Mar 7, 2013

Daemons - Troops

So on to the Troops and their corresponding Heralds! Also, I have found nothing that prevents Daemons from Going to Ground... which is worth keeping in mind...

Bloodletters of Khorne

They are now a glasshammer unit. I mean, they were fragile before but now even more so. The way I see it they're too fragile to be deployed normally, so you should Deep Strike them to give them some protection. And that makes them an excellent unit to use Instruments with, as they'll be able to pull more units with them.  This is of course a dual purpose, because Bloodletters on their own will die very quickly so if you give the opponent something else to worry about the Bloodletters might actually reach combat... Once in combat they're actually not bad at all with 2 S5 AP3 attacks each on WS5. They of course suffer from no grenades, but if you have the big Cannon of Khorne you can get around that (which is true for everything in the army so won't write this again).

Because they're pretty fragile I don't feel like they're the ultimate unit to carry a Icon. If the Icon works right out of Deep Strike (like it seems, before FAQ) then yeah, it could be worth it to make sure that extra support lands close by without scatter. But if you have to have the Icon on the board before using it, then... probably not worth it. Because even 20 T3 models are quite easy to pick off in a turn. And the special banner doesn't quite seem worth it either. Yeah, it's nice with a guaranteed 7" charge - but it only works once per game. However, if you combine it with the Cannon and charge through terrain you might be able to catch someone off guard...

What would be a good squad size then? 10 models are cheap - but really, if you expect them to do some fighting you'll need more. But again, they can't be alone. Because a unit of 20 Bloodletters is actually scary to be charged by - so they'll probably get a pretty high priority to be killed as an easy target. However - if you DO have something else that's scary to support them then it's totally worth it to take those wounds to make sure the other thing reaches combat. Or if not, you'll have plenty of Bloodletters reaching combat. Even 5 Bloodletters will do quite well against MEQ, but T3 means Bolters will absolutely slaughter them. I'd not go below 15 per unit if I want them to fight as well.

The last option you have to consider is the Bloodreaper, and what Rewards to give him. He can take 1-2 Lesser Rewards or 1 Greater Reward. Depending on what you want him to do I see all three options as quite viable. First, 1 Lesser Reward. Here you're Hoping for Warp Strider to get that +1 to Reserves making sure you come in Turn 2 with your Instrument. Corrosive Breath might be okay as well if you'll be facing a lot of Transports - giving the unit to de-mech something in the Shooting Phase at least (but even if they manage they can no longer charge the insides due to sixth edition as far as I can tell). If you fail to get that you might as well exchange it for the Etherblade (I prefer it over the Blood Axe, thanks to Master-Crafted). That's a unit champion with AP2 - something to actually threaten enemy HQ's. If you go for two rolls you'd like Cleaving Strike and an Etherblade. AP2 and S9 on the charge at normal I. That's pretty nice for 25 points extra. Corrosive Breath and Warp Strider might of course still be useful. And maybe Spell Breaker if you know you'll face a lot of psykers. Or if you instead go for the Greater Reward you'll end up with an defensive option. You'll be looking for the armour, re-roll invuls or Feel no Pain first hand here - so you can put this guy up in front and try to soak up some wounds with his better save. I don't feel like the Touch of Uncreation is very useful on this model, and the Hellfire Gaze is situational - so might as well replace those with a Greater Etherblade (The Blade of Blood is Unwieldy! Yuck!).

Herald of Khorne

So, the Herald is basically a better version of the Bloodreaper and thus what I wrote above applies to him as well. He has the additional option of taking one Greater Reward (for defence) and one Lesser (for an Etherblade) as a combination of the two. I don't see much reason to take three Lesser Rewards. He could also instead take one Exalted Reward - but all of those are better suited for Monsters basically - so the only reason I see them doing that is to take one of the Artefacts. I cover those in this post. The Eternal Blade is non-sensical for the Herald of Khorne, being AP- when his Hellblade is AP3... might be used by an MC but not a Herald. The Portalglyph I feel is not ideal for the Herald of Khorne as he'll probably be upfield. The Grimoire might sit here, as you're likely to be close to units that needs the boost. And the Bloodstone might be okay here as well, all though the Herald is somewhat fragile.

So, that brings me to the options that made me put this in the Troop-review. The Locus. Being able to boost his entire unit makes it so that of course you want to put him in a unit. Not only does he grant extra Ld for stability but Locus to boost... Abjuration doesn't seem much worth it, Fury however might be very useful as it gives the unit Rage. However, you have to chose between Rage and Hatred... it's a tough choice really. More attacks, or more hits? I'd consider the size of the unit here - small unit, Rage and large unit Hatred. It really comes down to how many points you spend, and I think both options are very much valid.

Khorne also has this odd option off putting the Herald on a Blood Throne giving the effects to an aura of units isntead of just one unit... tempting - but also more risky. The Chariot isn't super durable, so is quite likely to be brought down in one round of shooting anyway. Putting the Herald in a unit seems safer.

All of the above can also be used when putting the Herald on a Juggernaut and attaching him to Bloodcrushers instead.

Pink Horrors of Tzeentch

Okay, this is a very strange and unusual unit. It's the first unit around with Brotherhood of Psykers - and that's where all their attacks are. They roll one power from the Change lore, and their warp charges are determined by their unit strength. So you probably want to take at least 16 Horrors. As that's the minimum for Level 3. Taking any more just give additional wounds before you lose one D6 shooting attacks for the Change Primaris power. I can't really see any reason why you'd take Tzeentch's Firestorm over the Primaris really, especially not with Horrors. The Bolt of Change and Infernal Gateway however have some good potential - but on average are just decent anti-tank. The problem with those I feel is that you're dedicating a full 16+ squad to one single attack with one single purpose. Seems a bit like a waste to me.

Anyhow, all the ranges are 18-24" so a midrange unit that doesn't want to get charged. Means they'll probably feel good sitting on top an objective inside terrain in the middle somewhere. Oh, and despite being shooty they can't fire Overwatch as their only attack is Psychic Powers. I guess they got the Blue Horror special rule to compensate for that (extra attacks that auto-hits for each Horror that dies). Which makes them quite different from other Shooty units to say the least.

Icon or no Icon? They're not super resilient - but thanks to re-rolling failed saves on 1 they do have better save than others. And they do want to sit midfield so might be a good place to sit with an Icon. And their special Icon gives them the chance to fire extra shots once per game. I wouldn't say ideal, but could work. And Deep Strike or deploy? I'd say either works here as well - kind of depends on the board.

The Champion has no real need for Lesser Rewards (as those are killy in close combat mostly, and you certainly don't want to be in combat) and as such one Greater Reward to help protect the unit is the only choice I see if you actually want him. I think I prefer to keep the unit cheap though.

Herald of Tzeentch

Lets start with the Locus here. Both the Lesser and Greater Locus are kind of "in case we get charged". Not really super-useful in my opinion. To compensate however, the Exalted Locus is awesome indeed. +1S to all psychic powers manifested by this unit? Making the Primaris S6? I'll take it!

On to Rewards then. This is different than for the Horror-champion - because you can put the Herald on a Disc of Tzeentch making him a Jetbike. Now you have the possibility to go and snipe characters with your newly found AP2 weapon. It's quite cheap, and as he's on a jetbike he'll be hard to avoid. You might also catch your opponent off guard. I mean, this is a puny spellcaster isn't it? Wouldn't expect it to go character hunting!

Talking of spellcasting. This guy is a Level 1 psyker and can be upgraded to Level 3. And you have access to Divination. If you just want a cheap buff character for your Horrors simply add the Locus of Conjuration and take Prescience for your psychic power. 70 points and your Horrors are now a lot more lethal. If you want to complement the Horrors with the primaris you could go Level 2 and roll once for Change as well to get one of the higher strength shots. With the Horrors shooting at S6 you'll be able to share a lot of targets anyway. At the moment I'm not sure I can think of a good reason to go Level 3 with this guy however. Maybe if you put him in a Chariot (for protection) and zoom around to cast buffs on your army. That'd complement the Grimoire as well I suppose.

Plaguebearers of Nurgle

I believe the Plaguebearers are still the most effective objective holders in the army. They've just changed a lot, so now you have to think some more before placing objectives. You're now very much relying on terrain or a defence line to get some staying power. The defence line is now a very much possibly choice for a pure Daemon-army - especially with Plaguebearers and their Shrouding. Combine with an objective and a Comms Relay and you know where your opponent will want to concentrate his fire in turn 1...

Anyhow, you don't want to Deep Strike these guys as they're Slow and Purposeful and thus can't run to spread out when they arrive. So not much need to consider an instrument. The special Icon gives them extra offensive power, which I feel is not their role so I wouldn't bother with that either... a generic Icon to help with Deep Striking might be in order though.

Like I wrote above, I don't feel like these guys are meant to be offensive - but that doesn't mean they're easy to kill in combat. They're actually quite good at killing stuff themselves with their S4 and Poison (4+). The poison makes them surprisingly good at killing monsters obviously. Another surprising addition to the Plagueswords are that they're always glancing on 6's (unless they'd penetrate normally). Which means a full unit of 20 is going to glance a Land Raider to death on average in one turn. Odd! It is still defensive to me though, because that'll help them defend against Ironclads or other Walkers that are coming to your backfield and trying to clear out your objectives. So yes, they can hit - but it's more like a response to being threatened rather than attacking.

So with that in mind I wound only consider the Champion for a Greater Reward and thus a Defensive gift to help shield the unit.

Herald of Nurgle

The Nurgle Herald I think, is the one that feels like it's even more made to go with Plaguebearers than the other Heralds. Why? The Greater Locus gives them Feel no Pain. The other two Locus are offensive, and as such I wouldn't really consider them (unless you're going pure Nurgle perhaps).

You could basically take that and be done in my opinion, but there are some other options as well. Again, Greater Reward and/or a Palanquin to help with shielding... but if you're giving your unit Feel no Pain you probably shouldn't stand in the front where you'll die first so... chose one or the other. Being slow makes it hard to be offensive, and so most of the other Rewards aren't that amazing for this guy I think. I mean, you could kit him out and hope that the enemy comes to you and that'll certainly work against some armies but it's also potentially spending points that'll never be used... And sadly you can't make the Herald faster so he could join Plague Drones (and not slow them down). I do feel that the Nurgle Herald would be excellent for the Portalglyph though, he's all ready sitting on the backfield so you'll get the portal back there as well which should suit you just fine.

Another cheap option with the Nurgle Herald is to give his unit Feel no Pain, and then nothing else on him. And you also buy a Defence Line with a Quad Gun or Icarus Lascannon - because the Herald is BS5. Pretty neat if you're very worried by fliers, and you get an excellent scoring unit as well! And you should be scared of fliers for this unit, especially Heldrakes. Their flamer will reach you, and it does ignore your fancy 2+ cover... If you can Intercept it with the Lascannon however...

Another option is to make him a psyker. You can go up to Level 2, and have access to Biomancy and Plague. If you go Level 2 and roll both on Biomancy and combine that with some offensive Rewards you can actually make a quite beastly combat character. Especially if you also have the Palanquin. But as above, your problem is reaching combat so not to sure about how good of an option that is. The other option is more interesting I think, because it changes the way a unit of Plaguebearers could be used. Because the Plague powers are very offensive and short range - so suddenly it could be viable to Deep Strike them close to the enemy and just unleash some powerful spells. If you also roll Miasma of Pestilence you have suddenly created an awesome unit for tying up dangerous units. When those Assault Terminators need fives to hit they'll start to struggle a bit to get away from all these Plaguebearers in their way... The problem is just that you need to roll a 3 on the D3 for it to really help you against most combat units as Plaguebearers are only WS3 themselves.


And while on the subject of tying things up... Enter Nurglings. 15 points per base for 4 wounds and 4 attacks that most importantly can Infiltrate. As they suffer from the same speed problems like Plaguebearers do, and they're not Scoring due to being Swarms... at least they can Infiltrate to make them useful. As long as you stay away from S6 which will Instant Death whole bases you have a cheap unit that can start to tie up much more important units than themselves. Chug them into that Devastator squad to stop them shooting for a round or two. A scoring unit getting close to an objective? Nope, denied! They're not strong enough so that they'll not eventually die... they will die pretty quickly. But the thing is, they're so cheap so you don't care. If your opponent has to waste time to deal with them, you gain from it. If they don't shoot at them, you'll stop him from using a unit next turn and you gain from that too. Yes, they're Swarms and die horribly to Blasts and Templates... but if your opponent shoots his Blast and Template weapons at your cheap little Nurglings the rest of your army doesn't have to deal with it!

The one thing that I don't like about them is that they're Troops, and thus take up precious space in your Force Organisation. I don't think the most effective way of building Daemon armies will be to spam out Troops however, so you'll probably be able to fit one unit of Nurglings in anyway (two units might be too many). But I still wish there'd be a way to get them outside of the Force org - like you could take one unit for every Plaguebearer unit or something. That'd make them truly awesome.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh

And finally the last Troop choice. I think these one play much like Bloodletters these days. As you have to take ten minimum there's no more of hiding them to camp objectives. And as such I feel like you might as well take a full squad of 20 most of the time. Because they're still fragile. Now, the difference between Bloodletters and Daemonettes is that Bloodletters hit hard with AP3, Daemonettes hit A LOT. 3 attacks each on the charge with Rending is enough to deal with both Hordes and thanks to Rending pretty decent against Terminators as well. Where the Bloodletters go for quality strikes, Daemonettes simply overwhelm with hits. But that's not a major difference really, so that means that pretty much everything I wrote for the Bloodletters applies to Daemonettes as well - down to deployment and Rewards for the Champion as well as Instruments. One thing to note though is that they're Fleet, and being Slaanesh they run an extra 3" meaning they can relocate super-fast.

So the major difference in options compared to Bloodletters is should you take their special Icon or not? It lowers the WS of the opponent for a turn once per game. Not amazing. Worth 10 points? Probably not. The normal Icon for Deep Striking I have the same reasoning as with Bloodletters though.

Herald of Slaanesh

Again, many options are similar to Khorne - for Rewards I'd consider the exact same loadouts but keeping in mind that the Slaanesh Herald is only T3 so using it for shielding might be a bit more risky.

On to Locus then, you can give your unit Move Through Cover, +5I or re-roll hits (and some special stuff for Challenges) in combat. All of them are quite good options. Move Through Cover obviously because you're all ready fast and now not even Terrain will slow you  down much. Re-roll hits in Close Combat with all those attacks? That'll increase their effectiveness a lot. The +5I is the worst one I reckon, Daemonettes are all ready I5 and the Herald I7 so you'll strike first in most cases anyway - the only use I see for it is if you're facing non-Space Marines and wants to make sure you catch enemies that run away. So a bit situational indeed... The Exalted Locus also have this thing where opponents can't refuse Challenges and you chose who you challenge... Devastating for Orks and other units that depend on their Champion to do damage as you can pretty easily snipe them. High WS and re-rolls to hit... and the possibility for some good weapons with Rewards. Speaking of weapons, I once again prefer the Etherblade over the Slaanesh-sword - and for the Greater Reward you can chose a Lash that is Assault 2D6 and 12" range but Heralds are only S4 and AP-... so not amazing either. But perhaps nice to be able to wither down some of the enemies before charging in, guess it depends on your style.

Talking of withering down enemies before closing in, you can also become a Psyker up to Level 2 with access to Telepathy and Excess. Oddly they almost share powers with each other... I'm not too impressed with the new Pavane or Cacaphonic Choir - I feel like there are too many rolls for them to be really effective most of the time. They do have some good potential however. The Primaris isn't all that great either, a S6 beam with Rending? Nah... The last power lowers enemies I by 5, which is a nice support for sure but you'll only have a 1/3 chance to get it. Telepathy however have some great powers. For example Invisibility. Suddenly you can make a squad of Daemonettes as resilient as Plaguebearers! I feel like if I make a Herald of Slaanesh a Psyker then a Level 2 and rolling both on Telepathy is the way to go. I mean, just look at what Eldar are doing with Telepathy and Seer Councils for ideas...

You also have several options for mounting the Herald of Slaanesh. Either you go for the Steed which makes you super fast and Outflanking with Acute Senses. Always a nice option to have, and this way you could Outflank Daemonettes as well for whatever reason you'd want that... probably you put the Herald on a Steed to join Seekers though.
Then you have two different Chariots that are basically both the same, one just have 2 more HP than the other. I see this as an option if you want to run Cavalcades and want to give the other Chariots some extra hitting power. Pretty unique for the army really. But I wouldn't bother with a Herald in a Chariot unless I was planning to use A LOT of Chariots - you basically need to form your army around this I think for it to be worth it.

And that's it for Troops! Next up is Elites.

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