Daemons: Prepare Thy Backside for Reaming!


Fiends: Image vis Imperius Dominatus

So it seems like Daemons are just as insanely powerful as last edition…it’s just different units this time around.

Everyone needs to be aware of these as Daemons is one of those books that catches people off guard due to limited exposure to them and how much they differ from the norm. There are a few units in the book that will really, really ream you if you do not know what to expect and leave you with that sinking in your stomach feeling.

Fiends are going to be the big one. They have two extremely powerful abilities on top of hitting hard and being crazy fast (beasts, Slanesh makes them run 6+D3″).

  1. Disruptive Song: Each Fiend within 12″ of a psyker apply a -1 to their psychic checks. That means a unit of 4 lowers a psyker’s leadership by 4! 
  2. Soporific Musk: Units successfully charged by Fiends have their initiative lowered by 5. This can lower your initiative to below 0. There is debate on what happens next, but my reading (and the way you will see it at most major tournaments) is that a unit with a 0 level characteristic can’t do anything pertaining to that characteristic. So, if you are I5 or lower, being dropped to I0 or lower means you do not attack. Wow. And, that applies to other Daemon units charging you, too. Wow. It is only for that first round of combat, but that is seriously all they need. Now, oddly, weapons with the unwieldy rule (or any that have a set Initiative they always swing at)ignore this rule (pg.2 of the BRB). So a Power Fist, counter-intuitively, becomes really good in this case. Doubly so because it will insta-gib these beasties.

Acquiescence does the same thing as Soporific Musk, but is an 18″ Malediction that also takes away Counter Attack and Overwatch from the target. Ouch.

Flesh Hounds CAN charge you turn 1. The FAQ specifically states that units can charge the BOTTOM of turn 1. That means they are for sure charging you after you get only ONE round of shooting. Either bottom of turn 1, or top of turn 2. This is sooooooo brutal. Potentially 60 Hounds with 2 wounds each, tough 4, a 5++ and Fearless to shooting. That is beyond crazy for most armies. Hell, most armies don’t put out 120 shots in a turn. Never mind that they hit very hard (WS5, 2 Attacks, Furious Charge), this is the craziest disruption unit. Most armies will just get absolutely shut down by this unless the have incredible firepower, mobility or can stomp them in assault. Not many armies can do that.

To make this even more punishing, you can attach a Herald on a Juggernaut to them. Now they have a super choppy character in there who can further buff them with Rage and Hatred, and they all have a 2+ Deny the Witch. Also, Karanak–the Flesh Hound special character–is an Independent Character and can join any Khorne unit, subsequently granting them Scouts. A unit of Heralds, or Juggernauts, or both, becomes savage with this as they charge right away, too. Even a big unit of Bloodletters is crazy, here. Toss in Bloodthirster for even more Pressure, maybe an Icon to summon units in turn 2 on the units already in your lines? Holy crap, that is crazy. Oh and yeah, Karanak’s psyker defense increases the odds of Perils to 1/6 in a 12″ radius.

You can also spam Psykers with Daemons to do all kinds of inappropriate things. You can take Daemon Princes in Heavy, HQ’s Heralds, etc. and just dominate the psychic phase. Daemons can get access to all the book powers (DP’s can take Telekinesis) plus the Daemon powers (which, admittedly largely blow) for crazy, crazy flexibility. Add in the fact that Gifts can be altered to meet the needs of the present opponent, and can give you a Portal Grlyph to spit out potentially a scoring unit a turn…..wow. Daemons are going to be brutal once people catch on to them. We’ll post a video bat rep here to illustrate some of these ideas.

But, at the least, read the book so you don’t get caught with your pants down. Things like Seekers moving 12″, running 6+D6″, ignoring cover, potentially getting rerolls to hit and with a Herald that can force you to accept a challenge with your model of their choice….crazy, crazy good. Daemons will potentially win games turn 1. That is no exaggeration.

What other tactics are you all using with Daemons? This book to me feels borderline OP if used correctly. Most normal armies will get very simply overwhelmed by this in the first turn or 2.


About Reecius

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

24 Responses to “Daemons: Prepare Thy Backside for Reaming!”

  1. Avatar
    CaptainA April 11, 2013 6:53 am #

    Man I’m hoping to catch people with their pants down with my beastman inspired Slaanesh! So far it has been super fun, fast, and themed to boot. I’ve been running.

    Keeper Ml3 2 GG
    Herald Loci Beg Exalted
    Herald Loci Beg Greater
    Herald Loci Beg Greater Steed
    16 Daemonettes
    16 Daermonettes
    15 Daemonettes
    3 Fiends
    3 Fiends
    15 Seekers
    Soul Grinder Phlem, MOS
    Soul Grinder Phlem, MOS

    I know the Grinders should probably have MON, but it is a theme list after all. Keeper goes for Invisibility, which makes my seekers nuts! People are knocking on the Fiends, but even if we play that they get to attack, their buffs against psykers and ability to help other units on that turn 2 charge is great.

    Just remember that Aquiescence can only take them to I1 as maledictions can’t take a characteristic lower than 1. I read the Fiends power as you do, but its always funny how others read powers to their benefit or detriment….so most in my group who don’t play daemons don’t see it that way.

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 11, 2013 11:45 am #

      Ah yeah, good catch with Acquiescence.

      I think your list looks really fun!

      I love Seekers, too. I run a unit of 20, they mulch what they hit, particularly with the Fiends in tow!

  2. Avatar
    Brendan April 11, 2013 7:24 am #

    The unwieldly argument to me has me lean toward the -5 I being to a minumum of 1. I feel that this is how the rule will get FAq’d when GW eventually rules on it and how I would rule on it at a tournament. The idea that it drops you to 0 and that you do not get to attack smacks of something that you know is unintentional.

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 11, 2013 11:46 am #

      I thought so at first too, but we debated this for ages on the FAQ council and it was a super close vote. However, their is precedent, the book describes exactly what happens and I really do believe it is RAW. OP? Yes, but RAW? Also yes, IMO.

      • Avatar
        Brendan April 12, 2013 1:35 am #

        Raw maybe, correct? I have my doubts. Like I said fully expect Gw will rule min I 1. Ruling strict raw to me here is a mistake given the interaction with the unwieldy rule

  3. Avatar
    Mercutioh April 11, 2013 7:49 am #

    Keeper GG EG(Portal Glyph)
    Daemonettes x10
    Daemonettes x 10
    Plague Bearers x 10
    Seekers x19
    Seekers x19
    Seekers x19
    Dp of Slaanesh GGx2 Wings Armor Psyker 1
    Dp of Slaanesh GGx2 Wings Armor Psyker 1
    DP’s take one of the GGs as Lash and take Biomancy
    Keeper takes Lash and Portal Glyph
    Pray for Iron Arm as it singlehandedly makes the DPs the ultimate Flyer killers. (2d6 skyfire shots at minimum s7? Yes please!)
    Daemonettes could be Plague bearers but I like the rending rule for tactical flexibility. Double greater gifts gives the opportunity for 4+ FNP/Armor and Flesh bane/ and It will not die and EW. Worst case scenario is you walk out with a greater Aetherblade and Lash.
    IF the opponent is playing heavy flyers deploy the seekers as board control or aim to wipe every foot unit off the board. Easily feasible with that much fast moving Firepower.
    Portal Glyph Should summon Plague Bearers in high Objective Games. Daemonettes if you need more board coverage. (the +3″ run is huge)
    Reece tells me I spend too much on my Daemon Princes though so take this with a grain of salt as he’s a better player than I.

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 11, 2013 11:51 am #

      DP’s are a big risk, but if you get Iron Arm, as you said, they are really good.

      I think that list looks solid. The nice thing about the EG on the Keeper too, is that if you are in a KP mission, just take a weapon! So flexible.

      • Avatar
        Mercutioh April 11, 2013 3:28 pm #

        I just beat face with it the other day versus a Mephiston and Dante Brofist list.
        One DP took the Storm raven down in a single round of fire which caused the Dread to go boom as well on a lucky roll.

        • Reecius
          Reecius April 11, 2013 3:45 pm #

          Nice! My motto is: “If it flies, it dies!” haha, always glad to see those things hit the deck.

  4. Avatar
    Turn 7 Wargaming April 11, 2013 10:35 am #

    I fully agree on adding the herald to the khorne dogs. I run a unit of ten with one JuggerHerald with the greater etherblade. Having a S8 AP2 character who can charge turn one has been immense for me, taking out entire units of Broadsides and making a huge dent in nob bikers (thanks to an enfeeble boost). On top of that, everyone spends all their time shooting at the seekers and daemon princes, so this unit hits nearly always at full strength.

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 11, 2013 11:55 am #

      Yeah, you HAVE to kill the Dogs first. You have to of they wreak havoc.

      Daemons apply so much pressure it is insane.

  5. Avatar
    whigwam April 11, 2013 3:28 pm #

    Good article, Reece. I’m loving the new Daemons, and especially Flesh Hounds for all the reasons you’ve listed. One correction though, Hounds only have a 4+ DtW. You can boost that to a 3+ with the Adamantium Will Loci, but then you’re forgoing Rage or Hatred. Probably not worth it.

    I like Seekers, but are also somewhat disappointing in my experience. I think, unless you’re trying to run a Slaanesh themed army, you generally won’t want these gals as the backbone of an assault force. At 1W/T3 they die pretty easily to any anti-infantry weapon and can potentially lose big on combat res if forced to strike last. Then there’s the DT tests for moving through terrain and their inability to move up ruins (kind of a big deal). While they can hit incredibly hard (maybe too hard..), it’s hard to count on them being around late in the game.

    Fiends I haven’t tried yet. Like Brendan, I suspect Musk will get FAQed to an I1 minimum sooner or later. If and when that happens, I think I definitely prefer the Skull Cannon as a pseudo assault grenade. I own 12 Fiends, so I’m rooting for them to be good, but until the I0/I1 issue is FAQed, I’m leaving them alone. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been playing around with:

    3x Herald of Tz (all ML3, 2 Exalted Gifts, 1 Exalted Loci)
    10 Pink Horrors
    2x 20 Daemonettes
    2x 16 Flesh Hounds
    2x Soul Grinder (MoT, Phlegm)
    Skull Cannon

    My Heralds all take the Tzeentch Primaris and 2 Divination powers. I’m considering Khorne Heralds on Juggernauts to buff the dogs, but I think Prescience, Forewarning, and Misfortune already cover them pretty well. Prescience can also help out with my otherwise unreliable shooting. Unless an opponent sets me up for an easy turn 1 charge, I’ll be hitting them with 3 accurate S8 large blasts and a minimum 8D6 TLed S6 shots. Meanwhile, Dogs and Daemonettes advance for a brutal turn 2-3 assault. Without anything to crack 2+ or 3+ armor, my Hounds might get stalled in combat occasionally, but next turn the Daemonettes will come along, rend the hell out of everybody, and keep the dogs moving.

    Daemons do apply an incredible amount of pressure quickly (much like they did before), but what I’m liking most about the new book is its flexibility. The way I see it, we’ve gone from dagger to Swiss army knife. Between the Grimoire, Forewarning, and my ADL, I have several ways to better my armor and make an otherwise flimsy army somewhat resilient. My cheap Psykers throw buffs all around giving assistance wherever it’s most needed. But you already mentioned that. I can keep the Portalglyph in my back pocket in case a KP mission comes up, or bust it out turn one when additional troops are needed. Didn’t you mention that too? The point being, options: they are good to have, and Daemons have a lot of them.

    The one thing I keep hearing is that Daemons are too random to count on, but with all the Fleet, WS5, BS5, Loci, Psychic powers … Daemons can have a lot of reliability built-in where it really counts. The Warp Storm table may occasionally hurt a Daemon player, but barring extreme circumstances, I don’t see it doing much more than slightly mitigating Daemons’ inherent raw power. And most the time, the table will just help.

    • Avatar
      whigwam April 11, 2013 3:29 pm #

      Wow. That got way longer than I thought it did. For those that read the whole thing, you are true heroes.

      • Reecius
        Reecius April 11, 2013 3:46 pm #

        No worries, I agree with you. I think Daemons are a real thinking man’s army now, and if folks think they are unreliable now, this is pretty mild to last edition, IMO. Yes, the Warp Storm Table can be vicious, but when you have done the majority if what you need to do by turn 2, I think it is an acceptable risk. I really like Daemons, they are actually drawing my eye away from Nids. I think they have all the tools to not only win a tournament but demolish most opponents.

  6. Avatar
    Hippesthippo April 11, 2013 3:46 pm #

    Hounds + Grimoire + 3 Divi Heralds hiding in a horror unit supporting them can end games really quick.

    Me and Whig played a two turn game last night. He rolled up forewarning, misfortune, grimoire went off, 3x prescience, and he got the warlord trait to reroll warpstorm results giving him +1 to invulns. After stealing the initiative on me, nightfight in effect as well, his two hound units absolutely merked me. I quit before the 2x 20 Daemonettes and 2 Slaan Grinders on my doorstep could clean up.

    I had a TREMENDOUS amount of firepower and,several below avg rolls later was only able to kill 1.5 Hounds before they got to me. :/ He had a lot of luck pregame, obviously, but Daemons give you lots of chances for that and can absolutely capitalize on it.

    • Avatar
      whigwam April 11, 2013 4:10 pm #

      I was planning to have one unit of dogs with 3++ and the others with a 4++, so the Warp Storm giving me 2++ and 3++ was where things got unreasonable (I didn’t even need to use my reroll Warlord trait. But even if none of that had happened, including the Seize, both units had a nearby Aegis to hide behind (with turn 1 Night Fight). Played correctly, I don’t think Daemons will be overly luck-dependent…but like you said, when luck does come around they’ll be able to take advantage of it.

      • Avatar
        Hippesthippo April 11, 2013 5:15 pm #

        That’s what I meant when I said Daemons give you a lot of chances for that. 😉

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 12, 2013 9:29 am #

      Yeah, that is what I worry about with Daemons. Things like you describe can and will happen and it is going to royally piss people off. The only way to face an army like this and win under those circumstances is if you can beat them in combat, and not many armies can.

      • Avatar
        Hippesthippo April 12, 2013 4:32 pm #

        Haha for sure. I hate that stupid warpstorm table with a passion.

  7. Avatar
    Alarum April 12, 2013 6:28 am #

    The way I read Disruptive song only gives a -1ld no matter how many are standing within 12″. It doesn’t matter if there are 20 standing there you will only be -1ld. I will be surprised if this is not the case.

    • Reecius
      Reecius April 12, 2013 9:26 am #

      I see the argument both ways. Gramatically, it can be read both ways which is why it is so frustrating. I wish they would just FAQ it.

  8. Avatar
    Aycee71 April 12, 2013 6:44 am #

    So what we have here is an example of what is lovingly called Bizarro 40K. The Marine with the fast quick Lightning Claws can’t do anything because his initiative is reduced to 0, but the Marine with the Unwieldy lumbering slow Power Fist gets a go because his Power Fist sets his Initiative to 1. LOLWUT?!?! Lightning Claw Marine makes sad panda face.

    • Avatar
      Hippesthippo April 12, 2013 4:34 pm #

      The fist has a mind of its own, obv.

  9. Avatar
    Douglas of Wolfbrothers April 12, 2013 8:32 pm #

    I think this voting on rules stuff is weak. ;-P

    Great article!

    Fast and scary..

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