The Malefic Toolbox Part 1: So You’re Tired of Summoning Pink Horrors?


A series of articles written by guest writer Crownaxe on how to make the most use out of your Daemon summoning.

Chaos Daemons are one of the top competitive armies in the game right now and that is in no small part due to the daemon conjuration psychic powers from the Malefic Discipline. It goes without saying that getting free units over the course of the game is very powerful but one of the biggest boons is daemon summoning’s massive versatility. By giving you instant access to almost the entire Daemon codex you can deal with just about any situation by summoning the right tool for the job. That much choice is quite mind boggling and can be a bit overwhelming and it takes a good understanding of the game state to know what you need and which units to summon at the right time to really maximize your daemon summoning and bring Chaos Daemons to that top competitive level. So I’m here to give you the rundown of your daemonic tool box so that you can get the most out of your summoning instead of just summoning more Pink Horrors.


I think it’s important to note that at the very minimum summoning daemons is giving you a free unit and units give you two particular benefits and one important fact to note.

Board Control – More units means more options for grabbing objectives or contesting your opponent’s objectives. The more mobile the summoned unit is the more it contributes to gaining board presence.

Ablative Wounds – No matter what wounds always have an intrinsic value of wasting your opponent’s time and resources removing them from you which is valuable because you got them for free. One unit shooting at your free summoned wounds is one less unit shooting at units you actually invested points in. Even if they ignore your summoned units this just gives you the chance to assert more board control with your summoned units or actually get some damage out of therm.

You aren’t getting a free work horse – While it’s still very good, all summoned daemons are minimum sized units who are almost all close combat damage only (that just deep struck onto the table) and only have 5++ to defend themselves. As such you aren’t getting a crazy killer squad that’s wiping out units left and right or a unit that will hold an objective while shrugging of an entire army’s worth of shooting (unless you got stupid lucky with your invul saves). All summoned units are about minutiae. By bringing in precise, well timed summons at critical moments so that their small presence has big rewards.

With that said let’s start breaking down the Malefic Toolbox by psychic power. Starting with the first 4 basic troop units in Summoning.




Since this is the primaris of the Malefic Discipline you will always have these daemon tools at your disposal (even if you only rolled the mediocre at best witchfire powers from the table). Luckily you get a wide array of options from this power and they cover most situations your run into often. As such these are the most important tools to be familiar with as you’ll be using them the most.

Pink Horrors – The best back field summon you get from Summoning and probably your best objective camper. While Plaguebearers are more durable while in cover, Pink Horrors’ ability to reroll 1’s to save usually means that when going to ground in cover  they are still quite durable but are also continually contributing to game state by providing another warp charge and another roll on the Malefic Discipline for more summoning powers. And in a pinch they can always cast Flicker Fire that they have from Chaos Focus for some S5 Ap4 shots.

Plaguerbearers – While they are the most durable unit you can get from Summoning, they don’t actively contribute to the game very often. They are too slow to actively assault most units so won’t make use of their 4+ poison and they don’t have any ranged weapons or psychic powers. This is why they are often passed up for a Pink Horror summon. But they do have one unique feature that is their Plague Swords have the Touch of Rust rule which lets them glance all vehicles on 6’s. This means that Plaguebearers can act as area of denial for vehicles. If your opponent gets a vehicle too close to an objective the Plaguebearers can charge it and chew through its armor. You can also put them in the way of Imperial Knights or other Super Heavy Walkers to act as caustic speed bumps. Their best place is dealing with drop pods your opponent leave on objectives since they can easily chew through the immobile vehicle and still camp the objective. So if your opponent has a vehicle heavy list keep Plaguebearers in mind.


Demonettes – Your more punchy option from Summoning. Less durable then Flesh Hounds with only T3, they are still quite mobile with Fleet and +3” on their run moves but also get a volley of I5 S3 rending attacks which makes then a notable threat against most units in the game (even to Wraithknights and other GMCs). Their excellent run move also allows them to be screens on the turn they are summoned since they can generally get a great enough run distance to spread out and make a wall to get in the way of enemy unit. This forces your opponent to either deal with it by wasting shooting on them, or waste time by going around your Demonette screen. This is also a way to deal with units you don’t have a reasonable way of killing (like Deathstars or SHWs). This makes Demonettes a good option to summon in most situations.

Bloodletters – Khorne’s lesser daemons are unfortunately overshadowed by Demonettes versatlity. Bloodletters’ low amount of AP3 power sword attacks just isn’t as damaging as Demonettes high volume of rending attacks, and their lower mobility means they aren’t as effective at screening or going for objectives either. Bloodletters only shine at dealing damage against 3+ armor units like Space Marines where their power swords are most efficient. So if you really need some Space Marines dead, then you drop down the Bloodletters.


Tune in next week when Crownaxe finishes off the rest of the Summoning power and touches on the units from Incursion!


About Petey Pab

Aspiring 40k analyst, tournament reporter and Ultramarines enthusiast, Petey Pab only seeks to gather more knowledge about the game of 40k and share it with as many people as he can in order to unite both hobbyists and gamers. We are, after all, two sides of the same coin.

14 Responses to “The Malefic Toolbox Part 1: So You’re Tired of Summoning Pink Horrors?”

  1. westrider September 8, 2016 5:16 pm

    Yeah, I’d actually call Daemonettes my go-to, rather than Horrors. They’re a good balance of speed for running around grabbing Objectives and hitting power that can at least potentially hurt almost anything short of a Super-Heavy Vehicle.

    I actually prefer the Portalglyph as a source of Horrors, if it works. I get just as many WC from 1 Horror as from the 10 that Summoning brings in, and the smaller group can be easier to hide.

    • Vercingatorix September 8, 2016 5:31 pm

      yeah, I was never a fan of summoning pink horrors. Using 7-8 warp charges to get at most 6 warp charges through the rest of the game? Doesn’t seem worth it in a lot of cases.

      • Dakkath September 8, 2016 10:47 pm

        But the first 1 or 2 warp charges you get from summoning horrors can then go to summoning duty, freeing up your original allotment of warp dice.

        • abusepuppy September 9, 2016 7:53 am

          The problem is that you’re still coming out behind in terms of total WC. If you’re -7 or -8 (from casting that Summoning) on turn 1, even if the game goes to turn 7 you’re still only earn back +6 more, which puts you down by one or two dice.

          Of course, the point isn’t to generate as much WC as possible, it’s to stick units on objectives and win the game. In this sense summoning Horrors can be useful, especially when rolling on the Change table to try and get one of the high-Strength shots to take out a priority target. However, it does showcase the futility of trying to “go infinite” with Horrors- rather, you should be attempting to influence the game state.

          • Bryan September 9, 2016 8:09 am

            Go go Libby Conclave with Tiggy, 3 dice to cast, try not to blow yourself up in the process.

          • Vercingatorix September 13, 2016 6:49 am

            precisely abusepuppy, The issue is that if I want to hide on objectives then plaguebearers are better and tougher and if I want deadly I get daemonettes.

  2. Lord Krungharr September 8, 2016 7:41 pm

    Summoning daemonettes won me one of two small tournaments that I’ve ever won. Last turn, they didnt scatter, and their extra run distance put them on an objective…. Vs Eldar too! So good. Too bad the sexy 4th edition ones are so expensive or I’d get another few units of them.

    I like the idea of using the Portaglyph to bring in more horrors though. Good call.

    • Anggul September 10, 2016 1:25 am

      *3rd edition

      4th edition are the current ones

      • westrider September 10, 2016 1:15 pm

        The current ones came out at the very end of 4th. That last metal set was the current version for enough of 4th that’s perfectly reasonable to call them 4th Ed, especially since they came out fairly late in 3rd themselves.

  3. Threllen September 9, 2016 5:38 am

    I use the Portalglyph a lot to get myself some extra Horrors as well (when I can squeeze the points in). It’s fairly cheap for the number of warp charge points it can generate over the course of a game. Even if it only brings in one unit, that’s still pretty worth it.

    I don’t even own Plaguebearers but I’m not sure if I would summon them even if I could… they’re just too niche in what they’re good at. Either more Horrors if I just need something to sit on the backline, some daemonettes if I need mobility or rending, or even bloodletters if I have a lot of MEQ in my face.

  4. Huymix September 9, 2016 10:23 am

    Good point with plaguebearers and dealing with droppods. Pods are really annoying. One tactic not mentioned is the ability for summoned units to run afterwards. The way to use it is to summon near an objective (hopefully on it ideally) and then run to bubble out and keep other units from getting within 3″. Useful for making sure jetbikes and other late game fast obsec have a harder time getting to the objective.

    • westrider September 9, 2016 4:49 pm

      Just remember that Plaguebearers can’t Run because they’re S&P.

  5. Loofanator September 10, 2016 3:26 am

    Dont plaugebearers have defensive grenades? Its amazing to summon then and have them toss a grenade at Tau or Necron units, blinding them!

    • abusepuppy September 10, 2016 2:04 pm

      They do have defensive grenades (all Nurgle units do), but you can’t blind most Tau units because of Blacksun Filters.