Dath Path: Daemons Tactica

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                                                Dath Path: Daemons Tactica

The Daemons of Chaos are the newest race to hit the 40k scene, and now after some while trying out Daemons for myself with some friends of mine, I am now here with a tactica to help those who are new to 40k and also Daemons to understand their armies better.  So if you like the twisted monstrositi es of the warp and wishes to slaughter all in the name of the dark gods, join me as I go about the Chaos Daemons.

                                                  What on earth are daemons?

Daemons are the living manifestati ons of the many emotions of mortals on the material plane that seeps into the realm of the Warp. But even among all these emotions, there are four that are dominant over the rest; Rage, Pleasure, Death, and Change and these are represented by the Four Ruinous Powers of Chaos of Khorne, Slaanesh, Nurgle and Tzeentch respectivel y. Each has their own agenda, but nevertheles s they are all vile and unnatural, both in strength and appearances .

                                                  How is Daemons different from other armies?
Daemons are perhaps one of the most demanding armies to play and also have one of the steepest learning slopes of learning of any army in the 40k game, but yet they reward a smart and insidious player more than any other army.  Now to elaborate upon my last statement, most players are initially confounded by how Daemons work due to a variety of factors.

One of the foremost attributes of the army that puts it in odds with the other armys is deployment. For the case of deployment, the opposing player fighting against a Daemons army will often find themselves out in the open with nothing to shoot at all. Why is that you ask? The reason it is so is because of the Daemons' unique deployment, called the ' Grinaemonic Assault'.

This particular rule puts the entire army of Daemons inreserve, and the army must be split into two halves as evenly as it can during the beginning of your first turn. Then you choose which half that you want to come in, and you have to roll to see if they come in during first turn, or if the other half of the army deploys instead. The results are as follow;

1-2: The half that is not nominated to come in via deepstrike during firs turn will instead be deployed during the first turn via deepstrike, while the nominated half of the army will come in via deepstrike using the normal reserve rule from the second turn onwards.

3-6: The chosen half enters into the table via deepstrike on firs turn, and the half that is not nominated will come in via the normal reserve rule from the second turn onwards

Another fact that comes straight for the faces of new Daemon players are that the army as a whole is quite fragile. Even thought all daemons are armed with invulnerabl e saves from the headstart, but they are not that good to begin with. Most of the Daemons have the invulnerable e saves equivalent to that of a Guardsmen flak armour. For the other daemons, they have some of the best saves in the game, bu they come at an enormous price.

To add to the list of unique attributes, the army is a mostly infantry-based army. Save for the Soulgrinder, the rest of the lists are a myriad of infantry jump infantry, calvary, ad Monstrous creatures. But unlike most infantry-based armies, they are rather low in numbers and thus, each loss hurts your army like no other, quite unlike the Tyranids and Orks. But their units are nevertheles s very competent units which will bring us to the next defining point of the Daemon army.

Another thing that sets the Daemons apart from all the other armies are that their units are quite specialized for close-combat, with a supplementa ry of close ranged shooting. In fact, most units of the Daemon list can not even shoot at all, due to the utter lack of Ballistic Skills on the daemons themselves. But what thy can't shoot, they can more than make it up in the brutality of their assault. From the armour-wreaking Hellblades to the poisoned Plaguesword s, they put a whole new perspective of close combat in the game of 40k.

Some of you are already looking at this and scratching your head, or doing a face palm on your faces already already. If that does not pull your socks, here is the other catch; the units are specialized to the extend that the only other army that rivals it in terms of specializat ion of units are the Eldar. Each unit of Daemons are superb at one thing, but against something else, they are a lot to be desired for or at best, perform at sub-optimal performance s, or at worst are unable to do anything else.

And now with all that seeping into your mind, let's take the Bloodletter as an example of how a Daemon unit will perform.

With stats of a marine in strength,a WS above a normal marine, furious charge and a power weapon, a single Bloodletter s eat marines and terminators like they are nothing. To add to their nastiness, they do not come alone, but they come in rather large squads (8-10 being the average norm). But the price they pay for it is the fact that in anything other than close combat, they are nothing. They can not shoot (with the exception of the herald) and with a save of a harlequin, they wil fall if they are not used properly.

See how this fine machine of destruction works; it has but one purpose and that purpose is to slaughter infantry senseless. However, it not a sledgehamme r but instead it is a fine scalpel that is meant to work in tandem with the other units of a Daemon list, each a specialist in their own right. From the awesome firepower of the Flamers of Tzeentch, to the sheer durability of a Great Unclean one, each works like a fine clockwork, doing their duties to resist and destroy whatever it is in their path.

Essentially, the finesses of sheer brutality and also tactical prowess of the Daemons can be summed up by a friend I knew, "Daemons are essentially a close-combat oriented Eldar army with a more accurate mass of shooting than that of the orks and deploys itself like a Deathwing Assault".

                                The Hitchiker's Guide to Daemons: A Summary Of Their Abilities

Many players who are interested in daemons have asked me many questions as to what makes each daemons special, and which are considered as "prime" units to take in a list. With that in mind, I have compiled a summary of the attributes of the daemons available in the codex, their abilities, and what role they play in a daemon army. Do note that I will not be mentioning Special characters as they work quite similar to most of the other Daemons, but with their own special rules.

Let's start off with the HQ units. Now for its HQ slot, the Daemon player is allowed to take two types of HQ units: the Greater Daemon and Heralds. A player may prefer to take two Greater Daemons, or take several Heralds, or even a mix of 1 greater daemon and two heralds.

Greater Daemons
Utter giants of destruction s, these units provide a Daemon player with a hard-hitting unit that can take quite a lot of punishment.  But what does each bring on the table? Here are the summaries of the attributes and niche they bring into an army.

Bloodthirster
Abilities: Like any other monstrous creatures he is tough as nails and can hurt you real bad when he slams into you in close combat, and the fact that he is flying does not make the situation any better. His armour saves and Invulnerable saves are those of a chaplain, and that means you will need to bring a lot of shots and heavy weapons to bring him down. And to add to his already potent martial prowess, he can also be upgraded to be an even more powerful beast.

Niche in army: He fills the role of heavy assaulter, similar in line with hose of the Hive tyrant and also the Avatar and in effect also makes him a fire magnet that will ease the number of shots on your other more important assets.

Keeper of Secrets
Abilities: Essentially an I10 Monstrous creature with the ability to fleet and also armed with offensive and defensive grenades, it is quite a quick and formidable and its abilities can further be enhanced several upgrades which can help a daemon army in more ways than one.

Niche in army: Heavy assaulter, with decent support capabilities.

Great Unclean One
Abilities: He brings resilience to a whole new level, as it is a Monstrous Creature that has Feel No Pain rule. Even though he may be slow, but nevertheless his resilience will get him through to the enemy. He can be upgraded to make him better in combat and shooting.

Niche in army: Heavy assaulter, and also acts as fire magnet.

Lord of Change
Abilities: With a 3+ invulnerable, and a myriad of shooting powers, he is essentially one of the most potent Greater Daemons, as he can lend his abilities to the anti-tank that the daemons so craved, and with his speed he can always maneuver himself to a much juicier side of the vehicle and blow it sky high. Also as a Monstrous Creature, he is able to hold out his own in close combat, though not as well as the rest of the Greater Daemons. He can be upgraded to further enhance his shooting capabilities and becoming a more potent anti-tank platform.

Niche in army: Moving weapons platform, with secondary roles as fire magnet and also Heavy assaulter.

Personal note: Personally, if given a choice, I would go with the Lord of Change due to his flexibility on the table.

Heralds
Now the heralds are something new in 40k. Usually when a HQ slot is chosen, they often will take up one slot. But in the case of a herald, up to TWO models are allowed to be taken in a HQ slot (including two different kinds of herald!). Heralds are essentially better versions of the units of their allegiance (For example a Herald of Khorne is a buffed-up Bloodletter), and are best used to confer bonuses to a certain element of a Daemon army. They can also be upgraded with their respective steeds and Chariots to further boost their abilities and also support units of their lists.

Personal note: See Troops section of this tactica to see what these units can basically do. They are similar, but only slightly better. However with their steeds, they become more survivable, and in the case of Chariots they become scoring units, which brings on an interesting way to capture objectives without the opponent suspecting it (At the price of losing its independent status.). I highly suggest that a Herald to be mounted, either with a steed or with a chariot.

Elites
The elites of the Daemons army can be summed up in one word:  expensive. They are all quite good units, but their services come at a price. From the assault monstrosity of the Bloodcrushers, to the awesome firepower of the Flamers of Tzeentch, they are all expensive to kingdom come. But let us press on and see the capabilities of each unit.

Fiends of Slaanesh
Abilities:  With rending attacks, hit and run and the movement like those of a cavalry, they are essentially able to reach an opponent fast and inflict quite a huge amount of pain, and also able to do it again and again afterwards.

Niche in the army: Fast assaulters

Personal note:  It may come down to personal taste, but I believe that this duty can be done better with the Seekers. A sub par option.

Flamers of Tzeentch
Abilities: A jump infantry with Winds of Chaos and a stronger version of a bolter, this unit can punish both vehicles and also infantry. A unit of four of these can wipe pout units of marines without breaking a sweat.  In addition, one model can be upgraded with a Bolt of Tzeentch, which provides a much-needed anti-tank weaponry platform.

Niche in army: Mobile anti-tank and anti infantry platform.

Personal note:  This elite unit is in my opinion the best elite slot among all those that are offered, as they are one of the most flexible units around.

Bloodcrusher
Abilities: Essentially a group of resilient rampaging assaulters, they will make big dents in anyone's plan, provided they made contact with whatever it is that they want to assault.  Just point them to a unit that you want dead, and they will do your job admirably for you. In addition, the sight of several of these monsters is enough for any player to aim all their guns towards them, thus becoming a fire magnet for your other less resilient troops.

Niche in army: Heavy assaulters.

Personal note:  Even though it is tempting to take 8 of them, but I highly suggest that you take a smaller squad of them. 4-6 is a good number for them.

Beast of Nurgle
Abilities: Essentially a Chaos Spawn with feel no pain and poisoned attacks, it is basically a unit meant to tie down enemy units as the rest of your units come in for the kill.
Niche in army: Speed bump.

Overall, among these 4 elites of the Daemons army, the Bloodcrusher and also the Flamers are the top units, each bringing the world of hurt and pain in close combat for the former, and shooting in the latter. The Fiends of Slaanesh are all right, but nevertheless the Seekers do a better job in ripping apart enemies in close combat. The Beast of Nurgle is a fun unit to play with, but nevertheless the elite slots are better off filled with other better units.


Troops
Now here is where the daemon army shines. They are your rank and file and are also vital as they are able to do many duties that the other slots are unable to do, mainly with capturing objectives. In addition, each offers their special expertise into the fray. From the prodigious firepower of the Horrors, to the sheer brutality of close combat by the bloodletters, this slot is the place where it either make or break a Daemons list.

Bloodletters
Abilities: Assaulters extraordinaire, these troops are able to cleave their way though almost everything thanks to their furious charge and also hellblades.

Niche in army: Assaulters, counter-assaulters

Personal Note: These guys are quite fragile actually, and thus I highly suggest that they are to be hidden amongst other units, or be a counter-charging element.

Daemonettes
Abilities: With their high initiative, compliments of offensive and defensive grenades, and also rending attack these make for quite decent troops. They also can fleet, enabling them to reach combat faster than any other the other troop choices.

Niche: Assaulters, counter assaulters

Personal note: Like the bloodletters, they are quite fragile and thus they are best hidden among other units as they march on. They can also counter-charge enemy assault elements.

Plaguebearers
Abilities: With poisoned weapons, high toughness and also Feel No Pain, these Daemons are the most resilient troop choices for the daemons army. However, they are also encumbered by the fact that they are slow and purposeful.

Niche: Meatshields, assaulters, counter- assaulters.

Personal note: this unit is a good unit for holding up objectives, and also acts as a pretty good support units for the other units of the Daemons list.

Nurglings
Abilities: They are swarm, which essentially makes them a rather good way to tie up enemy units so that the other units can go about and do their things. Either that or they can stall an enemy unit until the more brutal close combat specialists of the Daemons list can come in and finish the job

Niche: Speed bump.

Horrors
Abilities: If you want shooty units for your infantry slot, look no further; this is the real deal. Each horror is essentially armed with a stronger version of a bolter. One unit of these can potentially obliterate a unit of infantry within seconds. In addition, their invulnerable saves are much better than that of any of the other Troop daemons. However they do suffering from the fact that they are rather average in close combat.

Niche:  Shooting units.

Personal note: Any Daemon army would want at least a unit or two of these Horrors as they provide the much needed mass firepower that the Daemon list lacks.

Overall, I have to say that the infantry slots for the Daemon army are one of the best around, if a little too focused on close combat.

Fast attack

The fast attack slot for the Daemon army is rather unique as most of them are essentially close combat specialists, whether it is rending an infantryman apart, or blowing up a vehicle. And thus we shall see what these units are capable of.

Flesh Hounds
Abilities: They are like any other beast unit; fast and decent in combat, but with a twist, they have an unique 2+ invulnerable save build into them if they are subjected to force weapons or psychic powers, which make them very effective against enemy psyker units where psyker units will find it hard to wound them.

Niche: Fast assaulter, Anti-psyker unit

Seekers of Slaanesh
Abilities: They are essentially Daemonette Calvary, which means that now even more than before these units are there to reach as fast as possible towards the opponent and rend them to piece.

Niche: Fast Assaulters

Personal note: These Seekers are arguably the deadliest Fast attack slot for a Daemons army, due to their speed and also flexibility.

Screamers
Abilities:  Screamers are perhaps one of the most unique units in the daemons army, as they are designed to do one thing very well; blowing up vehicles. With their Warp Jaws (which counts as a Meltabomb) and their unrivalled speed (Jetbike movement), they can position themselves and then charge a vehicle, hopefully blowing the vehicle up or cripple it in other ways possible.

Niche: Anti-tank hunters

Personal note: These units are great objective contesters as well.

Furies
Abilities:  Basically one of the few jump pack infantries in the Daemons list, it allows for a Daemon player to have what is essentially a slightly cheaper and weaker assault marine.
Roles: Assaulter

Among all the fast attack slots of the Daemon army lists, I have to say hands down that the Seekers and also the Screamers are the best fast attack slots in the whole lists. IF you want anti-infantry slaughter with your fast attack, go with the Seekers. IF you want to boost your anti-tank, go with the Screamers.

Heavy support
The Daemons Heavy support is perhaps one of the most deficit Heavy Support slots in the entire 40k game, for it only showcases two units; the Soulgrinder and the Daemon Prince. Both Heavy Support platforms have weapons that are considered as medium ranged weapons in many other armies, but nevertheless they are quite lethal. We will now look at these two units and see how the fare off against each other.

Soulgrinder
Abilities: The Soulgrinder is unique as it is the only vehicle in the whole Daemons list, being very competent in both anti-tank and also anti-infantry. Covered with decent armour, it can withstand a whole lot of punishment. The Vehicle is also unique as it is one of the few vehicles that can fleet, and thus it can bring itself into close combat with its two Dreadnought close combat weapons.

As for its shooting armament, it carries a Harvester gun (an Assault 6 bolter) and the weapon known as the mawcannon. A mawcannon is always armed with a vomit (a much nastier heavy flamer) and also either a tongue or a Phlegm. Even though its range is rather short, but nevertheless its strength and AP rivals that of a Tau Railgun, and it is a potent anti-tank weapon. As for the Phlegm, a weapon analogous to the Battlecannon but having a much shorter range, it is a rather flexible weapon and it is also the only large blast template weapon that the Daemon army has.
Niche: Anti-tank, anti-infantry

Personally note: I personally recommend the Phlegm, as it is a far more flexible weapon, being able to take out hordes of infantry and also vehicles.

Daemon Prince
Abilities:  Most of us are no strangers to a Daemon Prince, whether we like it or not. They are both brutal and also fast.  Unfortunately for most players but not the player of a Daemon army, you can have up to three Daemon Princes for your heavy support slots.  Some of the upgrades for the Daemon prince are mandatory, like for example the Daemonic Flight, and Iron hide, for they make the Daemon Prince the brutal, fast and survivable units they are.

Depending upon the mark that you bought for them they can confer a bonus upon your daemon prince and also for the entire army. Whether it is basically moving an enemy troops away against their will via the Pavane of Slaanesh, or shooting tanks down with the Bolt of Tzeentch, these Daemon princes can help your entire army.

Niche: Heavy Assaulter, Anti-tank, anti-infantry.

Personal note:  Even though it is tempting, you do not need so much daemons princes in an army unless you want to go DaemonKong (Three monstrous creatures and two Greater Daemons, preferably Flying ones)

                                                               
My opinion about the heavy support slots for the Daemon Army can be summed up by one word: Competent. They can and will do their duties properly when they are on the table. However, I do suggest that you mix and match so that you will not end up having a crippling flaw to a certain type of enemy.


                                                                    Conclusion

A daemons army rewards those with an eye for tactics and combined arms, for you need to think ahead as a result of deepstriking and also the rather assault-like nature of the army. It is an army with a steep learning curve, but nevertheless when mastered it will be as potent as that of the Eldar and also the Dark Eldar players. And thus go on ahead and slaughter all in the name of the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, and enjoy your game with your Daemon army.

 




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