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40K: A Schoolboy’s Daemonic Primer

4 Minute Read
Aug 9 2010

Greetings boys and girls, Unicorns and children of all ages!  Brent here, and today I’m talking competitive Daemons in 40K.

Somebody just had an accident at their desk!  No worries; your neurons are fully firing – at least as much as they were a moment ago – and you read it correctly.  We’re all here to talk turkey about Daemons of Chaos.

No, Fiends don’t taste like chicken.  Who put that thought out there?

Another thing I can almost hear drifting across the Blogosphere… Brent, who are you to tell me anything about anything?  I’m just your local Empty Blue Digital Headache whose primary place of residence is Strictly Average.  Lately I’ve been making the rounds in Ye Ol’ Blogosphere because I work cheap – as in, for free – and I’m quite willing to beg.

I’m also the Best of the Worst in 2010, having won the Sunday RTT at this year’s WarGames Con with my Bolt ‘n’ Beast Chaos Daemons list, so either I lucked out and drew chumps all weekend (I didn’t) or I know a thing or three on the subject.  Since I promise not to talk down to you, can we just assume the latter and get started here?

The first thing you need to know is there’s no easy button for the army.  Everyone is aware Daemons Deep Strike on to the board, so you’re guaranteed a round of shooting from your opponent before getting stuck in.  Also Mech is king in 5th Edition, so until Plaguebearers get to play piggyback with Papa Nurgle, your gibblie-bits are all hanging out for everyone to see.

Blah blah blah.  I have zero interest in why we shouldn’t do something; let’s talk about why we should!

Daemons are dynamic.  The very thing folks consider the largest weakness, the Deep Strike deployment, is actually a huge advantage.  It takes practice, but a proficient player will drop ugly like a surgeon, and there is literally nowhere on the board a Daemon can’t get to in Turn 2.  A word here on Icons: I don’t recommend them.  Using Icons to deploy becomes a crutch one begins to rely on.  At the top of every turn there is a sweet spot for every unit you get to play and it is rarely within 6-inches of your Icon.  Because Deep Striking is risky, it becomes comfortable to play it safe… and that’s something you simply cannot do.

Daemons reward aggressive play.  Aggressive play is fun.  Post hoc ergo propter hoc: Daemons are fun!

Still, let’s be realistic here.  Daemons are fun but losing sucks, so let’s try not to lose.  This discussion will last through several articles – assuming I’m invited back – but let’s start with my 2000pt Daemons army.

4x Herald of Tzeentch with Bolt, Gaze, Breath, Master of Sorcery on a Chariot
3x Fiends, full-sized with Champion
1x Plaguebearers 10-strong with Icon  (I know it has an Icon!  Do as I say…)
3x Plaguebearers 5-strong
3x Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with Bolt and Breath


It’s close, but this isn’t the list I took to WarGames Con.  Rather, it represents my current thinking based on the experience I had there.  To my mind, an army doesn’t spring fully formed like Athena from Zeus’ skull, ready to do battle with all and sundry!  It’s a process, and ultimately it will represent not only the efficient units from a Codex but also the personal style and strategy of the player who uses it.

That, to my mind, is what’s wrong with the constant Listhammer discussions on Ye Ol’ Blogosphere.  While it is fun to talk about the best possible army in each Codex, the whole thing is all so much mental masturbation.  I wouldn’t buy a suit of the rack, if you take my meaning.

(No, that’s not me baiting the Undead in the Big Blue Shark Tank; I get along with everyone and that’s an argument I’m willing to have!)

It’s time to put this baby to bed.  Obviously we’ve just scratched the surface, but let’s go ahead and ask: is there a chance to change anyone’s mind?  How much of an uphill battle is it to argue Daemons can compete with the best?  There are some top-flight talking heads out there saying the opposite!  Let’s hear what you have to say now.

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