Chaos Daemons Monsters and Wrap-up.

The notorious champion of Greater Daemons, rvd1ofakind brings us an analysis of where the Daemons are at in the meta!

I use 4 things to review these units:

  1. Tournament results
  2. Mathhammer
  3. Top player opinion
  4. Personal experience

BONUS: appearances in 2020 LVO lists for the big monsters 

Tournament results: https://imgur.com/user/Bloodofthetyrants

Mathhammer: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1mhwa-d77ztppXP9ZUQxur9HewqDTFZ6k (everything is by pts value, so when I say something is durable and you see it is T3 6++, remember – without points cost, the stats mean nothing).

So I‘m back after a long time to finish this. I‘ll talk about the monster, the new slaanesh stuff and wrap up until the Chaos Daemon Psychic Awakening (or the new codex pls… whoops review spoilers).

DISCLAIMER: SUGGESTED POINTS VALUES ARE JUST TO ILLUSTRATE HOW BAD THE UNIT IS. Actual changes should be done through rules.

Bloodthirsters:
Description:
Un-hideable slow moving monster (yes, 12” FLY is slow for something like this) that does things when it reaches your opponent… I still haven’t successfully done that so I don’t know what those things are (I actually have, but I don’t want to make you more disappointed) 

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw almost no competitive play. LVO: 2 Bloodthirsters (1 Fury, 1 Wrath)

Mathhammer:
Durability: Bad. Ok against anti-horde, bad vs anti-tank.
Damage: Super bad vs hordes even with the axe anti-horde profile. Good vs 4+ wound stuff unless they have an invul in close combat.

Personal opinion:
So they’re pretty slow for a unit that dies when 1-2 units shoot it. No way to increase that threat range. Just 12” and charge (with re-roll if you have a Khorne detachment). They have a pretty bad +3 leadership aura(10-7=3),they’re not durable, they don’t do good damage to most things in the game and they degrade to trash (everything that is needed for a CC monster degrades for them). You could take the relic to give him 4++ but that will just make him a little bad instead of bad at taking anti-tank shots. I’m not sure why unfettered even exists or more accurately, why is it not the cheapest one. Wrath doesn’t degrade as bad and has 2 “shooting” attacks. Insensate has the most damage but costs even more and degrades the most. 

RATING:
Suboptimal. They’d have to cost 230->150 or even 130 pts to be efficient. However that could be dangerous as they can get spammed to 9 per list. It’s hard to fix them with just pts, if only there was some way to fix all greater daemons…  (to be continued)

Skarbrand:
Description:
Un-hideable slow(er) moving monster with no FLY that has some neat auras.

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw no competitive play. LVO: 0

Mathhammer:
Durability: Super bad. Bad against anti-horde, very bad vs anti-tank.
Damage: Super bad vs hordes even with the axe anti-horde profile. Good vs 4+ wound stuff unless they have an invul in close combat but worse than Axe thirster for his pts for some reason.

Personal opinion:
Again: slow(er), bad(er (not a word, but play along)) durability, bad(er) damage for the cost than the already bad thirsters, doesn’t have FLY. But at least he has cool auras – he can kill flyers by standing near them if you have something with FLY in combat with it. The 8” range really sucks though as deepstriking him doesn’t work unless he makes the 9” charge. He also gives bonus attacks to everyone, however your dudes should already be killing everything in 1 phase or hugging them. Neither of which really wants bonus attacks. Then a melee army can take advantage of this aura when punching you back. Or heck, any army can punch off those T3 letters with enough bonus attacks(see catachans). So the auras are either really bad or won’t get used due to the 8” range. At least he doesn’t degrade terribly. He only degrades really badly.

RATING:
Suboptimal. He’d have to cost 290->150 to be efficient. Or just any way to reliably make the charge.

Great Unclean Ones:
Description:
Un-hideable slow(er(er)) moving monster with no FLY that can have some neat (spoilers: not really tho) auras.

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw almost no competitive play. LVO: 1

Mathhammer:
Durability: Average against all weapons. (Just FYI: average means pretty bad for competitive)
Damage: Bad against everything unless you’re taking the sword(so no bell). In that case it’s just OK versus 4+ wound targets.

Personal opinion:
So here we have the slowest greater daemon with no FLY to boot. The sword option is just a very bad beatstick so let’s ignore it. Leaving only the utility of the Bell GUO to take into consideration. So it’s a bad unit in terms of durability and damage, but hey, on 4+ you get 1 model back. So you can expect 0 to 2 models through the game. Which is 0-204 pts if you take the best target – blighthauler, which is not really worth his points at the moment, meaning the bell GUO is not worth his points at the moment. Not to mention, your opponent can just shoot the GUO instead, making the bell completely useless.

RATING:
Suboptimal. They’d have to cost 240->150. However at that cost it does amazing damage and its durability would be just “pretty good” for the cost. Which really doesn’t fit a GUO, it should be reversed.

Rotigus:
Description:
Un-hideable slow(er(er)) moving monster with no FLY that has some more psychic potential(Spoilers: does he tho?).

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw almost no competitive play. LVO: 1

Mathhammer:
Durability: Average against all weapons. (Just FYI: average means pretty bad for competitive)
Damage: Pretty good if you actually get there.

Personal opinion:
So here we have the (other) slowest greater daemon with no FLY. The whole point of this guy is to be within 7” of the enemy buuuuuuuuuut read the first sentence. Not gonna happen. If he could deepstrike within 7” somehow – wow he would actually be useable. Sadly he has the normal deepstrike with 0 charge bonuses. 

RATING:
Suboptimal. They’d have to cost 250->170. However at that cost it does amazing damage, however its durability is just “pretty good” for the cost. Which really doesn’t fit a GUO, it should be reversed.

Lord of Change:
Description:
Un-hideable monster with pretty good speed (notice how this and the BT have the same speed, but where BT is considered slow, this one if considered fast-ish. Different roles). But this one has psychic powers with +2 to cast!
Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw a little competitive play. LVO: 4

Mathhammer:
Durability: A little below average. However has really good durability with the 3++ relic and -1 damage warlord trait, which is what people usually have.
Damage: Bad against everything. Sword make him below average.

Personal opinion:
The only greater daemon that saw any real (if very slight) competitive play until the new Keepers were released. The main reasons are durability(It can be used to screen) and the +2 to cast (better chance for super smite and other harder to cast spell). However it still doesn’t do enough for the cost and gives up kingslayer. It’s very vulnerable to things that bypass its 3++ such as mortal wounds and death hex equivalents.

RATING:
Suboptimal. They’d have to cost uh… yeah, it’s actually impossible to even illustrate how badly designed they is with points. Because only at 100, the damage output is good enough, but then the durability is just completely off the carts, because at 250 with the relic/wl combo it’s already very good. They need a damage boost or better spells.

Kairos Fateweaver:
Description:
Un-hideable monster with pretty good speed. But this one has psychic powers with +2 to cast and all of the spells… sadly that comes with a biiiig downside…
Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw almost no competitive play. LVO: 1

Mathhammer:
Durability: A little below average. 

Damage: Bad against everything. 

Personal opinion:
Oh how the mighty has fallen. A must take in chaos lists in previous edition, in 8th edition is pretty much a joke. It’s Nick Nanavati’s #1 pick for the most disappointing unit in the entire game. And it’s hard to disagree. The main reason as to why Kairos sees no play compared to his unnamed friends – he can’t take the relic or the warlord trait that makes them good(compared to him). The ability to know all tzeentch spells is good but nowhere near as good to compensate for that downside. Finally he has a gimmick ability that gives D3 CP if he’s the warlord. The problem with that is that his warlord trait is beyond terrible (2+ to avoid Perils, which will usually happen once every 3 games and even then you can just CP re-roll it, essentially giving it the same 2+ to avoid it without sacrificing the warlord trait).

RATING:
Suboptimal. He’d have to cost 250->125 but… that’s just silly. He really needs to not be the flavorless beatstick he is now. 

Keeper of Secrets:
Description:
Un-hideable monster with pretty good speed and crappy psychic powers.
Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw a little competitive play. LVO: 9(in 4 lists)

Mathhammer:
Durability: quite below average. The shield won’t change that. However if it gets stuck in combat and fights first, it potentially skyrockets to amazing unless fighting against anti-tank melee units (then it’s just OK).
Damage: Really good vs 3+ wound targets (unless it’s exactly 4, then you cry)

Personal opinion:
The only greater daemon to have a little competitive success (and his/her named variant). It’s pretty fast 14” move + advance + charge. It doesn’t have FLY but can at least interact with fliers with the whip, which is the best choice(IMO). The shield doesn’t add enough and increases the cost, the knife is a joke and the hand is too situational. The reason it saw competitive success was due to terrain that had very tall walls. This way all keepers could run up the board, be unshootable with normal guns and run into the enemy (so said the person who had recent success with them). However if your opponent knows how they work, they can be played around pretty easily. The opponent can deploy outside the normal threat range and can put the screen in front anyway. If keepers go second, all three can die turn 1 too often. If keepers go first, they usually can’t make it in combat and… die anyway? Or they can charge the screen, which they don’t want to charge. The screen can be cleared by slaanesh bikes or pink horrors, however if you have such tools, the opponent can be super conservative and deploy out of charge range. Honestly despite being the best greater daemon results wise, I don’t really feel it. They are usually paired with the mirror to keep them in combat.

RATING:
Situational, if the tournament has static terrain with big enough walls to hive them. They’d have to cost around 150 to not be as much of a liability.

Shalaxi Helbane:
Description:
Un-hideable monster with pretty good speed and crappy psychic powers.
Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw a little competitive play. LVO: 4

Mathhammer:
Durability: quite below average. The shield won’t change that. However if it gets stuck in combat and fights first, it potentially skyrockets to amazing unless fighting against anti-tank melee units (then it’s just OK).
Damage: Really good vs 3+ wound targets. Not as bad vs 4 wound models but less reliable due to D6 damage. 

Personal opinion:
Just the 4th keeper of secrets. The biggest downside is probably the tall spear that makes this model even harder to hide. It’s the anti-knight version, however the knight will probably kill it with shooting before it does anything.

RATING:
Situational, if the tournament has static terrain with big enough walls to hive it. It’d have to cost around 160 to not be as much of a liability.

So how do you fix all these greater daemons. Simple: +1 invul aura to <god> daemons within 6”. Also move the dumb restriction of the +1 invul stratagem to 2++ instead of 3++. It’s not like the 2++ LoC was setting the world on fire, and there’s still a few 2++ floating around anyway(Shining spears, electro priests to name a few). This way you can have T7 3++ 16W models that your opponent really needs to kill. This could make them viable without points changes and make them feel like the leaders of the daemon force as they should be. Anyway…

Soul Grinder:
Description:
Un-hideable monster bad speed, bad accuracy that gets worse if he moves. But at least it can be modified with god abilities.

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw no competitive play. 

Mathhammer:
Durability: Good to amazing(Nurgle) vs anti-horde and below average to average(Nurgle) vs anti-tank

Damage: Awful vs hordes, Average vs everything else.

Personal opinion:
It’s OK GW thought it was good enough so they didn’t touch it in CA. 

RATING:
Clearly good enough for GW. Actually just use the model as a defiler. It’s still not great but miles above what a soul grinder can do.

Syll’Esske:
Description:
A daemon prince herald combo for Slaanesh with great damage output. But the 9” move with no FLY makes it hard for them to keep up with the rest of the force except for daemonettes.

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw a little competitive play. 

Mathhammer:
Durability: Bad as most character are.

Damage: Great as most characters are not.

Personal opinion:
It was the more hyped of the two Slaanesh character releases. However the roles have certainly been reversed in practice. While it outputs a lot of damage, the lack of wings and speed really puts a damper on it.

RATING:
Suboptimal. Should cost around 170. It really just needs some better ways to be protected and to keep up with its friends.

Contorted Epitomy:
Description:
A fast, situationally durable character with good psychic potential and most importantly, the no escape from combat ability.

Tournament results and top player opinion:
Saw a good amount of competitive play. 

Mathhammer:
Durability: Bad as most character are… except when targeted with mortal wounds. 2+ against that stuff, which is often the only way to deal with this character at range.

Damage: Average

Personal opinion:
It less hyped of the two Slaanesh character releases. However the roles have certainly been reversed in practice. Let it be known! That I called it, that this was the better of the two!…………………………..… ok no one cares. This model is great both in mixed chaos armies and in Slaanesh daemon armies to carry the locusi(that’s the plural of locus?). It finally gave some use for the Slaanesh -1 leadership aura spell. It is used to keep another unit in combat, especially useful with big monsters as those cannot surround the enemy units. When detachment starved it can be summoned as per TJ Lanigan in LVO.

RATING:
Competitive.

Wrap-up

So after CA 2019 daemons got even more pts drops on pretty much everything. Clearly, after getting this treatment twice, they should have a lot of unit variety for competitive play… well……………………..

Before CA 2018 competitively viable units were character hqs, troops, plague drones.
After CA 2018 competitively viable units were just the character hqs and troops

After CA 2019 (and with marine meta), here’s the full list of daemon units that are being brought by top chaos players in their LVO lists: Poxbringer, Nurglings. The end.

CA 2019’s most impactful positive changes were on Beasts of Nurgle and Flamers. Flamers are now almost good and Beasts now fill the Plaguebearer role better against certain armies. However beasts must be summoned in ITC missions as giving up gangbusters is super bad.

However the marine meta murdered every troop other than nurglings:

  • Pinks died because S3 AP0 sucks real bad against T4 2+ marines even after herald buffs.
  • Letters died because while AP3 is great, they themselves are just T3, meaning they get auspex scanned, overwatched, counterpunched, suffer morale and even if they survive ALL of that… the marine player will just use them as extra movement by shooting something else and charging the Letters with 3+ S4 attacks per marine.
  • Finally the once unkillable Plague Bearers now melt at the sight of marines with the new re-rolls that ignore minuses to hit. They’re still fine as a single 30 man unit but no more. And then CA 2019 kicked them while they’re down… That’s why a 6 month old balance book is a very bad idea.

And the support HQs followed them out of the meta.

Other than to wait for PA/new codex/3rd CA pts drop/new edition, I think the way to go forward is to use summoning to summon the best unit for the match-up. While Pinks are bad vs marines, they’re still great against most other armies. Beasts are now an amazing screen vs Imperial fists or other S4 armies but can be way worse than plaguebearers in other scenarios and so on. So yay for summoning? But not too much or you’ll get wiped of the table (or your characters get sniped and you get to play with only half of your army).

Finally remember this is a competitive review of the book. You can still take this army to local RTTs and crush people if you know what you’re doing and they don’t.

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

secondhandhsop

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About Reecius

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

3 Responses to “Chaos Daemons Monsters and Wrap-up.”

  1. Avatar
    Jrod March 6, 2020 6:17 am #

    The fact that bloodthirsters don’t have an ability to do mortal wounds in cc is a crime to say the least. I once managed to get a bloodthirster in combat with a riptide in a narrative game and my attacks just bounced off his inv save. I even used the khorne attack again stratagem which still didn’t hurt the riptide. If there was any way to run them partially viable I would jump all over it

  2. Avatar
    Slagmar March 6, 2020 11:18 am #

    Reading your article makes me sad because the truth hurts

  3. Avatar
    Paul Winters March 6, 2020 12:37 pm #

    Since Space Marines, I have been playing Chaos Monster mash a lot because not much from the Daemon codex is really relevant anymore in the competitive scene.

    The brutal part for all the greater daemons like you said is their defenses are too weak for their point costs despite units like Dreadknights or Hive Tyrants existing who have both armor saves and a 4++ save. It is incredibly unfun watching my Keeper of Secrets suffer 10 wounds from a unit of guardsman with first-rank second rank and Vengeance for Cadia.

    Their aura for a centerpiece unit is also just terrible. They don’t even get a token re-roll 1 to hit aura. They are also so fragile they cannot really hang out with lesser daemons either as they need to get into combat to do something before dying. Their strength values are also pretty subpar except for a few of the bloodthirsters compared to dreadnoughts which get 2x.

    The Keepers of Secrets specifically that 14″ + advance and charge, doesn’t amount to much when maps have 18-24″ gaps and often a large center terrain piece you have to go around. If there are Thunder Fire Cannons, they are basically useless unless you want to spend CP to do YEET charges from reserves.

    At the LVO Long War Doubles, my teammate brought a Greater Unclean One. We were laughing all day about how slow it was and how little damage it could do for like 250pts.

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