Why do I play Chaos Daemons in Warhammer 40K?

I was listening to a relatively new podcast over the weekend, Hitting on 3s.  I’ve heard two whole episodes so far, so I don’t have enough perspective for a review.  However, I did hear a great bit of wisdom that I want to share.  The hosts of Hitting on 3s shared their thoughts on how someone comes to settle on their ideal Warhammer 40K codex/army.  The thought goes like this:

  1. You choose your first army based on what looks cool.
  2. Your second army is often what wins.
  3. Your third army is the one that you pick because it fits you best.

There was a a bit of conversation between the hosts on this topic, but the general consensus was that this seemed to hold true with a general exception (if your first army is also a “top tier” army then you may go straight to your ideal army as your second army).

For me, I fall into both categories.  Let me explain.  When I got back into playing Warhammer 40K at the end of 2010 I inherited an old 3rd edition Dark Eldar army from a friend.  It was in horrible disrepair, but with the new release of the Dark Eldar I found the sail boats to look awesome.  Unfortunately, I never got around to actually playing the Dark Eldar.  While I was acquiring models I picked up the Space Wolves omnibus and got sucked into the world of the Vikings in space.  I loved the story and the general consensus at my game store was that Space Wolves and Blood Angels were both excellent army choices (top tier) at the time.  So, my second army (but the first one I actually played) were the Wolves.
Not being a very good general, it always frustrated be to hear people tell me that my army was cheesy and I was playing a broken codex.  I don’t keep track of my win/loss record, but if I did it would have been like a handful of wins to a bucket load of losses.  So, while I still love the Wolves’ fluff and will always play this army as my favorite power armor codex, I wanted to find another army to play more casually.
I was at a local tournament, the Contest of Champions or COC at Great Escape Games in Sacramento, CA in early 2012 and saw someone’s Daemon army with the old metal Pink Horrors painted in brilliant colors.  I was immediately drawn to the aesthetic of the army.  I had the opportunity to play my first game against a Daemon army later that day and I was hooked.  I found that the army rewards my play style, chaotic and chance taking.  I also found that it was generally considered to be a mid-level, if not bottom tier army in the waning days of 5th edition when I started playing the Daemons.  It was a perfect army for me.  I get to make crazy, chance taking decisions, the play style is different from every other army, and no one could accuse me of being a power gamer.
Fast forward to 6th edition and we see a few nerfs to Daemons:
  • Fleet is now less advantageous than it was
  • Close combat generally plays second fiddle to shooting
  • Khorne takes it in the shorts (hell sword AP3 gimp and the loss of furious charge initiative bonus)

Funny enough, I was drawn to Tzeentch because of the look of the metal Pink Horrors, Flamers and the Screamers, and so I was playing an all Tzeentch list before the change over to 6th Edition.  With the change to 6th Edition and recent White Dwarf codex update, my Tzeentch Daemons haved moved on up the ranks of armies:

  • None of the nerfs above had much of an effect on Tzeentch’s daemons
  • 6th Edition places more emphasis on shooting, which is squarely in the realm of Tzeentch’s daemons.
  • Fateweaver, when flying, is harder to take down (but harder to keep placed well for his 6″ reroll bubble)
  • Flamers can overwatch and glance the crap out of vehicles for cheap.
  • Screamers are more well rounded and now a very viable anti-TEQ choice in addition to their improved, yet already good, tank busting ability.
  • Deep striking has improved (less mishaps, quicker reserve deployments).

Anyway, I picked Chaos Daemons because the look cool, play a different meta game than any other army, are random, and aren’t hardcore (like Grey Knight Paladin’s, Necron Flyers, IG Leaf Blowers, and debatably Wolf Missile Spam).  What I didn’t realize is that they are a little less random and just got a bump in power in the early days of 6th Edition.

One Reply to “Why do I play Chaos Daemons in Warhammer 40K?”

  1. Thanks for the mention and for listening to the Ho3s podcast. Hopefully, we didn’t offend you away after this episode…we’ve only gotten worse.

    – Galan from the Hitting on 3s podcast.

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