Time of Chaos: Chaos Daemons in Chapter Approved

Chaos Daemons- although not as bad as, say, Dark Mechanicus, they were a faction with a lot of problems. But Chapter Approved made some major changes to them and they saw some of the largest price drops of any army out there- but in terms of raw numbers as well as overall percentages. So where does that leave them now? Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

While there were a lot of factions that saw some big changes with Chapter Approved, Chaos Daemons were undoubtedly one of the most-changed by it. Like Adeptus Mechanicus, they saw some pretty sweeping reductions to the point costs of a lot of units in ways that will make them far more valuable as both a primary force and an ally (to say nothing of the expected wave of releases that go along with Age of Sigmar that we can expect to see in the near future here.) Although the changes aren’t distributed evenly across the four Ruinous Powers, I don’t think that all four of them needed equal help, so that seems pretty reasonable.

Units

One of the biggest alterations is the four greater daemons, all of whom saw huge reductions in points. The two Bloodthirsters saw reductions of 80+pts, bringing them down more into the same range as other factions’ monsters; for a unit that can easily put 12+ high-strength, high-AP hits onto a target, that is no small matter. Bloodthirsters remain fairly vulnerable to enemy shooting, but with the option to deep strike them and/or overwhelm the enemy with threats I think they’re a legit choice now. The Greater Unclean One didn’t see as big of a reduction (anywhere from 15 to 50pts, depending on loadout), but as it was perhaps the most successful of them in tournaments already that probably is fine. It still got a pretty major boost with most versions and generally comes in under 300pts now, in some cases quite a bit below. The Lord of Change likewise saw a 50pt drop in its cost, making it much more attractive as a hybrid beatstick/caster; the Keeper of Secrets also dropped by almost 60pts, keeping it the cheapest of the four at ~180 for the full package, but with its extremely poor statline and abilities I think it’s really only worth it as perhaps a bargain-basement choice. The LoC/Bloodthirster are both faster and hit harder, not to mention better-protected; Slaanesh had some definite gains as part of Chapter Approved, but it wasn’t in the greater daemons category.

The named greater daemons also came down in price as well, by fairly similar amounts- Belakor dropped 40pts, making him… playable, perhaps? Kairos came down 85pts and is probably a bit better than the stock model, but I’m not sure he really impresses me overall. Rotigus is also 285, which actually puts him on the low end of the scale when it comes to GUO variants; like Fateweaver, I think he generally is superior to his generic cousins, so if you’re looking to run one or more big poop daemons, Rotigus probably gets the nod. Finally, Skarbrand dropped by 30pts; as he is much less equivalent to the standard Bloodthirsters, this is a bit harder to assess, but I think he is still a bit too much of an odd duck overall to really make the cut for a competitive army- though his ability is extremely fun to play with, I have to admit.

A number of the other “herald”-tier characters also saw points changes. The Spoilpox Scrivener, not surprisingly, went up by a decent amount- given how critical he was to the functioning of many Daemon lists and how much of a force multiplier he was, this is probably not a shock to most people. However, he’s still perfectly servicable as an HQ and you’ll still see lists that are running large numbers of Plaguebearers make use of him, so I wouldn’t cry too much over the change. On the other hand, most of the other such characters went down by 10-15pts, including the Masque of Slaanesh, Herald of Slaanesh, Fateskimmer, Fluxmaster, Changecaster, Exalted Flamer, and The Blue Scribes. These units were for the most part not bad to start with and were pretty cheap anyways, so a 1/6th price reduction will likely do them quite a bit of good- especially in combination with the many changes to other units out there. I think the Exalted Flamer and Herald of Slaanesh in particular gain a lot from this and may start making some major tournament appearances, because both of them bring some very strong utility to a list while not necessarily needing a Locus or other support elements to do their job.

The pattern continues with a lot of the other units in the book. Plague Drones, interestingly, saw an increase in cost, by 6pts per model- which is a surprisingly-large jump, all things considered, as it’s more than even Shining Spears got. Given that Daemons (even the pure Nurgle versions) only did reasonably well, it’s a bit odd to see them get this much of a bump, but I suppose GW has their reasons. On the other hand, almost every other “mount” unit went down in price by a large amount. Seekers are down 4pts (a 20% reduction), Bloodcrushers are the same price (but gained a wound), Screamers and Flamers went down 3pts, and Fiends went down 4pts (and also gained a wound in the process.) While this may not make them all viable choices, it certainly improves them to a significant degree and I think Seekers in particular become much more useful; they’re a bit more expensive than two Daemonettes, but aren’t that much lower in damage output (in part due to the way that large bases work. Plague Drones are likely the only one that will get many major tournament appearances, but the others at least become somewhat more passable.

Arguably the most relevant change was Daemonettes going down by a point to 6pts each now. Given that Cultists are 5pts, this starts to make them look a lot more attractive for a build- spamming out 90 or 150 of them could be a real problem for some armies, especially when supported by a Herald, and they have a pretty favorable comparison to Tzaangors all things considered. With a 5++ they are almost as resilient and three attacks with AP-1 rending is no joke when it comes to tearing up enemy infantry or even vehicles; presuming that you are benefiting from the Locus, you also are pretty quick at moving across the board as well, and in a prolonged combat Daemonettes become pretty terrifying thanks to always striking first and the psychic power to allow them to fight an extra time. I’m not expecting them to displace Plaguebearers as the troop of choice for “hide behind dudes and cast smite”, but they do open up a much more aggressive build as an option for Chaos armies.

All of the “chariot”-style vehicles also saw reductions, the most notable of which being the Seeker Chariot. Down 20pts to a mere 50 per pop, a Seeker Chariot is capable of putting out quite a lot of mortal wounds and/or high-AP attacks on the charge and is relatively resilient to anti-tank shooting; taken alongside the Hellflayer (at 70pts) and Herald on Seeker Chariot, it can present a fast-moving force of assault units that can threaten charges on turn 2 while shrugging off most types of firepower with relative facility. With many other fast Chaos vehicles also coming down in price, I think there is a distinct possibility for some kind of list centered around these units- possibly incorporating Renegade Knights, or some Smite characters, or any number of other options. However, I digress; the other chariots also saw some decent drops in price, although none quite as drastic. The Skull Cannon seems like the most plausible to get some kind of role in an army due to essentially being a Battle Cannon with BS3+ for 90pts, although it does run into potential issues with breaking up your Locus bonuses. The Soul Grinder is down 55pts as well, to 185. I still feel like it’s probably too expensive for what it does, in particular because of the very mediocre weapon skill and ballistic skill values, but there might actually be some value in exploring what a Tzeentch version could do when backing up a bunch of other tough targets.

Other Factions and Metagame

So where does this leave Chaos Daemons as a whole? Well, obviously they weren’t the only ones to see some significant price drops, but in many ways they are a major beneficiary. Chaos Daemons themselves are still a codex that can struggle with a number of specific issues (such as anti-tank), but as part of the Chaos superfaction, they have access to some amazing tools, very few of which got any worse. In fact, since most of the other Chaos factions saw the same sorts of price drops (albeit not quite to the same degrees), they gain access to a number of new tools that can benefit them a lot. And since Chaos as a whole was already doing quite well at tournaments- taking home top prizes at many majors and GTs, to say nothing of its near-constant top 8 performances- I think it’s safe to say that the superfaction will continue to do well. Of course, Chaos Daemons themselves had struggled quite a bit prior to Chapter Approved, but I think that these changes will make a very noticeable difference in their performance for players of all skill levels

It’s also true that a few of the units in the Chaos superfaction got worse (namely Cultists), but as there are several other potential replacements in the form of Tzaangors, Plaguebearers, Bloodletters, and Daemonettes (depending on usage), I think that the overall loss to Chaos really isn’t so bad. The fundamental parts of the army are all still there, as none of the Smite batteries or other important components saw any huge changes. Just as relevantly, we saw some nerfs to some of the traditional enemies of Chaos this time around; none of them were backbreaking, but with the army doing so well anyways I don’t think it takes a big tilt to significantly affect many of the matchups. Keep a careful eye on those Ynnari, Castellan, and Ork armies out there, but also know that you certainly have the tools to potentially deal with them.

One army that is a significant danger (and that gained a fair bit from Chapter Approved), however, is the humble soldiers of the Imperial Guard. Vengeance for Cadia is an absurdly cheap stratagem that grants a unit full rerolls, which is absolutely terrifying when used on a unit of any size- be it a large block of Conscripts, a Shadowsword, a Tank Commander, or any number of other units. You absolutely should be considering how you handle the IG matchup with your Chaos armies and how you’ll deal with their getting abundant rerolls (in both shooting and overwatch) against your units, making them much more efficient than could otherwise be the case. It’s not an insurmountable advantage, but neither is it a trivial one and if you don’t plan for it, it is going to catch you completely off guard.

Speaking about Chaos Daemons more specifically, I think there is potentially some room for several new builds to make appearances on the scene. So far, Daemon armies that do well on the tabletop have either been part of Chaos Soup (i.e. integrating large portions of CSM, 1KSons, DG, or Knights) or have been nearly pure Nurgle and relying heavily on resilience to carry the game plan. It remains to be seen exactly how viable other versions will be at top tables, but I think there certainly are a couple of new ideas that are worth testing out.

As already mentioned, Slaanesh has some serious legs to it these days. Spamming out Daemonettes isn’t a strategy in and of itself, I don’t believe- they can’t fly, aren’t quite fast enough to really cross the board against heavy shooting, and most certainly aren’t tough enough to weather a lot of damage. However, they do create a cheap screen for characters to hide behind that must, itself, be dealt with or else it will overrun a gunline, which I think has the potential for a lot of value- their damage per point is a lot better than Cultists ever were and they can still be taken in quite large numbers. The Slaaneshi chariots (Seeker, Exalted Seeker, Hellflayer, Herald on Seeker) also have some potential mileage as well; they would need aid from other tough vehicles to work right, but I think that throwing a ton of 5++ or 4++ targets into the enemy is something that some lists just won’t be ready for. There are actually quite a lot of options for what to accompany it with- Morty/Magnus, Heldrakes, Plagueburst Crawlers, the various Cavalry daemons, etc, etc; Chaos has access to a lot of tough units with an invuln save that can help boost your saturation of threats. Of course, on tables with a lot of ruins and other impeding terrain you may find that they are struggling to get where they need to go in order to charge the enemy, so some amount of shooting, psychic powers, or fly/infantry models is probably necessary.

Depending on exactly how popular some of the heavy hitters (Lootas and Castellan especially) end up being, there may be some sort of “monster mash” list that can make it near the top tables as well. Although the various flavors of greater daemon are still pretty expensive, they are costed much closer to where I think they should be, and something like a Bloodthirster will absolutely destroy most squads that it assaults. I think it, the Lord of Change, and the Greater Unclean One all have some potential merit to running them, and it’s almost guaranteed that we’ll see at least one player at the LVO doing 4-2 or maybe even 5-1 using some sort of hyper-aggressive list with them- I’ve heard tales of a list paired up with Bash Brothers (i.e. Morty and Magnus), and I think Renegade Knights are also a possibility in that sense. Heck, maybe even hybridizing it with the above list that brings a bunch of chariots is a possibility; both bring some potential solutions to the other’s problems. However, if the anti-tank shooting in the environment is heavy enough, this list probably won’t do well- Bloodthirsters are still fairly fragile overall, and they lack a stratagem to shrug off the effects of the degradation chart, so causing enough damage can really slow them down.

Nurgle lists will continue to be popular, of course; although Plague Drones and the Scrivner both went up noticeably in points, which means a “nurgle rush” is probably no longer possible, but there are lots of other good elements in the list so I think it will remain, albeit with a somewhat heavier ally component than before. It may also get combined more with units from other gods, since a lot of those are much more useful now- in particular, Tzeentch and Slaanesh have the chance to bring some useful aids.

Tzeentch, which I’ve rather glossed over a bit so far, I think has the chance to make some significant gains. All of the Tzeentch herald-tier characters came down in price and there are some very powerful synergies between them- with the right set of spells, warlord traits, and abilities, you can make most of the Tzeentch shooting pretty terrifying. Big blocks of Horrors have already been on the border of being viable, and I think we may see them tip over the edge here and start seeing real play. The Exalted Flamer I think also deserves mention, as a lot of people don’t realize how powerful its shooting can be- either d6 S6 AP-2 autohits or d3 baby Lascannon shots, giving it a good weapon against almost all possible profiles. Although it is fairly short-ranged, its mobility means this is a lot less of an issue than it could be, and Chaos Daemons as a whole typically wants to be fairly close to the enemy. I still don’t think Screamers are worth much, but Flamers might see a bit of play.

Final Thoughts

Chaos as a whole is poised to make some strong appearances as we roll up on the end of the ITC season here as well as in the coming year, and I expect that Chaos Daemons will often be part of those appearances as either a primary or allied faction. Although I still wouldn’t call them a top-tier faction (as they are largely unable to stand completely independently), they have some strong tools in their arsenal and the ability to ally with so many other codices is a very strong option in and of itself. I think Daemon players can take Chapter Approved as a very positive thing overall, as they gained quite a bit from it and lost very little; the only question now is whether the meta will shape up in such a way that they can rise above the other options or not.

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About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

28 Responses to “Time of Chaos: Chaos Daemons in Chapter Approved”

  1. Avatar
    Paul Winters December 26, 2018 8:41 am #

    What are your thoughts on Soul Grinders and Furies? Both had some modest point reductions.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 26, 2018 8:56 am #

      I think the Soul Grinder is still generally not very good, excepting maaaaaaaaaybe the Tzeentch version. WS/BS4+ is just a huge limiter on its performance when it’s got Heavy weapons and wants to be getting into melee.

      Furies… I just don’t think there’s any reason for them to exist? I mean, they are a cheap flying screen, so I suppose in theory some sort of Chaos gunline could make good use of them, but since Chaos in general and Daemons in particular tend to be pretty fine with getting locked up in combat (due to good melee, Smites, etc) I don’t really see a need for them. Especially with Daemonettes getting their point reduction, I don’t see a niche they fit into well.

      • Avatar
        Paul Winters December 26, 2018 12:47 pm #

        I was looking at Soul Grinder with warpclaw + Locus of Grace stratagem to maybe get some bonus melee attacks but delivery is the issue. For the same price point, a winged prince with claws brings more to the table with less risk.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 26, 2018 5:13 pm #

          Yeah, and even a Keeper of Secrets is cheaper and puts down about the same number of hits while also being faster (though it does lack the shooting.) I don’t really think there’s any call for the Grinder in most armies.

  2. Avatar
    Ujayim December 26, 2018 8:42 am #

    I’ve felt, since inception, that Daemons got a short end of the stick in particular with the rule of three.

    Flamers I want to keep around 5 man units, because of the stratagem. Exalted Flamers are obviously one man squads, but are only 70pts. Same for Chariots, etc.

    Unfortunately, can still only take 3 squads, etc, so it limits something like a “conflagration host”, for example.

    I agree with most all of your points. Good write up.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 26, 2018 8:59 am #

      If you could take like 8+ Exalted Flamers, I would be all over that. But yeah, sadly you are limited to three in most games. (I think it’s less of an issue for Flamers, since squads of 5+ of them actually start to get fairly pricey, but that’s another subject.)

      The Slaaneshi chariots actually sidestep the problem rather nicely because there technically are five different variants- the Seeker Chariot, Exalted Seeker Chariot, Hellflayer, Herald on Seeker Chariot and Herald on Exalted Seeker Chariot. I don’t rate the Exalted ones much, but as mentioned in the article the others are surprisingly scary, putting out 8-16 attacks with S4 or better, and all of them benefit greatly from the +1Str aura off a Herald.

      • Avatar
        Ujayim December 26, 2018 9:41 am #

        I own 12. I was all over that. Lol

        Rip

      • Avatar
        AllHail December 26, 2018 2:37 pm #

        You can summon Exalted Flamers right? Units created with reinforcement points ignore the rule of 3 at least according to GW’s recommendations.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 26, 2018 5:14 pm #

          That is true, although you would need to devote enough characters to bring them in. But an ever-expanding wave of Tzeentch characters would be pretty amusing.

  3. Avatar
    Draaen December 26, 2018 8:51 am #

    Pretty excited about the changes for daemons. I’ve been running 3 seeker chariots and so far one out of the 3 has rolled well enough to get a turn 1 charge. They are pretty durable and have attracted a good amount of attention. I’m very interested in the hell flayer.

    The furies also seem pretty cheap to me. Tzeentch guys seem like they could be good cheap semi-durable support for a fast moving daemon force.

    • Avatar
      Paul Winters December 26, 2018 8:59 am #

      I have been toying with running max Slaanesh chariots for 600pts. 72w t5 4+/5++ isn’t anything to sneeze at

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy December 26, 2018 8:59 am #

        I think it’s legit. The struggle I’ve had is what to pair it with so far, but I think there is something decent, or maybe even great, buried in there.

        • Avatar
          Draaen December 26, 2018 11:04 am #

          That many chariots is going to take up a lot of space. I’ve had that base size become more of a liability in choke points. Part of me wants to run a lot of slaanesh chariots not as the main focus of the list but as flanking components. 3 Hellflayers, 3 Seeker Chariots and 2 Heralds on Steeds of Slaanesh is about 550 points.

          I am looking at Daemon Princes, Screamers and greater daemons for the damage dealers. Nurglings in that style list seemed to be a good troop choice to get objectives, tie up enemies and provide forward character protection for the daemon princes.

          • Avatar
            Paul Winters December 26, 2018 12:51 pm
            #

            A trick I always wanted to try with the chariots is moving them up on 2nd-floor of ruins. The base size makes that hard to pull off. Fiends of Slaanesh are also beast so they could go up ruins levels.

            Page 248 – Ruins
            Change the first paragraph of rules text to read:
            ‘Unless they can Fly, Vehicles, Monsters, Cavalry
            and Bikers can only be set up or end their move on the
            ground floor of ruins.’

  4. Avatar
    rvd1ofakind December 26, 2018 1:19 pm #

    It’s kinda hard for me not to write off any targettable model that’s less than 100 pts with “ok” druability in ITC. It’s just “hey, wanna have much easier kill one,kill more, butchers bill AND marked/BGH???”. It’s a rough fit.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 26, 2018 5:23 pm #

      The thing is, with the current ITC missions, virtually every army gives up the full 12pts on secondaries. There are a small number that don’t (and in particular Eldar still dodge a ton of stuff), but realistically speaking almost every army WILL give up full points to the enemy. So saying “oh no this unit is unusable because it qualifies for one of the secondaries” is completely misconceptualizing things, because virtually every unit in the game meets those criteria.

      There is, of course, the issue of how easily you give up some objectives compared to other lists, but that by itself doesn’t render a unit invalid- Smash Captains make Headhunter fairly trivial for your opponent, but they are still a really good unit. A Castellan makes Kingslayer very easy, but you still see people bringing that guy. Hordes of Grots are a real liability when it comes to Reaper, but every Ork list still starts with 60 of them. The real question is whether your list, as a whole, bleeds points too easily compared to how it scores them and how well the units accomplish their objectives on the tabletop. If you’re wiping out the enemy’s forces most games, bleeding secondaries will be largely irrelevant because you should easily max your own secondaries and win the primary.

      (With all of that said, I still don’t consider Daemons a top-tier army, but it was unlikely they were going to be. But as part of the Chaos superfaction, they are quite strong.)

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind December 26, 2018 10:19 pm #

        Giving up secondaries is just the icing on the cake.
        Giving up Kill 1 and kill more every turn is the rough part. That’s why ork mek gun spam isn’t a thing in the ITC. Just too easy to kill the seperate units.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy December 27, 2018 12:09 am #

          Okay, but Daemons are not unusually bad in terms of giving up Kill More. They don’t have a lot of small solo units that are easy to get rid of in most builds, and certainly nowhere near something like Tau or IG that bleeds kill points like it’s going out of style.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind December 27, 2018 12:36 am
            #

            Well yeah, current 20-40 model units + characters makes killing stuff harder. As soon as you add in random chariots, you start to bleed VPs real hard. That’s why Chaos is just 1w models + chars.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy December 27, 2018 1:57 am
            #

            Chariots don’t count for Marked for Death, Big Game Hunter, or almost any of the other objectives. Chariots actually mean giving up _fewer_ VP than most other options. And while they may not be unusually tough, I’d say they are tougher than the 50pts you could’ve spent on most anything else in the codex.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind December 27, 2018 3:34 am
            #

            Yeah? I just said that chariot equivalents easily give up kill one/more in an army that doesn’t normally do so(30 -2 to hit 4++ 5+++ bearers or stuff in deepstrike). So if you take them you make your army worse. Daemons already bleed secondaries, so that’s much less of a problem. Marked+Reaper = auto 8 pts.

          • Avatar
            abusepuppy December 27, 2018 8:30 am
            #

            Yeah, man, you figured it out. Daemons are the worst army in the game and every army always scores maximum points against them because it’s impossible not to take four Greater Daemons (which are terrible) and four squads of max-size troops (which are also terrible) and deep strike them all by spending all your command points and leave them off the table so they’re destroyed automatically. There’s no reason to even think about scoring points, because every player gets to mark a 43 on their score sheet the moment they see your army list.

          • Avatar
            rvd1ofakind December 27, 2018 11:20 am
            #

            Can you not respond without being a condecending (naughty language, edited for content-Ed)? You get so many comments about your BS on the podcasts, in comments section and you have a bad reputation among players. You don’t think you should work on fixing that? Try giving the benefit of a doubt that the people you’re talking to aren’t beneath you?

            I think daemons are fine – tier 2-1.5. That’s a great place to be in. The Troops are great, the HQs are good too! But Daemons, along with the rest of chaos, are boring as fuck. Take 1 wound models, take characters. Hey! You have the best chaos list. That’s coming from Nick. This is why he (and a lot of other top players) have abandoned chaos.

            Listening to Nick talk about chaos is probably the most depressing thing in the world. “What about unit x?” “that’s pretty cool, but this, this and this army does that better and this gives your opponent a target with anti-tank and this gives you less cp and this gives up kill more easily, and…”

            There are other possible lists but they are much further down the power ranking: mid-range and threat overload.
            They may have gotten boosts – and that’s great, but they are still just worse versions of the troops+chars list. That’s what I have a problem with.

            For non-troops to see any use in chaos the troops have to be nerfed (which would cause chaos to drop a tier or two unless other armies get a hit too) or the >1 wound units need to be AMAZING. 18 pts screamers, 9 pts flesh hounds, 50pts skull cannons. Just ridiculous things like that.

          • Reecius
            Reecius December 27, 2018 11:35 am
            #

            Hey bro, feel free to disagree–even very strongly–but don’t hurl personal insults like that.

  5. Avatar
    Nick Wenker December 26, 2018 5:34 pm #

    I am so torn between being happy with CA’s much-needed cuts to Daemon units versus being disappointed that they didn’t get cut quite enough to be truly attractive in serious lists. The exception is Slaanesh, which I think got generous and necessary cuts across the board. But the Greater Daemons, Tzeentch Daemons, and non-Bloodletter Khorne units are all still just a little too expensive for what they do. Considering how easy it is too shoot a big unit off the table and how many points they give up in ITC, I wish the Greater Daemons were another 30 or so points lower in line with the false rumors that circulated in late November.

    I especially wish those reductions had been more generous considering the number of fundamental flaws that inhibit Daemons in the current edition:

    – No transports, so harder to get the +1 to go first or get melee troops into combat
    – With the power of shooting in this edition, non-Nurgle units need to deep strike to do anything before they get shot off the table, and unlike armies that deep strike for free, Daemons are forced to spend 1-3 CPs per unit they will deep strike (i.e. 1-2 CP for a Bloodletter unit and then another CP for Banner of Blood to avoid catastrophic missed charge)
    – Least shooting of any unit in the game, bad weakness in 8th edition and even worse in ITC where you want to be able to kill priority units early and where you need to be able to consistently kill units each turn including the first turn
    – FAQ’d changes to no first-turn deep strikes are a heavy blow to an almost entirely melee army that (except for Nurgle) depends on deep striking and pays hefty CP to do so
    – No flyers, making movement denial and certain ITC secondaries a lot harder to nab than other armies
    – Daemons in any given detachment only have a limited number of stratagem tricks during gameplay (i.e., 3 strats for their God, warp surge, and perils)
    – Warp Surge, which was already very expensive at 2 CP for a “one phase only” and “declare at start of phase” power, got further reduced in utility now that it can’t be used for Daemon Lords, Horrors, Bloodthirster with Armor of Scorn, or Lord of Change with impossible robe
    – One of the only factions (only faction?) whose superheavies have goofy fluffy points that make them a very unappetizing pick for competitive play, especially with Warp Surge nerf
    – Need to use up multiple detachments if you want to benefit from Loci of more than one Gods category of units
    – Numerous other botched fundamentals in the Daemons codex (i.e., really disappointing Tzeentch psychic powers and Tzeentch Locus ability)
    – Despite strong troops, basic melee hordes are more vulnerable to morale tests than other horde melee troops despite being immune to shooting morale in previous editions

    Add in the slightly overdone points nerf to Scrivener and the EXTREME over-nerf to Plague Drones (1-3 points = maybe fair, 6 points = ridiculous), and even mono-Nurgle doesn’t look that shiny anymore.

    Put it all together and it’s a really disappointing picture, even with some needed cuts in Chapter Approved. As someone with large collections for all 4 Chaos Gods, it’s disappointing to see the entire faction generally relegated to Chaos Soup. The points cuts help in encouraging pure Daemons but they aren’t enough. And even in soup armies, the Cultist nerf adds at least a 30-point tax on most competitive lists and that’s enough to wipe out a lot of gains. Make you kind of bitter when Dark Eldar and Knights escaped nerfs due to timing, and will most likely walk around underpriced for at least another year.

    I’ll be experimenting with multiple Bloodthirster and more Nurgle / Deathguard mixes. Might even try some Tzeentch Daemons (I do like Flamers). However, I think Daemons will be reaching for the moon trying to put serious pressure on the likes of Knights, Orks, Dark Eldar, and Astra Militarum.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy December 26, 2018 5:51 pm #

      Most factions’ superheavies are actually quite bad right now. Some of them have been reduced (e.g. the Tau’nar), but the Space Marine, Ork, Eldar, and many other superheavy units are still comically bad. It’s just how Forge World is these days.

      I think that a list running multiple Lords of Change or Bloodthirsters along other fast hitters has some possibilities- it’s not a list that is going to win LVO, but it’s potentially good enough to take a GT perhaps.

      I definitely agree that the way the units and stratagems are divided between the four gods is… unpalatable, to say the least. But unfortunately that’s what we’ve got, so it’s live and learn I guess.

      Don’t underestimate how hard many of the Daemon units can hit, though- Horrors can throw down a _ton_ of shots, have a lot of great buffs easily available, and are very resilient compared to most shooting troops. They are of course very vulnerable to melee, but that’s a weakness other parts of your list can cover. And by the same token, I wouldn’t call the Change spells weak by any means- it has several great offensive powers as well as some excellent utility abilities and buffs. Tzeentch is definitely one of the strongest casting factions in the game.

      Chaos Daemons don’t do great as a “pure” force, but they are excellent as part of a Chaos army. That may be disheartening to some, but I honestly don’t really get why folks don’t want to bring in any other allies- be they Renegades, Knights, or Marines, as all three have something to offer Daemons. But if you’re trying to bring a fully competitive list, you ally- that’s just how the game works. It’s not different for Daemons than it is for any other faction with ally options, and while you can certainly turn down that choice, like closing off any other option it makes your army weaker as a result.

      (Daemons can actually do pretty well against Knights, incidentally- Daemonettes are fantastic against them. A block of 30 Daemonettes without any support will kill off a Knight long before it kills them in a straight fight, and even if you factor in retreat/shoot shenanigans two blocks should easily do the job while still costing less than the Knight does.)

      • Avatar
        rvd1ofakind December 26, 2018 11:07 pm #

        Honestly, I can see where he’s coming from. Those are very valid complaints(apart from the FW one).
        I feel daemon powers are disappointing, too. CSM, Tsons, Eldar, Orks all have much better psychic phases, IMO.

        “But I honestly don’t really get why folks don’t want to bring in any other allies”.
        Because what if they don’t like marines or humans. They’re in it for the daemons. That’s where I’m at with both daemons and admech. I do not like any other factions in the Imperium or Chaos at all. That’s why I just play Orks now and relagate the other two for casual games.

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          abusepuppy December 27, 2018 12:08 am #

          >I do not like any other factions in the Imperium or Chaos at all.

          Okay, fair enough, and you can do that, but expecting to do so _and_ have an army that is maximally competitive simply isn’t realistic. You’re setting aside some of your options (and fairly important ones) based on preference, which is naturally going to make the resulting army weaker.

          I think the Change powers, and probably the Plague powers also, compare favorably to most other tables in the game. They are worse than the Aeldari ones overall, but are not without advantages of their own and I would definitely say they come out on par with almost all other books. Orks… eh, maybe? Da Jump is really good, Warpath has great synergy, but the other powers I would say are not that exciting. The Tzeentch powers are strong, but Daemons also get access to them very easily if they care to, and I wouldn’t necessarily say they are better than the Change ones- Gaze of Fate in particular is very powerful and I would say inclines a lot of players to look towards taking it if nothing else.

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