Daemons First Impressions

Hey everyone, Reecius here to give some feedback on those good old Daemons!

A little late to the party, I know, but with the BAO I fell behind on the current releases, and they’re coming out fast lately! However, we’ve had some time to catch up a bit over at Frontline Gaming and while I am still in the feeling-out stages of the dex, we have been able to put them on the table in some practice games.

My first impression right off the cuff? Awesome! I really like this book and the way it plays. You have a lot of high threat units, great scoring units, AA options, durability and reliability, deployment flexibility and an all around solid looking dex.

A lot of folks have been upset about the Warp Storm table, but it really isn’t that bad. Often it turns out to be pretty dang beneficial, actually. I think folks shouldn’t let this deter them from giving the book a try. It is a lot more intimidating on paper than it has proven to be in reality for us.

The thing that really jumps out at me is the Fast Attack choices. Flesh Hounds, Seekers and Furies particularly, and in that order of awesome factor. Flesh Hounds give you amazing speed, 2 wounds, good offense, and are one of the best tie up units I’ve seen that also does a fair bit of damage. Seekers are very close to that but also hit harder while being a less durable. Furies are just so incredibly dirt cheap, fast, and with Daemonic Instability they are very reliable. Yes, if they lose combat they are going to take a hit, but at the price point, who cares? That unit will be into combat and pinning units down turn 2. That is so incredibly useful, and the fact that they have an invul save means that they are extremely reliable. Any list I write for Daemons is going to start with Fast Attack and in all likelihood will have those slots maxed out. 60 bodies that are that reliable provides huge board control, assault power and immense pressure, plus durability in numbers.

The HQ slot is really appealing, too. Great Daemons are just beastly! So far in our tests Blood Thirster and Big Fatty (GUO) have been all-stars, but really, they’re all fantastic. I think they struck just the right note with power, unique roles in terms of differentiating the Greater Daemons, and not making them too good. Each one specializes in its given role, does it very well, but you can shut them each down with smart play and the right tools. The Heralds are also fantastic, Skull Taker again jumping out as an absolute beast. Heralds of each flavor have a place and the Herald of Tzeentch is really great looking for cheap powers, particularly Divination for those really nice buffs.

The units having me scratching my head are Blood Crushers and a lot of the Tzeetch units, as many folks have noted. Why Blood Crushers are only tough 4 with no 3+, I really can’t say, but as most of you have probably concluded: we won’t be seeing them on the table much. Fiends losing EW was rough too, but I think they still have a lot of utility, just not compared to the Seekers, unfortunately. The Beasts of Nurgle got very appealing though, as a fantastic Tar Pit that does a good deal of damage as well. However, with Smashing MC’s running around, I again find myself gravitating towards the Fast Attack choices.

The troops are absolutely rocking (apart from Horrors, haha). I have heard a lot of bellyaching online about Plague Bearers, but they got better! Cheaper, still an amazing objective grabber, more versatile in combat (plague swords are amazing!), and they can be given FnP, etc. with a herald. These are some of the best troops out there! Deamonetes and Blood Letters are solid, too. They hit hard, and again, are so dang cheap! Horrors struggle, particularly with giving FnP to their target if they don’t destroy them, and all the failure points with actually getting their powers off, but I think their very well may still be a place for them. With the right buffs and Divination, they can serve well against flyers and infantry.

The Chariots can bring some very synergistic elements to the dex, too. Particularly the horrifically ugly and phallic looking Cannon of Khorne, but hey, that does seem very fitting to go with Slaneesh!

The Soul Grinder with MoN is just beastly! Wow, what a great walker. The poor Defiler is looking at him with envy. Stick that guy in cover and let him shoot away, anything gets close and he will pack a punch in combat, too.

I will wrap this up as I don’t want to dig too far into the details until I have a chance to really get into the book but I can say with certainty that this is going to be a very powerful, fun army to play. I think that we will see it really coming on strong in both casual and tournament play, even with some of the added random elements it brings.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

26 Responses to “Daemons First Impressions”

  1. Avatar
    Turn 7 Wargaming March 20, 2013 4:30 am #

    Based on playtesting I disagree with your position on bloodcrushers and horrors. I think the key for both is heralds.

    With bloodcrushers, a herald on a juggernaut (or three) gives all important T5 to soak up S8. With a Grimoire of True Names, Divination psyker, or Biomancy psyker around these guys get really durable really fast. I would not write them off as you can either build them to soak up shots to protect outher units, like seekers, or to be something which hits hard but is not worth your opponents time. Currently I am running three heralds on juggernauts with thirteen furies. No one wants to shoot furies, especially with the grimoire up and two daemon princes plus seekers coming at them, but they need to as once you get to their lines each herald can split off, hurting a lot of small squads. This unit is great for getting in and taking out long fangs and other similar squads.

    Heralds (at level 3) give horrors a ton more power too. You you need to pass psychic tests, but with three heralds you are making them test four times. On average if each herald does one divination power the unit puts out 45 S6 shots, which normally is paired with presence or misfortune/perfect timing. Even if two are denied that is still as much fire power as two dakkafexs, and when everyone is targeting the seekers it won’t be until after a few turns they realize how good the unit is and starts targeting them.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 20, 2013 12:06 pm #

      I would be happy to be wrong! I have not had the chance to really dig into it yet so I very well could be off on some of these initial assessments.

      I was looking at Herald buffs, too, but have not had the time to really dig into it.

      I am still not sold on Blood Crushers. Even with a tank character, they aren’t worth the points, IMO. I’d rather have a big blob of Letter, personally, but that is just me. Have to try it out and see.

      The Heralds I think have to run the way you describe as they can’t afford to not wipe out their target. They should be built to just obliterate their target, IMO, as you noted.

  2. Avatar
    Clover362 March 20, 2013 7:15 am #

    So the other day I was watching the GUO in a game, he didn’t roll FNP on biomancy and then we checked and we couldn’t find any wargear or rule giving him FNP. Is that correct? Because if the GUC doesn’t have FNP without rolling for it I’m tilted.

    • Avatar
      Turn 7 Wargaming March 20, 2013 11:23 am #

      that is correct. He can also get it with greater rewards.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 20, 2013 12:15 pm #

        Ah, there’s your answer, Clover 362.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 20, 2013 12:08 pm #

      Again, not 100% certain as I have not had a chance to really dig in, but that may be correct. Still, if he gets Iron Arm and Endurance, plus having shrouded, he is insanely hard to kill. I don’t think there is anything to be upset about, honestly.

  3. Avatar
    Mark March 20, 2013 7:16 am #

    Reecius, I’d like to take a moment to defend the Daemons of Tzeentch.

    I feel that 10 Horrors, for 90 points are a fantastic, resilient scoring unit. Horrors in Area ruins can go to ground for a 2+ re-rollable cover save. Horrors can go to ground in area forests for a 3+ save (re-rolling 1’s is about 78% save rate).

    Pink Horrors also do not lose effectiveness until they are completely wiped out.

    This makes the Horrors a great choice for CSM allies, as now you have a resilient, difficult to dislodge pair of scoring units that allows you to maximize threat in other areas in the list.

    In a Daemons list, this would give you plenty of space to play a 5 Flying Daemons list (Keep in mind that Tzeentch Daemons can get +2S for 10 points by way of the Staff of Change, monsterous critters are always AP2)

    Pink Horrors are also very effective when summoned from a Portal Glyph. For 30 points, getting D6 pink horrors is quite fantastic (with either their primaris, or the AP2 24″ range beam).

    Flamers are still a good deal, they just aren’t as effective as they were. For 69 points, you can get 3 flame templates that can potentially dislodge xenos forces from behind cover. A nice tool to have in the tool kit, just not (anywhere near) as effective as they were previously.

    Screamers still put out a lot of hits on a turbo-boost, which can be handy against xenos forces. They work well when Prescience’d, as re-rolling to hit rolls with the Lampray’s bite is also a very good deal. Those S5 AP2 hits are at initiative as well. 150 points for 6 Screamers isn’t a bad deal. When they turbo-boost, they have a 4+ save, re-rolling 1’s, which is about a 59% save rate.

    Burning Chariot is, unfortunately, broken right now. If fixed however, this glass cannon can potentially be quite interesting. If taken as allies in a CSM list, you can use it with Huron’s master of deception and always be able to alpha-strike with it by outflanking (granting infiltrate to the infantry passenger)

    Love your analysis, as always.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 20, 2013 12:11 pm #

      Hey Mark.

      That is actually a pretty hotly debated topic: going to ground in ruins that are also area terrain. I believe that it is a 3+ not a 2+, but I see the reading both ways. I know we ruled it in the BAO FAQ as a 3+.

      Still though, that is really resilient as you pointed out. And for 90 points, and fearless to shooting, that is a tough nut to crack. I think one of these and 1 unit of Plague Bearers are a really nice pair of dedicated scoring units.

      I agree with the rest of your points. That Tzeentch chariot looks brilliant but I don’t see it playing well on the table top. Hopefully I am wrong, but we’ll see.

      • Avatar
        fluger March 22, 2013 3:07 pm #

        I like the idea of the chariot deep striking in and not scattering if you have icons. Then you are in the close range to shoot tanks or burn infantry. I think it is fairly effective for the points.

  4. jy2
    jy2 March 20, 2013 7:27 am #

    1 unit I think will be a mainstay of most lists (a la heldrake in the CSM dex) is the soulgrinder. That guy is just so flexible that every balanced daemon army should include 1 (or 2). I usually army him with the phlegm and he can deal with almost anything – vehicles, infantry, elite infantry, even flyers. While Nurgle appears to be good on the soulgrinder, honestly, I would advise against it. I WANT you to shoot at my soulgrinder over my other units. He is resilient enough to withstand most shooting. Make him too durable (i.e. shrouded cover) and people will just ignore your bullet-magnet. In an army full of multiple fast threats, the soulgrinder is of lower priority because he is slow. What you need to do is to encourage people to shoot at him instead of your other fast threats. Therefore, don’t make him too hard to kill.

    BTW, I am running Maximum Threat Overlord daemons….or at least that is my goal. My current build of daemons I call the Bump-N-Grind daemons. The foundation are 2 blood thirsters (the “Bump”) and 2 soulgrinders (the “Grind”). The rest is filled with fast threats (daemonettes, Elites and Fast Attacks) and 1 unit of plaguebearers for objective-camping. I envision that seekers, furies and perhaps fiends will make my list as well.

    • Avatar
      Hippesthippo March 20, 2013 7:46 am #

      That only works against stupid players, Jim.

      Don’t be silly, there is no good reason to EVER purposely make one of your units worse.

      • jy2
        jy2 March 20, 2013 5:37 pm #

        I’ve played against a lot of deathstars and I usually beat them. You know why? Because they make their deathstars too hard to kill. Against Draigowing players who take Draigo and Coteaz in the unit, sometimes with apothecaries or grenade-caddy techmarines, I just ignore them and go after the rest of the army. Those units are just overkill. Same with the seer council with the double farseers and 10-man jetseers. You are just making it easier for me to ignore and kill off the rest of your army.

        The same principle applies to the grinders. It’s ok to make your Bloodthirsters/HQ’s more resilient if you expect them to carry the offensive burden. However, your grinders do not have the same role. They are already perceived as “less-of-a-threat” as your other faster units, and now you want to encourage your opponent to shoot them even less by making them harder to kill? You’re right. Only the stupid players will go after the soulgrinders in a MTO list. The prudent players will go after the other threats no matter whether your grinder is Nurgle or not. Target priority is paramount in a MTO list and I can tell that if your opponent is shooting at your grinders – Nurgle or otherwise – then they’ve got their target priorities wrong.

        • Avatar
          Hippesthippo March 20, 2013 5:53 pm #

          I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with me or disagreeing.

          It’s pretty easy to identify proper target priority when you have 20 Seekers and 20 Hounds about to charge me. Nurgle or Tzeentch, either way about it I’m not shooting at them until the immediate threat (Seekers/Hounds/etc) have been dealt with. If you’re opponent can’t figure that out, you’re probably going to win no matter what.

          There is no reason NOT to pay 5 pts more and make them more resilient for when they’re actually being targeted in the late game.

          Personally, I like the Slaanesh/Torrent Flamer Grinder better, but that’s a different story. If I’m going with the Large Blast Grinder, however, I’m definitely taking Nurgle over Tzeentch.

          • jy2
            jy2 March 20, 2013 5:59 pm

            I’d go with Tzeentch or just naked Khorne. To me, Nurgle and Slaanesh is just too expensive. Also, taking the phlegm on the grinder makes them more of a target priority to MEQ armies as well as parking lot armies. As you can see, I’m trying to encourage my opponent to target my soulgrinder instead of just ignoring him. This way, he becomes another “threat” in my MTO army.

          • Avatar
            Hippesthippo March 20, 2013 9:28 pm

            With slaanesh and a torrent flamer, he is definitely a threat.. One that can keep up. A couple bs3 blast templates don’t bother anyone spread out properly in cover. Unless we’re playing 5th ed with msu.

          • jy2
            jy2 March 20, 2013 10:45 pm

            Though it is kind of expensive, I actually like the Mark of Slaanesh on the grinder. You are right that it makes it more of a threat by making him faster. And I may give it a try in the future. However, one problem that I’ve been having with the grinders is that, because of their size, sometimes, they form a bottleneck, blocking the path of and being blocked by other units, thus limiting their movement anyways. I like them better moving at a normal pace and firing their battle cannons every turn.

    • Avatar
      Mark March 20, 2013 8:17 am #

      Khorne Marked Soulgrinder is nice and cheap. I’d be tempted to grab the torrent flamer at 20 points. Mark of Slaneesh would help get it into combat quicker, Mark of Tzeentch would make it moderately more survivable (~40% save rate)

      Soulgrinders are amazing, and really illustrate how terribad the Defiler is.

      • Reecius
        Reecius March 20, 2013 12:13 pm #

        Yeah, so true. All the marks are viable, but I look at MoN to be the solid choice. And yeah, why the blazes is the damn Defiler sooooooooooo bad? Ah, so annoying, I have one that is just gathering dust.

    • Avatar
      Turn 7 Wargaming March 20, 2013 8:26 am #

      Jim, I also am going MTO with daemons, as they do it better than any book out right now due to their speed. I am going a little different than you in my approach, but I think it gives me more flexibility and tools. What do you think of;

      Herald of Slaanesh (Greater Reward/Exalted Loci)
      Herald of Khorne (Exalted Reward/Juggernaut)
      Herald of Khorne (Juggernaut)
      Herald of Khorne (Juggernaut)
      Daemon Prince (Nurgle/Armor/Wings/Lvl 3/2 Greater Rewards)
      10 Plaguebearers
      10 Plaguebearers
      20 Seekers
      13 Furies

      Daemon Prince (Tzeentch/Armor/Wings/Lvl 3/Black Mace)
      10 Cultists

      The khorne heralds run with the furies, creating a unit that compared to others is lower threat priority, but if ignored is bad news, especially because once I hit their lines it can split up and go for different targets, acting as part of my answer to MEQ. Their exalted reward is typically the grimoire, which is given to whoever needs it most, but can be the protal if I feel I will need it (against dragons in a non-KP game for example). The slaanesh herald runs with the seekers, and due to her loci hunts down warlords and important characters (like like librarians in blob squads).

      The nurgle prince will drop one gift for the balesword in games against multiwound models, as instant death from a deamon prince is fun. He also loads up on biomancy and hopes for the best. The 3+ on a jink thanks to shrouding is great too. The tzeentch prince aims to get lodged in a blob and work his black mace magic. His two non-tzeentch powers will also be biomancy. Heldrake does as heldrake pleases.

      I hope to test it on the table and my blog tomorrow night.

      • jy2
        jy2 March 20, 2013 5:54 pm #

        Ah, the chaos version of hero-hammer space wovles (i.e. Rune Priest + 3 TWC with some Fenrisian Wolves). It’s an interesting idea, though I am not a proponent for such a list. The Khorne-star can be screened out because they cannot jump over screens. They will also have problems against terminator armies unless you get them axes of khorne and can be insta-gibbed by MC’s. While the Grimoire does help, there is a 1/3 chance that it will hurt the unit instead. Overall, I don’t really see the resiliency in this unit compared to the space wolves counter-part.

        I like the Nurgle DP with the Balesword. Just keep in mind that a huge deficiency of your DP is that he cannot sweep advance a unit due to being Slow & Purposeful.

        The 3 troop choices is slightly worrisome, though as long as they are not assaulted, they can get by. Seekers are solid, though I am not sold on the Slaanesh Herald. She really isn’t all that killy and will get mulched in challenges more often than she will kill her challenger.

        Your chaos allies are solid. I am more concerned about overall balance. This army has no ways with dealing with flyers and flying monstrous creatures other than to ignore them. While you can ignore flyers to a degree, you won’t be able to ignore dual-flyrants with devourers. And BTW, Iron Arm will negate the benefits of the Balesword.

        Give it a try and see how you like it. You can always change it later.

        • Avatar
          Turn 7 Wargaming March 21, 2013 5:59 am #

          Much like “battleforce lists” there is a tool for each task of the job. You are correct that the Khorne guys will struggle against terminators, but that is something either daemonprince or more likely the seekers will take care of. I don’t believe a comparison to three wolf lords is fair either as the wolves, without any upgrades other than the wolf for the lord, cost 135 points more, and can be screened just as easily. Putting out that many I6 S6 AP3 attacks is something I believe is worth 100 points a pop.

          At least for adepticon the three troops don’t worry me do to the missions. If need be I can grab the portal. Bearers are just crazy survivable now.

          My philosophy with flyers, and has been with both nids and chaos is to just ignore them. Vector strikes are the best anti FMC defense out there. Dominating the ground has been much more effective than building lists with points spent on flyer defense.

          I played against another GT player with a five pod wolf list with a blob last night. We tied, and he got the tiebreaker with a vendetta that I thought was stunned (turns out vendettas have extra armor). I was very happy with the list, owing the loss to my mistakes tactically rather than the list.

          • jy2
            jy2 March 21, 2013 8:38 am

            BTW, congrats at the Dark Star GT.

            At this point, the daemons are so new that any of these builds can become truly good with more play-testing and a little tweaking. If I run a herald build, it won’t be a MTO-build. Rather, it would be Tzeentch Heralds running around with pink horrors.

            But as long as you enjoy the army, then go for it. I’m sure not everyone will think my dual-thirster list is good either, but it is a play-style that I am enjoying.

            Good luck at Adepticon. I really want to see how the new daemons will do on the tournament level.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 20, 2013 12:14 pm #

      That sounds about like what I was thinking, too.

  5. Avatar
    mike March 21, 2013 12:58 am #

    Hah Reece it sounds like your love of the gargoyle is making you want Furies and hounds… Faster faster!

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 21, 2013 10:58 am #

      Indeed! Haha, I love those fast little buggers!

  6. jy2
    jy2 March 21, 2013 8:43 am #

    BTW, if you want to see how my Bump-N-Grind daemons do in perhaps one of their first true tests against a competitive army – my Tyranids that took 9th overall at the BAO – check out my battle report:


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