18 Mar 2013

Chaos Daemons - Codex Summary

Howdy there fellow war-gamers, I'm Learn2Eel and I am one happy Daemons player! This has been a long and arduous series, easily the most in-depth that I have done so far, and I hope that it has not disappointed throughout. Chaos Daemons are a challenging and fun army, one that needs a loose and adaptable mind to really make the most out of it. With throwbacks to the classic Lost and the Damned books, this codex has a special place in my hobbyist heart; it isn't perfect, but I've yet to write a Tactica that I have found as enjoyable - learning all the tricks of the trade hidden deep in the layers of this unholy tome has been both interesting and difficult. With units and synergies that reward a more tactically-apt mind, I think this is a codex designed not so much for newer gamers - as unfortunate as that might be - but it is very much a gift to those who ardently play Eldar, Dark Eldar and many other of the 'challenging' armies in Warhammer 40000. My final thoughts await on this codex, and I hope you have enjoyed this series as much as I have both dually writing it and reading your responses. Thanks again!
A quick note; this Tactica was written during the release week for Chaos Daemons. Thus, the Tactica does not account for the new Tau release.

Final Thoughts on the Codex

Chaos Daemons have always been a tactically rewarding, albeit very random, army that has long been unsuitable for all but the most dedicated of players, or those willing to invest the time to adapt strategies in a constant flux. Though the army is more inherently 'controlled' than its previous incarnation, there is still much that makes them an often bewildering force to employ - both for their owner, and any opponent willing to face them. The introduction of the Warp Storm Table is the most notable amongst such traits, with its ability to both strike and aid allies and enemies with impunity; there is very little natural defence against it either, meaning the players involved often have little say in what effects will take hold on any given turn. Though most of the results are quite tame, a certain few at either end of the randomly rolled spectrum can be quite devastating for either player, with far-reaching implications on any given game a very real possibility. However, happily, the Warp Storm Table is  more the exception than the rule when it comes to random charts and the like with Chaos Daemons; though certain tables too have extreme, skewed results, for the most part the distribution is very even. And even then, to mitigate the very negative results attributed to the Chaos Daemons player, one can take unit champions, instruments of chaos and other such equipment on their units that minimises the damage potential of such rolls. Certain commanders, such as Fateweaver and Ku'gath Plaguefather, come stock with warlord traits that really aid in such an effort - taking them mostly because of their ability to mitigate the harmful effects of the Warp Storm Table is not a bad idea. Though it may not be ideal, the chances of severe damage being dealt to your army is minimal if you take the right precautions; of course, the same cannot be said for your opponent!

A unique trait of Chaos Daemons is that, unlike virtually every other codex in the game, they do not 'select' their wargear; rather, they choose a certain level of upgrade, and roll on a corresponding chart consisting of six unique results. Though this means 'What You See Is What You Get' is impossible to clearly represent on Chaos Daemons miniatures, and strategies dependent on certain wargear combinations are luck-based at best, there is less of a theme of "risk versus reward" than one might initially perceive. The charts typically have results that, whilst fundamentally different, tend to provide very similar benefits (almost universally good) that all improve the effectiveness of any given unit; much like psychic powers, if you are unhappy with your result, you can also swap the gifts out for a powerful weapon that few other codices could hope to match. The best benefit here is that you can go for different 'wargear' combinations between games; something unheard of at a tournament event, allowing your to have some fluidity in your army list between matches. The reality is that whilst there is a reward for those willing to risk rolling on a chart, it has in-built redundancies in place to allow you to get what is most likely to be a very useful result regardless. Squad champions that pay a measly ten points to take an AP two at-Initiative weapon that is master-crafted? No other codex can hope to match that, and this is one of the best parts about Chaos Daemons; they can reliably take weapons that are both much cheaper and more effective than their counter-parts in other codices. As much as 'random' may irritate those wishing to model their champions, commanders and the like in specific ways, or often not grant the result one would hope for, I think that owing to the potential of mitigation, they aren't nearly as crippling as one would fear. The Warp Storm Table can be given more leeway by taking unit champions, instrument bearers and the like, giving the players' units more breathing room.

Soak in the tide of blood...
As far as how to actually design an army list for them, Chaos Daemons have a lot of potentially viable combinations available involving completely unique army list archetypes; you can go for a Tyranid-esque horde supported by a band of monstrous creatures, or a monster-mash where most of your army is invested in a handful of incredibly powerful miniatures, and even a fast moving army where everything gets into combat by turn three at the absolute latest. Chaos Daemons are an army that tends to function best when you throw an avalanche of targets at your opponent, leaving them too many units to deal with in the early game; once you get into combat, any previous issues are soon forgotten. Per model, Chaos Daemons would rank heavily in terms of sheer combat effectiveness - Daemonettes, Seekers and the like are amongst the most cost-effective melee units in the entire game. The major hurdle to over-come is actually making it into combat - heavily ranged armies will often grin devilishly at your low Toughness and weak saves, but not if you have plans in place to mitigate any potential damage. This is where a smartly designed army list will likely incorporate multiple fast moving units that force the enemy to switch targets; units carrying icons, such as Seekers or Bloodcrushers, can allow your more fragile Troops to deep-strike in near the enemy and thus get into combat much quicker and suffer relatively fewer casualties. This is an important trick that permeates throughout the codex, and gives rise to the belief that the old 'Daemonic Assault' rules have merely been altered rather than removed entirely - with instruments and icons held by deep-striking units, it can lead to 'chained' units and a 'bomb' of targets flooding the board in the space of a single movement phase. Then, tying up enemy units on that second turn is easily done by some of the fastest and most points-efficient melee units you can find - with Flesh Hounds, Fiends and Seekers all combining for a devastating turn two charge followed by the flood of Troops, ranging from Bloodletters to Daemonettes, compounding your opponent's misery. Running up the board with Chaos Daemons is a risky move, given their lack of means to protect their fragile Troops, and understanding this notion is key to playing competitively with them. You are not a Tyranid or Ork force that can win through sheer brute force, regardless of the losses - you need to find ways to minimise both the damage suffered by your units and the time it takes for them to get into combat. Though such principles are also important for those other codices, they are nowhere near as intrinsic as it is to Daemons - running across the board, horde style is anathema, not deliverance of sins.

What must be noted is that Chaos Daemons do tend to have some of the best units you can find in their class, though the efficiency of much of the army is outweighed by their special rules - Daemonic Instability, for example - and a lack of transports, meaning their units are definitely strong, but need a reliable way to reach their target. The codex is not lacking here, owing to those combinations of fast "homing" units and deep-striking forces mentioned above, but that merely scratches the surface of what is possible with them - certain strategies revolve around specific items, such as the Grimoire of True Names, and how it can affect any given unit, or the benefits a particular Locus or psychic power has with certain components of the force. What is apparent to me is that Chaos Daemons are an army based heavily on risk versus reward - deep-striking, Scouting, Outflanking, random rewards, Daemonic Instability tests, the Warp Storm Table, and so on - but one that can be designed around mitigating the risks whilst losing out somewhat on potential rewards. The theme is very much "go big or go home", and that may be very unappealing to many players. However, I think there is a massive amount of potential, given some of the wild or down-right cheesy combos players are discovering - Nurgle Soul Grinders, a tricked out Lord of Change, a Slaanesh Herald or Keeper of Secrets with the Witstealer Sword pairing up with Fiends of Slaanesh, the Grimoire of True Names combined with any number of units, the Biomancy-heavy Great Unclean One, Tzeentch Heralds giving everyone (including Chaos Space Marines) Prescience - the list just goes on, and on, as new ones are discovered every day, making Daemons a strong synergistic force. It is in this way that I think, as far as the other 6th Edition codices go (Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels), Chaos Daemons are definitely the most difficult to play for a wide number of reasons, but I feel they have the largest selection of competitive options compared to those two if you take the time to make them work and scrounge out the details. The internal balance is mostly good, though there are definitely a lot more 'amazing' units in this codex than can be found in either of those codices - the Greater Daemons, Soul Grinders, Seekers, Flesh Hounds and the like - though as a Daemons army, it always has the off-set of random charts potentially spoiling an otherwise even game. They are a decently strong codex that sits nicely alongside Chaos Space Marines, Dark Angels and the other mid-tier codices, but I think it definitely has the most potential for competitive builds out of the three 6th Edition codices (again, this article does not account for the new Tau). Unlike Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels, the army doesn't rely on a single unit or gimmick (Heldrakes and the Standard of Devastation) to be competitive - of course, that isn't to say that either of those two codices can't put out strong builds without the inclusion of those units, but they are definitely a crux. Most importantly though, they are a fun army that rewards experimentation - something I think every Chaos Daemon player has long awaited. If you are willing to take risks in an army that can be quite challenging, few will be as rewarding as Chaos Daemons.

Let, the galaxy.....Burn!

Mono-God Armies - This is an area that has long been a sore spot for Chaos Daemons players - the previous codex encouraged mixed armies, and whilst that isn't bad, it showed through the design of the army. Unless you were a Tzeentch Daemons player (and even then, that was mostly due to the infamous White Dwarf update), mono-god builds simply were not competitive in any real sense of the word, aside from maybe relying on taking objectives through a Nurgle army. In short; it wasn't really a codex that rewarded players that themed their army around a single deity. Fortunately, I think this codex updates most of the units and provides some helpful new additions that make mono-god builds much more than just a mere possibility - they are very much a rewarding theme to adapt, if you wish. Whilst mono-god armies still aren't the most competitive you can make from the codex, that isn't to say they are bad - with multiple units performing different roles that each 'cult' previously lacked, mono-god armies are both more flexible and efficient overall.

Khorne armies sport the strongest 'basic' (non-upgraded) Greater Daemon - the Bloodthirster - and arguably the most terrifying given their reputation; they are massive targets for any opponent with even the slightest survival instincts. They sport the most devastating character killer in the game in the form of Skarbrand, and their Heralds are the strongest in combat. Karanak and its baying Flesh Hounds are very useful additions to any force, given their speed and granting Scout to nasty units such as Heralds and Bloodcrushers. Their Soul Grinders are the cheapest and least effective, but their Bloodletters are power-armoured killers unmatched. Their combination of fast, deadly units that are very hard to kill, and flying monsters that are both tough and insanely powerful, make them a pretty nasty force to come up against. Aside from the Skull Cannon and dedicated Soul Grinders though, they lack for meaningful shooting, and not all of their units are quick enough to compensate for this. Most of their Daemons are very fragile for the cost, and as such, they are one of the harder mono-god armies to pull off successfully. I think the way to make them tick is to combine Flesh Hounds with Heralds of Khorne, and Karanak with Bloodcrushers, for a potential game turn one assault across multiple areas, as well as providing icons for deep-striking Bloodletters to get into the thick of it on turn three. Bloodthirsters move towards the toughest targets and force your opponent to fire on them or the other fast moving units; the speed of this army in getting into combat is its biggest asset. Combined with Skull Cannons and Soul Grinders to soften the enemy up and provide some hefty bonuses for assaults, and you can have a fast, hard-hitting army that is somewhat fragile but very rewarding.

Burn in the fire of change...
Tzeentch Daemons work off a comic balance of shooting - the only dedicated ranged Daemons in the Troops slot follow the Changer of Ways - and powerful assault units, though they are probably the weakest in combat overall. Their Troops are ineffective unless taken in large numbers with support from cheap but effective Heralds - I would go so far to say that Tzeentch armies benefit from the best Heralds due to their amazing support abilities, mostly because of their access to Divination. They work very well as force multipliers, and are essential in making Horrors - the mainstay of a Tzeentch Daemon force - an effective ranged threat. They also have access to what is universally considered the best Greater Daemon build - and one of the best flying monstrous creatures overall - in the form of a fully upgraded Divination-sporting Lord of Change. They have some nasty melee units in the form of Screamers, though I feel they are best suited as a mixed army; Horrors hold ground and provide a firebase, whilst units such as Screamers and the Lord of Change provide support and tear apart enemy flanks. When they are inevitably FAQed, Burning Chariots will also fit into this strategy quite well. Overall, they have some of the fastest units you can find, and some of the hardest hitting; at that, they are also the only Daemons army that can effectively be called a 'shooting army', though they rely on force multipliers to really become a decent one at that. Their Soul Grinder is useful and works pretty well either as a melee support unit or a ranged platform, though most Tzeentch players may prefer the latter for obvious reasons. I think a mixed force of Screamers backed by Heralds, Pink Horrors backed by Heralds, a slew of Soul Grinders and Burning Chariots as well as an obligatory Lord of Change make for a strong army at range that has a lot of support abilities thrown in the mix to make each unit significantly more effective.

Nurgle armies are the toughest by quite a margin, and also the slowest overall. An army-wide inability to Run means their assault units can't get into combat nearly as quickly as Khorne or Slaanesh Daemons can, and given quite a few of their units move normally as Infantry, this can be a problem. Much like those other armies though, you have options available to mitigate this problem - notably Plague Drones, that can carry icons and act as 'deep-strike homers'. Nurgle isn't exactly lacking for a selection of fast moving units, another welcome by-product of the new codex, with Beasts of Nurgle and Plague Drones adding some much needed mobility, counter-charge and tarpit potential to the army. Nurgle Daemons work best hugging cover, and given most of them are immune to dangerous terrain or otherwise care little for it, this works well in your favour - they also have access to by far the best variation of the Soul Grinder (and arguably the best unit in the codex). Their Troops are the best suited for objective-camping, though they make decent objective-takers if taken in strong numbers. Their Greater Daemon is very powerful in its standard form, though, like the Lord of Change, it is far better when kitted out as much as possible - a Great Unclean One with three Biomancy powers and two Greater Gifts is almost certain to be by far the hardest monstrous creature to kill in any standard codex. In that sense, I would say Nurgle has the second best Greater Daemon - the Great Unclean is powerful and durable as they come, but slow and doesn't really lend itself well to supporting other elements, or at least not to the extent a Lord of Change does. Nurgle Heralds are the toughest available, but aside from granting Feel No pain to their units, they are arguably the least useful. Much like Khorne and Slaanesh Daemons, I think a competitive Nurgle-centric army will work off deep-striking their core units down off of the roving Plague Drones, who are in turn supported by Beasts of Nurgle and the like. Meanwhile, token units of Plaguebearers hold the fort alongside mighty Soul Grinders, scaring off any would-be attackers whilst providing heavy fire support. Great Unclean Ones and the like can either deep strike or move up the field, drawing fire away from other targets and generally laughing at the puny attempts to harm them. Nurgle armies offer the best out-and-out objective-holding Troops choice, and for that alone they are very strong. Infiltrating Nurglings, counter-charging Beasts and the like add some spice to the army.

Slaanesh armies are my pick for the most competitive mono-god build for a number of reasons, notably that they have the fastest and most dangerous combat units for the cost. Daemonettes are the most cost-effective of the Troops choices in combat by quite a margin, and are superior against any enemy unit in combat over Bloodletters with the exception of standard Space Marines and their equivalents. That each of their units has Rending, combined with a large number of high Weapon Skill and Inititiative attacks is sure to scare the pants off of Terminator-heavy armies, or elite enemy units in general. Their speed and reliable charge distances, owing to Fleet, mean they are less reliant on getting into a great position off of their deep strike, allowing a Slaanesh player to take fewer risks with their exceptional fast-moving units - Seekers and Fiends. Seekers are by far the most efficient cavalry unit in the codex - and arguably the game - with four Rending attacks each on the charge at a high Weapon Skill and Initiative all at a ridiculously low cost. With Fiends combining with other units to mitigate the lack of assault grenades, and in general making a nuisance of themselves, this can lead to a lot of headaches for your opponent. Keepers of Secrets are easily the fastest of the wingless Greater Daemons, and can - surprisingly - reliably expect to make combat by turn two, meaning they aren't paying for very expensive wings that would usually get them into combat at about the same time. Of course, they are the least durable of the Greater Daemons, but they still hit very hard - they are only marginally less proficient in combat than a Bloodthirster, as an example. Given they only really need two greater gifts to function effectively, they end up being by far the cheapest and arguably most cost-effective one in combat, considering their end price ends up being below two hundred and fifty tacos. Not bad. Aside from that, Slaanesh also has access to a great Herald that works really well either with Seekers or Daemonettes - providing necessary movement or combat buffs to either unit that make them incredibly difficult to best against evenly-costed units. The Seeker Cavalcades are also very effective and hilariously cheap chariots that can be very damaging and work as exceptional flanking units. When one combines Keepers of Secrets with Fiends, Seekers and Seeker Cavalcades all running up the field, backed by deep-striking Daemonettes and Heralds split throughout, you have yourself a very hard-hitting, very fast high-model count army, which is awesome given their raw combat prowess. Though most of them are fragile, they tend to be no easier to kill than Khorne or Tzeentch Daemons, and in that sense I think you needn't worry too much about them; when almost your entire army should launch an assault on turn two, and you can fit a large number of Slaanesh Daemons in across many units, you are the one laughing.

Rot in the wind of death...
Allies - As one would hope, Chaos Space Marines are probably the obvious choice in terms of Allies (whether as a Primary or Allied detachment) to Chaos Daemons; both armies complement each other very well. Nurgle Daemons provide cheap, tough scoring units to sit on home objectives in conjunction with Havocs and Soul Grinders. Meanwhile, Chaos Space Marines in Rhinos work together with Daemonettes, Bloodletters and the like to rush the enemy objectives. Moving ahead of the main force, Seekers and Flesh Hounds combine with Bikers, Maulerfiends and their kind to make for a devastating early assault. On top of all of this, powerful flying monstrous creatures and fliers - with the dream-team of Heldrakes, Lords of Change and Bloodthirsters much more than just a mere possibility now - dominate the skies and rain terror on all enemies. As far as more specific combinations go, Tzeentch Heralds packing Divination will likely be the most popular use of Chaos Daemons when allied with Chaos Space Marines, owing to the Primaris power Prescience being so handy for Havocs, Obliterators and the other long-range units in the army. Well, at least all of the above covers the 'face' of things - as far as actually making up for one another's weakness, Chaos Daemons provide handy support bonuses through their psychic powers that their mortal allies an make great use of, as well as strong melee units that are quite cheap. Chaos Daemons benefit from getting power-armoured bodies that provide nice and versatile firepower, making up for any deficiencies in their Troops selection; as well, they get a lot of long range anti-tank from Chaos Space Marines in the form of Havocs and Obliterators. Mostly though, I think the real reason most would ally the two armies is for fluff reasons - given that both armies have been updated, even if they lack true cross-codex synergies, they still mesh well together and the sight of Bloodthirsters and Bloodletters backing Khorne Berzerkers is surely one to make Khorne fans squeal in delight. The same can be said of any other potential army build, and it is this idea of a fun and themed army that really hearkens back to the good old days of Lost and the Damned.

For other Allies, Chaos Daemons can team up with a few; they are Desperate Allies with Dark Eldar, Orks and Tau, tough they are - thankfully - Allies of Convenience with Imperial Guard. Though they aren't battle brothers, the potential for an awesome 'Cult conniving with the warp' led by a rogue psyker or 'Dark Apostle' (use a Lord Commisar) is welcome. Of course, Imperial Guard are the most competitive Allies choice for nearly any army that can take them; you name it, and they can bring it, meaning they can make up for any deficiencies and weaknesses in another army with a small investment. For Chaos Daemons specifically, anti-air may be a bit of an issue unless you are running a mono-Slaanesh army, and in that sense a few allied Vendettas or Hydras would be a cheap and effective addition to the army. For bunker Troops or long-range firepower, you can't go past a Guardsmen Platoon or two loading multiple Heavy Weapons Teams, and Leman Russ battle tanks are always fantastic options to add into a force. Given that Daemons are primarily an army based around mobility - at least in their more competitive lists - some fast elements such as Rough Riders or Chimera-mounted Veterans would also be quite suitable. Still, the thought of Nurgle Soul Grinders teaming up with a squadron of Leman Russes is sure to make many enemies tear at their skulls in frustration. Dark Eldar work very well alongside a fast moving Daemons army, though they otherwise suffer similar issues of fragility. Orks and Tau are interesting additions - the latter especially given their access to railguns - though I think the competitive Allied choice would likely be Imperial Guard.

Other Codices and the Meta - Perhaps unsurprisingly, I rate Chaos Daemons to be about on par with Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels - however, I must note that they are the most difficult to play by quite a margin. What balances this deficiency out, however, is the raw truth that they have a lot more competitive builds than either of those codices - mono-Slaanesh, mono-Nurgle, mixed Slaanesh and Nurgle and the variations in between are all likely to be considered pretty competitive armies, and that doesn't even include the different types of play-style available to those armies. Khorne and Tzeentch armies aren't exactly gathering dust either, it is just that their overall selection is a bit weaker than the other two deities - however, it must be noted they do share some of the strongest units found anywhere in the codex (and perhaps the game in terms of raw cost versus effectiveness) including Flesh Hounds and the Lord of Change. The long-winded and whacky nature of many of the options available, as well as their latent rules, combine to make for an army that can dish out some incredibly powerful combinations, all for a lot cheaper than you could find anywhere else. About half of their Troops choices are incredibly cost-efficient in terms of their role on the battlefield - notably Daemonettes, Nurglings and Plaguebearers - and they have access to some of the fast, deadliest and cheapest units that can be fielded in massive numbers, notably Seekers and Flesh Hounds. They can also field arguably the most powerful monstrous creatures that can be found in any codex, with the stock standard Greater Daemons coming in at an affordable price that puts almost any other creature of their class to shame. However, the beauty is in the options for those units - a Lord of Change or Great Unclean One tricked out fully is absolutely disgusting, albeit pricy, but nowhere near as expensive as their consistent performance would indicate. Still, as much as they appear to have a large number of great units, the army is balanced by the restrictions of transports and the like, as well as the looming threat of casualties suffered from a bad combat result - in short, being rash with them is not an option. This is what keeps the codex in line and prevents it from being a top-tier codex; their mostly melee-centric units lack the most reliable of means of making it into combat, and they are very vulnerable to nearly every form of shooting. In an edition that favours raw firepower above all else, this means playing Chaos Daemons can be quite tricky; hence why most armies will be built around target saturation and playing off of the handy reserves bonuses Daemons employ. If one just uses them as a blunt hammer, they will likely fail - unless of course it is an army designed around monstrous creatures and other beasts. That Daemons themselves lack shooting comparable to almost any other codex is a serious hindrance, and one that needs to be addressed by having a mostly mobile force.
Bow in the wake of Excess...

What is interesting to note though is how Chaos Daemons have introduced several top tier units into the game, though Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines together managed to produce only one of note (the infamous Heldrake) before certain combinations are taken into account. The most obvious of these is the Soul Grinder - particularly one dedicated to Nurgle - as its cost, firepower, melee prowess and durability combine to make it one of the most efficient land vehicles that can be found, with few real weaknesses to speak of. I would argue that the Soul Grinder, or at the very least its Nurgle variation, is amongst the best land vehicles in the game - no mean feat, even in an edition dominated by flyers. Then you stumble onto Skarbrand, who when one considers the base profile of any unit, has effectively sky-rocketed into the first amongst the 'challenge-kings and queens'; he will tear the Swarmlord's head off before it can strike, almost guaranteed, and will laugh at Mephiston whilst throwing his freshly sliced limbs to a roving pack of Death Company. Almost nothing in the game can reliably stand toe-to-toe with Skarbrand in melee, and he is also one of the most mind-bogglingly cheap monstrous creatures you can find given his durability (for a ground-based monstrous creature) and unmatched killing prowess. I've yet to see a single model be able to tear through a five-strong or more Paladin unit in one round on an average roll - Skarbrand does it with impunity! Then you have the Lord of Change and Great Unclean One, who, when tricked out, are arguably the best monstrous creatures of their type (the former is flying, the latter isn't) that can be found in the game for cost. The former is a whirlwind of death that also offers fantastic support abilities whilst being very hard to shift and incredibly mobile, and the latter shrugs off any kind of attack and simply dares your opponent to target it or die horribly in combat - the term 'unkillable' is very much an accurate description of a loaded out Great Unclean One. Then you have Seekers and Flesh Hounds, units that still make me think their pricing is a print error - they are far, far too cheap for what they do, given both will reliably make a turn two charge (or game turn one, in the case of the Flesh Hounds) and hit harder than any unit of their speed has the right to. And as mentioned earlier, there are some truly nasty unit combinations coming out that really enforce the notion of an army built around synergies and making all of these individually powerful - yet fragile - elements work together. Though these units may not be "over-powered" in the grand scheme of things, they definitely outshine their contemporaries both externally and internally - especially if the Daemons player knows how to use them effectively in conjunction with others. The balance here is that these elements work best together - even if they are strong alone - and the inherent fragility of most Daemons units is what keeps them in line. Don't take this the wrong way; I think they are strong, but I'm not trying to imply they are 'broken' or 'the best in the game' as a codex, it is more so that certain units in the army are incredibly strong in their role.

I am not implying Chaos Daemons are a top-tier army though; they have enough in built weaknesses and redundancies that this is simply not the case. However, they are typically a very cost-effective army that, with precision and care, can be put to great use. Working around their inability to make combat without suffering casualties along the way is key to success with them, as is working out a focus for the army - adapting tactics on the fly is necessary, given the Warp Storm Table and other effects that can change the game in a heart-beat. Though a decently strong army overall, I think many will indeed point to some of the more powerful units they possess - some of which, whilst not as over the top as a Heldrake or a Vendetta, are still at or near the top of the league in terms of their competitors. But that is what really pleases me about this codex - though there are a lot of powerful units, most aren't "I am here, click me" options that are easy to use. Chaos Daemons are very much a finesse army that requires a deft touch to make the most out of, but as they have a strong selection of top-tier units and a lot of viable builds, I would place them ever so slightly above their 6th Edition contemporaries found in Dark Angels and Chaos Space Marines, but only if you are a smart general that can work out their deficiencies and work around them. They have a lot of potential, so to speak, though an inexperienced player will suffer far more than if they used either of the other two 6th Edition codices.

In Closing

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude for all the feedback and support I have received since the beginning of this Tactica series - it has been a long and arduous task, but one that I definitely feel was well worth the patience and time. I hope it has been as been as helpful and fun to you as it has been a learning experience for me, as this lovely codex has really re-invigorated the idea of playing for 'fun' whilst mixing a competitive army of my own design. It is a balanced army that sits nicely alongside its 6th Edition counter-parts, but I feel it will outweigh them both in the long run both competitively and in terms of sheer entertainment value - with access to some of the best units that can be found in their respective roles across the game, I think they are an army that, despite sporting some very obvious weaknesses, is designed to reward experienced players that are willing to invest their time into making them work. Though a challenging army that is not suited for beginners, I think they will still prove to be a popular force that adds a lot of unusual and often unknowable spice to any given game they participate in. That it allows mono-god builds without punishing the player heavily is a boon, though of course the best designed forces will still be composed of mixed elements. I think it is a well written codex that, despite some questionable design choices, is very much one of the more unique and interesting armies available to hobbyists in Warhammer 40000. Whether or not my prediction stands in a few months, well; all we can do is wait and see and hope that the early trend of balanced armies stands the test of time. Thank you again!

Did this Tactica series provide some helpful tips and tricks to designing and running a successful Chaos Daemons army? Or did you find that the information presented here was inaccurate or mis-informed? Please, let us know in the comments below - your critiques and feedback are, as always, much appreciated.
Glory to Chaos!


  1. I have been thinking about getting some Flesh Hounds and 3 Headed Whatsitsface to work with my Bloodcrushers and Crusher Harald. The group all together is too much of a fire magnet atm... so mixing the dogs of war in should split that cost and omg scout and move through cover plox? hehe. Now to find some cheep ones... stupid finecast...

    I still want to work with my Khorne/Tzeentch army. I will be getting some Slannesh in the future, but I would prefer to work with my two favored Gods for now!

    As for their first game... I lucked out and beat a friends Space Wolf Tournament list. All he lad left was his Rune Priest and a squad of Long Fangs left at games end. I had insane luck and his dice were crapping out. My Bloodcrusher Sargent also has a shiny Thunderwolf Lord Skull mounted on his Juggernaut now. He killed him in a challange. The Lords saving throw was three ones!

    1. Dangit, forgot to add I am a fan of the new book and enjoyed your insight on it!

    2. You use Chaos Warhounds from the WoC army or Vampire Counts Dire Wolves both are much cheaper and look just as good.

    3. Wow, that's awesome! Good to hear the Daemons are doing well :) Also nice to see you are sticking to your guns, though I think Nurgle/Slaanesh will probably be the favoured mix competitively, Khorne/Tzeentch should do just fine; all it boils down to is how difficult it may be. I think though that Flesh Hounds and Screamers are a pretty devastating tag-team, as are Lords of Change and Bloodthirsters!

      And thanks for the feedback!

    4. @Nakor: I was thinking about those other two kits as well but... I just can't seem to find a kit I like to represent Flesh Hounds. The VC Dire Wolves would be my best bet... but they would requite a bit of sculpting on top. They aren't as flatly posed as the WoC Dogs.

      @Jack: My list may turn more Khorne/Slannesh in the future, as I love my CC phase lol. I am not much of a hardcore competitive player, as I hate the game at that level of play. I want to try and collect all 4 gods now, as everything feels very playable now. My Khorne and Tzeentch are close to completion so I have been looking ahead to some future Slanneshy conversions.

      Tzeentch I find is still ok. The rolls for the Warpflame effect were quite tense and hilarious. We were having a hoot with it! I was killing more Space Puppy's from the warpflame effects then the initial flame attack. All I had to do was kill one puppy to have a chance to kill a few more if luck is on my side. He did finally get a 6++ FNP (and did the happy dance) but it was a bit too late. It was the remaining two Long Fangs who used to have a group of scoring marines with them! All of them got roasted by a group of 5 Flammers. Their charge into them didnt go hot thanks to overwatch and another free warpflame roasting. I finished the two remaining Long Fangs on an assault charge (I assaulted them, I had to or I eat missles) and that free FNP didnt help them. Luck was reaaaaaly on my side lol! I almost want to write a batrep because of how weird that game went. There is most likely a rematch in the future!

    5. I'm kind of similar too, I do like playing in competitive games if my opponent is a good person to play against though. Mostly, that is what it comes down to for me when playing at any kind of level; if me and my opponent are being polite/kind to each other and having fun, nothing else really matters to me lol. I'm in a similar boat; I want to get some stuff from all the gods. It's just the impending Tau release has got my knickers in a knot!

      Haha that sounds like it was a lot of fun! Agreed, that is what this codex definitely has in spades. I think the initial outburst about Warpflame and the like will die down once everyone remembers to focus fire; much like with the Warp Storm Table, there are ways around it. And hey, it's worth it to kill an extra two-three Marines potentially! I'm happy to see you are having a lot of fun with them, because I think that is the most important part of the hobby.

    6. Yeah same boat on the competitive thing. All the local events I have gone too were all ok. I knew most of the people there and there was no sour sports. My competitive lists are also a bit tame to what you see online. I do have my cheese, but its in a reasonable amount. I get bored with too many "auto win buttons".

      My Daemons have been pretty wtf funny lately. I don't know what I am doing right, but the God's seem to be favoring me hehe. We had a free for all tonight. I had no were to deploy since I was player 5, so they let me deep strike my whole army turn 2, and then the warpstorm happens. I passed all my reserve rolls. My Bloodthirster got the icon warlord trait. I placed him down and the rest followed in around him. I was also 200 points short since I only brought my Khorne. I was also rolling a scatter dice to were my Daemons moved, since I was the random wild card to ruin everyone's day... I underestimated how powerful Khorne was in a FFA situation and when you kept getting the +1 to invulnerable saves... I killed Calgar and Dante and took a sizable chunk out of everyone armies... I stood there dumfounded, and one of the kids Mom was all you go girl, since I am the only female gamer there lol.

      Wow I keep getting carried away typing in your comments, I am just having too much fun with the new Daemons and your guide really helped to learn the new codex. I also made this little montage of what my Bloodthirster did... he had the 5++ re-roll and a greater Aetherblade (defaulted to it). I think that Aertheblade pulled me though that moshpit... http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/8427/crazyluck.jpg

  2. Thank you for writing these reviews they have certainly help me get a grip on new codex. I have been recommending and linking this blog on various sites to help out others. Thanks again. ^_^

    1. Thank you :) I'm happy to see these have been helpful! Also, I must thank you again for sharing our Tactica on other websites - thank you muchly!

  3. Wow, what a journey!

    I have to salute you on your amazing dedication to getting this all done. It's an absolutely stunning tactica all the way through. You've really gone above and beyond on the whole thing, and you've been spot on with your analysis all the way through!

    I've been playing mono Tzeentch a lot and have to say I agree with your sentiments on the book as a whole, it's a barrel of laughs to play and really fun on the table.

    Great work, and I bet you're glad you're done! I've recommended this to all my real life and online friends who are into Daemons and the hobby as a whole.

    Thanks so much for your hard work, it really is appreciated!


    1. Thank you very much :) Reading this level of praise is really inspiring, a thousand thank you's! It is always good to see that hobbyists are having fun with an army, using them or playing against them; I think it points to one that is really designed for the core audience. Thank you for the recommendations! Again, thanks :)

  4. One word: Thanks! This is a book, and has been a fantastic read! I've never played Daemons but will certainly do. I've played CSM for years and years but know now what my next projects will be. Amazing!

    1. Thank you! I hope (and believe) you will get a lot of enjoyment out of a Daemons army, as they are very diverse and allow for a lot of thematic, awesome army lists. What kind of Daemons are you looking at, if I may ask? Again, thanks for the feedback!

  5. Well, slaanesh and nurgle hits my mind. I play plague marines so nurgle is a no brainer. But of course, the "problem" with this codex is that I want to try out everything :)