Faction Focus: Chaos Daemons

The Warhammer-community team brings us a faction focus for Daemons in 9th ed 40k.

Servants of the Ruinous Powers, rejoice! The new edition of Warhammer 40,000 has plenty of treats in store for Chaos Daemons, and joining us to talk you through them is Herald of the Dark Gods, Justin Curtis.

Who Are They?

Chaos Daemons are creatures created from the raw power of the Dark Gods. Made of warp-stuff, they are immaterial horrors that follow no laws of the physical realm. Each god’s Daemons reflect that deity’s nature as they march to war. 

Daemons of Khorne are bellicose and warlike, seeking to spill blood and claim skulls for their master. Tzeentch’s Daemons are cunning, using warp magic and trickery to achieve their goals. Daemons of Nurgle are rotting and diseased, taking delight in spreading plague and pestilence. Slaanesh’s Daemons are swift and lithe, deadly killers who strike before an enemy can raise their defences.

When they battle together, Chaos Daemons are nigh unstoppable, a tide of destruction that overwhelms foes with martial prowess and psychic might. 

How They Play in the New Edition

With four distinct playing styles available across the different Chaos Gods, Daemons can be used in a wide variety of ways – and all can be combined for even more fun. Here to guide us through the labyrinth is Justin Curtis, a Chaos Lord whose Chaos Daemons and Heretic Astartes armies have defeated many a foe. Take it away, Justin.

Justin: It’s time to see what the minions of the Ruinous Powers have to look forward to in the new edition.

The battlefield itself is changing in ways that are particularly helpful to Daemon players – as most have heard by now, we’ll frequently be playing on slightly smaller tables, and that’s certainly great news for Slaanesh and Khorne players, who’ll have less distance to cover before they can start slaying. 

There’s a lot of good news for the Beasts keyword as well – and no codex is better prepared to take advantage of those changes, with each of the Ruinous Powers having their own favoured Beast. Screamers, Flesh Hounds, Fiends, and Beasts (of Nurgle!) will all be able to interact with terrain in ways that were previously restricted to the Infantry keyword – meaning it’ll be much easier for them to out-seek their enemies on the new edition’s battlefields. Combined with their new Stratagems from Engine War, it’ll be worth giving each of these units another look.

Speaking of the new content from Engine War, I think Tzeentch Daemons came away with the best of it, and that’s convenient because you’ll really want to bring some firepower to the new edition’s Shooting phase to try to make the most out of the new Character targeting rules. While the other Daemons may be happiest taking skulls, corrupting mortals, or spreading plagues – all best done up close and personal – Tzeentch’s minions are glad to throw some warpfire from afar to help thin out the enemy ranks. 

However, the most welcome change for our purposes is likely the changes to Overwatch. While still being part of the game, Overwatch is certainly going to be less of a menace than it previously was. You knew you’d lose a handful of Daemonettes or Bloodletters when charging even the lowliest mortal troops, and even a Bloodthirster might take a chunk of damage when trying to bring down an enemy tank, effectively for free. Now that Overwatch isn’t a given – and isn’t free for most armies – your opponent will have to think hard about whether or not it’s worth trying their luck against the onslaught of your assaults.

Key Units

As Justin noted, many Chaos Daemons units will benefit from the rules changes in the new edition, but which ones does he reckon will be dominating battlefields? 

Exalted Keeper of Secrets

Justin: Consider a Keeper of Secrets with the Celerity of Slaanesh Warlord Trait and Realm-racer Exalted ability from Psychic Awakening: Engine War. It would move 17″ and add 1 to both Advance and charge rolls – that’s an average threat range of nearly 30″, which should be more than enough to allow you to start collecting souls early.

Daemon Prince of Tzeentch

Justin: A Daemon Prince of Tzeentch with the Daemonspark Warlord Trait and Flickering Flames psychic power has always been an amazing addition, allowing Pink Horrors to re-roll 1s to both hit and wound, while also adding 1 to wound. Now he’ll also be an amazing asset to an arriving unit of Flamers, trying to turn those 1s to wound into 6s for more mortal wounds from the Flames of Mutation Stratagem.


Don’t forget Nurgle’s smallest minions, because the Swarms keyword allows them to move through terrain like Infantry, meaning Nurglings will have much less difficulty getting around – and they’re a constant nuisance, taking a lot of effort to kill. Their Mischief Makers ability also lets them deploy on objectives, making them a focus for enemy attention early on, which can allow some of your more dangerous units to close the gap.

Thanks, Justin! Do you plan on using an army focused on a single god in your games of the new edition or a wide array of Daemons from across the spectrum? Let us know on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page – and remember that you can order the Core Book and Indomitus boxed set tomorrow!

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One Response to “Faction Focus: Chaos Daemons”

  1. Paul Winters July 10, 2020 10:47 am #

    A $140 model that dies turn 1.

    The worst of the 4 types of generic Daemon Princes.


    I get this is for new players but couldn’t they highlight like the Epitome, Flamers, or Bloodletters? Models, that have some value?

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