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.