First thoughts with the new Daemons

After spending last week reading both German copies and photos of the real thing, followed by actually getting my iPad copy Friday night and then playing the old codex on Saturday I got to give the codex a whirl today.  First thoughts:

  • Damn, that’s a lot of psykers.  I have to learn a new phase of the game.
  • What, no…  You can’t double me out I have Eternal wa….  Oh, crap, you’re right.
  • Oh yeah, I forgot to roll on the Warp Storm table, hang on a second.
  • I need more and multiple colors of tokens to mark war charges, warp flames and soul blaze.
  • There aren’t enough psychic cards in the deck for me to use that much divination.
  • I need cards for the Daemonic Rewards so that I can put them next to the models.
  • Discs are jet bikes?  Let’s see what I can do with screamers.
  • Wow, 30 minutes of set-up and rolling dice and we’re now just starting the game…
I got to play a 1500 point game against a local Dark Angel player, Hunter.  I’ve never played against him before and we were both doing a little learning.  Here is the list I played; since I had to make it by hand I hope my math held up.

Army List

Tzeentch Herald – ML2, Ex. Locus Conj., Gr. Reward – 110
Tzeentch Herald – ML2, Ex. Locus Conj., Less Reward – 100
Tzeentch Herald on Disc – ML1 – 70
Tzeentch Daemon Prince w/ wings – ML1, Gr. Reward – 250
20 Pink Horrors w/ Blasted Std and Instrument – 210
20 Pink Horrors w/ Blasted Std and Instrument – 210
3 Flamers of Tzeentch + Pyro Caster w/ Gr. Reward – 117
3 Flamers of Tzeentch + Pyro Caster w/ Gr. Reward – 117
3 Flamers of Tzeentch + Pyro Caster w/ Gr. Reward – 117
Fast Attack
9 Screamers – 225
Tzeentch Soul Grinder w/ torrent and plehgm – 190~1500 points

Battle Report

The game went to 6 rounds and was separated by a single VP.  We played Big Guns/Vanguard.  He brought a shooty DA foot list with 2 vindicators, 2 dreadnoughts with missiles and lascannons, a small melt bike squad and a command squad with the banner of devastation.

Objectives – three objectives equally space right down the middle of the no man’s land.  The left objective was adjacent to a Shrine of the Aquila, the center was in the Blasted Landscape (dangerous terrain) and the right was next to a impassable column.  Locations turned out to be key later in the game.

Deployment – he deployed gun line style with his command squad behind LOS blocking terrain, and his librarian joined to a Tac squad manning a quad gun.  Both that squad and another were behind a long wall of Aegis DL.  His dreadnoughts were placed in upper levels of ruins, so they were stationary for the game and the deployed vindicators on each flank.  His third tac squad deployed far left.

I deployed (what the heck is deploying BTW) a horror blob squad center left, daemon price far left (on foot), soul grinder center and screamers far right.  The screamers got a ML Herald in disc and the two foot squads each got ML2 Heralds on foot.

Turn 1
My opponent failed at seizing the initiative.  I walked forward with the blob squad and soul grinder, flew the DP up behind the Shrine of the Aquila and moved the screamer forward; after buffing the DP and the blob squad.  My first warpstorm roll resulted in the Khorne attack which did a little damage to my opponent.  I shot at the squad with the Libby, who denied the witch.  I could see the random daemons going downhill quick.  The screamers slashed at a tac squad taking about half the squad out.  The SG killed a few marines with phlegm.

Then I learned how nasty the banner of devastation was.  Holly crap that was a ton of shots.  My screamer squad was taken down to half strength only do to some lucky rolling.

Turns 2/3
I had a turn of +1 inv followed by a turn of -1 inv saves.  Squads of 4 flamers are still pretty nasty, but will not wipe a tac squad by themselves any longer, but the warpfire will take another 2 models on average one in three times (6+ FNP isn’t too bad, so plan to wipe a squad in 2 turns).  I flamed the DA command squad and killed the banner (and the rest of the squad).   A good turn of Pink Horrors shooting with the blasted standard is devastating to your opponent.

I took some pretty good damage on the Horror squad, down to ML2.  The Soul Grinder didn’t make it past turn 3.  The screamers made an assault and did their job.  I mishapped my other blob squad, which my opponent relegated to the back of my deployment zone.  I got to spend the entire game moving and running to claim an objective.

Turns 4/5
The DP vector struck a vindicator and proceeded to get shot to pieces failing all his saves.  Not worth his points.  But, I cleaned up the rest of his scoring units save one and a vindicator.  The other vindicator tried to claim the far right objective, but I was able to contest with a squad of flamers.  I took mass casualties running through dangerous terrain trying to claim the center objective, but made it.

Turn 6
The game ended on turn 6.  I was able to tie my opponent on objectives and won due to having won first blood.  What a game.  I felt like a newb playing this army.  I’m sure I screwed up plenty of things.

A few mistakes I made:

  • Phlegm is now ordinance, which means if the Soul Grinder fires it all other weapons are fired as snap shots.
  • Remember how many warp charges you have and what you want to do.

Pink Horrors Point Efficiency (part 2)

In the early day of 6th edition screamers and flamers were the damage dealers in an all Tzeentch army, but you were forced to take Pink Horrors to round out the army and score objectives.  Most daemon players would take other troops choices, but I remained true to my devotion to the changing tides of the aether.  I liked taking them in squads of 10-20 to keep them alive and deal some damage. I routinely ran a large blob squad of 19 horrors and the Changeling plus a Herald.  This was a mixed bag.

Survivable 4++ save (rerolled near Fateweaver)
Massed fire (60+ shots at 18″)
Great overwatch potential (often poor actual results)

Large deepstrike footprint
360-455 points that can mishap
Low BS shooting

Now that I have a copy of the rulebook I can confirm the rules that have been leaked before.  Namely that they are now 9 points, minimum squads of 10 and gain ward charges as the squad size increases.

One big drawback is the loss of overwatch, but this is countered with the increased 6″ range on the shooting attack.

I’ll compare their efficiency against terminators, marines and guard.  Given that flamers and screamers were majorly hurt by the new codex the horrors will have to stand up to various threats if a Tzeentch mono-build is to remain viable.

Some complained that my comparison before factored in disproportionate squad sizes, and while this was true the point per kill levelled the playing field.  This time I will compare squads of the same point cost to please the nay-sayers.  It just so happens that you can get 17 new horrors for the same cost as 9 old horrors.  Since 9 is the number of Tzeentch there must be something to this…

So, on the numbers, the unit is less efficient than it was before, but arguably has “maybe” some more flexibility depending on which phychic power you roll for.  The problem here is that before you could take a single bolt in a 5 horrors squad and camp an objective and provide some minimal anti-tank/air.  Now you take a large footprint unit that has a single power.
As you’ll see below adding a Herald becomes a must have if you want similar results as before (which wasn’t awesome to begin with).
Now, if you add a Herald into a squad you can slightly outperform the old horrors on MEQ killing, but TEQ and GEQ remain poor by comparison.  The way this comparison works if with the Presence of Conjuration (+1 strength) and using Presience to re-roll your hits.  On avergae you will kill just about 3.5 MEQ in your first turn of shooting.  Then you had better charge your screamers in to finish up the squad, because as soon as 3 of your horrors die your shooting falls of the cliff (- 25% effectiveness).
Now, all of that being said all it takes is a D6 deny the witch to shut you down entirely.
I asked for random, but never in my wildest imagination did I see the much needless random.

Flamers no longer OP

Flamer’s of Tzeentch – painted by me

Late last year I said Flamers were not OP here.  The world, and Phil Kelly disagreed.

Points to consider (revised):
  • I have not yet found a compelling reason to spend waste 5 points on a Pyrocaster upgrade.  While it is unlikely that you get charged, I’ve taken to deepstriking them with a disk of Tzeentch (Blue Scribes or Herald) as I can get a much larger frontage and generally hit a target with 5 -6 templates off the deepstrike this way vs 3-4 in a normal small cluster.  The pyrocaster protects your HQ from instant gib.
  • I won’t go into the warpfire/breath garbage that is now going around to allow you to hit people outside your range. Note: GW please read your FAQs before you post them and stop letting the interns write them.
  • I don’t think they are over powered costed now.

The change:

  • Wounds MEQ 1/3 of their previous (S4 AP4 – wounds on 4, MEQ save on 3+)
  • Invuln save is 8.5% better (re-roll 1s)
  • Loss of Eternal Warrior will cost them dearly

I can only surmise that the WD Codex update was a ploy to sell models (of course it was) but broke an important compact with customers.  You can’t sell a shiney object and then smash it 6 months later.  It’s one thing to nerf a model or two after a 5 year codex cycle and entirely something else when done in 6 months.

Pink Horrors Point Efficiency (part 1)

While screamers and flamers are the damage dealer in an all Tzeentch army, you have to take Pink Horrors to round out the army.  I like taking them in squads of 10-20 to keep them alive and deal some damage.  I routinely run squads of 20 horrors, which is a mixed bag.

Massed fire (60 shots at 18″)

Large deepstrike footprint
360 points that can mishap

The most recent rumors suggest:

Pink Horrors – 9pts each (minimum 10)
ws 3 bs 3 s 3 t 3 w 1 i 3 a 1 ld 7
Psychic tests on a 10
Brootherhood of sorcerers
Blue horrors: if a pink horror is slain place a blue horror marker.. at initiative 1 the blue horror attacks causing the enemy unit to suffer one s2 hit with ap –

horrors can only cast change dicipline, not divination.
horrors get 1 warppoint, 2 at unit strength 11-15 and 3 at 16-20. they generate psychic powers at the start of the game like normal psykers but can only roll on tzeentch lore.

primaris: 24″ s 5 ap 4 assault 2d6, warpflames, soulfire. 1 warpcharge.
for each additional warpcharge you gain a additional d6
So I wanted to see how the “new” units stacks up to the old as an MEQ killer.

Aside from the range difference (now 24″) and the fact that the new horrors will have more random results (pschic test, deny the witch, and random number of shots) what I found is that point for point the new (when taken in a squad of 20) has about a 20% worse first turn killing efficiency vs MEQ than the old Pink Horrors.  This does not factor in taking a Herald with divination.

The unit is almost 40% worse at killing Guard Equivalent in a 5+ cover.


So, on the numbers the unit is cheaper, giving you more flexibility, but not quite as good at these tasks.  You can buff with a Herald if you want (see above right).  As soon as you take a wound you shooting drops of by 75% immediately, rather than in a linear fashion (model by model) but you have access to other powers as well beyond the normal Bolt of Tzeentch and you range is extended by 6″ giving you some more holding power and reducing the risk of deepstrike mishaps.


Flamers of Tzeentch – OP?

Flamer’s of Tzeentch – painted by me
The reaction I’ve been getting of late is absolute fear or loathing of my flamers.  Among the myriad screams of “Daemons are OP” the two data points people use to express their frustration with my army is Fateweaver and my Flamers.  I’ll discuss the king chicken in another thread, but I’m starting to agree that the Flamer is a really good value.
Points to consider:
  • I have not yet found a compelling reason to waste 5 points on Pyrocaster upgrades (no one will charge them, so I can’t use it as a character bait/challenge and look out sir provides no real value with this unit).
  • When taken in squads of 3-4 (even 5) they are suicide units.  If a single model makes it to turn 2 then I’m thrilled.  At 1750 points I’ve been taking three squads of 3 (69 points).  The value proposition changes when we’re talking about squads of 6-9 models.
  • In order to maximize points  return you have to deepstrike them for a direct hit.  Which means you will scatter 7 inches in a random direction 2/3 of the time.  Which means you will deepstrike mishap somewhere between 17.5-33% of the time (based upon your enemy’s positioning).  Let’s go with a moderate 25% mishap.  This means you will loose 69 points about 8% of the time.  69 points is now 75 points (thanks to the mishap tax).  So, aside from the 33% of the time when you direct hit, the rest of the time you’re likely going to scatter far enough that you’re shooting warp fire instead of a flamer.  Warpfire is what your 17 point Pink Horrors have, but you get at 23 points.  Factor in the increased BS and you have a 20 point Pink Horror.
I don’t know.  I don’t think they are over powered.  They are one-dimensional and then they stick their landing they are deadly.  The rest of the time they get to jump across the board while getting shot up, or you loose them off the table edge.  I could see 25 points, even 28 points a piece if you really wanted to push it, but not OP.  At least not crazy OP.