’ve you’ve ever used (or had one used against you), I’d love to hear the story! Leave me a comment!
Next time: Arco-flagellants…