Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Chaos Daemons Codex review

I'm not sure what to make of the new codex for the daemons. The last one was quite easy to gauge and plan lists around. This time I think it isn't quite so easy, which is both good and bad, plus I'm sure part of it is not being a daemons player myself.

First off, I couldn't get into the background fluff section of the book. It doesn't read as well as the prior two codexes. I found it a real slog and quite frankly not very interesting. Plus, it still doesn't explain how the supposed "physical" locations like Slaanesh's palace or the Skull Throne exist in a dimension of pure thought and emotion. Games Workshop could do with giving that a better explaination otherwise I want to see ships crash into them.

Anyway, let us get to the meat of the book.

Deep Strike has become an optional tool for the army now. It was a pain in the last codex but a fair balance for how good that book was. Now I can see other than a few options this army is going to be a footslogging horde much like the Tyranids are.

Daemonic Instability has returned. Now it works like morale tests after the assault phase except that you could easily lose a lot of models depending who you have just been fighting. Lesser daemons don't have a great leadership for this so you are relying on winning close combat.

A Warp Storm table has been added to the game too which gets rolled on the Daemons' players turn. It feels like a random element too far in a game already filled to overflowing in random elements. Half are good and half are bad but this is an element that I don't feel should have been added, even as some kind of balancing factor.

Next up for me are the psychic powers. Thankfully these are psychic now not sorcery, so you can get a Deny the Witch roll. The disciplines of plague and excess are not bad. However I feel that no one will take the discipline of change for the most part because of the Warpflame special rule. All the discipline of change powers (and Flamers of Tzeentch) have this and it wrecks the powers. If the unit hit by the Warpflame survives the unit makes a Toughness test. Fail and you lose more models with no save. Pass and the Tzeentch daemons have just given you a 6+ FNP for the rest of the game, or +1 to it if you already had it. I just can't see many people playing that.

On to the options...

HQ's.There are still three special characters for greater daemons; Skarbrand, Kairos and Ku'gath. Why isn't there a Slaanesh one? Don't know but I feel there should be one. Skarbrand and Ku'gath seem fair though at their points you won't want them in typical size games (1500-1750pts). As for Kairos, he seems way overcosted and I can't see where his points really come from. Plus I was dissapointed that his fluffy "runs away when wounded" rule has gone. That was part and parcel of the character and seems wrong to see it go.
The generic greater daemons seem fine though does a Bloodthirster really need I9? It's all rage, not speed and finesse like a Keeper of Secrets.
The daemon princes are identical stat and pointswise to their CSM counterparts, though the options are more limited, plus they have the daemonic instability rule.

The Heralds seem fine and reasonably pointed but I feel Skulltaker and Epidemius are the real winners here. You won't want Tzeentch because of warpflame and I don't think the Slaanesh options are strong enough. Nurgle on the other hand seem to have become a very viable option.

Lesser daemons have had a reduction in strength and toughness to make them more balanced and fair. I approve of this. Shame that some still have issues good and bad.
* Bloodletters are still the primary choice because GW let them keep their AP3 hellblades. AP4/5 I might have said were ok, but I still don't like power weapons as standard on a troop choice.
* Pink Horrors may see use but again using warpflame makes me think you won't unless they are spammed as the primary troop option.
* Plaguebearers have moved up in my mind as a good troop option. Space marine toughness means that they can still be used to bog units down but they won't be too tough to handle.
* Nurglings... not convinced.
* Daemonettes are very much a waste now, but then they were last time too. Strength 3 rending isn't worth it and yet I keep seeing people suggest these as the means of handling terminators and 2+ save models. Khorne and Nurgle have won the troops section in my mind.

* Bloodcrushers are the only elite option I think is viable. They are a reasonable choice.
*Flamers at least have lost AP3 which is a blessing. They didn't need that and it was overpowered. Everyone took Flamers. They also have warpflame making them less desirable.
* Beasts of Nurgle and Fiends of Slaanesh are really meh. I really don't see the point to these outside of a fluffy single god list.
Overall I think the elites section is uninteresting other than the bloodcrushers.

Fast Attack.
* Fleshounds are a nice option if you know you are up against low armour units and/or against psychic heavy lists like Eldar.
* Screamers are still a nuisence. They should really be killed if they destroy a vehicle. But that is a bias to be fair.
* Plague Drones are the new toy for this section and I really like these. Nurgle wins out again with some jet pack cavalry.
* Chaos Furies... nothing special but now they can take marks of a chaos god. I thought the point of furies was that they are the forms of chaos worshippers who didn't choose a specific god to follow?
* Seekers again seem like a naff choice on paper. Never seen these played under 40K and still don't expect to.
* Hellflayer of Slaanesh... a big old chariot pulled by Seekers. Doesn't really fit the 40K universe in my mind (see later) but fair enough. Will have to see what these are like if anyone plays one locally.
Nurgle wins the FA section too by looks of it.

Heavy Support.
* Soul Grinders are now a must IMO, as the only option in the codex that has Skyfire options. With the amount of flyers these days daemon players will have to use up a slot for this.
* Skullcannon / Blood Throne. I really dislike these. Not because of what they do because (a) the models are hideous, and (b) these belong in Warhammer Fantasy. It doesn't fit the science fiction game. Daemons are not about tanks but horde. As it stand though, the Skullcannon looks like a nice unit on paper though I fully expect one these on the table to take a shedload of fire from turn 1.
* Seeker Chariot / Exalted Chariot. Don't rate these, not when you have soul grinders and the skull cannon.

My final thoughts are that this is a very odd codex now. In areas it seems more balanced and fair but in others I wonder what the designers were thinking (looking at warpflame here mainly), and why add Fantasy style things in rather than something new in the lines of the soul grinder.
This is still going to be a tough codex to deal with but not nearly as horrid as its predecessor was.

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