15 Mar 2013

Fun with Chaos Daemons

Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and I absolutely love the new Chaos Daemons! I'm here to talk about some of the fun I have had with the hellish-beasties of nightmare, and explain a bit why I've delayed the ongoing Heavy Support review for the Tactica. Rest assured, that article will be out in the wilderness soon enough!

My First Game

Well, after much deliberating and waiting, I was finally able to get my first fully-fledged game in with Chaos Daemons as a primary detachment. Though I still had to use allied Chaos Space Marines to make up for my dearth of Daemon models, I had a lot of fun and enjoyed the game perhaps a bit more than my opponent did. It was a bit of an odd one, to be sure; not much damage was really inflicted until the second and third turns, despite the long-range firepower available to my opponent. The mission we rolled up was the Emperor's Will - or Capture and Control, as my nostalgic side likes to call it. Each of us had a ruin, a forest and some barricades in our table half, whilst the centre was dotted with evenly-placed tank traps, a building and a third forest, meaning it was an even split regardless of what side was picked. My opponent and I both picked up relatively useless Warlord Traits; mine was the benefit to Fear, which does nothing against Space Marines, and his granted his Warlord Feel No Pain within three inches of an objective, though the battle would quite obviously become bogged down in the middle. With standard deployment, he rolled higher to see who would set up first, though he forced me to do it first. Though it provided him with the reactionary advantage, as an assault-based army, I did smile somewhat.

My Bloodthirster and Lord of Change each had two greater gifts to roll; both received an additional wound and It Will Not Die, whilst the Bloodthirster gained the functionally pointless +3 armour save and the Lord of Change got the Strength eight AP one lance weapon. Not too shabby, though what really did it for me was that the two Divination powers I took on the Lord of Change were the +4 invulnerable save-granting Blessing and the "re-rolls to hit, to wound and failed saving throws" crazy self-targeting Blessing. Good stuff on my random rolls! My deployment was pretty congested, given that his army lacked blast weapons, and I used the terrain to hide the Soul Grinder in a ruin, deploy the Rhinos to hide the advancing Bloodletters, and keep the Greater Daemons out of sight in case the Initiative was stolen. The Heldrake, naturally, sat in reserves. He set up one and a half of his Tactical Squads in the ruin with the objective, keeping the other combat squad in one of the two assault-cannon mounted Razorbacks. His two Predator Destructors (turret Autocannon and sponson Heavy Bolters) deployed on the other flank, as well as his Land Raider packed with the Honour Guard and Asterion Moloc. The initiative was not seized, and the first turn begun.

The first turn was actually quite fruitful, even though Night Fighting was in play; my Lord of Change and Bloodthirster zoomed forward, with the former destroying one of the Razorbacks with his Lance weapon through some good rolling (that +2 on the damage chart is pure gravy). The Bloodthirster ran up a bit more, whilst the Rhinos and Bloodletters advanced, the Rhinos turning on the side and popping smoke launchers to give both themselves and the hungry Khorne Daemons cover; particularly important, given that my roll on the Warp Storm Table meant all of my Daemons had -1 to their invulnerable saves! The Soul Grinder did nothing of note. My opponent moved his Predators and remaining Razorback into good firing positions, whilst his Land Raider advanced towards the midfield. The Tactical Marines would stay put, though those that had popped out of the Land Raider moved closer to the flying Bloodthirster - they would be unable to reach the higher levels of the ruin anyway, and thus were always going to be ripped apart if they weren't successful in killing the Greater Daemon of Khorne. Given that each Greater Daemon was swooping and had six wounds though, it was difficult for my opponent to do any real damage; the first volleys from the Predators knocked a wound off of the Bloodthirster, but failed to ground it, whilst some lucky +6 invulnerable save rolls kept it from suffering wounds due to a twin-linked Assault Cannon on the Razorback, as well as preventing a wound from a failed grounding test. Most of the Tactical Marines proceeded to fire at the Bloodthirster, and even with a mix of missile launchers and meltaguns, they managed only a single wound on the angry daemon. The Land Raider had better luck though, with its snap-firing heavy bolter hitting, wounding, and grounding the Lord of Change - though the re-rollable +5 invulnerable save was very handy due to both its psychic powers being cast (in fact, I never failed to cast them at any point in the game). The Land Raider's lascannons did nothing to the Soul Grinder of Nurgle, as one would expect. Turn one done and dusted.

My dream fluffy combo! I ♥ Tzeentch!
The second turn was more harrowing for my opponent than it was for me, as the Heldrake arrived with aplomb; promptly burning out almost an entire Tactical Squad and removing a pesky meltagun. The Bloodthirster angrily lashed a Tactical Marine to death. The Soul Grinder killed a swathe of enemies, though both of my opponent's missile launchers were still active. The Lord of Change flew across to the other Razorback, though the fruit of its efforts was to stun it and destroy the Autocannon from one of the two Predators. My mounted Chaos Space Marines, Rhinos and Bloodletters simply advanced and made minimal impact. The Bloodthirster charged and promptly slaughtered the squad leader, and a funny moment occurred as my opponent failed his Leadership test and attempted to flee; I quickly pointed out the fact that even if he rolled a six and I a one for our Initiative tests, I would still be the victor due to the ridiculous Initiative nine of the Bloodthirster. It forced him to stay locked in combat with the Greater Daemon, and thus the Bloodthirster was safe from a subsequent round of shooting. Essentially, I was wiping out his Troops and making sure the game would not be won through objectives - especially given I had thrown caution and strategy to the wind and left only the Soul Grinder near my home objective. His second turn was quite fruitful, ensuing in a wrecked Rhino and the Honour Guard with Asterion wiping out one of the Bloodletter squads with ease, suffering not a single wound. The Bloodthirster proceeded to wipe out the rest of the Tactical Squad and mulled a mere inch to find his next target. Neither Greater Daemon suffered another wound; even with failed grounding tests, the ridiculous re-rollable +4 invulnerable save on my Lord of Change kept him fit. Things were looking grim for my opponent; I had really only lost a handful of Chaos Space Marines and one of the two Bloodletter hordes, whilst my major targets that he had focus-fired on early in the game - the two Greater Daemons - still had four and five wounds each.

The third turn also saw the close of the game pretty justifiably. What little advantage my opponent had taken from destroying the Bloodletters was quickly lost; my Heldrake vector-striked the lone missile launcher-wielding Tactical Marine on the top floor of the building, and proceeded to wipe out the rest of the other unit, meaning my opponent had no Troops left. Unsurprisingly, yet another good day for the dragon. The Bloodthirster leaped towards the remaining Razorback, preparing to remove it with aplomb. The Lord of Change similarly swooped towards the pair of Predators, though it failed to do any damage from shooting; still it was in a good position to charge one or both in the next turn. My opponent had made the grave mistake of moving his honour guard unit too near to the Soul Grinder though; though I did kind of remind him that it was a Soul Grinder nearby, I think at that point he didn't care too much about the result, as he had beaten the Bloodletters and consolidated very near towards the other squad and, subsequently, the giant crab. Given that the Honour Guard were a fluffy unit based around Moloc - all of them had power spears, which looked very nice - the only weapon that could actually harm the AV 13/13/11 walker was Asterion's Spear when used as a ranged attack; one failed Overwatch shot later, and the Soul Grinder promptly charged in. My opponent called it game immediately, as he had no Troops left compared to my three (all of which were heading for his objective), the Lord of Change had its psychic powers on and thus would prove almost impossible for the Predators to gun down, the Bloodthirster would have charged and destroyed the immobile Razorback, and his big melee unit was tied up for the rest of the game in combat with a powerful Soul Grinder. That Asterion has the Fearless special rule effectively meant he could not choose to automatically fail a morale check per the 'Our Weapons are Useless' rule, guaranteeing I could ignore the entire significantly points-heavy unit for the rest of the game without reprisal. The only unit that would have survived the next turn and been able to do anything of note would have been the Land Raider, which had an unlikely possibility of gunning down the exposed Bloodlthirster, but aside from that, there was very little he could do. The final victory point tally was 2-0 in my favour, having claimed First Blood and Linebreaker.

Pretty much. I could write an article about them.
I thought it was a decent work out, and a fun game. The Warp Storm Table had little effect at all; the second one I rolled was that my Soul Grinder and his unengaged units could be hit by a S4 AP5 blast weapon, though the only unit I did hit saw the blast scatter way off. The third turn would have been nasty if it had gone on, as each Daemon received +1 to their invulnerable save. Though I rolled a bad Warlord trait, having looked at the chart, every single other possible result would have given me a great benefit for the game. The Soul Grinder did as expected, and that Shrouded stuff is insane - with Phlegm Bombardment and a dedication to Nurgle, it really is as good as has been stated frequently, though I have tested it before and thus can say that with a lot of validity. The Lord of Change was again a star - having single-handedly wiped out so many enemy forces in previous games using him as an Allied commander - and though the Bloodthirster didn't do too much of note, I must say that the sheer effect it has on opponents is palpable. Though the Lord of Change was probably the greater threat, my opponent focused most of his efforts on that first turn on the Greater Daemon of Khorne, though that was perhaps understandable as any armour-ignoring wounds had a far better chance of damaging it than the Lord of Change. It must be said though that most opponents will understand the reputation of the Bloodthirster and promptly engage it. It should also be noted that I did forget that I swapped his useless second Greater Gift out for the Blade of Blood, though it wouldn't have made a difference anyway. The Bloodletters did nothing, but that was due to not having any actual means of deploying them near enemy forces reliably; I really needed Seekers or Bloodcrushers in that game, and it showed. Still, as I have used them before, they are good for the cost; their frailty is a problem, but really not much of a concern given they died pretty easily in the previous codex too. All in all, my opponent deployed and played more tactically than I did, as I relied on what was a pretty nasty army list given the fact I lacked most of the models I would usually use. Any time you see two flying Greater Daemons backed by a Heldrake and you lack significant anti-flyer weaponry, you know you are in trouble. Did I forget the Soul Grinder of Nurgle?

The Army List

I'll be honest; this army list would definitely be laughed at in a competitive environment. Basically, it was based only on the models I actually had available to me - I don't have most of the stuff I would usually otherwise take, unfortunately. Still, I think it was still nasty given the fact that it was based mostly on my preliminary Daemon forces; a Bloodthirster, a Lord of Change, a Nurgle Soul Grinder and a Heldrake in one army list basically leads to having four units your opponent really needs to get rid of, and none of them are easily removed. I would have preferred an extra Soul Grinder, but what can you do? I should note that my local store manager graciously allowed me to use the store's Bloodthirster - I wanted to test it out - and as such a big thanks has to go to him for his generosity! Overall, it isn't great, but for what I could actually sum up on the day, it wasn't bad either - at 1500 points, I should say that two flying Greater Daemons may prove too costly, though a lot of opponents will struggle immensely to deal with them;

Chaos Daemons - Primary
Chaos Space Marines - Allied

Lord of Change w/ one lesser gift, two greater gifts - 280 (Warlord)
Bloodthirster w/ two greater gifts - 290
Sorcerer - 60

Bloodletters (13) w/ bloodreaper - 135
Bloodletters (13) w/ bloodreaper - 135
Chaos Space Marines (5) w/ plasma gun, rhino - 125
Chaos Space Marines (5) w/ plasma gun, rhino - 125

Fast Attack
Heldrake w/ baleflamer - 170

Heavy Support
Soul Grinder of Nurgle w/ phlegm bombardment - 180


So, what are the strong points of this army list? Well, first up, it combines for a turn two three-headed flyer assault, combining the always-brutal Heldrake with two extremely dangerous Greater Daemons; all three of which are ridiculously hard to destroy. The Nurgle Soul Grinder is nasty as well, and serves as a natural fire sponge; its Phlegm Bombardment means it can really do a lot of damage from range, drawing firepower that is unlikely to even scratch it. I took bare minimum squads in Rhinos with an always useful Plasma Gun for the sole purpose of protecting the Bloodletters; the thinking is, with my other stuff drawing the fire, the Bloodletters advance behind the Rhinos and use them for line-of-sight-blocking and cover, though of course that strategy changes on the fly if my opponent does the smart thing and destroys the Rhinos and/or has lots of blast weapons. So, it isn't really a 'strength'. Now, the weaknesses of the army list? Too many points invested in four models - 920 points! - meaning the loss of any severely cripples the army. The Troops are minimal, ineffective and the Bloodletters lack a reliable means of getting into combat. No bunker units means I am forced to assault and be prone to shooting and counter-charging. The bare minimum Sorcerer with Telepathy is fine for getting to the competitive meat - the Heldrake and typically Autocannon-wielding Havocs - but eh. Lots more I could list.....again, not a great army list, and a Grey Knight player or a shooting army such as Necrons would have a field day against me. Still, I was happy with the bash, and my opponent was too from what I could gather - he's just starting out his Minotaurs too, an army which already looks and feels great from a visual and background-based perspective. Much like me, for what he's got now, it isn't bad at all.


Sometimes I feel like they are the odd duck out..
It has been quite fun playing Chaos Daemons recently - the Greater Daemons seem to truly match the fluff now, as they are all insanely powerful; especially when given a pair of Greater Gifts and the addition of psychic powers. They are also quite cheap too for what they do; in fact, my only major concern with the codex is the pricing of the Greater Daemons compared to Daemon Princes. Whilst Daemon Princes in both Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons have their place, I do feel they have been a bit unfairly given worse fortune compared to the likes of the Lord of Change and the Great Unclean One. The infantry are nice and solid, and have done well so far considering I lack the tools to actually make the most out of them. The dynamic between Chaos Space Marines and Chaos Daemons is actually quite pronounced; mixing flying Greater Daemons with Heldrakes or Soul Grinders with Havocs, Obliterators and Forgefiends gives players a lot of neat combinations. Bloodletters, Daemonettes and the like make for great shock troops to keep the more important Plague Marines and Cultists away from the thick of it if you so desire, whilst the Seekers and Bloodcrushers provide more offensive punch to Chaos Biker-heavy armies. The interplay is deep, if not immediately obvious, and as such I think people really need to look at what works 'next' to what as opposed to strictly working 'with' any given unit - if that makes any sense. Chaos Daemons typically provide more flying monstrous creatures to supplement Heldrakes and Chaos Space Marines winged-Daemon Princes, or cheap melee Troops to act both as meat-shields and deadly combatants for Chaos Marines to feed off. They are both pretty well balanced armies that I think work quite well together, and the best part of all is what I have enjoyed so much about the Daemons release; they are fun!

As for those curious as to why the Heavy Support section of the Tactica has been delayed - much like the Troops section was - it is due to a bit of a mix of personal stuff and having actually had the time to play with my expanding Chaos Daemons army. The malignant presence of Daemons has that kind of effect on people unfortunately; I am well under-way on the Tactica, however, and it should be uploaded within the next two days at the absolute latest (or Mr Jax will have my head!). I'm sorry for the delay and I hope the end product is worth the wait. Thank you for your patience throughout this series!

Thank you for reading my completely random thoughts about some recent matches of mine, and laughing at how pathetic my army is currently. If I had pictures and my opponent let me, I would have loved to show off his Minotaurs, who are looking very dashing currently. Alas, until next time. Did you like this article? Do you think it was a bit too off-key? Sound off in the comments below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Thank you again!


  1. "as my opponent failed his Leadership test and attempted to flee"

    space marines and they shall know no fear.

    If you caught them (which you did) they don't die, just make some armor saves.

    1. They dont even have to make armor saves. They just stay locked in combat.

    2. Sorry 5th was still in the brain.

    3. They didn't die, they just stayed there - which is what I wanted as it meant he wouldn't get a round of shooting at the Bloodthirster. It was a case of wanting to hold me up (challenging me) versus getting a probably ineffective round of shooting at me; given the circumstances, I think he would want that one over again haha.

      I should have specified about that sorry.