[WFB] Theoryhammer: Damn Dirty Daemons

Sometimes, when the stars are in the proper alignment and I’m feeling more theoretical than usual (or just really bored on a long train journey), I’ll crack open the book for an army I’ve never played before and start mucking about with lists. I’ve been doing it more and more of late, and figured I might as well share some of the results (when they actually materialise, i.e. when I’m not thinking about ruddy Chaos Warriors).

My starter for ten? Daemons. I’m drawn to Daemons because they have an interesting advantage in eighth edition WFB, to whit access to a high-level wizard with lots of wounds in their Core section. Unlike many books with extremely expensive Lord choices, they can notch up the two high-level spellcasters necessary to do well in the magic phase (I agree with Stelek on this – one high level wizard can be hunted down and killed, but two are a tougher proposition). They can also make these wizards quite tough, and have access to some interesting ways to make their dice usage much more efficient into the bargain.

I’m also going to work with Stelek’s assumption that 2500 points is the wave of the future. Not quite convinced, myself – convincing British gamers to put down the sacred cows of 1500 point 40K and 2000 point WFB is easier said than done, but I have some thoughts about Daemons at 2000 points on the go as well (the good news is that I have a plan: the bad news is that it might not involve scaling this exact list down).

So, let’s kick off with the thing that’s got me interested: Horrors of Tzeentch. A big unit of these becomes an effective offensive spellcaster, and also eats up a goodly chunk of the mandatory Core unit spend. I started out with forty (figuring I might as well experiment with the ten-wide Horde deployment while I was there), dropped to thirty (because really, Tzeentch’s Firestorm does as much damage as a poor roll on Bolt of Change, gives away Victory Points for tiny Horror units, and takes the cost of the unit into frankly ridiculous levels), but then I hit upon a nice little efficiency with the Lore of Tzeentch and took the unit back up to thirty-five again.

Core: 40 Horrors: 525
full command; Icon of Sorcery

If we’re going to listen to Stelek, and we might as well, we need another level 4 wizard. Now, if I understand how magic works in the new WFB correctly, we can’t use any spell from any Lore more than once (effectively). The juicy bits of the Lore of Tzeentch have already been eaten by Horrors, leaving us without enough spells to fill or warrant a Lord of Change. The other options are a Keeper of Secrets – and while I’m all about Slaanesh magic in Warrior armies, where it’s an excellent source of board control, it’s just more damage in the Daemon book – or a Great Unclean One, who does have a board control spell, as well as lots of direct damage that bypasses armour saves and a decent debuff as his signature spell. He’s also tough – tough as hell, in fact – has decent Leadership, and can still put in a fair turn of speed for such a big lad.

Lord: Great Unclean One: 620 595
level 4 wizard; Trappings of Nurgle Noxious Vapours

Ouch. There goes my Lord allowance. Fortunately I’ve got a T6, W10 behemoth of a wizard, with a save for every occasion. I’m not wedded to the Trappings or anything, since he can’t use both his Ward and Regeneration in one turn, but I figure there’s precious little out there that’s going to take all three of his saves away, so he should always have at least one 4+ lying around. If it does turn out to be a waste in the new edition, I have Noxious Vapours in mind as a replacement; making everything in combat with this big lummox Always Strike Last can’t be bad, can it?

What else appeals about Daemons? Well, I’ve always been keen on the Great Standard of Sundering: there are enough Lores out there which either power armies (hello Vampires, hello Beastmen) or screw Daemons (hello Light Wizards, hello High Elves), so let’s get something that spoils their day. Let’s try for something thematically appropriate and dual-purpose, too (I like my thematically appropriate dual-purpose army standards – cf. continous fielding of the Cauldron of Blood).

Hero: Herald of Khorne: 255
Juggernaut; Firestorm Blade, Armour of Khorne; Battle Standard; Great Standard of Sundering

His job is to help shut down enemy magic, and to target anything that needs an angry red bloke with a fiery sword to tell it “no stop that existing lark”. Simple enough. The Juggernaut gives him a bit of mobility and, together with the Armour, a 0+ save (hilarious). He can also lead my second Core unit, since I haven’t got enough Core points yet.

Core: 20 Bloodletters: 295
full command, Icon of Endless War

I was torn between Bloodletters and Daemonettes for the Core slot, but having taken a Herald of Khorne I felt sort of obliged to field a unit to match him. There’s 20 of them because that’s how many you get in two boxes and I’m too Frugal to buy models I won’t use.

Hey, Heralds make Daemon units better, and I have a Daemon unit with no Herald. That’ll never do.

Hero: Herald of Tzeentch: 145
Power Vortex

Nice and simple. Increases the Ward save of the Horrors, who are going to get shot at, since they represent an impressive magical threat; also brings along an extra power die. In fact, he brings more than that. If I understand the spell selection rules correctly, the Horrors have scoffed four out of the six spells in the Lore of Tzeentch, which means the Herald automatically gets Boon of Tzeentch (extra power dice) and Glean Magic (something to do with them, to whit ‘steal the enemy’s favourite spell and fling it back at them’). I could also make him the army standard bearer, if I was feeling devil-may-care, and allow the Khorne Herald some more leeway.

I’ve spent a lot of points and so far I have a big lumbering monster and two blocks with Heroes. I need more cheap, efficient stuff to fill out the list with. Hm. While I have Tzeentch’s Firestorm and a reasonable chance of Plague Wind to spawn march-blockers, and a reasonable chance at Pit of Slime for some board control, I still want something fast to throw out there and get in the enemy’s grill with (occupying space with something that has a long threat range and a disproportionate capacity for harmfulness being an excellent form of board control, and more reliable than magic). Let’s go for Fiends. Very fast, pretty hitty – enough to rip through warmachines, support units and other annoyances, anyway – and not so expensive that I’ll weep tears of blood at losing them.

Rare: 2 Fiends: 110

Rare: 2 Fiends: 110

These units could easily be merged into one of four if it turns out that they get killed too easily or something.

As I peruse the Rare section, I also came across Flamers. I love those models, and they have a shooting attack, something I’m a bit short on at the moment. Two units will enable me to split my fire, and 3d6 attacks is probably enough to at least bung some damage about, finish off wounded units or crispy-fry annoying Great Eagles and stuff. They’ll probably be used as flank and rearguards, burping incendiary death at stuff that tries anything clever on me.

Rare: 3 Flamers: 105

Rare: 3 Flamers: 105

How many points is that? 2270. Am I cheating yet? I forget what the rules for Special and Rare slots are… isn’t it no more than three of the same Special and two of the same Rare? Assuming I’m all right, I have… 230 points left. What do I still need? Something else that’s a bit nippy, has lots of attacks, and can maybe go after annoying enemy Wizards with dispel modifiers to shut them down and help me achieve more in the Magic phase that I’ve put so much effort into.

My first choice would be Flesh Hounds, but five with Karanak (for targeting the most annoying Wizard with his Prey rule) sets me back 250 points (assuming that I have to buy an ordinary Flesh Hound for 35 and upgrade him to Karanak – best check that FAQ – yes I do). Not to worry – I’ve been in doubt about the Trappings of Nurgle in eighth edition, now that not all the saves they offer can be used all the time, so let’s drop them for Noxious Vapours, and that frees up points for:

Special: 5 Flesh Hounds: 250

Wizard-eating devil-dogs, who can also support the Fiends in board control duties. I confess that I’m still slightly torn between these and a unit of Seekers with the Siren Standard – locking enemy units into a Hold reaction and executing a joint charge with the Seekers and Great Unclean One seems potentially hilarious. However, I still have to think about a scaled-down list for 2000 points (in which Daemons simply cannot afford a level 4 wizard in the Lords section, and therefore the game plan changes a bit), and there might be a better role for that Seeker unit in there. Time to think about that in the morning.

For now, we have a 2500 point Daemon list with something from every Power in it, and pretty much every unit has at least two tactical applications. The game plan would probably involve using the Fiends and Flesh Hounds to either control the board by jamming themselves up the enemy’s nose, or go after enemy wizards and support units, while the Horror block and Great Unclean One pound away with damage spells, hopefully chucking out a few Firestorms and Plague Winds to generate me some march blocking infantry and swarms behind enemy lines. The Flamers guard my flanks and rear, and the Bloodletters move up and pummel enemy units once my magic’s softened and split them up. If they need support, the Fiends, Hounds and Great Unclean One are all able to offer it.

Job’s a good ‘un? No? Either way, I’m off to bed.

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